Month: January 2012

Check It Out Blog

LISTS: Christian Movies

What If... DVD coverLooking for entertainment that shares your faith-based world view?  Christian films have come a long way in recent years.  Established actors, real-life conflicts, and experimental styles provide more options for inspirational stories on film.

Click here for Christian movies set in the past, ranging from biblical to pioneer to WWII.

Click here for modern-day, futuristic, and fantasy Christian films.

8 Poses for 25 Cents

Photobooth:  The Art of the Automatic Portrait book cover

The first commercially successful photobooth was created by Anatol Josepho. It was placed in New York City on Broadway in 1925 and was an instant hit. In the first six months, 280,000 people stood in line to use the coin-operated, ten-minute photo machine. In American Photobooth by Näkki Goranin, the history of the photobooth is recounted with pictures of its creation and use. Can’t get enough? Babbette Hines’s book, Photobooth, displays hundreds of pictures from the 1920’s through the 1980’s. The stylistic variation of the snapshot is continued in Photobooth:  The Art of the Automatic Portrait, by Raynal Pellicer, which shows not only the common man but celebrities (like John Lennon, Elvis, Ginsberg, and John F. Kennedy) using photobooths.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer book coverColleen of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin:

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer begins with Mara’s life before the accident, living in Rhode Island and dealing with normal teenage problems. However, this all changes when Mara wakes up in a hospital room surrounded by her family and learns that there was an accident. A building collapsed and Mara was the only survivor. Her best friend Rachel, the new girl Claire, and her boyfriend Jude are all dead and Mara can’t remember anything about that night. Traumatized and left with hallucinations thanks to her PTSD, Mara does anything she can to try to hide her anguish. However, when you hallucinate the dead, it is hard to hide it. Essentially, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a mystery. The reader is left to figure out what happened the night that Mara’s friends died and what is it about that night that is causing Mara to have post traumatic stress disorder.

LISTS: The Golden Age of Hip-Hop

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back CD coverThe late ‘80s through the mid-‘90s was the Golden Age of Hip-Hop. You had bands like Run DMC, Public Enemy, and De La Soul tripping the charts with N.W.A., Dr. Dre, and Salt-N-Pepa. “The thing that made that era so great is that nothing was contrived. Everything was still being discovered and everything was still innovative and new.”

For a taste of the groundbreaking Golden Age of Hip-Hop, click here.

There are 114 State Prisons in Texas

Texas Tough book coverRobert Perkinson believes that slavery played an integral role in the creation of the American penitentiary system. In Texas Tough:  The Rise of America’s Prison Empire, Perkinson outlines the two ancestral lines of U.S. prisons:  rehabilitation and retribution – with retribution outpacing its rival for over a century. There are deep discussions on the culture of the South, race, civil rights and the War on Drugs. At times, Perskinson reveals a partisan bias, but his powerful showcase of American prison history is not only highly readable, it won the 2011 PEN Award for Nonfiction.

Cynthia’s Pick: Sybil Exposed

Cynthia staff picks photoIn 1973, the book Sybil made the name Sybil nearly synonymous with dissociative identity disorder. In Sybil Exposed, Debbie Nathan explores the lives, times and ambitions of Shirley Mason, her psychiatrist and Sybil’s author (Flora Rheta Schreiber) to find the truth behind the famous case study.

The Girl With No Tattoo

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? audiobook coverWhen the comparisons to Tina Fey’s Bossypants are so obvious that the author humorously addresses them in the introduction, you know you are in for a good time.  The multi-talented Mindy Kaling, best known for her work on TV’s The Office, makes a bubbly debut as both author and narrator in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns).  Kaling mixes glimpses into her personal history with witty commentary on life in general.  She is funny, insightful, and endearing, and listening to the audiobook will only increase the feeling that you are sitting down with a clever friend.