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A Day at the Movies October 28, 2014

Posted by Dori in Movies, Thoughtful Ramblings.
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imagesHark – Halloween beckons! I’m a big fan of Halloween – not so much the violent horror aspect, but more in the traditional Celtic sense of All Hallow’s Eve and the Mexican Day of the Dead – ending the harvest and ushering in the darkness of winter; lighting a bonfire to ward off the spooky spirits while welcoming the souls of our dear ones who have passed away with a food and feasts. I like how it fits with the movement of the earth –  it falls between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice – and also being part of a ritual that’s been going on for centuries.

Which brings me to the fact that some folks like to celebrate Halloween by watching a frightening film – and there are tons here at the library. Just search under the subject term Horror films to find classics like The Blob,  to funny gems like Slither,  to movies that’ll scare the pants off you, like The Omen. Me, I’ll just stick to the bonfire, the feast, and, of course, a little candy!

MOVIE VIEWING: Friday, October 31st, at Lunch and a Movie, we won’t be showing a Halloween movie, but one called The Grand Seduction. It’s about a town in Newfoundland that needs a doctor in order to attract an oil company that will create jobs on the island. They lure a doctor to town and try to make him stay in all sorts of silly ways. It promises to be funny and sweet. See you in the Auditorium at 12 noon sharp!

MOVIE REVIEW: Well, I finally got to watch Snowpiercer – and I think I need to watch it again. Pros: it was a feast, visually, and had you thinking the whole time –  plus, there was some great and bizarre acting – Tilda Swinton was a riot – and a completely un-Hollywood ending.  Cons: the social message was a little obvious and it was oh so violent, but I guess that’s what would happen if the majority staged a revolution against the 1%. If you watch it, let me know what you think.

DVD Releases 10-28-14

Deliver Us From Evil – DVD & Blu-Ray
Begin Again – DVD & Blu-Ray
Chef – DVD & Blu-Ray
America: Imagine a World Without Her – DVD
How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson – DVD

Happy Watching!

~ Dori

How I Survived a Murder Mystery Party and Lived to Tell! October 27, 2014

Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
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True confession time: I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween! In truth, though, I don’t mind the holiday itself. I like candy. I think it’s cute when babies and little kids get dressed up in their costumes and parade down the streets. What I don’t like is being frightened, dressing up in a scary costume, or trying to scare other people. Maybe I was traumatized by my older siblings as a child, but whatever the case, I’m usually the one at home, not wearing a costume, and passing out candy.

For years, my best friend has hosted a pajama-themed Halloween party, specifically because of my dislike of the scary costume tradition. Really, she’s been the best to do this, but over the last few years, I’ve felt a bit guilty about forcing the direction of her annual event.

This year, she did something a bit different. She hosted a Murder Mystery Party!  She bought a script and party plan from http://www.shotinthedarkmysteries.com/  and decorated her living room like a speakeasy.

The party’s theme was “A Flapper Murder Mystery at an 1920s Speakeasy.” We all had prearranged characters and a script of information to share or hide (and reveal only when directly questioned). We dressed in characters as flappers, coppers, speak easy owners and gangsters…and we had to figure out who done it? Who killed Fanny Birchwood?

A Flapper's Life

Ultimately, I didn’t commit the crime, but I sure had a ball! And it was a great opportunity for friends who have known one another for years to break out of the mold and have something else to talk about!

So, if you are looking for an alternative to the usual fright fest for your Halloween soiree (or any party for that matter), try your hand at hosting a murder mystery party! It’s a whole different kind of scream!

Have a Happy Halloween!


Latest Additions October 27, 2014

Posted by stacey in Fiction.
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Oh boy! It’s almost time for candy, candy, candy- and costumes! Is everyone as ready as I am? Have you checked the delicious freshness of the snacks you’re passing out to the impressionable children coming to your door? If not, you should! Or even if you have? You still have time to double check -preventing the chance of crushing spirits left and right! In fact, taste testing your Halloween candy is your civic duty! (Did that help?) And leave a little space for a quick stop on Thursday, October 30th -you’ll need to run into the story for more candy… but it’s absolutely for a good cause! So do it! But now you need a project to keep you stationary while sampling those treats, right? How about checking out some of the books that have been recently added to The Reading Room, shall we?

