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Latest Additions September 15, 2014

Posted by stacey in Book List, Fiction.
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Deeeep breath iiiinnn, deeeeep breath ooouuut…Deeeep breath iiiinnn, deeeeep breath ooouuut…Deeeep breath iiiinnn, deeeeep breath ooouuut… and repeat as needed. We are about to enter – the Big Fall Book Season! This is the time of year that we can start to look forward to those books I affectionately like to call doorstoppers. Check out some upcoming, highlighted titles in Huffington Post or The Millions or check out The Man Booker Prize 2014 for some ideas of what you’d like to devote some quality time to reading this fall. Of course you’ll be waiting just a little while for these books to come along -some aren’t being released until October!- so in the meantime I’d like to offer a few books that have been recently added to The Reading Room!

North of Boston by Elizabeth Elo
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
American Blonde by Jennifer Niven
The Truth about Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker

Plenty of choices for plenty of days ahead! Enjoy!

— Stacey

Play Ball! September 12, 2014

Posted by Steve in Uncategorized.
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So it seems once again the Tribe is in the playoff hunt.  Now if they could just get some consistency and save us all the anxiety of these ups and downs things would be great!  I’ll hope for the best, and to keep my spirits up I’ll keep some baseball movies close at hand.  Did you know that 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the classic Major League, starring a very young Charlie Sheen.  Also celebrating its 25th anniversary is Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams.  Other great hits on my best of list include Bull Durham, A League of Their Own, Eight Men Out, Moneyball, The Bad News Bears (the original) and The Sandlot.  Did I miss any, can you add something to the list?  All the titles that I mentioned can be checked out here, so stop on over and grab one of these free treasures.  Now that’s a grand slam!


Latest Additions September 8, 2014

Posted by stacey in Fiction.
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You can kind of feel it in the air… it’s nearly, almost Fall! I’m pretty excited for all the stuff that starts to happen around now -like the crisp air, the lovely colors, and all the Halloween candy that’s already hit the shelves! Do you know what would go really well with all of that -especially the candy?! New books to read! Maybe you’d like to try one of these books recently added to The Reading Room?

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
The Guards by Ken Bruen
Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen
Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn

I’m pretty sure all of these would go very nicely with the bite-sized candy treat of your choosing….


– Stacey

Spacey Stuff! September 7, 2014

Posted by stacey in Genre Book Discussion, Science Fiction.
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In a bold and adventurous move, we took our book discussion into the uncharted territory of the science fiction section! It could have gone either way -into a black hole of despair or into the sparkly twirl of a nebula, and in the end I think we hit a pretty happy place somewhere near Middle Earth -oh wait, that’s from more of the fantasy genre… How about I get my head out of the clouds and you take a look at what everyone has to say about what they’re reading?

Carol: In Jo Walton’s Hugo-winning novel, Among Others, Morwenna is a 15-year-old Welsh girl and Science Fiction fanatic, who speaks to fairies and practices magic. In this, her fictional diary, Morwenna’s twin Morganna has been killed, and Morwenna has run away from her insane mother and been sent to a private girls’ school in England by her estranged father. There, she attempts to come to terms with her recent loss. This magical coming of age novel is a quick and thoughtful read, that also provides readers with lists of Science Fiction must-reads along the way.

Lauren: The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier takes us to The City—a place inhabited by those who have recently died. People remain in the City as long as they are remembered by the living. Once there is no one left on Earth to remember them, they disappear. We discover that a deadly virus has swept the world, killing off the majority of the population. One day nearly all of the existing City residents suddenly disappear and an influx of new residents arrives, but the population of the City has been drastically reduced. Meanwhile back on Earth we follow the adventures and struggles of Laura Byrd, the lone surviving scientist of an imperiled mission to Antarctica. As the residents of the City convene and get to know one another they discover their tie that binds—Laura Byrd, who may very well be the last living human on the planet.

Emma: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is the story of a young woman captured while attempting to escape from the Republic of Gilead, the former United States, to Canada with her husband and daughter. Her freedom is severely limited when she is forced to become a handmaid and is called Offred. Her job is to bear a healthy child for the Commander, Fred, and his wife Serena Joy. When Offred doesn’t become pregnant quickly, Serena suggests that she have sex with Nick, the chauffeur, and pass their child off as the commander’s child. The reader is left not knowing what happens to Offred – prison or freedom.

Dori: In California, by Edan Lepucki, Cal and Frida have left a chaotic and broken down Los Angeles and are living on their own in the wilderness when they discover a mysterious settlement close by. Frida’s pregnant and the couple decide to join the settlement, though they are not fully welcomed and their presence eventually must be voted upon. Gradually, they realize that something is not quite right: in the settlement, decisions are made from the top down, roles are strictly defined and…where are the children? Lepucki raises important issues about social class and the choice of security vs. freedom, but the ending seems rushed and jars with the character development.

