Early in June, a sci-fi blockbuster was released under the title Edge of Tomorrow.  It stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt as futuristic soldiers defending Earth from an alien invasion.  By some twist of fate, William Cage (Cruise) is killed in the battle, and awakens to find himself repeating the same day with the option to allow things to play out differently.  Think Groundhog Day with more exosuits.  The film twas well met by critics, but even the star power of the lead cast wasn’t enough to launch this title into the box office stratosphere.  While I’m sure many of you remember it being released, I’m sure there are plenty for whom the mundane title Edge of Tomorrow has faded from memory.  Warner Bros. is counting on it, at least.

As the film is prepared to release on home media, there has been this strange effort to re-brand the film.  Check out this photo of how the film will appear on store shelves:


It doesn’t catch your eye, but although the words “Edge of Tomorrow,” do appear on the cover, they are eclipsed by the movie’s tagline, “Live, Die, Repeat.”  A quick review of the movie posters reveals that this has always been a prominent phrase in the advertising, but not to the point where it overshadows the movie title.  While there was muttering on film forums about whether or not this indicated a title change, confirmation came later when the official title of Edge of Tomorrow’IMDB page was changed per request of Warner Bros.  The hope here is that moviegoers who had little interest in seeing Edge of Tomorrow in theaters will be intrigued by Live, Die, Repeat when they see it on store shelves.  Somehow I don’t buy it.


“Light novels” are the length of an English novella and are typically aimed at a young adult audience.

What strikes me as really odd is the fact that this film has already had another alternate name, and in my opinion, it is the most striking of the three.  The story is an adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s light novel All You Need Is Kill, and the film was also titled this up until a late stage of production.  Grammarians may cluck their tongues at the title, and it is probably due to poor Japanese-to-English translation more than anything, but you can’t deny that it sticks in your mind.  It highlights the single-mindedness of a soldier whose determination is to cause as much destruction as he can with each living breath, especially as he plays the same scenarios out over and over again.  Kill is not merely the verb the soldier is doing, it has become a noun, a state of being.  Move over Fab Four; in the alien-infested future, all you need is kill.

Are title changes like this unprecedented?  Yes and no.  Smaller films will often change titles in order to rebrand themselves in an attempt to get picked up and Continue Reading »

Laugh, learn and live

Here’s how much I liked this book: I bought a copy. That may not sound like a big deal, but I work in a library and am a cheapskate by nature, so I get almost everything I want to read for free. But I was so impressed by Kelly McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters and What You Can Do to Get More of It that I bought a copy for various loved ones whose willpower waverings are as powerful as my own.

Even if you are one of those relatively happy souls who has enough insight to work through the limitations of your human willpower, this Stanford University psychology instructor’s book will charm you with its often humorous stories about how and why our will works or fails.

But if you or any of your loved ones are among those who spend much of their lives feeling like failures for lack of willpower, the book is truly a treasure. One of the key things is that she writes about both how to stop doing what you don’t want to do and how to start doing what you do want to do.

McGonigal is not so much a scientific researcher — she relates no findings or theories of her own — but she is an outstanding scientific teacher and reporter. The book is not only well organized and easy to read, but the abundant insights and advice it offers are backed up by scores of studies in the science of willpower. (Look up the marshmallow test on pages 163 and 164 to laugh at how 4-year-olds tried to resist marshmallows and to almost cry at how their success or failure at achieving delayed gratification predicted their success or failure in teen-age life.)

Each of the nine chapters addresses an aspect of why it is sometimes so hard to live the way we want to live and then lays out straightforward suggestions of how to change our behavior. My own favorite is a play on the old idea that you make a firm commitment to “punish yourself” by giving  money to a charity if you fail to meet your exercise goals or cut back on cigarettes. Most of us would pick a charity we already support, so where’s the pain?

What if, McGonigal asks, you made it a charity you do not support? Or even, I ask, what if you made it one that you actively oppose? Depending on your bias, picture yourself donating $100 to either the NRA or the Brady Campaign and see how fast you walk around the block.

One of my senior regrets is not reading more self-help books over the years. Partly, I suppose, I didn’t realize how much help I could use, but mostly,  many of the books that I started were just boring. McGonigal’s book is different because it is full of fascinating information and is written so delightfully. If you need help living your life willfully — and who doesn’t? — Kelly McGonigal can be your new best friend.



Most of the quizzes I share are purely fun, but this one may have a bit more insight to offer.  A bit — I don’t know how much answering a few Either/Or questions can really tell us about ourselves that we don’t already know.

This test takes you through a series of “The following statements apply more to me” pages.  Read each set, decide which set on the page most applies to you, click the link to continue to the next step, and voila!  After four sets of statements, this site will award you with one of sixteen labels and provide you with a few paragraphs summarizing your personality type, as well as a handy list of adjectives for updating your resume or online dating profile!

