When the book  is penned about the salad days of summer of ’09, it will surely feature a section about all the summer blockbusters everyone was skipping due to recession belt-tightening.  Well, good reader, many of them are here for you to lock in holds at DPL!

I’m sure there was an 80’s toy they haven’t decided to make a movie of yet, right?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Public Enemies
The Hangover
Up
Terminator Salvation
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Star Trek
GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Angels and Demons
Bruno

October 6

life in ruinsMy life in Ruins – Nia Vardalos, Richard Dreyfuss

Georgia is a recently laid-off, though anything but laid-back, history professor turned travel guide to a motley crew of hilariously crass tourists. Georgia is fed up and ready to give up, until her new confidant Irv opens her eyes and heart to a simple fact: There’s no finer way for a woman to find her kefi (a.k.a. mojo) than to lose herself in the arms of the ‘Greek god’ who’s been hiding right under her nose.

year one

Year One – Jack Black

Zed and Oh, a couple of numbskull cavemen from the year one, set out on a journey into the ancient world when their laziness gets them banished from their primitive village.

October 13

american violetAmerican Violet – Charles Dutton, Alfre Woodward, Xzibit

A young woman is wrongly accused of selling drugs near a school and is offered a plea deal that would force her to admit to a crime she didn’t commit. Rather than ruin her life with a conviction, she decides to sue the DA in a case that changes her life as well as the laws of her state. Based on a true story.

proposalThe Proposal – Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds

High-powered book editor Maggie is everyone’s worst nightmare: ruthless, driven, and tactless. When she finds herself faced with deportation back to Canada, she coerces her much younger assistant into marrying her. However, when the government becomes suspicious, they embark upon a charade in order to make the marriage seem legitimate.

October 20

transformersTransformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox, Shia Labeouf

When college-bound Sam Witwicky learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers, he must accept his destiny and join Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in their epic battle against the Decepticons, who have returned stronger than ever with a plan to destroy the world.

October 27

iceageIce Age 3 – Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Just when you thought they couldn’t get any cooler, your favorite prehistoric pals are back. This time around, Manny and the herd discover a lost world of ferociously funny dinosaurs, including a cranky T-Rex who has a score to settle with Sid. Meanwhile, Scrat goes nuts over the beautiful Scratte, but is she trying to win his heart or steal his acorn?

car travelIt’s the American thing to do – despite the dismal state of the economy and the need to cut back, a lot of people hit the road each summer on vacation. Something about our vast collection of interstate highways, our love of cars, our need to explore – it’s all part of the American character. And seeing more of this beautiful country – mountains, plains, cities – keeps us going around “just one more” corner. Of course, there are stretches of road – Nebraska comes to mind as does, quite frankly, large chunks of Illinois – that you must get across just to get where you’re going. Thank goodness for that super-slick CD player, built right into the car – just the thing to keep you and everyone in the car happily occupied!

Now, what to feed it? Let’s turn to our own librarians for their recommendations.

Lynn reminds us that a lot depends on who’s on the car with you. If you’re traveling with multi-generations, you need to look for something that will engage the kids, but is interesting to adults too. She suggests The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford, the classic (travel!) story of three pets separated from their family. A perilous journey with cute, smart animals and a happy ending – a winner for everyone. She also suggests West with the Night by Beryl Markham (another travel story!), an incredibly beautiful description of Markham’s life in Africa of the 20s and 30s. Although probably not of interest to children, Lynn also loved The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, a poignant story of love and loyalty.

According to Lynn, another thing to consider when choosing a book on tape is the narrator. A good reader can make a so-so book interesting, while a bad reader can ruin even a great book. For this reason she recommends anything read by Audie Award winner Barbara Rosenblat who has narrated a variety of titles including the Amanda Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters and mysteries by Nevada Barr and Lisa Scottoline. Jim Dale, beloved award winner reader of the Harry Potter series is another narrator that makes listening a pleasure.

Ann just listened to The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith, part of the No. 1 Ladies Detective series. Nothing terribly dramatic happens during the course of the book – read these stories for the evocative setting of Botswana, the various characters that you grow to love, the belief that kindness and politeness can improve any situation. This is a slow-paced book – sometimes almost too slow – but that’s also what makes it wonderful – calm and leisurely, leaving the reader/listener feeling the same.

