South Branch Staff Picks Category: Adult

Neruda

“Disappear? I’m not going to hide under a bed…This has to be a wild goose chase.”

More than 20 years before the election of Salvador Allende, and the coup d’etat that brought Pinochet to power, Pablo Neruda got a taste of the repression that was coming to Chile. The movie Neruda (2017) takes place in 1948, when Pablo Neruda (played by Luis Gnecco) was a popular poet and a beloved Chilean Senator, representing the Communist Party in Congress. When his political party is outlawed and Neruda speaks out against the president, he goes from days in the Senate and nights throwing raucous parties in his beautiful home, to reluctant fugitive. He finds himself pursued by the ambitious detective Óscar Peluchonneau (Gael Garcia Bernal). A writer himself, the young detective holds only contempt for the disgraced senator, inspiring him to dig deep into the details of Neruda’s life, and better understand his prey. As Peluchonneau circles closer and closer, the playful and irrepressible Neruda can’t pass up the opportunity for a good story, and starts leaving clues for the detective. You may lose sight of who is the pursuer and who the pursued, but never the weight of what is at stake. Will Neruda escape to exile in time, or will he be outplayed by the young man desperate to prove himself? Can the poetry that captured the hearts of people around the world reach this one detective in time to save his soul?

“¿Desaparece? Pero no me voy a esconder debajo de la cama….Eso tiene que ser una cacería salvaje.”

Más de 20 años antes de la elección de Salvador Allende y el golpe del estado que introdujo a Pinchet al poder, Pablo Neruda sintió en carne propia la represión que llegaba a Chile.  La película, Neruda (2017) tiene lugar en el 1948, cuando Pablo Neruda (el actor Luis Gnecco) era un poeta popular y un querido senador del partido comunista. Cuando se prohíbe su partido político y Neruda protesta contra el presidente, se convierte en fugitivo reacio, un cambio enorme de su vida anterior de senador celebrando noches de fiestas escandalosas. Se encuentra perseguido por un detective ambicioso, Óscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal). El jóven detective, que también es escritor, desprecia al senador desgraciado, lo cual le inspira a profundizar más en los detalles de la vida de Neruda y mejor entender a su presa. A medida que Peluchonneau se acerca más y más, Neruda, siempre juguetón e incontenible, no puede dejar pasar la oportunidad de crear una buena historia y empieza a dejar pistas para el detective. Es posible que te despistes y no sepas quién persigue a quién pero no te perderás la importancia de lo que se juega. ¿Se escapará Neruda a tiempo o le ganará el joven con tantas ganas de demonstrar lo que vale? ¿Es posible que la poesía que capturó el corazón de todo el mundo llegue a este detective a tiempo de salvar su alma?

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Reviewed by: Allison S.

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

Is she REALLY missing? Did something HAPPEN to her? Where IS she?

These are the questions that you will ask yourself over and over as you read Mary Kubica’s psychological thriller Don’t You Cry. Set in Chicago, the author keeps you on the edge of your seat as you try to discover what has really happened to Esther Vaughan. What would you do if your roommate went missing without a trace? After finding a strange handwritten letter written by Esther, her roommate Quinn starts to suspect that there is more to this mystery than meets the eye.

If you liked this book, don’t forget to read Mary Kubica’s national bestseller The Good Girl. Other similar psychological thrillers are Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Reviewed by Jessica E.

Cupcakes de la PRIMROSE BAKERY

¿Le encanta la repostería pero no tiene mucho tiempo? ¿Le da pánico recetas de muchos ingredientes y veinte pasos en las instrucciones? ¿Busca una forma simple de hacer cupcakes pero no le gusta usar las cajas de pastel? Pues, no busque más. El libro de cocina Cupcakes de la PRIMROSE BAKERY es el libro de repostería de cupcakes para Usted. Con listas razonables de ingredientes de cosas que se pueden encontrar fácilmente en cualquier supermercado, instrucciones simples y claras y grandes fotos en color de cupcakes que se pueden decorar (mayormente) con decoraciones sencillos como fruta o adornos que se encuentran en la mayoría de tiendas de manualidades, este es el libro de cupcakes para llevarse a casa.

