Dirty John (2018)

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

This TV series is adapted from an extremely popular true-crime podcast about John Meehan, a man who makes a career by lying. From fighting in Iraq to treating patients experiencing debilitating pain with his vast medical expertise, there is no line John isn’t willing to cross accompanied by a handy explanation or six ready in his back pocket to keep him out of trouble. He swoops into Debra’s beautiful, expensive life and in less than two months, moves in, deflects Debra’s children from seeing her, adds his name to her financial accounts and marries her. Aghast by their foolish mother, the daughters and her nephew do everything they can to tell Debra there’s something wrong with John, but she refuses to hear any of it. Even as the foundations the couple hastily built together begin cracking, Debra calmly and with a gratingly soft voice, chooses to ignore direct evidence of John’s harmful behavior towards her children and picks him over them numerous times. Vapid, entitled and equip with unfortunate California valley girl accents, it was the girls that kept me watching regardless. Slighted left and right, the siblings don’t give up on their mom and put themselves in harm’s way to keep an eye on her. Without spoiling anything, Debra couldn’t be more right near the end when she remarks, “this isn’t going to make me look very good.” It sure doesn’t, Debra.

Located in TV Series (TV SERIES DIRTY)

#TBT: 1923-1924

Popular Books Published from 1923-1924

1923:

A Lost Lady / Willa Cather

Mrs. Forrester, the resident aristocrat of Sweet Water, a remote railroad town on the Western frontier, is the lone representative of culture and refinement. (FIC CATHER)

 

The Prophet / Kahlil Gibran

Presents the Lebanese poet and philosopher’s inspirational essays on love, marriage, work, joy, sorrow, freedom, pain, teaching, friendship and death. (892 GIB)

 

Bambi / Felix Salten

Describes the adventures of a deer in the forest as he grows into a beautiful stag. (J FIC SALTEN)

 

Saint Joan / George Bernard Shaw

Saint Joan is a play by George Bernard Shaw about 15th-century French military figure Joan of Arc. Premiering in 1923, three years after her canonization by the Roman Catholic Church, the play dramatises what is known of her life based on the substantial records of her trial. (CDBOOK 822.912 SHA)

1924:

A Passage to India / E.M. Forster

Two women come to Chandrapore, India, and their lack of understanding of the culture causes one of them to make an unjust accusation. (FIC FORSTER)

 

In Our Time / Ernest Hemingway

This collection of short stories offers vignettes concerning the conflicts, situations, problems, and personalities characteristic of society in Hemingway’s day. (FIC HEMINGWAY)

 

Billy Budd, Sailor / Herman Melville

A young sailor is sentenced to be hanged for inadvertently striking and killing an officer. He faces death with a blessing for the benevolent captain who is forced to carry out his execution. (FIC MELVILLE)

 

Did you know? The Hollywood Sign was constructed in 1923. 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

This book is not only well written, it is well crafted. As such, I need to let you know the plot is full of twists and turns. Too many to include in a review. While it is easy to find reviews/comments that shower praise on this particular book, I found it frustrating that I couldn’t find a review or comment that revealed any tidbit of the plot. Once I finished the book and discussed it with others that had not read it, I realized the value of experiencing this hidden treasure was in fact it’s mysterious plot. Therefore, I will not reveal any of it in this review. I will only tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. So much so that I couldn’t wait to get home to read more. There was a comment on the back of the book that may give you a little bit more of a push to read this book….It says, “Owen’s gorgeous novel is both a coming-of-age tale and an engrossing whodunit” (–Real Simple) This is soooo true. Hope you read it, and savor the flavor.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC OWENS)

Films in Focus: Back to School

Back to School: It’s back to school time so here are some movies that feature school days in them, so if you are not going back to school, you can still relive the memories!

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

A young girl from South Los Angeles tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee. (DVD AKEELAH)

 

Dead Poets Society (1989)

English teacher John Keating inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings. (DVD DEAD POETS)

 

Freedom Writers (2007)

A young teacher inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves and pursue education beyond high school. (DVD FREEDOM WRITERS)

 

Grease (1978)

Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. When they unexpectedly discover they’re now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance? (DVD GREASE)

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

An orphaned boy enrolls in a school of wizardry, where he learns the truth about himself, his family and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world. (DVD HARRY POTTER #1)

 

Mean Girls (2004)

Cady Heron is a hit with The Plastics, the A-list girl clique at her new school, until she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George. (DVD MEAN)

 

Monsters University (2013)

A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at Monsters University — when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends. (DVD MONSTERS)

 

October Sky (1999)

The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes. (DVD OCTOBER)

 

School of Rock (2003)

After being kicked out of his rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of an uptight elementary private school, only to try and turn them into a rock band. (DVD SCHOOL)

 

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

A pretty, popular teenager can’t go out on a date until her ill-tempered older sister does. (DVD TEN THINGS)

The Mister by E.L. James

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

If you’re a fan of the 50 Shades of Grey series, you’ll be sorely disappointed with this new book as it is NOTHING like James’ popular series. This book’s lack of character development and storyline is even more of a disappointment. The premise of the story had great potential, but it just doesn’t deliver. The heroine is treated more like an object than a person and the hero’s treatment of women is troubling. If you’re curious in reading it for yourself, give it a go, but its a definite no from me.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC JAMES)

BlackkKlansman (2018)

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

A gripping, fascinating based-on-a-true-story movie from Spike Lee, BlackkKlansman follows the story of Ron Stallworth, an African American detective who decides to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. With the help of his co-worker Flip Zimmerman, Stallworth navigates the impossible and pulls back the veil on this notorious hate group. Issues of race, violence, and activism are all at the forefront of this modern classic. A stunner, not to be missed!

