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Read It Before You Watch It: Summer 2014

DBRL Next - June 25, 2014

Book cover for This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan TropperI love Tina Fey. I think she is smart and hilarious and a terrific writer. (There is a short chapter in her memoir “Bossypants” that made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t speak for nearly five minutes. The chapter is titled, “What Turning Forty Means to Me,” and she speaks THE TRUTH.) When I found out that Fey is starring in the movie adaptation of the very charming “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper, I knew I needed to start looking for a babysitter now, even though the film won’t be released until September.

As long as movies based on books do well at the box office (heard of a little film called “The Fault in Our Stars“?), Hollywood will keep producing them. If you like to read the books before you see the movies, here are some to check out before you head to theaters later this summer. Save me some popcorn and an aisle seat, will you?

Book cover for Dark Places by Gillian FlynnDark Places” by Gillian Flynn
Flynn likes her characters dark and her plots even darker. If creepy is your thing, read this thriller about Libby Day who, as a small child, witnessed the murder of her mother and sisters and sent her brother to jail with her testimony. Twenty five years later, Libby is confronted by the possibility that her brother may be innocent, and she must reconstruct what really happened the night of her family’s slaughter. In the film, Charlize Theron stars as Libby Day.

If I Stay” by Gayle Forman
While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia must decide whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.  Chloë Moretz will star as Mia in the film adaptation.

The Hundred-foot Journey” by Richard Morais
A boy from Mumbai, Hassan Haji, ends up opening a restaurant in a quiet French village and triggering a culinary war with the fancy French restaurant across the street. Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal and Om Puri star in the film.

The post Read It Before You Watch It: Summer 2014 appeared first on DBRL Next.

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“Spark a Reaction” Photo Contest Reminder

DBRLTeen - June 25, 2014

Teen PhotogapherThis is a reminder to all our blog readers that July 25 is the deadline for submitting your photos for the “Spark a Reaction” Teen Photography Contest. Winners will receive a gift card to Barnes & Noble and their artwork will be posted at teens.dbrl.org. Be sure to review the complete list of contest rules and submission guidelines before capturing your images.

If you have questions regarding this contest, you can speak with a librarian by calling (573) 443-3161 or emailing teen@dbrl.org. In the meantime, check out this list of photography resources available at your library!

Photo credit: Camera by Martinak15 via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at “Spark a Reaction” Photo Contest Reminder.

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Reader Review: Makeda

DBRL Next - June 24, 2014

Book cover for Makeda by Randall RobinsonMakeda” is the story of a man who throughout his life had a very close relationship with his blind grandmother (Makeda). As he comes of age and then goes to university, he becomes more and more aware that certain dreams his grandmother has had, and continues to have, reveal historically true events that took place in Africa and to people of African descent. As he researches his grandmother’s dreams, he slowly finds his own identity as an African American and can view the situation African Americans are in from a completely different perspective.

I read this book while being on a service trip building latrines in Honduras. Poor and oppressed people all around the world face so many obstacles that are both external and imposed from the outside and relatively easily seen as well as internal, subtle and much more hidden ones. This book illumines both kinds of obstacles and is especially powerful in revealing to the reader the kind of trauma that those who wield power in the world would have a hard time ever understanding. There are several nuggets of wisdom in this book that I will keep with me.

This book puts in perspective the very brief (and terribly brutal) time of European and US dominance in world history versus the advanced civilizations in Africa that European-centric history tends to be ignorant of, dismiss or ignore.

Three words that describe this book: illuminating, thought-provoking, powerful

You might want to pick this book up if: Ideally everyone should read this. This novel explains many things about race relations in this country and about African American identity that cannot be explained by facts and figures or newspaper articles. At the same time there is wisdom that anyone who is living in our highly individualistic and divided society can carry in their hearts for a long time.

