Friday, October 30, 2009

Sue Recommends Boston Legal on DVD

There is something exhilarating about watching a film or tv show where you see beautiful shots of familiar landmarks. Not only is Boston Legal, a television series that ran from 2004-2008, a great legal drama-comedy but features the city of Boston in some exceptional photography.

The cast includes many big names--William Shatner as Denny Crane, a role quite the opposite of the serious Captain Kirk; James Spader (remembered as Daniel Jackson from
Stargate Atlantis the Movie) as Alan Shore, the brilliant, articulate, rather arrogant but witty lawyer who becomes the cast member you most love to watch; and Candace Bergen (from the TV series Murphy Brown) as Shirley Schmidt, one of the senior partners of Crane, Poole & Schmidt. Many of the cases featured are based on controversial topics of the day.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, but you will finish one season and rush out to find the next season to keep up with the shenanigans of Denny Crane and Alan Shore in this winner of 5 emmy awards out of 25 nominations. Request it today! SH

Mike Suggests: The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

A must-read for fans of horror, The Haunting of Hill House is one of Shirley Jackson's greatest novels and one of the scariest stories I've read in a long time. Set in a house built with evil intents, the story follows four individuals who are investigating the claim that this is a haunted house. The explorers quickly find they've bitten off far more than they can chew, however, as the house begins to awaken each night and torment them. Best read with your back to a door during a dark evening, with the lights off and the wind lashing at your windows.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Megan suggests: The Senator's Wife

The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller

Lately I've been watching the new TV series The Good Wife, which is about a public official who is unfaithful to his wife. Watching the show made me remember how much I enjoyed reading The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller. There's a similar theme going on, the betrayed spouse of the politician, and also a little bit more. Two women -- Delia and Meri -- are portrayed at opposite ends of their lives. Delia is the 70ish wife of the philandering senator and Meri is the wife of a charismatic college professor. An excellent read.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rob Recommends (sort of): Look at the Birdie

Kurt Vonnegut
THis is not Kurt Vonnegut at his best. I include it in Picks only because I suspect that I am not the only die-hard fan of Vonnegut's short stories, and we're not likely to see much more from the author (1922-2007). Look at the Birdie gives us 14 previously unpublished stories of the early Kurt Vonnegut--before Sirens of Titan, Welcome to the Monkey House, Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle and the rest of the author's rightfully popular work.
The stories are fun, uncomplicated, easy to read and Vonnegut-ish with middle American characters finding temselves in slightly bizarre circumstances, and the humor alternating light and dark. And if you've never read Kurt Vonnegut, skip this one for now and read one of the above titles.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Arne Suggests: the Urban Fantasy Genre

Finished the Twilight saga? Done with the Dresden Files? Eagerly awaiting the next season of Trueblood? The Library is in possession of a large (and ever growing) collection of books, graphic novels, movies, and television series based around the new genre of Urban Fantasy.

Set in the modern world, but possessing elements of the fantastic, from vampires to werewolves, to the occasional dragon, Urban Fantasy works provide all the appeal of both traditional fiction coupled with the escapism of fantasy literature.

Don't be fooled into thinking it's all fangs and twilight though. The WFL has books featuring characters ranging from the ironically named Kitty, the werewolf DJ in Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville books, to the shape-shifting car mechanic Mercy Thompson in Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson novels.

If you are interested in more fangs and twilight, don't despair! There's plenty of that running around too, starting with Laurell K. Hamilton's best-selling Anita Blake series, up to Mary Janice Davidson's unlikely queen of the vampies, Betsy in the Undead series.

If it's other media you're looking for to pass the time, we've got that too. There's great graphic novels, from Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead series to Neil Gaiman's Sandman chronicles. As for movies look to 30 Days of Night, Let the Right One In, and Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mike Suggests: Skim

Skim by Mariko Tamaki, author & Jillian Tamaki, illustrator

Nominated for four Eisner awards, Skim is the story of Kimberly "Skim" Keiko Cameron, a Wiccan goth trapped in a private girls' school where nobody shares her sense of humor or outlook on life--with the exception of Lisa Soor, her best friend and fellow Wiccan practitioner. School life is quickly thrown into mourning overdrive when her classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself. Cliques--competing to out-grieve each other and out-do each other in supporting Katie--quickly gel, and begin to give Skim unwanted attention as she goes through her own pain of falling in love.

