Monday, April 24, 2017

Photography Books

There have been several beautiful photography books published recently.  We brought several down from upstairs to display across from the front desk.

The pictures range from portraits to animals to landscapes.  They are gorgeous collections!

A new favorite is The Photo Ark by Joel Sartore.  The brilliant colors of the animals are accented perfectly against a solid black or solid white background.

All photography books are available for checkout today!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Poet's Perch : To the Not Impossible Him by Edna St. Vincent Millay

To the Not Impossible Him

How shall I know, unless I go
To Cairo and Cathay,
Whether or not this blessed spot 
Is blest in every way?

Now it may be, the flower for me
Is this beneath my nose;
How shall I tell, unless I smell
The Carthaginian rose?

The fabric of my faithful love
No power shall dim or ravel
Whilst I stay here, - but on, my dear,
If I should ever travel!

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Monday, April 10, 2017

Chance's Corner: Movie Time at the Library (March)

Did you miss the chance to enjoy a movie at the library? Sad! Here's what you missed:

Moana is a very cute film that follows the classic Disney formula we all know and love. The visuals are gorgeous and the story has heart. Choosing the scatter-brained rooster, Hei Hei, as Moana's sidekick over the absolutely adorable and competent pig, Pua, is the only real surprise here.
Despite my overall good impression, one question lingers: What has happened to the Disney musical? Out of the ten or so songs in Moana there were only two standouts - "How Far I'll Go" and "Shiny". I'm not just picking on Moana here. Frozen tossed songs out like candy, and only two were standouts, as well - "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" and the dead horse "Let It Go". I think Disney needs to focus on cultivating great, catchy songs to sprinkle throughout their future endeavors instead of pushing just one really bankable song, and I know they can do it!


Jackie is a study of grief, or more precisely, the feeling of grief. I mean, director Pablo Larraín really wants you to feel it. The cinematography is steeped in cold, somber tones. The reds and pinks of Jacqueline Kennedy's dresses almost come out looking pale. It looks like the film was shot entirely through an ice cube. Natalie Portman's performance is also rather cold, but that's perfectly in-line with Jackie's shell-shock. I don't think Jackie would have been half as interesting if Natalie wasn't involved. She practically nails Jackie's signature, elegant voice, but there were a few points where I felt she was slipping more into Marilyn Monroe territory.

My key problem with Jackie was the lack of a real story - the lack of depth. Yes, the story is that Jackie's in mourning, but we only scratch the surface of those feelings. What's her story? Who is the real Jackie other than the queen of Camelot? No answer is provided, and she seems to be more elusive than ever.

If either one of these films sounds like something you'd be interested in seeing, then you're in luck! Both films are now available at the Franklin County Library. Also, don't forget to join us every last Thursday and Friday of the month at 1:30 PM to get in on the movie fun!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Julie's Journal : Book Survey

You may  not be interested, but I found this survey on a bookish blog I read and decided to come up with my own answers.

1.  What book has been on your shelf the longest?  I'm at work and can't remember its title, but I have a book that I got at an author signing here in MV in about 1996.  It is about the Trail of Tears and the settling of the Oklahoma reservations.  There are possibly some children's books and books my grandmother gave me that are older, but I'm not sure.

2.  What is your current read, your last read, and the book you'll read next?  I'm currently reading Three Sisters, Three Queens, by Philippa Gregory.  My last read was A Dog's Journey, by W. Bruce Cameron, and my next read will probably be The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden.

3.  What book did everyone like, but you hated?  Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes.  I have STRONG feelings about this book.  If you ever want to know why I hated it, just ask and I'll be glad to tell you!

4.  What book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?  I hope not any.  I've been planning to read Anna Karenina for a while, and keep putting it off, but I hope I get to it eventually.

5.  What book are you saving for retirement?  Well, maybe Anna Karenina from #4, but I hope not.

6.  Last page: read it first, or wait 'til the end?  I have a bad habit of reading the last page at some point when I'm a third of the way or less through a book.  I've messed up some books for myself that way, and I'm trying to quit doing it..

7.  Acknowledgement: Wast of paper and ink, or interesting aside?  I usually don't read it.  I think it would only be important to  me if I was mentioned in the acknowledgements!

