Book VS Movie – The Circle

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I’m a unique blend of obsessive movie lover, the kind that can tell you whether or not an actor has won an Oscar in the last three decades, and avid book reader. So pretty much any time a book gets made into a major motion picture, I read it. Then I watch the movie, where I proceed to pick apart what was done good and what unforgivable mistakes were made by screenwriters and casting directors.

For one of my book clubs, we all agreed that reading The Circle by Dave Eggers would be a great choice. We based this decision solely on the fact that both Emma Watson and Tom Hanks were starring in the movie adaption of the book, and everyone knows those two are awesome! Did you know Tom Hanks won back to back Oscars for Philadelphia ( 1994) and Forrest Gump (1995)? Needless to say, we approached the book with very high hopes. I read the book and something strange happened…

First, let me tell you a little about the book. Mae Holland is hired at the best company in the world by a combination of the reference of her best friend, who has been working at the company for several years, and her own compatibility to the mission of The Circle. It is an internet company that has combined all your separate web identities in one Truyou Circle account. The idea is the end of web anonymity. Then things get strange and more strange. I spent most of the book waiting for one of the 10,000 employees working for The Circle to have one ounce of sanity. Still holding my breath.

Mae is boring with not much of personality. I think Eggers planned it that way for the book to work. His perspective on the future of technology over our lives is brilliant and honestly the ending was very real. I nearly had a nervous break down reading it. The most refreshing thing about the novel is it ended completely different than I thought it would, because I am used to the ‘hero’ ending instead of reality.

I couldn’t wait to see the movie, thinking it was probably going to be better than the book that had way too much kayaking for my taste. I also wondered how Emma Watson was going to pull off the personality of a dull follower like Mae Holland. Then low and behold, the movie not only changed Mae Holland’s personality, but the entire ending! This is the first movie adaptation that I’ve watched that so drastically changed the ending. Many of you reading this will likely watch The Circle movie adaptation and enjoy the ‘hero’ ending it provides in Hollywood fashion. If you want a real mind bender, read the book too.

List of movies that ended different than the books

Make it a Miniseries

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Well folks, it is that time of year again when our favorite shows wrap up for the summer leaving us lost and alone until September. I’ve already started to think about what I’ll be watching while I wait for my besties to come back on. There is always the option to get caught up on the shows I have fallen behind on, or I could even start a new series. But what I really want is a sense of accomplishment this summer. So I am going to do something a little out of the ordinary and make it a Miniseries Summer.

The great thing about a miniseries is that it has an end and you know that going in to it. We all have those horrible memories of the show that was canceled too soon and left us devastated and confused. A miniseries guarantees a great story, thought out plot, and it won’t drag on for years and years or end too early. You also won’t have to hunt around the library catalog to find out where all the seasons are!

Here is my list of of new miniseries I want to watch this summer along with some of the library’s other new miniseries titles.

Science Fiction

Childhood’s EndAliens just don’t ever get old. Hollywood keeps on making stories about what it would be like if aliens landed on planet Earth, and we keep watching them. Childhood’s End  is the story of peaceful aliens that have come to Earth. Yep, you read that right. Usually it is death and destruction or abduction when aliens land, but these aliens are nice. Well…at least we think so. In fact these aliens are so great, they have taken over the planet and turned it into an Utopian society. Decades later the people of Earth start to wonder if everything really is as it seems.

Also available: Ascension; Heroes Reborn

Comedy

Spoils of Babylon: The title alone was enough for me to be interested, and then I saw Toby McGuire on the cover and was pretty much sold. But there is actually a little more to it. This miniseries is in comedy for a reason. It is a spoof on the traditional TV epic miniseries (think Thornbirds as it doesn’t get anymore epic than that). The story is of the Morehouse family who has made a fortune in the oil business. Rags to riches, forbidden love, battlefields, boarding houses, and power are just a few of things in store.

Drama 

The Lizzie Borden ChroniclesIn 1892 a Sunday school teacher was accused of killing her father and stepmother and later acquitted. The made for TV movie Lizzie Borden Took an Axe tells a fictionalized story of the murder and trial. The network decided to keep going with the story and created a miniseries that cover the events that happened after the trial. Sounds interesting, plus the cover is an image of Christina Ricci holding a bloody ax. I know Christina can definitely do creepy, so I can’t wait to check it out.