Maureen: Don’t ask me how, but Ready Player One by Ernest Cline combines the bleak, dystopian, energy-crisis future world of 2044 with hilarious flashbacks to video games and pop culture of the 1980s. Teenager Wade Watts is living with his insensitive, selfish aunt in a poor housing development in Oklahoma City called the “stacks” (trailers stacked vertically). To escape his less-than-stellar living conditions, Wade has a hideout in an old antique car buried within the stacks where he logs in for hours with his school-issued equipment to the online immersion of the OASIS, a virtual world created by the famous video game creator James Halliday. After his death, Halliday challenged the world to solve his puzzle called “Anorak’s Invitation” using his love of everything 1980s to find three hidden keys embedded within vintage video games (so-called “Easter eggs”) Whoever finds the keys and solves the riddle inherits Halliday’s fortune. Against all odds, Wade discovers the first key, but then becomes embroiled in a life or death race to finish the contest. Along the way, he meets fellow competitors, faces an evil, greedy corporation and learns that not all is as it seems in the OASIS. A quick read full of fun 1980 tidbits!

Steve: Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry, is the second in the loosely connected The Giver Quartet. Kira, a crippled child in a future society, is left an orphan after the death of her mother. She is accused of being worthless to the society and faces banishment, until the Council of the Guardians defends her and she is soon given a valued position as the caretaker of the Singer’s robe, on account of her immense sewing and weaving skills. The robe illustrates the society’s past, present and soon to-be-filled in future, and is worn at the annual Gathering celebration. Kira’s excitement turns to shock as she discovers dark secrets about the Guardians and her society.

Megan: Ashfall by Mike Mullin is the thrilling first book in a trilogy. When fifteen-year old Alex is left home alone while his parents and sister visit family, he is expecting a weekend full of video games and hanging out with friends. All of his plans are ruined with the supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park erupts hundreds of miles away, plunging Alex’s Iowa town into chaos, darkness, and ash. Alex begins the long and dangerous journey east, in the hopes of reuniting with his family. Along the way he encounters violence and depravity as well as kindness and help. His new travel partner, Darla, is a mechanical genius and could be the key to his survival. Ashfall is terrifyingly realistic. It is an action-packed and riveting series opener that will leave readers desperate (and maybe just a little bit nervous) for more.

Ann: Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper is set in the distant future on a planet named Zarathustra. Jack Holloway is a gem prospector on Zarathustra. One day at his home he encounters a little creature that “yeeks.” He has never seen anything like him before. A passage from the book describes his initial contact. “He turned quickly, to see two wide eyes staring up at him out of a ball of golden fur. Whatever it was, it had a round head and big ears and a vaguely humanoid face with a little snub nose.” Jack calls him a Fuzzy and names this one “Little Fuzzy.” Soon more Fuzzies show up and they all exhibit a sweet, intelligent nature. In fact, it’s quickly believed that Fuzzies are indeed intelligent, sapient beings. But when officers of The Company, which owns the charter for the planet, hear about the Fuzzies, they are distraught because the charter specifies Zarathustra as an uninhabited planet. If the Fuzzies are sapient beings, the Company’s charter will be reversed- and no more profits will be made. This book was written in 1962 and nominated for a Hugo Award in 1963. It’s interesting reading to see a view of the future from over fifty years ago.

Julie: Midnight Riot is the first in the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. The quote from Diana Gabaldon on the cover is what caught my eye, “Midnight Riot is what would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the Fuzz.” Awesome! It follows detective Peter Grant, who can not only see but speak with ghosts, as he investigates murders involving supernatural elements in modern London.

Stacey: On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee is set in the not too distant future set in the cities of B-Mor (Baltimore) and D-Troy (Detriot) where most of the residents are of Asian descent. The story really starts though when sixteen-year-old Fan, a diver in a fish farm, leaves B-Mor in search of her boyfriend Reg, who disappeared one day without leaving a trace. As Fan travels the path on which hopes to find traces of the missing teen, she must overcome a series of life threatening challenges that reflect the challenges surviving in this harsh, unforgiving world.

Next time we’ll be getting ready for the spookiest genre of all… Horror! If you’re feeling afraid that you won’t find anything to read in this section, don’t worry so much! You just need to find something that includes supernatural or occult ideas that are meant to frighten the reader, including books about the natural world gone awry. It’s time to brew up some coffee and keep the nightlights burning bright -it’s time to read some scary stuff!

— Stacey

Watch this documentary! September 2, 2014

Posted by Steve in Movies, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized.
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The other day while I was looking for an item for a patron, I stumbled across a movie that I had long ago meant to see. The documentary, My Date with Drew, is an exceptional story that finds aspiring filmmaker Brian Herzlinger on a quest to get a date with his boyhood crush, Drew Barrymore, in 30 days. He is flat broke, but has just won $1100 on a game show. Foregoing paying his bills, he decides to buy a camera at Circuit City, which he will be returning using their 30 day return policy, and document his efforts to score a date with Drew.  The $1100 of winnings goes to such creative ideas as making a website and movie trailer to help him get tips on getting the date, and even to forge press passes to get into the Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle after party.  And using his and his friends’ limited connections in the movie business, it is fascinating to see the six degrees of separation principal at work. Give the first 15 minutes or so a chance, which admittedly are pretty cheesy, because the rest is well worth the ride. And be sure to check out the bonus features detailing their efforts to find a distributor.

