Florence Foster Jenkins on DVD

Florence, possessing a heart of gold and a tin ear, wishes more than anything to be a great opera singer. She is very active in the mid-1940s New York City music scene and rubs elbows with many of the famous including conductor Arturo Toscanini, songwriter Cole Porter and actress Tallulah Bankhead. But while she has many friends and has helped many musicians, her dream remains out-of-reach – until she decides to do something about it.

St. Clair, her beloved husband, knows perfectly well that Florence cannot sing, but he pays her voice coach and new pianist very well to treat her as if she has a lovely voice. When Florence is determined to give a recital, St. Clair makes sure the tickets are sold only to fans and friends and bribes reporters into write glowing reviews. All goes smoothly – well, except for the fact that Florence has a terrible voice – and St. Clair relaxes. Which is, of course, when St. Clair’s well-meaning white lies come around to bite him. Florence, without telling St. Clair, books Carnegie Hall. Oh, and records an album. St. Clair’s carefully constructed safe haven for his wife is about to come crashing down.

Florence Foster Jenkins is simply a lovely movie. Charming, funny but also bittersweet. Starring the always amazing Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant (still so handsome), this is a movie that will make you laugh but it’ll also make you stop and think. It’s about reaching for your dreams, about overcoming the obstacles life throws at you (Florence’s life hasn’t been easy), about finding your true friends and standing with them. It’s about having the courage to follow your passion and never give up.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

I am obsessed with female comedians. I recently stumbled upon Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which I listened to on OverDrive as an audiobook one summer day when I was hiking and I. FELL. HARD. I then branched out to Amy Poehler and a whole slew of other famous women comedians. I personally love listening to these book as audiobooks because it feels like I’m getting my own private comedy show, plus the authors 1)usually narrate their own books and 2) bring in famous friends and family to read sections. Plus there is usually awesome bonus content. If that’s not enough of a reason for you to run out to the library and pick up some audiobooks, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, back to the topic: my recent, yet hard-hitting love of female comedians. When I discovered Amy Schumer and Anna Kendrick were each coming out with new books, I immediately put the respective release dates on my calendar and started scouting for information about their audiobooks. When I saw copies of both books in print on the new shelves, I knew I should just pick them up, read them, and then listen to the audio later. I started with Amy Schumer. (I have Kendrick’s book at home in my TBR pile).

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer is way more than your standard autobiography. Schumer makes it clear in the beginning of the book that this is not a memoir or an autobiography; she says she’s way too young to be writing either of those types of books. Instead, she has collected a series of essays that detail the many different experiences that have made her the woman she is today. Throughout this book, Schumer says over and over that she didn’t luck into her career. She worked insanely hard and even though now some people think she has made it, she still has to hustle to get what she wants. Developing new material and testing it out hasn’t changed. She still tries out material on friends, performs in comedy clubs, and is constantly mining her daily life and interactions for humorous material for her work.

Schumer pulls stories from her past and nothing is off limits. She talks about relationships, her father’s battle with multiple sclerosis, her family, her awkward teenage years, her work, and sex. Schumer is not afraid to strip down and bare her soul in order to make sure readers understand what she is talking about. I was thoroughly impressed with this book. I was expecting something hilarious all the way through. Don’t get me wrong; this book had me laughing out loud, but Schumer gets down and talks about very serious topics that I wasn’t expecting, but those sections were so well-worded, I found myself unable to put it down. I recommend you give it a try and let me know what you think below.


This book is also available in the following formats:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

yes pleaseYes Please by Amy Poehler is a hilarious biography full of anecdotes from Poehler’s time on “Parks and Recreation” and “Saturday Night Live”, as well as stories from her everyday life from both before she became a big star and after she gained fame. If you’ve seen Poehler in anything, then you know that her comedy comes fierce and fast, sometimes catching you off guard in regards to topic and delivery. This book is no different.

I chose to listen to this biography through OverDrive and was not disappointed. Poehler narrates this book, along with several other big name actors and, of course, her parents, popping in for cameos. (Looking for another funny woman biography narrated by the author? Check out Tina Fey’s Bossypants, available as a CD audiobook and an OverDrive eaudiobook.) Each person she has helping her narrate adds another level of humanity and unbridled hilarity to Poehler’s life growing up and her changing career in comedy as she worked to get to where she is today.

Poehler pulls no punches in this biography, talking about subjects ranging from growing up in the 70s, tips on how to deal with being nominated for an award, odes to different coworkers, sex, love, babies, divorce, family, parenthood, and her hilarious relationship with Tina Fey. This humorous book gives readers an all-access pass into Poehler’s life, allowing us to catch a glimpse into the crazy world of Saturday Night Live, letting us see how difficult it is to become a successful comedian, and just how crazy life is.

