jump to navigation

Aquaman March 18, 2019

Posted by Ryan Dickerson in Movies.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

DC movies have largely met with mixed feelings in recent years. Going into this I wasn’t sure what I’d get. Wonder Woman reinvigorated the brand and I think Aquaman continues that trend in solo movies. Much like Wonder Woman, Arthur Curry is from a society that doesn’t live with humans. Unlike her, he lives with his human father on the shore. We start with a bit of a background on how this character came to be.

The movie starts with Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) finding Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) unconscious on the rocks near the lighthouse he mans. He nurses her back to health and they initially struggle to understand each other, but they learn to get along. They seem to fall in love and they have Arthur. When some others from Atlantis come to take Attila back, she realizes they’d keep pursuing them and put her family in danger. She leaves promising one day to come back. She doesn’t return, and we’re introduced to Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) who saves a submarine from pirates including Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Manta swears revenge as his father dies.

After Arthur performs a rescue we see him with his father, Mera (Amber Heard) approaches him warning Arthur he must come to try and claim the throne. He decides not to go with her but then the surface world is attacked by a giant wave that hurts Arthur’s father. It’s sent by Arthur’s half brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson). He partially agrees to Mera’s plan but doesn’t seem interested in finding the Trident of Atlan to prove he’s the true king of Atlantis. After things go wrong, Arthur and Mera begin a quest to find this powerful artifact lost to the ages. This is all the setup to what feels like a story from mythology.           

The movie overall has a few story lines all centered around Arthur Curry, which often can go awry in other films. Here though it just seems to weave together a more elaborate story without getting weighed down by side plots. It’s a story about King Orm, Atlantis, Arthur, the quest for the Trident of Atlan, and Manta. This movie has solid special effects, some beautiful scenery, and overall just speaks to an epic adventure. It barely feels like a super hero movie as it’s more focused on the journey than the action. It’s just a great adventure movie that you really don’t need to know much about the character or universe to enjoy. Rated PG-13.

Advertisements

New Fiction Roundup – March 2019 March 15, 2019

Posted by andrewfieldlibrarian in Uncategorized.
2 comments

Sorry for the lateness!  I thought I had posted this earlier.  Without further ado, here is the fiction roundup for March!

Cover image for Cover image for Cover image for

Kaddish.com by Nathan Englander – The award-winning author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank presents a streamlined comic novel about an atheist son’s creative refusal to say the requisite Jewish prayer for the dead for his late orthodox father.

Little Boy by Lawrence Ferlinghetti – The award-winning author of A Coney Island of the Mind presents a semi-autobiographical tale in which an unwanted child grows up to serve in World War II, pursue an education and explore a reflective vagabond existence in Paris.

Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt – An author rediscovers a decades-old notebook from her first year in New York that reflects how her literary perceptions were shaped by her obsession with a mysterious neighbor. By the best-selling author of The Blazing World.

Cover image for Cover image for Cover image for

Queenie by Candice Carty-Willilams – Constantly compared to her white middle-class peers, a young Jamaican-British woman in London makes a series of questionable decisions in the aftermath of a messy breakup before challenging herself to figure out who she wants to be.

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi – The award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird draws on the classic fairy-tale element of gingerbread in the story of a British family whose surprising legacy and secret past are tied to a favorite recipe.

The Wall by John Lanchester – When the island nation of an Earth-like world builds a concrete barrier around its entire coastline, a Defender charged with protecting his section of the Wall from desperate Others trapped outside begins questioning the political divides of his insular existence.

Cover image for Cover image for Cover image for

Make Me a City by Jonathan Carr – A fanciful reinterpretation of 19th-century Chicago traces its rise from a frontier settlement to an industrial colossus through the stories of a bombastic speculator, a pioneering woman reporter and the city’s unheralded founder.

The Cook by Maylis de Kerangal – A follow-up to The Heart follows the coming-of-age of a self-taught chef who endures setbacks in his career, relationships and mental stability before rediscovering his passions, a journey witnessed by a nameless narrator who might be in love with him.

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick – A shy librarian whose kind heart is often exploited receives a mysterious book of fairy tales from the beloved grandmother she believed dead and embarks on a perspective-changing journey of astonishing family secrets.

 

 

 

 

What’s the Craic? It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! March 14, 2019

Posted by Dori in Book Awards, Book List, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Movies.
add a comment

Can I be honest? I love St. Patrick’s Day. Sure –  it has something to do with my heritage, though we didn’t celebrate much as kids. Green is my favorite color, so maybe that’s it? It’s not all the drinking, but I admit I enjoy both Guinness and Jameson’s. I think it must be the Irish culture, the beauty, the pain, the underdog quality of the Irish – their writers and artists, their language, and, of course, the wool (and the sweaters)! And it always means that Spring is around the bend.

