I have learned that we can legally put book cover images from our catalog on our website to promote the things we have. How great is that? I'd rather look at book covers than book titles any day.
So I'm going to try to put a few on here to brighten up our blog and make it more interesting, and maybe you'll discover a book you want to check out. I won't be able to put images of all of our new books up (too time-consuming for now), and so far I haven't gotten them to display the way I want (the limited functionality of a blog vs. a real website). But here's my new experiment.
If you click on the titles below the covers, it should bring you to the catalog, where you could find out if they're in or you could request them.
Photo taken by lydia_shiningbrightly, used under a Creative Commons license
We're starting a Monday night gaming club on July 30th, 6-8 p.m. Volunteer Jason Olson will be leading it in our library meeting room. Sign up at the library for becoming a regular, weekly gamer, a casual, drop-in gamer, or a one-time game demonstrator. Depending on the numbers of people who sign up, we may need dungeon masters. We will be playing Dungeons & Dragons (3.5), Magic: The Gathering, and any tabletop games that people want to bring in. No gambling (poker, etc.). Ages 10 to adult, unless a younger child is accompanied by an adult.
Do you have a game you'd like to demonstrate? Settlers of Catan? Gloom? Rory's Story Cubes? (I think the library owns a set of the last one.) Talk to Beth and set up a Monday to lead that. Must be appropriate for pre-teens.
Have you gone to see Fiddler on the Roof? I haven’t gone yet, but I plan to go so that I can see our library staff member Elle Dinius as Hodel. If the community theater production has gotten you in a musical mood, come to the library to find some CDs and movies to keep it going.
Do you have “Matchmaker” or “If I Were a Rich Man” in your head? We have the original Broadway soundtrack of Fiddler on the Roof on CD at the Litchfield Library. We also have the DVD of the movie, starring Topol. We even have the sheet music, vocal with piano accompaniment, so that you could try playing and singing the songs at home.
Want to go back and revisit last year’s community theater show? We have the DVD of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae. You can watch Curly ride up on his horse and sing “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” and most of the cast dance and sing to “The Farmer and the Cowman”.
Are you going to go to Hutchinson community theater’s production of Singin’ in the Rain in August? You can find Singin’ in the Rain starring Gene Kelly on VHS at our library, although you’d have to still have a VCR to watch it. A new anniversary edition is coming out on DVD, and I plan to get it for us. You can order the DVD currently from other libraries in the system.
Is anyone else excited about the movie version of Les Miserables that’s coming to theaters in December? I can hardly wait. While you’re waiting, you can watch our DVD of Les Miserables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary, Live. The actress who will be playing Eponine in the movie is in the concert. Her performance is breathtaking.
Among our DVDs, you can also find West Side Story, Forever Plaid, The Mikado, Dreamgirls, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Annie Get Your Gun, Cats, Hairspray, The Sound of Music, and Rent. I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting, and there are many more VHS tapes we still have in the collection.
A newly expanded part of our collection is the music CD section. Most of the new additions are popular music, old and new, but you can check out a few cast recordings and musical movie soundtracks. It’s a great way to learn the songs and be ready for a future community theater or high school theater audition. We have original cast recordings for The Music Man, Company, and The Phantom of the Opera, in addition to Fiddler. We have something called A New Recording of the Most Memorable Songs from West Side Story, and there’s a CD set of Showboat performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits includes some songs from Funny Girl.
In our book collection, we have a number of scores and books of sheet music from musicals. They’re old, but you can find many of the classics: Annie Get Your Gun, Cabaret, Camelot, Carousel, Guys & Dolls, The King and I, My Fair Lady, and The Sound of Music.
I hope you’ll think of the library when you’re looking for arts, music, and culture in our community.
I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. We are in the final two weeks of library programs as we finish this month.
Please add Thursday, August 23rd, 3:00 p.m. to your calendars. Fantastic magician Robert Halbrook will present “Professor Marvel’s Dream Machines.” He says of this program, “GREAT BOOKS can inspire GREAT DREAMS! Great dreams are the seeds for incredible inventions. Professor Marvel’s Dream Machines – an All NEW show for the 2012 Summer Reading Program - will take your kids on a whirl wind journey through his world of always magical, often whacky, but very cool inventions; inventions born of DREAMS.”
Speaking of great books, four readers have shared book reviews with me this month. Here, in their own words, are their reviews.
Logan, age 10, read “Marines,” by Jack Montana. Logan says the book deserves four stars, “because it has lots of information about Marines which is great for reports”.
Josiah, age 11, read two books about sharks. Sharks, by Rhoda Blumberg, is an older book. Josiah says it deserves three stars, and read it “because I like sharks and I want to learn more about sharks.” He also read “Sharks,” by Gary Lopez. He gave the book four stars, “because I like sharks and I’m going to Florida in August.”
Corbin, age 12, read “Class Clown,” by Johanna Hurwitz. He gave the book four stars. His review: “The Class Clown is about Lucas Cott, who needs to learn that there is a time and place for every thing, even for telling jokes, something I need to learn.”
