Nelly Dean by Alison Case

nelly

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

This book is billed as a reimagining of Wuthering Heights, but really it is an expansion of the classic love story. I wouldn’t recommend it for readers who have not read Wuthering Heights, but if you have read it and just don’t remember it too well, here are the broad strokes. The Earnshaw family and the Linton family are well-to-do farming neighbors on the Yorkshire moors in early 19th-century England. Mr. Earnshaw adopts a foundling and names him Heathcliff. Heathcliff and the Earnshaws’ daughter, Catherine, fall in love, but family tensions keep them apart. Heathcliff and Catherine both marry members of the Linton family, everyone is unhappy, and pretty much everyone dies.

Wuthering Heights is narrated by the Earnshaws’ longtime housekeeper, Nelly Dean, but the reader never learns much about her. Case’s new book features Nelly Dean as both the narrator and the main character. Nelly’s story is compelling, twining through the holes in the original novel and fleshing out both her character and that of Hindley Earnshaw, Catherine’s older brother and the main antagonist in Wuthering Heights. I can’t say that I didn’t see the twist coming, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

My favorite thing about Nelly Dean is the language. The author does a beautiful job of writing in the language of the times–no surprise, since she is a scholar of 19th-century British literature. It feels like this book could have come out as a sequel to Wuthering Heights in 1850, rather than 2015, which lends it an authenticity often lacking in other “reimaginings” of classic works.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC CASE)

Me Before You (2016)

me-before

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

If you are looking for a movie to cry during, look no further than Me Before You. This movie is based off of the novel with the same name, written by Jojo Moyes. This movie follows two people, Will Traynor, a wealthy banker who is now paralyzed after a tragic accident, and Louisa ‘Lou’ Clark, his new caretaker. The movie follows their story, from their first meeting, to how Lou tries to get Will to live life to the fullest even though difficulties arise. While I won’t spoil the ending, this movie is touching, poignant, and tear-jerking (at least to me).

My favorite part of the movie is the actors, especially Emilia Clarke, who plays Lou Clark. She is quirky and fun and doesn’t take life too seriously. Plus her wardrobe is pretty epic. What amazed me the most was how much I believed her in the role; I often had to remind myself that this was the same actor who plays Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. The two roles are completely different, and she excels at both of them.

While I shed many tears during this movie, I really enjoyed it. I was not a big fan of the book, so I was not sure what to expect and this movie exceeded my expectations.

Located in DVDs (DVD ME)

Watchmen by Alan Moore

watchmen

Reviewed by Zach S (Library Staff)

Considered by many to be the greatest graphic novel of all time, Alan Moore’s Watchmen was first published in 1986 and would soon go on to win almost universal acclaim from comic book fans and non comic readers alike. The story follows the journey of the individuals who formally belonged to the now disbanded superhero team known as “The Watchmen.” Set against the back drop of a noir rich New York city in the 1980’s, these characters must navigate life in a society that no longer values the ideals of Superhero’s and has rejected the very concept of them. This comic strives for realism and grit, introducing complex themes and questions that were far from the norm for the comic books of it’s day. It asks, “What would REALLY happen if superheros (or in the eyes of most in this universe, vigilantes) had been an active part of America and how would they evolve with the times? An engaging read from start to end, with gut wrenching twists from page to page, This comic will leave you with one final question that each individual who reads it will have to find their own interpretation for. How far can and should we go to save the day?

Located in Adult Graphic Novels (GRAPHIC WATCHMEN)

Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens

eleven

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Never before has the process of labor and delivery been portrayed with such deftly mannered prose. Erens introduces us to Lore Tannenbaum, a headstrong almost surly mother-to-be and Franckline, her quiet, steadfast nurse guiding her along in the painstaking process of giving birth. Franckline, secretly pregnant herself, is haunted by past tragedies and finds a kindred intimacy with Lore, who only has herself in the world. The bond these two women develop over the course of a single story (told without chapters) is breathtaking. You’ll finish the book and be yearning for more.

