jump to navigation

“Keep the Change” might be the most important film I saw this year. August 18, 2018

Posted by lgvora in Movies.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Something I learned, and continue to learn, as the sister to a brother who has Asperger Syndrome is that autistic people are not very well understood. Their stories are not widely told, so they’re not widely known.

“Keep the Change” is important because it is a film about autistic people, based on the lives of real autistic people, played by autistic people. It’s a film that dignifies their lives, and validates their experiences, and gives others an understanding of their experiences in a way that abled actors couldn’t convey.

keep the change2

In short, the film is about David, a thirty-something autistic man who, after telling a cop an inappropriate joke, is mandated to join a social skills group at the Jewish Community Center.

But it is about so much more than that. It’s a story about coming to terms with who you are, when you have long denied that you’re different. It’s about being a person with special needs in a family that looks down on and stigmatizes people who have special needs. It is about becoming part of a group of people like you, and admitting that you need help, that you need them. It’s about falling in love with one of those people, and the complications of being in a romantic relationship when you’re autistic (for instance, touching each other affectionately or going out on dates can be confusing and difficult).

null

One of the words critics are using to describe the film is “disarming.” And it is that. The characters have brave, difficult conversations about the behavior of and attitudes toward people with special needs. In a particularly wince-worthy scene, David feels ashamed when his girlfriend, not understanding social cues, embarrasses him in front of a group of Broadway actors. While the film portrays the characters empathetically and thoughtfully, it doesn’t sugarcoat or romanticize autism.

keep the change 3

The film is also disarming in its sweetness. One scene that brought me to tears was when David took Sarah on a date at Coney Island. The two go on a ride together, and David, feeling overwhelmed by the lights and sounds around him, has a meltdown. Instead of judging him, Sarah gives him a hug. She receives him with tenderness and patience in a way that his family has not.

Another beautiful thing about the film is how vibrant, warm, and genuinely funny the supporting cast of autistic actors are. They are playing real people, not caricatures of autistic people. The joy and power they bring to the film is not something that abled actors playing autistic adults could replicate.

Our society needs stories that dignify and shed light on the lives of autistic people, and “Keep the Change” is one small but important step in that direction. I am so excited and proud that our library has selected it to be part of our collection.

Lyndsey

Advertisements

Back to School August 17, 2018

Posted by Dori in Book List, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Horror, Literary Fiction, Movies, Young Adult.
add a comment

As much as everyone loves heading back to school, saying goodbye to summer and hello to a new semester can be a drag. But there’s a light at the end of this tunnel: school is also a great opportunity to buy new school supplies, reconnect with friends and finally get the hang of algebra. With that in mind, check out a few movies and books that will definitely get you psyched for school or, if you’re like me and your school days are behind you, give you that hit of nostalgia.

virginghostcarriewilleleanorperkscalamityhate

standhigherelectionfastrushmorefameferrisbring

~ Dori

 

 

For All the Secret Film Critics Out There August 7, 2018

Posted by andrewfieldlibrarian in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Image result for criterion collection

As my title suggests, this blog post is going to be a brief defense of being critical about movies.  This is a defense of film criticism, because I myself am admittedly a big secret film critic, which means that I am pretty selective about the films I choose to see, and I am somewhat obsessed with Rotten Tomatoes, a website that gives you the reviews for most films.  (Metacritic is good, too.)  Why am I selective?  For the same reason that I am selective about the books I read.  We only have so much time on this earth.  I don’t want to have to sit for two hours in a dark room and watch moving images of a movie that I don’t like, whether the character development is weak, the plotting is implausible or not in keeping with the logic of the characters, the acting is poor, etc.  Of if the plot is implausible, I want the movie to have earned it.  If I sit through a bad movie, I feel it is wasted time, and it kind of upsets me.  I also don’t feel challenged by bad movies.  I feel that if not a lot of thought has gone into them, then I don’t want to invest my own energies in sitting through them.  Hence the secret film critic.

I also don’t think, I should say, that opinions about films are only subjective.  I really think there are better and worse films.  Critics definitely sometimes disagree – and sometimes films that are intensely disagreed about are definitely worth watching – but there is also often a consensus among critics about what film is worth seeing and what film isn’t.  You can see this pattern on Rotten Tomatoes.  So I think it’s possible to be somewhat objective about films.

