-Lori, Library Patron
If you are looking for a fun, fall mystery then you have to read The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein. This is a prequel novel to her Code Name Verity series, in which her main character, Julie, is trying to uncover multiple mysteries within the story. She becomes part of the mystery when she is found unconscious, hit over the head. This book has some real twists and turns. It also takes a poignant look at prejudices and how that impacts the characters. I loved reading about the Code Verity characters and some new ones. You will enjoy this if you are a fan of mysteries and teen fiction.
-Lori, Library Patron
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah tells the story of two sisters, Isabelle and Vienne, in France during the Nazi occupation. When the book begins, the Nazi's have not yet invaded France but the World War II time climate is tense. Isabelle is sent to live with her sister Vienne after her husband is called to arms.
When the Nazi's arrive, a soldier is assigned to live with Isabelle, Vienne, and Vienne's daughter Sophie. The sisters handle the Nazi occupation in different ways. Vienne is quiet and prefers to stay under the radar and out of Nazi gaze. Isabelle is defiant and restless, not content hiding out in the countryside while Fascism has taken over her homeland.
This book tells a story about the home front. The unsung heroes of wartime; wives, mothers, and children that risk their lives every day living in an occupied country, where every moment can be a matter of life or death. Despite the differences between Isabelle and Vienne, each finds their way to rebel and fight for France and the victims of the Nazi regime.
Hannah's writing style is so light and delicate. When used to write about a subject that is bleak, solemn, and depressing, it creates a juxtaposition that can only be described as beautiful. My heart will stay with this book for a very long time. The plot is well written and thoughtful with characters of extraordinary depth and realness. There were times I cried and times I trembled in anticipation.
If I have peaked your interest, this book is available through the Monroe County Library System as a paper book, ebook, audiobook, or eaudiobook. This is our book group selection for February 22, 2018.
There is also a film adaptation, which is set to release in January 2019.
To say that I am a late bloomer to podcasts may just be the understatement of the year.
For the newbie (like me), a podcast is akin to radio shows of the past with a few differences. Firstly, you can pick which podcast you listen to instead of being at the mercy of a radio program. Secondly, you can stream a podcast through your computer, smart phone or tablet. Podcasts have been around since the early 2000's, but they have only been on my radar in the past couple of weeks.
To preface this story, I have a friend who is an adament podcast listener. She continuously sent me links to podcasts she listens to and I have always swept it away in my "I'm really busy but maybe some day" sentiment. For whatever unknown reason I decided it was time to give them a try and now I can't listen fast enough.
Apple was the initial leader in podcasts, the name coming from a mixture of "iPod" and "broadcast." For a long time, iTunes sported the largest podcast library. However, you can listen to podcasts through a number of mediums. I have a subscription to Spotify so I enjoy commercial free listening of a wide array of music and, as of 2016, a variety of podcasts.
There are a couple of ways you can tune into a podcast. You can stream a podcast on your computer through the podcast's website. For example, if you wanted to check out This American Life all you would have to do is go to the website (www.thisamericanlife.org) and you can navigate through and choose which podcast you would like to listen to.
If you don't want to be stuck at your computer listening, you can also download an app such as Spotify, Overcast, Pod Wrangler, Podcast Addict, TuneIn Radio, Stitcher Radio for Podcast, etc. There are a variety of apps to choose from. The ones listed above are all free to download but may include a subscription service if you want to eliminate ads. Subscriptions may also give you access to more content.
Lately I have been listening to the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class. Episodes vary in length, so if you have a 20 minute drive you can pick a podcast to match your driving time. Hosted by Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey from howstuffworks.com, each episode recounts a story from the history books you may never have heard before. The episodes are well researched and varied, sure to tickle the fancy of any history buff.
Stay tuned for more podcast reviews in the future.
Communications & Technology Library Assistant
-Stephanie, Library Patron
Place this book, audiobook, DVD, graphic novel, ebook, or eAudiobook on hold today!
Quick review by Patrick Montanaro
Nostalgia coerces us into hating our technology. That’s a trend that bleeds into poetry which manifests as a criticism of machinery. Most volumes dealing with this subject reaffirm the suspicion that somehow, technology’s rampant growth has made our world a cold one. We leave our reading chairs wishing for bygone days without the train, the phone, or the television.
When I picked up the thin, beige volume of William Heyen’s ‘XVII Machines’ I suspected to read, like always, about the curse that is our technocratic society. However, Heyen’s complicated view of machines provided a more thought provoking response to mechanic modernism.
Each of Heyen’s poems outlines a machine, like in his poem The Machine That Collects Butterflies or The Line. In these poems, he ascribes human characteristics to these inanimate objects. In the latter poem, the machine in question is unmistakably maternal. Heyen writes:
O, lovely mother
Of aluminum and oil,
Mane of levers
And eyes of wheel,
fingers of knives
and kiss of laser,
breath of fume,
embrace of wire,
build slowly while I sing this song.
