Snowpiercer (2013)

Reviewed by Anonymous

The 2013 film version of Snowpiercer was tactful in saying that it was “inspired” by the graphic novel. Because the film creates a whole new story and characters, with some characters loosely based off ones from the graphic novel. The basic plot is the same from the graphic novel but with different companions and slightly different motivations. I personally didn’t like this film overall. I didn’t hate everything about it but I felt the rich and powerful people on the train to be foolishly cartoonish. In the graphic novel the antagonists were fueled by normal human faults like greed, lust or power. But in the film I felt like the antagonists were evil just because “it’s fun”. The ending is also very different between the graphic novel and the film. Without spoiling what happens, I’ll just say that it felt very cobbled together into a “happily ever after” ending. Which to me undercuts the poignantly tragic story that the graphic novel did so well. If you like the premise and/or the setting of the film I strongly recommend you read the graphic novel.


If you liked A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

…then try one of these books!

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide / Peter Allison

Presents tales from a safari guide about his encounters with big cats, elephants, hippos, and other unpredictable animals.


The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World / Jennifer Baggett

Three friends at a crossroads in their twenties quit their high pressure New York media jobs, leave their friends and everything familiar behind, and embark on a year-long backpacking adventure around the world.

The Oregon Trail: An American Journey / Rinker Buck

Road trip, old-school style! Though the Oregon Trail fell out of favor with travelers after the transcontinental railroad was finished in 1869, it’s still possible to travel the trail from Missouri to Oregon (though some parts are now paved roads). Over 100 years after the last known crossing, journalist Rinker Buck, his brother, and his brother’s Jack Russell terrier set out in a covered wagon pulled by mules.

Paris in Love / Eloisa James

Chronicles the year that the author and her family lived in Paris, describing her walking tours of the city, her school-age children’s attempts to navigate foreign language schools, and her thoughts on the pleasures and eccentricities of French living.


A Year in Provence / Peter Mayle

The author describes his experiences when he and his wife moved to a two-hundred-year-old French farmhouse, and shares his observations on the people and culture of Provence.


The Great Northern Express: A Writer’s Journey Home / Howard F. Mosher

Documents the author’s road trip across twenty-first-century America, where he shared personal encounters with homeless people, country performers, and readers and writers from all walks of life.


The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession / Mark Obmascik

Follows the 1998 Big Year competition between Sandy Komito, Al Levantin, and Greg Miller, during which the three rivals risked their lives to set a new North American birding record.


Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth / Albert Podell

In an extraordinary tale of courage, persistence, determination and the uncanny ability to extricate himself from one dangerous situation after another, the author recounts his adventures as he set two records—one for the longest automobile journey ever made around the world, and one for going to every country on Earth.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail / Cheryl Strayed

A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe–and built her back up again.


The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World / Eric Weiner

Draws on the author’s experiences as a foreign correspondent and reporter to evaluate more than three dozen countries for their happiness potential, in a lighthearted survey that includes profiles of such locales as the American shores, glacial Iceland, and the Bhutan jungles.

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

This is the story of an inseparable group of kids who invent a way to communicate with one another by leaving chalk signals only they understand on driveways, trees and fence posts. Someone hijacks their idea and uses the symbols to lead the kids to locations in a wooded forest where they discover pieces of a body. The narrative jumps from the past, where the children reveal how they discovered the body, to the present, where the remaining friends have all gone their separate ways and are being toyed with by someone leaving chalk signals, someone unwilling to let them forget.
I heard a lot of hype about this book and while the core idea is intriguing, the novel reads far more melancholy than mysterious. It elaborates on the reasons the group of friends slowly dwindles and dissolves- family drama and death. The few remaining friends become acquaintances, rooted to their hometown by parents suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The friends lose one other and then watch their parents lose them too. I’ll admit, I did finish the book to find out who was responsible for the murder that rippled through everyone’s lives but it is not a book I would recommend taking with you on vacation. This is Tudor’s first novel and I do not plan to pursue more from her unless I want to be horrified, not by a spellbinding mystery, but by the way life can break people apart.
Available through the Bridges Library System

Spotlight On: Adult Nonfiction

Nonfiction (Adult): These are books that are based on facts, real people, or real events. They are shelved based on the Dewey Decimal System, which assigns a number to the book based on the subject of the book. Our nonfiction section for Adults is located on the left hand side, once you’ve made it to our central circulation desk.