8.  Which book character would you switch places with?  I don't know.  The most interesting book characters usually have a tragic backstory that I don't want.  Pippi Longstocking would have been a cool kid to change places with, but her mother was dead.  Ditto with Anne of Green Gables.  Most of the adult protagonists in books only go on adventures after they have lost their whole family or suffered some tragedy.  I think I'm content to read their stories, rather than live them, but if I did trade places with someone I'd want it to be someone with magical powers.

9.  Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)  Several of my favorite fantasy books remind me of Jr. High because I first discovered them during free reading time at school.

10.  Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.  None really.  I've bought a lot of books.  My grandmother used to give me books.  Sometimes I ask for books as Christmas/Birthday presents.  I used to swap books with people online until the website I was using changed their terms of use and I didn't like the way it worked anymore.

11.  Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person? I don't think so.

12.  Which book has been with you in the most places?  Anything that I had before I graduated high school has been with me in every place I've ever lived.  Mom and Dad's house, college dorms and houses, a couple of apartments as a newlywed, and two houses after that.

13.  Any "required reading" you hated in high school that wasn't so bad later?  There was lots of required reading that I hated, but most of it I still hate.  Lord of the Flies, Wuthering Heights, Shakespeare (I probably shouldn't admit that), and The Great Gatsby.

14.  Used or brand new?  Either, but I prefer new.

15.  Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?  No.

16.  Have you ever seen a movie you like more than the book?  The Help.

17.  Have you ever read a book that's made you hungry, cookbooks included?  Yes.  I like books with good descriptions of food.

18.  Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?  My mom.  We have similar eclectic tastes in books.

19.  Is there a a book out of your comfort zone that you ended up loving?  Most books are in my comfort zone.  I read just about everything.

20.  What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?  I have a hard time finishing books when I don't like any of the characters.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Chance's Corner: McLintock! Review

A wise Indian once asked, "Where's the whiskey?" He sought the answer all across the frontier, practically risking his neck. He found many parties, but alas, no whiskey. His spirit now wanders, restlessly, and it has been said that you can still hear him asking for a nip when the wind blows. Tragic.

McLintock!, pronounced with either a -tick or -tock at the end, depending on who you ask, is a western-inspired retelling of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. The shrew here is the lovely Maureen O'Hara who plays Katherine "Katie" McLintock. Against her better judgement, Katie returns home to her cattle baron husband, G.W. McLintock (John Wayne), only to try to scoop up her daughter (Stefanie Powers) and take her away from the "uncivilized" life and men (particularly Patrick Wayne) on the frontier. Unfortunately, things don't go so smoothly for Mrs. Uppity, because the frontier life is too much fun to give up.

McLintock! doesn't take its plot too seriously. It knows that when the story starts to slack off it's time to throw in some slapstick, and there's plenty of slapstick to enjoy. The brawl in the mud pit is pretty iconic, and so is the ending when the typical gun duel in the middle of the street is replaced with a much-needed spanking. The spanking may irk those who like to throw buzzwords around, but eh... it was fun to see Maureen running around in her knickers. 

McLintock! is available at the Franklin County Library!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Julie's Journal : What I've Been Reading