-Allie

The post Reader Review: Makeda appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Reader Review: The Heiresses

DBRL Next - June 24, 2014

theheiressesSara Shephard, the author of the Pretty Little Liars series, tries her hand at an adult novel. “The Heiresses” is a mix between her famous young adult series and “Gossip Girl.” The story follows the prominent Saybrook family who have made their fortune by selling diamonds, but they seem to be followed by the Saybrook curse. Many family members have died in tragic accidents, and the tabloids are adamant about the curse. The Saybrooks don’t believe it of course, until a most-loved cousin, Poppy, commits suicide. After the funeral, an FBI agent tells them that she did not commit suicide and that it was likely she was murdered. The four remaining heiresses try to help uncover the mystery behind her death when the tabloid website devoted to the comings and goings of the Saybrook family says that one heiress is down, four to go.

All in all, this was an intriguing read. It took a while to get into the swing of things as the author introduces several names in the first few pages. This is because the family is huge, but it was hard to keep the characters straight. The mystery was nice, but the culprit wasn’t much of a twist, rather, more of “let’s plop this person in here and hope people believe this is plausible.” I loved the Gossip Girl series as a fluff series, and “The Heiresses” would make a better YA book than adult. The only reason it is adult is because the heiresses are in their 30s. I didn’t completely dislike this book. Unfurling the family secrets was intriguing. This is definitely a book that is good for summer.

Three words that describe this book: intriguing, family, secrets

You might want to pick this book up if: You like stories about dynastic families hiding secrets and Gossip Girl.

-Taira

The post Reader Review: The Heiresses appeared first on DBRL Next.

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New DVD: “McConkey”

Center Aisle Cinema - June 23, 2014

mcconkeyWe recently added “McConkey” to the DBRL collection. The film currently has a rating of 100% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

A heartfelt documentary film about extreme skier, Shane McConkey. The legacy one athlete left to the progression of his sports, and the path he paved to conquer his dreams. Through his talent and ability to use his trademark irreverent humor, he inspired countless lives.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The July List

Next Book Buzz - June 23, 2014

Library Reads LogoLooking for some hot new reads to take on your vacation later this summer? Look no further than the latest LibraryReads list. Here are the top 10 books librarians love that hit the shelves in July. Place your holds on these on-order titles now to have them in hand for your late summer getaway or your August staycation.

book cover for Landline by Rainbow RowellLandline
by Rainbow Rowell
“’Landline’ explores the delicate balance women make between work and family, considering the tradeoffs and pain. Rowell has a special gift for offering incredible insights into ordinary life. Never heavy-handed, Rowell’s writing is delivered with humor and grace. I finish all of her books wanting to laugh and cry at the same time – they are that moving. ‘Landline’ captured my heart.”
- Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL

book cover for One Plus One by Jojo MoyesOne Plus One
by Jojo Moyes
“A single mom, her math genius daughter, her eye-shadow-wearing stepson, a wealthy computer geek and a smelly dog all get into a car…it sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it’s actually another charming novel from Jojo Moyes. It’s more of a traditional romance than ‘Me Before You’ but will also appeal to fans of quirky, hard-working characters. A quick read and perfect for summer.”
- Emily Wichman, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH

Book cover for The Black Hour by Lori Rader-DayThe Black Hour
by Lori Rader-Day
“This first novel about two broken people is a psychological thriller like the best of Alfred Hitchcock. Amelia Emmet is a professor desperately trying to recover from a gunshot wound, and Nathaniel Barber is a student struggling to come to grips with his mother’s death and a lost love. Their journey, told in alternating chapters, is riveting and full of surprising discoveries. Highly recommended.”
- Mattie Gustafson, Newport Public Library, Newport, RI

Here’s the rest of July’s best with links to our catalog for your hold-placing pleasure!

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The July List appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The July List

DBRL Next - June 23, 2014

Library Reads LogoLooking for some hot new reads to take on your vacation later this summer? Look no further than the latest LibraryReads list. Here are the top 10 books librarians love that hit the shelves in July. Place your holds on these on-order titles now to have them in hand for your late summer getaway or your August staycation.

