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Saturday Smile

I figured it out!  I know why we are S L O W today.  It is not because this is a holiday weekend. It is not because the weather is so beautiful. It is because according to Chase Calendar of Events today is National Hanging Out Day

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and people have chosen to hang out  . . . their clothes! All other days that we are open, the library is a great place to hang out! Happy National Library Week!

I will admit for the past several years I have been on the young adult trilogy and saga bandwagon. It began with a “vegetarian” vampire family living peacefully in Washington, which turned into a poor, young woman fighting an evil government on live television, which then became a teen boy and girl in a small, Southern town fighting a curse upon the females in her family, that ultimately became about a young woman daring to leave her family, push herself against all odds, and fight a system that was corrupt. I cannot tell you which of these series was my favorite as they all appealed in one way or another, however I did devour the dystopian society books.

DivergentI read Divergent in a weekend. It was so riveting, and I wanted to read the book before the movie came out. This past weekend I went to see the film Divergent all by myself. It was great. The popcorn was great, the giant Coke was great, the miniature Snickers were great, being by myself was great, and the movie was great. So very often these movies fall short of everyone’s expectations. They tweak the storyline to fit the time allotted, the characters do not fit the vision we created, and/or they leave too much out.

I did not feel like that at all. This movie totally lived up to the hype I created about it. The main characters were tough, good-looking, and, dare I say it, had a ton of sex appeal. Tris and Four seemed genuinely attracted to one another, and it was not awkward or strained. They really had nothing keeping them apart. He did not flinch away from her because she smelled overly delicious when she entered the room, and they were not faking or denying their attraction for the cameras. That in itself was a refreshing change of pace.

The other aspect of the film I greatly appreciated was the balance of action and non-action scenes. Some of the fight scenes were pretty gritty and I found those hard to watch, but they did not last long and the scene following was generally less intense. I also appreciated the fact that Tris knew she belonged in Dauntless, the faction she choose for herself, despite unclear direction and male figures in the faction trying to dissuade her. She was strong and courageous and those traits really appealed to me. I love the fact that she did not need her family’s approval, or anyone else’s. She was who she was and she was not trying to please anyone else. I can honestly say this movie did not disappoint me like Twilight and Beautiful Creatures did. In my opinion they got this one right and I am very excited for the second movie, which is to be released in late 2015.

This past weekend saw the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the first film from Marvel Studios in 2014, the second movie detailing the Captain America story (or third if you count Marvel’s The Avengers) and the ninth film in Marvel Studio’s three-stage initiative to get a large chunk of their characters and universe to the silver screen.  Marvel fans have even more cause for celebration this year as other Marvel franchises that have been purchased by other film studios are also seeing new films, and there is definitely pressure there to produce films of the same caliber as the wildly popular Marvel Studio’s output.

Columbia Pictures is bringing us The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in May, the second film of the rebooted Spider-man series to star Andrew Garfield, and the trailers promise not one, but three proper adversaries for Spidey to juggle with his web-slinging abilities.   The trailer shows that like last summer’s Man of Steel, the fight sequences look more like a video game than live action, but I’d be hard-pressed to say they are anything less than spectacular.  This might be a good candidate for the 3D screening.  I’m particularly excited to see Jamie Foxx as the sinister Electro.

May will also see the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which many fans are hoping to be a return to form for the franchise.  While this is the seventh X-Men film from 20th Century Fox, it comes after two Wolverine side stories that seemed separate from the universe at large and X-Men: First Class, a prequel that, while entertaining, used its 1962 setting as an excuse to cast a host of younger actors into the iconic roles and didn’t do much to advance the stories of the characters.  Days of Future Past sees the return of director Bryan Singer, director of the first two (and best-regarded) X-Men films, and the story appears to be super ambitious, involving two different times periods in which the iconic characters interact with past versions of themselves.

What I’m most excited for is Marvel Studios’ second offering of this year, Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s first foray into highlighting what we can safely call their B-list of heroes.  I know there might be one or two fans out there I’ve just upset by that, but given the massive popularity of recent Marvel flicks, I think it’s safe to say that there were millions of film-goers who had never heard Continue Reading »

nlw14_posterOne of the cool things about the 21st century is how public libraries have remained a big part of Americans’ lives, despite all the new electronic media. Even traditional books — supposedly becoming outdated — remain important, as attested by the long waiting lists for popular titles and by the several folks we see walk by our reference desk with armloads of books every day. Add in music, movies, electronic reading, reference services, family history records, computer access, meeting rooms and programs. The result is that libraries are crucial to the quality of life in many communities, as they are in Allen County.

