User Reviews

Reviews by bweiner
Interesting themes
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Agnes, by Swiss writer Peter Stamm, begins with a startling revelation. The narrator tells us, “Agnes is dead. Killed by a story.” I am a sucker for a great opening line, and that one did it for me. In this brilliant short novel, Stamm explores the relationship between reality, and the reality we would like to create with our words.
We are all guilty of telling stories that do not accurately mirror the authenticity of actual events. If a narrative imagines future events, to what extent can these shape the direction of our lives? Agnes and the narrator meet in the Chicago Public Library and begin a curious relationship. She wants to be remembered, so she asks her lover to chronicle their experiences. But the line between fact and fiction begins to blur, and life begins to imitate art.
Stamm ponders an intriguing subject here. Can we control our own destiny, and can we shape it with our words? Can we script life as we would like it? Interesting characters, a suspenseful plot, and perfectly controlled prose make this an excellent addition to your fall reading list.
Fantastic Film!
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Worlds Apart (2015), a drama from Greece, set in Greece, is a story that surrenders itself to the qualities that bind us as humans instead of succumbing to the ones that divide us. Although the stories reflect the economic difficulties in Greece, the struggles are universal.
The film intersects three stories filled with passion, pain, love and hope; stories of betrayal, emptiness and missed chances. The people in this world are you and I: kind, compassionate, positive and sometimes misguided. Good people making choices that lead to uncomfortable resolutions.
Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons turns in an endearing performance as a retired German professor looking for a second chance in life. Christopher Papakaliatis, who also portrays the troubled husband Giorgos, superbly directs the ensemble and circuitously connects the stories. To say more would be to reveal too much: savor these richly genuine relationships in this small treasure of a film. (In Greek and English, with subtitles)
Son of Saul
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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.

The Daughters
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The Daughters by Adrienne Celt explores the complex dynamic between mothers and daughters in a dramatic, unflinching and uncompromising way. The maternal presence in this story is represented by four successive generations in one family, and their fierce love mixed with struggles for power is a familiar scenario.
Woven into the fabric of this story are bits of Polish mythology, and this influences the fates of the women involved. Lulu is an opera singer who has trouble with her voice following the difficult birth of her daughter, an event that has extracted a personal cost to her family. When a daughter is born, someone must be held accountable…
Adrienne Celt does a magnificent job creating mood and atmosphere in this story. You can feel the darkness descend and the moments of tension between the women are tangible. The passion of these mothers is transcendent, and to be in their inner circle is fascinating. As an added bonus, most of the action takes place in Chicago. This is a very interesting read, and a wonderful exploration of the powers of motherhood.
Hilarious!
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If you are looking for heaps of hilarity in your life, something guaranteed to make you chuckle, or even better, make you laugh till the tears come down, look no further. Check out the hysterical, frenetic world of bestselling author Jenny Lawson, as she describes in uproarious detail, her struggles with mental illness in 2015’s, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.

Whoa, wait, mental illness? Are we allowed to laugh at that? According to Jenny Lawson we are! She shares her struggles and permits herself to be gloriously and furiously happy, to ride the tide of joy when she can, knowing the darkness is not always that far behind.

This audiobook caught my eye because of its riotous cover, which Jenny will explain in detail. Her goofy voice, sincere delivery, captivating stories and fresh approach to living with mental illness make this a superb selection.

 
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
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