book cover for Landline by Rainbow RowellLandline
by Rainbow Rowell
“’Landline’ explores the delicate balance women make between work and family, considering the tradeoffs and pain. Rowell has a special gift for offering incredible insights into ordinary life. Never heavy-handed, Rowell’s writing is delivered with humor and grace. I finish all of her books wanting to laugh and cry at the same time – they are that moving. ‘Landline’ captured my heart.”
- Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL

book cover for One Plus One by Jojo MoyesOne Plus One
by Jojo Moyes
“A single mom, her math genius daughter, her eye-shadow-wearing stepson, a wealthy computer geek and a smelly dog all get into a car…it sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it’s actually another charming novel from Jojo Moyes. It’s more of a traditional romance than ‘Me Before You’ but will also appeal to fans of quirky, hard-working characters. A quick read and perfect for summer.”
- Emily Wichman, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH

Book cover for The Black Hour by Lori Rader-DayThe Black Hour
by Lori Rader-Day
“This first novel about two broken people is a psychological thriller like the best of Alfred Hitchcock. Amelia Emmet is a professor desperately trying to recover from a gunshot wound, and Nathaniel Barber is a student struggling to come to grips with his mother’s death and a lost love. Their journey, told in alternating chapters, is riveting and full of surprising discoveries. Highly recommended.”
- Mattie Gustafson, Newport Public Library, Newport, RI

Here’s the rest of July’s best with links to our catalog for your hold-placing pleasure!

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The July List appeared first on DBRL Next.

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2015 Truman Award Nominees

Teen Book Buzz - June 23, 2014

2015 Truman Banner
The Truman Readers Award honors a book that is selected by Missouri junior high students. Even though this award is administered by the Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL), it is the responsibility of Missouri teens to choose the actual winner. This year’s finalists were announced last December and voting will take place in March 2015. As summer kicks into high gear, consider bringing along one of these titles to enjoy poolside.

Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo
Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken to become the protege of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elete in the beliief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.

The Raft” by S.A. Bodeen
Robie lives with her family on the Midway Atoll, a group of islands in the Pacific. Returning from a visit to her aunt in Hawaii, her plane hits nasty weather and goes down. Max, the only other survivor, pulls her onto a raft, then the real terror begins. How long can they survive?

Unstoppable” by Tim Green
If anyone understands the phrase “tough luck,” it’s Harrison. As a foster kid in a cruel home, he knows his dream of one day playing for the NFL is long shot. Then his luck seems to change. With new foster parents, he quickly becomes a star running back on the junior high school team. Even so, good luck can’t last forever.

One for the Murphys” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
After a heartbreaking betrayal, Carley is sent to live with a foster family and struggles with opening herself up to their love.

Elemental” by Antony John
In a dystopian colony of the United States where everyone is born with the powers of water, wind, earth or fire, 16-year-old Thomas is the first and only child born without an element. He seems powerless, but is he?

Insignia” by S.J. Kincaid
Tom, a 14-year-old genius at virtual reality games, is recruited by the U.S. military to begin training at the Pentagon Spire as a combatant in World War III, controlling the mechanized drones that do the actual fighting off-planet.

See You at Harry’s” by Jo Knowles
Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible in her family, where grumpy 18-year-old Sarah is working at the family restaurant, 14-year-old Holden is struggling with school bullies and his emerging homosexuality, and adorable three-year-old Charlie is always the center of attention. When tragedy strikes, the fragile bond holding the family together is stretched almost to the breaking point.

Ungifted” by Gordon Korman
Due to an administrative mix-up, troublemaker Donovan Curtis is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students, after pulling a major prank in middle school.

Cinder” by Marissa Meyer
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, Cinder, a gifted cyborg mechanic, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

The False Prince” by Jennifer A. Nielsen
In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to find an impersonator for the king’s long-missing son and avoid civil war.

Dead City” by James Ponti
Seventh-grader Molly has always been an outsider, even at New York City’s elite Metropolitan Institute of Science and Technology, but that changes when she is recruited to join the Omegas, a secret group that polices and protects zombies.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip” by Jordan Sonnenblick
After an injury ends star pitcher Peter Friedman’s athletic dreams, he concentrates on photography which leads him to a girlfriend, new fame as a high school sports photographer, and a deeper relationship with his beloved grandfather.

Originally published at 2015 Truman Award Nominees.

