Thursday, August 10, 2017

Library Snapshot Day


Share the love with Emmet O'Neal Library!  EOL is joining public libraries across the state in participating in “Snapshot Day: One Day in the Life of Alabama Public Libraries” on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 to show how important public libraries and library systems are to the state of Alabama. 

Visit the Library Snapshot Day photobooth on Wednesday, August 16 in the lobby any time from 11am-4pm to have your photo taken and tell us why you love YOUR library!  EOL will compile statistics, patron comments, photographs, and other data chronicling a typical library day. The results at EOL will be added to those of public libraries across Alabama to show how libraries provide invaluable services to Alabama citizens.


The photobooth will be available for selfies all day on Thursday, August 17.  “Snapshot Day: One Day in the Life of Alabama Public Libraries” is a project of the Alabama Public Library Service.

The Emmet O'Neal Library is located at 50 Oak Street, Mountain Brook, AL 35213. For more information, contact Holley at 205-445-1117 or hwesley [at] bham.lib.al.us.

Monday, July 31, 2017

hot books for fall

Two or three times a year, Katie and I (Hi! It's Holley here!) host a presentation of new books to be published about which we and/or publishers are excited.  Our last book preview program was earlier this month and, due to popular demand, we're sharing it with everyone!  Keep in mind, most of these books have not yet been published and may not yet be available to order.  I have included links to the PLJC's catalog, where available!





Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives
The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews
Affections by Rodrigo Hasbun








Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire
Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
Alone: Britain, Churchill, and Dunkirk, Defeat into Victory by Michael Korda
Gorbachev: His Life and Times by William Taubman
Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee
The Vietnam War: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns
A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China 1949 by Kevin Peraino
No Room For Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel by Shimon Peres
President McKinley: Architect of the American Century by Robert W. Merry












Grant by Ron Chernow
Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte
What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism by Dan Rather & Elliot Kirschner
Keep Her Safe by Sophie Hannah
Haunted by James Patterson & James O. Born
Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb
The Blind by A.F. Brady
Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben
The Romanov Ransom by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell
The Saboteur by Andrew Gross
Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris
The Western Star by Craig Johnson
Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed by John Keyse-Walker
Glass Houses by Louise Penny
Murderous Mistral by Cay Rademacher
A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas
A Casualty of War by Charles Todd



The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the US Army to Fight Hitler by Bruce Henderson



Defiance: The Extraordinary Life of Lady Anne Barnard by Stephen Taylor
Rebellion by Molly Patterson
Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind Canvas by Donna Lucey










The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly
Artemis by Andy Weir

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

recommended reading and watching

The summer programming is almost over here at the library, but we are by no means done with fun!  Tuesday, August 1st at 6:30pm is the final program (and fan favorite!) for adult Summer Reading (ages 18 and up) so be sure to mark your calendars for Bad Art Night!  Prizes will be awarded for the absolute worst work of the night J We’ll also be drawing winners for our Grand Prize Baskets.  Dinner will be catered by Taziki’s so come hungry!

Our next Documentaries After Dark evening will be on Tuesday, August 15th at 6:30pm and we’ll be showing Holy Hell.  This film is not rated but is intended for adult audiences.
Here is the description from www.holyhellthedocumentary.com:
"Just out of college, a young filmmaker joins a loving, secretive, and spiritual community led by a charismatic teacher in 1980s West Hollywood. Twenty years later, the group is shockingly torn apart. Told through over two decades of the filmmaker’s archival materials, this is their story." 



EOL, in partnership with Choice Home Care, will host another Community Conversation on Aging on Tuesday, August 22nd at 10am.  This morning session will focus on home health, home care, hospice care, and everything you need to know about choosing, paying for, and handling care options.

Wednesday, August 23rd is the last Art House Film of the summer!  Slow West is the story of a young Scottish man traveling across America in pursuit of the woman he loves, attracting the attention of an outlaw who is willing to serve as a guide.



And last, but certainly not least, our August GRG meeting is on Tuesday the 29th at 6:30 pm and the topic up for discussion is plays and theater.

July’s meeting was one of our biannual Salon Discussions, where there is no assigned topic!