Available through BRIDGES Library System

Hook (1991)

hook

Reviewed by Zach S (Library Staff)

A lot of people seem to forget that the now legendary Steven Spielberg directed this 1991 epic, but upon re-watching it’s clear to see the director’s signature grand scale and whimsy throughout this picture, but it is undeniable that certain aspects of it have not aged well through the years. Admittedly, nostalgia goggles had made me glance over some the occasional wooden dialogue or questionable plot points, but the overall adventure and genuine love for the source material far out way these problems. The stellar performances by Robin Williams (Peter Pan) and Dustin Hoffman (Captain Hook) are equally captivating as they are sincere, turning our hero and villain into not just characters from a nearly century old book, but into rich and engaging people who’s story we actively feel apart of and who’s journeys we feel invested in. From the inconceivably detailed and believable set design of Neverland, to the swashbuckling and bombastic score by John Williams, Hook delivers a memorable and enticing film experience that, if put into a single word, is simply fun.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

ember

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir is the first book in a new series that follows two characters, one a slave and one a soldier, and their intertwined destinies. Laia, the slave, works for the evil Commandant (the leader of a military-type school) after her family was betrayed and her brother sent to jail. All she wants to do is be brave and free her brother, so she spies for the resistance movement. Elias, the soldier, is the best fighter and student the school has seen in a long time. But he doesn’t want to be a Mask (the elite fighting unit); he just wants to be free from the tyranny he faces. Each one wants something that might seem unattainable, but maybe if they work together they can change their futures.

This book has everything I could want in a Teen book: action, adventure, romance, cliffhangers, and characters to root for. There are twists and turns, and I often could not wait to read the next chapter or turn the next page. And the best part is that the sequel, A Torch Against the Night, was just released, so you don’t have to wait a long time for the story to continue!

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC TAHIR)

The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer by Joel Salatin

farmer

Reviewed by Jennifer Rude Klett (Library Staff)

“Amazingly, the farms that dump chemicals, dope their animals, confine their animals in factory farms without fresh air, sunshine, and salad bar are now considered normal and I’m the lunatic,” farmer-entrepreneur Joel Salatin writes in this eye-opening book. You may recall Salatin and his Polyface Farm was featured in the food documentaries “Food Inc.” and “Fresh,” and bestselling book Omnivore’s Dilemma. Salatin’s book reveals what has happened to our modern food system, and Salatin’s alternative which is a beyond-organic farm. He is interested in making animals happy, building soil, respecting God’s creation, and locally feeding people healthful real food. If you eat, you must read this.

Available through BRIDGES Library System

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

sunny

Reviewed by Zach S (Library Staff)

Not for the faint of heart, this now decade old sitcom follows the misadventures of four (later five with the addition of Danny Devito in the second season) degenerates who run a Pub in Philadelphia. Over the course of the series we see through their various “schemes” and clashing personalities just how far their human decency can spiral out of control in amazing and hilarious fashion. From the very start, the show has pushed the boundaries of not only modern comedy but for themes, no matter how dark or absurd, which a show can explore. From trying to pass off a water stained wall as “divine intervention” to attempting to solve the gas crisis by selling fuel door to door (those are among the tamer episode premises), this show never fails in keep the audience guessing as to just how far these characters are willing to sink, all in gust busting hilarious fashion.

Available through BRIDGES Library System

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

space

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

This is the story of a 12-year-old boy who gets caught up in solving a murder mystery. Oh, yeah…and he lives on the moon. While the premise may seem (literally) far-fetched, this tale is surprisingly (not literally) down-to-earth.

Dash Gibson lives with his family on a lunar space station as part of the Moon Base Alpha program to begin colonization on the moon. The well-researched setting offers an intriguing layer to the mystery, as the close-knit colony of people is extremely limited in number and comings and goings are practically nonexistent.

The pacing is stellar, as is the middle school humor (we learn a lot about space toilets), and I think Gibbs especially excels at making the reader feel right at home in space. Overall, Space Case is a family-friendly whodunit that I highly recommend.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC GIBBS)

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

bread

Reviewed by Diane B (Library Staff)

Making homemade bread can be daunting on busy days or weeks when time is at a premium and a good bakery is nearby, however, Jeff Hertzberg has broken down the process to take five minutes of concentrated time to have to have fresh bread any time for two weeks! Sound too good to be true, well it is, but the title is referring to your time invested in actively handling the dough/ingredients rather than the time the dough is in the oven or proofing. Basically it breaks down to pour ingredients into a bowl, let sit for two hours to two weeks in fridge, then cut off a chunk to shape, put in oven, eat fresh bread, and repeat at will. The simple recipe makes good hearty bread quick and easy enough to take on after work on a Monday. The book includes several variations for any occasion.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (641.815 HER)

X
X