Did all the hubbub over the Emmy awards make you want to check out some of the winners?  We have lots of them available for checkout at the library!  Stop by to pick one up or click the links to place holds on them today!

Outstanding Comedy Series: Modern Family (featuring Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series winner Ty Burrell and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series winner Julie Bowen)

Outstanding Drama Series: Mad Men (read my review of the series here)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:  Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:  Kyle Chandler for Friday Night Lights (read Ann’s review of the series here)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:  Margo Martindale for Justified

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:  Juliana Margulies for The Good Wife

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie:  Downton Abbey (featuring Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie winner Maggie Smith. Read Ann’s review of the series here)

Check back later for additional winners Mike & Molly, Game of Thrones, and Mildred Pierce.

One of my all-time favorite shows that was canceled too soon, Veronica Mars deserved to go on much longer than three seasons.  The show is about high school student Veronica Mars, who juggles classes with working at Mars Investigations, her father Keith’s private detective agency.    Keith Mars used to be the sheriff of Neptune, California until scandal hit the small town: Veronica’s best friend, rich and beautiful Lily Kane, was murdered.  After Keith accused Lily’s father, powerful businessman Jake Kane, Keith was removed from office and he and Veronica became the town outcasts.  Veronica and her dad work together to solve a different mystery every week at Mars Investigations, but the two work all season long to discover what really happened to Lily Kane and bring the killer to justice.

If you like mystery, drama, and intrigue, you’ll love this show.  Yes it’s about high school, but it has a film noir feel to it and is pretty serious as opposed to a typical teen show.  There is, however, plenty of humor involved; Veronica has a very snarky sense of humor that really appeals to me.  And of course, there’s a love story, as Veronica used to date Lily’s brother Duncan until he mysteriously broke up with her before Lily’s murder.  But one of my favorite things about the show was the relationship between Veronica and her dad.  It was just the two of them after Veronica’s mom skipped town, and they have one of those amazing father-daughter relationships that every viewer has to be jealous of.  I highly recommend giving this show a try, it really has something for everyone!  Stop by the library today to pick up seasons one, two, and three.

I recently decided to paint a couple of rooms in my house, but I have the hardest time choosing colors.  It’s just too hard to look at those little square samples and imagine what that color will look like in a whole room!  And as it turns out, the library can help with that.  We have lots of home decorating books that include painting ideas and tips.  I checked out a few, and lo and behold I found the perfect colors for my bathroom and guest bedroom.  My favorite ideas came from Home Rules: Transform The Place You Live Into A Place You Love by Nate Berkus, and Robin Strangis’s Color Idea Book.  I hate constantly using “boring” neutral colors, but I’m never sure how to add color without making the house look schizophrenic.  Luckily, both of these books helped me figure out how to make it work.

Here are a few more books we have that might help you with your latest painting project.  For more, stop in at any of our three locations and browse under the call number 747.

Design on a Dime by Amy Tincher-Durik and HGTV

Paint Can! Techniques, Patterns, and Projects for Bringing Color Into Every Room by Sunny Stack Goode

Paint Style: The New Approach to Decorative Paint Finishes by Lesley Riva

Perfect Palettes: Inspirational Color Schemes for the Home Decorator by Stephanie Hoppen and Joanna Copestick

Easy Paint Makeovers: Crackling, Leafing, Sponging, Antiquing, and More by Kass Wilson

I’m normally wary of anything that has too much hype surrounding it, because generally I feel like it can’t possibly be as good as everyone says it is.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Mad Men, as it is constantly hyped as one of the best shows on TV and has won multiple Emmys and Golden Globes.  If you’ve never seen it, it’s set in the 1960s in New York City, and it’s all about  the “golden age” of advertising on Madison Avenue and the glamorous life that the ad men led.  Last week I finally checked out a couple of episodes and I have to say, it really is fantastic.  What I’m enjoying most about the show is the look and feel of it.  Not only does it seem very historically accurate, it’s such a beautiful period piece.  Everything from the clothes and the hair to the scenery is lovely to look at.

