Thursday, November 1, 2018

award winning books


This week, the Genre Reading Group met to discuss award winning books!


In the latter years of the 19th century, Joseph Pulitzer stood out as the very embodiment of American journalism. Hungarian-born, an intense indomitable figure, Pulitzer was the most skillful of newspaper publishers, a passionate crusader against dishonest government, a fierce, hawk-like competitor who did not shrink from sensationalism in circulation struggles, and a visionary who richly endowed his profession.

His innovative New York World and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reshaped newspaper journalism. Pulitzer was the first to call for the training of journalists at the university level in a school of journalism. And certainly, the lasting influence of the Pulitzer Prizes on journalism, literature, music, and drama is to be attributed to his visionary acumen.

In writing his 1904 will, which made provision for the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes as an incentive to excellence, Pulitzer specified solely four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one for education, and five traveling scholarships.

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Less by Andrew Sean Greer

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
National Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2017
A Washington Post Top Ten Book of 2017
A San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Book of 2017
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the Lambda Award and the California Book Award


Who says you can't run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes--it would be too awkward--and you can't say no--it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.

QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?

ANSWER: You accept them all.

What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last. Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, Less is, above all, a love story.

A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as "inspired, lyrical," "elegiac," "ingenious," as well as "too sappy by half," Less shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.

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The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

In the four most bloody days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty were also the casualties of war. Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece is unique, sweeping, unforgettable—the dramatic story of the battleground for America’s destiny.

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The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara becomes this sprawling historical epic. As in Shaara's novel, director Ronald Maxwell focuses on a handful of major players to dramatize the events of July 1863, when the armies of the Union and Confederacy clash at the small Pennsylvania town of the title. Among them are Martin Sheen as General Robert E. Lee, who disagrees with his top advisor, General James Longstreet (Tom Berenger) over battle strategy, and Jeff Daniels as Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a college professor whose unorthodox techniques save the day (and possibly the war) for his beleaguered army. Other cast standouts include Richard Jordan in his final film appearance as the ill-fated General Lewis Armistead, and cameo roles for Civil War buff Ken Burns and media mogul producer Ted Turner. Filmed on-location at Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg was shot as a television miniseries for Turner's TNT cable channel, but earned a limited theatrical release. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

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The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD • WINNER OF THE DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE

Named ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by more than a dozen publications, including The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Wall Street Journal • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs a work camp for orphans. Superiors in the North Korean state soon recognize the boy’s loyalty and keen instincts. Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do rises in the ranks. He becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love.

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Also voted #1 in the recent PBS Great American Read.

One of the most cherished stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.


Each year, the Mystery Writers of America the Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television.

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Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules--a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders--a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman--have stirred up a hornet's nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes--and save himself in the process--before Lark's long-simmering racial fault lines erupt. From a writer and producer of the Emmy winning Fox TV show Empire, Bluebird, Bluebird is a rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas.


The Bocas Lit Fest is a registered non-profit company incorporated in Trinidad and Tobago. We are a year-round writing and literary arts development organization, with numerous initiatives forging links and opportunities between writers, readers, publishers and others. We run the annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival (named as one of the world’s best literary festivals), and administer major regional writing prizes which provide crucial support for Caribbean writers, including the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and The CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. 

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Augustown by Kei Miller

11 April 1982: a smell is coming down John Golding Road right alongside the boy-child, something attached to him, like a spirit but not quite. Ma Taffy is growing worried. She knows that something is going to happen. Something terrible is going to pour out into the world. But if she can hold it off for just a little bit longer, she will. So she asks a question that surprises herself even as she asks it, "Kaia, I ever tell you bout the flying preacherman?"

Set in the backlands of Jamaica, Augustown is a magical and haunting novel of one woman’s struggle to rise above the brutal vicissitudes of history, race, class, collective memory, violence, and myth.


The Man Booker Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Booker–McConnell Prize and commonly known simply as the Booker Prize) is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the UK.

To mark the 50th anniversary in 2018, The Booker Prize Foundation launched the Golden Man Booker Prize- a special one-off award that crowned the best work of fiction from the last five decades of prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public.


The Golden Man Booker put all 51 winners – all of which are still in print – back under the spotlight, to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today, and The English Patient won that award as well.


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The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

The final curtain is closing on the Second World War, and Hana, a nurse, stays behind in an abandoned Italian villa to tend to her only remaining patient. Rescued by Bedouins from a burning plane, he is English, anonymous, damaged beyond recognition and haunted by his memories of passion and betrayal. The only clue Hana has to his past is the one thing he clung on to through the fire - a copy of The Histories by Herodotus, covered with hand-written notes describing a painful and ultimately tragic love affair.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

microtopics


The Library will be closed Saturday, September 1st through Monday, September 3rd in observance of Labor Day and will reopen at 9am Tuesday, September 4th. 

Winter Hours have resumed: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 9am-9pm, Wednesday 9am-6pm, Friday and Saturday 9am-5pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm.

Upcoming Events:

- Yoga with Marie Blair Tuesday, September 4th and 18th 10am-11am in the Community Meeting Room

- Brown Bag Lunch series each Wednesday at 12:30pm in the Community Meeting Room

- Bookgroups:
-----Great Short Stories Monday 8/10 at 6:30pm
-----Bookies Tuesday 8/11 at 10am discussing “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner
-----Genre Reading Group 8/25 at 6:30pm discussing banned & challenged books
-----Lost & Found group 8/27 @ 6:30pm discussing “In Youth is Pleasure” by Denton Welch and “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith

-UAB Neuroscience Café discussing “The Brain-Gut Connection,” the connection between Parkinson’s disease and the microbiome of the gut, Thursday September 13th 6:30pm in the Community Meeting Room

- Stargazing on the Lawn led by experts from Samford University’s Christenberry Planetarium, all ages welcome Tuesday September 18th at 7pm

- Ages 21 and up only: Standing Room Only presents a karaoke party Friday September 21st 6:30pm in the Community Meeting Room

- Ages 21 and up only: Western Fall Wine and Food Festival Friday September 28th at the Birmingham Zoo 6pm-9pm, tickets available at Western Supermarkets and online at www.westernsupermarkets.com.

Last night, the Genre Reading Group met to discuss microtopic books!