Si le gusta la repostería, aquí hay más libros que le podrían interesar. Búsquelos aquí en la biblioteca.

Galletas deliciosas – 50 recetas fáciles e irresistibles

cake keeper Cakes

 

paso>a>paso repostería y panadería

 

 

Reviewed by Rachel L.

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao (La breve y maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao) by Junot Diaz is a fascinating mix of genres and styles, combining fiction, non-fiction, history, science fiction and fantasy that reflects the extremes and absurdity of life under the regime of the dictator of the Dominican Rep. The Brief and Wonderful Life of Óscar Wao (La breve y maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao) by Junot Diaz is a fascinating mix of genres and styles, combining fiction, non-fiction, history, science fiction and fantasy that reflects the extremes and absurdity of life under the regime of the dictator of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo, who ruled the country with extreme cruelty from 1930 until he was assassinated in 1961.

The Brief and Wonderous Life of Óscar Wao tells the story of multiple generations of the León y Cabral family and the fukú, or curse, that followed them from their grandfather’s generation to the present day. The story focuses on Óscar, an aspiring writer whose love life is non-existent and who aspires to lose his virginity in an attempt to prove to himself and the world that he is a true Dominican male. The story shifts back and forth between the present and the past, with multiple literary and historical footnotes for those unfamiliar with science fiction-fantasy and/or the history of the Dominican Republic. The story of Óscar and the fukú that follows his family is a fascinating story on its own, and interwoven in the history of the DR, the story draws the reader in even more, as the personality and outrageous acts of violence committed by Trujillo seem even more like they should be a work of fiction than the story of Óscar’s family itself.

In spite of its complexity, the essential story is easy to follow and draws you in with sympathetic, complex characters. You find yourself turning the pages, waiting to see what catastrophic event will fall over the family next and hoping that by the end, somehow the family will find a way to finally rid itself of the fukú, as the DR finally rid itself of Trujillo.

If you like this book, you might also want to try How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez or Por estas calles bravas by Piri Tomas.

Written by: Rachel

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La breve y maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao por Junot Díaz es una mezcla fascinante de géneros y estilos que combina la ficción, la no ficción, la historia, la ciencia ficción, y la fantasía y refleja lo absurdo y extremo de la vida bajo el régimen del dictador de la República Dominicana, Rafael Trujillo quien gobernó el país desde 1930 hasta que fue asesinado en 1961.
 La breve y maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao cuenta la historia de múltiples generaciones de la familia León y Cabral y el fukú, o maldición, que les siguió desde la generación de su abuelo hasta el momento actual. La historia se centra en Óscar, un aspirante a escritor, cuya vida sentimental es un fracaso y que aspira a perder su virginidad para probar a todo el mundo que es un verdadero macho dominicano. La historia alterna entre el presente y el pasado, con múltiples notas al pie de la página tanto literarias como históricas para los que no conocen bien la literatura de ciencia ficción o fantasia y/o la historia de la República Dominicana. La historia de Óscar y el fukú que le sigue a su familia es una historia fascinante en sí, y entremezclado en la historia de la República Dominicana, la historia capta al lector aún más, a medida que la personalidad de Trujillo y las atrocidades que cometió parecen más ficticias que la historia de la familia de Óscar en sí.
 
A pesar de su complejidad, la historia básica es fácil de seguir y te capta la atención con personajes complejos que inspiran simpatía en el lector. Te encontrarás pasando las páginas, esperando para ver la próxima catástrofe que caerá sobre la familia y esperando que para el final, la familia encontrará como sea una forma de deshacerse del fukú, al igual que la DR por fin se deshizo de Trujillo. 
Si le gustó este libro, sugerimos también De cómo las muchachas Garcia perdieron el acento por Julia Alvarez o Por estas calles bravas por Piri Tomás. 
Por Rachel

March Graphic Novel Series (March: Book One, March: Book Two, March: Book Three)

March Book OneMarch book twoMarch book three

As you hear about marches and movements—large and small—happening all over the country, do you wonder how you fit in, what role you might play, or what difference YOU could make? Or maybe you already know: you are active in your community, and online, and you know how to make your voice heard! In either case, you’ll want to pick up these books.  Any non-violent movement in this country today is a “child” of the Civil Rights Movement, and it’s vital to know where we came from if we want to know where we’re going.