Mercy Street: American history will get me every time. In this dramatization we are taken to Alexandria, VA in 1862 where the war is just a blink away. Union soldiers have taken over the town and converted a luxury hotel into an army hospital. Nurses from opposing sides are forced to work together in what has become a melting pot for the Civil War.

Also available: Bible Stories: In the Beginning; The Book of Negroes; The Casual Vacancy; Dancing on the Edge; The Great Fire; Texas Rising

 

Ready…Set…Organize!

Winter is over and the weather is warming! It’s time to get started on the list of projects piling up around the house. Turning disorder into order is at the top of my list for a fun Friday night. But for most people, decluttering the home can be a daunting task. However the truth of  the matter is that a messy house causes stress. According to an online survey conducted by Huffington Post, eighty-seven percent of Americans are worried that their home isn’t clean or organized enough. If this sounds like you, the library has just the right materials to get you started!

Love the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels: A 31 day love your home challenge . Declutter, organize and decorate. Melissa also has a popular blog: The Inspired Room.

Secrets of an Organized Mom by Barbara Reich: In this book, you will find four easy steps to tackling any organizational project. From cluttered closets to over booked personal obligations, this method can be applied to it all.

Organize for a Fresh Start by Susan Fay West: As life changes, so does your home. Learn how to make your home reflect your current interests while honoring your past too.

Simple Matters by Erin Boyle: This book is all about simplifying your home. A great book for those interested in making do with less. Also beneficial for  those living in small spaces.

The Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss: This book focuses on the the most important room in the house, your kitchen! Maximize your time, energy, and effort with this guide to modern homemaking.

The Complete Book of Home Organization by Toni Hammersley: Purge, sort, and store items to attractively organize your home.

 

Want to Read in eBook?

the life changing magic

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kodo: This NY Times best selling guide to decluttering your home is available in eBook or eAudio Book through Rivershare Overdrive. Kondo boasts that once you organize your home, you will never have to do it again. The KonMari Method takes a room by room or little by little approach to organizing your home.

 

 

Amy – Oscar Win for Best Documentary

amyOn July 23rd, 2011 Amy Jade Winehouse died in London, England at the age of 27. There were many questions surrounding her death, not just about how she died, but about why she died. The official reports tell us that it was accidental alcohol poisoning, and Amy’s substance abuse problems had been in the news for years. When I heard about Amy’s death, I honestly wasn’t surprised. But I couldn’t help but wonder why this happened to her. Amy’s voice was effortless, pure, powerful and incredibly soulful. She stood five foot two inches and weighed less than a hundred pounds. But her voiced boomed; it was magic. In recent years Amy had won five Grammy’s, tying the all time record for most Grammy’s won on a single night by a female artist. Her success was tremendous. Her reach global. So why?

In July of 2015 Amy, a documentary, was released about Amy Winehouse’s life before and after becoming famous. The film is directed by Asif Kapadia who conducted over 100 interviews with friends and family of Amy. Unseen archive footage and music tracks of and by Winehouse are incorporated in the documentary as well. The film has been a mega success. Currently the film has had 33 award nominations, winning 29 including Best European Documentary and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Kapadia’s film may not give a definite answer on why Amy’s life ended so soon, but does tell her story and it has told it well.

Internet Safety: Kids

Internet Safety BlogIn 2014 I found a Black Friday deal for tablets. I could purchase an RCA 7in screen tablet for $30. It seemed like a logical purchase for my two grade school children who were now old enough to operate this type of device. At the time I was thinking that they could download games and watch Netflix. For the first year they had tablets that is exactly what they did. Honestly the last thing I was thinking about was teaching them how to be safe on the internet.

It is has been a year since our tablet purchase and much has changed. While my daughter is content with watching her shows and playing games, my son is starting to watch videos on YouTube. What he really likes to do is watch sports clips such as All Time Best NBA dunks. It is only a matter of time before he starts communicating with other friends online. For the first time I find myself thinking about how to let my children have the freedom to find all the wonderful information the internet has to offer, yet still be safe. I decided to look at some of the newer materials the library has on about internet safety. I also came across some great websites as well.

