Prose Bowl 2017: Welcome to the Winners’ Circle

Now that we’ve announced The Underground Railroad as our Prose Bowl winner, it’s time to reveal our bracket champions! Our astute players that dominated the Predict the Winner portion of the contest are as follows:

  • Sheri M.
  • Melleny T.
  • Debby C.
  • Susan N.
  • Serena S.
  • Peggy N.
  • Toka S.
  • Sandra H.
  • David O.
  • Danielle B.
  • Jean L.
  • Christi H.

They have a choice of receiving an Advanced Reading Copy of a soon to be published book or a READ poster starring themselves. Congratulations, guys!

Image result for read posters

We also chose three participants to rock a READ poster like Alan Rickman.

  • Mish
  • Caroline F.
  • Matthew W.

Thank you for participating this year. See you for the next round in 2018!

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Jane Austen Movie Adaptations

By Michelle C.

Are you obsessed with Jane Austen’s novels? Have you watched the movie versions over and over, eagerly awaiting each new release? Do you have fights with your friends about which version of Pride and Prejudice is best (Colin Firth–always Colin Firth)? Then this is the blog post for you!

Some of my favorite Jane Austen adaptations are those in which we bring Jane’s characters to the modern day.

In Clueless, Cher is a popular, Beverly Hills teenager with a big heart and too much time on her hands (sound familiar?). When her ex-stepbrother calls her self-centered, Cher decides to start helping the people around her by playing matchmaker with mixed results. Although it was released in 1995, the themes of social status and women’s roles are as classic as they were in 1815 when Emma was published.

In From Prada to Nada, Nora and Mary are rich, Beverly Hills sisters (why do these movies always take place in Beverly Hills?!). When their father dies and they lose their fortune, they are taken in by an impoverished aunt. This is a Latina adaptation of Sense and Sensibility with a fun mix of culture, humor, and romance.

And in Bride and Prejudice, Lalita tries to stay out of her matchmaking mother’s way in India as she navigates a love-hate relationship with the American tycoon Will Darcy. Bollywood meets Austen in this musical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

If you haven’t seen them yet, you should also watch some of the YouTube adaptations that have been created of Jane Austen’s work: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, From Mansfield With Love, and Emma Approved.

If you’ve watched all of the adaptations and are looking for something similar, try these Jane-Austen-like-movies.

 

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Audio Spotlight: Stories that Take You Away

by Denise

A few weeks ago, Marina shared audiobooks that eased her commute. Like Marina, I rely on audiobooks for company while on the road. Whereas Marina tends toward nonfiction audiobooks, I thrive on fiction. My eyes on the road, a section of my mind relaxes by wandering into fictional worlds brought to life by the alchemy of author and narrator. Here are some of the stories that have taken me away:

 Post-Apocalyptic

Post-apocalyptic stories are not usually beautiful and mesmerizing. But, Kirsten Potter’s narration of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven is almost meditative as we delve into characters before, during and after a deadly flu pandemic.

Narrator Christine Lakin brings the chill and thrill to Holly Black’s post-vampire apocalypse gem, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. You might be stopped dead cold in traffic, but at least you’re not quarantined with vampires in their own prison town.

Historical Fiction

Dominic Hoffman’s melodic narration enhances the power of Yaa Gyasi’s gorgeous novel, Homegoing. Spanning three centuries, this saga follows two lines of a family split apart by the slave trade. One sister is shipped to America as a slave. The other, the wife of the British governor of the Cape Coast Castle, stays in what becomes Ghana.

I don’t consider myself a fan of pirate stories, but James Langton’s recital of Eli Brown’s Cinnamon and Gunpowder changed my mind. Perhaps it’s the red-headed woman pirate, the mouth-watering meals prepared by the kidnapped chef, or the fascinating portrayal of life on the high seas, but this audiobook is a completely original escape. Let the traffic jam!

France during the German Occupation of World War II is not an unusual setting, but Jo Baker’s  A Country Road, A Tree provides a fresh take. Before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Irish writer Samuel Beckett chose to return to Nazi-occupied Paris and join the Resistance. Now that’s a story!

Psychological Suspense

These two psychological suspense novels center around travels of the super rich gone horribly awry. Escape to the world of the privileged and the ambiguities of the mind.

A private jet flying from Martha’s Vineyard to New York crashes into the ocean. Robert Petkoff’s narration of Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall explores the undisclosed lives and secrets of the characters on the plane, seeking to unravel the cause of the tragic accident.