Below are a few movies and books that celebrate Ireland, the Irish and Irish writers. If you are looking for more movies, I highly recommend checking out The Irish in Film: a Database of Irish Movies – it’s incredible!

bluewalkdrownedfoxtransatlanticblackwaterThe-GatheringThe-Wonder A-Girl-Is-a-Half-formed-Thing

whitestellasongpilgrimagenobeljimmy'scoasthandsomeguardeclipsekells50

Sláinte!

 ~ Dori

 

What we’re reading now…. March 9, 2019

Posted by SaraC in Book Awards, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Genre Book Discussion, New Books, Non-Fiction, Reviews, Suspense, Thrillers, Uncategorized.
add a comment
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

The  Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

This novel begins in the summer of 1969. Four young siblings stumble upon information of a traveling fortune teller within their neighborhood, whom can tell anyone the day they will die.  Curious about such a power, the children seek out the fortune teller, and each are told the day of their death. The story is told in four separate parts, each part dedicated to each sibling.  The four children, straightforward Varya, bossy Daniel, magic obsessed Klara and dreamy Simon, must come to terms with the information imparted on them by the fortune teller.  This is also a story about family.  While each sibling has their own story, their relationship with each other is woven into their lives, and always a piece of them. What keeps the reader most engaged lies in which characters will meet their demise on said projected date and how will death take them, or better yet, can they somehow change their fated date? Mary

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

Long ago the Raven promised his protection to the lands of Iraden.  In return for his protection, the Lease must sacrifice himself upon the death of the Raven’s physical manifestation.  Mawat rides for the Raven’s Tower informed that this rite is imminent.  There he will take his rightful place on the throne as the Lease’s heir.  However, another now sits on the throne and claims the title Lease for himself.  Worse yet, he claims the previous Lease fled and the sacrifice to the Raven has not been made. Though The Raven Tower may be a fantasy novel, Leckie has retained some of the essence typical of a science fiction novel.  Large swaths of the novel are taken over by explaining the magical system and contemplating what are essentially logic puzzles. Everything is very precise, but as with the best science fiction, it remains lively and fascinating. Trent

If You See Me

If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi by Neel Patel

I was fascinated by and completely absorbed in this debut book of short stories by Neel Patel. I finished the book in a week, which is unheard of for me. Most of these stories have a refreshingly modern voice and are told from the perspective of a first-generation Indian American who stands at the intersection of cultures where traditional beliefs (such as arranged marriages) collide with modern rituals (such as Facebook stalking). The stories are deceptively casual in that the language is conversational, but each character contends with complicated questions about cultural and sexual identity, mental illness, and family dysfunction – and does so with charm, depth, and humor. Hand this book to any person who likes a thoughtful and entertaining story. Lindsey

Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg

Smoke & Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg.

I also have Ms. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician series on my reading list so when an advanced copy of this Smoke & Summons became available I was excited to sample it. It is the beginning of a new trilogy called the Numina trilogy. It is set in a sort of post-apocalyptic steampunk world, but with outlawed magic talismans and spells secretly used by a select few. Or you could say it is a polluted, corrupt, “smokepunk” world with a big division between the haves and have-nots. Young adults Sandis and Rone are unlikely heroes at the center of the story. Sandis is a vessel for an ancient spirit, known as a Numin. She is a slave to an evil wizard who can summon a raging fire horse into her against her will. Rone is a street-smart thief who is willing to help her escape as long as he can fix his own family troubles first. So far the first half of this fantasy adventure with religious hypocrisy and dangerous occult forces sprinkled throughout is exciting. It has delivered several surprises that make me eager to find out what happens next. Byron

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White…

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

In this best-selling book, renowned anti-racism educator Dr. DiAngelo clearly and succinctly outlines how racism is not simply a “bad person” phenomenon, but a systematic construct. Her concept of white fragility refers to the defensive moves white people make when their notions of race are challenged. Beyond detailing the problem, DiAngelo also provides clear instructions on how white people can engage in cross-racial discussions more productively. This is an eye-opening, must-read for white people who are truly invested in having meaningful, live-changing conversations about race. Megan

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop…

The Art of Asking , or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

Written by singer, songwriter, and performance artist, Amanda Palmer, this book straddles the line between biography and manifesto. This book’s creation was spurned by Palmer’s TED Talk  where she told of her time as a living statue and how it exemplified her belief in the act asking and the act’s power. This book gives a short biography of Palmer’s career and how it was influenced/driven by relationships she built. A great book that offers an alternative relationship than the producer/consumer of many artistic fields. I personally recommend the audio book as it includes songs from Palmer’s career  and creates a fuller picture of her creative output. Greg

