Friends! Romans! Readers!

Lend me your ears!

OK, maybe not that funny but I couldn’t resist. It’s time for a halfway check of the first month of the 2017 Online Reading Challenge – how are you doing with this month’s reading?

I have to admit, I haven’t found any books that really grab my interest. If you are a fan of ancient Rome you will find no shortage of books to read – mysteries, romances, fiction all abound in what is obviously a very popular historical time period. While many of these titles are well worth reading, none of them grabbed me, so I took a different route and watched a movie instead. (And that’s not cheating, remember – movies and non-fiction are allowed! Also, no such thing as Library Police.)

I picked a classic, where the city of Rome is as much of a star as the actors – Roman Holiday starring a luminescent Audrey Hepburn and ruggedly handsome Gregory Peck (and co-starring Eddie Albert, who I only remember from watching reruns of Green Acres!) Directed by William Wyler and with costumes by Edith Head, the movie is a call back to the golden age of Hollywood. It’s also the movie that made Hepburn a star and earned her an Academy Award at the age of 24.

Filmed entirely in Rome in 1953, the movie follows a young Princess Ann (Hepburn) who slips away from her gilded cage to have some fun before her royal duties completely take over her life. She meets up with American journalist Joe Bradley (Peck) who, realizing who she is, offers to show her around the city. He is, of course, hoping for an exclusive story but instead finds himself falling in love. Set against some of the most beautiful landmarks of Rome – the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum (both inside and out) – the couple (trailed by Joe’s friend Irving (Albert) who is taking pictures of the princess on the sly) enjoy an idyllic day including coffee at a sidewalk cafe, a wild Vespa ride through the twisting streets of the city and a dance party on a barge on the Tiber River. It has all the elements of a romantic comedy, set in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Although I was surprised by the ending, I enjoyed this movie a lot. Despite the picture on the DVD case, the movie is in black and white and you really do feel like you’re stepping back in time. The stunts and lack of fancy CGI might have made it seem awkward and forced, but instead its charm and heart make it a joy to watch.

So tell me – what have you been reading (listening to, watching) this month?

Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Wildflower-450Actress Drew Barrymore is anything but conventional.  So it comes to no surprise that her book is unconventional as well. Instead of writing a memoir, Drew wrote a book of stories of her life; stories that she wanted to revisit and share with the world.  And her stories are not placed in chronological order.  One story will be about being a mother, the next one she talks about her time on the set of E.T.  As Ms. Barrymore writes herself in the preface, “This is a book you can dip into and read when you want”.  And it truly is.  You could put Wildflower down and not read it for awhile, but come across it again and be delighted with the stories.  Or, you could binge read Wildflower and learn more about Drew Barrymore.  The choice is really up to you.  Either way, this biography truly is a book of stories that are very fun to read.

I chose to listen to Wildflower on a recent roadtrip.  Drew narrates the book herself and I loved listening to her read.  My favorite part may have been when she was describing her childhood after filming E.T.  Her mother decided to move to “the Valley” and Drew blames her mother for giving her the “Valley Girl” voice that she cannot seem to get rid of.  This happens early in the book, so for the rest of the duration of the audiobook, I would catch myself laughing at her “Valley Girl” voice when she said certain phrases.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Drew Barrymore read (and sometimes scream and sometimes laugh) her own book.

Drew Barrymore has certainly led an interesting life.  She started acting when she was a toddler and describes going on auditions as a child and meeting Steven Spielberg.  Drew talks about legally separating herself from her mother when she was a teenager.  She discusses being a Barrymore and her relationship with her father.  She talks about travelling as a teenager.  Drew discusses producing and starring in movies.  And she discusses being a mother. Perhaps the sweetest story in the book is towards the end.  Drew discusses meeting her husband’s parents, Arie and Coco and how she hit the “In-Law Jackpot”.  She has such a good relationship with her in-laws that she asked Arie to walk her down the aisle and for Coco to walk in with her husband. It is quite clear that the theme of the book Wildflower is Drew Barrymore’s relationships with other people; her family, her friends, her co-stars, and the people that have touched her life.