The holds queue for Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 has been quite long and so I was thrilled when my turn finally arrived. Imogene Church’s voice added the perfect spooky quality to this mystery. Who dumped a woman off a private cruise in the middle of the North Sea? Did it even happen? Unfortunately, this audiobook breaks my fundamental expectation for CD audiobooks and driving– the tracks are too long. If I miss a key detail (while focusing on driving), I want to quickly backtrack and replay. Not so with this audiobook. Some tracks were nearly half an hour long! I had to replay an entire commute just to catch one detail. But I was so invested in the story that I kept listening. That’s how good the story is!

Are you an audiobookphile? Do you listen and drive? Share your favorite road trip companions in the suggestions!

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LibraryReads List April 2017

by Marina

Ahhh . . . April showers!

Well, it’s raining another batch of top ten books as voted on by library staff around the country. What can be better than that? At least it’s an excuse to keep you out of the real rain. Because there’s no need to get your books wet.

But it looks like April is bringing us a few new releases by some well-known authors. The top title for April is a continuation, of sorts, from Elizabeth Strout’s last book My Name is Lucy Barton. It’s called Anything is Possible. (Which, for some reason, has put Everything is Awesome in my head. Awesome.)

Now for the rest of them:

Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Waking Gods (Book 2 of the Themis Files) by Sylvain Neuvel
Miss You by Kate Eberlen
The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve
American War by Omar El Akkad
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
A Twist In Time by Julie McElwain
Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen

Anything up there look good? Share in the comments which title you’re most looking forward to.

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Literary Pets

by Marina

Dogs rule . . . .

Many of the Readers’ Services Team are dog lovers as shown by the number of times we’ve snuck photos (or videos) of our own pets into our blog posts. We like other animals too, no doubt, but dogs seem to inspire our content more. Although, there’s this thing where cats and libraries seem to go together? Weird.

So, for those of you without pets (whether for the reason of time, space, allergies or anything between and beyond) maybe spending time with a literary pet is just what you need.

Now you want to be selective here. What if you pick Lying Cat from the Saga series by Brian K. Vaughan? She’ll call you out on your lies. That wouldn’t be fun. Besides, she looks like one of those hairless cats. I’m partial to cats that have hair. On the other hand, if you’re looking at literary cats, there’s always Hobbes. He’d be pretty cool. And very little clean-up since he’s a stuffed toy. But you might also have to contend with Calvin. Since they seem to be a pretty tight pair.

Now, this all started with our teams’ mutual love of dogs, so let’s think about those. I like big dogs (and I cannot lie–sorry, I couldn’t resist) so I’m partial to Fang from the Harry Potter series. Big, slobbery, and very loyal. What’s not to love? For the record, I’m partial to big and slobbery. But the first dog I thought of was Manchee from The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (the first in the Chaos Walking series). This is a dog that lives in a land where all the thoughts of men and animals can be heard. His loyalty and friendship to Todd is proven over and over again as they are relentlessly chased by the horrible, apparently indestructible, Aaron.

So, those are a few of my picks for literary pets.

Who would you choose?

And, in case you were thinking I’m negligent in not sneaking in some (more) photos of my pets after blatantly calling us all out . . . well, don’t worry. I’d never miss a chance to share some cute pics of my pets.

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Prose Bowl Winner!

The votes are in, the smoke has cleared and the fat lady has sung — we have a winner! 16 books removed their dust jackets and grappled to be this year’s Prose Bowl champ, and the honor goes to…

“The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead!

Thanks to all of you who participated; we’ll announce our prizewinners next week.

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Tips for Our New Catalog

by Brian H.

I’m all for new. So this is going to be a decidedly upbeat positive plug for the new library catalog. I’ll share some cool features I’m enjoying and invite you to give them a try.

Privacy

The new catalog defaults to letting you share content that you create with other customers. You may choose to change your settings to private in your account settings.

Comments

Admit it.  You’ve always wanted to be a music critic reviewing new music and musicians. The new catalog lets you add your comments and share your thoughts on the performances and performers you discover in the library catalog. Items you comment on or give a rating to will be shared with Sno-Isle library customers on the Recent Activities landing page of the catalog. All users will benefit from your listening discoveries and sharing.

Lists

Create your own lists and feature top music picks from the artist and genres you love. You can share it with other library members or keep it private for your own use. Use Personal Recommendation lists when you want to create a list for someone else but you don’t want it to appear on the website. You can still share the web address of the list directly. (Tip, you can add items to a list from the Title’s Details Page in the catalog.)

Videos

If a video is available on YouTube, Vimeo, SchoolTube or TeacherTube, you can add it to a title in the new catalog. I don’t know about you, but for me a preview of a track in video format will “sell” me on a new recording. These days music and video go hand in hand. And now the music in our catalog and music video performance can go hand in hand too. (My favorite feature of the new  catalog.)