Rita recommends the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlene Harris. They’re funny and fast-paced and you may find yourself believing that vampires really could be walking among us. She also liked Downhill Lie by Carl Hiaasen, a non-fiction account about returning to golf after a long absence. Read by the author, it’s filled with dry humor and great insights for fellow golfers.

Rita also reminds us that you there are hundreds of titles you can download from NetLibrary, a free service that allows you to transfer audio books to your MP3 player (which you can then hook up to the CD player in your car) Sign up for an account at either of the Davenport libraries, then access it from any computer, any time.

With so many great books to listen too, you might be tempted to take the long way home! What about you – do you have any favorite books-on-CD that you’d recommend for a long trip?

servicesGas is hovering around 2.50 a gallon, not to mention the beast that will get you there needs to be insured, lest some dingdong a quarter car-length away is getting their last driving texts in before the law passes.

The standard entertainment fodder, the motion picture, will set you back ten bucks a head (if you only see one feature while past the ticket kid) and they’ve even raised the matinee prices!

Dark times indeed, recessioneers.

I propose a day built around free entertainment you may have overlooked.  Enjoy your public and city services.

Even if you’re not a ball fan, there is some romantic nostalgia about listening to a sporting event on the radio.  Radio?  Whats that?  It’s something you’re practically issued at birth.  The Windy City and St. Louis has representation on the dial, as well as our own River Bandits.  Radio, incidentally, was the frequency to be on during the Swing marketing regime.  You could still have some civic pride without the embarrassing visual that it was your team in the powder blue and the mascot was a sunglasses-wearing monkey who is an implied jazz enthusiast…or something.

If you flip over to the public radio side, you’re going to find premium music and entertainment programming.  Some of these operas, classical music, news, and comedy/quiz shows cost 5 figures a year to syndicate in this town.  They only ask that you toss them a few shekels during fund drive week.  If you don’t remember when that is, they’ll kindly break into programming like an audio Jerry Lewis every five minutes to remind you.  There’s a lot of great stuff out there floating in the ether if you’ve got a decent command of the weekly program guide.

Most cities, like Davenport, have multiple parks. I have never driven by Vanderveer and not seen people having a good time at any given hour of the day.  If you consider physical fitness a good time, there’s more than enough of that in store if you have a decent pair of running shoes.   Borrow a Frisbee from someone and toss it around in one of the city’s numerous Frisbee golf courses.  In general, most of those outdoorsy types are some pretty mellow cats, so don’t worry about cliques.  And as far as flora and fauna, if you’re over 16, gasp, it may cost you a DOLLAR to gawk at the displays!

I’d be remiss to not mention the greatest entertainment savings of all, your local library.  Preaching to the choir, I know.

“But Froogs, how would I get there,” says the cynic.   Davenport Citibus is free on Green Saturdays.

June 2

defiance1Defiance – Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber

The extraordinary true story of the Bielski brothers who turn a band of war defectors into commanding freedom fighters and motivate hundreds of private citizens to join their fight against the Nazi regime. Midwest Tapes

revolutionaryRevolutionary Road – Leonardo Dicaprio, Kate Winslett

Frank and April Wheeler are a young couple living in suburban Connecticut in 1955. On the outside their lives appear to be perfect, but they really aren’t happy. They decide to break away from the ordinary and move to Paris, but can they do it without breaking their marriage apart? Midwest Tapes

June 9

granGran Torino – Clint Eastwood

A Korean War vet stops a young Hmong teen from stealing his prized car, and reluctantly proceeds to reform the boy, learning about himself along the way. Midwest Tapes

June 16

madea1Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail – Reuben Cannon, Tyler Perry

After a high-speed freeway chase puts Madea in front of the judge, her reprieve is short-lived as anger management issues get the best of her and land her in jail. But Madea’s eccentric family members, the Browns, rally behind her, lending their special ‘country’ brand of support. Midwest Tapes

June 23

shopaholic1Confessions of a Shopaholic – Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy

Rebecca Bloomwood is a charming New York City girl who has a little problem that is quickly turning into a big problem: she’s hopelessly addicted to shopping and drowning in a sea of debt. While Rebecca has dreams of working for a top fashion magazine, she can’t quite get her foot in the door – that is, until she lands a job as an advice columnist for a financial magazine published by the same company. Midwest Tapes

