Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the New Book Shelf

Two boys.
Same name, same background.
One is a Rhodes Scholar, the other a convicted murder.

While studying at college Wes Moore made a stunning discovery—another man named Wes Moore from the same city was on trial for his alleged involvement in the shooting of a police officer. As Moore began to research the other man’s background he discovered several similarities. Both men were raised in the inner city by single mothers and had had a series of run-ins with the law, beginning at a young age. Intrigued, Moore has chronicled the similarities and pivotal differences between his life and the other Wes Moore’s life.

The Other Wes Moore is a fascinating look into the choices that we make and their impact. As Moore states in the introduction, “The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.”

Moore, Wes. The Other Wes Moore. New York: Random House, 2010.

F189.B153 M66 2010

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday and Christmas DVD List

Perhaps you’ll have a break in the holiday rush and want to relax with a movie.  The library staff suggests the following titles; please call the Circulation Desk for availability, 271-7186.

Borrowed Hearts DVD PN1997 .B677 B6774 2004
Sam, a businessman, has always put money first until a woman and her seven-year-old daughter enter his life. Unlike Sam, they barely have enough money to survive, but they have plenty of something he lacks: love. They help him to discover that family and loyalty are more important than wealth.

A Christmas Carol DVD PN1995.9 .C5113 C47578637 2006
For the first time ever, an all-animal animated CGI feature film with all new music and songs based on the classic, much loved Charles Dickens story.

A Christmas Carol DVD PR4572 .C475 2005
DVD release of the 1938 feature film.

A Christmas Carol DVD PN1995.9 .C5113 C47578637 2007
Presents the classic Dickens story about a bitter old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who's given a chance for redemption when three ghosts come to visit him on Christmas Eve.  Originally released as a motion picture in 1951.

The Christmas Shoes DVD PN1995.9 .C475 C475
A workaholic attorney crosses paths with a young boy on Christmas Eve and rediscovers the true meaning of love, life, and the holiday season.

Christmas Snow DVD PN1997 .C475 C475 2004
Mrs. Mutterance runs a candy shop and lives with her two adopted children. On Christmas Eve, her mean-spirited landlord, Mr. Snyder, says they must move, as he plans to turn the building into a laundromat. Then a blizzard hits, and Mrs. Snyder goes missing. Mrs. Mutterance and her children rescue Mr. Snyder, and he has a change of heart.

A Christmas Story DVD PN1995.9 .C55 C47 2003
Nine-year-old Ralphie desperately wants a Red Ryder BB-gun for Christmas, over his parents' objections.

A Christmas Visitor DVD PN1997 .C475 C475 2003
A Christmas visitor: A family that hasn't celebrated Christmas since their son was killed in the Gulf War, has a visit by a soldier who bears a striking resemblance to their son.

The Christmas Wife DVD PN1997 .C45 C45 2005
A widower, not wanting to spend Christmas alone, responds to an ad for social introductions and invites a woman to spend the holiday with him at his cabin.

A Christmas Wish DVD PN1997 .C57 C575 2003
A down-on-their-luck family moves into a ground floor apartment where Rupert the squirrel lives in the attic. Rupert acts as the family's beneficent guardian angel - not only saving Christmas, but changing their lives forever.

A Christmas without Snow DVD PN1997.2 .C5757 C575 2007
A recently divorced woman moves to San Francisco to start a new life. She joins a church choir and meets new friends and learns special life lessons.

Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life DVD PN1997 .I87 I87 2009
A man is saved from a suicide attempt by an angel and is then shown how important he is to the people who love him.

Frosty the Snowman DVD PN1997.2 .R365 F767 2002
Frosty the snowman: When Frosty comes to life, he must weather a storm of adventures and the plans of an evil magician before he can find safety and happiness at the North Pole.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas DVD PN1997 .H687 H687 2001
Jim Carrey as the bitter Grinch plots to steal Christmas from Whoville.

My Christmas Soldier DVD PN1997.2 .M9 2006
A small Georgia town struggles with the rationing and sacrifices of      
America at war.