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Twin Peaks (DVD)

(1990)
An idiosyncratic FBI agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the even more idiosyncratic town of Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks: The Return (DVD)
(2017) (The remake is not yet available on DVD)
Picks up 25 years after the inhabitants of a quaint northwestern town are stunned when their homecoming queen is murdered.

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Speak by Louisa Hall
A thoughtful, poignant novel that explores the creation of Artificial Intelligence—illuminating the very human need for communication, connection, and understanding.

In a narrative that spans geography and time, from the Atlantic Ocean in the seventeenth century, to a correctional institute in Texas in the near future, and told from the perspectives of five very different characters, Speak considers what it means to be human, and what it means to be less than fully alive.
A young Puritan woman travels to the New World with her unwanted new husband. Alan Turing, the renowned mathematician and code breaker, writes letters to his best friend’s mother. A Jewish refugee and professor of computer science struggles to reconnect with his increasingly detached wife. An isolated and traumatized young girl exchanges messages with an intelligent software program. A former Silicon Valley Wunderkind is imprisoned for creating illegal lifelike dolls.

Each of these characters is attempting to communicate across gaps—to estranged spouses, lost friends, future readers, or a computer program that may or may not understand them. In dazzling and electrifying prose, Louisa Hall explores how the chasm between computer and human—shrinking rapidly with today’s technological advances—echoes the gaps that exist between ordinary people. Though each speaks from a distinct place and moment in time, all five characters share the need to express themselves while simultaneously wondering if they will ever be heard, or understood.


The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.




Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.

Finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction: “Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”―Michael Agger, Slate

“Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?

Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”―from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer―Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways.

Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic―a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption―and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection.

Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes―Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud dissecting the brains of sea creatures, Nathaniel Hawthorne contemplating the thunderous approach of a steam locomotive―even as it plumbs profound questions about the state of our modern psyche. This is a book that will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds.

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Ticket to Write (DVD) (not available in the library system)
Ticket to Write includes interviews with some of the top music journalists from the 1966-81 era. Ticket to Write truly is a film for those who know almost everything about rock n’ roll.''


Images of America is an ambitious collection of chronicles that accurately capture the essence of what gives each American small town, neighborhood, and downtown its unique flavor. Each one is penned by a seasoned local expert and features hundreds of vintage images, local memories, personal stories, and unique points of view in regards to a variety of iconic events. At present, the series encompasses thousands of volumes and counting.

The books in this series carried by EOL include “Birmingham Broadcasting,” “Birmingham’s Highland Park,” “Birmingham’s Theater and Retail District,” “Mountain Brook,” and “Sloss Furnaces.”

Tim Hollis has written/contributed to several books on local businesses and historic areas including “Birmingham Broadcasting,” “Birmingham’s Theater and Retail District,” “Loveman’s: Meet Me Under the Clock,” “Memories of Downtown Birmingham: Where All the Lights Were Bright,” and “Pizitz: Your Store.”

Pat Conroy’s great success as a writer has always been intimately linked with the exploration of his family history. As the oldest of seven children who were dragged from military base to military base across the South, Pat bore witness to the often cruel and violent behavior of his father, Marine Corps fighter pilot Donald Patrick Conroy. While the publication of The Great Santini brought Pat much acclaim, the rift it caused brought even more attention, fracturing an already battered family. But as Pat tenderly chronicles here, even the oldest of wounds can heal. In the final years of Don Conroy’s life, the Santini unexpectedly refocused his ire to defend his son’s honor.

The Death of Santini is a heart-wrenching act of reckoning whose ultimate conclusion is that love can soften even the meanest of men, lending significance to the oft-quoted line from Pat’s novel The Prince of Tides: “In families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”

Tom Brokaw has led a fortunate life, with a strong marriage and family, many friends, and a brilliant journalism career culminating in his twenty-two years as anchor of the NBC Nightly News and as bestselling author. But in the summer of 2013, when back pain led him to the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, his run of good luck was interrupted. He received shocking news: He had multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer. Friends had always referred to Brokaw’s “lucky star,” but as he writes in this inspiring memoir, “Turns out that star has a dimmer switch.”