The Know-It All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World / A.J. Jacobs

A hilarious, intelligent-trivia-packed story from a man who read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. Early in his career, A.J. Jacobs found himself putting his Ivy League education to work at Entertainment weekly. After five years he learned which stars have fake boobs, which stars have toupees, which have both, and not much else. This unsettling realization led Jacobs on a life-changing quest: to read the entire contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica, all 33,000 pages, all 44 million words. (031 JAC)

Thinking, Fast and Slow / Daniel Kahneman

A psychologist draws on years of research to introduce his “machinery of the mind” model on human decision making to reveal the faults and capabilities of intuitive versus logical thinking. (153.42 KAH)


Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace / Anne Lamott

amott has once again written a brilliant and insightful book that offers a message of hope that celebrates the triumph of light over the darkness in our lives. Our victories over hardships and pain may be small, they may be infrequent, but they keep us going and they often come from the most unexpected places: within ourselves. (248 LAM)

The Girls of Murder City: fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago / Douglas Perry

Documents the true stories of Belva Gaertner and Beulah Annan, the women whose sensational murder trials inspired the musical “Chicago,” and traces the contributions of fledgling reporter Maurine Watkins against a backdrop of Chicago’s Jazz Age culture. (364.1523 PER)

It’s Greek to Me!: Brush Up Your Classics / Michael Macrone

Here is a fabulous and fun reference guide to the Latin and Greek origins of such words and expressions as “windbag” and “seize the day,” as well as a lively tour through the literature and life of ancient times. (422.481 MAC)


The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History / Elizabeth Kolberg

Draws on the work of geologists, botanists, marine biologists, and other researchers to discuss the five devastating mass extinctions on Earth and predicts the coming of a sixth. (576.8 KOL)


The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook / Deb Perelman

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is all about uncompromised, but utterly approachable, home cooking: comfort foods stepped up, birthday cakes from scratch, stews for winter afternoons, and an apple cake that will answer all your dessert desires. (641.5 PER)


1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die / Stephen Farthing

From Ancient Egyptian frescoes to the Renaissance masters, from French Impressionists to American Abstract Expressionists, this highly browsable guide embraces all cultures and every style of painting from 4,000 BC to the present. (750.11 ONE)


Paris in Love / Eloisa James

Chronicles the year that the author and her family lived in Paris, describing her walking tours of the city, her school-age children’s attempts to navigate foreign language schools, and her thoughts on the pleasures and eccentricities of French living. (813.54 JAM)


In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin / Erik Larson

Documents the efforts of the first American ambassador to Hitler’s Germany, William E. Dodd, to acclimate to a residence in an increasingly violent city where he is forced to associate with the Nazis while his daughter pursues a relationship with Gestapo chief Rudolf Diels. (943.086 LAR)


“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people-people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.” ~E.B. White


The Alienist by Caleb Carr

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

The Alienist is not a new book–it came out in 1994. But there is a new TV show based on the book, and being the good little librarian that I am I figured I should read it before I watch it. Clocking in at more than 450 close-printed pages, The Alienist was a bit of a time commitment, but I’m very glad I read it. It is a truly excellent novel.

The titular Alienist is Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a pioneering psychologist working in 1890s New York. But he is not the narrator. We get the story in the words of John Moore, a newspaper reporter who is an old college pal of Kreizler’s. In this way, as in many nineteenth century novels, the focal character is not the “main” character. I suspect if I broke into author Caleb Carr’s home and raided his bookshelves, I would find well-thumbed editions of Willkie Collins and Arthur Conan Doyle, because his writing style seems very influenced by those nineteenth-century classics.

At the beginning of the novel, Moore and Kreizler are thrown together again at the request of the New York City Police Commissioner, a guy named Theodore Roosevelt. (You may have heard of him.) Roosevelt has tapped the duo to catch a serial killer who is preying upon male prostitutes in the spring of 1896. Moore and Kreizler assemble an unlikely team of experts, including the city’s first female police detective, two brothers with serious CSI skills, and a reformed murderer. As the investigation proceeds, the team gets ever closer to identifying the killer, but they also become embroiled in conflicts both personal and professional. Carr masterfully handles what seem like a hundred threads of storyline, so the reader never feels overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information he is throwing at us. Only a few times did I see even a murky step beyond the investigators, which I count the mark of a good mystery.