Debra recommends : In Defense of Food

Michael Pollan's audio recording of In Defense of Food is narrated by Scott Brick with his enviable energy, pacing and articulation. Audiofile magazine says ....of all Pollan's work, this particular title requires the most force and assurance, and the pacing of a skilled reader. Pollan's denunciation of "the ideology of nutritionism," packed with studies, names, theories, and suppositions, is food for two or three listenings. Pollan's conviction and enthusiasm is contagious. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sue suggests DeMille's John Corey series

If you haven't discovered Nelson DeMille's John Corey novels, you have treat in store for you. These thrillers (currently there are 4 with a new one in the works) combine suspense, humor and a quick reading pace to enable you to finish one and yearn for the next. DeMille is eager to build his novels on actual events such as 9/11, Flight 800 crash, terrorism, etc. Do you have to read the novels in order? I would recommend that you do or you may miss the significance of some of the allusions to people, places, and events that crop up.

If you are an audiophile, Scott Brick does a fantastic job of becoming John Corey. I enjoy his style SO much that if I see his name on the book on CD, I will pick it up. I haven't been disappointed yet.

Start your reading pleasure now with

Book 1: Plum Island
Plum Island Audio

Book 2: The Lions Game
The Lions Game Audio

Book 3: Night Fall
Night Fall Audio

Book 4: Wild Fire
Wild Fire Audio

Megan recommends: The Uncommon Reader

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Want a quick read? Need a small book to carry on the train? Try this novella by Alan Bennett which imagines what happens when Queen Elizabeth becomes a voracious reader. Funny and insightful.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Et tu, Brute?

A Noise of War : Caesar, Pompey, Octavian and the Struggle for Rome
by A. J., Langguth

A very exciting narrative, especially if you like political maneuvering or wonder about how Caesar did it. Langguth was at one time the Saigon bureau chief for the New York Times.You will see the parallels between the United States and Republican Rome. Booklist say's it all.

Langguth's narrative of the fall of the Roman republic begins in 81 B.C. with the confrontation of Julius Caesar and the dictator Sulla and the emergence of Marcus Tullius Cicero. Langguth then proceeds, through a series of progressively graver crises and progressively closer approaches to one-man rule, to the emergence of Caesar as supreme power. The intrigues and wars that followed constitute hardly more than an epilogue, for the republic was dead. Caesar and Cicero are the focal figures in Langguth's version of that story, but a host of other memorable actors are vividly portrayed. Langguth's concern throughout is readability, and this he certainly achieves.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Jonathan Suggests Tess's Tree

Tess's Tree by Jess M. Brailler and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds is a heartwarming picture book.

Tess loves her 175-year-old tree. It is her companion who provides her with both solace and fun. Sadly, it succumbs to a fierce lightning storm and must be removed for safety.

Tess experiences a myriad of emotions at the loss of her friend. Instead of letting her tree drift quietly out of memory she organizes a celebration of its life and the lives it touched.

This provides the stage for people of many ages to share their fondest memories of when the tree was their friend. This beautifully illustrated book by my hometown children's author/illustrator does an excellent job of relating loss in a way that children can both understand and identify with.

Tess's Tree is a wonderful book to share with the young in your life or merely the young at heart. What's your favorite memory of your tree?


Rob SuggestsThe Road

Ok, I know it's now exactly a new book, but I'm never caught up enough on the older books to try to keep up with the new ones. Cormac McCarthy's bestselling book The Road (now a major motion picture, as they say) is worth every dark. apocalyptic thought that will inhabit your bright, cheery mind even after you've set the book down. After some cataclysm (war? meteor? volcano?) the man and his son are heading south to the sea in the vain hope of finding a semblance of civilization. On the road, everything is already scavenged and the few remaining people have devolved into dangerous predators. The author manages to carry off the some big themes without losing the details of a good read. As with all, books-into-movies, read the book first!