Categories: Book Buzz

2015 Truman Award Nominees

DBRLTeen - June 23, 2014

2015 Truman Banner
The Truman Readers Award honors a book that is selected by Missouri junior high students. Even though this award is administered by the Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL), it is the responsibility of Missouri teens to choose the actual winner. This year’s finalists were announced last December and voting will take place in March 2015. As summer kicks into high gear, consider bringing along one of these titles to enjoy poolside.

Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo
Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken to become the protege of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elete in the beliief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.

The Raft” by S.A. Bodeen
Robie lives with her family on the Midway Atoll, a group of islands in the Pacific. Returning from a visit to her aunt in Hawaii, her plane hits nasty weather and goes down. Max, the only other survivor, pulls her onto a raft, then the real terror begins. How long can they survive?

Unstoppable” by Tim Green
If anyone understands the phrase “tough luck,” it’s Harrison. As a foster kid in a cruel home, he knows his dream of one day playing for the NFL is long shot. Then his luck seems to change. With new foster parents, he quickly becomes a star running back on the junior high school team. Even so, good luck can’t last forever.

One for the Murphys” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
After a heartbreaking betrayal, Carley is sent to live with a foster family and struggles with opening herself up to their love.

Elemental” by Antony John
In a dystopian colony of the United States where everyone is born with the powers of water, wind, earth or fire, 16-year-old Thomas is the first and only child born without an element. He seems powerless, but is he?

Insignia” by S.J. Kincaid
Tom, a 14-year-old genius at virtual reality games, is recruited by the U.S. military to begin training at the Pentagon Spire as a combatant in World War III, controlling the mechanized drones that do the actual fighting off-planet.

See You at Harry’s” by Jo Knowles
Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible in her family, where grumpy 18-year-old Sarah is working at the family restaurant, 14-year-old Holden is struggling with school bullies and his emerging homosexuality, and adorable three-year-old Charlie is always the center of attention. When tragedy strikes, the fragile bond holding the family together is stretched almost to the breaking point.

Ungifted” by Gordon Korman
Due to an administrative mix-up, troublemaker Donovan Curtis is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students, after pulling a major prank in middle school.

Cinder” by Marissa Meyer
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, Cinder, a gifted cyborg mechanic, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

The False Prince” by Jennifer A. Nielsen
In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to find an impersonator for the king’s long-missing son and avoid civil war.

Dead City” by James Ponti
Seventh-grader Molly has always been an outsider, even at New York City’s elite Metropolitan Institute of Science and Technology, but that changes when she is recruited to join the Omegas, a secret group that polices and protects zombies.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip” by Jordan Sonnenblick
After an injury ends star pitcher Peter Friedman’s athletic dreams, he concentrates on photography which leads him to a girlfriend, new fame as a high school sports photographer, and a deeper relationship with his beloved grandfather.

Originally published at 2015 Truman Award Nominees.

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Second Summer Reading Gift Card Winner Announced

DBRL Next - June 22, 2014

TrophyCongratulations to Amanda B. of Hallsville for winning our second Adult Summer Reading prize drawing.  She is the recipient of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.

All it takes to be entered into our weekly drawings is to sign up for Adult Summer Reading. You can do this at any of our branch locations or Bookmobile stops or register online.  Also, don’t forget that submitting book reviews increases your chances of winning.  There are plenty of chances left to win this summer, so keep those reviews coming.

The post Second Summer Reading Gift Card Winner Announced appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Reader Review: Unbroken

DBRL Next - June 19, 2014

Book cover for UnbrokenUnbroken” is one of the best books I have read. It is serious and shows what a true survivor looks like – even before the T.V. show was popular. Louis Zamperini was a “delinquent” child who used his running talent to go to the Olympics in 1936, and then was a bomb dropper in a WWII plane over the Pacific when it crashed. He survived more days than anyone else on a raft, was captured by the Japanese, put in the worst POW camp for years and came out weighing 87 pounds and able to forgive his torturers. The movie based on this book comes out Christmas Eve.

Three words that describe this book: historical, POW, great!

You might want to pick this book up if: You like WWII history or had a grandfather or father in WWII.

-Terra

The post Reader Review: Unbroken appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Free eBooks, Music, Movies and More!