The characters get a tad tired at times–they don’t always seem entirely real. But the excellent twisty plot and heaps of period authenticity easily make up for their two-dimensionality. I get the feeling that the characters–Moore especially–are just necessary foils for the real show, which is the history of criminal psychology and forensics. I learned more reading this novel than I’ve learned in plenty of actual history books.

Now that I have finished the book and am all set to watch the show, I find myself hesitating. A book that is so cunningly crafted will be very difficult to reproduce with the same depth on-screen. Maybe I’ll just read the sequel instead.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Reviewed by Zach S (Library Staff)

With every franchise under the sun being rebooted, retooled, and remade, it was only a matter of time until someone realized the potential of a modern day continuation of Ridley Scott’s 1982 genre defining scfi noir, cult masterpiece, Blade Runner. What many expected was a popcorn adventure blockbuster with heavy effects and action, but what was received was a thought provoking character driven thriller. Director Denis Villeneuve knew how sacred the film he was making a sequel to was and continues to be and knew that he had to go far beyond the limits and rules of your average summer blockbuster and make a film that stands on its own, even when compared to its legendary predecessor. The movie presents a world steeped in grit and grime, full of an eerie sense of danger around each neon lit corner and alleyway with well rounded characters whose actions reflect the murky and dower future they inhabit. Far from what you expect but exactly what you deserve, Blade Runner 2049 is well worth your time.

Located in DVDs (DVD BLADE)

If you liked A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles…

…then try one of these books!

The Kitchen Boy/ Robert Alexander

Presents a novel based on the 1918 Bolshevik revolutionary murder of Czar Nicholas II and the rest of the Russian royal family as told from the perspective of the event’s only surviving witness, a young kitchen boy.


Any Human Heart / William Boyd

The journals of Logan Mountstuart chronicle his eighty-five years of life, from his boyhood in Uruguay to his education at Oxford, his wartime exploits, his career as an art dealer, and his retirement in France.


The Signature of All Things / Elizabeth Gilbert

Born in 1800 to an early American capitalist who built a pharmaceutical empire from nothing, Alma Whittaker is given opportunities not enjoyed by her peers. A plain, private young woman, Alma devotes her time to the development of her mind and the study of the natural world. Life passes quietly, measuredly; botany and the family business fill her time, with little to disrupt the contented nature of things. Until middle age, when Alma falls in love—with Ambrose Pike, an artist and dreamer, a man who opens her mind and her world to things that cannot be measured with a ruler or seen through a microscope.

The Snow Child / Eowyn Ivey

Alaska in the 1920s is a difficult place for Jack and Mabel. Drifting apart, the childless couple discover Faina, a young girl living alone in the wilderness. Soon, Jack and Mabel come to love Faina as their own. But when they learn a surprising truth about the girl, their lives change in profound ways.

Pachinko / Min Jin Lee

In early 1900s Korea, prized daughter Sunja finds herself pregnant and alone, bringing shame on her family until a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and move with her to Japan, in the saga of one family bound together as their faith and identity are called into question.


The Mayakovsky Tapes / Robert Littell

A tale inspired by the life of 20th-century Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky is told from the perspectives of four women who loved him and share with each other memories of pivotal moments in his life, from his early years as a Futurist leader, to his work as a Revolution propagandist, to the censorship battles that turned him against the State.

State of Wonder / Ann Patchett

A researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Marina Singh journeys into the heart of the Amazonian delta to check on a field team that has been silent for two years–a dangerous assignment that forces Marina to confront the ghosts of her past.


Beautiful Ruins / Jess Walter

Hollywood operators and creative washouts collide across five decades and two continents in a brilliant, madcap meditation on fate.


The Paying Guests / Sarah Waters

With two brothers killed in WWI and a debt-ridden father who followed them to the grave soon afterward, 27-year-old spinster Frances Wray knows that she and her mother must take in lodgers (euphemistically described as “paying guests”) to maintain their large house in a genteel section of London.

Before the War / Fay Weldon

An unfashionable and intelligent spinster in the 1920s gets married to a charismatic gentleman while hiding the secret that she will die in childbirth after bearing another man’s baby.

Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth by Nicola Daviees

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

This beautiful picture book follows a young girl as she explores the different kinds of life on earth. As the book explains, the more we explore the more we discover. On several of the pages, the young girl is uncovering life in remote places like deserts, bottom of oceans, and boiling volcanic lakes. It’s explained that animals rely on other living things for food, shelter and safety. “We have learned that every kind of living thing is a part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern.”

Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth by Nicola Daviees is a superbly illustrated book about the many different living things on earth and how we are all connected. It is accessible to many different ages groups due to the beautiful pictures and interesting facts included on most of the pages.

Located in Children’s Nonfiction (J 577 DAV)

Spotlight On: Children’s DVDs

Children’s DVDs: These are DVDs that are geared towards children and families. They are located in the children’s area on the first short shelf when you walk in, on the right hand side. The DVDs that are kept here are Rated G or for all ages. The range from movies, like classic Disney tales or favorite characters, to episodes of favorite children’s TV shows, like Dora the Explorer, Paw Patrol, Scooby Doo, Thomas the Tank Engine, and many more!


After a sultan (Douglas Seale) gives his daughter, Jasmine (Linda Larkin), three days to find a husband, she escapes the palace and encounters the street-savvy urchin Aladdin (Scott Weinger), who charms his way into her heart. (J DVD ALADDIN)



Hotshot rookie race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is living life in the fast lane until he hits a detour on his way to the most important race of his life. Stranded in Radiator Springs, a forgotten town on the old Route 66, he meets Sally, Mater, Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), and a variety of quirky characters who help him discover that there’s more to life than trophies and fame. (J DVD CARS)

Curious George: Back to School

School days are here again and Curious George can’t wait to go! There’s so much to learn and do at school, and new friends to meet, too. Come along with George in 8 fun-filled episodes of his PBS KIDS TV series as he discovers that you can learn new things at school, at home and everywhere in between in Curious George: Back To School! (J DVD CURIOUS)

Franklin’s Soccer Adventure

Franklin’s soccer team loses every game. As a matter of fact, they don’t even score. Even so, Franklin is determined to be the best player on his team. Ultimately Franklin learns to put his team over himself in order to rally them for the final game. (J DVD FRANKLIN)


Madeline and her Friends

Join Madeline, the smallest of 12 little girls in Miss Clavel’s class, and her best friend, her loyal dog Genevieve, as they take the fun to town with six outrageous adventures inspired by Ludwig Bemelmans’ best-selling children’s books! (J DVD MADELINE)


Mike’s Bravest Mission

For many years, generations of the best and bravest knights have attempted to solve the legendary “Knight’s Puzzle” and now it is Mike’s turn! However, Mike’s mission heads in an unexpected direction when his arch rival, Edward, steals the puzzle. With the safety of the kingdom in his hands, Mike sets off on a brave journey. Join Mike on a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat adventure to retrieve the stolen puzzle and protect the Kingdom of Glendragon! (J DVD MIKE)

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

With fall in full swing, the Peanuts gang prepares for Halloween. Linus and Lucy go out to the local pumpkin patch to find a pumpkin. Lucy selects the largest they can find, and poor Linus has to get it back to the house. (J DVD PEANUTS)


Princess Peppa

Granny and Grandpa Pig come for a dinner party with Mummy and Daddy Pig; Peppa and George are too tired to go to bed, until they are told a story. (J DVD PEPPA)


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Jealous of Snow White’s beauty, the wicked queen orders the murder of her innocent stepdaughter, but later discovers that Snow White is still alive and hiding in a cottage with seven friendly little miners. (J DVD SNOW WHITE)


Where the Wild Things Are…and other Maurice Sendak Stories

Explore the fascinating world of imagination in the company of master illustrator and storyteller Maurice Sendak. In this animated version of Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak’s striking illustrations spring to life as the wild boy Max magically metamorphoses into the King of the Wild Rumpus right before viewers’ eyes. Carole King lends a folksy, sometimes jazzy sound to Nutshell Library stories “Pierre,” “One Was Johnny,” and “Chicken Soup with Rice” as viewers learn about the alphabet, counting, and months of the year. (J DVD WHERE THE WILD)

“To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books.” ~Carlos Maria Dominguez

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

I went into this historical novel expecting a quiet, introspective tale, and while it definitely was that, it also had the most danger, pirate treasure and menacing psychopaths of any quiet book I’ve read before.

As a baby, Crow was pushed out to sea in a skiff and has lived 12 years on one of the tiny Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts with Osh, the father-figure who took her in, and Miss Maggie, their fiercely loyal neighbor.

When Crow begins digging into her history, the answers she finds just end up leading to more questions and she learns a lot about how she defines herself and who she wants to be in the future.

I was utterly charmed by these three characters and their quiet life, especially Osh with his hardworking, straightforward worldview and the heart-squeezing kernels of affection and wisdom he shares with Crow along her journey.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC WOLK)