The March books tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s principally through the eyes of John Lewis. Today he’s a congressman for Georgia in the House of Representatives, but in the 1960s he became an important leader in the Civil Rights Movement. These three graphic novels are an innovative collaboration between John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, along with Nate Powell as the artist.

In this immersive vision of storytelling, we bear witness to the late-night strategy meetings, tense phone calls and legendary conferences, as well as the beatings, bombings, and other brutalities suffered by protesters. We are with John Lewis as he grows from joining the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in college, to preaching sermons and leading marches in the South, and later finds himself elected as the Chairman of SNCC in 1963.  He shares his multiple imprisonments, his dedication to stay nonviolent in protests, and challenges to keeping the movement whole.  Through John Lewis you get to know other key figures you may not have heard about before, and learn about the complicated relationship between the different organizations that guided the Civil Rights Movement. The whole story is beautifully juxtaposed with President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech in January 2009, such that when he says “I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors,” your heart breaks with the weight of those sacrifices (March: Book Two, pg 176).

Maybe I’m taking on too much by grouping these three in a review together—there’s definitely more than enough to talk about in every single one—but after reading the first, you won’t be satisfied until you’ve read all three!

In case you needed any more motivation to pick these up today…Maybe you’ve already heard about all the awards March: Book Three has won? How about: the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young-adult literature, the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, and the YALSA Award for excellence in young-adult nonfiction!

What are you waiting for? Click on the links or pictures above and request a copy today!

Read-a-likes: Maus, Persepolis, V is for Vendetta

Written by: Allison

Hello, My Name is Doris

Hello My Name is Doris coverGidget’s all grown up in Hello, My Name is Doris, a goofy comedy starring Sally Fields. Doris is an eccentric older woman with a young spirit who lives on Staten Island with her cat and a house stuffed with, well, stuff. When an attractive young man starts to work at her company, Doris takes interest and finds herself stepping outside her shell and living the life she had always wanted. This movie is fun for millennials as well as a more seasoned audience.

If you liked Lars and the Real Girl or Florence Foster Jenkins, then Doris is sure to delight you!

Written by Anique

La Casa Chica

La Casa Chica coverLa Casa Chica by Mónica Lavín interweaves imagined or re-imagined stories into historical figures from the twenties to the sixties in Mexico. Notable figures such as Frida Kahlo, Conchita Martínez, Lupe Vélez and Emilio “el Indio” Fernández, who led dramatic and often turbulent public lives, are given a reimagined equally dramatic back story, based on, as the author says, “information obtained from various sources, including books, newpapers, magazines, conversations, Internet.” The author recreates their conversations, thoughts and feelings of their romantic lives using what is known about their lives and what she imagines could have happened in parallel. Often tragic and always fascinating, these are stories both about what was and what could have been and together they form, as the author herself points out, a portrait of the Mexico that was and is no more.
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La Casa Chica por Mónica Lavín entrelaza historias imaginarias o re-imaginadas a las vidas de figuras históricas desde los años veinte hasta los setenta. A figuras notables, tales como Frida Kahlo, Conchita Martínez, Lupe Vélez y Emilio “el Indio” Fernández, que tuvieron vidas públicas a menudo dramáticas y turbulentas, se les da una historia re-imaginada igualmente dramática, como nos dice la autora, “basada en información obtenida de diversas fuentes: libros, periódicos, revistas, conversaciones, Internet.” La autora recrea sus conversaciones, pensamientos y sentimientos de sus vidas románticas usando lo que se conoce de sus vidas y lo que imagina que podría haber ocurrido en paralelo. A menudo trágicos y siempre fascinantes, éstas son historias que tratan tanto de lo que fue y lo que podría haber sido, y juntos forman, como nos indica la autora, un retrato “del México que se fue.”
Written by: Rachel L.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