DBRLTeen - June 19, 2014

ebook at cafeDaniel Boone Regional Library provides cardholders with free access to hundreds of downloadable and streaming eBooks, magazines, audiobooks, music albums , movies and TV shows. To access this content from home, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY).

If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call (573) 443-3161 or (800) 324-4806. You can also try the library’s chat reference service to visit with a librarian who can help in real time from your computer. Learn more.

Overdrive offers access to thousands of eBook and downloadable audiobook titles, including many of the most popular young adult novels. Whether you enjoy reading on your iPad or Kindle, or listening on your iPod, this service provides you with free titles to download at anytime. Overdrive also offers an app for Apple and Android smartphones. View a list of devices compatible with this service.

Hoopla allows you to watch movies, or listen to music and audiobooks with your computer or mobile device for free. Download the free Hoopla mobile app on your Android or iOS device to begin enjoying thousands of titles from major film studios, recording companies and publishers.

Zinio offers over 100 free digital magazines for you to read on your computer, tablet or mobile device such as Seventeen, ESPN, Girl’s Life, Rolling Stone, Popular Science and more. Get the app for your Android, Apple, Kindle Fire, Blackberry, Nook HD, or Windows 8 mobile device.

Download the App to Your Mobile Device Daniel Boone Regional Library
DBRL
Find books, CDs and DVDs, place holds and manage your account.
Hoopla
hoopla-icon125Check out audiobooks, music, movies and television shows. Overdrive Media Console
OverDrive
Access thousands of library eBooks and audiobooks.
Zinio
ZinioDownload over 100 digital magazines with no due dates.

Photo credit: eBook Reader by Beth Barany via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Free eBooks, Music, Movies and More!.

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“Good Fortune” on July 16th

Center Aisle Cinema - June 18, 2014

goodfortuneWednesday, July 16, 2014 • 6:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room

Good Fortune” (90 min.) by Landon Van Soest and Jeremy Levine is a provocative exploration of how massive international efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa may be undermining the very communities they aim to benefit. In Kenya’s rural countryside, Jackson’s farm is being flooded by an American investor who hopes to alleviate poverty by creating a multimillion-dollar rice farm. Across the country in Nairobi, Silva’s home and business in Africa’s largest shantytown are being demolished as part of a U.N. slum-upgrading project. The screening is a collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series.

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The Science of Food

DBRL Next - June 18, 2014

Book cover for In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” These words sum up the deceptively simple argument at the center of Michael Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food.” When I first read this manifesto of sorts, I marveled that any of us needs to be told that we need to eat food, as opposed to non-food. What are we eating that’s not food? Plastic? Cardboard? But then I spotted a chunk of “processed cheese product” on the grocery store shelf, and suddenly it seemed that we do, in fact, need this reminder.

Interested in how science affects what you put on your plate? Join us in Ashland on June 24 or Columbia on June 25 for the program “Genetics and the Meat in Your Fridge,” presented as part of our Summer of Science.

Genetics and the Meat in Your Fridge
Tuesday, June 24 › 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Southern Boone County Public Library
OR
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 › 7-8 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room

Learn what genetics have to do with the price of meat. Join Ph.D. student Samenah Azarpajouh in exploring how researchers are using marker-assisted selection and other genetic techniques to raise healthier animals and, therefore, produce healthier and cheaper meat.

There are also plenty of books that explore how western diets have evolved and reflect the increasing concerns regarding where our food comes from and how it is produced. Some see science as an avenue for producing cheaper and more nutritious food for the world’s population. Others argue that we need to return to a diet of whole foods. See our catalog list, food and society, for more on this topic. Happy eating and reading!

The post The Science of Food appeared first on DBRL Next.

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First 2014 Summer Reading Gift Card Winner Announced

DBRL Next - June 17, 2014

TrophyCongratulations to Margaret M., a Columbia Public Library patron, for winning our first Adult Summer Reading prize drawing.  She is the recipient of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.

All it takes to be entered into our weekly drawings is to sign up for Adult Summer Reading. You can do this at any of our branch locations or Bookmobile stops or register online.  Also, don’t forget that submitting book reviews increases your chances of winning.  There are plenty of chances left to win this summer, so keep those reviews coming.