Why am I saying all this?  Because recently I have found that there is this amazing company, with quite a few films in Rocky River’s collection, that is kind of made for all the secret film critics out there.  It’s called “The Criterion Collection,” (the logo is at the top of this post), and it is a film distribution company that, as its website says, is “dedicated to publishing important classic and contemporary films from around the world.”  In other words, it is a company with an enormous library of critically acclaimed movies.  Recently I have watched a few Criterion films from Rocky River’s collection, including “Safe,” directed by Todd Haynes, “Breaking the Waves,” directed by Lars Von Trier, and “Fish Tank,” directed by Andrea Arnold, and I was completely blown away by how good these movies were.  Everything about them, from the filming to the acting, showed such a deep and real care for telling a story well.  I left each film somewhat shaken, but with a strong sense of an emotionally satisfying story well-told.  So I left with a sense that my own experience had been deepened and enriched.

Of course, Criterion Collection does not have a monopoly on well-told stories in film.  But they are a great place to look.  So if you are at Rocky River Public Library, and you are a secret film critic, look for the “C” on the spine of the film (see picture below).  Then, if you look at the cover and read the synopsis on the back, and you’re still intrigued, I encourage you to borrow the film and watch it.  For all you know, you too will be amazed by a story told with deep care.

Image result for criterion collection

 

What exactly is the New York Times Bestseller List? July 27, 2018

Posted by SaraC in Book Awards, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fiction, New Books, Non-Fiction, Summer Reading, Top Ten, Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

The first New York Times Bestseller List was published on October 12, 1931.  It only contained five fiction and four non-fiction books for New York City only.  Over time it was expanded and lists for multiple cities were included. A national list was finally compiled in 1942 and published in the New York Times Book Review supplement as it is today. This list is compiled from “reports from leading booksellers in 22 cities,” although the exact data compilation process is a trade secret.

There is much controversy among authors, publishers, and others as to whether the list really represents best-seller status.  Some believe the list can be manipulated by authors, sellers, retailers and wholesalers.  The New York Times has been sued for excluding books from the list, accused of allowing authors to buy their way onto the list, and been criticized for favoring liberal authors over conservative ones (a claim the New York Times denies.) Whether it is fair or not, this list remains prestigious and well known, and according to a  Stanford Business School analysis, the “majority of book buyers seem to use the Times list as a signal of what’s worth reading”.  Here are a few books from NYT Bestseller List for the week of July 29th.  Click, call or stop in today to put a hold on one!

FICTION

1 THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. (Little, Brown and Knopf.) President Jonathan Duncan takes on adversaries at home and abroad.

2 THE GOOD FIGHT, by Danielle Steel. (Delacorte.) Meredith McKenzie embraces and eschews the values of her family of lawyers during the tumultuous 1960s.

3 CLOCK DANCE, by Anne Tyler. (Knopf.) A window into Willa Drake’s life over 50 years and how she adjusts to some of life’s surprises.

4 THE OUTSIDER, by Stephen King. (Scribner.) A detective investigates aseemingly wholesome member of the community when an 11-year-old boy’s body is found.

5 ALL WE EVER WANTED, by Emily Giffin. (Ballantine.) A scandal sends members of two Nashville families into chaos.

NON-FICTION

1 CALYPSO, by David Sedaris. (Little, Brown.) A collection of comedic stories on mortality, middle age and a beach house dubbed the Sea Section.

2 EDUCATED, by Tara Westover. (Random House.) The daughter of survivalists leaves home for university.

3 THE SOUL OF AMERICA, by Jon Meacham. (Random House.) The present political climate is contextualized through the lens of difficult moments in American history.

4 HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND, by Michael Pollan. (Penguin Press.) A personal account of how psychedelics might help the mentally ill and people dealing with everyday challenges.

5 INDIANAPOLIS, by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic. (Simon & Schuster.) A newly researched look into the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the story of the survivors and the fight to exonerate the court-martialed skipper.

 

 

Mythic Lecture July 19, 2018

Posted by Luke in Uncategorized.
add a comment

It’s rare for an hour-long academic lecture to capture my attention and hold me mesmerized till the very end.  But such is the case repeatedly when watching Joseph Campbell’s Mythos lecture series, filmed between 1982 and 1985.  The series originally aired on PBS in the mid-90s under the title “Transformations of Myth Through Time” which was also published in book form.  Many Americans are familiar with the PBS series Campbell did with Bill Moyers in the late 1980s called The Power of Myth, but the Mythos series is longer and contains significantly more detail concerning world mythology.