Brokaw takes us through all the seasons and stages of this surprising year, the emotions, discoveries, setbacks, and struggles—times of denial, acceptance, turning points, and courage. After his diagnosis, Brokaw began to keep a journal, approaching this new stage of his life in a familiar role: as a journalist, determined to learn as much as he could about his condition, to report the story, and help others facing similar battles. That journal became the basis of this wonderfully written memoir, the story of a man coming to terms with his own mortality, contemplating what means the most to him now, and reflecting on what has meant the most to him throughout his life.

Brokaw also pauses to look back on some of the important moments in his career: memories of Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the morning of September 11, 2001, in New York City, and more. Through it all, Brokaw writes in the warm, intimate, natural voice of one of America’s most beloved journalists, giving us Brokaw on Brokaw, and bringing us with him as he navigates pain, procedures, drug regimens, and physical rehabilitation. Brokaw also writes about the importance of patients taking an active role in their own treatment, and of the vital role of caretakers and coordinated care.

Generous, informative, and deeply human, A Lucky Life Interrupted offers a message of understanding and empowerment, resolve and reality, hope for the future and gratitude for a well-lived life.




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

documentary films

The Genre Discussion Group will not be meeting in June so I’ll see you in July for our first Salon Discussion of the year!  This week we met to discuss documentary films.

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A colorful character who was not only ahead of her time but helped to define it, Peggy Guggenheim was an heiress to her family fortune who became a central figure in the modern art movement. As she moved through the cultural upheaval of the 20th century, she collected not only art, but artists. Her colorful personal history included such figures as Samuel Beckett, Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp as well as countless others. While fighting through personal tragedy, she maintained her vision to build one of the most important collections of modern art, now enshrined in her Venetian palazzo.

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Recovering addict and amputee John Wood finds himself in a stranger-than-fiction battle to reclaim his mummified leg from Southern entrepreneur Shannon Whisnant, who found it in a grill he bought at an auction and believes it to therefore be his rightful property.

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This Sundance Festival sensation has attracted attention because of its jarring images of Amish kids immersed in debauchery: plain-dressed girls in white bonnets slugging back beers and flicking ashes from their cigarettes, boys passing out in the back of pickups after all-night parties, even Amish teens in bed together. But like a good drama, it's the characters themselves and their heartbreaking dilemma that linger in the mind. In the Amish vernacular, "Devil's Playground" refers to the "English" or outside world. The protected teens are suddenly thrust into this world upon their 16th birthday as they begin "Rumspringa," a period during which they decide whether to join the church as adults. Crystallizing this predicament is the 73-minute documentary's most compelling figure, 18-year-old Faron, a preacher's son fighting drug addiction. His earnest intent to return to the church and astonishing articulateness makes his misadventures in the drug underworld and penal system undeniably poignant. --Kimberly Heinrichs

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What if our last act could be a gift to the planet? Musician and psychiatrist Clark Wang prepares for his own green burial in this immersive documentary.  While battling lymphoma, Clark has discovered a burgeoning movement that uses burial to conserve and restore natural areas, forgoing typical funeral practices that stress the ecosystem. Boldly facing his mortality, Clark and his partner Jane have become passionate about green burial, compelled by both the environmental benefits and the idea that one can remain within the cycle of life, rather than being cut off from it. The spirited pair have inspired a compassionate local cemetarian, and together they aim to use green burial to save North Carolina woods from being clear-cut.

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In the early 1960s, Herb & Dorothy Vogel a postal worker and librarian began purchasing the works of unknown Minimalist and Conceptual artists, guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. They proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists. HERB & DOROTHY provides a unique chronicle of the world of contemporary art from two unlikely collectors, whose shared passion and discipline defies stereotypes and redefines what it means to be a patron of the arts.

GENERAL DISCUSSION:

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A PASSION SHARED: WORKS FROM THE DOROTHY AND HERBERT VOGEL COLLECTION MARCH 14, 2010 - JUNE 06, 2010 // JEMISON GALLERIES
In 1992, the Vogels pledged more than 2,000 works to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Staff at the National Gallery then worked with them to make plans for the further dissemination of their collection. In 2008, the Fifty Works for Fifty States initiative was announced, giving 50 works of art to one institution in each of the 50 states. The Birmingham Museum of Art received the gift for Alabama, owing to its “importance as an educational and cultural institution in our region.” This exhibition featured all 50 of the donated works by an international roster of well- and lesser-known artists. It was a great opportunity to see the work of a number of contemporary artists whose work has never before been exhibited in the Southeast.