Disclaimer:  I took the free personality test only.  I enjoyed reading the results, and more importantly, reading the results my friends posted on their Facebook pages.  I was not curious enough about the results from a four-question test to pay for the 90-page Career Profile.  Plus, I already know what I want to do and I’m lucky enough to be doing it!

Lots more than check-out

hsc checkout

Hessen Cassel Branch Library’s first automated check-out, 8/22/14.

Guest post by Edith

Yesterday, the Hessen Cassel Branch Library added a mobile check-out machine, and installation of two permanent machines is slated for September.

Many people worry that the librarians won’t have anything to do if computers are doing the check-out process. They are worried for us, and we appreciate their concern. However, believe me, we still have plenty to do! I’m looking forward to catching up on planning the curriculum for my new fall class, Full STEAM Ahead, where people can learn to program a circuitboard using Arduino; to design and print plastic objects on the 3D printer; or to build a simple musical instrument.

What will you learn at the public library today?

Missing Downton Abbey?

By Nancy

So Downton Abbey has been making the news as they released promotional images for the upcoming fifth season of the show. A water bottle left on a mantle somehow wasn’t noticed before the publicity photo of Lady Edith and Lord Grantham was put up on Instagram. Oops! For a television show whose fan base loves the costumes and historical setting and detail, it was a bit of faux pas. See a story about the gaffe at http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-28794870. (Spoiler alert! The BBC article above also talks some about the storylines for the coming year.)

While I am looking forward to the return of Downton Abbey this winter, I so missed Dan Stevens in season 4 that I think my withdrawal is more specific to Stevens’s blue eyes. So really, I’ve been missing Downton (as it was when Stevens was there) for a while now. (Still, this is nothing compared to having to wait until 2016 or longer possibly for the return of Sherlock. Luckily, Benedict Cumberbatch will be starring in a film that looks like a cross between Sherlock and The Bletchley Circle called The Imitation Game coming out in November. Too bad he won’t have those dark Sherlock locks though.)

Anyway, back to my continued grieving for Dan Stevens’s departure from Downton Abbey. Will his son little George, with his blonde hair, make up for the loss? (See adorable images of George in this series from Harper’s Bazaar UK — oh, and don’t miss the Dowager in image 7!) The huge leaps forward in chronological time that Downton Abbey often takes from season to season (and even within the season) used to bug me. But now I’m imagining a leap ahead for season 6 so that Dan Stevens can come back to play the grown up George! How wonderful would that be? (@JulianFellowes, do you read the ACPL blog?) Don’t worry, in my fan fiction, the Dowager Countess would still be going strong and look exactly the same, though perhaps Mary will have passed on (to pursue other film opportunities).

To tide me over until January I plan to watch Dan Stevens’s film “Summer in February” (no matter how bad it is) and perhaps listen to a few of his audiobook narrations (no blue eyes there though). I’ll also try to snag a book or two from the “Keep Calm and Read On” book display in Reader’s Services at the Main Library while it is still up. In the meantime, keep calm and start crafting for your Downton Abbey parties now.

syndetics-lcEven if I hadn’t had my headphones turned up too high, that strong grungy rock opening on the Malkmus/Jicks new album, Wig Out at Jagbags, would probably still have made me jump a little; it was that invigorating.  That experience of track 1 was followed by a very loose-jointed Pavement-esque track 2 that evoked some good memories of where Malkmus has ventured before.  After that came “Lariat,” a very catchy tune and probably my favorite song on the album (also the one with the most entirely disconcerting lyric), and those three songs pretty much sum up the whole album, grungy, loose-jointed, and catchy . . . and disconcerting.  In all seriousness, what supernatural power does a common “chariot” possess enabling it to be the vehicle of choice for bridging an abyss?  Is the suggestion made by this lyrical chariot some sort of reverse pastoralism?  Instead of returning to nature, we’re told to return to militarism, empire, conquest?  Like I said, the implications are just … disconcerting.

Suggested Use: Someone once said, “When in doubt, read Thucydides.”  I say, “When in doubt, listen to Malkmus.”  Though none of the content in this album really tops Beck’s 1994 advice of, “Get crazy with the Cheez-Whiz,” I do feel there are some solid rules for living waiting to be mined from Wig Out at Jagbags, especially if you are finding yourself on the edge of “wiggin out.”

Ever wonder what library staff like to read?  Wonder no more!  Here’s a quick look at some books we’ve enjoyed this month.  Just click on a book cover to check availability; if you’d like to read a short description of the book, just scroll down below the availability listings.

Language of Flowers  Silkworm  fourth of July Creek
 Vanished  Euphoria tune in
 overwhelmed Dear Sugar Artemis Awakening

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