Month: October 2012

Check It Out Blog

Small Town to Big City in 1922

The Chaperone book coverCora Carlisle, a woman of 36, is in need of change. Her two sons are going off to college, and her husband has a busy law practice. When a chaperone is needed to guide 15-year-old Louise Brooks through New York City as she studies dance at the Denishawn School, Cora leaps at the chance. Louise is already a force of nature, extremely beautiful, and about to become a famous silent film star. Cora battles herself on how much to corral Louise and how much to take after her. The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty, is an intriguing look at the 1920s, detailing not only the fun and flappers, but the poverty, race issues, and gender politics of the day.

Barb F.’s Pick: The Snow Child

Barb F. Staff picks photoThe Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey, is a remarkable story based on a Russian fairytale. Jack and Mabel distract themselves from a bad winter in Alaska by building a girl from snow. Ivey’s ability to mix magical elements alongside the harsh realities of frontier life make for an engrossing read.

Murder and a Melancholy Swede

Wallander3 DVD cover“Policemen aren’t supposed to believe in coincidences,” we’re told in the third series of Wallander, and mystery fans wouldn’t have it any other way. The appeal is in the slow piecing of details, and the solutions need to feel earned. Henning Mankell’s burdened Swedish detective perseveres in case after case, driven to explain the inexplicable horrors that are visited on the bleak Scandinavian countrysides. Kenneth Branagh balances the intensity and weariness of lead inspector Kurt Wallander, and he is supported by equally strong yet understated performances. The newest BBC release includes beautifully directed, feature-length adaptations of “An Event in Autumn,” The Dogs of Riga, and Before the Frost. You won’t be disappointed.