Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

Every Falling Star is the memoir of a young man, Sungju Lee, living in Pyongyang, North Korea while Kim Il-sung is in power. He lives with his mother and father, going to school, playing battle games with his father, and leading a happy life. One day Lee’s world is changed forever after the death of Kim Il-sung. He returns home to find his family packing all their belongs and is told that they are leaving Pyongyang to “take a holiday.” They move out to rural North Korea, Gyeong-Seong, where Lee begins to realize that North Korea is not the paradise he has always believed it to be. Instead he finds himself abandoned, facing starvation, and witnessing public executions. Lee bands with a group of boys and struggles to survive on the streets for over five years.

With North Korea constantly being in the news it can be hard to imagine the lives of those who live within its borders, beyond what we see on television. Sungju Lee’s story and struggles brings a sense of humanity to North Korean people, one that is too often missing in the news cycles. Every Falling Star is a story of lost childhood, resiliency, and hope. Readers will quickly be drawn into Lee’s story and left wanting more on North Korea and what is happening today.

Available through Bridges Library System

Strike Back Season 6 (2019)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

A few years ago I started watching the Cinemax show Strike Back. It was four seasons of adrenaline-filled action, not for the faint of heart. Then the show got cancelled. But, last year, Cinemax brought Strike Back back with an all new cast, and their newest season, season 6, was just as enjoyable as previous seasons.

Strike Back follows Section 20, a secret unit of British military intelligence. The team of special operations personnel travels the globe during high risk missions to protect the world against harm. In season 6, the team is racing around the world to try to find nuclear weapons before they end up in the wrong hands. The team is led by Sgt. Thomas McAllister (the staid British soldier), Sgt. Samuel Wyatt (the renegade U.S. soldier), and LCpl. Gracie Novin. Along the way, they pick up a Russian agent who may or may not be telling the truth.

This show is chock-full of high-stakes entertainment. But one warning, this show is definitely Rated R. It is full of language, death, nudity, and lots of blood, so viewer discretion is advised. But all of this adds to the atmosphere of the show, and in my opinion, makes the show more enjoyable.

Available through the Bridges Library System

#TBT: 1981

Popular Books Published in 1981

Tiger Eyes / Judy Blume

Resettled in Los Alamos, New Mexico with her mother and brother, Davey Wexler recovers from the shock of her father’s death during a holdup of his 7-Eleven store in Atlantic City. (J PBK BLUME)


Ramona Quimby, Age 8 / Beverly Cleary

The further adventures of the Quimby family as Ramona enters the third grade. (J PBK CLEARY)



Red Dragon / Thomas Harris

Will Graham’s unusual, fearful ability to project himself into the minds of psychopaths puts him on the trail of Francis Dolorhyde, whose bizarre and bloody murders of two suburban families have been triggered by his viewing of a William Blake watercolor. (PBK HARRIS)


Mornings on Horseback / David McCullough

Examines the life of Theodore Roosevelt from age ten to twenty-seven, spanning the years from 1869 to 1886, focusing on the influence of his family relationships and experiences on his growth to manhood. (LP 920 MCC)


Tar Baby / Toni Morrison

On a tropical island paradise, six people interact with each other in all the tender or hateful ways that human beings are capable of. Rich and poor, black and white, young and old, male and female, each has something to teach the others–and each has something to learn. (FIC MORRISON)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark / Alvin Schwartz

Yarns about ghosts and witches, “jump” stories, scary songs, and modern-day scary tales. Includes song lyrics and music. (J 398.25 SCH)


A Light in the Attic / Shel Silverstein

A fat volume of small illustrated rhymes from Silverstein, who gets down to the level of kids’ peeves, spooks, and sense of silliness often enough to score a collective hit. (J 811 SIL)


Gorky Park / Martin Cruz Smith

In contemporary Moscow, Chief Homicide Investigator Arkady Renko unravels the mystery of a triple murder complicated by the shadowy and uncooperative presence of the KGB and by his falling in love. (FIC SMITH, MARTIN)


Jumanji / Chris Van Allsburg

Left on their own for an afternoon, two bored and restless children find more excitement than they bargained for in a mysterious and mystical jungle adventure board game. (E VAN ALLSBURG)


Homecoming / Cynthia Voight

Abandoned by their mother, four children begin to search for a home and an identity. (J FIC VOIGT BK.1)



Did you know? Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice in 1981.

Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

This brilliant graphic novel touches on the heartbreak, triumph, silliness and overwhelming love of pregnancy and parenthood. Knisley chronicles her attempt to get pregnant a second time after the the tragedy of miscarriage. Rarely have such topics (loss, the relationship of gynecology and feminism, everyday pregnancy woes, etc) been covered with such empathy and warmth. I couldn’t put it down and eagerly devoured it in one sitting. At times heart-rending, at times hilarious it is a treatise on the state of motherhood in America and why a first world nation is failing its mothers. A must-read.

Located in Graphic Novels (GRAPHIC 618.2 KNI)

Films in Focus: Autumn

Autumn Movies: With the arrival of Autumn this week, here are some movies that feature scenes of Fall!

Dan in Real Life (2007)

A widower finds out the woman he fell in love with is his brother’s girlfriend. (DVD DAN IN REAL)



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)


Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

An urbane fox cannot resist returning to his farm raiding ways and then must help his community survive the farmers’ retaliation. (DVD FANTASTIC MR. FOX)


Good Will Hunting (1997)

Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life. (DVD GOOD WILL)


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)


St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)

A group of friends, just out of college, struggle with adulthood. (DVD ST. ELMO’S)



Stepmom (1998)

A terminally ill woman has to settle on her former husband’s new lover, who will be their children’s stepmother. (DVD STEPMOM)


Still Life (2013)

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team arrive in Three Pines to solve the unusual murder of a much-loved woman and find dark secrets shadowing this usually peaceful village. (DVD STILL)


When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Harry and Sally have known each other for years, and are very good friends, but they fear sex would ruin the friendship. (DVD WHEN HARRY MET)


You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Two business rivals who despise each other in real life unwittingly fall in love over the Internet. (DVD YOU’VE GOT MAIL)

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

Five teens with seemingly little to no connection to each other serve detention together one day, but before their time is up, one of them is dead. The question that plagues the characters, as well as the reader as the point of view switches from witnesses Bronwyn to Cooper to Nate to Addy, is: Who is responsible for Simon’s death? The only other person in the room was their teacher; he had left to check on a car crash that happened right outside the classroom window just as Simon drank from a cup laced with peanut oil, to which he was fatally allergic. Secrets from each character’s life – Cooper, the jock; Addy, the princess; Bronwyn, the brain; and Nate, the criminal – are revealed as the story progresses, several of which come to light through Simon’s gossip blog. But how can these secrets be published when Simon, the only person with administrative access to the blog, is six feet under? In their attempt to find out the truth, the four survivors of that fateful detention become unlikely friends and allies as one of them gets arrested for Simon’s murder. This novel will speak volumes to teen readers about the implication of spreading truth and lies, and how to avoid the pitfalls of stereotypes.
Karen McManus drew upon her love of the film “The Breakfast Club” to create a modern-day reincarnation whose thrilling pace and intriguing character development will be sure to linger long after the reader finds out the truth – about everything.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC MCMANUS)

Ken Burns Presents: The Mayo Clinic

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

All of Ken Burns’ documentaries are phenomenal works of film, but “The Mayo Clinic” stands out for its deep dive into the history of one of the worlds foremost medical facilities that began with a partnership between a Minnesota country doctor and a group of nuns. Using reenactments; interviews with doctors, patients, and historians; and historical documents this documentary does a thorough job of telling the tale of the Mayo Clinic’s unlikely meteoric rise.