The Victory Garden: A Novel by Rhys Bowen

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen

This is the story of Emily Bryce who wants to join the war effort. After the death of her only brother, Emily’s parents want her home. When Emily turns 21 she joins the Women’s Land Army where “land girls” are taught necessary farming skills while the young men are off fighting in WWI. Emily falls in love with an Australian pilot who is killed in action. Pregnant and alone she volunteers to tend the neglected gardens of a Devonshire estate. The “Woman’s Land Army” detail was an interesting addition to a great story from a very talented author.  Emma

Kabbalah by Gershon Scholem

Kabbalah by Gershom Scholem

  Scholem, as a scholar, pretty much brought the topic of Jewish mysticism into the consciousness of the 20th century.  Kabbalah is a book about Jewish mysticism – its historical development, ideas, and personalities.  Although at times somewhat dry, especially in the opening section on the historical development of Jewish mysticism, the book picks up much speed in the section where I am now, which discusses the really staggeringly original ideas involved with Kabbalah, including the sefirot, the Zohar, and ideas about how the world was created.  Recommended for people interested in mysticism and religion.     Andrew

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

I just finished the third book of the Bear and the Nightingale trilogy, and it was fabulous.  These stories are set in Russia of the 1400’s and are a seamless mix of truth and folklore.  Vasilisa Petrovna must once more save her beloved Moscow from the evil forces bent on destroying it.  As Christianity and old religion come face to face, things are not as simple as the parish priests would like the people to believe.  Vasya must come to terms with the accusation of being a witch and the shame it brings her family, and the reality that Rus needs someone to fight and believe in the “old ways” in order to battle forces of evil and destruction.  Sara

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming by Michelle Obama

This book is a beautiful testament to the importance of providing a nurturing and supportive environment for children to grow into their best possible selves.  The inside view of Michelle’s childhood is evidence that through the support and encouragement of her parents and extended family, she was able to focus on her education and become a successful female, African American lawyer before she was 30.  Her early career in law was only the beginning of her reluctant journey to become one of America’s most beloved first ladies. I walked away from this book with strong admiration for the very public figure that Mrs. Obama has become in our culture.  I’d recommend this book to anyone and everyone.  If you love the Obamas you should read this book. If you don’t like the Obamas, you should really read this book. Beth

My Personal List of Women in Music: March Playlist March 8, 2019

Posted by Beth in Music.
add a comment

Here’s the March Playlist!

Considering March is Women’s History Month, I figured the entire playlist should pay homage to women in music.   Many of the songs included in this list have been released by the artists pretty recently, but not all of them.  Towards the end I started to include some of my all time favorite songs from female vocalists/musicians/songwriters from over the years.

My love for women in music started with Carole King.  ‘I feel the Earth Move’ was my first favorite song, and consequently prompted me to purchasing her album Tapestry as my first CD.  I still find myself seeking out this album for comfort on occasion.

Carole King I Feel the Earth Move.jpg

In college I was exposed to a much more broad spectrum of music from independent artists, but still drawn to female singers.  Rilo Kiley was and probably still is one of my favorites bands, with front woman, Jenny Lewis, singing her (and my) heart out.

Jenny has gone on to pursue a solo career as a singer/songwriter and is still producing heartfelt, beautiful music.

Image result for rilo kiley

 

Tegan & Sara are also right up there with Rilo Kiley for me, and always have been.  These Canadian twins produce some of the most beautiful songs of the heart I’ve ever heard.

Image result for tegan and sara

 

All of these women in music have played a huge role in cultivating my love of women in music and I continue to enjoy their work regularly, as well as seeking out other amazing women changing the music landscape every day.

Happy listening!

Beth

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World March 6, 2019

Posted by Ryan Dickerson in Movies.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

This is the third movie released in theaters of this series. Since 2010 How to Train Your Dragon has been a popular series. There have been several TV specials, direct to DVD specials, and a Netflix series with 6 seasons. It’s also based on a book series by Cressida Cowell. To say this series is popular is an understatement. While DreamWorks creates the movies, this is the first trilogy ever to have three different studios release them. Paramount released the first, 20th Century Fox released How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Universal Studios released this one.