Traveling Light by Andrea Thalasinos
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

Just remember -candy wrappers do *not* make good bookmarks… (unless the candy is still inside please!)


— Stacey

A Day at the Movies October 21, 2014

Posted by Dori in Movies.
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movieThe Fall movie season is heating up, with many coming out that are prospective Oscar winners. Here’s a few of my wanna sees: Whiplash, Foxcatcher, Birdman, and The Theory of Everything. What about you?

WEEKLY MOVIE PREVIEW: I’m not much of a scary movie fan, but I do like sci-fi and the weirder the better, so my family and I watched The Host this week – it’s directed by Joon-ho Bong, a Korean director who’s most recent film I have been waiting to see (see next paragraph).  It’s about a monster that is created by an environmental disaster and a family that searches for their daughter who becomes the monster’s captive – it’s funny, clever and scary – and you can check it out at RRPL.

Remember my waxing about the Joon-ho Bong’s movie Snowpiercer, going on and on (and on and on). Well, of course I didn’t end up seeing it at the theater,  but it comes out today on DVD and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Hopefully, it will meet my ridiculous expectations!


Neighbors – DVD & Blu-Ray
Sex Tape – DVD & Blu-Ray
Snowpiercer – DVD & Blu-Ray
Earth to Echo – DVD & Blu-Ray
The Signal – DVD
Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning – DVD
Mona Lisa is Missing – DVD
Mad Men, Season 7, Part I – DVD


Happy Watching!
~ Dori

Latest Additions October 20, 2014

Posted by stacey in Fiction.
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Okay. Look… I really can’t have time speed by like this anymore. I just (*just!*) got my Halloween decorations down -no, they aren’t out yet- and I only have like a week and a half to go before I have to put them away again! What?! I’m sure it can in no way be my fault, right? It’s that time is moving much too quickly! So, slow down there buddy -and give me a chance to enjoy my black cats, bats, and cheerful looking pumpkins before I eat all the leftover Halloween candy, please? (Phew! I bet that works!) Let’s celebrate the day with a few more distractions! How would you like to see some of the titles that have recently been added to The Reading Room? Yes! Me too!

Three Bargains by Tania Malik
California by Edna Lepucki
In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen
The Secret Place by Tana French
The Blessings by Elise Juska
The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman


– Stacey

Why So Grouchy? Try Smiling! October 15, 2014

Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
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I just found out that today is National Grouch Day! I wish I had known earlier. I could have planned accordingly and put on a frown. Instead I innocently went about the first half of my day, smiling and staying positive. I can’t help it; it is my default look. Someone once said to me, “If you are not smiling, how do you know what your face is doing?” Good point! smileInterestingly, according to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine by Richard Conniff, we can trace the origin of the smile back through more than 30 million years of evolution to the “fear grin,” a meek baring of clenched teeth, common among monkeys and apes. For them, it was a way to say, “Don’t eat me, I’m harmless.” As we evolved, so has the smile. Now, smiling is practically the universal sign of happiness and helpfulness.

The same article said that evidence suggests that people who smile a lot tend to be happier and more successful in life than those who don’t smile, and that the physical act of smiling actually makes people feel better. The best part–it’s downright contagious! Any chance this could be the only thing we pass on to others during this cold and flu season?

Until next time, keep smiling!


Latest Additions October 13, 2014

Posted by stacey in Book List, Fiction.
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It’s hard not to notice the light fading earlier and earlier in the evenings. I know it’ll turn around again in the Spring but gosh, that seems far away right now -plus Daylight Saving Time doesn’t even start until November 2nd! It’s a good thing a local boy, Mr. Thomas Alvin Edison from Milan, OH, came up with the light bulb! If there were no light at night? How could we read the Winter away?! Ugh. What a horrible, horrible thing to not be able to read at night! But we can! And so we should! Let’s celebrate light bulbs this week and stay up late reading! Do you need something new read while you’re enjoying that incandescent glow? How about one of the books most recently added to The Reading Room!