In Mythos, Campbell delivers a primer for approaching all of the world’s major mythologies.  There are a total of 15 lectures, broken into 3 parts.  In part 1, Campbell begins with a definition of myth and its relationship to human psychology – especially dream – and society.  He delivers a very detailed interpretation of a Navajo story through its mythic symbolism as well as the familiar story of Isis and Osiris.  Part 1 ends with an explanation of the symbolism attached to the ancient Greek Mystery Schools.

Part II is dedicated entirely to the mythic systems of the Orient.  The lectures selected here focus primarily on Buddhist and Hindu mythic symbol including a detailed discussion of Kundalini yoga and the Tibetan Book of the Dead.  Campbell clarifies the timeline for the development of these two major traditions.  He also relates a metaphor passed on to him by Heinrich Zimmer from many years prior explaining the difference between Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism – a distinction commonly overlooked or misunderstood.

Part III moves into Medieval and contemporary mythology in the West.  Campbell discusses the Arthurian romance of Tristan and Isolde and presents an illuminating and fascinating interpretation of Parzival and the Grail, stemming from the work of Wolfram von Eschenbach.  Campbell stresses the significance of the grail stories as the synthesis of an authentic European worldview with its emphasis on individuality with the deeply legalistic and authoritarian Roman Christian overlay.  What was produced as a result of this mixture was the symbol of the Grail as the highest individual achievement – achieved by choosing to listen to the inner authentic voice rather than conforming to social propriety.  Part III ends with lectures on the bridging of eastern and western symbolism through the writings of men like Schopenhauer as well as discussions on the modern mythographers Thomas Mann and James Joyce.

Throughout the series, Campbell reiterates that the images being presented at one time and one location through the costumes of one culture’s unique art, architecture, and story are symbolic of that which all cultures at all times share.  This common reference is the mystery that can’t be fully explained by any set of symbols.  The symbols can only refer to a Reality that is beyond words and thoughts.

Here’s What We’re Reading in July… July 16, 2018

Posted by SaraC in Beach Reads, Biographies, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Debut Author, Fiction, First Novel, Genre Book Discussion, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Hide By Matthew Griffin

Cover image for Dealing with the failing health of a partner/spouse is an incredibly difficult and personal experience for anyone, one that can be only compounded by having to keep the true nature of your relationship secret to the world. This is the reality for Wendell and Frank who met right after WWII, fell in love, and made a private life for themselves over the next 60 odd years. This life is threatened when Wendell finds Frank collapsed in the yard. What follows is a novel that goes back and forth from the start of their relationship to the difficulties of the modern day as Frank recovers and Wendell fights to keep it all together. Taxidermy imagery is used throughout which may disturb some readers but it is used as a literary device for identity, superficiality, and the creation of the appearance of artificial life. Greg

 

Two Steps Forward by Graeme C. Simsion

Cover image for This is the story of Zoe Witt who travels to France after the apparent suicide of her husband to visit an old friend. Once there she decides to hike the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile spiritual walk route that winds through France and Spain. Martin Eden, a recently divorced British engineer, is hiking the Camino de Santiago testing out his one-wheeled cart design. The two cross paths multiple times along the way and become more than friends. This is a heartwarming tale of grief, forgiveness, healing, and determination. Emma

 

How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now by James Kugel

Cover image for I’ve been reading a great book about the Bible.  Kugel is an academic, but the book is written for the layperson, and so far it’s been a tour de force.  His approach is to look at stories and passages from the Bible from the perspective of both its ancient interpreters and from modern Biblical scholarship.  This means as a reader sometimes experiencing an intense cognitive dissonance, because the two perspectives seem so deeply divergent (i.e. the thesis that the Bible is divinely inspired, versus the thesis that it was written by four people, the documentary hypothesis).  Kugel himself is an Orthodox Jew, so I’m curious to learn more about how he balances his knowledge of modern scholarship with his faith.  Kugel is an excellent teacher and communicator, and the book is an amazing synthesis of theology, archaeology, history, sociology, psychology, and religious studies.  Andrew

 

Queenpin – Megan Abbott

Cover image for The unnamed narrator, a young woman with limited prospects, takes a job keeping books at a small nightclub.  Soon after she begins practicing some shady accounting, she comes under the scrutiny and then wing of the infamous and ruthless Gloria Denton.  Casinos, racetracks, heists – all the big money in the city runs through Gloria before it makes it’s way to the big bosses out of town.  Gloria will be her access to all the action and the lavish lifestyle to go with it if only she can keep from falling for the wrong guy.  Megan Abbott takes the bones of the same old, time-tested gangster story and gives it new life.  By the end symbols of traditional masculinity are kicked apart and lay shattered and bloody on the floor. Trent