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Part science, part riveting historical adventure about one of the great scourges to afflict mankind

Every year malaria kills 1.5 to 2.7 million people -- more than half of those deaths are children -- and 300 to 500 million people fall ill with the disease. As of yet, there is no cure. Malaria is a deadly virus with a vicious ability to mutate; it has, over the centuries, changed the course of history as epidemics swept through countries and devastated armies.

Until the middle of the seventeenth century, little was understood about the nature of the disease, or how to treat it. But there was a legend about a beautiful Spanish countess, the Condesa de Chinchón, who was cured of malaria during her stay in Peru by drinking a medicine made from the bark of a miraculous tree. This is the story of the search for the elusive cinchona tree - the only source of quinine - and the trio of British explorers who were given the task of transporting it to the colonies. On a quest that was to absorb the rest of their lives, Spruce, Ledger and Markham endeavored to rid the world of malaria.

But although quinine, and its chemical successors, managed to control malaria for a time, no method of prevention has been proven to be 100% effective. In laboratories and research facilities, the hunt continues - this time for a vaccine.

The Fever Trail is a story of courage, of geopolitical rivalry, of the New World against the Old, of the fabled curse of the cinchona tree - and of a disease that eludes all efforts to contain it. 

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The American chestnut was one of America's most common, valued, and beloved trees―a "perfect tree" that ruled the forests from Georgia to Maine. But in the early twentieth century, an exotic plague swept through the chestnut forests with the force of a wildfire. Within forty years, the blight had killed close to four billion trees and left the species teetering on the brink of extinction. It was one of the worst ecological blows to North America since the Ice Age―and one most experts considered beyond repair. 

In American Chestnut, Susan Freinkel tells the dramatic story of the stubborn optimists who refused to let this cultural icon go. In a compelling weave of history, science, and personal observation, she relates their quest to save the tree through methods that ranged from classical plant breeding to cutting-edge gene technology. But the heart of her story is the cast of unconventional characters who have fought for the tree for a century, undeterred by setbacks or skeptics, and fueled by their dreams of restored forests and their powerful affinity for a fellow species.

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Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind by Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey

“A glorious success…The science manages to be as exciting and spellbinding as the juiciest gossip” (San Franscisco Chronicle) in the story of the discovery of “Lucy”—the oldest, best-preserved skeleton of any erect-walking human ancestor ever found.

When Donald Johanson found a partical skeleton, approximately 3.5 million years old, in a remote region of Ethiopia in 1974, a headline-making controversy was launched that continues on today. Bursting with all the suspense and intrigue of a fast paced adventure novel, here is Johanson’s lively account of the extraordinary discovery of “Lucy.” By expounding the controversial change Lucy makes in our view of human origins, Johanson provides a vivid, behind-the-scenes account of the history of pealeoanthropology and the colorful, eccentric characters who were and are a part of it. Never before have the mystery and intricacy of our origins been so clearly and compellingly explained as in this astonighing and dramatic book.

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Crossing class and color lines, and spanning the nation (Montana has its huckleberry, Pennsylvania its shoofly, and Mississippi its sweet potato), pie -- real, homemade pie -- has meaning for all of us. But in today's treadmill, take-out world -- our fast-food nation -- does pie still have a place?
As she traveled across the United States in an old Volvo named Betty, Pascale Le Draoulec discovered how merely mentioning homemade pie to strangers made faces soften, shoulders relax, and memories come wafting back. Rambling from town to town with Le Draoulec, you'll meet the famous, and sometimes infamous, pie makers who share their stories and recipes, and find out how a quest for pie can lead to something else entirely.

GENERAL DISCUSSION: This book group member brought in a pie, made from a treasured family recipe, and shared that recipe with us, so I’m now sharing it with you!  (With her permission, of course!)
No-Bake Brandy Pie
For convenience, use a store-bought graham cracker crust. Mix the following together until fluffy: 1 c whipped cream, ½ c powdered sugar, and ¼ c brandy.  In a separate bowl, beat 4 eggs until light yellow but still thick. Fold in the cream mixture, then pour into pie crust. Freeze 12-24 hours.

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A cultural “biography” of Robert Frost’s beloved poem, arguably the most popular piece of American literature

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood . . .” One hundred years after its first publication in August 1915, Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget that it is, in fact, a poem. Yet poetry it is, and Frost’s immortal lines remain unbelievably popular. And yet in spite of this devotion, almost everyone gets the poem hopelessly wrong.

David Orr’s The Road Not Taken dives directly into the controversy, illuminating the poem’s enduring greatness while revealing its mystifying contradictions. Widely admired as the poetry columnist for the New York Times Book Review, Orr is the perfect guide for lay readers and experts alike. Orr offers a lively look at the poem’s cultural influence, its artistic complexity, and its historical journey from the margins of the First World War all the way to its canonical place today as a true masterpiece of American literature.

“The Road Not Taken” seems straightforward: a nameless traveler is faced with a choice: two paths forward, with only one to walk. And everyone remembers the traveler taking “the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” But for a century readers and critics have fought bitterly over what the poem really says. Is it a paean to triumphant self-assertion, where an individual boldly chooses to live outside conformity? Or a biting commentary on human self-deception, where a person chooses between identical roads and yet later romanticizes the decision as life altering?

What Orr artfully reveals is that the poem speaks to both of these impulses, and all the possibilities that lie between them. The poem gives us a portrait of choice without making a decision itself. And in this, “The Road Not Taken” is distinctively American, for the United States is the country of choice in all its ambiguous splendor.

Published for the poem’s centennial—along with a new Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Frost’s poems, edited and introduced by Orr himself—The Road Not Taken is a treasure for all readers, a triumph of artistic exploration and cultural investigation that sings with its own unforgettably poetic voice.

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In novella form, Irving Stone here revivifies the creation of Michelangelo's great Pieta, completed when the sculptor was twenty-four years old. He sketches the sculptor's early apprenticeships, follows him to Rome. There under the patronage of Jacopo Galli for whom he sculpts the Bacchus, Michelangelo receives the radically different commission from the French Cardinal Groslaye, to fill the niche of the Chapel of the Kings of France with a Pieta. Simply told, this is the tale of dedication and sacrifice culminating not in glory but in the secret placing of the Pieta in its intended niche with Groslaye dead in the meantime.

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At once sobering and thrilling, this illustrated history recounts how, for the past three hundred years, hurricanes have altered lives and landscapes along the Georgia-South Carolina seaboard. A prime target for the fierce storms that develop in the Atlantic, the region is especially vulnerable because of its shallow, gradually sloping sea floor and low-lying coastline.

