Month: August 2011

Check It Out Blog

Renee’s Pick: The Forgotten Garden

Renee Staff Pick PictureAfter Cassandra’s grandmother, Nell, dies, Cassandra goes to England to uncover the story behind Nell’s secret cottage. While there, Cassandra stumbles upon Nell’s mysterious past, which effects her own lineage. The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton, is told from alternating perspectives that wrap you up in a marvelous, twisting tale.

Hounded, Hexed, and Hammered

Hounded book coverDon’t look now, but see that twenty-something Irish lad with the curly red hair and the tattoos?  He’s not what you think.  Atticus is actually an ancient Druid, and he would tell you that the mythologies of different cultures co-exist in the modern world, even in Arizona.  There is full agreement on one point: everyone hates Thor, and he needs to be taken down.  Kevin Hearne’s thoroughly entertaining Iron Druid Chronicles begins with Hounded, continues in Hexed, and raises the stakes in Hammered.  Atticus and his wonder-dog Oberon are at the center of it all, and you won’t want to miss their action-packed adventures in this exciting, funny, and fantastic series, especially recommended for fans of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.

LISTS: Horrors from Outer Space

Aliens DVD coverAcid-dripping aliens, dreadlocked predators, body snatchers, pod people, exterritorial worms, facehuggers…there are plenty of things to be terrified of from the final frontier.

Click here for some out-of-this-world horror.

What Keeps A Person Sane?

Half Nelson DVD coverDan struggles to inspire his students in his inner-city Brooklyn classroom. Though Dan is an A+ teacher, his private life is faltering. He is a heavy drug user, knows he’s a hypocrite, tries to keep his two lives separate and does – until one of his students, Drey, catches him smoking crack after a late night basketball game. Here starts an awkward friendship where drugs are the common element. Dan uses them to escape his disappointments, and Drey sells them to escape her poverty. Half Nelson is a nebulous film that humanizes those that do and sell drugs without any false vice-glamour. You won’t necessarily find a happy ending, but you might find a satisfying one.

A Creepy Pair

We Have Always Lived in the Castle audiobook coverIf the combination of evil and isolation intrigues you, let narrator Bernadette Dunne read you one of Shirley Jackson’s tales of psychological suspense.  Dunne’s ability to serve the story by making her voice husky, girlish, breathy, or shrill adds just the right touch of chill to gothic horror, and Jackson’s works are well-matched.  In We Have Always Lived in the Castle, two sisters have become outcasts in their town after the arsenic poisonings of several family members.  The Haunting of Hill House tells of a group of strangers who agree to participate in a study of occult phenomena.  Both deal with darkness subversive and real, and the echoes will resonate long after the final words.

LISTS: Prog Rock

Peter Gabriel self titled album coverThe 1970s brought musicians who wanted to expand the technical boundaries of rock and roll. Most progressive rock musicians attempted to avoid standard musical composition while they strove to create Art.

If you like your rock high on instrumentals and filled with concept albums, click here.

Have Parasol, Will Travel

Crocodile_on_the_sandbank It’s 1885 and Amelia Peabody is in Egypt. Amelia is an unconventional woman and if you think she’s helpless, you’ve never seen how hard she swings a parasol. While sightseeing along the Nile, Amelia stumbles across Walter and Radcliffe Emerson at the ruins of Amarna. Radcliffe has a near-fatal fever and Amelia splits her time nursing him back to health and taking over his archeological excavation. And then the mummy starts appearing at night… The Crocodile on the Sandbank is the first in Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series. It is light on the mystery, but you’ll keep reading for the lush setting and the loathing (or is that loving?) relationship that builds between Amelia and Radcliffe Emerson.

Let’s Talk About Love

Let's Talk About Love book coverJohn of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends Let’s Talk About Love:  A Journey to the End of Taste by Carl Wilson:

Celine Dion’s music has millions of fans worldwide – so why do music critics hate it? One of those critics, Carl Wilson, set out to explore this disdain by examining Dion’s work from practically every imaginable musical and socio-cultural angle. What eventually emerges is a treatise on the very notion of “good taste,” delving into the ways in which we assign value to art can often be shaped by our unconscious prejudices. Let’s Talk About Love is likely to make you reexamine your own ideas about good and bad music.