Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Library Video of the Week, December 10, 2012.

50/50, starring, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick. Directed by Jonathan Levine.  (2011.)  Library Call Number: PN1995.9.C55F54 2012.
          From the Amazon Product Description: “Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen team up to beat the odds in a film that Rolling Stone calls achingly hilarious and heartfelt. Diagnosed with spinal cancer, 27 year old Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) navigates the road to recovery with the sometimes overbearing support of his crude best friend (Rogen), his smothering mother (Angelica Huston) and an inexperienced therapist (Anna Kendrick).  Inspired by a true story of writer Will Reiser, 50/50 is an honest yet hysterically funny account of a young man's journey toward healing.”
          Although billed as a comedy, the film is more a serious look at cancer in a young man, with poignantly funny scenes mixed in.  The combination of drama and humor gives the film a more realistic feel and avoids what could have been the usual maudlin, Hollywood fare.

Browsing Area Book of the Week, December 10, 2012.

Never-Ending Snake by Aimee & David Thurlo.  Library Call Number: PS3570.H82N48 2010.
From Booklist: “Ella Clah, member of the Navajo Nation and special investigator for the Navajo Tribal Police, is one of the most intriguing and best-realized characters in today’s crime fiction. The Thurlos give added value to the character by slowly developing Ella, deepening her commitments and problems, throughout the series. At the beginning of this [sixteenth] Clah mystery, Ella is facing a critical choice between working for much more money and much less stress for a private security firm in D.C. or remaining with the Rez police. Just as Ella returns home from her D.C. interview, she and her two companions (tribal attorney Kevin Tolino, who fathered Ella’s daughter, and alternative-fuel lobbyist Adam Lonewolf) are met with a hail of gunfire. The ready-made mystery here is determining which of the three was the target? Motives abound for all of them. Action also abounds, sometimes to an almost pulp-novel degree. Still, a thoroughly satisfying crime novel.” --Connie Fletcher

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Browsing Area Book of the Week, December 3, 2102.

City of the Big Shoulders: an anthology of Chicago Poetry, edited by Ryan G. Van Cleave.  Library Call Number: PS572.C5C58 2012.

           Rather than a compilation of poets from Chicago (though most hail from there), Van Cleave has collected poems from 100 writers with the same thematic impulse: to pull a piece of Chicago out for poetic examination.  Notable poets such as Joy Harjo, Barry Silesky and Bob Hicock and Nina Corwin all represent the past, present and future of the Windy City in their work.
           As in any collection, some of the poems are more successful than others, but the best evoke the spirits of Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks and the hundreds of other past artistic voices of America’s Second City, while capturing the unique and vibrant neighborhoods, lakefront views, open spaces, hidden corners and individual characters of some of Chicago’s citizens.  One of the more encompassing descriptions of the town, by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz:

I want to eat

in a city smart enough to know that if you

are going to have that heart attack, you might

as well have the pleasure of knowing

  you’ve really earned it.

Library Video of the Week, December 3, 2012

Into the Abyss: a Tale of Death, a Tale of Life.  A documentary by Werner Herzog.  Library Call Number: HV6515.I58 2102.
          Werner Herzog is known to be an intense person, capable of creating films the make a lasting impression. Aguirre, Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo, and his recent documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams were all movies of indelible import.
          Now comes Into the Abyss, a stark and unrelenting look at murderers, victims, their families and the state executioners.
          Focusing on a trio of murders in Conroe, Texas, Herzog interviews the two men convicted of one of the killings.  Michael Perry, one of the killers, is due to be executed only 8 days from the time Herzog speaks to him. Jason Burkett, the other prisoner, met and married his wife while on death row.  Neither Burkett nor Perry had confessed to the murders; each had blamed the other.  Despite Herzog’s stated intention that the film did not have a political overtone, it has re-kindled the debate over capital punishment.