 

The Very Worst Missionary by Jamie Wright

Cover image for In the evangelical church, there is a myth about missionaries: those who do “God’s work” can do no harm. After living in Costa Rica as a missionary for five years, Jamie Wright pulls back the curtain on missionary life, writing about her experiences and observations. She points the finger at the careless and nonsensical ways of “helping” that sending organizations permitted to happen, veiled by the vague language of “loving on people,” “just showing up,” and “hearing from God.” Her stories about mutually exploitative practices, wasted resources, and underequipped ministers were helpful in understanding the gravity of the harm Christian missionaries can do, if not prepared to serve in careful, sensible, and sustainable ways. Even though the content of the book is serious, Jamie’s voice is fun and entertaining, but also scathing – maybe a little like watching a Trevor Noah routine. While I appreciated the foundation that the beginning chapters laid about Jamie’s early years, the final two sections were ultimately the worthwhile ones. Lyndsey

 

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Cover image for I loved Ruth Ware’s In a Dark Dark Wood, a gripping psychological thriller that left me hanging every step of the way.  Then I read The Woman in Cabin 10 and was mostly just confused by too many characters.  The Lying Game is the best book from Ruth Ware so far.  Four  girls spent a year together at Salten, a second-rate boarding school  in the English countryside until they are forced to leave to avoid a scandal.  Truth be told, no one is sorry to see them go, as their favorite activity was The Lying Game, a game with complicated rules and scoring systems that involved lying to faculty and boarders alike. The number one rule however was, “Never lie to each other”.  Fifteen years after the girls go their separate ways, three of them receive a text from the fourth saying only, “I need you.”  As if time hasn’t passed, the girls run back to Salten and into a situation that is dark, dangerous and brings to light the fact that someone broke Rule #1.   Fabulous descriptions of the eerie  and dark marshlands  in the waterlogged area near the English Channel perfectly set the tone for the story which is an addicting page turner.  Sara

 

There There by Tommy Orange

Cover image for Tommy Orange’s debut novel There There is a window into the lives of urban Native Americans of Oakland, California. We hear from twelve different characters, young and old, embedded in their heritage and barely aware, as they wind their way through stories steeped in tragedy and despair, hope and family, culminating on the night of an Oakland powwow. Read the prologue if you do nothing else – it’s devastating. Dori

 

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Cover image for A debut psychological thriller and the perfect beach read. Erin, a documentary film maker and her investment banker husband Mark are honeymooning in Bora Bora. This tropical paradise turns into a nightmare when a scuba diving excursion uncovers something sinister in the water. Do Erin and Mark report their finding? Each decision they make after their discovery has dangerous consequences for the young couple. This taut and unsettling  novel is perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Paula Hawkins. Megan

 

The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara

Cover image for This past month has consisted of doing extra research in order to teach film history to kids/teens in a filmmaking summer camp. As I continue to make an effort to include more diverse voices in my reading choices, I’m now reading The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara through Overdrive. It is a relatively short read, which is what I wanted. In quick chapters Che describes the adventures and misadventures that he and a friend from medical school have while travelling through South America. Next I’ll have to watch the movie adaptation with Gael Garcia Bernal. Byron

 

Us Against You (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman

Cover image for This is my first read by the popular author Fredrick Backman, and oddly enough, I did NOT read Beartown.  However, the review of the book caught my interest, and I much enjoyed it.  The reader does not have to read Beartown to understand this book.  The beginning does a very good job of concisely wrapping up Beartown, and swiftly picking up where it has left off.  Beartown is populated with a diverse group inhabitants. Some old , some young, some cranky, some hardworking, some who hardly work, and some dreamers.  Something bad has happened in Beartown, and now its residents are divided.  Much talk about the beloved local hockey team and its future is where this book begins. Changes ensue for the hockey team and the town.  However, this book isn’t just about hockey. This book is about life. It has sadness, tension, fierce competition, politics, kindness (sometimes in the most unlikely of places), love & compassion. You don’t have to love hockey to love this book, you just need to love life. Mary

 

American History July 10, 2018

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

With a degree in American History, you’d think I’d enjoy reading historical non-fiction more than fiction, but that often isn’t the case; I really love learning through fiction and even enjoy getting a lesson through movies. Sometimes they capture characters and images that a dusty old history book isn’t able to. Here are a few titles that immerse you in American history and lives, but it’s only scratching the surface – you’ll find more here at RRPL!

