Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Romantic Comedy Double Feature


I've been a fan of Jimmy Stewart films most of my life, with favorites including It's a Wonderful Life, You Can't Take It With You, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  Ranking right up there is a lesser-known gem, The Shop Around the Corner, starring Stewart with Margaret Sullavan.  When I realized You've Got Mail was a remake of the 1940 film, I knew I'd have to show them together someday.

Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan
This coming Saturday, February 28, we'll host a “Romantic Comedy Double Feature.”  Shop Around the Corner will screen at 10:00 a.m., and You’ve Got Mail at 1:00 p.m. There will be a one hour break between movies, for those who want to get lunch and return. 

Both films were based on the 1937 Hungarian play Parfumerie by Miklós László.  Shop Around the Corner is set in Budapest in the years leading up to World War II.  Stewart and Sullavan play employees at a gift shop who can barely stand each another, not realizing they're falling in love as anonymous penpals.  Close friends in real life, the actors show genuine chemistry together on the screen.

You've Got Mail is a 1998 film directed by Nora Ephron, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.  Hanks plays the manager of a large bookstore chain and Ryan is a small bookstore owner, who is put out of business by the chain store. Their anonymous friendship grows through email, with each not realizing who the other is.

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
So come to the library this Saturday and let us know which version of the story is your favorite!  The movies will be shown at no charge in the McEntee Meeting Room of the library. For more information, check the library’s website www.newportlibrary.org or call the library at 541-265-2153.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Two evil girls from beyond the grave beset two creative nice guys!

I feel like I won at book bingo—two of the books from my last batch of checkouts had almost exactly the same plot! Stranger still—I really enjoyed both of them, and would recommend them to anyone looking for a creepy domestic thriller or two.

In Crazy Love You by Lisa Unger, Ian is a successful graphic novelist trying to create a normal, fulfilling adulthood far from the demons of his past. As a child, his inner pain about his baby sister’s death at his mother’s hands manifested as obesity and isolation. His only friend was a wild girl named Priss whose rages and addictions mirrored his own, and his graphic novel series is based on their relationship. When he falls in love with nice, normal Meg, Priss re-enters his life in a big way, devastating his hard won successes and forcing him to define what kind of man he really is.

In The Damned by Andrew Pyper, Danny Orchard is a successful new age memoirist, famous for having died and come back, at age sixteen, to tell his tale of the afterlife. The fire that killed him also killed his twin sister Ashleigh, only she stayed dead. Since Ash was a budding psychopath who terrorized her family and manipulated her friends, her survivors weren’t too dismayed. Unfortunately, her bond with Danny transcends death, and her violent jealousy has forced him to live a life of isolation. Then—you guessed it—Danny accidentally falls in love, and when Ashleigh’s anger manifests against his fiancé and her son, he must finally find a way to free himself.

A perfect pair of quick weekend reads, fabulous brain candy for those who like a little supernatural in their thriller. Take two, and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What Should I Read Next?


Just finished the last in a series by your favorite author and feeling adrift? Enjoy mysteries but don’t want all the blood and guts? Need something to engage and excite your budding kitchen scientist without blowing the house up in the process?

Newport Library offers bibliographies listing books and authors in a variety of genres just for you! We’ve just scoured our shelves for Westerns – both traditional and not so traditional. We found Westerns hiding in every section, from adults to kids, fiction to non-fiction. We even managed to rustle one up in Science Fiction, and updated the Western bibliography to include them all!

If pointy toes and big hats aren’t your thing, why not try a character-driven “cozy” mystery, a nitty-gritty police procedural, some heart-pounding horror, bodice-ripping historical fiction, or some toe-squelching things to do along the Oregon coast? Our bibliographies cover a wide variety of interests to make it easy for you to find a new favorite author.  You can find them at the front desk, on the rack next to the stairs, and in the Children's and YA sections.

If you're on the computer, try our online database, Novelist, as well.  It will suggest book ideas for you based on other books you've liked or qualities that you are looking for.

And any time you can't find what you're looking for-- ask a librarian!  We're always glad to help.

--Becky

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Browse the Shelves From Your Home Computer



Did you know there's a new way to browse the online catalog? It's a pretty neat little trick to know. Simply click on the call number of any item in the catalog and a window will pop up listing "nearby" items from all of the libraries in the Oceanbooks system as if they were right next to one another on the same shelf.


Select "List browse" to view the nearby items in a detailed list form. 