May 5th

curiousCurious Case of Benjamin Button – Brad Pitt, Tilda Swintson

Benjamin Button was a not-so-ordinary man who began his life under unusual circumstances. Born in his eighties, and unable to stop time, he continued to age backwards. His life story is detailed from the end of World War I in 1918 and into the 21st century, when he discovered a love that lasted beyond time. IMDB

wendyWendy and Lucy – Will Patton, Michelle Williams

Wendy is a down-on-her-luck girl who’s hoping to turn things around for herself with a summer job in Alaska, but finds herself stranded with no money in a small Oregon town. IMDB

May 19

paulPaul Blart, Mall Cop – Kevin James

A mild-mannered security guard gets his chance to show the world what he is made of when a heist shuts down the mall complex and he becomes the police department’s eyes on the inside. His sense of duty prompts him to try to save the day all by himself and prove that an average Joe can make a difference.

valkyrieValkyrie – Tom Cruise

Based on the incredible true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and his ingenious assassination plot targeting Adolf Hitler, this engrossing thriller reenacts the daring operation to eliminate one of the most evil tyrants the world has ever known.

magazinesHave you wondered where your favorite titles are going? So far this year, Cottage Living, Men’s Vogue, Smartphone, Home, and Cooking for Two, and Country Home are just some of the magazines that have or will soon stop publishing.  Others are available only on the news stand (you can’t subscribe), like Country Weekly and Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion, and some, like PC Magazine, are going online only.

Seeing them disappear is like losing old friends. What is more pleasurable than sinking into a new world, with each new issue, whether it’s gadgets, gardening, home decor, jewelry, or weight lifting? The advantage that print magazines have  over newspapers or their online counterparts is  that people devote more time to them and view them as entertainment – even the ads – which is good for the bottom line.

For the time-pressed, magazine articles can supply streamlined summaries of big issues, (often in a more readable style than bloated books).

Let’s hope that magazine guru Samir Husni is right and that new magazines will continue to be launched – so as  to replace those that have died. He says  those that are “service oriented – whether it’s about health, home or cooking” will be most viable.

It takes an optimistic and courageous soul to  keep swinging in the volatile game of magazine publishing.

February 3

beesSecret Life of Bees – Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning

This is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret of her mother’s past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping.

February 10

Nights in Rodanthe – Richard Gere, Diane Lanenights

Two unhappy people’s lives become entwined when they have a life changing romance. Adrienne is a woman who’s trying to decide whether to stay in the unhappy marriage or not. Her life changes with Paul, a doctor who is traveling to reconcile with this estranged son, checks into an inn in North Carolina beach town where she is staying.

February 17

changlingThe Changeling – Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich

Set in 1928 in a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, Christine returns home from work to discover that her son Walter is nowhere to be found. Just when is seemed that all hope was lost, a nine-year-old boy claiming to be Christine’s son appears out of thin air. Overcome with emotions and uncertain how to face the authorities or the press, Christine invites the child to stay with her even though he is not Walter, yet continues to challenge the Prohibition-era Los Angeles police to find her son. Maligned by the press and slandered by the powers that be the situation grows desperate and the only person willing to help her is local activist Reverend Briegleb.

January 6

pineapplePineapple Express – Ed Begley Jr, Nora Dunn, Seth Rogan

Dale (Seth Rogan) is a constantly stoned court clerk that finds himself on the run with his dealer, after Dale witnesses the murder of a drug lord and leaves a rare form of marijuana at the scene that can be traced back to him and his dealer.

January 13 apploosa

Appaloosa – Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen

Based on the 2005 Western novel by Robert B. Parker, ” Appaloosa” is centered around lawman Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and his deputy Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen), two friends who are hired to defend a lawless 1880s town from a murderous rancher (Jeremy Irons). Their efforts are disrupted and their friendship tested by the arrival of a woman (Renée Zellweger).

swing

Swing Vote – Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper

Bud, an apathetic, beer-slinging, lovable loser, is coasting through a life that has passed him by when his 12-year-old daughter accidentally sets off a chain of events which culminates in the presidential election coming down to one vote…her dad’s.

January 27

vicky1

Vicky Christina Barcelona – Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johannson

Two American women, one engaged to be married and the other sexually flirtatious, both become romantically involved with a painter while on vacation in Barcelona, only to find they have competition in the form of the painter’s ex-wife.