Rhythm Section (2020)

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Quick review: Save yourself the time and skip this one!

Long review: I love a good underdog story. Everyone can relate to a time when they weren’t taken seriously, were taken advantage of or were not given the time of day. These movies generally begin in such a fashion while slowly unfolding the tribulations that left the main character this way and their journey to overcome it. That is more or less what I expected to find from the movie Rhythm Section and it does deliver, albeit in a lousy and unbelievable fashion. First of all, the wigs in this movie did me in! Noticeably fake from the very beginning, I kept wondering how the wardrobe department couldn’t find the room in their budget for realistic wigs. The main character, played by Blake Lively (I know! I was expecting better from her too), is bent on seeking revenge for her family. Again, I can get behind this, but her struggle for a Liam Neeson style, “special set of skills” is laughably short and then we are to believe she’s some master of combat. I wasn’t impressed and advise watchers to skip this film and take a chance with something else.

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

Arthur visits his late wife at the cemetery everyday. Maddy is a bullied teenager who escapes to the solitude of the cemetery. They start an unlikely friendship that also includes Arthur’s next door neighbor Lucille.

This is gentle reading at its best. Arthur’s reflections on life were spot on. I could relate to all the characters. The book was loving, happy, sad and brought me to tears.

I immediately borrowed the next two books in the series and binge-read them. I recommend you borrow all three at the same time, you will want to know what happens next. The titles are: Night of Miracles and The Confession Club.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC BERG)

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein

Reviewed by Anonymous

This book examines the shutdown of the GM Plant in Janesville, WI and how it affected the lives of three families of multi-generational plant workers and three stand alone individuals. It was a very depressing read. It had some appeal as this occurred not too long ago and not too far away. The author made a good attempt at keeping her focus on tying every morsel of information to the plant closing. As such she presented a picture of people who were “stuck in the past” despite devoting energies to trying to reinvent their future. While some may say this story needed to be written I would say it may need to be written but I didn’t need to read it. Sorry. I would not recommend it.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (330.97 GOL)

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

This is a book of Historical Fiction. It is a period piece written from the perspective of Mrs. Alexander Hamilton. It chronicles her life from being Betsy Schuyler to becoming Eliza Hamilton. Through her life journey the reader gets to view her as a daughter, sister, wife, woman, mother, political person, defender of her family name and widow. Oddly, in the arc of her life she held her last role, widow, the longest. In this book the authors outline a balance between the events of the Revolutionary War and the dynamics of the Founding Fathers mixed in with the personal journey of Mrs. Hamilton. There are many twists and turns that make this read interesting and entertaining. Among them are infidelity, a major illness, family deaths, the hint of homosexuality, and some views on slavery. I have not seen the play Hamilton but in the author’s notes at the end of book they discuss the book and the play both similarities and differences. This book is a long and sometimes slow read so before venturing into it think about how strong the subject appeal is to you.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Dogtripping: 25 Rescues,11 Volunteers and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure by David Rosenfelt

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

This was a heartwarming true story of a California couple. After losing their Golden Retriever, they embarked on a mission to rescue one dog at a time and ended up with a household of over 30 dogs and helping place hundreds of more dogs to loving homes.

The author writes with humor and love, intermixing the move to Maine with the stories of some of the dogs he and his wife adopted.

This was an enjoyable read and I also learned about the wonderful job the rescue organizations do.

I recommend this book for dog lovers and for just a nice summer read. Enjoy!

Located in Adult Nonfiction (636.7 ROS)

The Tiny Journalist by Naomi Shihab Nye

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

The Tiny Journalist by Naomi Shihab Nye is a collection of poems imagining Janna Jihad Ayyad, a young Palestinian who became a journalist at just seven years old. As stated in the author’s note, the poems also connect to the poet’s own experiences and research. I am on the fence with this book. There were some lines and poems that were quite beautiful, and there were some poems that just didn’t feel like poems. Many of the pieces are simple, which makes sense when they are from the perspective of a child. However, in my opinion, some are too simplistic in nature.

What I liked: There were some beautiful lines throughout. In “Moon Over Gaza,” the speaker says, “A landscape of grieving/feels different afterwards” (p. 19). I also loved these lines from “Losing as Its Own Flower” on pages 35-37:

Truth unfolds in the gardens,
massive cabbages, succulent tomatoes,
orange petals billowing
even when the drought is long.

Some of my favorite poems were “And That Mysterious Word Holy” (p. 32), “Dead Sea” (p. 43), and “Unforgettable” (p. 109). When I looked back at the notes I took while reading, I was surprised at how many poems I marked as poems that I liked, considering my overall reaction. Poetry collections can be strange like this; a few poems can negatively change your whole view of the collection.