hoursknowncitygoodlordjamesapollograpeshighamistad

~ Dori

Get ’em while they’re hot! July 9, 2018

Posted by SaraC in Beach Reads, Biographies, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Here are some titles that will be coming to the library in July.  Place a hold on them now so you can be one of the first people to check them out!



ghosted orchid and the wasphalf moon bay

 

double lifeclock dance

 

 

chariotwhistle in the darkdear mrs bird

 

 



 

Celebrating Pride Month with Local Resources- Plexus: the Chamber of Commerce for the LGBT community June 25, 2018

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

In celebration of LGBT Pride Month we will be highlighting some local resources available here in Northeast Ohio. This time we are featuring Plexus: the Chamber of Commerce for the LGBT community. A financial organization for small business, Plexus “was founded to promote networking and business development within Northeast Ohio’s LGBT business community and its allies.”

They offer many staples of any Chamber of Commerce Including:

Celebrating Pride Month with Local Resources-Health and Medical Resources June 19, 2018

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

This month we continue our celebration of Pride Month with highlighting local LGBTQA resources in the Northeast Ohio region. This time we are showcasing Health and Medical Resources.

Finding a healthcare provider that you are comfortable is always a challenge. Two of the largest healthcare providers in the area offer centers that have locations with staff and services for the LGBT community.

logo-ccf

Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Care offers healthcare services at the Lakewood Family Health Center.

Examples of Care Provided:

Services

To help address these disparities, Cleveland Clinic offers the following services to gay men and MSM:

Gay and Bisexual Men Health

  • Primary Care. General preventive health, screening for disease including cancer and infectious disease, immunizations, and counseling related to healthy behaviors. While all health care providers have a basic knowledge to care for many types of patients, the Cleveland Clinic has identified a group of providers who have a specialty interest in the care of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients.
  • Behavioral Health. Behavioral health services offer providers with special interest in LGBT psychological health needs.
  • Specialty Care. Cleveland Clinic has worked to identify providers within the majority of sub-specialty disciplines who have an interest in the care of LGBT patients.

Lesbian and Bisexual Women Health

  • Primary Care. Routine health care maintenance, surveillance of chronic medical conditions, access to providers for acute medical visits, smoking cessation, management of and referral for psychiatric conditions such as mood disorders and substance abuse problems.
  • Gynecologic Care. Routine gynecologic care including cancer screening, pelvic examinations, management of chronic or acute gynecologic conditions, contraceptive counseling and management, fertility consultation and treatment, evaluation and treatment of sexual pain.
  • Endocrinology and Metabolism Care. Specialty help for metabolic disease and obesity through consultation with nutritionists, endocrinologists, and bariatric surgery.
  • Specialty Care. Cleveland Clinic has worked to identify providers within the majority of subspecialty disciplines who have an interest in the care of LGBT patients.
  • Behavioral Health. Cleveland Clinic’s behavioral health services offer providers with special interest in LGBT psychological health needs.

Transgender Health

  • Primary Care. Routine health care maintenance, surveillance of chronic medical conditions, access to providers for acute medical visits, smoking cessation.
  • Gynecologic Care. Routine gynecologic care including cancer screening, pelvic examinations, management of chronic or acute gynecologic conditions, contraceptive counseling and management, fertility consultation and treatment, evaluation and treatment of sexual pain.
  • Hormone Therapy & Surveillance.Initiation, maintenance, and surveillance of cross-sex hormones.
  • Behavioral Health. Diagnosis of gender dysphoria, treatment and management of other comorbid conditions (depression, anxiety, PTSD), management of substance abuse problems.
  • Obesity Services.Multidisciplinary approaches to weight loss and maintenance, referral to bariatric surgery.
  • Surgical Services.Referral within Cleveland Clinic to providers who perform gender confirmation procedures.

and

LGBT – Pride Clinic at MetroHealth

Examples of Care Provided:

  • Adult, adolescent and pediatric care
  • OB-GYN care
  • Family planning
  • Smoking cessation
  • Controlling your cholesterol numbers
  • Lowering your high blood pressure
  • Immunizations
  • Physical exams
  • HIV prevention (PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)
  • HIV testing
  • Care for HIV-positive patients
  • STI screening and treatment
  • Medical and behavioral health services for LGBT and questioning youth