Located in DVDs (DVD BLACKKKLANSMAN)

#TBT: 1957 & 1958

Popular Books Published in 1957 & 1958

1957:

A Death in the Family / James Agee

On a sultry summer night in 1915, Jay Follet leaves his house in Knoxville, Tennessee, to tend to his father, whom he believes is dying. The summons turns out to be a false alarm, but on his way back to his family, Jay has a car accident and is killed instantly. From this situation, Agee weaves a story of the complex ways that people deal with life, love, and loss. (FIC AGEE)

Dandelion Wine / Ray Bradbury

A summer in the life of a 12 year old boy in 1928 in the hamlet of Green Town, Ill. (FIC BRADBURY)

 

Atlas Shrugged / Ayn Rand

The decisions of a few industrial leaders shake the roots of capitalism and reawaken one man’s awareness of himself as an heroic being. (FIC RAND)

 

The Cat in the Hat / Dr. Seuss

Two children sitting at home on a rainy day are visited by the Cat in the Hat who shows them some tricks and games. (E SEUSS / ER2 SEUSS)

 

1958:

Things Fall Apart / Chinua Achebe

Traces the growing friction between village leaders and Europeans determined to save the heathen souls of Africa. But its hero, a noble man who is driven by destructive forces, speaks a universal tongue. (FIC ACHEBE)

 

A Bear Called Paddington / Michael Bond

When the Brown family meets a bear on Paddington Station, their lives are never the same again, as ordinary things become extraordinary when a bear called Paddington is involved. (J FIC / J PBK BOND)

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s / Truman Capote

The tale of a fun-loving, amoral playgirl in New York City is accompanied by “House of Flowers,” “A Diamond Guitar,” and “A Christmas Memory.”. (FIC CAPOTE)

 

Danny and the Dinosaur / Syd Hoff

A little boy is surprised and pleased when one of the dinosaurs from the museum agrees to play with him. (ER 1 / ER 2 HOFF)

 

The Witch of Blackbird Pond / Elizabeth George Speare

A young woman brought up in Barbados comes to live with her uncle in Connecticut, and finds their Puritan way of life difficult after her unconventional upbringing. (J FIC SPEARE)

 

The Once and Future King / T.H. White

Merlyn instructs Arthur and his brother Sir Kay in the ways of the world. One of them will need it– the king has died leaving no heir, and a rightful one must be found by pulling a sword from an anvil resting on a stone. (FIC WHITE)

 

 

Did you know? Bobby Fischer (14 years old) won the United States Chess Championship in 1958. 

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Sometimes it is refreshing to take a break from what’s new in order to revisit a classic. That is exactly what I did with The Color Purple, Alice Walker’s seminal, astounding novel. I remember watching the movie in high school so knew most of the players: namely, narrator Celie and later, her sister Nettie. But I didn’t experience the depth of feeling that Walker pours into her characters–they practically leap off the page, as if they are sitting in the room with you while you read. Heavy issues, such as racism, sexism, domestic violence are handled deftly. Walker also tackles spirituality and religion in brilliant fashion. It is rare that so dark of novel transcends to joy. A stunner, and a classic for a reason.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC WALKER, ALICE)

Films in Focus: Book to Film

Book to Film: There are many films that are based off of books, some classics and some newer releases. Try these films out and see if the movie or book is better.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

A British woman is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary. (DVD BRIDGET)

 

Brooklyn (2015)

An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. (DVD BROOKLYN)

 

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

A smart but sensible new graduate lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine. (DVD DEVIL)

 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker. (DVD GIRL WITH THE DRAGON)

 

No Country for Old Men (2007)

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande. (DVD NO COUNTRY)

 

Room (2015)

Held captive for 7 years in an enclosed space, a woman and her young son finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time. (DVD ROOM)

 

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the titular opposites. (DVD SENSE)

 

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims. (DVD SILENCE)

 

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own. (DVD SILVER)

 

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice. (DVD TO KILL)

The Dam by David Almond

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

I don’t normally review picture books, but when The Dam by award winning David Almond came in my most recent book order, I knew it deserved a special mention. The Dam is the story of a last look by a father and daughter at an area that will soon be covered with water; a chance to remember the people who have been moved out of the area, the houses that were once homes to happy families, all the musicians who once played on that hill, and the wildlife that would never return. It is a time for the daughter to honor it all with the playing of her violin there one last time.

“This will be gone,” he told her.
“And this.”
“And this will be washed away.”
“And this will never be seen again.”
“And this will drown.”
“And these can never live here again.”

Although this seems a sad story (and part of it certainly is), it is also a story about what we treasure, and how things must change, and how we can make things better by honoring and remembering. In these days of fast and new and replaceable, and hurryhurryhurry, it is important to realize some things have to change, but they should be remembered.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E ALMOND)

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