Month: June 2011

Check It Out Blog

Flip a Coin

Problem #1:  You discover a headless corpse in your backyard.  Problem #2: Calling the cops isn’t an option, because you make a living by growing marijuana.  What do you do?  If you are siblings Paul and Lacey Hansen, you draw on what you’ve learned from watching TV and dispose of the body yourself.  Problem #3:  A few days later, it’s back on your lawn.  Uh oh.  Heads You Lose, the latest from the hilarious Lisa Lutz, is more than just a comic crime caper.  Alternating chapters are written by Lutz’s ex-boyfriend David Hayward, and the two authors have just as much fun criticizing each other as they do trying to keep up with the story itself.  Odds are you’ll be laughing out loud.

LISTS: Doing What You Can

The Life You Can Save book coverLawrence Ferlinghetti wrote, “The World is a beautiful place to be born into if you don’t mind some people dying all the time or maybe only starving some of the time…” What follows are true stories of people who did mind that people were starving, oppressed and denied basic human rights – and did something about it.

To see evidence that one person can make a difference, click here.

Jump, Jive and…Klezmer?

Hot album coverSquirrel Nut Zippers can refer to an 1890s candy, drunk men in trees (being as “nut zipper” is a term for moonshine) or an energetic, neo-swing band whose second album, Hot, was their break-through success. Hot feels like a 1930s, big band fever dream where humor and boogie woogie go hand in hand. Katharine Whalen has a nostalgic, jazz voice and Jimbo Mathus sounds like he could be as at home in a ballroom as in a crawdad shack. If you feel the jitterbug building in your soul and you can’t put a lid on it, get Hot with the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

When A Classics Professor Writes Fantasy

Blood of Ambrose book cover Patty of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends The Blood of Ambrose by James Enge:

The heir to the Empire of Ontil is a twelve-year-old, recently orphaned boy named Lathmar. Lord Urdhven, Lathmar’s uncle, will stop at nothing to secure the empire for himself. It is up to Morlock Ambrosius to save the child king, but who will save Morlock? He may be the most skillful magicker in the land and one of the deadliest swordsmen ever, but he’s also a hopeless drunk. For those of you that enjoy HBO’s Game of Thrones, try the gritty sword and sorcery of The Blood of Ambrose, written by the World Fantasy Award-nominated, fantasist extraordinaire, James Enge.

Sigh No More

Much Ado About Nothing DVD cover Hero and Claudio are to be wed in a week. To pass the time, they conspire to make Beatrice and Benedick fall in love. Beatrice would “rather hear a dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves” her and Benedick, well, he’d prefer to go pale with “anger, with sickness, or with hunger” than with love. While the snarky sweethearts are hilariously occupied, other conspirators are up to much more nefarious activities in Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespearean adaptation, Much Ado About Nothing.

And remember, A Midsummer Knight’s Read, the Summer Reading Program, has officially started! If you watch, read or listen to anything by or inspired by William Shakespeare, you can get up to five bonus raffle tickets.