The Fade Out: Vol. 1: Act One By Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

the fade outThe Fade Out: Vol. 1, Act One by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips is a gripping journey into the film industry in the 1940s. This dark graphic novel takes place in Hollywood in 1948, beginning with Charlie Parish, one of the writers for a film studio, waking up to find Valeria, the up-and-coming lead actress of his current film lying dead, sprawled on the floor in the room next door, obviously murdered with ligature marks around her neck. The noir film he’s working on has been stuck in endless reshoots with the cantankerous German director barreling down on everyone to do what he wants perfectly or they will have to face the consequences.

Charlie finds himself struggling to write, plagued with writer’s block, troubled at keeping the secret of Val’s death, and turning for help from Gil Mason, an ex-screenwriter who has been blacklisted by the studios for being a suspected Communist. Gil and Charlie have worked out a Everyone involved on-set and off-set, from the head of the studio to the press office to the head of security seems to be hiding something and Charlie is left to wonder just what is true and just what he can tell to the people he thinks would never betray him.

This graphic novel is full of suspense, leading readers down dark hallways and dimly-lit streets with Charlie as he tries to figure out what really happened to Val and why the studio is covering up how she died. The film noir feel is shown through the dark coloring within each panel and the accent colors that pop on each page. The colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser, really bumps up the impact the story has on the reader by adding in color that boosts the intriguing, dark, and mysterious nature of this book. Brubaker and Phillips even add in real movie stars to the book, something that I noticed when I saw that a couple of the characters looked familiar! (There is also a cast of characters at the front of the graphic novel for you to refer back to if you become confused.) The Fade out: Vol 1: Act One is a wonderful read and I highly encourage you to check it out!

Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee and Peter David and Colleen Doran

amazing fantastic incredibleIf you think of Marvel, chances are the first name you think of is Stan Lee. He has become the face and name most closely affiliated with Marvel and rightfully so. Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir is Stan Lee’s memoir and it’s not like your traditional memoir. This book is a fabulously illustrated graphic memoir done in full color that gives you a birth until present glimpse into the life of Stan Lee.

With Marvel just recently celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary, the release of this graphic novel comes at a high point when Marvel is once again at the center of awareness. Stan Lee is the most legendary name in the history of comic books and this graphic memoir will answer questions about his life and work history that anyone from comic newbie to comic guru may have.

Following Lee’s life from a small boy in an apartment to his current venture of traveling and speaking in venues around the world, this book gives readers a glimpse into the life of the comic legend and co-creator of Spider-Man, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, and many, many other superheroes. Stan Lee changed the superhero game by insisting his superheroes/villains/other characters were complex characters, dealt with personal issues and used wit in order to give readers more relatable superheroes. He read other characters as flat portrayals of the age-old story of good vs. evil and wanted to bring out the human qualities of these superhuman heroes. This graphic memoir illustrates the life and times as Stan Lee as he first broke into the comic industry and effectively changed comics as the world knows them today.

This book is chock full of advice for writers, readers, illustrators, and anyone else who has a dream that they want to follow, despite what other people may be saying to them. Believing in yourself and not giving up are two of the main themes that are consistent throughout this memoir, reminding readers this through speeches and also through the stories of the superheroes that he created and was able to successfully launch into the mainstream public. Whether you’re a comic fan, love Marvel, or are wanting to learn more, I highly recommend this graphic novel as a look into Stan Lee’s past and the overall history of both Marvel and the cast of superheroes that he created.

 

The Avengers!

With the release of the new Avengers: Age of Ultron movie on May 1, requests for anything and everything superhero has gone up significantly from books to t-shirts to toys to costumes. If you’re interested in anything Avengers or superhero related at the library, let this blog be your guide.