With an eye on both natural and built environments, Fraser's narrative ranges from the first documented storm in 1686 to recent times in describing how the lowcountry has endured some of the severest effects of wind and water. This chronology of the most notable lowcountry storms is also a useful primer on the basics of hurricane dynamics.

Fraser tells how the 800-ton Rising Sun foundered in open water near Charles Town during the hurricane of 1700. About one hundred persons were aboard. All perished. Drawing on eyewitness accounts, he describes the storm surge of an 1804 hurricane that submerged most of Tybee Island and swept over the fort on nearby Cockspur Island, drowning soldiers and civilians. Readers may have their own memories of Hurricanes Andrew, Opal, and Hugo. Although hurricanes frequently lead to significant loss of life, Fraser recounts numerous gripping instances of survival and rescue at sea and ashore.

The author smoothly weaves the lowcountry's long social, political, and economic history with firsthand reports and data accumulated by the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Generously illustrated with contemporary and historical photographs, this is a readable and informative resource on one of nature's most awesome forces.



Friday, July 27, 2018

summer reading


Mark your calendars!

Saturday, August 11 @ 2:30pm
Adult Summer Reading presents a Book Swap! Bring a book or two to swap, chat with new friends, and eat yummy snacks!

Friday, August 17 @ 10am
Bring a mat and enjoy yoga and poetry led by Marie Blair

Saturday, August 18 @ 2:30pm
Adult Summer Reading presents a Saturday Afternoon Matinee screening of “Neptune’s Daughter!”  This is the finale to our adult summer reading program and prizes will be awarded!  The polo team's in town and so is the fun for Esther, Ricardo Montalban, Red Skelton, and Betty Garrett. Includes Frank Loesser songs and one of Esther's greatest splash-happy finales.
Tuesday, August 21 @ 6:30pm
Documentaries After Dark presents “Kedi.” Free admission, light refreshments provided. Hundreds of thousands of cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years, they've wandered in and out of people's lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, these animals live between two worlds, and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. Turkish language film with English subtitles.

Wednesday, August 22 @ 6:30pm
The Art House Film Series presents “Force Majeure.” A wickedly funny psychodrama of a model Swedish family--Tomas, his wife and their children-- on a skiing holiday. An avalanche suddenly bears down on them. Tomas makes a decision that leaves him struggling to reclaim his role as family patriarch.

Tuesday, August 28 @ 6:30pm
Our Genre Reading Group meets again to discuss microtopics.  Unsure what this topic is?  Visit the display at the 2nd floor reference desk or contact Holley for more information at 205.445.1117 or hwesley@bham.lib.al.us.

GRG recently met for one of our biannual Salon Discussions, where it’s free reading/watching/listening choice and there is no assigned topic!

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London Rules by Mick Herron

Ian Fleming. John le Carré. Len Deighton. Mick Herron. The brilliant plotting of Herron’s twice CWA Dagger Award-winning Slough House series of spy novels is matched only by his storytelling gift and an ear for viciously funny political satire.

“Mick Herron is the John le Carré of our generation.” —Val McDermid

At MI5 headquarters Regent’s Park, First Desk Claude Whelan is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he’s facing attack from all directions: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat’s wife, a tabloid columnist, who’s crucifying Whelan in print; from the PM’s favorite Muslim, who’s about to be elected mayor of the West Midlands, despite the dark secret he’s hiding; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who’s alert for Claude’s every stumble. Meanwhile, the country’s being rocked by an apparently random string of terror attacks.

Over at Slough House, the MI5 satellite office for outcast and demoted spies, the agents are struggling with personal problems: repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. Plus someone is trying to kill Roddy Ho. But collectively, they’re about to rediscover their greatest strength—that of making a bad situation much, much worse.

It’s a good thing Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren’t going to break themselves.

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NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A thrilling tale of betrayal and revenge set against the nineteenth-century American frontier, the astonishing story of real-life trapper and frontiersman Hugh Glass

The year is 1823, and the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is among the company’s finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts him face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two company men are dispatched to stay behind and tend to Glass before he dies. When the men abandon him instead, Glass is driven to survive by one desire: revenge. With shocking grit and determination, Glass sets out, crawling at first, across hundreds of miles of uncharted American frontier. Based on a true story, The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession, the human will stretched to its limits, and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.

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The Brethren by John Grisham

They call themselves the Brethren: three disgraced former judges doing time in a Florida federal prison. One was sent up for tax evasion. Another, for skimming bingo profits. The third for a career-ending drunken joyride. Meeting daily in the prison law library, taking exercise walks in their boxer shorts, these judges-turned-felons can reminisce about old court cases, dispense a little jailhouse justice, and contemplate where their lives went wrong. Or they can use their time in prison to get very rich—very fast.

And so they sit, sprawled in the prison library, furiously writing letters, fine-tuning a wickedly brilliant extortion scam—while events outside their prison walls begin to erupt. A bizarre presidential election is holding the nation in its grips, and a powerful government figure is pulling some very hidden strings. For the Brethren, the timing couldn’t be better. Because they’ve just found the perfect victim.

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Shadow on the Sun by Richard Matheson

Southwest Arizona, a century ago. An uneasy true exists between the remote frontier community of Picture City and the neighboring Apaches. That delicate peace is shredded when the bodies of two white men are found hideously mutilated. The angry townspeople are certain the "savages" have broken the treaty, but Billjohn Finley, the local Indian agent, fears that darker, more unholy forces may be at work. There's a tall, dark stranger in town, who rode in wearing the dead men's clothes. A stranger who may not be entirely human . . . .

Originally published as a mass-market Western in 1994, Shadow on the Sun has been out of print for years and was largely overlooked by horror fans and general readers. Now at last this forgotten tale of supernatural terror returns to chill the blood of Matheson's many fans.

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We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding--"tribes." This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.

Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.

Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today's divided world.

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In this novel authorized by Little House Heritage Trust, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before--Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved Little House books.

In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.
The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline's new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles' hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.

For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier's most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.

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The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

With unsettling beauty and intelligence, this Golden Man Booker Prize–winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of World War II.
The nurse Hana, exhausted by death, obsessively tends to her last surviving patient. Caravaggio, the thief, tries to reimagine who he is, now that his hands are hopelessly maimed. The Indian sapper Kip searches for hidden bombs in a landscape where nothing is safe but himself. And at the center of his labyrinth lies the English patient, nameless and hideously burned, a man who is both a riddle and a provocation to his companions—and whose memories of suffering, rescue, and betrayal illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning.