The acting in the show has also been wildly acclaimed, and it is also superb.  Jon Hamm is fascinating to watch as Sterling Cooper’s morally-complex creative director Don Draper.  You want to root for Don because he’s so charismatic and such an advertising genius, but he is certainly no angel.  I’m also finding myself really interested in the storyline of Peggy, the naive new secretary to Don.  We’re learning about how things work at Sterling Cooper right along with Peggy as she is thrown into a world filled with double standards between the men and the women.  If you’re looking for a great drama series to watch and are especially interested in learning a little more about the past, I highly recommend checking out Mad Men.  Currently we own season one, season two, season three, and season four, so stop by any of our three locations to look for one today!

After a six year wait, George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons was finally released earlier this month.  Knowing the pace at which Mr. Martin tends to write, we’re in for a long wait until the sixth installment in this epic fantasy series is published.  While you’re waiting, here are some other series you might be interested in:

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is the first series that is always suggested to me when I’m looking for A Song of Ice and Fire read-alikes.  Starting with the first book, called The Eye of the World, the story involves magic, an epic quest, battles, and adventure.

Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, starting with Assassin’s Apprentice, is a medieval political saga much like A Song of Ice and Fire, and it even includes an illegitimate son character a la Jon Snow.

Gregory Keyes’ new series, Kingdom of Thorn and Bone, starts with The Briar King.  Like A Song of Ice and Fire, it also has multiple character viewpoints and struggles for the throne.

And if you’re up for something a little less gritty but still tells an epic fantasy tale with fantastic world building, J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series is always enjoyable no matter how many times you’ve read it.  If you’ve never read them before, start with The Fellowship of the Ring, then The Two Towers (my personal favorite), and finally The Return of the King.  It’s next on my re-read list!

I just finished reading a five book series that totals over 5,000 pages, so I decided it was time to take on something a little lighter.  There are a few books from my childhood that even as an adult I find myself going back to often.  The Giver by Lois Lowry is still a book that I mark among my favorites.  If you’ve never read it, it’s a story about a boy named Jonas who lives in a futuristic society where everything is under strict control in order to promote “Sameness”.  Your jobs and spouses are chosen for you, people don’t really have emotions, and they no one can even see colors.  Even though it’s a great book to read as a kid, I love it more reading it as an adult because I can see the deeper meaning behind the story.  I also recently re-read a book that I haven’t touched since I was too young to remember, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.  In this sci-fi/fantasy novel, Meg’s scientist father goes missing, and as she enlists a cast of unique characters in order to find him, she discovers that his work will take her to places she never imagined.

A few days ago I realized that, shockingly enough, I never got around to reading Katherine Paterson’s Newbery winning novel Bridge to Terabithia when I was a kid.  It’s about a boy and girl in the fifth grade who are sort of outsiders, but they form a close friendship through their creation of a mythical land called Terabithia.  It was a really quick read, but it’s powerful and packs an emotional punch in the end.  Fans of the Narnia series will enjoy the made-up land of Terabithia, while fans of more realistic fiction will enjoy the friendship between Jesse and Leslie and seeing how much Jesse grows as a person because of Leslie.  There’s a good chance that I’ll be revisiting this one in the future.

Do you have any books from your childhood that you revisit often?  Or any children’s classics that you regret never reading?

I was a teenager myself when Ann Brashares released her first Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book.  If you’ve never read them before, they’re a pretty fun set of novels geared towards teens.  The series centers around four girls who have been friends since bith.  When they’re in high school, they go out shopping one day and discover a pair of seemingly magical pants that fit all four of them, despite their very different body types.  The girls have to spend the summer apart, so they ship the pants to each other as a way to keep in touch.  The first four books find the girls falling in love, getting into college, struggling with their families, and most of all sticking together through thick and thin.  I devoured all four books and found myself pretty attached to Lena, Bridget, Carmen, and Tibby by the end of the fourth book, not really wanting to part with them just yet.

So imagine my delight when, ten years after that first book, I find out that Ann Brashares has written a fifth book about the girls titled Sisterhood Everlasting.  This time, they are in their late 20s and are experiencing life as adults.  Carmen is an actress living in New York City, Lena is teaching art classes at RISD, Tibby is in Australia with her longtime love Brian, and Bridget is constantly changing jobs and apartments in San Francisco.  Though Carmen works hard to keep everyone together, the girls don’t see much of each other anymore.  That is, until Tibby suddenly sends them all plane tickets for a trip to Greece, giving the girls a chance to finally come together once again.

