Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Browsing Area Book of the Week, October 22, 2012.

The Weird: a compendium of strange and dark stories. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. Library Call Number: PN6071.H727W45 2012.
          Reaching back and forth through time, the VanderMeers pull together 110 classic and newer short stories of the 20th and 21st centuries from around the world.  Alongside Kafka’s gruesome “In the Penal Colony,” and H.P. Lovecraft’s nightmare, “The Dunwich Horror,” are lesser known but still unsettling stories, such as Maruki Murakami’s tale of a woman who meets and marries an Ice Man, Stephen King’s “The Man in the Black Suit”, the story of a nine year-old who goes fishing alone and lives to regret it, Marc Laidlaw’s tale of a police photographer who gets too close to his work in “The Diane Arbus Suicide Portfolio”, and other creepy stories by great authors of fiction, science fiction and fantasy. Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber, Jorge Luis Borges, Neil Gaiman, Shirley Jackson and Joyce Carol Oates all make an appearance in this incredible collection of stories, arrived just in time for Halloween.

Library Videos of the Week, October 22, 2012.

  Werewolves (and Vampires)                      
Wolfman: the Legacy Collection, starring Lon Chaney. Library Call Number: PN1995.9.W38W65 2004.
          The earliest of the werewolf pictures are all included in the The Wolfman: Legacy Collection, two discs with four movies including the almost unknown picture that started it all, the 1935 Werewolf of London.  Six years later, the original film was overshadowed by the later, classic, Wolfman, with Lon Chaney and Claude Rains, and the success of that movie prompted several sequels, including Frankenstein meets the Wolfman and the She-wolf of London, all included in this box.
Wolf, starring Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer. Library Call Number: PN1995.5.W38W65 2005.
     Wolf, starring Jack Nicholson as the infected human, tells the story of an aging publisher, who loses both job and wife to a younger co-worker, before being bitten by a wolf in the night.  Suddenly he’s a whole new man, eager, energetic, virile.  Though there do seem to be a few side effects.  Half funny, half werewolf, Wolf is an unusual take on the classic story.

The Twilight Saga: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, starring Kirsten Stewart, Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner. Library Call Numbers: PN1995.9.V3T85 2009, PN1995.9.V3T852 2010 and PN1995.9.V3T853 2010.
         Does anyone not know about the Twilight Saga? Although the major mythical creatures are vampires in this trilogy, the werewolves do play a role and anyone looking for a lycanthropy buzz can fill it here, as the rocky road of romance between human Bella and vampire Edward is overseen by friend Jacob (the furry guy) and his werewolf crew.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Library Videos of the Week, October 15, 2012.

Pitch Black, starring Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Claudia Black and Keith David. Directed by David Twohy. (Film release: 2000.) Library Call Number: PN1995.5.S26P58 2004.
Suck, starring Rob Stefaniuk, and Jessica Pare, written and directed by Rob Stefaniuk. (Film release: 2009.) Library Call Number: PN1995.9.V3S83 2010.
Troll Hunter, starring Otto Jesperson, Robert Stoltenberg and Johanna Morck, written and directed by Andre Ørvedal. Film release: 2010. (In English or Norwegian with subtitles.) Library Call Number: PN1995.9.M6T76 2011.
         Three unusual 21st century horror films for Halloween are spotlighted this week.  Pitch Black, the earliest of the three, is a sci-fi piece about a space ship crash-landing on a desert planet with three suns and no night. Only twelve of the forty passengers survive among them a serial killer named Riddick, and the settlement they discover appears abandoned.  When the castaways begin looking for a way to get the settlers’ ship working again, they piece together a terrible secret—every 22 years, there is a complete eclipse and in the blackness, the planet’s native species emerge—very, very hungry.
          In Suck, a campy vampire movie,  Jennifer is the lead singer of the Winners, a rock band down on its luck.  One night in Montreal, she leaves the club they’re playing with the creepy Queenie and doesn’t return until just before the next night’s gig, with an entirely different look and attitude.  The band begins to get noticed because of Jennifer’s charisma—or is it something else?  The vampire hunter Van Helsing thinks he knows.
          Somewhere in between is the mockumentary Troll Hunter. Dead bears are being slaughtered in the Norwegian wilderness and two University students and a cameraman set out to solve the mystery. Their suspicions fall on the reluctant hunter Hans, until he lets them in on a very dangerous and unbelievable secret. Satiric and suspenseful, the film was the winner of two Amandas, (Norwegian Oscars,)-- Best Visual Effects and Public Choice Award.

Browsing Area Book of the Week, October 15, 2012.