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The Walter Anderson Museum opened in 1991 and is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the works of Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965). Anderson is celebrated as an American master, whose depictions of the plants, animals, and people of the Gulf Coast have placed him among the foremost of American painters of the Twentieth Century. A visit to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art (WAMA) is an enchanting and unique experience. During a visit to the museum, visitors are offered insight into the artistic vision of Walter as well as his process and the natural environment that inspired him. The museum also strives to preserve and educate the public on the work of Walter's brothers: Peter Anderson (1901-1984), master potter and founder of Shearwater Pottery; and James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998), noted painter and ceramist.

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Birmingham Art Crawl (coming up tomorrow!!!)
Join the Crawl every first Thursday of the month from 5-9 p.m., rain or shine, along 2nd Avenue North surrounding The Pizitz building. Art Crawl is a great way to meet local artists and performers, buy and appreciate their work, and be part of the rapidly growing art scene in Birmingham. An estimated 3,000 art enthusiasts attend each month to support over 75local artists, musicians, and performers.

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One of the most popular albums of all times, Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album "RUMOURS" spent 130 weeks on the U.S. Billboard album chart and won the Album of the Year award at the 1978 Grammy Awards. It has been certified for sales of 19 million albums by the RIAA.  The record almost wasn't made. John and Christine McVie were in the process of seperating, the relationship of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks was on the fritz, and the turmoil between the five members was high. These emotions were channeled into the songwriting process in Sausalito, California that became "RUMOURS". Featuring interviews with Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks, along with the studio engineers and producers, "Rumours" tells the story of the making of this smash album. 

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Rock group U2 travels across the U.S. during their sell-out Joshua Tree tour.

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From BAFTA award--winning director Asif Kapadia (SENNA), AMY is the incredible story of six--time Grammy(R) award winner Amy Winehouse - in her own words. Featuring extensive never-before-seen archival footage and previously unheard tracks, this strikingly modern, moving, and vital film shines a light on the world we live in, in a way that very few can.

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I Am Heath Ledger is a feature length documentary celebrating the life of Heath Ledger: actor, artist and icon. The documentary provides an intimate look at Heath Ledger through the lens of his own camera as he films and often performs in his own personal journey - extravagant in gesture and in action. It was his creative energy and unshakable willingness to take risks that instilled such an extraordinarily deep love and affection in the people that entered his life. Heath's artistic nature and expression set him apart from the Hollywood mainstream, vaulted him to stardom and endeared him to the world.

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In 1942 soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a secret military program was launched to recruit female mathematicians who would become human computers for the US military. Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII shares a story of the women and technology that helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age.

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See the gripping rise of the first all-girl hard rock band, its hopes and dreams, and its eventual disintegration as the result of media belittling, in-fighting and drug use amidst rumors of verbal and emotional abuse by the band's management.

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The Red Pill (not in the PLJC system)
The Red Pill chronicles filmmaker Cassie Jaye's journey following the mysterious and polarizing Men's Rights Movement. The Red Pill explores today's gender war and asks the question "what is the future of gender equality?" Cassie Jaye’s journey exploring an alternate perspective on gender equality, power and privilege forces her and others to question their own beliefs.

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This show takes the viewers across the country and celebrates the funky-looking buildings :from Clam Box in Ipswich, Massachusetts, to Bondurants' Pharmacy in Lexington, Kentucky, to a drug store in the shape of a giant mortar and pestle; and the hot-dog-shaped Tail o' the Pup in West Hollywood, California, and everywhere in between. We'll also visit the Mother Goose house in Kentucky and visit with Bill Griffith, the man behind Zippy the Pinhead cartoon strip.