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Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

"A profoundly American nightmare... The fictional killing in Sabrina is disturbing, but Drnaso doesn’t fixate on the gore or the culprit; he’s more concerned with how the public claims and consumes it, spinning out morbid fantasies with impunity... It’s a shattering work of art."―Ed Park, New York Times

Conspiracy theories, breakdown, murder: Everything’s gonna be all right―until it isn’t

How many hours of sleep did you get last night? Rate your overall mood from 1 to 5, 1 being poor. Rate your stress level from 1 to 5, 5 being severe. Are you experiencing depression or thoughts of suicide? Is there anything in your personal life that is affecting your duty?

When Sabrina disappears, an airman in the U.S. Air Force is drawn into a web of suppositions, wild theories, and outright lies. He reports to work every night in a bare, sterile fortress that serves as no protection from a situation that threatens the sanity of Teddy, his childhood friend and the boyfriend of the missing woman. Sabrina’s grieving sister, Sandra, struggles to fill her days as she waits in purgatory. After a videotape surfaces, we see devastation through a cinematic lens, as true tragedy is distorted when fringe thinkers and conspiracy theorists begin to interpret events to fit their own narratives.

The follow-up to Nick Drnaso’s Beverly, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Sabrina depicts a modern world devoid of personal interaction and responsibility, where relationships are stripped of intimacy through glowing computer screens. Presenting an indictment of our modern state, Drnaso contemplates the dangers of a fake-news climate. Timely and articulate, Sabrina leaves you gutted, searching for meaning in the aftermath of disaster.

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Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. 

Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

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Winner of the Victorian Prize for Literature, Sarah Krasnostein’s The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster is the fascinating biography of one of the people responsible for tidying up homes in the wake of natural―and unnatural―catastrophes and fatalities.

Homicides and suicides, fires and floods, hoarders and addicts. When properties are damaged or neglected, it falls to Sandra Pankhurst, founder of Specialized Trauma Cleaning (STC) Services Pty. Ltd. to sift through the ashes or sweep up the mess of a person’s life or death. Her clients include law enforcement, real estate agents, executors of deceased estates, and charitable organizations representing victimized, mentally ill, elderly, and physically disabled people. In houses and buildings that have fallen into disrepair, Sandra airs out residents’ smells, throws out their weird porn, their photos, their letters, the last traces of their DNA entombed in soaps and toothbrushes.

The remnants and mementoes of these people’s lives resonate with Sandra. Before she began professionally cleaning up their traumas, she experienced her own. First, as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home. Then as a husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, and trophy wife. In each role she played, all Sandra wanted to do was belong.

The Trauma Cleaner is the extraordinary true story of an extraordinary person dedicated to making order out of chaos with compassion, revealing the common ground Sandra Pankhurst―and everyone―shares with those struck by tragedy.

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The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures that some groups consider to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between that divine inspiration and humans.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

organized crime


Upcoming programs:

Sat 7/7 @ 2:30pm – Afternoon Matinee presents “Pillow Talk,” (1959, not rated, 1h 42min)

Tue 7/17 @ 6:30pm – Documentaries After Dark presents “The Glamour & the Squalor,” (2015, not rated, 1h 20min)



Wed 7/18 @ 6:30pm – Arthouse Film series presents “Seven Samurai,” (1954, not rated, 3h 27min)

Fri 7/20 @ 5pm – Ages 21+ only, Standing Room Only presents Chopped: Vintage Recipe Edition, registration required to amandaw@bham.lib.al.us

Tue 7/24 @ 6:30pm – Birmingham Arts Journal new issue release party

Tue 7/24 @ 6:30pm – Genre Reading Group Summer Salon Discussion: Book of Choice



The Genre Reading Group met this week to discuss nonfiction on organized crime.

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No one had ever tried a caper like this before. The goods were kept in a secure room under constant scrutiny, deep inside a crowded building with guards at the exits. The team picked for the job included two old hands known only as Paul and Swede, but all depended on a fresh face, a kid from Pinetown, North Carolina. In the Depression, some fellows were willing to try anything -- even a heist in the rare book room of the New York Public Library.

In Thieves of Book Row, Travis McDade tells the gripping tale of the worst book-theft ring in American history, and the intrepid detective who brought it down. Author of The Book Thief and a curator of rare books, McDade transforms painstaking research into a rich portrait of Manhattan's Book Row in the 1920s and '30s, where organized crime met America's cultural treasures in dark and crowded shops along gritty Fourth Avenue. Dealers such as Harry Gold, a tough native of the Lower East Side, became experts in recognizing the value of books and recruiting a pool of thieves to steal them -- many of them unemployed men who drifted up the Bowery or huddled around fires in Central Park's shantytowns. When Paul and Swede brought a new recruit into his shop, Gold trained him for the biggest score yet: a first edition of Edgar Allan Poe's Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems. Gold's recruit cased the rare-book room for weeks, searching for a weakness. When he found one, he struck, leading to a breathtaking game of wits between Gold and NYPL special investigator G. William Bergquist. Both a fast-paced, true-life thriller, Thieves of Book Row provides a fascinating look at the history of crime and literary culture.

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William Hazelgrove provides the exciting and sprawling history behind the 1933 World's Fair, the last of the golden age. He reveals the story of the six millionaire businessmen, dubbed The Secret Six, who beat Al Capone at his own game, ending the gangster era as prohibition was repealed. The story of an intriguing woman, Sally Rand, who embodied the World's Fair with her own rags to riches story and brought sex into the open. The story of Rufus and Charles Dawes who gave the fair a theme and then found financing in the worst economic times the country had ever experienced. The story of the most corrupt mayor of Chicago, William Thompson, who owed his election to Al Capone; and the mayor who followed him, Anton Cermak, who was murdered months before the fair opened by an assassin many said was hired by Al Capone. But most of all it’s the story about a city fighting for survival in the darkest of times; and a shining light of hope called A Century of Progress.