 

internet safetyThis video gets real about the dangers children encounter on the internet. It is an Emmy winning four part series hosted by Donna Rice Hughes. Testimonials and advice are given from clinicians, law officers, psychologists, parents, teens, victims and more. This DVD will be available in early May, but you can be make a reserve on this item now. Click on Internet Safety 101

 

 

 

online safetyOnline Safety is a juvenile non fiction book available in English or Spanish text. This book explores how to use the internet safely. It discusses social networking, online gaming and cyber bullying.  Text is age appropriate for grade school students and includes colored photographs and glossary.

 

 

online etiquetteAnother juvenile non fiction book combines both how to act appropriately online and also how to be safe using the internet. Both information and activities are presented to help students think critically and work with other students. Online Etiquette and Safety is a hands on approach to learning about good mannered internet use.

 

 

 

Internet Safety Websites

Kids Health Internet Safety: For parents, kids, and teens. Articles available in text or audio.

NetSmartz Workshop: For parents, educators, law enforcement, Teens, Tweens, and Kids.

FBI: A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety: For parents.

Safe Kids: Kid’s rules for online safety.

 

How good is your internet safety? Take the quiz. Kidzworld Online Safety Quiz

 

How Many Presidents Can You Name?

Washington 2I am a lover of American History, but I must admit that my presidential knowledge is limited. Somehow, I don’t think I’m alone in needing to brush up on my presidential repertoire. To start, we have to see what you already know. There were two different quizzes I plucked from the internet that will test your knowledge of the 43 presidents. The first one gives you five minutes to input as many president’s names as you can remember. Thankfully you do not have to know when they served, but you do need a first and last named, spelled correctly. I found that it took me about three minutes to input all the names I knew for sure, which was little more than half. Then I just sat there willing my brain to dig a little deeper, feeling oh so tempted to steal a hint from the internet. Seem a little tough? Well the second quiz tests your knowledge of what the presidents looked like when they were in office. As an added bonus, it is a multiple choice. Unfortunately I somehow did a little worse on this one. Sound like fun? Give them a try.

Can You Name the Presidents Quiz 1

Can You Name the Presidents Quiz 2

How did you do? Well if you find that naming presidents is your expertise then I congratulate you! If you are interested on how to get your score up, check out these resources.

Book Resources

 

The History Buff’s Guide to the Presidents by Thomas Flagel

The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents by William A. DeGregorio

U.S. Presidents for Dummies by Marcus A. Stadelmann

 

On DVD

the ultimate guide to the presidents

The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents by The History Channel

 

Websites

Tips and Tricks for Memorizing the Presidents of the United States

Order the Presidents

4 Fun Ways to Memorize the U.S. Presidents

 

Apps

Memorize U.S. Presidents for iPhone

U.S. Presidents for Android

New Nonfiction: The Presidents

February is the time of year when our country recognizes the past presidents of the United States. Since this is an election year, the U.S. presidency is on the mind of Americans even more so than usual. I thought it would be a good time to highlight new nonfiction books about the U.S. presidency and presidents.

let the people ruleThe primaries have started in the U.S., and many Americans are left baffled with how the process works, not to mention how a caucus fits in to everything. Primaries are how the people are given a say in which candidate they want to represent their political party in the presidential election. But we didn’t always get a say in this. Geoffrey Cowan’s book Let the People Rule is about the 1912 race for the Republican nomination between Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft. It was the first time in American history that primaries were held. It is a great story to read, and also a keen insight into the history of the U.S. primaries.

 

 

a just and generous nationFebruary is also known for being the birth month of one of the nation’s most beloved presidents, Abraham Lincoln. Countless books and movies have been made not only telling the storing of his life, but honoring his work while president of the United States. Lincoln is known as the President that ended slavery in the U.S., but is it possible there was more to his plan to end slavery? Historian Harold Holzer has written A Just and Generous Nation; a book that brings a new account as to why the 16th president sought to end slavery. Holzer writes that Lincoln’s true motivations lie in allowing every American the opportunity to better their stations in life.