The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende - I like books that recommend other books.  I recently read The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser, and while I didn't love it, she recommended several books throughout the story.  One of those was Momo by Michael Ende.  Momo was a little hard to find, but I was able to get a copy of another of Ende's books, The Never Ending Story.  Bastian Balthazar Bux is a lonely kid.  His mother has died, his father is grieving and doesn't seem to notice him, and he is constantly being picked on at school.  His only refuge is books.  One rainy day he ventures into a new bookshop and steals a book that the cantankerous shop keeper is reading.  Bastian takes the book to his school, but rather than attend class, he breaks into the attic and spends the entire day reading.  As the day wears on he finds himself more and more engrossed in the story, until he actually becomes a part of the story.  At first, he is the hero of the story, but his role changes, until he must figure out who he really is in order to return home.  There are 26 chapters in The Never Ending Story and each chapter begins with the next consecutive letter of the alphabet.  The letters are beautifully decorated and made it easy to keep track of my progress through the book.  As the book was translated from German, I am impressed that the English version kept this feature.  I did finally find a copy of the book I originally wanted, Momo, and I'll be reading it soon.  *Unfortunately, The Never Ending Story is not currently available at FCL or at Overdrive.  I had to buy a used copy from Amazon.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough - One of our library patrons recommended that I read this book.  She thought I would like it, and I did find it very interesting.  I don't really know how to describe Behind Her Eyes because it is a book with lots of twists and turns and I don't want to give anything away.  The story centers around Louise, a single mother in London, who works as a secretary in a psychiatrist's office.  She meets a man in a bar and shares a somewhat drunken kiss with him, only to find that he is her new (married) boss, David.  David is married to Adele, a stunningly beautiful woman who Louise meets by accident and becomes friends with.  Adele asks Louise not to mention their friendship to David, and while Louise thinks this is strange, she agrees.  I've been describing Behind Her Eyes as a psychological thriller, and it is, but there is more to it.  I thought I knew where it was going, but the ending was a complete shock.  Behind Her Eyes is available at FCL as a book or audiobook.  *This book is definitely for adults only.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner - I am a sucker for a good retelling of a fairy tale.  Hunted is a lovely retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  Beauty by Robin McKinley was one of the first fairy tale retellings I ever read, and I loved it, so I always like revisiting Beauty and the Beast stories.  Yeva is the youngest of three sisters.  They are the daughters of one of the greatest hunters of the forest.  Their father gave up the hunt for the love of their mother and became a merchant in the city.  When their fortunes are reversed, the family retreats to their hunting cabin where their father attempts to return to hunting to support the family.  However, he is driven to madness because he believes there is something more in the forest than the usual animals.  When one of his dogs returns home without him, Yeva sets out in search of him and becomes a prisoner of the Beast.  While all the familiar elements of the story are present, Beauty's (Yeva's) character is much more fleshed out than we are familiar with.  I thought Hunted was very well done.  Hunted is available at FCL in our Science Fiction/Fantasy section.

Friday, March 17, 2017

New Books!

Chance has been busy putting in new books the last couple of days.  See anything you've been wanting to read?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chance's Corner: Denial Review

Denial is a timely, true account of David Irving v Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt, a case where the defendants had to prove in court that the Holocaust actually happened and Hitler historian David Irving was a racist liar. It should just be common fact that the Holocaust is real, based on countless eyewitness accounts, but in a court of law you have to have certifiable proof, and therein lies the problem. There's no photographic evidence, and the Germans blew up their own crematoriums at Auschwitz to mask the goings-on inside the buildings. So how do you prove such an atrocity took place? You'll have to watch the movie to find out.

Denial pretty much fell under my radar upon its initial release, and I'm not sure why it didn't get major attention. It should have been THE movie to see in 2016, since the term Nazi is back in "fashion". Despite all that, Denial is tightly directed and phenomenally acted. Timothy Spall lends a sense of sympathy for the despicable David Irving. I'm not saying Irving's "misunderstood" or a "good person". He isn't, but Spall adds a bit of humanity to him. Tom Wilkinson, even though he's a little late to the party, is his usual great self. If I had to pick on one particular actor, it'd be Rachel Weisz. She's not bad, but her "Queens accent" is a little off-putting, and she wears her heart on her sleeve. One of her lawyers tells her to calm down dozens of times, and she practically shouts back "I AM CALM!" Honey, you're high strung, and you really need to learn to whisper quieter in court.

Denial is now available at the Franklin County Library.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Chance's Corner: Movie Time at the Library (February) + Oscars Results

Another month, more movies!

For those of you who missed the news in January, we're now showing a kid's feature film on the last Thursday of every month, and a feature film for adults on the last Friday of every month. The movies start at 1:30 PM. This month we watched two stellar films.

Queen of Katwe

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's Disney's formulaic mantra. Well, this time Disney seems to have broken that mantra, or at least tweaked it.

In Queen of Katwe, we're transported to the slum of Katwe, which is located in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Young Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) lives there with her mother (Lupita Nyong'o) and siblings. Their only means of income is selling maize, and the demand for maize is pretty low. While their lives seem pretty bleak, despite the astonishingly bright colors that surround them, they make the best of the situation through their bonds of faith and love. It could just be another case of born in the slums, die in the slums, but a curious Phiona soon stumbles upon a makeshift chess club hosted by missionary Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) that changes her life, and her family's life, forever.

Everyone's singing the praises of the professional actors in Queen of Katwe, which is fair, but newcomer Madina Nalwanga is truly a sight to behold. I would love to see more of her in the future. So, what about the tweaks to the Disney formula I mentioned? Focusing on a girl from Uganda, and showing the realities of slum life, is a start. The subject of prostitution is even addressed, giving the drama a darker edge. Overall, Phiona's story is inspiring, but it's not entirely sugarcoated. This is no princess tale. Phiona's a queen.