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Catering to lovers of the well-written word and the well-mixed drink, Cocktail Noir is a lively look at the intertwining of alcohol and the underworld―represented by authors of crime both true and fictional and their glamorously disreputable characters, as well as by real life gangsters who built Prohibition-era empires on bootlegged booze. It celebrates the potent potables they imbibed and the watering holes they frequented, including some bars that continue to provide a second home for crime writers. Highlighting the favorite drinks of Noir scribes, the book includes recipes for cocktails such as the Gimlet described in Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, the Mojito Mulatta T.J. English drank while writing Havana Nocturne and the Dirty Martini favored by mob chronicler Christian Cipollini

Cocktail Noir also lets us in on the drinking habits of notorious organized crime figures, revealing Al Capone’s taste for Templeton Rye, Meyer Lansky’s preference for Dewar’s Scotch and Gambino family hit man Charles Carneglia’s habit of guzzling Cutty Sark. With black and white illustrations throughout, Cocktail Noir is as stylish and irreverent as the drinks, often larger-than-life figures and culture it explores. 

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In Spam Nation, investigative journalist and cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs unmasks the criminal masterminds driving some of the biggest spam and hacker operations targeting Americans and their bank accounts. Tracing the rise, fall, and alarming resurrection of the digital mafia behind the two largest spam pharmacies-and countless viruses, phishing, and spyware attacks-he delivers the first definitive narrative of the global spam problem and its threat to consumers everywhere.

Blending cutting-edge research, investigative reporting, and firsthand interviews, this terrifying true story reveals how we unwittingly invite these digital thieves into our lives every day. From unassuming computer programmers right next door to digital mobsters like "Cosma"-who unleashed a massive malware attack that has stolen thousands of Americans' logins and passwords-Krebs uncovers the shocking lengths to which these people will go to profit from our data and our wallets.

Not only are hundreds of thousands of Americans exposing themselves to fraud and dangerously toxic products from rogue online pharmacies, but even those who never open junk messages are at risk. As Krebs notes, spammers can-and do-hack into accounts through these emails, harvest personal information like usernames and passwords, and sell them on the digital black market. The fallout from this global epidemic doesn't just cost consumers and companies billions, it costs lives too.
Fast-paced and utterly gripping, Spam Nation ultimately proposes concrete solutions for protecting ourselves online and stemming this tidal wave of cybercrime-before it's too late.

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In an era that witnessed the rise of celebrity outlaws like Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger was the most famous and flamboyant of them all. Reports on the man and his misdeeds--spiced with accounts of his swashbuckling bravado and cool daring--provided an America worn down by the Great Depression with a salacious mix of sex and violence that proved irresistible. 

In Dillinger's Wild Ride, Elliott J. Gorn provides a riveting account of the year between 1933 and 1934, when the Dillinger gang pulled over a dozen bank jobs, and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars. A dozen men--police, FBI agents, gangsters, and civilians--lost their lives in the rampage, and American newspapers breathlessly followed every shooting and jail-break. As Dillinger's wild year unfolded, the tale grew larger and larger in newspapers and newsreels, and even today, Dillinger is the subject of pulp literature, serious poetry and fiction, and films, including a movie starring Johnny Depp. What is the power of his story? Why has it lingered so long? Who was John Dillinger? 

Gorn illuminates the significance of Dillinger's tremendous fame and the endurance of his legacy, arguing that he represented an American fascination with primitive freedom against social convention. Dillinger's story has much to tell us about our enduring fascination with outlaws, crime and violence, about the complexity of our transition from rural to urban life, and about the transformation of America during the Great Depression. Dillinger's Wild Ride is a compulsively readable story with an unforgettable protagonist.

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During Prohibition, while Al Capone was rising to worldwide prominence as Public Enemy Number One, the townspeople of rural Templeton, Iowa—population just 428—were busy with a bootlegging empire of their own. Led by Joe Irlbeck, the whip-smart and gregarious son of a Bavarian immigrant, the outfit of farmers, small merchants, and even the church monsignor worked together to create a whiskey so excellent it was ordered by name: "Templeton rye."

Just as Al Capone had Eliot Ness, Templeton’s bootleggers had as their own enemy a respected Prohibition agent from the adjacent county named Benjamin Franklin Wilson. Wilson was ardent in his fight against alcohol, and he chased Irlbeck for over a decade. But Irlbeck was not Capone, and Templeton would not be ruled by violence like Chicago.

Gentlemen Bootleggers tells a never-before-told tale of ingenuity, bootstrapping, and perseverance in one small town, showcasing a group of immigrants and first-generation Americans who embraced the ideals of self-reliance, dynamism, and democratic justice. It relies on previously classified Prohibition Bureau investigation files, federal court case files, extensive newspaper archive research, and a recently disclosed interview with kingpin Joe Irlbeck. Unlike other Prohibition-era tales of big-city gangsters, it provides an important reminder that bootlegging wasn’t only about glory and riches, but could be in the service of a higher goal: producing the best whiskey money could buy.



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

graphic novels


Upcoming Adult Summer Reading programs:

Tuesday, June 12 @ 6:30pm – Bob Ross Paint Party

Wednesday, June 13 @ 12:30pm – Summer Book Preview with Katie and Holley

Friday, June 15 @ 10am – Yoga & Poetry with Marie Blair

Tuesday, June 19 @ 6:30pm – Documentaries After Dark presents “Alive & Kicking,” a film about swing dancing

Wednesday, June 20 @ 6:30pm – Art House Film Series presents “Summer with Monika”

Tuesday, June 26 @ 6:30pm – Genre Reading Group: Mob/Mafia

Thursday, June 28 @ 6:30pm – Lost & Found 20th Century Classics bookclub discussing “Pictures from an Institution” by Randall Jarrell and “Stoner” by John Williams

This week, the Genre Reading Group met to discuss graphic novels.

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#1 New York Times Bestseller
2014 National Book Award Finalist
Winner of the inaugural 2014 Kirkus Prize in nonfiction
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Winner of the 2014 Books for a Better Life Award
Winner of the 2015 Reuben Award from National Cartoonists Society

In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.
While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies--an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades--the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.
An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant shows the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller.

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Diana Gabaldon’s brilliant storytelling has captivated millions of readers in her bestselling and award-winning Outlander saga. Now, in her first-ever graphic novel, Gabaldon gives readers a fresh look at the events of the original Outlander: Jamie Fraser’s side of the story, gorgeously rendered by artist Hoang Nguyen.