 

 

 

the residenceEver wonder what really goes on in the White House? Kate Anderson Brower, a former White House news reporter has compiled a book dedicated to telling the behind the scenes stories within the White House. The point of views are taken from the White House staff that work to maintain the six floor mansion. The Residence is full of anecdotes that reveal the intimate relationship that exits not only between the first family and staff but among the staff themselves. Also featured are first hand accounts of what was happening in the White House during some of America’s most historical events.

 

 

the american odysseyAs President Obama’s time in the White House comes to an end, Americans are once again asking themselves what they want to see out of the next American presidency. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham offers insight into the modern day presidency and life of George H.W. Bush. The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush chronicles the former president’s amazing life using both he and his wife’s personal diaries.

 

 

 

one man against the world

Nothing screams scandal like the presidency of Richard Nixon. Much has been said about his presidency and his premature exit from office, but only recently have the recorded conversations and stunning information been made public. Award winning journalist Tim Weiner writes One Man Against the Worldcovering all of Nixon’s declassified tapes and documents. The result is a calamitous depiction of a tormented man that saw himself as a world leader as much as he saw himself as leader of the United States.

 

 

 

a full lifeBeing president of the United States is generally the culmination of a life’s work. But some presidents, such as Jimmy Carter, have made careers for themselves after leaving the White House. A Full Life:Reflections at Ninety, the autobiography of Jimmy Carter, pretty much sums it all up with that title. Carter looks back at his life, remarking on events with refreshing frankness. From humble beginnings in rural Georgia to winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, Carter tells the story of what has been his happy and full life.

It’s That Time of Year Again: The Academy Awards

Oscar BlogThe Academy Award nominations were announced early on January 14, and the ceremony will take place on February 28. The Academy Awards are widely known as the ultimate acknowledgement in the film industry. Unlike most film awards, the Academy Awards focus on every aspect of film making from Best Production Design to Best Supporting Actor to Best Film of the Year. While it may be the most coveted of all film awards, the actual event is probably the least exciting of any movie award show. Usually they open up with some fun awards, but the middle has a bunch of awards the general public doesn’t really care about that are won by a bunch of people we’ve never heard of. I LOVE this award show, but when the award for Best Sound Editing comes up I take a bathroom break. This is where I stop and thank my DVR for all of the wonderful things it does! 

Coincidentally my favorite Oscar moment occurred during the longest ever Oscar ceremony. Of course this particular year I was watching it live and remember it well. In 2002 Whoopi Goldberg hosted the ceremony that would last 263 minutes. That is 1 hour and 23 minutes over the 3 hour allotted time slot. But it was well worth the wait as my second favorite actor of all time finally took home the Best Actor Oscar for his roll in Training Day. Fourteen years later Denzel Washington continues to be a standard in acting as he was awarded the Cecil B. Demille Lifetime Achievement award at the Golden Globes on January 10.

This year is a big year for me as a fan, probably the biggest year in my 20 years of watching the Oscars. Despite everything I just said about the award shows being a bit boring in the middle, I am definitely watching it live this year! My favorite actor of all time is up for Best Actor and he is a shoe in to win. He is one of the few Hollywood acting elite that have yet to take home an Oscar. To earn the nomination, Leonardo DiCaprio was the lead actor for the film The RevenantFor those of you that have not heard by now, the cast and crew had to endure excruciating filming conditions. The weather was was often far below zero and there were multiple set backs and difficulties. Only when temperatures reached -40 degrees did production halt for five weeks. DiCaprio pulls out all the stops for this film, including eating a raw bison liver. Leo is not the only cast member being honored, the film leads the Oscar pack with a total of 12 nominations.

Another highlight of this year’s Academy Awards will be host Chris Rock. Chris Rock previously hosted the award ceremony in 2005. There has been some push for the actor to drop out of hosting the awards due to the lack of diversity of the nominees this year. But as of right now, the actor is standing by the Academy. Rock leaves me laughing every time and I think this show will be no exception.

For more Oscar fun, see below.

Complete List of Nominees

33 Fascinating Academy Awards Statistics

Academy Awards Trivia Quiz

50 Greatest Oscar Moments

Box Office Hits for 2015

Box Office BlogAs 2015 came to a close, I found myself curious about how the box office turn out was for 2015. Box office refers to the grand total a particular movie made while it was in the theaters. Sales are counted for United States and world wide. What I was most interested in was the United States totals. 2015 was a great year, grossing more money than ever with a grand total of 11,125 million dollars. The big push to put 2015 over the top came at the very end of the year, when the highest grossing film of all time was released to theaters.

