Staff Choices

Posted by SherriT on 08/30/16
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“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”

The book It Ends With Us, by Colleen Hoover, for me at least, reminded me how easy it is in life to point a finger. To judge someone or a situation you are on the outside of. So easy to say, “If that was me, I wouldn’t have done that.” But this story shows us that sometimes certain situations aren’t that easy to walk away from and become even messier when emotions and love are involved.
It Ends With Us follows one girl, Lily, from childhood through adulthood. It shows how her childhood made her into the woman she is today. It shows how despite everything you can be brave and strong, you can do better, be better and rise above. You can be the change you want to see in the world. Even when you feel powerless your decisions can change other’s lives. This book is about personal growth and self respect, and it embodied those themes beautifully.
This unbelievably complex, astonishingly real, and heart wrenching novel left me completely speechless.  As cliché as it sounds, it is truly one of those stories that will surely stay with me for a very, very long time.  I don’t want to say too much about the plot or characters. I read this not knowing a thing on either, and was shocked to see how it unfolded. And even though I won’t elaborate on any details and in turn my review is very brief, I really think those who go in blind will appreciate the story and the insanely strong emotion behind it that much more.
Go in with an open mind.

Go in with an open heart. But be warned this story will probably break it.

Posted by BARB W on 08/29/16
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The epic tragedy of the Holocaust has been the subject of innumerable books and movies. The sheer scale of death, deprivation and pain caused by the brutal executions of innocent millions will haunt us and future generations forever.
Then along comes Son of Saul by Hungarian director László Nemes, another entry in the canon of Holocaust material. It is challenging to find originality with this subject, difficult to find a way to retell the story of desolation and sorrow.
This, however, is not one of those stories. This very personal story of a man mourning the loss of a son he barely knew is not about a nation or world in sorrow. The exquisite pain, the fuel of loss, the need for one last moment of dignity and propriety, these things propel Saul Auslander, played with steely, rigid agony by Hungarian actor Géza Röhrig, to find a way to bury his son according to the traditions and laws of his Jewish faith. This story belongs to Saul and his son.
Posted by jdunc on 08/26/16
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If you’re like me and can’t get enough of the Royal family, I highly recommend Christopher Anderson’s newest look behind the palace doors, Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne. Anderson is a prolific writer of celebrity biographies, several focused on the Royal family.

The book begins with a predictive glimpse into the future of the monarchy. Anderson provides an imagined scene of how events will unfold once Queen Elizabeth has passed, including a look into Prince Charles’s and Camilla’s coronation.
Anderson then provides a well-researched look into the lives of the queen and future queens: Elizabeth, Camilla, and Kate as they vie for the throne. The book reveals lots of secrets including that Camilla pushed Charles to marry Diana and she had doubts about Kate. The big question is will the Queen abdicate her throne and who will follow her reign? Is it all true? Anderson is very convincing in his writing and presentation. Either way, it is a fun read.
Posted by Uncle Will on 08/24/16
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Looking for a new series to watch where there’s no swearing, no gratuitous, graphic sex, nor buckets upon buckets of blood and yet is witty, sexy, and violent? Try Season 1 of The Musketeers, the BBC updated version of Alexandre Dumas' classic novel The Three Musketeers.

All 3 of the musketeers have classically good looks. They all look great in leather, especially Porthos, who in this filmed version is half French, half African and not portrayed as the plump, drunken ox – which he so often is. Athos has deep dark secrets and is cast as the brains of the bunch and the best brooder. Aramis is pleasant on the eye and deviously charming.  D'Artagnan has great hair and thus never wears a hat. Cardinal Richelieu is shown to be his usual villainous self; however, his motivation is based less on greed and personal power than exercising his loyalty and vision for a future France. Liberties are taken in this adaptation. The psychopath, Rochefort, is not even introduced until Season 2.

What draws attention is that all of the female characters are not the typical Hollywood buxom bimbos. The casting is very good. Each actress comes across as the girl-next-door.  Even the Queen Anne character is beautifully flawed. But make no mistake, the femme fatal is the Milady D’Winter.  This is a great part and many actresses love the chance to play "the baddest dudette on the castle block."