- Steve

Latest Additions -Labor Day Weekend Edition September 1, 2014

Posted by stacey in Thoughtful Ramblings.
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I hope you have something special to do with your extra day off! Not only am I hoping to eat my own weight in deep fried Swiss cheese presented to me on a stick -yum!- and at *least* one deep fried Snickers bar plus maybe an elephant ear and -oops! thinking about food distracted me! let me get back on track… but I am also hoping to get lots of reading, weeding -oh the size of those weeds!, and general cavorting smashed into my long weekend! I hope everyone else has a lovely list of things they’d like to do as well! Hey, if you’re going to a picnic today -might you like some fun Labor Day facts to share? Hmm?

Like -Did you know that the first Labor Day was celebrated on December 28, 1869? Or that President Grover Cleveland made it into a federal holiday in 1894? But the first time workers marched to protest labor conditions was on September 5, 1882, when a group of 10,000 (more or less) took an unpaid day to make their feelings known! These fun facts -and more!- can all be found on History.com.

Have a wonderful -and safe!- holiday!

— Stacey

A Day at the Movies August 29, 2014

Posted by Dori in Movies.
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imagesEvery fall, I get excited about the new crop of movies – this is when a lot of the heavy hitters and potential award winners come out. This year it’s no different – from the highly anticipated Gone Girl to the weirdly intriguing Birdman (featuring Michael Keaton’s comeback performance) to Steve Carrell’s serious turn in Foxcatcher; I want to see them all!  There’ve been plenty of lists published, but I really enjoy reading Indiewire’s take.

MOVIE SHOWING: Stop in at noon and head to the auditorium for our Lunch and a Movie series – we’re showing the The Amazing Spider-man 2 starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. And if that’s not enticing enough, we’ll have popcorn and lemonade!

On to recent DVD releases:

Feature Films:
Muppets Most Wanted
The Railway Man
The Quiet Ones
The Amazing Spider-man 2
Fading Gigolo
Only Lovers Left Alive
Frankie & Alice
Breathe In
The Cold Lands
Go For Sisters
Rosemary’s Baby
The Love Punch
The Normal Heart
The Empty Hours

Foreign Films:
The Auction

Documentary Films:
Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Dancing in Jaffa

TV Series:
The Blacklist
Boardwalk Empire, the Complete 4th Season
14 War Stories
The Mindy Project, Season 2
Parks & Recreation, Season 6
Once Upon a Time, the Complete Third Season
Revolution, the Complete Second Season
The Walking Dead, Season 4
Portlandia, Season 4
Elementary, the Second Season
The Musketeers, Season One
Revenge, the Complete Third Season

Happy Watching!

~ Dori

To sit or not to sit? August 26, 2014

Posted by Chris in Non-Fiction, Thoughtful Ramblings.
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We’ve all been hearing that sitting is bad for us, but would you go so far as to commit to standing for an entire month? One New Yorker did. Dan Kois stood for an entire month (except for driving, sleeping and sitting on the toilet). You can read all about it in New York Magazine’s special Health Issue that came out on June 9th. Was he any healthier? Well, he lost some weight and walked much more than before. He even wasted less time, what with standing at all those meetings, taking shorter phone calls, etc. But he came to find out that just as too much sitting is bad for us, so is too much standing. There’s back pain, the risk of stroke, varicose veins and more. Maybe it’s the up-and-down thing we all need to do more of?


Latest Additions August 25, 2014

Posted by stacey in Fiction.
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No. No. No. Nope. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all… How can Labor Day be next weekend? Already?! Heck, even the Dog Days of Summer are over already! So while I’m all kinds of psyched for my fried county fair foods coming up, I am *not* psyched at how fast time whizzing past. Hrumph!

While I wallow in a little bit of sad-sackishness -would you like to see some of the titles that have recently been added to The Reading Room? Of course you would!

Chose the Wrong Guy, Game Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison
The Johnstown Flood by David G. McCullough
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Dead Giveaway by Charles Ramsey
Murder and Mendelssohn by Kerry Greenwood

And if you want to anticipate some deliciously tasty fair food with me, you can try searching The Reading Room with the keyword fair. Bam! There’s twenty more titles for you to consider! Or feel free to try out your own keyword and how long a list you can build!



Latest Additions August 18, 2014

Posted by stacey in Book List, Fiction.
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You know how there are certain chores that you do so often you stop thinking about the process? I mention this as it’s completely on my mind after doing laundry yesterday -can you guess what happened?- and I found little bits of paper all over the clothes in one load. Hunh. How did I not check the pockets? This is not my first load of laundry, nor the first time I’ve found something other that fabric made it through the wash, so why is it still surprising when it happens? You think about it and let me know if you come up with ideas, okay? Thanks!

While I ponder this non-dilemma, maybe you’d like to take a look at some of the books that have recently been added to The Reading Room?
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
The Untold by Courtney Collins
Euphoria by Lily King
I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

As long as not still picking schmutz off myself… See you soon!

— Stacey


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