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INDEXES TO PAST STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS: BY TITLE | BY REVIEWER | TV SERIES/SPECIALS ON DVD/VHS

October 2011 Recommendations

book cover  Voyages of Imagination
by Jeff Ayers

This book is a massive trade-paperback volume that chronicles all of the professionally published Star Trek fiction from the very earliest novels (put out in the late 1960s) through 2004. Each book gets its own page, with a detailed plot description, and often interviews with the author, who recollects the experience of writing in the Star Trek universe. The depth of information here is impressive, but this book will primarily appeal to Star Trek collectors and Trek fans who are completists or continuity buffs. The behind-the-scenes interviews or author commentaries are priceless. A lot of readers probably look down on media tie-in novels as substandard, but you'll be astonished to see how many respected and established authors have contributed to make the pantheon of Star Trek fiction fairly high-class. Authors such as Greg Bear, Lee Correy, James Blish, Diane Duane, Vonda McIntyre and many more have gone on to become award-winning authors in the genre field -- some of these got their starts writing Star Trek novels, and some did Star Trek out of a love for the source material. Personally, I own a copy of this one, and take it with me to conventions, trying to collect as many signatures in it as possible. I consider this an absolutely essential reference work for Star Trek fiction fans! [Although the Lincoln City Libraries do not own this title, you can request it through InterLibrary Loan! -- A perfect book to read to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Star Trek, which occurred September 8, 2011!]

[You can check to see which Star Trek novels the libraries have on our giant Star Trek: The Reading List online booklist!]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
by Georgia Bragg [j920 Bra]

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous, gives an educational twist to a macabre subject. Author Georgia Bragg's geared the book towards young adults who can explore how nineteen famous and infamous historical figures passed away. Braggs also sneaks in historical facts, highlighting events, historical facts and cultural issues that lead up to each great figure's death. These facts include; old fashioned medical remedies, political climate and relevant life stats on each figure. Braggs witty writing is accompanied by black and white pen and ink illustrations from Kevin O'Malley, which add a fantastic visually explanatory effect. Was Ludwig Van Beethoven buried, or are pieces of his body up for auction? Did Edgar Allen Poe succumb to rabies, tuberculosis or both? Where is Albert Einstein's brain's final resting place? Did King Tut die of a broken leg? How They Croaked includes answers to hard pressing questions like these and more! Check it out for the whole family to enjoy a great informational and spooky October read. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try A Tale Dark & Grimm. By Adam Gidwitz (based on the tales of Jacob Grimm), Uncle John's Bathroom Reader (series -- 031 Bat/jPB Bathroom Readers), Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.]

[ official Georgia Bragg web site ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Glory B.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is for a music CDPoltergeist: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
by Jerry Goldsmith [Compact Disc 782.14 Pol]

Though the movie itself can sometimes veer into the area of cheesiness now, after almost 30 years, the soundtrack to this classic horror film is one of the most memorable movie soundtracks I've ever heard. Legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith (Patton, Star Trek the Motion Picture, Chinatown, The Wind and the Lion and dozens more) uses a variety of musical styles, combining the charming with the creepy, fairytale-like with horrific. Carol Ann's theme, and the track "Rebirth" will send a frisson of discomfort up your spine. "Night of the Beast" and "Escape From Suburbia", as the family tries to flee from their cursed home, and just downright terrifying. I would easily rank this accomplished soundtrack among the finest from any horror film of the past 60 years, including John Williams' unforgettable score to Jaws, Danny Elfman's scores to Edward Scissorshands, or even Goldsmith's own original Planet of the Apes or The Omen (for which he won the Oscar). Just hearing the little piano theme from the end of the movie, with the overlaid children's laughter, creeps me out. If you're a fan of movie music, you can't miss this one!. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try some of Goldsmith's other soundtracks, particularly The Omen.]

[Also available as the original movie on DVD.]

