Month: November 2012

Check It Out Blog

LISTS: New Wave Women

Parallel Lines album coverNew Wave is a subgenre of rock that developed in the late 1970s and gained popularity in the 1980s. It’s marked by a highly experimental approach, a reliance on electronics (such as synthesizers), and an eccentric but modern mode of dress.

To meet the women of New Wave music, click here.

Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International and Bob Dylan

Chimes of Freedom album coverIt is arguable that Bob Dylan has made the world a better place. His songs have motivated mass cultural change, stimulated decades of dancing, and inspired legions of musicians who themselves have possibly, probably, made the world…if not better, at least more interesting. Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan is a compilation of over 70 songs covered by classic and contemporary artists. Big names like Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, Dave Matthews, and Sting appear, alongside new artists like Miley Cyrus, The Avett Brothers, Rise Against, and Adele. All of the musicians dedicate their Dylan covers “…to people worldwide who are unjustly imprisoned or threatened for the peaceful expression of their beliefs.”

Cynthia’s Pick: So

Cynthia staff picks photoPeter Gabriel’s  album, So, is probably best known for “In Your Eyes” and the iconic image of John Cusack holding up a boombox to win back his girlfriend in Say Anything. Gabriel used experimentation, world music influence, and thoughtful – almost heartbreaking – lyrics to create a classic album.

A Rich Story Told in a Velvet Voice

Telegraph Avenue audiobook coverWith the deep, liquid tones of a 1970s nighttime radio DJ, actor Clarke Peters (The Wire, Treme) eases you into the world of Brokeland Records and the fascinating characters it connects. Telegraph Avenue, the latest by Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Chabon, is a story that seems laid-back even as it masterfully juggles complicated lives. At the center are two friends who work in a used record store that also serves as a community hub. Their spouses are successful midwives, but the repercussions of a difficult delivery threaten their professional futures. These are only hints of what’s to come, and narrator Peters’ interaction with the material adds nuance and impact. Sit back and tune in to the mellow sounds of a storyteller who knows how to bring you into the spin.

Battling Weather Systems to Stay in Love

It isn’t easy to sustain a relationship when your husband is losing his mind and thinks that he is fighting a hurricane. Daniel has been terrified of hurricanes his entire life. His wife has known this about him. What she didn’t know was that his terror would turn into a delusion that would take him away from her for days and weeks on end. Daniel Fights a Hurricane, by Shane Jones, is the story of a man with a broken mind and the dedication with which his wife searches for him.

LISTS: Country Music Movies

Sweet Dreams DVD coverIt doesn’t matter if you love country music for the rhinestones, fringe, and big names or for the traditional, quiet, porch-singing tunes – there’s a country music movie out there for you.

Walk the line to good country music movies by clicking here.

A Pile of Silver

Silver book coverYoung Jim is tired of living in his father’s shadow. His father, Jim Hawkins, cavorted with the infamous swashbuckler, Long John Silver. You can read the elder Hawkins’ story in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic pirate tale, Treasure Island. Then there’s Natty, the androgynous daughter of Long John Silver. She, too, wants adventures of her own. Natty proposes to young Jim that they journey back to Treasure Island to retrieve all the silver that their fathers didn’t have room to carry home almost forty years before. Andrew Motion, a former Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom (1999 – 2000), writes of buccaneers, bullion, long held grudges, and Natty and Jim’s unexpected exploits in Silver: Return to Treasure Island.

How to Suppress Women’s Writing

How to Suppress Women's Writing book coverPatty of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ:

“She didn’t write it. She wrote it, but she shouldn’t have. She wrote it, but look what she wrote about. She wrote it, but she wrote only one of it. She wrote it, but she isn’t really an artist, and it isn’t really art. She wrote it, but she had help. She wrote it, but she’s an anomaly.” This is the quote on the front of Joanna Russ’ quick-reading, landmark feminist essay collection, How to Suppress Women’s Writing. In this sobering, yet often times humorous work, Russ outlines the ways in which patriarchal societies overtly or inadvertently devalue and censor women’s writing.

Don’t Forget to Vote!

He may well be the perfect presidential candidate. He has a conservative curve for Republicans. He has a progressive streak for Democrats. He even gives good sound bites, so the media adores him. The perfect candidate is William Howard Taft. He was president from 1909 – 1913, so he has experience, but…isn’t he supposed to be dead? Well, he’s not, and he wants to get this country moving again in Jason Heller’s novel, Taft 2012.