The juxtaposition of the predominantly technical vocabulary (wire, fume, laser, etc) married with tender verbs and nouns like kiss, breath, and embrace provides the foundation for Heyen’s view of technology. He explores the dichotomy of these machines as agents of destruction (fingers of knives for example) but also as the foundation for growth and change, not dissimilar to the way moms encourage the progress of their children by destroying old habits in favor of prosperity.
In other poems in the collection, like The Machine That Mends Birds’ Nest, Heyen struggles with machine’s obsession with perfection (echoed in the deliberate follow up poem The Machine That Air Conditions the World). This poem, however, also brings up the potential that machines have for affection as they wander from one overlooked problem to the next, giving care where all human eyes overlooked.
For a subject so vehemently rallied against, Heyen’s ‘XVII Machines’ provides a fresh and thorough reflection on technology that makes readers distrust their idealized nostalgia.
Drama, Suspense, Romance, LGBTQ*
Did you enjoy Orange is the New Black? Are you looking for a great series with deep character development and a twist of Sci-Fi/the supernatural? May I introduce you to Sense8.
Eight strangers spanning the globe are ‘born-again’ as they experience a newly created telepathic connection to each other. Journey with them as they discover what it means to be a “sensate”, sharing: emotions, experiences, consciousness, and pain. They renegotiate their relationship with themselves as well as with their existing partners and come to a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.
Each character brings their experience, be it: hacking, pharmaceuticals, or law enforcement, to the table and each has their shining moment of awesomeness.
This series is an analysis of the human condition through telepathy with a side of action and danger. There are tasteful sexually explicit scenes that lie outside of mainstream heterosexual-monogamy as well as a sprinkling of violence. These are used to further delve into the characters rather than leaving them single faceted cardboard cutouts.
Catch-up on the first season of this thrilling Netflix Original before season two is released May 5th.
Currently this title is only available via Netflix streaming.
Reviewed by One.
Tags: Action, Drama, Complex, Intense
A house that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. We’ve all heard of some version of this; however, a house that changes its size on the inside, creates corridors and blocks exits, and is more akin to a labyrinth than a house; now you have my attention. This is only part of Danielewski’s brain child House of Leaves.
Inside this tome you will uncover the mysteries of the new property purchased by the Navidsons, follow the daily life of Johnny Traunt, and hear desperate pleas from Johnny’s mother through the Whalestoe Letters.
Danielewski’s writing style is elegant, complex, and deliberate in a provocative way I had never encountered before as he twists the concepts of text to reflect different mediums. The typeface in and of itself is a depiction of what is happening in the book. This is a common thread that connects much of his larger work.
If you enjoy books that challenge not only literary conventions but also challenge their readers to immerse themselves fully in them, then think of picking this book up. Be forewarned this book is not a light read but rather a beautiful experience in and of itself.
Wind through the complex maze that is this book as the Navidsons wind themselves through their new house.
Reviewed by One
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If you are tired of the dark, the dreary, and the depressing and you need a happy and lovable TV show to take you by the heartstrings, look no further. Available on Netflix and taking America by storm is this darling PBS program featuring 12 bakers who compete to be crowned the UK's Best Amateur Baker.
Contestants participate in three challenges every week and are in turn judged on the items they bake. The challenges are: a signature bake where they show off their personality and tried-and-true recipes, a technical bake where they are given a bare-bones recipe and must depend on their own baking knowledge to fill in the gaps, and a showstopper bake where the contestants are expected to go all-out in taste, concept, and design. The bakers have one week to test and prepare for the signature and the showstopper bakes, but the technical bake is always done blind.
The judges are Mary Berry, a British food writer and television presenter, and Paul Hollywood, a British celebrity chef and artisan baker.
The show is filmed at Welford Park in Berkshire and takes place under a tent surrounded by buttercups and frolicking sheep and has been decorated as the epitome of a charming English country kitchen.
Aside from the beautiful set and amazing baked goods, the overall feeling of the show is very positive. The contestants are not catty or rude to one another - in fact they often help and support each other. It is so refreshing to watch a "reality" television show where people are treating each other kindly! If you love British television, I dare you not to fall in love with this show.
The setting is St. Oswald's school, an all boys school in a small English village. The main character is the Latin master who has been at the school thirty plus years and usually has a good relationship with his "boys."
Some of these boys return years later in the midst of the school's fiscal and academic troubles and one of them is capable of terrible things. His story is told in a series of letters addressed to an old friend; letters that detail all of the terrible things. Seeing these boys again digs up some of the buried memories of a scandal from their time and threatens to reveal the full extent of the scandal.
How well do we know our friends and acquaintances? The twists and turns and secrets that are revealed show just how little we may know about the people close to us.
-Kate, Adult Librarian
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