Be warned. The first episode is the weakest of the lot. The introduction of all the main characters is like trying to put a size 10 foot in a pair of size 7 shoes. If you stick with this series, it gets better as all the characters grow.
Posted by Lucy S on 08/21/16
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Britt-Marie hasn’t spoken up for herself in decades, losing her self-esteem along the way. This is a sweet story of an older woman with rigid habits, uncomfortable in social situations, who can’t abide clutter, but grows to learn how to make decisions for herself. It is almost like a delayed “coming-of-age” tale. The writing style is simple, clear and depicts exactly what it might be like inside her mind. She returns to work after pestering an employment agency staffer into finding something for her even though it will be temporary. The inhabitants of a very small town, especially the children, grow to care for her and respect her and she begins to feel the same way for them.
My favorite quote from Britt-Marie Was Here can be found on page 262: "That is the reason why passion is worth something, not for what it gives us but for what it demands that we risk." Fans of author Fredrik Backman’s other work, A Man Called Ove, will enjoy this story with a woman in the lead role.
Posted by bpardue on 08/15/16
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From the late 60s to mid-70s, a number German rock bands created a musical/social movement that has subsequently (and somewhat unfortunately) become known as "Krautrock." Stylistically diverse, it ranged from the "kosmische" jams of Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel to the industrial explorations of early Cluster, the wild pastiche of Faust and the ever-more-automated stylings of Kraftwerk. There have been various attempts to cover the Krautrock scene in book form, most notably Julian Cope's Krautrocksampler​, but most have been personal impressions, discographies or article compilations. At last, music journalist David Stubbs has written the first "Great Big Book" on the topic: Future Days: Krautrock and the Birth of a Revolutionary New Music. Stubbs' well-researched tome covers the emergence of protest & commune culture in post-war Germany and touches on all the big-name bands/movements within Krautrock: Can, Kraftwerk, Neu!, HarmoniaFaust, the "Berlin School," etc., and even follows the music's influence on David Bowie, Brian Eno and more recent musicians. An excellent (if dense) read for fans of this unique and influential musical phenomenon. Readers may also enjoy Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and its Legacy. Quite a bit of the music mentioned in the two books can found in our catalog, as well as Hoopla Digital.
Posted by lbanovz on 08/11/16
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I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I have a weird fascination with art theft. Yes, you read that correctly. It seems I will devour any book that has even the smallest plot point centered around art thievery. Think Donna Tart’s 2013 smash hit, The Goldfinch, or The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. Art theft even found its way into this year’s blockbuster The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (which I also adored), and I didn’t even seek it out. The subject just seems to fall into my lap. So when I tell you that I purposefully stopped myself from breezing through The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, Dominic Smith’s newest title that centers around the theft of a painting, understand what a challenge it was for me.

Smith has beautifully crafted a story that is equal parts mystery and love story. The love story itself is not romantic in nature, but rather a tribute to a mother’s love and the love of art as a whole. Both the painting in question, titled “At the Edge of the Wood”, and the artist – Sara de Vos –  are fictitious, but Smith has borrowed pieces of the lives of real female masters from the Dutch Golden Age.

Nothing about the structure or plot is groundbreaking: we travel back and forth between 1950’s New York, 17th-century Amsterdam, and 21st-century Australia, with the painting and the haunting presence of Sara de Vos following us along the way. It’s the way Smith tells it, setting the atmosphere in lyrically beautiful detail, that makes you want to stop and savor each chapter as you creep closer and closer to the moment when everything is laid bare.

For fans of People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier.
Posted by jonf on 08/04/16
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The newest Gabriel Allon thriller by Daniel Silva is another excellent thriller. On the eve Of Allon becoming Chief Of of Israeli Intelligence, he is summoned to France to help catch a terrorist who has exploded a massive bomb in Paris.
Gabriel and his team trace the attack to a beautiful French national of Syrian descent named Safia. Allon  enlists a brilliant woman  who is a French- Israeli doctor to infiltrate Isis, by becoming what they call a Black Widow.
The operation is thrilling as Nathalie is finally asked to go to Syria to meet the mastermind named Salladin. Silva wrote this book before the bombings in Paris and Brussels , so it is almost eerie reading it as fiction.
Posted by Uncle Will on 08/03/16
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A Perfect Day isn't like most other films. The story is a typical day-in-the-life for a team of aid workers in the Balkans (c.1995) who are trying removed a dead body from the drinking well of a small village near Bosnia. We learn early on that aid workers must be very careful not to do anything that would constitute them being a threat and then most likely killed. If they had a manual, Chapter One would definitely be entitled "Problem Solving 101."
This film quickly moves to "Advanced Problem Solving" and then onto "graduate studies" and beyond. IMDb lists the genre for this IFC (Independent Film Channel) as being a Comedy/Drama/War film; however, Oscar winner, Tim Robbins' character comes across as the film's lone, class clown. Oscar winner, Benicio Del Toro, is the team's proctor. He has the most sense and experience. Del Toro and Robbins are a formable pair who together have great timing and chemistry.

After watching, I couldn't help feeling honored that I was let into this film by the director. We take so much for granted in life. Most times it can't be helped just because of human nature. We try to make some sort of difference in our short lives. We hope we haven't wasted opportunities.

If you get the chance, checkout this bittersweet film. Don't miss the opportunity.

Posted by jdunc on 08/01/16
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If you’re looking for a light, fun read to add to your summer reading list, look no further than Nine Women, One Dress. It is the perfect pick for soaking up the last bits of summer at the pool or beach.

Debut author, Jane Rosen is witty and engaging as she seamlessly weaves nine separate stories around one black dress. Each story is neatly wrapped up with a satisfying ending by the conclusion of the book. Some stories include: a Bloomingdale sales women starting a relationship with a movie star, a private investigator, a recent college graduate who has created a fake life on social media, an aspiring model, and a middle aged secretary in love with her boss. All of their lives are changed for the better by this one black dress. The dress itself transcends age and culture to take on a character of its own. I loved it from start to finish.
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