The movie starts off set a year after the second one. The team of dragon riders such as Hiccup played by Jay Baruchel and Astrid played by America Ferrera are working as a team to stop the dragon hunters. Valka, played by Cate Blanchett, acts as a mentor to the group of the young dragon riders on these missions. The group of dragon hunters band together, sick of the riders of Berk, and hire a mercenary called Grimmel, played by F. Murray Abraham, to capture Hiccup’s dragon Toothless to help them control the other dragons as Toothless is a king of dragons. Grimmel seems to be a brutal challenge with his own subdued dragons under his command. Grimmel has killed every night fury (the type of dragon Toothless is) and is determined to hunt Toothless down. ragons. Grimmel seems to be a brutal challenge with his own subdued dragons under his command. Grimmel has killed every night fury (the type of dragon Toothless is) and is determined to hunt Toothless down.

Toothless was thought to be the only dragon of his species left. They discover a dragon that has a white coloration of a night fury. It’s a female version of his species they nickname a “light fury”. Toothless is interested in finding out more about her. After a particularly dangerous attack by Grimmel, Hiccup decides to leave Berk with the rest of the village and their dragons to take them to the legendary home of dragons his father told him about, The Hidden World. As they travel they keep encountering the Light Fury and Hiccup starts to come to terms with the fact that he’s not the only one important to Toothless anymore.

The movie had some pretty good scenes and was funny at times. It didn’t feel quite as epic as How to Train Your Dragon 2but it was still satisfying. The ending wrapped things up well even if it’s not necessarily what everyone was hoping for. The series does tell a good story between Toothless and Hiccup. I wouldn’t be surprised if DreamWorks made some more stories for this world, particularly between the movies. So, it’s bittersweet for fans but a good journey. Rated PG.

By Ryan

New Non-Fiction Roundup – March 2019 March 5, 2019

Posted by andrewfieldlibrarian in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Great new titles!  Just click on the title to reach the catalog.

Cover image for Cover image for Cover image for

Horizon by Barry Lopez – The National Book Award-winning author of Arctic Dreams presents a lyrical, intellectual account of his world travels and the extraordinary encounters with people, animals and natural elements that shaped his life.

Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves by Frans De Waal – The influential primatologist and best-selling author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? draws on renowned primate studies in an exploration of animal emotions that touches on such subjects as expressions, animal sentience and free will.

The Trial of Lizzie Borden: A True Story by Cara Roberts – Drawing on 20 years of research and recently discovered evidence an account of the infamous Lizzie Borden trial explores professional and public opinions while considering how Gilded Age values and fears influenced the case.

Cover image for Cover image for Cover image for

The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library by Edward Wilson-Lee – A vividly rendered account of the lesser-known quest by Christopher Columbus’ illegitimate son, Hernando, to create a multicultural library details his world travels to collect thousands of books.

Solitary: Unbroken by four decades in solitary confinement.  My story of transformation and hope by Albert Woodfox – Chronicles the author’s extraordinary achievements as an activist during and after spending 40 years in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit, describing how he has committed his post-exoneration life to prison reform.

The Sun is a Compass: 4,000 Miles to the Arctic Circle by Caroline Van Hemert – Documents the biologist adventurer’s treks in the vast wilderness region spanning the Pacific rainforest through the Alaskan Arctic, where her husband and she tested their physical boundaries while making profound natural-world connections and discoveries about animal survival.

Cover image for Cover image for Cover image for

This Chair Rocks : A Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite – An author, activist and TED-talk speaker has written a manifesto calling for an end to discrimination and prejudice on the basis of age.

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt – A Stanford professor, MacArthur grant recipient and leading expert on unconscious racial bias examines the manifestations of automatic racism in today’s world and how they influence contemporary race relations and criminal justice.

An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System, A Tale in Four Lives by Matt Richtel – An exploration of the human immune system by the Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times best-selling author of A Deadly Wandering analyzes four immunotherapy cases to explain how our defense systems protect and sometimes injure the body.

 

Thoughts About Reading and Interpretation February 28, 2019

Posted by andrewfieldlibrarian in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Kabbalah

So, lately I’ve been thinking about reading, and also interpretation.  I think the two definitely go together, because when we read (whether it’s a book, another person, or a situation), we automatically interpret – the two go hand in hand.  To read is to interpret.  That’s why I really resonate with the idea that when we are happy, we see a happy world, just as when we are sad, we see a sad world.  I understand that to mean that the world we see is a reflection of how we think.  In other words, when we are happy, the world is happy, because that is the psychological framework from which we are interpreting.  When we are sad, the world is sad, because our interpretation has shifted, and now we are seeing the world that way instead.  This is, I believe, a core idea of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, i.e. there is a massive and strong connection between how we think about ourselves and how we see the world.  If we are peaceful, I think we see a peaceful world, or at least understand the terror of this world to come from a place of fear instead of love.  But if we are not feeling peaceful, our attention zeroes in on situations that are not peaceful, and we interpret them as evidence that the world is full of suffering, say, or that the universe is a hostile and fearful place, instead of a place capable of immense love.