Misadventures of awkward black girlIntroverts rejoice! The self-proclaimed “awkward” Issa Rae is utterly charming and just as hilarious on the pages of  The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl as she is in her comedy YouTube videos (they won a Shorty Award for Best Web Show in 2012).  Looking around popular entertainment and not seeing a “respectable reflection” of herself, Issa Rae prepared to take on the world, one “misadventure” at a time.  Each humorous essay takes readers to a moment in her life that helped her hone her voice as a writer and performing artist.  It’s easy to laugh along with her during her growing pains: youthful forays onto online chat rooms, learning to love her “nap-tural” hair, her dancing abilities (or lack thereof), her love of men, her love affair with food, and so much more. 
Look ahead to Insecure, the new HBO show co-created by (and starring) Issa Rae set to air in October 2016.
(Read alikes Funny memoirs) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, Bossypants by Tina Fey, Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants by Jill Soloway, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang.

The Book of Unknown Americans

Book of Unknown Americans coverThe Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez, is a novel written as a series of interconnected stories, each of which could stand on its own. The book tells the story of several immigrant families from Panama, Mexico, Nicaragua and Latin American countries who end up in Delaware. The stories are told in first person and are narrated by different members of the same family. We learn their backstory, what brought them to the United States, and in some cases a little about how they got here, as well as getting a vivid picture of what life here is like for them, living as immigrants in a country with a culture and language so distinct from their own and one in which immigrants are not always openly welcomed.

The families all live in the same apartment complex, owned by another immigrant, and their lives are at once interconnected and often isolated, each family with its own challenges and obstacles to overcome. The core of the stories involve a family who comes to the US to provide educational opportunities to their daughter, who was brain damaged in an accident, and her relationship with the son of another tenant. At the same time, Henriquez interweaves this story with that of the other tenants, who face language barriers, economic hardship, and discrimination, among other challenges.
Hernandez’s writing draws you into the lives of her characters and you feel their disappointments and frustration and their small moments of joy as well. When I finished the book, I was left hoping there would be a second book so I could continue following their stories.
Written by: Rachel L.

The Impossible (DVD)

The Impossible-coverThe movie, The Impossible, was recommended to me by a friend in Spain as the happiest sad movie she had seen in a very long time, and I have to say she was right.

The Impossible is a fictionalized account of the true story of a Spanish family vacationing in Thailand in 2004 when their resort is washed away by the massive Tsunami that devastated that entire region of Asia. The family, happily playing in the pool and oblivious to the pending disaster, is suddenly separated as the ginormous waves wash over the resort, tearing trees out from their roots, washing away entire buildings and creating a landscape of chaos. The cinematography of this movie is outstanding, and it must have been amazing to see it on the big screen. However, even on my 47″ TV, it was still breathtaking, and the story of what happens when the family is separated and the effects of the devastation inflicted on the region by this once-in-a-lifetime disaster will keep you on the edge of your seat. Even knowing the ending (no spoiler here – you’ll have to watch it to see for yourselves) didn’t ruin my enjoyment of this movie and if you want a movie that combines action, adventure and drama all rolled into one, don’t miss The Impossible.
Review by Rachel L.
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Una amiga española me recomendó la película, Lo Imposible, como la película alegre más triste que había visto desde hacía mucho tiempo, y tengo que reconocer que tenía razón.
Lo Imposible cuenta de manera ficticia la verdadera historia de una familia española que está de vacaciones en Tailandia en el 2004 cuando su hotel es arrastrado por el sunami masivo que devastó esa región entera de Asia. La familia, que está jugando todos contentos en la piscina y no tiene la menor idea del desastre que está por venir, de repente está separada cuando las olas gigantescas sacan los árboles por sus raices, arrastran edificios enteros, y crean un terreno de caos. La cinematografía de esta película es impresionante y debería haber sido increíble verla en la pantalla grande. Sin embargo, incluso en mi tele de 47″, fue impresionante, y la historia de lo que pasa cuando la familia está separada y los efectos de la devastación infligido por este desastre único les tendrán al filo de sus asientos. Incluso sabiendo cómo acababa la historia (y no lo voy a revelarlo aquí – tendrán que verla ustedes mismos), todavía disfrutaba ver esta película, y si quieren una película que combina la acción, la aventura y el drama, no se pierdan Lo Impossible.