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It pulls, stretches, bubbles, hardens, crunches, and melts! We eat about 7-billion tons of it yearly. We're talking about Candy--loved by kids and savored by adults. Candy-making evolved from a handmade operation to high-tech mass production. Nowhere is that more apparent than at Hershey's. On a tour of their newest production facility, we learn how they process the cocoa bean. At See's Candy, we see how they make their famous boxed chocolates--on a slightly smaller scale than Hershey's. We get a sweet history lesson at Schimpff's Confectionery, where they still use small kettles, natural flavors, and hand-operated equipment. Then, we visit Jelly Belly, purveyors of the original gourmet jellybean. Saltwater-taffy pullers hypnotize us on our sweet-tooth tour, we gaze at extruders making miles of licorice rope, and watch as nostalgia candy bars Abba-Zaba and Big Hunk get packaged. And in this sugary hour, we digest the latest sensations--gourmet chocolates and scorpion on a stick!

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Toyland takes you inside the high stakes world of the 22 billion dollar toy industry, where fun and fortune awaits those who know how to get inside the mind of a child. Meet the people behind the biggest playthings in history.

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This documentary follows the ups-and-downs of a flock of urban parrots in San Francisco and the aging bohemian who befriends, feeds and names them. Along the way, we meet many unforgettable characters and learn just how wondrously similar the human and animal worlds really are.

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Marjoe Gortner, today known primarily for his acting roles in B-movies, was at one time a boy faith healer and evangelist. Wildly popular in the American South, he could fill huge tent revival meetings with his promises of eternal salvation and healing. What the people who came to his meetings didn't know, and what this documentary shows, is that he was a fake who was used by others to make money.

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The bearded-face of Burt's Bees, a pioneering company in all-natural personal care, is not an imagined icon slapped onto distinctive yellow packaging, but the likeness of founder Burt Shavitz. Documentarian Jody Shapiro (How to Start Your Own Country) draws an intimate portrait of the lesser-known man behind the brand in Burt s Buzz. The project, suggested and produced by Isabella Rossellini, never exoticizes the 76-year old recluse, but thoughtfully approaches his contradictory public and private life. Hardly resting on the unaided appeal of his strangely charming subject, Shapiro frames emotion and wry humor with subtlety to create a layered, lively documentary.

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During an adventure spanning two years and two countries, two mega-fans of “A Christmas Story” set out to discover all the film’s shooting locations. Along the way they uncover forgotten facts, discover little-known locations and recover long-lost movie memorabilia.

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Page One deftly gains unprecedented access to The New York Times newsroom and the inner workings of the Media Desk. With the Internet surpassing print as the main news source and newspapers all over the country going bankrupt, PAGE ONE chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its time of greatest turmoil. It gives us an up-close look at the vibrant cross-cubicle debates and collaborations, tenacious jockeying for on-the-record quotes, and skillful page-one pitching that produce the daily miracle of a great news organization. What emerges is a nuanced portrait of journalists continuing to produce extraordinary work under increasingly difficult circumstances. At the heart of the film is the burning question on the minds of everyone who cares about a rigorous American press, Times lover or not: what will happen if the fast-moving future of media leaves behind the fact-based, original reporting that helps to define our society?

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The meaning of art itself comes into question in this documentary about Shelby Lee Adams' controversial photos of families in Appalachia.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

the work of John LeCarré

Upcoming programs:

Thursday, May 11 @ 6:30pm – Neuroscience Café presents: the latest in Alzheimer’s research

Saturday, May 13 @ 2pm – Community Conversation on Aging sponsored by Choice Home Care

Sunday, May 21 @ 3pm – Summer Reading Program kickoff, all ages

Wednesday, May 24 @ 6:30pm – Foreign Film Series presents: A Woman is a Woman

Saturday-Monday, May 27-29 – The Library is closed in observance of Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 30 @ 6:30pm – Genre Reading Group: Documentary Films

This week, GRG met for a discussion of the work of famed espionage author John LeCarré.  LeCarré, the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, was born on October 19, 1931 in Dorset, England.  An agent during the Cold War in both MI5 and MI6, he abandoned spycraft after his third novel, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, to focus on his writing full-time and he is still working!

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Hailed everywhere as a masterpiece of suspense, John le Carre's return to Africa is the story of Bruno Salvador (aka Salvo), the 25-year-old orphaned love child of an Irish missionary and a Congolese woman. Quickly rising to the top of his profession as an interpreter, Salvo is dispatched by British Intelligence to a top-secret meeting between Western financiers and East Congolese warlords, where he hears things not intended for his ears--and is forced to interpret matters never intended for his reawakened African conscience. By turns thriller, love story, and comic allegory of our times, The Mission Song recounts Salvo's heroically naive journey out of the dark of Western hypocrisy and into the heart of lightness.