A Place Called Hope by Philip Gulley
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
Death of a Dyer by Eleanor Kuhns
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Not a bad way to spend some time -either in daylight or at night- right? Enjoy!

— Stacey

Why DIY? October 7, 2014

Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
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It’s officially Fall and so if trapped inside on colder, rainier days, I find myself looking at bare walls, shabbier pieces of furniture, and worn throw pillows and I start to think, “I can make decorating improvements without spending big bucks to replace this stuff.” And then, I usually rummage around for some paint!

Paintbrush with Blue PaintLast weekend, I spray-painted a wooden row of hooks that had seen better days. Now it is shiny dark blue and looks practically brand-new. Hanging on the bedroom wall, it downright invites clothes and towels to be hung, rather than flung to the floor. I liked filling the space on the wall so much, I then created my own custom art with stencils on two canvas stretchers. Previously, I made a headboard out of an art canvas, fabric and batting. I got that idea out of the book Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik, the genius minds behind http://www.younghouselove.com/

My techniques are not perfect and not always successful. You’ll notice that I’ve not included photos of my projects, and (true confession) there are some unfinished, unsuccessful upholstery projects still hiding out in my garage. My wall art will never compete with the masters, and my headboard won’t last forever. I have no delusions of grandeur here.

That said, why do we DIY?

For me, it is about the sense of accomplishment that doing it myself gives me. I can look at my completed work and think, “I made that!” Or, perhaps, it’s simply because it is so much fun to play with paint and glue. Yes, I’d rather have my walls filled with art by fabulous, talented artists and magnificent masterpieces.

Until the lotto calls, though, I will continue to make my own. Happy Crafting!


Latest Additions October 6, 2014

Posted by stacey in Fiction.
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I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with my calendar. How can it possibly be Monday again? Even more shocking -how can it be October already?! I guess if the falling temperatures weren’t tipping me off about the Fall season, the super scary movies being advertised have been pretty hard to ignore. Even a thirty-second commercial is too much for me, I don’t know how people can possibly make it through a two-hour movie! The closest I get to scary? Bats! Which aren’t really scary at all! Bats are really good for the environment -eating bugs and pollinating plants, so why not consider adopting a bat from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo? Or at least stop by for a visit with some fruit bats at The Rainforest?

While you make your travel plans, would you like to read something that has recently been added to The Reading Room? How about one of these:
The Mountaintop Schoold for Dogs and Other Second Chances by Ellen Cooney
A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman
One Kick by Chelsea Cain
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon
A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins

Or don’t forget there’s a long list of (mostly) scary books in Oh, the Twisted Tales of Horror! for our genre discussion!


— Stacey

Oh, the Twisted Tales of Horror! October 3, 2014

Posted by stacey in Book Discussion, Book List, Genre Book Discussion.
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What a scary thing it would be if we had to fight for survival in a world where the supernatural, or the unnatural, that resembled the landscapes found in the horror category. Of course these books are meant to get a strong reaction from the reader, so I’d say the books we shared at our discussion were pretty darn successful. But of course you can also judge for yourself after you see what people had to say about what they choose to read:

Carol: The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon is adult ghost story that opens in 1908 in Vermont. Sara Harrison Shea is racked with grief — her young daughter Gertie has died. Sara cannot bear to live without her, and so she turns to magic taught to her by the tribal woman who helped raise her, in order to bring Gertie back from the dead. Meanwhile, in a present day storyline, 19-year-old Ruthie now lives in Sara’s old farmhouse with her younger sister and their mother. When Alice goes missing, Ruthie searches for clues, and discovers Sara’s long hidden diary along the way. As Ruthie reads the diary, she gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, and realizes that she’s not first person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. What do these missing people have to do with the young girl who supposedly died a century? This creepy ghost story is suspenseful and you’ll want to read it until it’s climactic end. Reader beware: you might need to leave a night-light after you are done with this one.

Emma: Classic horror novel, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin is the story of Joanna and Walter Eberhart and their two children. The family moves to suburban Stepford, Connecticut from New York City. Joanna soon discovers that the women of Stepford are too perfect, too beautiful, and too submissive. The husbands of Stepford spend a lot of free time at the local men’s association while their wives are content at home cleaning and cooking, ignoring their previous occupations and interests. Joanna is afraid she will become just like them. A fable of male bonding or female bondage.