After too long an absence, Jamie Fraser is coming home to Scotland—but not without great trepidation. Though his beloved godfather, Murtagh, promised Jamie’s late parents he’d watch over their brash son, making good on that vow will be no easy task. There’s already a fat bounty on the young exile’s head, courtesy of Captain Black Jack Randall, the sadistic British officer who’s crossed paths—and swords—with Jamie in the past. And in the court of the mighty MacKenzie clan, Jamie is a pawn in the power struggle between his uncles: aging chieftain Colum, who demands his nephew’s loyalty—or his life—and Dougal, war chieftain of Clan MacKenzie, who’d sooner see Jamie put to the sword than anointed Colum’s heir.

And then there is Claire Randall—mysterious, beautiful, and strong-willed, who appears in Jamie’s life to stir his compassion . . . and arouse his desire.

But even as Jamie’s heart draws him to Claire, Murtagh is certain she’s been sent by the Old Ones, and Captain Randall accuses her of being a spy. Claire clearly has something to hide, though Jamie can’t believe she could pose him any danger. Still, he knows she is torn between two choices—a life with him, and whatever it is that draws her thoughts so often elsewhere.
   
Step into the captivating, passionate, and suspenseful world of The Exile, and experience the storytelling magic of Diana Gabaldon as never before.

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Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

--Winner of the 2013 Hugo award for Best Graphic Story!
--When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. 
--From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.
--This specially priced volume collects the first six issues of the smash-hit series The Onion A.V. Club calls "the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make."
--Voted one of the top graphic novels of the year by the NYT, IGN, the Examiner, and SF Weekly. ------Voted Best Comic of the year by MTV Geek and Best New Series by Paradox Comics. Voted a finalist in the GoodReads Best GN of 2012 contest.
--Named one of Time Magazine's top 10 graphic novels for 2013

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How to Pass as Human by Nic Kelman

How to Pass as Human is an attempt on the part of the world's first android to understand the irrational, unpredictable, eclectic creatures known as human beings. Written in the form of a field guide, complete with sketches, graphs, flowcharts, and other reference materials, Android Zero (aka "Zach") has compiled a variety of useful information for future androids on how to pass undetected as human beings. Along the way, he also attempts to solve the mystery of his own creation with the help of Andrea, a human female who has taken an interest in him that may be more than friendly, and eventually leading him to "meet his maker" and discover the surprising purpose of his existence.

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everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too is the illustrated story of a lonely alien sent to observe Earth, only to meet all sorts of creatures with all sorts of perspectives on life, love, and happiness, all while learning to feel a little better about being an alien—based on the enormously popular Twitter account, @jonnysun.

Here is the unforgettable story of Jomny, a lonely alien who, for the first time ever, finds a home on our planet after learning that earthlings can feel lonely too. Jomny finds friendship in a bear tired of other creatures running away in fear, an egg struggling to decide what to hatch into, an owl working its way to being wise, a tree feeling stuck in one place, a tadpole coming to terms with turning into a frog, a dying ghost, a puppy unable to express itself, and many more.

Through this story of a lost, lonely and confused alien finding friendship, acceptance, and love among the creatures of Earth, we will all learn how to be a little more human. And for all of us earth-bound creatures here on this planet, we can all be reminded that sometimes, it takes an outsider to help us see ourselves for who we truly are.

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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Andre Roussimoff is known as both the lovable giant in The Princess Bride and a heroic pro-wrestling figure. He was a normal guy who'd been dealt an extraordinary hand in life. At his peak, he weighed 500 pounds and stood nearly seven and a half feet tall. But the huge stature that made his fame also signed his death warrant.

Box Brown brings his great talents as a cartoonist and biographer to this phenomenal new graphic novel. Drawing from historical records about Andre's life as well as a wealth of anecdotes from his colleagues in the wrestling world, including Hulk Hogan, and his film co-stars (Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, etc), Brown has created in Andre the Giant, the first substantive biography of one of the twentieth century's most recognizable figures.

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Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven by Brandon Easton and Denis Medri

"A surprisingly touching narrative that reveals a new side to Andre 'The Giant' Roussimoff. . . . With a voice and tone perfectly matched to Andre's demeanor, Easton's writing brings Andre back to life." - Brutal Gamer

Lion Forge Comics is proud to present this amazing story of a man who turned a curse into a blessing. Written by 2014 Eisner Award-nominee Brandon M. Easton with gorgeous artwork by Denis Medri, this unprecedented biography of Andre the Giant charts his earliest days on his family's farm, to his enormously successful runs in Japan, to his heated feuds with the biggest wrestling stars of all time, to his memorable turns in Hollywood TV and cinema and to his darkest moments caused by excessive substance abuse. Based on testimony from Andre's friends and colleagues - including his daughter Robin - this is the story you've never been told about Andre "the Giant" Roussimoff.

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The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a literary bottle rocket—loaded with whimsy, pizzazz, and heart.”
—Adriana Trigiani

“Is it possible that I have just read/experienced/devoured the most delightful book ever published? Do not argue with me: There is magic here and genius.”
—Elinor Lipman

“A ripping yarn of emancipated girlish adventure.”
—Audrey Niffenegger

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a visually stunning, totally unique, full-color novel in the form of a scrapbook, set in the burgeoning bohemian culture of the 1920s and featuring an endearing, unforgettable heroine. Caroline Preston, author of the New York Times Notable Book Jackie by Josie, uses a kaleidoscopic array of vintage memorabilia—postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus and more—to tell the tale of spirited and ambitious Frankie’s remarkable odyssey from Vassar to Greenwich Village to Paris, in a manner that will delight crafters, historical fiction fans, and anyone who loves a good coming-of-age story ingeniously told.

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Josephine Baker by Jose-Luis Bocquet and Catel Muller

Josephine Baker (1906–1975) was nineteen years old when she found herself in Paris for the first time in 1925. Overnight, the young American dancer became the idol of the Roaring Twenties, captivating Picasso, Cocteau, Le Corbusier, and Simenon. In the liberating atmosphere of the 1930s, Baker rose to fame as the first black star on the world stage, from London to Vienna, Alexandria to Buenos Aires. After World War II, and her time in the French Resistance, Baker devoted herself to the struggle against racial segregation, publicly battling the humiliations she had for so long suffered personally. She led by example, and over the course of the 1950s adopted twelve orphans of different ethnic backgrounds: a veritable Rainbow Tribe. A victim of racism throughout her life, Josephine Baker would sing of love and liberty until the day she died.

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The Arrival by Shaun Tan

The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope.