Beyond that, I can’t say too much about the book because something shocking happens, and I don’t want to spoil interested readers.  All I will say is that this book has a really different tone from the other books (especially since it’s now geared more towards adults rather than teens), and if you’re a longtime fan of the series, it might not be a bad idea to read this with a box of tissues nearby.  It’s really a story about how even the closest of friends can drift apart, how much we change over the years, how little we really change, and how we deal with tragedy.  As someone who has read the previous books in the series, it was interesting to see where they all ended up and continue on with their journeys.  Lena and Bridget have always been my favorite characters, and their stories in this book are especially compelling.  If you’ve never read any of the other books, Brashares does a pretty good job at giving you the background information you need, but I’d still recommend giving the earlier books a try.  They were even made into a couple of movies, with the first book being made into the movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and the second, third, and fourth books being combined into the movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.  Overall, I’m glad I got to revisit these old friends one more time.

Being a pretty big fan of anything sci-fi or fantasy, I can’t believe it has taken me this long to watch the long-running BBC series Doctor Who.  Now that I have, I can’t stop watching!  The main character of the show is simply called The Doctor.  He’s an alien (though he looks human), and he is the last of the species called the Time Lords.  Along with various companions, The Doctor travels through time and space in a contraption called the TARDIS (which is disguised as an old-fashioned blue Police Call Box) looking for trouble and solving a myriad of intergalactical crises.  The show has been on since the 1960s and to date there have been 11 different actors who have portrayed The Doctor, whose new look is explained by The Doctor’s ability regenerate if he is near death.

One of my favorite things about this series is the humor.  I especially enjoy the fact that The Doctor is always so chipper when presented with a new challenge or catastrophe.  He and his companions are constantly encountering crazy-looking aliens and monsters and fighting them off using wisdom and wit.  One of my favorite episodes so far had The Doctor and his companion Rose traveling back to 1879 and encountering Queen Victoria, who was being hunted by a werewolf.  It’s honestly just a really fun series to watch.

I know what you’re thinking.  “But hey, this show has been on since the 1960s!  Where am I supposed to start?!”  That’s the beauty of Doctor Who, you can really pick it up anywhere and still enjoy it.  I chose to start with the 2005 relaunch of the series, The Complete First Series, starring Christopher Eccleston as The 9th Doctor.  But one could also argue that the best place to start is The Complete Second Series, which stars David Tennant as the 10th Doctor, because Tennant completely encompasses the fun spirit of the series.  He is so fun to watch thanks to his acting talent and his always expressive face, and I’d say he is easily my favorite Doctor (so far, that is, since I’m still on the second series).  If you’re a fan of humor, sci-fi, or British TV, I’d strongly recommend checking out this series!

This summer there are some major movies coming to theaters that were originally books!  Here are a few of them:

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin – This one is already in theaters!  It is about a girl who falls in love with her best friend’s husband-to-be after a one night stand, and the movie stars Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, and John Krasinski. Guest blogger Bethany wrote about it just yesterday.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling – The final part of this saga is finally coming to an end with the epic battle between good and evil.  Before the midnight showing of the movie, I might have to flip through a copy of the book again.  After all, I have to get my costume just right!

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay – This book club favorite tells the story of a journalist writing about a girl caught up in one of the raids of World War II.  The movie will star Kristin Scott Thomas. Ann blogged about this book here.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Set in Jackson, Mississippi during the civil rights movement, this bestseller is about a girl fresh out of college who has taken on a writing project about the experiences of African-American maids.  The film version boasts an all-star cast, including Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Sissy Spacek, and Allison Janney. Read Ann’s blog about this book here.

If you want to read the book before heading to the theater, stop by the library to see if there’s a copy available!

The library is in the process of adding 15 new kits to our Bookclub in a Box collection!  If you haven’t used them before, the kits are filled with multiple copies of a book (and even the audio version for some), a list of discussion questions, and other resources to build up your book discussion group.  We now have the kits at all three locations (Main Street, Fairmount Street, and Eastern Avenue), so stop by any of our locations to pick one up today!

Here are the newest titles that have been added to the Bookclub in a Box collection:

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Escape by Carolyn Jessop

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

No! I Don’t Want To Join A Book Club! by Virginia Ironside

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Save Your Own by Elisabeth Brink

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan

And additional kits coming soon include:

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

A Mercy by Toni Morrison

Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein

A Version of the Truth by Jennifer Kaufman

Deer Hunting with Jesus by Joe Bageant