Located in Nonfiction DVDs (DVD 362.11 BUR)

#TBT: 2004

Popular Books Published in 2004

Peter and the Starcatchers / Dave Barry

Soon after Peter, an orphan, sets sail from England on the ship Never Land, he befriends and assists Molly, a young Starcatcher, whose mission is to guard a trunk of magical stardust from a greedy pirate and the native inhabitants of a remote island. (J PBK BARRY)


Alexander Hamilton / Ron Chernow

The personal life of Alexander Hamilton, an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean who rose to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States, is captured in a definitive biography. (921 HAMILTON)


The Truth About Forever / Sarah Dessen

The summer following her father’s death, Macy plans to work at the library and wait for her brainy boyfriend to return from camp, but instead she goes to work at a catering business where she makes new friends and finally faces her grief. (TEEN FIC DESSEN)


The Dark Tower / Stephen King

The final installment in the epic series completes the quest of Roland Deschain, who works to outmaneuver the increasingly desperate acts of his adversaries and confronts losses within his circle of companions. (FIC KING, STEPHEN)


After Dark / Haruki Murakami

Two sisters–Eri, a fashion model sleeping her way to oblivion, and Mari, a young student–form the center of a novel that documents a series of encounters in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn. (FIC MURAKAMI)


Scott Pilgrim 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life / Bryan Lee O’Malley

Scott Pilgrim’s fantastic life takes an unforseen turn when rollerblading delivery girl Ramona Flowers makes her appearance. (TEEN MANGA OMALLEY VOL 1)


My Sister’s Keeper / Jodi Picoult

Conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Anna begins to question her moral obligations in light of countless medical procedures and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body. (FIC PICOULT)


Blue Dahlia / Nora Roberts

Centering around three courageous women, who meet for the first time at a crossroads in their lives, this first installment in a new trilogy follows Stella as she casts aside her fears and finds a special love that she will do anything to protect. (FIC ROBERTS)


Gilead / Marilynne Robinson

As the Reverend John Ames approaches the hour of his own death, he writes a letter to his son chronicling three previous generations of his family, a story that stretches back to the Civil War and reveals uncomfortable family secrets. (FIC ROBINSON)


The Grim Grotto / Lemony Snicket

Still pursued by the evil Count Olaf, the Baudelaire orphans attempt to reach a very important VFD meeting, but first they must travel in a rattletrap submarine to the Gorgonian Grotto, a dangerous underwater cave, in search of the sugar bowl. (J FIC SNICKET)


Did you know? Ken Jennings won 74 games of Jeopardy in 2004!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

This is an absolutely beautiful book and listening to it as an audiobook is even more spectacular. The lyrical prose combined with narration by the amazing Lin Manuel Miranda is a match made in heaven. The story follows two Mexican American boys coming of age in the late 1980s as they wrestle with racial and ethnic identity, sexuality, and family relationships. This story will make you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. I truly cannot recommend this book enough.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC SAENZ)

Films in Focus: Comedies

Comedies in Our Collection

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

Ron Burgundy is San Diego’s top-rated newsman in the male-dominated broadcasting of the 1970s, but that’s all about to change for Ron and his cronies when an ambitious woman is hired as a new anchor. (DVD ANCHORMAN)


The Big Lebowski (1998)

Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. (DVD BIG LEBOWSKI)


Blazing Saddles (1974)

In order to ruin a western town, a corrupt politician appoints a black Sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary. (DVD BLAZING SADDLES)


The Blues Brothers (1980)

Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised. (DVD BLUES BROTHERS)


Bridesmaids (2011)

Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride’s best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef. (DVD BRIDESMAIDS)


Caddyshack (1980)

An exclusive golf course has to deal with a brash new member and a destructive dancing gopher. (DVD CADDYSHACK)


Groundhog Day (1993)

A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again. (DVD GROUNDHOG)


Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles. (DVD MONTY)


National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

At a 1962 college, Dean Vernon Wormer is determined to expel the entire Delta Tau Chi Fraternity, but those troublemakers have other plans for him. (DVD NATIONAL ANIMAL HOUSE)


Some Like It Hot (1959)

When two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in. (DVD SOME)