User Reviews

Reviews by Katie M
Bikur Ha-Tizmoret: The Band's Visit
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The Broadway musical, The Band’s Visit, based on the 2007 Israeli film, Bikur Ha-Tizmoret, won ten Tony awards earlier this month, prompting my interest in the movie.

The movie follows an Egyptian police band that has booked a performance at an Arab cultural center in Petah Tikva, but end up in the wrong town, (fictional) Bet Hatika, in the middle of the Negev Desert. When there is no transportation out of the city that day, and no hotels for them to spend the night, the eight male band members, through a fortuitous encounter with a café owner, are taken in for the evening by different people throughout the town. The situations that ensue highlight relationships built by finding common ground.

This has been described as a quiet film, and I would agree. It is a sweet charmer about a group of people, who meet under unusual circumstances, and experience life together over the course of one night. There is no great narrative or major action, but it is a lovely, and sometimes funny, story about the human experience.

For those who enjoy well-reviewed, award-winning independent and foreign films.
Everything Is Horrible And Wonderful : A Tragicomic Memoir Of Genius, Heroin, Love, And Loss by Stephanie Wittels Wachs is the author’s absorbing account about coping with the death of her brother, Harris Wittels, from a heroin overdose. The book spans the few years between the time that the family learns of Harris’ substance addiction, to the year after his death, and details their attempt to make sense of everything. Stephanie openly discusses how concurrent to Harris’ addiction, she gives birth to a baby with a permanent hearing disability, and writes about the emotional stress of these parallel events.

Stephanie is unflinchingly honest in this memoir, and with her background in education and performance, her audiobook narration is a real standout. I listened on Hoopla, and highly recommend the audio format of the book, as the story, in her voice, is powerful; it’s tender and evocative and her love for her brother and her family is potent.

This is one of those books where you’ll laugh and you'll cry – the humor can be dry and quirky and laugh-out-loud funny (Harris was a professional comedy writer) and the tragic moments incredibly dark – but part of the strength of the story is this concurrent thread of humor and sadness. This book is for those who like modern memoirs, and anyone interested in reading a detailed personal account about addiction and grief, told through the lens of a candid, close-knit family.
White Tears
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Hari Kunzru is the award-winning author of five novels and a short story collection; his most recent book, White Tears, was a PEN/Jean Stein Book Award finalist and listed on many Best of 2017 lists. I picked it up after seeing it on the list of finalists for the community read for New York City and found it to be compelling, haunting and original.

Described by the publisher as “a literary thriller and a meditation on art–who owns it, who can consume it, and who profits from it,” it centers around two college friends, Seth and Carter, who start a music production business, with a focus on serving artists who want their music to sound authentically timeworn, like the old blues vinyl they obsessively collect. One day, Seth discovers he’s recorded an unknown blues singer in a park and Carter puts the file online, where he claims it’s an old recording by a made-up musician named Charlie Shaw. In action-packed and dramatic fashion, both young men find themselves in over their heads, to great consequence, after a music collector tells them their recording is genuine.

The book has a strong start, becomes confusing and a bit muddled at its climax, only to finish in a shocking, if not completely unexpected, manner. Overall, this is a well-written, thought-provoking and timely novel that looks at cultural appropriation and power in American culture head-on. I recommend it to those interested in modern literary fiction or noir mysteries.
Dorie's Cookies
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Dorie’s Cookies, by Dorie Greenspan, was the 2017 James Beard Foundation Award-winner for Baking and Dessert, and for good reason. The book is full of Greenspan’s delicious, well-tested recipes, with loads of pictures, detailed instructions, and preparation tips, to turnout the best cookies, even if you’re a novice baker. The book contains both standard classics, and some very special recipes, like a variety of savory cookies and cookies like the Puffed Grain and Miso Cookies.

I have tried the cover’s World Peace Cookies, a memorable cookie that is both sandy and chewy, and that lives up to its name; as Dorie has said, “If everyone had it, peace would reign o’er the planet.” I have made it on multiple occasions, and it always turns out perfectly, despite the inconsistent dough, just as she says it will. Another cookie that I tried are the Goat Cheese and Chive Cookies, a savory shortbread, perfect for an appetizer tray or cocktail party.

There are so many recipes in this huge book to try, like the Lemon Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars, Hamantaschen with homemade jam, French Snacklettes in a pyramid shape, Blueberry Buttermilk Pie Bars, and Coffee Cardamom Cookies, to name a few. Whether you are looking for an everyday treat, or like to test and plan in advance for your annual cookie swap, this book has a little something for any cookie maker.
Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes
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The cookie of the moment is the Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, a recipe featured all over Instagram and various food sites, created by Alison Roman, author of Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes. The shortbread recipe is as spectacular as the online hype and you can find it in her book, which also contains many other excellent recipes and loads of inspiration. Roman’s book is well-written and straightforward, with relatable writing and down-to-earth recipes and instructions.

With a focus on fresh ingredients, there are many great-looking recipes, for everything from Shrimp in the Shells with Lots of Garlic and Probably Too Much Butter to Paprika-Rubbed Sheet-Pan Chicken with Lemon, desserts like a classic Lemon Shaker Tart and Brown-Butter Buttermilk Cake, and a whole section on Savory Breakfasts, all with quick and easy instructions. Roman’s book is a fun read, filled with beautiful pictures, and will probably make you want to spend loads of time in the kitchen, or at the least, spend time reading her gorgeous cookbook!

 
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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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