Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What We're Watching: Jan


Directed by Jonathan Levine. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston.

“I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I recycle.” is the disbelieving reaction of 27-year-old Adam (Gordon-Levitt) to his spinal cancer diagnosis. It’s the beginning of of a journey that tests Adam and also the many relationships in his life. He has a cheating girlfriend(Howard) who feels cancer has a "negative energy", a mother (Huston) who requires more mothering than he does and an unfeeling oncologist who is like a robot delivering his 50/50 chance of survival. Thank goodness for his best friend Kyle, played by the Seth Rogen that we know: loud and crude (like using Adam’s illness and the cancer sympathy card to pick up girls in the bar) but also in Adam’s corner, helping him shave his head and reading 'how to help cancer patient' books. Also positive in Adam’s life is Katherine (Kendrick), an inexperienced therapist who has been trained in comforting the sick but is even tentative about a reassuring touch to her patient. She and Adam end up coping with the disease at the same time. Based on the actual cancer experience of Rogen's friend Will Reiser, the movie feels like a real experience of a young man in his 20s. The language and references are sometimes raw but the sincerity of the performances is heartfelt. Wit and comedy make the sobering aspects of the situation bearable and a learning experience for the viewer.

What We're Listening To: Abby

Let them Talk Audio CD by Hugh Laurie.

Famous for his role as Dr. House, British actor Hugh Laurie is now showing us another side to his talents. Laurie not only sings but plays piano or guitar on every song as well. This is a collection of New Orleans blues standards that will take you right to the French Quarter. Assisting him in this endeavor are some of New Orleans best musicians from Irma Thomas, Dr. John and the horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint. This is foot stomping, soulful blues/jazz music that you will want to listen to over and over!

What We're Reading: Edward

Troubled Bones: a medieval noir

by Jen Westerson

Crispin Guest found himself between his Lord and his King. For this he was stripped of his knighthood and banished from the English Court. Crispin survives by being "The Tracker", the finder of lost items. In Troubled Bones, the fourth in the series, Crispin is summoned by the Archbishop of Canterbury to protect the bones of St. Thomas Becket. While guarding the relics, Crispin hears a blood curdling scream. In another part of the cathedral, he finds a slain Prioress and a befuddled nun. When he returns to the relics, he is knocked unconscious. Crispin awakens to find all but one of the bones missing. While he is investigating the theft and the murder, a monk is killed. The two murder victims were related to the murderers of St. Thomas. Is there a curse on the families of the murderers? While in Canterbury, Crispin runs into his old friend, Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer is a pilgrim travelling with the group that included the dead Prioress. Is Chaucer part of the plot to steal the relics? Are the murders and the theft part of the same plot? Crispin must solve both mysteries before anyone else is killed!

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Series: Legend Has It

If you like the mysterious, the unexplained, and the paranormal, you'll love the new series Legend Has It. This accessible, freshly illustrated investigative series for children covers topics like the Loch Ness Monster and the Bermuda Triangle, all written by Thomas Kingsley Troupe.

The Legend of Bigfoot j001.944 Troupe
The Legend of the Bermuda Triangle j001.94 Trouple
The Legend of the Loch Ness Monster j001.944 Troupe
The Legend of the Vampire j133.423 Troupe
The Legend of the Werewolf j133.423 Troupe
The Legend of the Zombie j001.944 Troupe

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What We're Reading: Cathy

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

This was a fun novel told in the form of a scrapbook. The author uses pictures, postcards, ads, tickets, etc. along with Frankie's comments to tell her story of going off to college, finding a job, traveling to Paris, and meeting Mr. Right (and a few Mr. Wrongs) during the 1920's. The authentic illustrations (which the author got from various archives and eBay) set the tone wonderfully. It made me feel like I was reading my great aunt's memory book. The icing on the cake is that the author's mother was Sylvia Beach's godchild, so there is an actual connection to the Left Bank set.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Series: Greek Myths

Here's a new series of Greek Myths in picture book format, making these classics accessible to the smallest readers.

The Battle of the Olympians and the Titans. j292.13 Meister
Jason and the Argonauts. j292.13 Gunderson
Medusa's Stony Stare. j292.216 Gunderson
Odysseus and the Cyclops. j292.13 Meister
Pandora's Vase. j292.13 Meister
The Wooden Horse of Troy. j292.13 Meister

Monday, February 13, 2012

What We're Reading: Laurie

Turtle In Paradise by Jennifer Holm.

It is 1935 and jobs are hard to come by. Turtle's mother takes a job as a housekeeper for a wealthy woman who will not tolerate children so Turtle must go to Key West, Florida, to live with her aunt. Key West is very foreign to Turtle. She has never experienced this kind of heat or scenery before. Turtle finds herself the only girl in a house full of unruly boys who resist letting her become one of the gang.
Will Turtle ever see her mama again? Will she be able to charm the boys into letting her be part of the group?
Read this witty, charming novel that blends the author's family history with a rocky period from America's past. JFIC Holm

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Series: The Other Side of the Story

Have you ever wondered what the Big Bad Wolf, Goldilocks, or the Giant would have to say about their stories, if they had an opportunity to defend themselves? The new series The Other Side of the Story finally gives these classic fairy tale characters their chance. Titles include:

Believe Me, Goldilocks Rocks! j398.21 Goldilocks
Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten! j398.2 Red
Seriously, Cinderella Is SO Annoying! j398.2 Cinderella
Trust Me, Jack's Beanstalk Stinks! j398.21 Jack