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Through the Woods: Stories by Emily Carroll

Discover a terrifying world in the woods in this collection of five hauntingly beautiful graphic stories that includes the online webcomic sensation “His Face All Red,” in print for the first time. Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to “Our Neighbor’s House”—though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold.” You might try to figure out what is haunting “My Friend Janna,” or discover that your brother’s fiancée may not be what she seems in “The Nesting Place.” And of course you must revisit the horror of “His Face All Red,” the breakout webcomic hit that has been gorgeously translated to the printed page. Already revered for her work online, award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll’s stunning visual style and impeccable pacing is on grand display in this entrancing anthology, her print debut.

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The Road by Cormac McCarthy

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
A New York Times Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year
The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Denver Post, The Kansas City Star, Los Angeles Times, New York, People, Rocky Mountain News, Time, The Village Voice, The Washington Post

The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

TV and Film


Get your calendars out and mark these events down in PEN!

Each Tuesday through May 15 @ 10am – Gentle Yoga with Marie Blair

Saturday, April 28 @ 3pm – Cross stich Bookmarks, supplies provided and no experience necessary

Friday, May 4 @ 6:30pm – All Ages Star Wars party: trivia, Cantina band, costume contest, and more

Thursday, May 10 @ 6:30pm – UAB Neuroscience Café presents the latest research on multiple sclerosis

Monday, May 14 @ 6:30pm – Community Conversation on Aging discussing patient advocacy

Sunday, May 20 @ 3pm – Sign your family up for the Library’s summer reading programs!  Fun activities all summer for adults, teens, and children! Carnival and Fun Run @ 3pm

Wednesday, May 23 @ 6:30pm – Art House Film Series presents “Purple Noon”

Saturday-Monday, May 26-28 – The Library is closed in observance of Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 29 – The Library begins Summer Hours (Mon, Wed, Thu 9-6; Tue 9-9; Fri-Sat 9-5; closed Sundays)

Tuesday, May 29 @ 6:30pm – Genre Reading Group meets to discuss graphic novels/comics

Thursday, May 31 @ 6:30pm – Lost & Found Book Club meets to discuss Richard Hughes’ “A High Wind in Jamaica”

This week, the Genre Reading Group met to discuss books about the TV and film industries!

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The instant New York Times bestseller from “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a “relentlessly funny and surprisingly inspirational” (Forbes.com) memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to internet stardom, and embracing her weirdness to find her place in the world.

When Felicia Day was a girl, all she wanted was to connect with other kids (desperately). Growing up in the Deep South, where she was “home-schooled for hippie reasons,” she looked online to find her tribe. The Internet was in its infancy and she became an early adopter at every stage of its growth—finding joy and unlikely friendships in the emerging digital world. Her relative isolation meant that she could pursue passions like gaming, calculus, and 1930’s detective novels without shame. Because she had no idea how “uncool” she really was.

But if it hadn’t been for her strange background—the awkwardness continued when she started college at sixteen, with Mom driving her to campus every day—she might never have had the naïve confidence to forge her own path. Like when she graduated as valedictorian with a math degree and then headed to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting despite having zero contacts. Or when she tired of being typecast as the crazy cat-lady secretary and decided to create her own web series before people in show business understood that online video could be more than just cats chasing laser pointers.

Felicia’s rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influen­tial creators in new media. Ever candid, she opens up about the rough patches along the way, recounting battles with writer’s block, a full-blown gaming addiction, severe anxiety, and depression—and how she reinvented herself when overachieving became overwhelming.

Showcasing Felicia’s “engaging and often hilarious voice” (USA TODAY), You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should celebrate what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit.

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This remarkable journey through the Hammer vault includes props, annotated script pages, unused poster artwork, production designs, rare promotional material and private correspondence. Hundreds of rare and previously unseen stills help to create a rich souvenir of Hammer’s legacy, from the X certificate classics of the 1950s to the studio’s latest productions. This new updated edition includes an extra chapter covering the years 2010 to 2015.

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From Annette Tapert, the coauthor of the popular The Power of Style, comes a book that is just as beautiful and entertaining but that redefines an attribute even more intangible. In word and image, it evokes a unique Hollywood era and eleven of its goddesses who lived, and left as their legacy, the Power of Glamour.
       
When the Glamour Era met the Golden Age of cinema, it cast a spell on a public beaten by the Depression and the threat of war. But the key ingredient in 1930s glamour was personality. Annette Tapert's movie-queen profiles, rich with fresh insights, reach beyond the star-making machinery, fan magazines, fashions, and cosmetics to the essence of each women: the carefully molded image of Gloria Swanson, who started it all . . . Marlene Dietrich's siren persona on and off screen . . . the "reverse glamour" of Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo. Their power--and that of Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard, Norma Shearer, Claudette Colbert, and the long-neglected Kay Francis, Dolores Del Rio, and Constance Bennett--lay in using style, wit, and guile to outsmart the studio system and enchant the world. In these pages we see how, veiled in intrigue and mystery, they brought glamour very close to its original meaning: witchcraft.

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If you recognize the famous Mockingbird Lane address, you probably grew up in the 1960's and never missed a chance to see the Munsters. Now, it's time to rediscover Herman and Lily, Grandpa, Eddie and Marilyn in this entertaining, comprehensive look at the first family of fright. A complete episode guide makes "The Munsters" the must-have companion to watching the series on DVD, while hundreds of rare photographs from the archives of Universal Studios plus interviews with cast and crew reveal the deepest, darkest secrets of the Munster family. Foreword by Yvonne DeCarlo (who played the wife, Lily Munster) and Afterword by Butch Patrick (who played the son, Eddie Munster) are included.

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A celebration of the life and films of one of the most popular and remarkable filmmakers of the last 30 years.

A truly international filmmaker, Tim Burton has carved a reputation as one of the world's greatest creative directors, famed for the visually arresting style of his films that combine with highly original storylines. This stunning treasury explores the influences on his development as a filmmaker and assesses how he has captured the fruits of his imagination on screen.

Illustrated with many behind-the-scenes photographs and stunning film stills, chapters analyze the success and style of films such as Beetlejuice, Ed Wood and Mars Attacks!, and examine how Burton breathed new life into well-known stories that include Batman, Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. as well as his latest films Alice Through the Looking Glass, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and Beetlejuice 2.

Get to the know the man behind classic films such as  Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Brideand Alice in Wonderland and learn more about the iconic filmmaker and his work. A must for any film buffs!