[ official Jerry Goldsmith web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  The Haunted Looking Glass
by Edward Gorey [823.08 Gor]

The Haunted Looking Glass is a collection of ghost stories chosen and lightly illustrated by the dark writer and artist Edward Gorey. Originally published in 1959, Gorey's collection includes his favorite creepy stories. The collection exhibits such heavy hitters as: Algernon Blackwood, "The Empty House"; W.F. Harvey, "August Heat"; Charles Dickens, "The Signalman"; L.P. Hartley, "A Visitor from Down Under"; R.H. Malden, "The Thirteenth Tree"; Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Body-Snatcher"; E. Nesbit, "Man-Size in Marble"; Bram Stoker, "The Judge's House"; Tom HoodD, "The Shadow of a Shade"; W.W. Jacobs, "The Monkey's Paw"; Wilkie Collins, "The Dream Woman"; and M.R. James, "Casting the Runes".

For those not familiar with Gorey, this Windy City native (February 22, 1925 ? April 15, 2000 RIP), is infamous in both the literary and art world for his macabre illustrations and writing. Gorey's books are often a play on children's literature structured as picture books, but with a twist. Gorey's black and white pen and ink drawings illustrate in detail the exotic to grotesque characters and stories of his imagination. The Haunted Looking Glass is a great read for the seasoned Gorey reader. Gorey's selections are a great insight into the literary works that have inspired his own stories and art. For those new to Gorey, The Gashlycrumb Tinies is a first must read (available through InterLibrary Loan). The Gashlycrumb Tinies follows the alphabet through Goreys poems including, "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears. C is for Clara who wasted away. D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh..." Edward Gorey is an October must read -- checkout any one of the Gorey titles available through Lincoln City Libraries here-->! [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Ascending Peculiarity by Edward Gorey 741.6 Gor, The world of Edward Gorey 741.6 Ros, Amphigorey by Edward Gorey 741.973 qGor, The drum, the doll, and the zombie by John Bellairs j Bellairs, Red Riding Hood by DeRegniers, Beatrice Schenk ; Gorey, Edward j419 DeR.]


[ Wikipedia page for Edward Gorey ] | [ official Edward Gorey House and Trust web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Glory B.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is for a music CDHalloween
by Mannheim Steamroller [Compact Disc 394 Man]

From the kings of instrumental Christmas music comes this equally charming collection of Halloween-themed music and electronic effects tracks. Chip Davis and the Mannheim Steamroller gang do their own fast-paced modernized electronic versions of 8 pieces of classic music, including "Hall of the Mountain King" (Grieg), "Funeral March of a Marionette" (Gounod), "Night on Bald Mountain" (Mussorgsky), "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (Dukas) and "Ride of the Valkyries" (Wagner). There are also 5 original Chip Davis tracks, including "Harvest Dance", "Z-Row Gravity", "Rock & Roll Graveyard", "Crystal" and "All Hallow's Eve". My favorite musical track, though, is "Rite of Twilight" -- a Chip Davis take on the Twilight Zone TV series theme. In addition to the 13-track music CD, there's also a second disc, filled with 10 sound effects tracks, including "The Reaper", "Alien Spaceship" and "Souls Demise" (among others). If you're a fan of the Steamroller's legendary Christmas albums, this is definitely worth sampling. It provides great background music for a Halloween party! [If you like the original 2003 set, there was a second set released in 2006, featuring 13 more music tracks, 7 effects tracks, and 4 dance re-mixes. Those were titled Halloween 2.]

[ official Mannheim Steamroller web site ]

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Shackleton's Way
by Margot Morell and Stephanie Capparell [658.401 Mor]

Margot Morell and Stephanie Capparell tell the true story of Ernest Shackleton's epic expedition through the Atlantic, including before and after his boat sank, and how he was able to get every one of his men home after two years of living on the ice. The book is all about his leadership and management techniques and includes sections on how people have implemented those techniques in modern day workplaces. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Joker One by Donovan Campbell, a story about a marine put in charge of a 40 man unit.]