Raechel, age 16, read “Harvest of Rubies,” by Tessa Alshar. She gave the book five stars. Her thoughts on the book: “This is Tessa Alfshar’s second Biblical fiction novel (first being “Pearl in the Sand”) and in this book she goes through the importance and value of our worth in the Lord, our Father. It’s not what we do that makes us worthy, but who we are in Him. The main character, Sarah, is easy to relate to, as she goes through struggles and doubts that we all face at some point in our lives. The allegory, as I suppose you could call it, of the Gardener and the grape vines was powerful, true, and just wonderful. I highly recommend this book, and am so thankful God led me to read it when I did! 5 stars most definitely. Ages recommended: 15+”
I get excited every time a young person hands me a book review. These are readers and thinkers who offer a glimpse of their unique perspectives and personalities. Enjoy the rest of July, and come visit us at the library, where it’s always comfy and cool. See you at the library!
European author Gavin Hill will be hosting a book event in the library meeting room on Tuesday, July 17, between 6:30 and 8:00 p.m. Hill is the author of the novels The Maze and The Blood Tree. He will be presenting his new books, including a collaboration with Rose Hartwig.
Have you been staying out of the heat? We’ve been hearing from quite a few people that they have been checking out books and movies because they’d rather sit still in the house than go outside and do anything in the heat and humidity. We get new movies and TV series on DVD at the library all the time. I’ll tell you about a few of them that I’ve watched lately, so that you might get some ideas about ones you’d like to watch.
Over the 4th of July, my husband and I watched the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. Neither of us has read the books, which have been wildly popular. I wanted to watch the movie to get a feel for the characters and the story. We knew going in that it is a gritty and dark story, and we did find it uncomfortably violent at times; in fact, sometimes we skipped ahead. The mystery was interesting, as were the characters, almost all of which are quite emotionally detached and damaged in some way. Lisbeth Salander appears to operate with a goal of revenge rather than justice. But even with the action, I felt it dragged on too long at the end. It would be interesting to compare it to the Swedish version, which the library also has on DVD – but I’m not interested enough to watch the story again. The movie is rated R.
I recently watched another movie based on another bestseller we haven’t been able to keep on the library’s shelves for many, many months: The Help. It looked like a chick flick, so I watched it with my daughters on a rare occasion when my husband was out of town. I’d heard that it is very mild for a PG-13 rating, and I agree that language was really the only issue. My preteen daughter did enjoy it. I have to admit that this is another book I’ve not read but, after watching the movie, I want to. The characters are wonderful (and in some cases, horrible), the relationships between the women are interesting, and the civil rights story is compelling. It brought tears to my eyes several times. I guess that does sound like a chick flick. It has an all-star cast, including Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Cicely Tyson, and Sissy Spacek. You can find the DVD at our library.
I find it difficult to watch a movie without staying up too late, but we like to veg out in front of the television at the end of the evening. I don’t know if I should admit this when I work at the library, but most of what I watch is television series, streamed on Netflix. One of the things I like about Netflix is its recommendation engine. It has led us to TV shows that we wouldn’t have watched that we’ve enjoyed very much. One of those series is Eureka, which is available on DVD at the library. This Syfy channel series is about a hidden scientific community of geniuses in the Pacific Northwest, and the ordinary law enforcement officer who stumbles upon them and stays. Sheriff Jack Carter, played by Colin Ferguson, is always solving the wacky situations that arise when the cutting edge technology inevitably malfunctions. It’s a pretty lighthearted, goofball show most of the time, with some surprisingly serious moments. It's rated TV-14.
Game of Thrones is another TV series we have on DVD at the Litchfield Library. This HBO series is based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire. My husband has read the books, and he warned me that they are brutal and that I shouldn’t get attached to any of the characters. I found that difficult because two of the Stark children remind me of one of my daughters, but I appreciated the warning. Although the show is so violent that I had to look away many times, I found the first season fascinating and extremely well-made. It feels like the political plotting of medieval Europe, but with dragons, zombies, and seasons that last for years. They say winter is coming. I look forward to season two. Although this isn't rated, it is from HBO; assume a strong R rating.
Downton Abbey is another TV series that has me waiting eagerly for the next season. Two seasons have been released, and the library has both on DVD. I came late to the party, watching both seasons just as season two was winding up on PBS earlier this year. I know so many women who have loved it; it’s a soap opera for intellectuals. My husband actually got into it with me, which was fun. He followed me into Jane Austen, and it’s in the same vein. It’s like watching what would happen to the Bennetts from Pride and Prejudice or the Woodhouses from Emma if they hit the modern era of technology and social change. The first season begins with the sinking of the Titanic and ends with the start of World War I. The second season focuses on World War I and ends on the eve of 1920. Dame Maggie Smith is wonderful and funny, the production is lavishly beautiful, and storylines involving both the aristocratic family and the servants are full of suspenseful twists and turns, besides interesting historical details. This doesn't appear to be rated in the US; I would consider it PG.
A British period soap, a fantasy epic, a science fiction comedy, a civil rights drama focused on women’s relationships, and an edgy Swedish mystery: is there anything here for you? You can find these and many more at the library.