Steve: Misery, by Stephen King, is a terrifying psychological horror novel with one of the worst villains ever created. Author Paul Sheldon is in a car accident in Colorado and found by retired nurse Annie Wilkes, who happens to be his “number one fan.” She keeps Paul hostage in her home and makes him write a new novel featuring her favorite character, a character from his best-selling Misery series that he had previously killed off. Annie has a long history of violence and mental instability, and her treatment of Paul is terrifying. The book includes some incredibly gory descriptions, not for the faint of heart.

Dori: Chris Bohjalian’s Night Strangers begins with a harrowing plane crash: Pilot Chip Linton loses 39 passengers as he tries to land his failing plane in Lake Champlain. After the accident, he, his wife Emily, and twin girls try to start over in a remote town in New Hampshire. They buy an old Victorian and begin to fix it up, but soon Chip discovers a door in the basement, held shut with 39 bolts and soon after, the ghosts of a little girl and her father killed in the crash begin to visit him. Meanwhile, Emily and the girls meet a local group of herbalists, all named after flowers and plants and oddly obsessed with the twins. As so often happens in these kinds of stories, you want to tell them to run…and fast, but the Lintons stay on and are drawn much too deeply into the horrible secrets of the town. Suspenseful, engaging, and altogether creepy, this Gothic horror is the perfect Halloween read.

Megan: Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen. There is a new librarian at Cyn’s high school and he is hot! He is also a demon who has enthralled her best friend, Annie and is sucking the life essence from the students. Cyn has an unusual immunity to his charms so while she juggles school and the set design for the school’s production of Sweeney Todd, she also now has to save her best friend. This devilishly hilarious book has a little something for everyone-horror, humor, romance, as well as musical theater! And while a soul-sucking demon is not necessarily an improvement, I find this librarian to be a refreshing change of pace from the stereotypical shushing old lady librarian!

Lauren: If at times campy and cliché, Hell House by Richard Matheson is a classic horror story. At the invitation of an eccentric millionaire with terminal cancer, four people go to spend a week alone at the abandoned Belasco House in Maine. “Hell House” is believed to be haunted by the beings who were subjected to the depravity and perverseness of its original owner, Emeric Belasco, who delighted in torturing his guests and driving them towards debauchery. Dr. Barrett (along with his wife Edith) is seeking to explain the house’s strange phenomena from his viewpoint as a physicist. Also invited are two spiritual mediums, Florence Tanner and Benjamin Fischer. Fischer was the only survivor of the last attempt to investigate the house some thirty years prior. As the four set to work on solving the mystery of Hell House, Hell House sets to work on destroying them.

Ann: The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb is a modern day haunted house story set on the shores of Lake Superior. When her mother dies, Grace Alban returns home to Alban House after a twenty year absence. Almost from the beginning, Grace and her young daughter Amity encounter strange happenings at the house. In addition, secrets from the past are unearthed that rattle Grace. Are the halls and passageways of the family home haunted due to some long ago family curse? A spine-tingling gothic novel.

Stacey: Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is an unique mix of humor, ethical issues, and super creepy ( horrible!) events. In Ealing, Iowa, Austin is a sixteen-year-old whose best friend Robby and girlfriend Shann all hangout together, during and after school. Fixated on some of the average teen boy stuff: skateboarding, sex, smoking and drinking, Austin finds himself woefully unprepared to fight against the Unstoppable Soldiers, dedicated killers who also happen to be six foot tall praying mantis created from a man-made plague mold, accidentally released. This book almost defies any attempt at an accurate description- it’s so packed with all kinds of crazy details- but any reader who enjoys Libba Bray, Michael Grant, or Lish McBride will devour this book -almost as quickly as an Unstoppable Soldier!

Our next genre will be narrative nonfiction, or real and true stories that are written as if they were fictional. This category is wide open as it can be on any topic from any year, it just needs to be an easy-to-read nonfiction book. Ta-dah! So we’ll see you back here with your narrative nonfiction title in tow, very soon!

— Stacey


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