Sunday, July 31, 2011

What We're Reading: Jan

Sinatra: Hollywood His Way by Timothy Knight

Most of Frank Sinatra’s fans point to his acclaim as one of the great voices of the twentieth century. However, many of them may not know that he is an Academy-Award winner with 60 Hollywood films to his credit. This new book focuses on the successes – and some failures – in his near 40 year span of films. Sinatra was a top box-office star for many years. Movie-making advanced his singing career in important ways as well. It helped to introduce the crooner in the 1940’s with All-American movies like Anchors Aweigh, was a pick-up for dwindling popularity in the 1950’s when he won the Oscar for From Here to Eternity and reinforced his “Rat Pack” coolness in the 1960’s with movies like the original Ocean’s Eleven. The book highlights each movie with photos and behind-the-scenes snippets and there are mentions of film reviews from the time period that movie fans will appreciate. The author has what seem to be honest opinions of Sinatra in Hollywood and, more importantly, provides background on Sinatra’s feelings about his own movies and his dealings with producers, directors, fellow actors, etc. The book will be of interest to all Sinatra fans and film devotees in general for it’s look at Hollywood’s “golden years”.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What We're Reading: Debbie

The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig

A widower and his 3 sons are homesteaders in 1909 Montana. They hire a "mail order housekeeper", Rose, who arrives with her brother, Morrie, in tow. Morrie, it turns out, has arrived just in time, as the boys' one-room school is in desperate need of a teacher, and Morrie fits the bill. This is a quiet, slow paced story with lots of detail about getting educated in a one-room schoolhouse and its advantages over consolidated schools in that area. Halley's Comet, boxing, and dry-land farming are all featured in this novel in interesting ways. Told from the viewpoint of the oldest son, it reminded me a little of a more sophisticated "Little House on the Prairie". I enjoyed this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

South Phoenix Rules: a David Mapstone Mystery

by Jon Talton

When Sheriff Peralta loses his bid for reelection, David Mapstone finds himself out of a job. His personal life is also in turmoil. His wife has taken a temporary job in Washington, D.C. Her sister, Robin, is living in the apartment over their garage.Robin is dating a visiting professor. But when his severed head turn up on her doorstep, the police say that he was really a hit man for Mexican drug lords. David needs to protect Robin, but not get too close to her. The drug lords believe that Robin has something that belongs to them. David evokes South Phoenix rules to counter the drug lords. Will the rules allow David and Robin to survive?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Shark Week 2011

It's back!
Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, an annual summertime TV favorite, begins July 31 at 9:00 PM.

The schedule is filled with sharky shows, including seven brand-new episodes:

-Great White Invasion
-Jaws Comes Home

-Rogue Sharks
-Summer of the Shark

-Killer Sharks

-How Sharks Hunt

-Shark City

Plenty of old favorites will be rebroadcast as well, including Air Jaws and Top Five Eaten Alive.

Get all the details at the official Shark Week website.

If you really, really like sharks, remember you can always have your own shark week any time you want with books and DVDs from the Youth Services area, j597.3.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What We're Reading: Tracy

Tentacles, by Roland Smith.

In this sequel to Cryptid Hunters, oceanographer, veterinarian, and cryptozoologist Dr. Travis Wolfe sets off on a quest to capture a living giant squid. Accompanied by his 12 year old daughter Grace and 13 year old nephew Marty, Dr. Wolfe sails for the South Pacific. The trio are quickly beset by dangers: the ship seems to be haunted, someone is trying to sabotage the mission, and a couple of incubating dinosaur eggs are discovered on board. Will they survive the trip, and if they do, will they find a giant squid at the end of the journey?

What We're Reading: Debbie

The Last Child by John Hart

In the North Carolina sand hills something very dark is emerging. 13 year old Johnny Merrimon's twin sister disappeared one year ago, and he's been relentlessly searching for her ever since, despite the disintegration of his family. Then another girl is gone, a man is murdered for what he knows, and almost everyone is suspect. Very good suspense, a real page turner. This title won an Edgar Award for Best Novel, as did his previous book, Down River. Hart has a new one just released last week called Iron House, also set to be a best seller. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What We're Watching: Abby

The Walking Dead, TV series starring Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal and Sarah Wayne Callies.

Now that vampires have captured my heart it's time to move on to zombies! This TV series is based on graphic novels by Robert Kirkman. It is the story of a world where zombies have taken over and where small group of humans are struggling to survive. Though zombies can be comical to look at (remember Michael Jackson's Thriller?) these zombies are brutally scary. There are true moments of horror as well as amazing drama especially by Andrew Lincoln in the leading role of Sheriff Rick Grimes. Grimes wakes up from a coma to find his world turned upside down. He doesn't know what has happened to his wife and son and begins the quest to find them. Along the way he meets other humans and experiences many new challenges especially from the multitude of zombies now inhabitating what used to be his home. I can't wait for Season 2!

What' We're Watching: Abby

Justified, Seasons 1 & 2 starring Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter and Jacob Pitts.

This is one of my new favorite shows on TV. Timothy Olyphant stars as Raylan Givens, a Deputy Marshall with a perfect shot and a large hat who has been reassigned to him hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. It is back in Harlan where he reconnects with many people, most of them criminals, from his past. This first season is based on the short story by local author, Elmore Leonard called "Fire in the Hole."

Season two, also using characters from Elmore Leonard's stories centers around Mags Bennett. A ruthless, cruel mother of three grown sons who wields her power and control over the criminal element of Harlan, County. She is in the pot business and is looking to expand into the meth business this season. Interlaced between both seasons are an assortment of criminal elements and a beautiful ex-wife and ex-girlfriend. It's complicated! It isnt often that there is such a good match between an actor and the role but this is exactly what we find with Olyphant as Raylan Givens. Season 1 is available on DVD and we're waiting for the release of Season 2 sometime later this year.

What We're Reading: Edward

Spiral: a novel

by Paul McEuen

At the end of World War II. Liam Connor witnesses the terrors of a biological weapon produced by the Japanese Army's Unit 731. The aging Connor is tortured for the secret of the doomsday weapon. But Connor jumps off a bridge to his death before he is forced to reveal the secret. Connor's granddaughter, great grandson, and a fellow researcher are now targets of the group hoping to use the weapon. However the weapon is too dangerous to use without an antidote. Did Connor produce an antidote? Will its discovery allow the weapon to be used? The novel blends historical information with a look at modern technology. Some reviewers see McEuen as the new Michael Crichton. Good beach read.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What We're Reading: Debbie

Spooner by Pete Dexter

Pete Dexter, a new author for me, writes this very funny autobiographical novel following the life of troubled Warren Spooner from birth through middle age. Spooner has always been different - was a difficult birth, had a stillborn twin brother, got kicked out of his elementary school for his physical attraction to his teacher - he never really fit in with the rest of his family. Enter Calmer Ottosson, his new stepfather. Calmer, a kind, resourceful man, has endless patience for trying to turn Spooner's life around, and spends the rest of his life at this monumental task. I loved this book. Maybe it's more of a "man's book" but very entertaining to me too. The writing is similar to Fannie Flagg, but on testosterone!, and with the dry humor of a modern Mark Twain. Men, and women too, will love this.