I encourage you to give these catalog features a try.  I look forward to discovering the comments, lists and video content you share with our library community. Please feel free to add me to the follow list on your account. Use the search bar and limit to search for User. You’ll find me under the staff profile name sil_brianh.

Let us know about your discovery experiences using the new catalog. We’d love to hear from you.

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Deserted Island Books

by Liz

By the time this is published, I will be mere days away from a wonderfully relaxing week in a warm, tropical setting. Sun! Sand! My shadow! My deepest apologies for the brag, but I think we can all agree this has been an especially deary winter. Ugh.

As I start to plan what to pack for my trip, of course my thoughts drift to what I am going to bring to read. Something new? An old favorite? Given that I will probably be distracted by the sun and fun to be had, an old favorite seems the way to go. But which favorite?! Sigh…Life sure is hard sometimes. Somehow this led to me thinking about what books I would want with me if I was on a deserted island. Perfectly logical, right? Favorites bounced around in my head, but, ultimately, those that made the cut are those holding a special place in my heart. These titles have made me laugh, cry, and brought me comfort each in their own unique way.

Some highlights from my list:

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck.

While this may seem like an odd choice to some, this was actually the first title that popped into my head. I have read GoW least 5 times since my first reading in 9th grade and every time I am in awe. In awe of the Joad family’s never fading strength on their journey from dust bowl Oklahoma to the promise-land of California, and in awe of Steinbeck’s ability to share their harrowing story without pity.

 

 

My Life in France, by Julia Child.

A love story times two, My Life in France is not only the charming tale the Julia falling in love with her husband Paul, but also of her falling in love with France and French cuisine. Paul’s accompanying photographs only add to the charm.

 

 

Skinny Legs and All, by Tom Robbins.

Any Tom Robbins really. He always makes me laugh, always makes me think, and his Seattle references would bring me much comfort in my time of need. But for the sake of this post, I will pick just one…Skinny Legs and All. After all, talking conch shells could very well become part of my everyday life on this imaginary island I am stuck on.

 

 

Now it is your turn! Tell me, what titles would you most like to be stuck with?

 

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Gruesome Graphic Novels

by Emily Z.

March has put me in the mood for something sinister.
Think about it:

  • The theaters have at least one horror film in rotation each week because this is their time to shine before the summer blockbusters come.
  • The sky is being very uncooperative and gray.
  • Oh and the Crypticon horror convention is coming.

But why graphic novels? Well, in addition to being inspired by the Emerald City Comic Convention kicking off the 2017 convention season earlier this month, I must also admit to a bit of Reader’s Block… Most of the other books in my to-read stack (now more of a looming tower) are 400+ page doorstops. They are undeniably lovely doorstops by promising authors, but it still felt like it was high time for something different. Reader Burnout is real and it can snowball into a full-on non-reading rut unless you shake things up a bit.

Graphic novels have proven themselves to be a ticket out of the literary doldrums. Most are rapid reads, being all of 90 pages; you might get through one in less than hour. You also get a serving of art with your prose, which allows you to use different parts of your brain while you read. If you too feel a bout of Reader’s Block coming or simply want something spooky for these strangely rainy/snowy/gloomy days, give these books a look.

Fair Warning: In endeavoring to include different varieties of dark, the books here also showcase a range of scariness. Because of this, they are grouped into three wholly unofficial categories that aim to give a broad idea of what you’re getting into. If there’s any concern that something will be too intense (or too mild), just flip through the book’s artfully illustrated pages to get an idea of its content. Do so with caution though because, you know, spoilers.

 

In the spirit of this visual medium, I’m also going to limit the descriptions to a few favorites and let the covers do the talking for the rest.

PG 13
Mostly Harmless

The Motherless OvenThe Motherless Oven by Rob Davis

In the world of the Motherless Oven, children build their parents, certain household appliances are sentient, there are no birthdays (but everyone knows the date they will die), and normal meteorology involves knives raining from the sky. Scarper Lee, an unlucky young inhabitant of this world, has a Deathday less than a month away. Scarper is resigned to simply living as long as he’s allowed, but brash new classmate Vera Pike is going to ruin everything by trying to save his life.

If you ever figure out how much of all this is metaphor and how much is pure, glorious weirdness, drop a comment. The second book in this planned trilogy, The Can Opener’s Daughter, is being added to the collection as we speak, so maybe it will have more in the way of answers.

 

The BLack DahliaThe Black Dahlia by Rick Geary

Rick Geary is the king of true crime graphic novels. The Black Dahlia, a visual unraveling of the tragic and bizarre end of Elizabeth Short, is but one recent addition to his considerable catalog. In both the Treasury of Victorian Murder series and the Treasury of XXth Century Murder, Geary neatly reveals the details of the most notorious serial killers and famous crimes from America’s (and sometimes the UK’s) wild adolescence. The big names are there: Lizzie Borden, the Axe-man of New Orleans, the Black Dahlia, and Jack the Ripper, but Geary is equally happy to dig up even older, lesser known boogeymen like the Bloody Bender clan of Kansas and poisoner Madeleine Smith.