The post First 2014 Summer Reading Gift Card Winner Announced appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Program Preview: Missing Scientists

DBRLTeen - June 17, 2014

Our traveling scientists want to go on summer vacation, too! Download one of our many scientist patterns and decorate it with your own creative flair. Then, as you are jet-setting across the globe or simply hanging out in your own backyard, snap a photo of you and your scientist having fun. Bring a copy of the photo to the Children’s Desk at the Columbia Public Library, or email it to us at adventures@dbrl.org.

Your photos will be used throughout July to the decorate the children’s area at the Columbia Public Library. Select photos will also be showcased at teens.dbrl.org.

Originally published at Program Preview: Missing Scientists.

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New DVD: “Let’s Get Lost”

Center Aisle Cinema - June 16, 2014

letsgetlost

We recently added “Let’s Get Lost” to the DBRL collection. The award winning 1988 film was re-released last year currently has a rating of 96% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from the film website:

Traveling with the elusive jazz vocalist and trumpeter Chet Baker, LET’S GET LOST weaves together the life story of a jazz great. The film uses excerpts from Italian B movies, rare performance footage and candid interviews with Baker, musicians, friends, battling ex-wives and his children in what turns out to be his last year of life.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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The Gentleman Recommends: Donna Tartt

Next Book Buzz - June 16, 2014

Book cover for The Goldfinch by Donna TarttDonna Tartt writes so well that the Pulitzer people were compelled to award their prize to her novel, “The Goldfinch.” An extra-impressive feat considering it’s an award so prestigious that some years the committee finds none among the billions of novels published every year worthy of their kiss of automatic bestseller-dom. But rather than stumble further into a tirade outlining my feud with this cabal of critical killjoys and their silent and invisible but no doubt existent and reciprocated animosity, I’ll add my voice to the chorus of praise bellowing about Donna Tartt, thereby giving you the gumption to read her work that a million glowing reviews and Stephen King and the Pulitzer couldn’t.

“The Goldfinch” is narrated by a boy who, due to a museum bombing, loses his mother and gains a painting. He loves the painting but is tremendously dissatisfied by the trade. The novel follows him and his grief-swaddled existence through time spent in New York and Las Vegas, and eventually, climactically, Amsterdam. I found it to be the sort of rollicking, stay-up-later-than-normal read usually associated with books featuring more than one explosion, or at least aliens or a pandemic or a comically massive red dog, rather than a coming-of-age tale suffused with grief and concerns about hiding a painting.

Book cover for The Secret History by Donna TarttLike “The Goldfinch,” her first novel, “The Secret History,” is a finger-exhausting page-turner despite featuring little of the fanfare that typically propels those sorts of books. It does have some murder (on the first page even), and a horrifying and ancient ritual, but it’s mostly about ramifications, and it gallops along with a pace that surpasses its plot points. Her second novel, “The Little Friend,” is probably also great (though its reviews are less enthusiastic), but I must wait my turn to read it, and anyway it’s nice to save a little Tartt for the decade-long (and worth it) wait for her next book.

There has been some backlash against “The Goldfinch,” which tends to happen when something is popular and good, by critics that prefer their fiction to be non-fictional and mostly concern the ennui of professorships or lake houses or small, conventional dogs and to have plots revolving around getting old or being unhappy or, in certain ambitious cases, both. They dislike Tartt’s novel in part because of its “absurd” premise, what with its terrorist attack and orphaned child, things that fortunately are unrealistic and unheard of occurrences in the real world, outside of such “fantastical literature.” Though clearly I’m of the opinion that this is a great novel, it’s not that I’m unwilling to hear words against it. Rather, I find it absurd to be angry about its success and to believe it’s a “book for children” and somehow believe that reading it, because of its supposedly fanciful nature, will kill the public’s interest in literature. Which of course makes sense because what the public wants most are ultra-realistic examinations, scrubbed of even a hint of escapism, on what it’s like to be alive.

Anyway, Donna Tartt crafts her books carefully and with a passion that pays off for the reader. A book per decade is a wonderful rate when they’re this good.