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On holiday in Mykonos, Charlie wants only sunny days and a brief escape from England’s bourgeois dreariness. Then a handsome stranger lures the aspiring actress away from her pals—but his intentions are far from romantic. Joseph is an Israeli intelligence officer, and Charlie has been wooed to flush out the leader of a Palestinian terrorist group responsible for a string of deadly bombings. Still uncertain of her own allegiances, she debuts in the role of a lifetime as a double agent in the “theatre of the real.” Haunting and deeply atmospheric, John le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl is a virtuoso performance and a powerful examination of morality and justice.

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Little Drummer Girl (film) (NOT AVAILABLE IN THE PLJC SYSTEM)
Based on John Le Carré's novel by the same name, this story about Charlie (Diane Keaton) a female double agent working between the Palestinians and Israelis, loses some of the excitement and in-depth characterization engendered by the long novel -- mainly because the novel is hard to capture in a two-hour filmed format. But the action itself carries viewers along as Charlie ends up leaving England and her job as an actress in a Brit repertory company to meet Kurtz (Klaus Kinski) in Greece who recruits her as a spy. Charlie later has to handle her own emotions when she gets romantically involved with her Israeli contact (Yorgo Voyagis), though events move her quickly along to a Palestinian military camp near Beirut. Once she has passed herself off as a reliable Palestinian agent and completed her military training at the camp, she goes to Germany to hunt down a Palestinian terrorist (Sami Frey). Filled with a multitude of characters and locations, not to mention camera shots, the intensity of this story is dissipated somewhat by literally and figuratively covering a lot of territory, though the thread of the story itself is never lost.
Rating: R
Directed By: George Roy Hill
In Theaters: Oct 19, 1984
Runtime: 123 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

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In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse—a desk job—Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered and dissolute ex-agent, Leamas is set up to trap Mundt, the deputy director of the East German Intelligence Service—with himself as the bait. In the background is George Smiley, ready to make the game play out just as Control wants. Setting a standard that has never been surpassed, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a devastating tale of duplicity and espionage.

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Based on the novel by John Le Carre, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold stars Richard Burton as a dispirited, end-of-tether British secret agent. He comes in from "the cold" (meaning he is pulled out of field operations) to act as a undercover man behind the Iron Curtain. To make his staged defection seem genuine, Burton goes on an alcoholic toot and is imprisoned and publicly humiliated. Once he has been accepted into East German espionage circles, Burton discovers that what he thought was his mission was a mere subterfuge--and that he's been set up as a pawn for an entirely different operation. Though Ireland and England "stand in" for East Berlin, Spy Who Came In From the Cold has the air of authenticity throughout, thanks in great part to the bleak black and white photography by Oswald Morris. The film was condemned as incomprehensible by those filmgoers accustomed to the simplistic melodramatics of James Bond; seen today, the double-crosses and double-double crosses seem all too clear and credible.
Rating: NR
Directed By: Martin Ritt
In Theaters:  Jan 1, 1965
Runtime:  112 minutes
Studio:  Paramount Pictures

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John le Carré, the legendary author of sophisticated spy thrillers, is at the top of his game in this classic novel of a world in chaos. With the Cold War over, a new era of espionage has begun. In the power vacuum left by the Soviet Union, arms dealers and drug smugglers have risen to immense influence and wealth. The sinister master of them all is Richard Onslow Roper, the charming, ruthless Englishman whose operation seems untouchable. Slipping into this maze of peril is Jonathan Pine, a former British soldier who’s currently the night manager of a posh hotel in Zurich. Having learned to hate and fear Roper more than any man on earth, Pine is willing to do whatever it takes to help the agents at Whitehall bring him down—and personal vengeance is only part of the reason why.