For those unfamiliar with what superheroes are a part of Marvel’s Avengers, the big names in the movies are Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. More Avenger superheroes are listed in the comics, but as far as the movies are concerned, those six are the key characters.

avengersAvengers: Age of Ultron is the sequel to Marvel’s The Avengers, which came out in 2012. In this movie, Director Nick Fury, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, has gathered together and initiated multiple super heroes as part of the Avengers Initiative.  The Avengers are tasked with working together to stop Loki, who happens to be Thor’s brother, from harnessing the full power of the tesseract, a magical object of unimaginable and hard-to-contain power that has the ability to destroy the Earth. All of the Avengers must stop Loki and his alien forces from destroying the Earth and enslaving humanity to do his bidding.

Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is still in theaters, draws upon events from the previous Avengers movie to bring together the Avengers one more time to fight against Ultron, a robot part of Tony Stark’s new peacekeeping program, that ultimately rebels and takes his job as a peacekeeper too far, leading him to believe that the best way to keep the peace is to exterminate all of humanity.

If the Marvel Avengers movies have you curious about other Avenger or superhero books, the library has many items available for you to check out. Here are just a smattering of the Avenger materials available for checkout. Click on the covers for more information and to put them on hold!

For more superhero or Avenger comics, books, movies, or videogames, check out the library catalog and search for anything you can think of. As always, feel free to call the library and we will be happy to find whatever you are looking for.

avengers world uncanny avengersrage of ultron   avengers season one  avengers1

avengers guide

 

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

as you wishFrom actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride continues to resonate with audiences. Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.

With a foreword by Rob Reiner As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film. (description from publisher)

Chef

chefChef is a deliciously entertaining comedy about starting from scratch.

When gifted chef Carl Casper suddenly quits his demanding job at a trendy LA restaurant, he’s on his own to pick up the pieces of his once promising career. Finding himself in Miami, he decides to team up with his successful ex-wife, best friend and son to launch a no-frills food truck business.

Taking to the road, Carl reignites his passion for the kitchen and, along the way, discovers a renewed zest for life and love. (description from publisher)

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.

New DVDs Coming in June

June 3rd

robocopRoboCop – Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton

The year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. When Alex Murphy, a loving husband, father, and good cop, is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing. There is still a man inside the machine, pursuing justice. Rated PG-13

 

 

son of godSon of God – Diogo Morgado

The story of Jesus’ life brought to audiences through compelling cinematic storytelling that is both powerful and inspirational. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays the role of Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. Rated PG-13

 

 

June 10th

jack ryanJack Ryan – Shadow Recruit – Chris Pine, Keira Knightly, Kevin Costner

A global action thriller set in the present day. This original story follows a young Jack as he uncovers a financial terrorist plot. When Ryan believes he’s uncovered a Russian plot to collapse the United States economy, he goes from being an analyst to becoming a spy and must fight to save his own life and those of countless others, while also trying to protect the thing that’s more important to him than anything, his relationship with his fiancee Cathy. Rated PG-13

 

 

true detectiveTrue Detective – Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson

In 2012, Louisiana State Police Detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart are brought in to revisit a homicide case they worked in 1995. As the inquiry unfolds in present day through separate interrogations, the two former detectives narrate the story of their investigation, reopening unhealed wounds, and drawing into question their supposed solving of a bizarre ritualistic murder in 1995.

 

 

June 17th

lego movieThe Lego Movie – Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks

Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure, is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared. Rated PG

 

 

grand budapest hotelThe Grand Budapest Hotel – Ralph Fiennes, F Murray Abraham, Jude Law

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune. Rated R

 

 

June 24th

winters taleWinter’s Tale – Colin Farrell, Russel Crowe, Jessica Brown Findlay

Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, follow a story of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil. Rated PG-13

 

 

 

300 rise of an empire300 : Rise of an Empire – Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey

Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. He’s pitted against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal turned god Xerxes, and Artemesia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy. Rated R