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MPPL's staff blog about books, movies, music and the talent behind them.

Fiction: The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus

Cover of The Flame Alphabet

 

The sounds of children’s voices have become lethal to adults.

 

In order to survive, Sam and Claire must flee from their only child, Esther. Resigned yet determined, Sam pursues a cure as he reflects on the crumbling of civilization as America once knew. The Flame Alphabet is filled with a certain kind of horror where children become the enemy, yet is also layered with the relentless beauty of a father stubbornly fighting to keep his family together. Ben Marcus’ stunning and cadenced writing only adds emphasis to what is truly at the core of this bleak dystopian: the power and splendor of language in its ability to hurt and heal.

Staff Pick: Upstream Color

Picture of JohnUpstream Color unfolds in an elliptical manner, inviting viewers to deduce the narrative with limited dialogue and an absence of exposition.  However, it would be a mistake to dismiss this as some gimmicky puzzle film:  Amy Seimetz’s outstanding lead performance reveals the powerful emotional heart at the center of this ecological sci-fi love story.

Fiction: Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift

Wish You Were Here book cover“Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them,” George Eliot wrote. “They know all our penitence, all our aching sense that their place is empty.”

The truth of these words scalds the characters of Man Booker Prize winner Graham Swift’s Wish You Were Here. When Jack receives word from the Ministry of Defence that his younger brother Tom was killed in Iraq, he must make arrangements to bring his remains back home to the Isle of Wight. This task forces Jack to confront complicated feelings toward not only his brother’s death but also his father’s, and the weight takes a toll on his relationships with the living as well. Evocative, slow-burning, and complex, this deceptively quiet novel depicts with graceful melancholy the relationships that haunt and enrich us.

2015 Audie Award Finalists

The Audie Awards: 150 finalists and only 30 winners. On Thursday, May 28th the Audio Publishers Association will declare which exceptional audiobooks will be crowned Audie Winners for 2015. Enjoy a taste of the finalists below, and stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk on the second floor to let us know who you think should win this year’s Audie Awards! The categories and finalists below only scratch the surface, so make sure to peruse the other categories. The Awards Gala hosted by Jack Gantos will be Livestreamed on Thursday, starting at 6:30pm.

Fiction

Cover of Us
Us

by David Nicholls

Cover of Written in My Own Heart's Blood
Written in My Own Hearts Blood

by Diana Gabaldon

Cover of The Invention of Wings
The Invention of Wings

by Sue Monk Kidd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonfiction

Cover of Furious Cool
Furious Cool

by David Henry and Joe Henry

Cover of Being Mortal
Being Mortal

by Atul Gawande

Cover of Deep Down Dark
Deep Down Dark

by Hector Tobar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasy

Cover of The Queen of the Tearling
The Queen of Tearling

by Erika Johansen

Cover of Cress
Cress

by Marissa Meyer

Cover of The Emperor's Blades
The Emperor’s Blades

by Brian Staveley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History

Cover of Enduring Courage
Enduring Courage

by John F. Ross

Cover of In the Kingdom of Ice
In the Kingdom of Ice

by Hampton Sides

Cover of A Spy Among Friends
A Spy Among Friends

by Ben Macintyre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humor

Cover of You Can Date Boys When You're Forty
You Can Date Boys When
You’re Forty

by Dave Barry

Cover of The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist

by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

Cover of Food: A Love Story
Food: A Love Story

by Jim Gaffigan

Movies and TV: The Paradise

Cover of The ParadiseIt’s 1890. Britain’s first department store, The Paradise, has opened up on the streets of Newcastle led by the ambitious Mr. John Moray. Coming from poverty with big dreams and bigger ideas, Denise has begun work as a shopgirl in the dress department at the store. While her innovative ideas make a splash, drawing attention from Moray himself, the road isn’t easy for Denise as she navigates a jealous peer, a fearful boss, and divided loyalties. The Paradise is a Victorian drama filled with swirling secrets, majestic dresses, matters of the heart and fierce competition where nothing is too grandiose.

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