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Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), a former British soldier turned night manager in a luxury hotel in Cairo, ends up in possession of confidential documents about illegal weapon trades, and turns them into the International Enforcement Agency in London. A few years later, while working in Switzerland, he is recruited by Angela Burr (Olivia Colman), an intelligence officer who's investigating Richard Onslow Roper (Hugh Laurie), a corrupt businessman with ties to the secret arms trade. While trying to infiltrate Roper's organization, Pine has to deal with his attraction for Roper's girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki), his constant disagreement with Roper's associate Corkoran (Tom Hollander), and the fact that the whole operation is being kept secret from parts of the intelligence agency for fear of being shut down. The spy drama is based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré.
Network: AMC
Premiere Date: Apr 19, 2016

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Tessa Quayle has been horribly murdered on the shores of Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya, the birthplace of mankind. Her putative African lover, a doctor with one of the aid agencies, has disappeared. Her husband, Justin, a career diplomat and amateur gardener at the British High Commission in Nairobi, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of the killers and their motive. His quest takes him to the Foreign Office in London, across Europe and Canada and back to Africa, to the depths of South Sudan, and finally to the very spot where Tessa died. On his way Justin meets terror, violence, laughter, conspiracy and knowledge. But his greatest discovery is the woman he barely had time to love.

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When a British diplomat's wife -- a socially-conscious lawyer -- turns up dead in Kenya, he sets out to find the truth surrounding her murder. In the process, he finds out that his wife had been compiling data against a multinational drug company that uses helpless Africans as guinea pigs to test a tuberculosis remedy with unfortunately fatal side effects. Therefore, those who may have had the most reason to silence her are closer to home than he ever imagined.
Rating: R (for language, some violent images and sexual content/nudity)
Directed By: Fernando Meirelles
In Theaters: Aug 31, 2005
Runtime: 128 minutes
Studio: Focus Features

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From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. 

In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive, reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he's writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire or the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth; visiting Rwanda’s museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide; celebrating New Year’s Eve 1982 with Yasser Arafat and his high command; interviewing a German woman terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev; listening to the wisdoms of the great physicist, dissident, and Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov; meeting with two former heads of the KGB; watching Alec Guinness prepare for his role as George Smiley in the legendary BBC TV adaptations of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People; or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in The Constant Gardener, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humor, now making us laugh out loud, now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood. Best of all, le Carré gives us a glimpse of a writer’s journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.

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The man he knew as "Control" is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn't quite ready for retirement—especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla—his Moscow Centre nemesis—and sets a trap to catch the traitor.

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Based on the classic novel of the same name, the international thriller is set at the height of the Cold War years of the mid-20th Century. George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government - which fears that the British Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI-6, has been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets. -- (C) Focus Features
Rating: R (for violence, some sexuality/nudity and language)
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson
In Theaters: Dec 9, 2011
Runtime: 128 minutes
Studio: Focus Features

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He is Harry Pendel: Exclusive tailor to Panama’s most powerful men. Informant to British Intelligence. The perfect spy in a country rife with corruption and revolution. What his “handlers” don’t realize is that Harry has a hidden agenda of his own. Deceiving his friends, his wife, and practically himself, he’ll weave a plot so fabulous it exceeds his own vivid imagination. But when events start to spin out of control, Harry is suddenly in over his head—thrown into a lethal maze of politics and espionage, with unthinkable consequences. . . 

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The Tailor of Panama (film) (NOT AVAILABLE IN PLJC SYSTEM)
Harry Pendel, a Cockney ex-con who has reinvented himself as a popular tailor to the rich and powerful of Panama, is famous for his storytelling as well as his suits-but this time, his tales carry lethal repercussions. Preyed upon by ruthless, seductive British spy Osnard, Harry spins a yarn that inadvertently sets off a series of events to destroy everything he values most in his life.
Rating: R (for strong sexuality, language and some violence)
Directed By: John Boorman
In Theaters: Mar 30, 2001
Runtime: 110 minutes
Studio:  Columbia Pictures

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An omnibus edition of le Carré's first two novels Call for the Dead (1961) and A Murder of Quality (1962). The omnibus, about George Smiley, was released after his third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963).