Poehler travels back to the 1990s, when she was in her 20s, working at ImprovOlympic in Chicago and then with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York. She talks about her previous jobs and her struggle to make it. I highly recommend you listen to the audiobook because you get access to bonus material, as well as extra insight into her life from her many famous friends who make cameos. Choosing to do this book as an audiobook really lets Poehler’s creative talent shine as she weaves together both stories of success and failure to deliver her thoughts on anything and everything. Let us know what you think!


This book is also available in the following formats:

The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies by Martin Millar

the goddess of buttercups and daisiesDo you like reading about ancient gods and goddesses like Aphrodite, Athena, Zeus, etc? I know I do. One thing I found lacking when I was reading about them was that there was never any story about their day-to-day lives. Sure, everyone knows the Athena sprung whole out of her father Zeus’ head after he swallowed her mother to try to keep her from being born, that Aphrodite rose full-formed out of the sea foam, and that Zeus was a philandering God who had many different girlfriends and illegitimate children despite the fact that he was married to Hera, the goddess of weddings and marriage, but what about their everyday lives?? Martin Millar has attempted to tackle this question in his new book, The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies.

In The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies, Martin Millar looks at both the daily life of the gods and goddesses, but also at the lives of the people who relied on them to make their lives work. (Admittedly more attention is paid to the citizens than to the gods, but interesting tidbits and stories are thrown in for good measure.) In this fantasy epic, the lives of Athenian citizens are in dire straits as the city is in its 10th year of war with Sparta. In hopes to end the war, a peace conference is being held around the time of the festival of Dionysus, the Greek god of fertility and wine who was also known as a patron of the arts.

Aristophanes is struggling to get the necessary funds to guarantee his play’s success and to make up for the fact that he didn’t win first prize at last year’s festival. His rival playwrights are receiving any and everything they could possibly want, while the politicians and festival sponsors seem to be conspiring to make sure his play fails gigantically. One group in town wants peace, while the other group wants war to continue. Aristophanes’ play about peace will never succeed without money, so he is forced to make some deals with some less-than-reputable people in town. Add in various people praying to the gods and asking for help and soon Athens finds itself the center of attention of some meddlesome gods who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the outcome they desire.

This funny, compelling, and witty adventure into the lives of average Athenian citizens and the gods they turn to for help will have you eagerly turning the page to see what destruction and mayhem could possibly come next.

A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk

hooeyYou may recognize Bob Odenkirk as the character Saul Goodman from the AMC drama, Breaking Bad and its spin-off, Better Call Saul.  But Odenkirk has been a comedy writer for a long time and he has written many things that have made you laugh over the years.  He got his start at Chicago’s Second City and went to write at Saturday Night Live alongside Robert Smigel and Conan O’Brien.  Odenkirk is the creator of beloved SNL character, motivational speaker Matt Foley, portrayed by Chris Farley.  He also wrote for Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Ben Stiller Show, Get a Life, The Dennis Miller Show, and Mr. Show with Bob and David.  A Load of Hooey is Odenkirk’s first book of sketch comedy.

A Load of Hooey is in print and on audiobook.  I listened to the audiobook and I’m glad that I did.  Bob Odenkirk is one of the voice actors, along with David Cross, Jay Johnston, Jerry Minor, Megan Amram and Paul F. Tompkins.  Listening to these talented actors made an already funny book even more delightfully funny to listen to.  Who knew that you could laugh at Hitler?  Bob Odenkirk made that happen.  I laughed at Adolph Hitler thanks to the talented writing of Bob Odenkirk.  And it is not just hated people that Odenkirk writes sketches of.  Nope. He even goes after beloved former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney.  And it’s funny.

So if you enjoy watching sketch comedy, need to listen to a book in the car, don’t have a lot of time, (this audiobook is 2.5 hours long) and you want to laugh, I recommend checking out the audiobook, A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk.  Or you can read it.  But it’s funnier to listen to.  But you should check it out, either format.

New Comedy and Action Series

jane the virginJane the Virgin is a romantic dramedy so there are both comedic and dramatic elements to the show. Gina Rodriguez stars as Jane, a young Latina woman who is very religious. Jane is hardworking and has vowed to save herself until marriage. During a routine exam, Jane is accidentally artificially inseminated. Coincidentally the donor is not only a married man, but the owner of the hotel she works at. Gina won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy in 2015 and the show was nominated for Best Comedy. The second season begins October 12 on the CW.