Bedbugs by Ben H Winters. Library Call Number: PS3623.I6735 B43 2011.

            Sometimes horror is the monstrous radioactive animal, the human being assembled from parts, the mythical creatures that rule the night.  And sometimes, real horror comes from the things you can’t see.
            When the Wendt family finds a cheap New York apartment with lots of room for them and their daughter, Emma, in a nice building, they can’t believe their luck.  But not long after they move in, Susan finds herself waking up covered with welts, a sure sign of bedbugs.  The exterminator they call, however, finds no trace of the insects.  The landlady, who seems a little weird, swears her building has never had any trouble with bugs and is clean as a whistle.  And why isn’t Susan’s husband Alex, or Emma, being bitten?  Why just her?
            It’s enough to drive someone crazy…
            A contemporary horror story for those Halloweeners who like their scares in print.


Friday, October 05, 2012

Browsing Area Book of the Week, October 8, 2012.

Sailor by Tom Epperson. Library Call Number: PS3605.P59S25 2012.
           Gina was waiting tables when she met Joey—a wise guy with money, good-looking.  He promised her everything.  She married him, even though she’d found out he and his father were in the mob, even though her mother-in-law hated her.  She had a son named Luke and then Joey started going off on her.  He beat her up, he hit the kid.  She wore a wire and turned her husband in, then went into the Witness Protection Program.  It was bad luck Pat the Cat, her father-in-law could buy nearly anyone, including a US Marshal assigned to her protection.  It was good luck she escaped the hit man Pat sent in Oklahoma and ran for it, nothing but Luke and a bag of diamonds she’d stolen from Joey.  But the Marshal isn’t giving up and neither is Joey or Pat.  She needs help when she gets to California and it might be the man who says he’s a sailor named Gray.  But he turns out to be not quite who he says he is, either.

Library Video of the Week, October 8, 2012

To Have and Have Not, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, directed by Howard Hawks. (1945.) Written by Jules Furthman and William Faulkner, from a short story by Ernest Hemingway.
            A film most notable for being the first screen appearance of Bogart and Bacall as a duo, this pick from the Library’s classic collection features great dialog and undeniable sparks from the stars.  Bogart plays essentially the same character he played in Casablanca—the expatriate American who doesn’t want to get involved in the World War but finds himself drawn into a fight between the Free French of Caribbean Martinique and the Nazi collaborators of Vichy France who run the island.   Unlike Casablanca, this time Bogart gets the girl.  Spare in settings, the action and characters carry what is arguably one of the Bogart/Bacall team’s best movies.
           If you haven’t seen it for awhile, or if you’ve never sen it, add it to you watch list.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Browsing Area Book of the Week, October 1, 2012

And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J. Shields.  Library Call Number PS3752.O5Z855 2011.

Review from Publisher’s Weekly: Vonnegut initially refused to grant an interview to Shields…but then relented, enabling Shields to meet him during the last months of his life. This first authorized biography probes both Vonnegut's creative struggles and family life, detailing his transition from "the bowery of the book world" to counterculture icon. Shields delivers a vivid recreation of Vonnegut's ghastly WWII experiences as a POW during the Dresden firebombing that became the basis for Slaughterhouse-Five; the novel brought him overnight fame when it was serialized in Ramparts magazine and then published in a month when 453 Americans were killed in Vietnam. Tragedies and triumphs are contrasted throughout, along with an adroit literary analysis that highlights obscure or overlooked influences on Vonnegut:: Ambrose Bierce, Céline, Robert Coover's metafiction and Paul Rhymer, who scripted radio's Vic and Sade. With access to more than 1,500 letters, Shields conducted hundreds of interviews to produce this engrossing, definitive biography [which] arrives during a year of renewed interest in Vonnegut.

Library Video of the Week, October 1, 2012

       Lunch Line, a documentary by Michael Graziano and Ernie Park. Library Call Number:LB3479.U6L83 2010.

From the Liner Notes: The National School Lunch Program began in 1946, and now more than 60 years later, feeds more than 31 million children every day. In this documentary, leaders from all sides of the school food debate including government officials, school food service experts, activists and students, weigh in on the program and discuss ways to continue nourishing America's children for another 60 years.     
     The documentary also follows six kids from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago as they set out to fix school lunch, and end up at the White House. Their unlikely journey parallels the dramatic transformation of school lunch from a patchwork of local anti-hunger efforts to a robust national feeding program. The film tracks the behind-the-scenes details of school lunch and childhood hunger from key moments in the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s to the present, revealing political twists, surprising alliances and more common ground than people might realize.
    A selection of the Stout Food for Thought Series.