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Dark Shadows by Harry M. Benshoff

While supernatural events have become fairly commonplace on daytime television in recent decades, Dark Shadows, which aired on ABC between 1966 and 1971, pioneered this format when it blended the vampires, werewolves, warlocks, and witches of fictional Collinsport, Maine, with standard soap opera fare like alcoholism, jealousy, and tangled love. In this volume, author Harry M. Benshoff examines Dark Shadows, both during its initial run and as an enduring cult phenomenon, to prove that the show was an important precursor-or even progenitor-of today's phenomenally popular gothic and fantasy media franchises like Twilight, Harry Potter, and True Blood.

Benshoff demonstrates that viewers of all ages responded to the haunted world of Dark Shadows, making unlikely stars out of the show's iconic characters-reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins, playboy werewolf Quentin Collins, vengeful witch Angelique DuVal, and vampire hunter Dr. Julia Hoffman. Benshoff explores the cultural and industrial contexts of the mid-1960s that gave rise to Dark Shadows and how the show adapted nineteenth-century gothic novels and twentieth-century horror films into a televised serial format. Benshoff also examines the unique aspects of the show's casting and performance modes, its allure as a camp cult text, and the function of the show's many secondary and tertiary texts-including novels, records, games, comic books, and the two feature films, House of Dark Shadows (1970) and Night of Dark Shadows (1971).

In the years since its cancellation, Dark Shadows' enduring popularity has led to a prime-time NBC remake in the early 1990s, recent talk of a Tim Burton and Johnny Depp feature film, and a popular ongoing fan convention. Benshoff's timely study of Dark Shadows will appeal to fans of the show and all film and television history scholars who are interested in the roots of one of today's most popular genres.

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The Dark Shadows Companion: 25th Anniversary Collection by Kathryn Leigh Scott

(Not available in the JCLC system) The timeless magic of Dark Shadows continues years after the first episode was presented on ABC - TV, June 27, 1966. The Dark Shadows Companion is a special 25th anniversary celebration of the show everyone "ran home from school to watch."

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When CBS cancelled Serling's series, The Twilight Zone, Serling sought a similar concept in Night Gallery in the early 1970s as a new forum for his brand of storytelling, a mosaic of classic horror and fantasy tales. In this work, the authors explore the genesis of the series and provide production detail and behind-the-scenes material. They offer critical commentary and off-screen anecdotes for every episode, complete cast and credit listings, and synopses of all 43 episodes. Also featured are interviews with television personalities including Roddy McDowall, John Astin, Richard Kiley and John Badham.

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J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon are two of the most imaginative and accomplished men in Hollywood. As writers, directors, producers, and series creators, their credits have straddled the mediums of television and film and range across several genres, from science fiction and horror to action and drama. In addition to spearheading original projects like Lost and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, each has also made his mark on some of the most successful franchises in popular culture—from Mission Impossible, Star Trek, and Star Wars (Abrams) to Alien and the Avengers (Whedon). Their output—both oddly similar and yet also wildly different—stand at the heart of twenty-first century film and television.

In J.J. Abrams vs. Joss Whedon, Wendy Sterba compares the parallel careers in film and television of these creative masterminds—pitting one against the other in a light-hearted competition. With in-depth discussions of their works, the author seeks to determine who is the Spielberg (or perhaps the Lucas) of the twenty-first century. The author looks back upon the beginnings of both men’s careers—to Whedon’s stint as a writer on Roseanne to Abrams’ early scripts for films like Regarding Henry—and forward to their most recent blockbusters, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This books also looks at non-fantasy successes (Abrams series Felicity; Whedon’s adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing), as well as commercial failures. At the heart of this study, however, is a tour of their genre-defining hits: Alias and Buffy, Lost and Angel, Super 8 and Serenity along with Whedon’s Avengers films, and Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek adventures.

Filled with sharp-eyed analysis, illuminating anecdotes, and unexpected connections, J.J. Abrams vs. Joss Whedon will appeal to fans of either (or both!) of its subjects, and to any fan of well-told tales of the fantastic, on screens large or small.

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In a career that has spanned more than sixty years Robert Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of television, becoming a beloved star in both media. During that time he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with the remarkable women who were the greatest screen personalities of their day. I Loved Her in the Movies is his intimate and revealing account of the charisma of these women on film, why they became stars, and how their specific emotional and dramatic chemistries affected the choices they made as actresses as well as the choices they made as women.

Among Wagner’s subjects are Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Debra Paget, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, Betty Hutton, Raquel Welch, Glenn Close, and the two actresses whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John. In addition to offering perceptive commentary on these women, Wagner also examines topics such as the strange alchemy of the camera—how it can transform the attractive into the stunning, and vice versa—and how the introduction of color brought a new erotic charge to movies, one that enabled these actresses to become aggressively sexual beings in a way that that black and white films had only hinted at.

Like Wagner’s two previous bestsellers, I Loved Her in the Movies is a privileged look behind the scenes at some of the most well-known women in show business as well as an insightful look at the sexual and romantic attraction that created their magic.

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Believe it or not, America's fascination with celebrity culture was thriving well before the days of TMZ, Perez Hilton, Charlie Sheen's breakdown and allegations against Woody Allen. And the stars of yesteryear? They weren’t always the saints that we make them out to be. BuzzFeed columnist Anne Helen Petersen is here to set the record straight with Scandals of Classic Hollywood. Pulling little-known gems from the archives of film history, Petersen reveals eyebrow-raising information, including:
   •  The smear campaign against the original It Girl, Clara Bow, started by her best friend
   •  The heartbreaking story of Montgomery Clift’s rapid rise to fame, the car accident that destroyed his face, and the “long suicide” that followed
   •  Fatty Arbuckle's descent from Hollywood royalty, fueled by allegations of a boozy orgy turned violent assault
   •  Why Mae West was arrested and jailed for "indecency charges"
   •  And much more
Part biography, part cultural history, these stories cover the stuff that films are made of: love, sex, drugs, illegitimate children, illicit affairs, and botched cover-ups. But it's not all just tawdry gossip in the pages of this book. The stories are all contextualized within the boundaries of film, cultural, political, and gender history, making for a read that will inform as it entertains. Based on Petersen's popular column on the Hairpin, but featuring 100% new content, Scandals of Classic Hollywood is sensationalism made smart.