Of course, you can always go to your preferred library and browse the shelves the old-fashioned way, but now you have options! Happy hunting! 

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Creepalicious Horror

Once in a while I like a good horror novel. For me, that’s psychological and character-driven rather than everybody dying in a mess of gore. Adam Nevill's Last Days hit the spot. It pulled me in quickly with good, even-handed writing and a main character that I instantly felt that I knew: the gore came later, in small, spicy doses.

In the beginning, artistic thirty-something Kyle Freeman is disillusioned, disaffected, and indebted. His award-winning films have earned him a cult following, where "cult" translates into no money and no producers for further projects. When the CEO of a New Age line of films approaches him and offers him creative control over an investigative piece, it seems too good to be true—but impossible to refuse.

The assignment is to delve into the history of a 70’s era cult that ended in mass murder/suicides. The CEO has connections, and has arranged never-before-allowed interviews with survivors in London, France, and California. Kyle is soon following what may be the blueprint for his own destruction, as every brush with the cult’s old stomping grounds leads to more seemingly paranormal activity. Footsteps in an abandoned house: a blurry figure caught on film whose shape isn’t quite right. Stains appearing in the form of twisted skeletons, as if malformed creatures tried to push through the walls and left negative imprints behind. A tiny shoe, dark and old-fashioned, smelling of death and ash.

Last Days is an enjoyable horror novel that will leave you totally creeped out and unable to walk around your house in the dark for weeks—at least, I’m hoping it will only be weeks. Ask me in March.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Laura Ingalls Wilder Has A New Book Out?


Hold that mail buggy! The woman who died in 1957 has a new book? Well, yes indeed, she does! That is, if "new" means previously unpublished.


The South Dakota Historical Society Press recently put out Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, Wilder's autobiography that has been languishing on some archive's shelf since the 1930s. Judging by the fact that the book has been sold out for weeks on Amazon, Wilder still captures the American imagination. If you're anything like me, you know all her books nearly by heart and consider them a formative component of your childhood and young adulthood. (Sidenote: I have lobbied unsuccessfully for years to name a dog Almanzo.) 

This armful of a book gives more information than you ever thought you wanted to know about Wilder's life and her progression as a writer. There has long been a rumor floating about that Wilder's daughter, the then-famous writer Rose Wilder Lane, actually did most of the writing in the Little House books. Pioneer Girl effectively disproves this notion, demonstrating that while Lane contributed significantly to the books' creation by acting as her mother's editor and primary sounding board, the work belongs to Wilder. Really, if anything, Lane can be accused of recycling her mother's stories in some of her successful novels (e.g., The Young Pioneers).

While the actual text of Pioneer Girl offers only a rough sketch of Wilder's youth (albeit with the inclusion of some very adult situations), the annotations fill in many gaps and round out the life in letters of one of our most beloved literary voices. Give it a shot, if you're able to carry it out of the library!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

A fun and intriguing new scifi book from John Scalzi

John Scalzi’s newest novel, Lock In, seizes on the common science fiction premise of a mass epidemic and shows that there are far more nuanced and interesting places to go with that than the usual apocalypse or outbreak of zombie-ism.

Rookie FBI Agent Shane has grown up as the poster child for Hadens, who are those afflicted with locked-in syndrome as a result of that epidemic. Hadens cannot access their voluntary nervous systems, and would spend their lives trapped in uncommunicative, unmoving bodies were it not for the outpouring of technological developments in the wake of the disease. Shane’s rich and influential parents had the intent and the means to publicly normalize their son’s use of the new technologies, which allow him to navigate the physical world by means of a mentally controlled android.

The androids have been made accessible to all Hadens through government subsidy and have had a divisive effect on society. A vocal and growing minority is resentful of Hadens, feeling that they receive special rights and treatment. And a faction of the Hadens, some of whom have been locked-in since early childhood or even birth, are resentful of all the effort being poured into finding a “cure,” and of being considered victims, when they are perfectly happy in their current state.

Shane’s first day on the job coincides with the passage of a law ending government subsidies for the Hadens. A walk out and demonstration cause tensions to rise, leading to attacks on androids. To cap it off, a peculiar murder and a terrorist style bombing, both involving prominent figures in Haden rights and research, ensure that Shane won’t have time to catch up on his paperwork for quite a while.

In Lock In, Scalzi’s writing is masterfully deft and without frills—it’s all about the ideas and the deep exploration of the intersection of his fascinating premise with the vagaries of human nature.