What I did not like: As I said above, the overly simplistic nature of some poems didn’t appeal to me. Their “messages” were too direct, sacrificing the quality of image, language, and musicality. One poem I particularly did not enjoy was “Peace Talks” (p. 85). I was left scratching my head and wondering how it is a poem. It is basically a list of the word “talk” over and over with two other words sprinkled in. To me, this seems like something only a well-known poet could get away with publishing. I also felt that “Tiny Journalist Blues” (p. 114) was not a strong or satisfying way to end the collection. I understand the collection’s aim to give voice to oppressed people, and while I think it does accomplish this goal, I was just disappointed in how some of these poems were crafted.

For those who want to learn more about Palestinian oppression and Janna Jihad Ayyad, this collection is one to pick up. I also think this book would lend itself well to a younger audience. Again, there were many individual poems I liked, but the collection as a whole just isn’t my favorite.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (811.54 NYE)

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff )

This psychological drama will leave you rapidly reading but ultimately, the ending is a bit of a head scratcher. Our narrator Thursday is in a polygamist relationship with her husband, Seth. She knows nothing about his other wives “Monday” and “Tuesday,” their existence an enduring mystery. One day she stumbles upon a medical bill that lists Monday’s real name and address. Thursday’s decisions after this will leave you wondering until the last chapter who the real villain is. The first half of this book will have you wanting more but the second half becomes a bit muddled. Still, if breezy thrillers are your thing, look no further than this book with all its twists and turns.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC FISHER)

Belly Dance Fitness for Beginners

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

The instructional DVD featured identical twin women demonstrating the moves. It showed each move and then put them together to create the dance. I realized that Pilates and yoga are incorporated into the routines.
It does give a good workout.

I felt pretty silly doing the moves. Happily I was alone except for my dog. Lilydog was so embarrassed for me that she hid behind the couch until I finished.

The dancers were beautiful women, I felt relieved when I noted the DVD was copyrighted in 1999. They probably can still bounce quarters from their tummies, but at least they should have a few gray hairs by now.

If you need to change up your exercise routine, give this DVD a try, It was fun.

Located in Nonfiction DVDs (DVD 613.71 BEL)

Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod by Traci Brimhall

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod is a collection I stumbled across while browsing Amazon, and I am so glad I did. The cover and title are what initially drew me to the collection, and after reading a small sample, I knew I needed to read this book in its entirety. Brimhall’s poetry is intricate, lyrical, and startling. It is also violent and dreamlike and intimate. It is a comingling of the Hebrew Land of Nod, Cain’s place of exile after murdering his brother, and the more whimsical Land of Nod, the realm of sleep. The poems take the forms of lullabies, murder ballads, and letters.

The collection opens with a letter to Thanatos, Greek mythology’s god of death, setting a dark and almost surreal stage for the rest of the poems: “Dear heart, you birdcage left at low tide,/what’s living in you is dark and songless” (p. 3). Letters to Thanatos and letters to Eros, Greek mythology’s god of love, appear throughout the collection, death and love becoming recurring themes as the poems’ speaker attempts to reconcile a friend’s murder, pregnancy and birth, a mother’s death, and a passionate but failing marriage. Brimhall also relies on mixing biblical and mythological stories, where both death and love often play out on grand scales: “This is the dirty Eden, stalked by envious angels./This is the land of Isaac, of knives.//We are the wish imperfectly granted, and this is the well” (“Family Portrait as Lullaby,” p. 4).

While reading, there were many poems that I now consider to be among my favorites. These include “Bedtime Story with Goodnight Moon & CNN” (p. 7), “How to Sugar for the Atlas” (p. 34), “Somnambulant” (p. 52), and “From the Buried Kingdom of Together Still” (p. 69-70). Brimhall’s skillful attention to sound also resonates throughout the collection, drawing me to individual lines and stanzas: “Hush, hush sweet godling stirring underground./Rush, rush little sprite, furling and unbound” (“Chthonic Lullaby,” p. 9). And in “Oh Wonder”: “It’s/a mammatus rolling her weight through dusk/waiting to unhook and shake free the hail” (p. 44). These are just a couple of the many moments that I lingered over.

I could go on and on, but I will end here for the sake of brevity. This is a stunning collection that will surprise a reader over and over again. I know I will be coming back to it often.

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

Wilde, a man with a mysterious past is asked to find a missing girl. Along the way another teenager goes missing. Are the two disappearances connected? Adding to the mix are an ultra rich couple who support a cutthroat politician running for the presidency.

The plot had good twists and surprises to the end. I enjoyed it as a summer read. It left some questions unanswered at the end, perhaps a sequel will be forthcoming.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC COBEN)