 

izombie

iZombie is a comedy crime series. Rose McIver stars as Liv who has recently been turned into a zombie. She now finds herself hungry for human brains. To appease this appetite, Liv takes a job at a morgue where she is free to eat lots of brains. The twist is that every time Liv eats a brain, she gets snippets of memories and takes on a bit of that person’s personality. Liv uses her ability to solve murder crimes by eating the victim’s brains. It may sound strange, but the show has received great reviews. Season 2 premieres October 6 on the CW.

 

The Flaflashsh is an action super hero spin off series. TV viewers first met The Flash on the action TV show Arrow where he appeared twice. Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen/Flash as crime scene investigator with superhuman speed. An exhibition gone wrong creates a man made thunderstorm. Barry is turned into what is called a ‘metahuman’ after he is struck by lighting. Barry soon learns there are others like him causing trouble  in his town of Central City. He vows to use his power to stop the other metahumans. The Flash won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama. Season 2 starts October 6th on the CW.

New Audiobooks in May

If you have not listened to an audiobook before, I strongly encourage you to try it. It is amazing how many books you can listen to during your daily commute.  The Davenport Public Library owns a variety of audiobooks! Whether you like myseries or fantasy or thrillers or any other genre, the library will have something for you.  If you are new to listening to audiobooks, I recommend listening to biographies and memoirs. Most celebrities will read their own memoirs for the audiobook and they are highly entertaining.

The following audiobooks are biographies and memoirs that will be new to the Davenport Public Library in May:

i must sayI Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short-Comedian Martin Short, best known for his roles on Saturday Night Live, Three Amigos and Father of the Bride recounts his often funny and sometimes tragic life.  Short reveals the stories behind some of his most famous SNL characters as well as shares the spotlight with his friends and costars, such as Steve Martin and Tom Hanks. But not all of Martin Short’s life has been funny. He talks about losing his brother and parents before the age of twenty and as well as losing his wife of thirty years to cancer all with his upbeat personality.

hooeyA Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk – You probably know Bob Odenkirk from the television show, Breaking Bad and its spin-off, Better Call Saul.  But before Odenkirk starred in these shows, he was an Emmy award winning comedy writer on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Odenkirk’s debut is a collection of funny short stories, resembling a hilarious sketch show.  If you enjoy laughing and like comedy sketch show, then this audiobook is sure to please.

 

eleanorAutobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Eleanor Roosevelt – An insightful look at one of our country’s best known women, Eleanor Roosevelt.  Niece to President Theodore Roosevelt, and wife to Franklin Roosevelt, she witnessed life during the Gilded Age through the Great Depression up to the Cold War.  Eleanor was a champion for those less fortunate and used her influence as First Lady to help those in need. Often called inspiring and controversial, she continued to work for the downtrodden throughout her lifetime. Written in her own words, Eleanor Roosevelt comes alive telling her story of her life, living with her husband, her life as First Lady and years of work abroad.

Special DeluxeSpecial Deluxe: a Memoir of Life and Cars by Neil Young – In this memoir, Neil Young recounts his childhood in Canada and his family. He also discusses his living like a rockstar and his passion for cars. Young talks about his life with his collection of vintage cars. He has also been devoted to clean energy and converting his collection so that it does not have a negative impact on the environment. Witty and candid, this memoir will please fans.

brooke shieldsThere Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me by Brooke Shields – Brooke Shields began modeling at the tender age of eleven months. Her mother Teri manager her career but in private, Teri was troubled and drank heavily.  Brooke describes her changing relationship with her mother over the years, including how Brooke was a mother to her own children. Teri passed away in 2012 with Brooke by her side.

 

It Was Me Allit was me all along Along: a Memoir by Andie Mitchell – Many people comfort themselves by eating and Andie Mitchell was no exception. But when she weighed herself at the age of twenty, she was shocked to see that she weighed 258 pounds. Knowing that she needed to make some changes, Andie leaves Boston and heads to Rome. She trades pre-packaged pastries for handmade pasta and loses half of her weight. Andie discovers that balance and learns to find beauty and acceptance in herself.

 

closeResilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness by Jessie Close – Sister of actress Glenn Close, Jessie Close recounts her struggles with living with bipolar disorder. After five failed marriages and living on the brink of suicide, she struggled with symptoms for decades until Jessie was finally diagnosed in her fifties.  Included are vignettes from Glenn Close that offer an alternative perspective. Just in time for Mental Health Month, Resilience describes what it is like to live with a mental illness.