The post The Gentleman Recommends: Donna Tartt appeared first on DBRL Next.

Categories: Book Buzz

The Gentleman Recommends: Donna Tartt

DBRL Next - June 16, 2014

Book cover for The Goldfinch by Donna TarttDonna Tartt writes so well that the Pulitzer people were compelled to award their prize to her novel, “The Goldfinch.” An extra-impressive feat considering it’s an award so prestigious that some years the committee finds none among the billions of novels published every year worthy of their kiss of automatic bestseller-dom. But rather than stumble further into a tirade outlining my feud with this cabal of critical killjoys and their silent and invisible but no doubt existent and reciprocated animosity, I’ll add my voice to the chorus of praise bellowing about Donna Tartt, thereby giving you the gumption to read her work that a million glowing reviews and Stephen King and the Pulitzer couldn’t.

“The Goldfinch” is narrated by a boy who, due to a museum bombing, loses his mother and gains a painting. He loves the painting but is tremendously dissatisfied by the trade. The novel follows him and his grief-swaddled existence through time spent in New York and Las Vegas, and eventually, climactically, Amsterdam. I found it to be the sort of rollicking, stay-up-later-than-normal read usually associated with books featuring more than one explosion, or at least aliens or a pandemic or a comically massive red dog, rather than a coming-of-age tale suffused with grief and concerns about hiding a painting.

Book cover for The Secret History by Donna TarttLike “The Goldfinch,” her first novel, “The Secret History,” is a finger-exhausting page-turner despite featuring little of the fanfare that typically propels those sorts of books. It does have some murder (on the first page even), and a horrifying and ancient ritual, but it’s mostly about ramifications, and it gallops along with a pace that surpasses its plot points. Her second novel, “The Little Friend,” is probably also great (though its reviews are less enthusiastic), but I must wait my turn to read it, and anyway it’s nice to save a little Tartt for the decade-long (and worth it) wait for her next book.

There has been some backlash against “The Goldfinch,” which tends to happen when something is popular and good, by critics that prefer their fiction to be non-fictional and mostly concern the ennui of professorships or lake houses or small, conventional dogs and to have plots revolving around getting old or being unhappy or, in certain ambitious cases, both. They dislike Tartt’s novel in part because of its “absurd” premise, what with its terrorist attack and orphaned child, things that fortunately are unrealistic and unheard of occurrences in the real world, outside of such “fantastical literature.” Though clearly I’m of the opinion that this is a great novel, it’s not that I’m unwilling to hear words against it. Rather, I find it absurd to be angry about its success and to believe it’s a “book for children” and somehow believe that reading it, because of its supposedly fanciful nature, will kill the public’s interest in literature. Which of course makes sense because what the public wants most are ultra-realistic examinations, scrubbed of even a hint of escapism, on what it’s like to be alive.

Anyway, Donna Tartt crafts her books carefully and with a passion that pays off for the reader. A book per decade is a wonderful rate when they’re this good.

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Reader Review: Mom & Me & Mom

DBRL Next - June 13, 2014

Editor’s note: Welcome to the first review by a library patron we are posting as part of this year’s Adult Summer Reading program. Want to submit reviews of your own? Sign up and get started today!
Book cover for Mom and Me and Mom by Maya AngelouMom & Me & Mom” is a telling of the relationships that Maya Angelou had with her paternal grandmother and mother, as well as her role as a mother to her son.  It is a very touching story of the ability of a mother and daughter pair to reconcile after an early abandonment and the lessons the two women were able to impart to one another. Maya Angelou also touches on how her relationship with her paternal grandmother shaped her as a woman and as a mother to her only son. I gave this book only four of five stars because if you have read some of Maya Angelou’s other autobiographical novels, many of the stories will be very familiar, even if the details don’t quite match up.

Three words that describe this book: insightful, heartwarming, motherhood

You might want to pick this book up if: You are looking for a deeper understanding of the woman Maya Angelou. This book also serves to give a new lens through which to view your own relationship with your mother and gives good anecdotes to inform how to be a powerful and influential mother.

-Anonymous

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