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove centers around a grumpy old man, Ove (Rolf Lassgård), that lives an incredibly structured life (and drives a Saab). Every morning at 8, he walks around his condominium to check on the state of things and enforce block association rules. Every day he visits his wife's (Ida Engvoll) grave and puts out fresh flowers. He also goes to work at a factory that he's been at for over 40 years... until he's suddenly fired. Soon afterwards, his whole structured life goes out of balance. Ove thinks it's the end for him, but as fate would have it, it's only a new beginning.

It's odd to find myself saying that a movie involving suicide is cute and funny, but here I am saying it. A lot of that is owed to Rolf Lassgård and Filip Berg, who play old Ove and young Ove, respectively. Rolf has the endearing, growling personality. You just want to give him a big ole bear hug. Filip shows Ove's sweeter, softer side through flashback. Through him, we witness Ove fall in love with his wife, Sonja. It kind of plays out like a Nicholas Sparks movie, but it's quirkier, and better.

If you missed out, both films are available to check out here at the Franklin County Library! I'd definitely recommend them. Now on to the Oscars! 

I cast my Oscar ballot a couple of weeks ago, and my predictions turned out pretty solid. While I did give Denzel Washington the edge over Casey Affleck for Best Actor, it really wasn't all that surprising to see Affleck run off with the gold because Denzel already has two Oscars at home. The real surprise turned out to be figuring out who the Best Picture winner was thanks to a misplaced duplicate envelope. Even if no one was watching the ceremony live, they know about one of the most embarrassing moments in Oscars history. Congratulations to Moonlight, even though it turned out to be a bittersweet win.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tom's Two Cents : La La Land

I didn't think I was going to like the most highly touted movie of the season: La La Land.  It started out with a massive car jam on an LA freeway that turned into a musical free-for-all, with all these millenials jumping out of their cars and doing a high- energy romp all over the freeway.  My mind went "Harump" and I thought, "Duh, I've been duped by the press--just another teen age musical!"  I was wrong.

After Mia (Emma Stone) had given Steve (Ryan Gosling) the finger for honking at her on the freeway and he bumped into her (really bumped) at the Studio coffee shop where she worked, and after another silly dance number with her and her roomies (in a very upscale apt), the movie finally settled down to what it was really about:  two attractive young people with powerful ambitions--his jazz piano, her’s serious acting--trying to escape being swallowed up in the great yawning maw of Hollywood, at the same time being clearly personally drawn to each other.

Once the movie settles comfortably into their respective stories and how they intertwine, it literally becomes the stuff of which dreams are made, taking them into one amazing dance sequence that finds them literally among the stars above the Griffith Observatory--surely my favorite dance sequence in the whole film.  When Stone and Gosling are together, as Doris Day sang so wondrously in the late 40's, "It's [truly] magic"!  The story they share (love vs ambition) is totally familiar, but the way they tell it is so enchanting, you can virtually convince yourself you're hearing it for the first time.

I've heard comments pro and con about the ending, which I thought perfect and superbly realized and directed.  If you're a Romantic, you may not like it, but as dreamy as it seems at times, this film is not a fairy tale--it's real life, at least as it exists in--well, in La La Land.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

February Movies with Friends

Continuing our series of Movies with Friends, this week we will be showing a children's movie Thursday at 1:30 and an adult movie Friday at 1:30.  

The kid's movie with be "Queen of Katwe."  Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her family. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a missionary who teaches children how to play chess. Phiona becomes fascinated with the game and soon becomes a top player under Katende's guidance. Her success in local competitions and tournaments opens the door to a bright future and a golden chance to escape from a life of poverty.

The adult movie with be "A Man Called Ove."  Ove (Rolf Lassgård) is the quintessential angry old man next door. An isolated retiree with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife's grave, Ove has given up on life. After a boisterous young family moves in next door and accidentally flattens Ove's mailbox, an unlikely friendship forms.

We hope you'll be able to join us for a movie this week!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Julie's Journal : What's With the Chirping in the Library?

If you've visited the library on certain days in the last couple of weeks, you may have heard unusual loud chirping.