I was thinking about these ideas because I have lately been reading two books related to  Jewish mysticism – Kabbalah by Gershom Scholem, and The Pritzker Zohar translated by Daniel Matt – and reading these books has me thinking about how powerful interpretation really is.  For the Jewish mystics approached the Hebrew Bible (the Five Books of Moses, Prophets and Writings) from a totally different perspective from conventional religion.  The mystics believed that the Hebrew Bible contained secrets about the universe, the self, the creation of the universe, and/but these secrets were only available to a particular form or mode of interpretation.  Another way of saying this is that the Hebrew Bible reflected back to its readers what the readers brought to it.  If the reader came to the Bible in search of compelling narratives about people that still applies today, that’s what they would find.  If they wanted to find literal answers in a fundamentalist vein, that’s what they’d find.  And if they interpreted the text anagogically, then they would find spiritual truths that were universal and applicable in many ages.

I think this is why I love reading so much.  Reading is in many ways a training of, an apprenticeship to, new ways of interpretation.  When we wrestle with a text, when we expand our vocabulary, when we open our mind to new interpretations, then we are really, in the words of the literary critic Harold Bloom, “augmenting our self.”  We are then growing, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, because we are acknowledging that we don’t know everything, that it is possible that the next day might just bring a book that will change our lives forever.  I think that’s how the mystics read the Hebrew Bible – as a text that was so utterly rich and alive and fascinating, booming and shaking with meaning, that each letter in the Hebrew Bible carries an immense weight of meaning.  They read it as essentially a perfect book that breathed new life into its reader.  This is, like most things, a way of reading and interpreting that is new to me, and I think it is worth taking seriously.

The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, Vol. 1

 

Introduction February 27, 2019

Posted by Ryan Dickerson in Movies.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

Hello Everybody,

            My name is Ryan and I see a lot of movies. So, I thought I’d try to share my experiences with them. I find that movies are a very good social experience that are fun to watch with someone and talk with people about later. I make it a point to try to see a movie if it sounds interesting or has high enough reviews. Sometimes a small tidbit of information can be the difference between seeing a movie or not for me.

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Wreck-It Ralph was a 2012 film that had Ralph (played by
John C. Reilly) a character from a video game struggling with the fact that he was a villain in his game. He goes on a journey to prove he’s a hero and ends up becoming friends with a girl called Vanellope (played by Sarah Silverman). After the events of that story, Ralph Breaks the Internet continues their story with Vanellope bored with her routine. Ralph tries to help her by making a new track one day and the player trying to steer the game ends up breaking the arcade game. When it seems like the game will be unplugged forever, they hear about the internet and a place where they can buy a replacement part.

The characters venture into the recently setup wifi at the arcade into the internet. They journey into the internet where they win a bidding war for their part and soon realize they need to earn money for it. They try a few ways to do so including trying to sell Shank’s car from another video game. Venellope becomes friends with Shank (played by Gal Gadot) as Shank’s racing game is much more intense than Vanellope’s. Ralph and Vanellope move on to try to use ad revenue from videos with the help of Yesss (played by Taraji P. Henson). Ralph starts making money to save the game. While advertising these videos, Vanellope even bumps into the Disney princesses at the Disney sight, with many of them voiced by their original voice actors.

Overall Ralph Breaks the Internet is cute and funny. Some parts could have gotten boring easily, but the movie keeps moving to prevent that. The movie mostly focuses on Vanellope’s journey of still feeling a bit out of place but also wanting more out of life. Ralph struggles with the idea of his friend moving onto bigger and better things. I think many people deal with this be it with family or friends. It’s really a fun movie that stays upbeat at most points. Good for watching with a family. Rated PG

By Ryan

Read a book by a “new to you” author February 25, 2019

Posted by SaraC in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

There’s still time to finish that Winter Reading Bingo card and fill your “new to you” author square. A new-to-you author can be just about anyone, but if you typically pick up a bestseller, here are a few books by new or lesser-known authors who may fly under your radar. (We have a flyer named Under the Radar Fiction that comes out each month in the new fiction area of the Grand Reading Room). This list is all recent books, so they will be found in New Fiction. I saw many of these on our shelves just this morning!

The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg

Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky

American Spy by Lauren Wilkenson

The Eulogist by Terry Gamble