Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Library Video of the Week, September 26, 2011.

Never Enough: a Documentary  by Kelly Anderson. Distributed through New Day Films.  Library Call Number: RC533 .N48 2010 (36 minutes.)
From the package liner notes: "Do we own our things, or do they own us? [This film] probes our relationship with the material world through three Americans' relationships with their 'stuff.' Michele Gitlin has 700 sweaters. In touch with the pain as well as the pleasure of over-collecting, she calls Ron Alford, the 'Disaster Master,' for help. Ron, a de-cluttering expert who coined the term 'disposophobia' and believes that 'clutter begins in the head, and ends up on the floor,' determines that Michele is indeed a hoarder. We follow Ron as he visits a retired marine (who owns 7,800 Beanie Baby dolls), and a Home Shopping Network addict whose purchases have made his apartment unlivable. [This film] is a meditation on material culture, consumerism, mental illness and the social fabric of our lives".

Browsing Area book of the Week, September 26, 2011.

 Sugar: a Bittersweet History by Elizabeth Abbott. Library Call Number: TX560.S9A23 2009.
          A comprehensive social history of the taste most craved. Abbott’s book takes the reader from the origins of cultivated sugar cane—likely in Indonesia or Polynesia—to the huge agribusiness of beet and cane production today. Supplanting honey in the sweetening of tea, sugar began as a treat for the wealthy and exploded in popularity; in a few hundred years, it went from luxury to unfortunate staple.  Abbott gives the reader a look at the huge enterprises that sprang up in the Caribbean in the 1700’s, plantations that required hundreds of thousands of slaves to do the work and made a handful of Europeans rich beyond dreams and how candy and chocolate became necessities. She describes the American plantations, the sugar beet fields of the north central and western plains and how the historical commodity sugar was once as precious as petroleum today.  During its rise, sugar cultivation caused the near-extinction of native Caribs, resulted in untold ecological devastation and is now responsible for problems that threaten to overwhelm world’s health care systems.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Library Video of the Week, September 19, 2011.

The Narrow Margin, starring Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor and Jacqueline White. Directed by Richard Fleischer. 1952. Library Call Number: PN1995.9.F54N37 2005.             One of the best pictures ever made in the noir  period of Hollywood gangster pictures, Fleischer’s film features plenty of twists and surprises as a pair of detectives are assigned the task of escorting a gang boss’ girlfriend from Chicago to L.A. aboard the Golden West Limited, where she’s going to testify about mob activities to a grand jury.  One of the detectives is knocked off before they even get to the train, and as it rolls through the night, the remaining police escort finds himself facing ever higher odds.  This is one of those movies that has no real scenery, just the claustrophobic sleepers of the train and relies almost solely on plot and character, neither of which disappoint the viewer.  If you like old action movies, you should like this   B-movie classic.

Browsing Area Book of the Week, September 19, 2011.

What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz.  Library Call Number: PS3561.O55 W48 2011.
     Dean Koontz, one of America’s premier suspense and horror authors, began 2011 with this ghost story of terrifying dimensions.  Homicide detective John Calvino finds a serial killer is stalking and murdering whole families, in a fashion similar to a previous killer twenty years before.  What shakes the detective to his core is that two decades before, when he was 14, his entire family was the last murdered and Calvino had killed the homicidal maniac himself in self defense.  But he has always suspected that some evil refuses to stay buried and now he’s certain that same spirit has turned its attention to his wife and children.  Bookreporter.com call this “…a fast-paced novel of hurt and evil, redemption and love. The first half will have you jumping at every little noise, afraid of things that go bump in the night, and the second half will convince you that danger is often closer than you think.”