Did you know that you can order baby ducks, chicken, and other fowl, and have them delivered by mail?  Last week, I received an order of ducks and a few chickens from Murray McMurray Hatcheries in Iowa.

Today I have a larger order of baby chicks.

This chick has unusual markings.

I ordered several Araucana chicks with this order.  These are otherwise known as Easter egg chickens because they will lay eggs with shells that are blue and green.  I'm excited about adding them to my flock.  

Today, the chicks will be residing behind the circulation desk in a box on a heating pad until my husband, Jason, is able to come pick them up when he gets off work at about 3:45.  The constant chirping certainly changes the ambiance of the library!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Chance's Corner: Oscar's Season

It's that time of the year when Oscar buzz has turned into Oscar reality. Some hopefuls have become duds. Some underdogs have become contenders. While 2016 gave us an onslaught of remakes and sequels that left many wondering if cinema was dead, there were still a few rays of hope, and many of those rays were nominated for Oscars this year. But who will win?

Here are my predictions:

Best Picture:

La La Land, a jazz-inspired musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. I think this one will win because the Academy has a history of appreciating films that remind them of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Examples include Chicago and The Artist. However, Moonlight could possibly overtake La La Land because it's extremely topical.

Best Actor:

This category is still up in the air. Casey Affleck won the Golden Globe (Drama) for Manchester by the Sea, Ryan Gosling won the Golden Globe (Musical/Comedy) for La La Land, and Denzel Washington won the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award for Fences. I think Denzel is the man to beat, though. There's some serious buzz behind Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge, but I don't think the Academy is going to swing his way.

Best Actress:

Everyone thought Natalie Portman had this category in the bag for her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in Jackie, but Isabelle Huppert ran off with the Golden Globe (Drama) for Elle, and Emma Stone took away the Golden Globe (Musical/Comedy) and the SAG award for La La Land. Emma Stone is now the one to beat.

Best Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali has the upper hand in this category for his supporting role in Moonlight, and I think he'll win unless something goes wrong.

Best Supporting Actress:

Viola Davis has already been robbed of an Oscar twice, but here's hoping that the third time is the charm for her performance in Fences.

Best Director Winner Prediction:

It's the ultimate showdown between Damien Chazelle for La La Land and Barry Jenkins for Moonlight, and Damien's odds of delivering the knock-out punch are extremely high.

Best Animated Film Winner Prediction:

Zootopia will most likely snatch up this award, but another Disney film, Moana, may steal it away.

That's my Oscar ballot for this year. We'll see how well I guessed on February 26th!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fine Forgiveness

Franklin County Library is offering a Fine Forgiveness Campaign during the month of February 2017.

Patrons with overdue materials may return them to the library and ask that the fines be forgiven.
Please take advantage of this opportunity!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Tom's Two Cents : The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

Anne Bronte, the younger sister of Charlotte and Emily, has long faded into literary obscurity, if indeed she ever emerged.  She died of consumption at the age of 29, having published two novels under the pseudonym of "Acton Bell" (her sisters were first known as Currer and Ellis Bell), not knowing of course that Charlotte and Emily would later become two of the most famous British novelists of all time.  Emily too died young; only Charlotte, the eldest of the surviving sisters, lived to enjoy fame and some fortune.

 Of Anne's two novels, "Tenant" is the lesser known, and probably the inferior work to "Agnes Grey," which I haven't read.  But it's still a good read, if the modern reader can tolerate what today would be considered excessively "flowery" 19th century prose.  There's nothing in the story itself that's out of sync with modern times--it's about a woman caught in the trap of an abusive marriage to an alcoholic and her attempt to escape that marriage and make a life for herself and her child.  The obstacles to female independence set forth in her age (the early 19th century in England) were virtually insurmountable, and the deck of cards was stacked against women, even women of means, whose fortunes at that time were usually controlled by their husbands.

Helen Huntington, the mysterious "tenant" of the title, is such a woman, trapped by circumstance until a smitten neighbor tries to become her protector, without understanding fully the nature of her marital dilemma.  The novel makes extensive use of letters and journals to tell its back story; indeed much of the novel is told in retrospect, rather than moving consistently forward.  Gilbert Markham, Helen's would-be suitor is no Rochester, much less Heathcliffe, nor is Helen herself a heroine in the class of Jane Eyre or Catherine Earnshaw.  But the book is absorbing, nonetheless, and I would recommend it with some reservations.