If you ever need a DVD for all generations – say, around the holidays…, Miss Potter is perfect for this situation – it is whimsical without being overly saccharine.
This is a peek into Victorian society – in which Beatrix is encouraged from childhood on to exploit her talent as an artist, yet her parents are bound by rigid class lines when it comes to marriage.
The cast is filled with great British character actors, including Barbara Flynn and Bill Paterson as Beatrix’ parents. And the wonderfully weird chaperone, Miss Wiggin, is played by Matyelok Gibbs. Emily Watson plays the sister of Beatrix’ fiance, who immediately adopts Beatrix as a soulmate and friend.
As a bonus, it is beautifully produced with a wonderful soundtrack by Katie Melua. Even though this isn’t technically a holiday movie, it will add a bit of magic to this festive season.
Don’t forget to check out the actual books (The Tailor of Gloucester was Beatrix’ favorite and perfect for the Christmas season).
Another cool feature of our new catalog is ….wait for it…
It’s Friday night and you see that a dvd you want for the weekend is in at the East Moline Public Library.
You click on the title of the dvd, then choose Map It and you’ll get a Google Map of the greater Quad-City area. Hover over the yellow balloon (yellow balloons mean that the item is on the shelf). You’ll see the library’s hours, phone number and directions to the library.
How cool is that?
Have you ever read a book that was so good, you were sure you’d have no trouble remembering the title or author? Weeks later you want another book by that author; it turns out that the jumble of words you’re able to recollect don’t add up to anything that’ll retrieve the book.
Our brand new catalog has many exciting new features including “Reading History”. If you choose to ”opt in” – from that point on, a list of what you’ve checked out will be saved.
If you decide that you don’t want the information saved any longer, all the data will be deleted.
So say goodbye to keeping lists – in notebooks, on pieces of scrap paper or in any of dozens of websites. We’ll do the work for you!
True Love (And Other Lies) by Whitney Gaskell has an interesting premise and a promising heroine.Things I like – Clare is funny and snarkily irreverent about her job as a travel writer for the magazine, Sassy Seniors!
Based in New York, she must evaluate destinations with an eye for early-bird specials and frugal accommodations. Usually, when she gets to travel, she’s sent to budget hotels in American cities.When she finally gets an opportunity to go to London, she feels the time spent paying her dues has paid off.
(Actually the reason I am reading the book is because I did a search for novels about travel or travel writers).
Stephanie Gayle’s story of a disgraced lawyer who moves from Manhatten to Macon,Georgia has all the ingredients of a standard chick lit novel – a young, attractive female in a glamorous profession who places her trust in a wildly untrustworthy cad and is now trying to rebuild her life with new friends, in a new job, in a new city.
Gayle, however, nearly forgets to include a new romance for her heroine, Natalie Goldberg. Instead, the real strength of My Summer of Southern Discomfort is in the relationship the Bostonian daughter of a legendary civil rights lawyer develops with Ben, her Southern, conservative co-worker, as the two of them try a death penalty case together. Natalie and Ben learn to respect the strenghs each one brings to the trial and it’s preparation.
The book is actually a hybrid of genres – legal fiction/romance. A love interest for Natalie is hurriedly tacked on at the end of the book, so the book does earn it’s embossed Chick Lit stamp.
The beginning of the audiobook version of this book is fun – especially if you are also a Little House fan. You’ll have many “I felt like that too!” moments, as the author describes her love of what she calls “Laura World.”
Wendy McClure, the author of The Wilder Life is on the extreme end of the Little House research continuum, however. After a while, I found myself withdrawing – wishing I hadn’t heard that bit of myth debunking. I was quite happy believing that most things in the books were based on emotional, if not factual, truth.
Of special interest are the details about how the tv series overtook the books in popularity and the legal battles over the “Little House” brand, or LHOP, as the author calls it.
The end is satisfying and thought-provoking. McClure ties in what she learned about how Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder told their stories with how she came to terms with memories of her mother.
Naomi Levy wrote Hope Will Find You as she was in the midst of her daughter’s health crisis. Spending much of her time in doctor’s waiting rooms, and trying to deal with the uncertainty of the diagnosis, Naomi began, unsurprisingly, to show signs of depression. She’d suspended her enjoyment of life and her career as a rabbi.
This book is a series of very short chapters that chronicle her climb out of that despair. She gains wisdom from other rabbis, mentors and, most of all, Noa, her daughter. Noa suffers from learning and physical disabilities, that may or may not be fatal. She is incredibly positive and energetic, and she is the one who actually comes up with the title.
One of Naomi’s breakthroughs is a realization that she can’t let her fear of the unknown destroy the happiness she can enjoy with her family and friends now. As Naomi lets go of her crippling fear, she is able to go back to work and even starts a new congregation.
Not only is her story inspirational, the book is a fascinating glimpse into Judaism and the Jewish principles of faith.
Be sure to read Lynn’s first impressions of this book here!
I’d have to say this didn’t sustain it’s promise. Not a short book (436 pages), To Be Sung Underwater peters out and gets repetitious. The romance between Judith and Willy, Judith’s present-day career problems, her relationship with her husband and daughter…. all these plot strands show promise and you wonder what’s going to happen, but there’s no real payoff for investing so much time in them.
McNeal has a few literary ticks – he repeats adjectives again and again: the “flutish” sound of the wind, as well as portentous phrases such as “she would realize later…” or “she’d always remember such and such later…”
After a while, you realize this isn’t a book about plot; it’s a book about place. The dry, remote landscape of northwestern Nebraska is what’s really memorable. The people who pass through it are transitory and not that important in the long run, as Willy comes to believe.
That may be true but I still felt like Judith’s story arc wasn’t completed. If you are a reader who likes resolution and closure, this may not be the book for you.
This is the start of a new series. (Move over, Armchair Traveler).
I think I’m not that unusual in that I almost always have several books “in progress.” Depending on mood or location, I’ll pick up a mystery, non-fiction book, literary-to-not-so-very-literary novel.
This series will report on first and last impressions. Do you ever start a book and it’s great for the first chapter or two and then it just fizzles? It’ll get repetitive, the characters that seemed charming become unlikable, or it takes a turn into just plain boring. In this series, I’ll give you my first impression and then (after an undetermined and suspenseful wait), I’ll give you my final thumbs up or thumbs down.
Kicking it off, is To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal. My first impression is mixed. The writing style is so fluid and unforced, it’s compulsively readable. McNeal is the master of finely wrought “small” observations about life or relationships. The mood is one of quietness and serenity.
The book alternates between present-day Judith (married and a movie editor in L.A.) and young teen Judith who moves to Nebraska to be with her father. (I prefer these sections; both the 1970′s period and the character of Judith’s father – an English professor).
I’m less enthralled with the contemporary chapters – there is a feeling of cynicism and fading hope.
Daddy by Loup Durand was a bestseller in France but, amazingly, never a huge hit in the U.S.
Thomas, an 11-year-old genius, is being chased by Nazis, after they discover the boy’s grandfather has entrusted him with information about Jewish fortunes held in Swiss bank accounts.
American millionaire David Quartermain, the father Thomas has never known, is summoned by the child’s mother when she realizes her life is in danger. Not only an incredibly tense cat-and-mouse chase novel, this is also the story of how father and son learn to trust and love each other.
Intricately plotted, there are iconic characters (a sociopathic Nazi, a mysterious sniper/bodyguard and wealthy playboy turned patriot), mysteries, secrets, and the always-fascinating setting of World War II Europe. A great and satisfying page-turner.