Although Geary’s subject matter is fairly gory, his illustrations are as staid as they are meticulous.  All drawings are done in black and white with great precision and little to no blood at all. They offer suggestions of violence, focusing instead on immersing you in the time period and the story. These books can appeal to history fans and creepy crime buffs alike.

 

 

 

Rated R
Violence and Gore Galore

Miss Don't Touch Me
Miss Don’t Touch Me by Hubert

During the day, Blanche and Agatha work as maids in 1920s Paris. At night, Agatha goes dancing while Blanche huddles in their crumbling attic room at the grand house they clean, fretting about Agatha and a serial killer called The Butcher of the Dances. Unbeknownst to Blanche, The Butcher is not at any dances tonight, but right next door, murdering a prostitute. After an awful confrontation that leaves Agatha dead and Blanche homeless (she’s kicked out for bringing scandal to the house), the normally quiet Blanche takes it upon herself to find The Butcher and avenge Agatha’s death. Pursuing the only lead she has, she tries to find an in at the most prestigious brothel in town, thinking that someone there might know something about a murderer who preys on prostitutes.  Though she applies to work there as a maid, the Madame sees something in the fiercely virtuous Blanche. She will be the iciest and most brutal dominatrix Europe has ever known: Miss Don’t Touch Me.

 

NC-17
Abandon All Hope 

Beautiful DarknessBeautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann

Deceptively lovely, with whimsical watercolors seemingly ripped right from a picture book, Beautiful Darkness is hands down one of the darkest titles in this list. It features a troupe of precious pixies who live with a young girl. When the girl suddenly dies one day while walking through the woods, the Pixies find they must hurriedly abandon her. I’m being intentionally vague here to avoid minor spoilers, but full disclosure: this is a gross story. It is raw and disquieting. It is disturbing, not least of all because it is about a dead child and pixies which are not the Disney-style pixies/fairies most of us know. These pixies are like Tinkerbell in the original text of Peter Pan; these are O.G., Old World fairies. The more we get to know them, in their Lord of the Flies style survival story, the better we appreciate their twisted, shallow, cruel, violent, and heartless nature.

Thankfully, protagonist Aurora is at least somewhat redeemable and certainly more intelligent than the rest of the tiny pixie court. After their exile into the woods, it is Aurora’s burgeoning craftiness that helps her survive the harsh new habitat. While the rest of her tribe try to resume life as it was before, decorating with flowers, forming cliques, ruthlessly shunning each other for petty reasons, torturing birds, and trying to “civilize” the mice, Aurora comes to realize that Winter is Coming and her people will most certainly die if they don’t start taking things seriously. Can Aurora lead her people to safety? Can she at least save them from themselves? Do we really even want her to?

 

 

Let me know if there are any other creepy comics you would recommend–I’m always on the hunt for more.

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Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

by Grant

Before the internet, film buffs were able to impress people (at least in our minds) with our abilities to say who was in what movie. Now thanks to IMDB and wikipedia this “knowledge” is only clicks away. The perfect game for this skillset was created in 1994 by students at Albright College called six degrees of Kevin Bacon. The game is to link any actor to Kevin Bacon via their films.  For example, Kevin Bacon was in JFK with Kevin Costner who was in Waterworld with Dennis Hopper.  Therefore Dennis Hopper has a Bacon Number of 2.  For the most part you can connect almost any famous actor to Bacon in less than 2 steps, but sometimes finding convoluted ways of getting there is all the more fun.  So lets go on a random journey of Sno-Isle material to find a connection from Kevin Bacon to recent Academy Award winner Emma Stone (spoiler it is a 1 thanks a bunch, Crazy, Stupid, Love).

Kevin Bacon made his film debut in the legendary Animal House

1.) which also starred Donald Sutherland, who recently starred in the Hunger Game series

2.) with musician Lenny Kravitz, who appeared as himself in Zoolander

3.) with David Bowie, who was in The Man Who Fell to Earth

4.) with Rip Torn, who was in Marie Antoinette

5.) with Molly Shannon, who was in Wet Hot American Summer

6.) with Paul Rudd, who was in Clueless

7.) with Dan Hedaya, who was in The Usual Suspects

8.) with Benicio Del Toro, who was in Sicario

9.) with Emily Blunt, who was in The Muppets

10.) with Chris Cooper who was in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

WITH EMMA STONE!

Play around on the Oracle of Bacon, it is great fun.

 

 

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