The Night before Christmas DVD PN1997.2 .E544 N544 2004
While scurrying about for a midnight snack, Gregory the mouse sees a mischievous Christmas fairy casting an evil spell to stop Santa. It is now up to him to break the spell before time runs out.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular DVD M1522 .R23 2008
This special 75th Anniversary DVD features all the best-loved performances of the Rockettes, including: The Dance of the Nutcracker, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers; Santa's Toy Headquarters, the Living Nativity and the arrival of Santa.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book Review- IQ84


Haruki Murakami (2011); translated from Japanese by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel

PL856.U673 A61213 2011

Stylistically a masterpiece, even more so when one realizes that most Westerners are reading the translation of one of the great works of literature; and even then, two translators are at work - the second translator seems to be channeling the first - in what appears to be a seamless translation from the original Japanese.  Which is even made more impressive in that many words, such as “mind” – in Japanese the closest word is “kokoro,” - don’t have a direct equivalent.  And, make no mistake, the use of language in 1Q84 pulls us through the novel even as we attempt to slow down and appreciate what we are reading.

While 1Q84 is a great literature it by no means wears the heavy mantle of a reverential greatness. The novel is playful, compelling, thoughtful, sensual, mind-bending, challenging and, mysterious – almost akin to Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. It is also about language, love, lost love and found love.

Deliberately set in 1984, 1Q84 is a reality (or is it?) that runs parallel to the year 1984 and in which several characters find themselves. In Tokyo and its environs a young woman, Aomame - who has strong ties to a young man, Tengo, who is an aspiring novelist with an unusual project - punishes perpetrators of domestic violence. Most of the narrative is composed of alternating storylines as told by Aomame and Tengo. For both, who knew each other when they were young school children and then lost touch with one another, major events cause them to have memories that don’t match up with stories reported in the news – and both, along with several other characters, see two moons after they’ve been shunted onto and into the parallel time of 1Q84. Filled with shadowy organizations, hit men (and women) and noir characters 1Q84 is also a fairy tale that opens by quoting lyrics from Billy Rose and “Hip” Harburg’s, “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” Will Aomame and Tengo find each other and will they ever get back to 1984 and a world with only one moon? Only after almost 900 pages of exquisite torture are we prepared to learn the answers to those questions in a most remarkable book. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review- The Anatomy of Ghosts

The Anatomy of Ghosts

Review by Jane Hunt, NHTI Adjunct Professor
Set in the Cambridge University of 1786, Andrew Taylor’s mystery-cum-romance-cum-historical novel pulls us deep into the sights, sounds, textures, odors and especially the sensibilities of the late Enlightenment.  Here is a world which, in William Manchester’s illuminating phrase, is lit only by fire; in the shadows thrown by that fire, ancient medieval superstitions struggle for dominance with the emergent rational outlook of the modern world.
            Enter John Holdsworth, widower, bookseller, erstwhile printer, and would-be rationalist, who finds himself haunted by guilt over the recent deaths of his wife and young son.  The author of a small book, The Anatomy of Ghosts, Holdsworth has advanced the notion that ghost stories do not merit the “serious consideration of men of education.”   For his efforts, Holdsworth has drawn withering criticism from the religious establishment, creating enough of a local sensation to draw him to the notice of Lady Anne Oldershaw, whose son Frank, a student at Cambridge, has gone mad, apparently after encountering a ghost.
            Lady Anne’s summons proves a precarious blessing.  While rescuing Holdsworth from the poverty into which his grief, guilt, and troubles have plummeted him after losing his wife and son, that summons also plunges him into mysteries surrounding Frank Oldershaw’s madness, a theft from the Cambridge Library, college politics, a haunting, blackmail, debtor’s prison, and murder.  En route to unraveling these tangled threads; Holdsworth lays more than one ghost and resurrects his own hopes for the future.
            The story is compelling enough, but the even greater treat here is the research Taylor has done on 18th-century Cambridge, its geography, culture, customs, language, and mores.  You’ll return to the 21st century with a profound mix of gratitude and relief haunted by a ghost of regret.

Taylor, Andrew.   Anatomy of Ghosts.  New York: Hyperion, 2011.  PR6070 .A79 A85 2011