The latest statistical support for this feeling comes from Pew Internet. It shows, among many other things, that two-thirds of the adult population say they have medium or high engagement with public libraries.

Like any enterprise these days of constant change, libraries cannot be complacent. As part of National Library Week this week, we have introduced our Maker Lab at the Georgetown Branch. Stop by to see how we can help you turn your creativity into physical, usable objects with a 3-D printer and other tools. This week you’ll also have two chances to win Kindle e-readers by completing simple exercises that are laid out on forms available at our 14 locations.

I realize the preceding may sound like amazingly blatant tooting of my employer’s horn, but I worked in another field for 25 years. When I decided to make a career change, I chose to become a public librarian because I had appreciated libraries so much my whole life. Odds are you appreciate them, too, so please come by and celebrate with us during our week. Libraries are simply a good place to be.

 

We may be in the middle of National Poetry Month but we’re also at the beginning of National Library Week — two things that make my heart pitter-patter quite happily.  You’re reading this blog so I know you love your library — but what Dewey Decimal Category are you?  Take this quiz and find out!

I’m the 800′s — is anyone surprised?  Poetry, Drama, Literature — it’s all good!  What’s your favorite category?

Image from Mental Floss

Image from Mental Floss

At last! A sigh of relief!

I have had Eloisa James on my auto-buy list since her very first book.  But, I must admit the last three or four books have not h_jameslived up to my expectations.  However, I’m glad to say Three Weeks with Lady X reminds me why I have her as an auto-buy.  Was this a perfect novel? No.  Were there some things in it that bothered me? Yes, and I’ll explore those later.  First let’s look at what’s good about this story.  Two words: Thorn and India.

Thorn aka Tobias is the illegitimate son of the Duke of Villiers, the hero of A Duke of Her Own.  He has made an appearance in a couple of James’s stories, the first time as a child.  He’s grown into quite a strong self-made man.  He has made quite a bit of money and he is of the opinion it’s time to have a family.  Now, he doesn’t really care a flying fig what society thinks of him; however, he does care what society will think of his children.  He is on the lookout for a respectable, above-reproach woman.  Someone meek, submissive who will adore their children and not say too much about anything.  He has a woman in mind who is perfect for the job, Lady Laetitia Rainsford.  Laetitia, is a quiet, shy, backward, awkward character who I will talk more about later.  In order to win Laetitia’s hand he must first impress her horrible mother, so he has purchased a grand mansion, sight unseen.  Now, as luck would have it this mansion is in need of repair and in order to fix the place, he has hired the social-fixer-upper Lady Xenobia India St. Claire, an interior decorator of sorts.

As anyone who has ever read a romance novel will know, India is about as far from meek as anyone could be.  She, like Thorn, has some childhood baggage she’s carrying around with her.  Her parents were rather self-absorbed and she’s grown up fending for herself.  She is also of the opinion that on the night her parents were killed in a carriage accident they were leaving her behind … without even letting her know they were going.  Because of this, she doesn’t feel that she’s loveable or that people will stay with her.  However, she hasn’t let that turn her into a gloomy Gus — she has instead turned into a very strong woman, opinionated and one who usually gets her own way.  So when Thorn and India met, they instantly clash, and what a fun brawl these two create.  Watching these two try to outmaneuver each other was mesmerizing.  For most of the book I loved how these two interacted with each other.  And, when they aren’t together wrangling, they are sending some snappy correspondences to each other.  This was one romance couple who are actually a couple.

Here come the quibbles.   Continue Reading »

syndetics-lcDon’t be fooled by the contents of the monologue on track 3 of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, ‘Giorgio By Moroder,’ that man is not from Germany!  He’s not even from the Future, despite the cyborg helmet schematics populating the album artwork of this Grammy nominated recording.  He’s from the mountains of Italy, and has descended with much to tell us.  Listen closely.  You may be surprised at how effectively his sepulchral voice draws you into the album, this Random Access Memories, by giving us a very human, though also otherworldly, voice telling a story of persistence, survival, and transcendence that sets the stage for more of those flowing, pulsing, digitized beats.

Suggested Use: Speaking of transcendence.  Random Access Memories probably provides the perfect soundtrack for a Saturday night of staying in and washing your hair (perhaps as or as not a way of avoiding an undesirable dinner date) and ascending to the delight of having gone out and gotten your groove on (or, dare I say it, ‘Lost Yourself to Dance,’ track 6) at some sort of arty club from a Wim Wenders film, without actually having to.

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