Box office numbers are taken from Box Office Mojo. The top ten highest grossing films of the year are as follows:

10. Spectre with $198,579,382 – Spectre is the most recent release in the James Bond movie franchise. DVD release in early February.

9. Cinderella with $201,151,353 – Cinderella  is the remake of the classic fairy tale starring Lily James as Cinderella.

8. The Martian with $226,579,382 – The Martian stars Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars.

7. The Hunger Games: MockingJay Part 2 with $277,901,047 – Final installment in the Hunger Games series. DVD release late winter/early spring.

6. Minions with $336,045,770 – Minions is the prequel to Despicable Me that centers on the history of the minions.

5. Furious 7 with $353,007,020 – Furious 7 is the most recent release in the Fast and Furious movie franchise.

4. Inside Out with $356,461,711 – Inside Out is a Disney Pixar animation film that gives personalities to emotions.

3. Avengers: Age of Ultron with $459,005,868  – Age of Ultron is the second film in the Avengers series and part of the even larger scale Marvel franchise movies.

2. Jurassic World with $652,270,625 – Jurassic World is the next installment to the popular 90’s Jurassic Park trilogy. Fourteen years later the park is bigger, better, and more dangerous than ever.

1.Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a whopping $819,687,937 in only 14 days! – The Force Awakens is the long awaited 7th installment in the Star Wars movie franchise. It takes place about 30 years after episode VI.

For a complete list of 2015 box office movies go to Box Office Mojo.

Reading Challenges for 2016

Read 2016

It is a new year and the perfect time to start a reading challenge. I struggle at times with what to choose, because there is so much out there to read, and my time is limited. A reading challenge consists of following a set of specific reading guidelines over a certain period of time. The reading criteria all depends on the kind of reading challenge it is. You can usually find a local summer or winter reading challenge at your public library where you can read for prizes. But there are other reading challenges that you do for fun or to broaden your reading repertoire. There may be a requirement on your reading challenge for a type of book you would have never picked up on your own, but for the sake of the challenge you give it a try. It could be the best or worst thing you ever read, but that is the fun of the challenge. You just never know what you will have to pick up. In this blog are a list of reading challenges that span the entire year. They are different so you can pick out one that appeals to your style or current interest.

Committing to a year long challenge is great for keeping you reading, and for guiding you on what to read next. I’m not quite sure which one I will pick, but I will be participating in one of these challenges. I hope your year in reading is a good one!

Bustle Reads Challenge 2016 Read books by women and writers of color. Includes 20 book categories to complete.

Modern Mrs Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge Read one book a month. Categories are broad and leave room for you stay in your comfort zone if you want to.

The 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge  Challenge consists of 24 books and includes a downloadable chart to keep track. A wide range of books are covered including read a play and read a food memoir. Definitely a challenge that will get you out of your comfort zone.

Popsugar Ultimate  2016 Reading Challenge  If you read a lot, this may be the challenge for you! This list includes 40 different categories and you won’t find any books that you can read in a day. Unless you read very fast! But there are a slew of fun topics like read a book written by a celebrity. 

Challies 2016 Reading Challenge This challenge is pretty cool because it has a challenge for every reader! The Light Reader challenge is the first of four different challenges and consists of 13 books for about 1 book every 4 weeks. The Obsessed Reader is the fourth and most difficult, with 104 books! That’s 2 books a week folks. There are two other challenges that fall somewhere in between light and obsessed.

Daring to Live Fully Reading Challenge I liked this challenge because it gives you book suggestions under each category to get you started. There are 12 books on list which makes it very doable.

Back to the Classics Reading Challenge As the name suggests, all the books in this challenge are considered “classics”. Site gives detailed explanation of each category and one book recommendation.

2016 Diversity Reading Challenge  These are books either written by or about a person of diversity. Two categories include a book in which a character suffers from a mental illness and a book with a LGBT main character. There are 12 categories.

Intrigued? The Davenport Public Library is about to launch their own online reading challenge! It will be a low-stress, no obligation way to expand your reading horizons and maybe help you find your next great read! Watch this space for details coming next week!