Happy Galentine’s Day!

parks and redWhat, you’ve never heard of Galentine’s Day?! Why, it’s just the most wonderful holiday of the year! In the words of the infamous Leslie Knope:

“What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas. — Leslie Knope”

In case you’re still befuddled, check out the delightfully off-center comedy Parks and Recreation, led by the amazing Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a perky, mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks department of fictional Pawnee, Indiana. A great ensemble cast, sharp and witty writing and characters that are both funny and real, this is a laugh-out-loud comedy with a big heart. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of watching Parks and Recreation, you’re in luck – the Davenport Library has all six seasons available on DVD (the seventh and final season of the series is running now with the final episode scheduled for February 24th – we’ll be getting that season on DVD as soon as it’s available) And the episode that introduces Galentine’s Day? Season 2, episode 16.

In case you’re wondering, Galentine’s Day has become real – you can buy Galentine’s Day cards for your BFFs and the internet and Pinterest are full of ideas for gifts and parties for your gal pals. And don’t worry guys – the celebrations are appropriate for you too! Friends are important no matter your gender.

Now go out there and celebrate your friends (preferably over breakfast)!

New DVDs Coming in August

August 5

need for speedNeed for Speed – Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper

Tobey Marshall, a mechanic who moonlights as an underground race-car driver, strives to take the top prize in America’s most prominent street race in order to have his revenge against the ambitious ex-NASCAR champ who had him framed and sent to prison. Rated PG-13

 

 

divergent2Divergent – Shaliene Woodly, Theo James

In a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues, Tris Prior is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late. Rated PG-13

 

bad wordsBad Words – Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn

Guy Trilby is a 40-year-old who finds a loophole in the rules of the Golden Quill national spelling bee and decides to cause trouble by hijacking the competition. While reporter Jenny Widgeon attempts to discover his true motivation, Guy finds himself forging an unlikely alliance with a competitor: awkward ten-year-old Chaitanya Chopra, who is completely unfazed by Guy’s take-no-prisoners approach to life. Rated R

 

gods not deadGod’s Not Dead – Kevin Sorbo, Dean Cain

It’s the debate of the ages; this time, held in a seemingly insignificant venue, but the outcome, as always, will be life-changing. A Christian college freshman, Josh Wheaton, and his atheist philosophy professor hold court on the existence of God. To pass the course, Josh must prove to the class that God is alive and well. This dare could cost him his relationships, his career, even his future, but Josh stands up for his faith and takes on the challenge. Rated PG

 

August 12

muppets most wantedMuppets Most Wanted – Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey

The entire Muppets gang goes on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid, Dublin and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine-the World’s Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit the Frog-and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two. Rated PG

 

August 18

amazing spiderman 2Amazing Spiderman 2 – Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx

Spider-Man’s conflict has been within himself: the struggle between Peter Parker and the responsibilities of Spider-Man. But Peter Parker finds that his greatest battle is about to begin. It’s great to be Spider-Man, but it comes at a price: only he can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp. Rated PG-13

 

August 26

blendedBlended – Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore

After a disastrous blind date, single parents Lauren and Jim agree on only one thing: they never want to see each other again. But when they each sign up separately for a fabulous family vacation with their kids, they are all stuck sharing a suite at a luxurious African safari resort for a week. Rated PG-13

New DVDs Coming in July

July 1

lone survivorLone Survivor – Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Eric Bana

The story of four Navy SEALs sent on an ill-fated covert mission to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative. They are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Based on The New York Times bestseller. Rated R.

 

 

 

July 8

non-stopNon-Stop – Liam Neeson, Michelle Dockery, Julianne Moore

During a transatlantic flight from New York City to London, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the government to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every twenty minutes. Rated PG-13.

 

 

July 15

rio2Rio 2 – Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Chenoweth

Jewel, Blu, and their three kids are leaving their domesticated life in that magical city for a journey to the Amazon. They encounter a menagerie of characters that are born to be wild. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all: his father-in-law. Rated G.

 

 

orphan blackOrphan Black, Season 2 – Tatiana Maslany

Season two hits the ground running with Sarah in a desperate race to find her missing daughter Kira. Her scorched earth tactics spark a war with pro-clone Rachel, dividing and imperiling all the clones. As Sarah discovers more about her past, mysterious newcomers appear. But can they be trusted?

 

 

July 22

single moms clubSingle Mom’s Club – Nia Long, Amy Smart, Tyler Perry

When five struggling single moms put aside their differences to form a support group, they find inspiration and laughter in their new sisterhood, and help each other overcome the obstacles that stand in their way. Rated PG-13.

 

 

 

heaven is for realHeaven is for Real – Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly

The true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. Colton claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. He recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth. Rated PG.

 

July 29

noahNoah – Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins

A man is appointed by God to carry out a crucial mission of rescue before a calamitous flood destroys the world. Rated PG-13.