Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Library Video of the Week, April 2, 2012.

Everything is Illuminated starring Elijah Wood, Eugene Hutz and Boris Leskin. Directed by Liv Schreiber. 2005.  Library Call Number: PN1995.9.U45 E94 2006.
          Jonathan Safran Foer’s book comes alive on screen with Elijah Wood as the author who finds a mysterious woman in a picture of his grandfather from before World War II.  Anxious to find out more about his family, he journeys to the old country, picks up an eccentric interpreter who doesn’t know English all that well, the interpreter’s grandfather who acts as his chauffeur and the grandfather’s deranged dog in a cross-country odyssey through the new Ukraine.  Little does he know the odd and emotional journey he’s about to undertake in a strange land that somehow seems familiar.

Browsing Area Book of the Week, April 2, 2012.

The Wolf in the Parlor by Jon Franklin. Library Call Number: SF433.S73 2009.
          Author Franklin watches his puppy grow into a family member and theorizes that humanity and canines have somehow grown together.  According to a Publisher’s Weekly review, Franklin theorizes that, …”beginning about 12,000 years ago, as wild wolves evolved into “follower wolves” and were subsequently domesticated by early man, a kind of mind meld occurred. As this neurological attachment took shape, the dog shed 20% of its brain mass because, biologically, humans had “agreed to do its thinking” for it, while mankind lost 10% of its brain mass because dogs became ‘our beast of emotional burden.’
“Franklin buttresses his inventive assertion with a combination of absorbingly loquacious ruminations on the behavior of his own dog, Charlie, and a rigorous compilation of scientific facts rooted in a decade of study about the nature of wolves and dogs. As concepts of the canine go, Franklin's is notably audacious. And among a plethora of books on breeding, disciplining, loving and lamenting the loss of man's best friend, this thoughtful discourse is a best of breed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Library Video of the Week, March 19, 2012.

Children of a Lesser God, starring Marlee Matlin, William Hurt and Piper Laurie, directed by Randa Haines.1986.  Library Call Number: PN1995.9.D35C55 2000.
        Marlee Matlin stars as Sarah, a high school custodian at a school for the deaf. William Hurt, as James Leeds, begins the term as a new teacher and discovers that Sarah is also hearing impaired and refuses to learn lip reading.  Angry and anti-social, Sarah has refused to leave the high school and taken her job rather than venture beyond the walls.
 Leeds is at first intrigued by her, then finds himself falling in love with her.  But between her anger and his attempts to impose a lifestyle on her she doesn’t want, a constant struggle develops that threatens to overcome them both. 
Though not as hard-edged as the novel, the movie is compelling and seriously takes on important themes. The supporting cast is superb—especially Piper Laurie as Sarah’s mother.  At 21, Matlin became the youngest person ever to win an Oscar for Best actress in this role.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Library Video of the Week, March 5, 2012.

Breach, starring Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe and Laura Linney.  Directed by Billy Ray. 2007.  Library Call Number: PN1995.9.F67B73 2007.
          Chris Cooper plays Robert Hanssen, an FBI expert on Russian affairs and counterintelligence,  bitter about his lack of promotion in a stellar 25-year career and obsessed with teaching the FBI how vulnerable they are to being spied upon.  Linney, as Special Agent Burroughs, assigns Eric O’Neill (Phillippe) as Hanssen’s  special assistant, giving him the task of keeping daily notes about interactions with his boss, supposedly because Hanssen’s a pornographer.  But  the young agent begins to suspect there is more to his tracking the boss than he’s being told.  And even as he comes to admire his Hanssen and distrust the Special Agent,  O’Neill is driven by his sense of duty to find the truth.

Browsing Area book of the Week., March 5, 2012

That is All by John Hodgman. Library Call Number: PN6165.H656 2011.
     It’s not often the author writes his own synopsis, but:The author, The Daily Show's "Resident Expert", minor television celebrity, and deranged millionaire, brings us the third and final installment in his trilogy of Complete World Knowledge. In 2005, The Areas of My Expertise, a handy little book of Complete World Knowledge was published, marked by the distinction that all of the fascinating trivia and amazing true facts were completely made up by its author. At the time, he was merely a former literary agent and occasional scribbler of fake trivia. In short: a nobody. But during an interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, an incredible transformation occurred. He became a famous minor television personality. You may ask: During his whirlwind tornado ride through the high ether of minor fame and outrageous fortune, did John Hodgman forget how to write books of fake trivia? The answer is: Yes. Briefly. But soon, he remembered! And so he returned, crashing his Kansas farmhouse down upon the wicked witch of ignorance with More Information Than You Require, a New York Times bestseller containing even more mesmerizing and essential fake trivia, including seven hundred mole-man names (and their occupations). And now he completes his vision with this new work, the last book in a trilogy of Complete World Knowledge. Like its predecessors, it compiles incredibly handy made-up facts into brief articles, overlong lists, and beguiling narratives on new and familiar themes. It picks up exactly where More Information left off,specifically, at page 596, and finally completes Complete World Knowledge, just in time for the return of Quetzalcoatl and the end of human history in 2012.