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Call For the Dead: George Smiley is no one's idea of a spy—which is perhaps why he's such a natural. But Smiley apparently made a mistake. After a routine security interview, he concluded that the affable Samuel Fennan had nothing to hide. Why, then, did the man from the Foreign Office shoot himself in the head only hours later? Or did he? The heart-stopping tale of intrigue that launched both novelist and spy, Call for the Dead is an essential introduction to le Carré's chillingly amoral universe.

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A Murder of Quality: John le Carré's second novel offers an exquisite, satirical look at an elite private school as it chronicles the early development of George Smiley. Miss Ailsa Brimley is in a quandary. She's received a peculiar letter from Mrs. Stella Rode, saying that she fears her husband—an assistant master at Carne School—is trying to kill her. Reluctant to go to the police, Miss Brimley calls upon her old wartime colleague, George Smiley. Unfortunately, it's too late. Mrs. Rode has just been murdered. As Smiley takes up the investigation, he realizes that in life—as in espionage—nothing is quite what it appears.

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A murder investigation at a cloistered boy's school is the subject of this British made-for-television adaptation of John Le Carre's novel. Le Carre's famous detective-hero George Smiley (Denholm Elliott) returns from retirement to look for answers in a mysterious murder at a boarding school, where secret societies, rituals and abuse are the norm.
Rating: NR
Directed By: Gavin Millar
In Theaters: Jan 1, 1991
Runtime: 103 minutes

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The mole has been eliminated, but the damage wrought has brought the British Secret Service to its knees. Given the charge of the gravely compromised Circus, George Smiley embarks on a campaign to uncover what Moscow Centre most wants to hide. When the trail goes cold at a Hong Kong gold seam, Smiley dispatches Gerald Westerby to shake the money tree. A part-time operative with cover as a philandering journalist, Westerby insinuates himself into a war-torn world where allegiances—and lives—are bought and sold. Brilliantly plotted and morally complex, The Honourable Schoolboy is the second installment of John le Carré's renowned Karla triology and a riveting portrayal of postcolonial espionage.

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A very junior agent answers Vladimir’s call, but it could have been the Chief of the Circus himself. No one at the British Secret Service considers the old spy to be anything except a senile has-been who can’t give up the game—until he’s shot in the face at point-blank range. Although George Smiley (code name: Max) is officially retired, he’s summoned to identify the body now bearing Moscow Centre’s bloody imprimatur. As he works to unearth his friend’s fatal secrets, Smiley heads inexorably toward one final reckoning with Karla—his dark “grail.” In Smiley’s People, master storyteller and New York Times bestselling author of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Our Kind of Traitor John le Carré brings his acclaimed Karla Trilogy, to its unforgettable, spellbinding conclusion.

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Over the course of his seemingly irreproachable life, Magnus Pym has been all things to all people: a devoted family man, a trusted colleague, a loyal friend—and the perfect spy. But in the wake of his estranged father’s death, Magnus vanishes, and the British Secret Service is up in arms. Is it grief, or is the reason for his disappearance more sinister? And who is the mysterious man with the sad moustache who also seems to be looking for Magnus? In A Perfect Spy, John le Carré has crafted one of his crowning masterpieces, interweaving a moving and unusual coming-of-age story with a morally tangled chronicle of modern espionage.

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This spy outing hones in on secret agent Magnus Pym (Peter Egan). Having impersonated so many different people during his career as a British spy, Pym eventually lost track of who he really was -- a confusion compounded by the fact that he knew nothing of his actual past. Ultimately feeling that he could trust no one -- not even his so-called friends -- Pym turned his back on the British and began trading secrets with the Enemy. Filmed on location in England, Europe, and the U.S., the seven-episode A Perfect Spy originally aired in the U.K. in 1988. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rating: NR
On DVD: Sep 25, 2000
Runtime: 390 minutes

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A corporate lawyer from the House of Single & Single is shot dead in cold blood on a Turkish hillside. A children's entertainer in Devon is hauled to his local bank late at night to explain a monumental influx of cash. A Russian freighter is arrested in the Black Sea. A celebrated London financier has disappeared into thin air. A British customs officer is on a trail of corruption and murder. The logical connection of these events is one of the many pleasures of this extraordinary new novel of love, deceit and the triumph of humanity. Single & Single is a thrilling journey of the human heart - intimate, magical and riotous, revealing le Carre at the height of his dramatic and creative powers.