[ official Shackleton's Way web site ]

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Carrie K.
Bennett Martin Public Library and South Branch Library


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book cover  Anno Dracula
by Kim Newman

Kim Newman's Anno-Dracula is a brilliant piece of alternate historical fiction that blends together real historical characters with literary characters from Victorian era novels. Anno-Dracula takes place in an alternate history London where Dracula defeated and killed Van Helsing and his allies. Dracula has married Queen Victoria and rules England as Prince Consort. Other vampires have emerged from the shadows and now openly aide Dracula's regime. In the dark and bloody streets of London, two investigators, one human and the other vampire, team up to uncover the mystery behind Jack the Ripper, a silver-knife wielding serial killer preying on vampire prostitutes in Whitechapel. Their hunt for Jack the Ripper will take them deep into the dark heart of Dracula's regime and into a confrontation with Dracula himself. Newman's take on the Dracula legend is expertly crafted and equally enjoyed by those familiar with Victorian history and literature and novices to the genre.

[ Background about Anno Dracula from the official Kim Newman web site ]

related lists See more books like this on our Fangs a Lot! booklist
Review Score - 9
Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


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book cover  The Moon Maze Game
by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

The Moon Maze Game is the fourth in a sporadic series of novels co-written by Niven and Barnes which revolve around Live Action Role Playing gamers and the Dream Park corporation. The first three books in the series (Dream Park [1981], The Barsoom Project [1989], and The California Voodoo Game [1992]) were all set on earth and involved complex multi-layered plots incorporating quirky characters, believable technological advances and thriller elements. For the fourth book, set decades from now, the action has moved to the moon, where humanity has had an industrial and recreational colony for some time. When the first off-world LARPing game is announced to take place on the moon, the creme-de-la-creme of Gamemasters, Loremasters and regular gamers compete to secure positions in "the game". Among the players is the scion to an African nation's leader, and when terrorists attempt to kidnap him within the framework of the "game", what had been a challenging but ultimately only ego-brusing competition becomes a life-and-death struggle. Trapped within a fictional storyline of Victorian-era space explorers on the moon, the gamers find themselves trying to stay one step ahead of political revolutionaries and mercenaries, with ideological fervor and vengence on their side. This was a solid action-adventure thriller with a good scifi flavor and setting. Those who enjoyed the earlier three books will appreciate the next-generation ties to characters and events set earlier in the timeline. While I enjoyed it and do recommend it, the ending felt a bit rushed, and the "bad guys" were somewhat two-dimensional. Readers should really give Dream Park and The California Voodoo Game a read first! [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the other three books in the series. Also the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg, in which fantasy Role Playing Gamers find themselves transported to a real world that plays by the game's rules.]

[ Wikipedia entry for Dream Park ] | [ Wikipedia page for Larry Niven ] | [ Wikipedia page for Steven Barnes ]

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Bloody Mary, Gentle Woman
by Frances Grace Reinehr [B P24865r]

In among the various regional "Bloody Mary" legends around the US is the story of Lincoln's own Mary Partington. This short history-biography was put together by a Lincoln teacher. Mary was the never-married eldest daughter of a wealthy and community-oriented Catholic family who, because of her independent streak and her avoidance of modern conveniences and fashions, came to be the subject of continual speculation and harrassment in her later years, when she was the sole remaining person in the once-grand family home on the north edge of town. Despite this, Mary persevered, and many people knew her as a kind and generous person, despite appearances and circumstances. Unfortunately, the "bloody" designation became appropriate when she shot an intruder one night, killing him, and also when she herself was shot by teenagers prowling around her yard. This should be a must-read for anyone who thinks they know the story.

[Also available: Frances Grace Reinehr reads from Bloody Mary, gentle woman, a program in the John H. Ames Reading Series, available in both DVD and VHS formats.]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by J.K. Rowling [j 823 Row]

With the release of the final film in the Harry Potter series this summer, I went in search of some of the more obscure of the Harry Potter tie-in volumes. A lot of readers are probably familiar with The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which came out after the final Harry Potter novel. What many fans many not realize is that there were two quirky little tie-ins released as charity fund raisers while the Harry Potter books were still being produced. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a fun little encyclopedia of the magical beasts that have appeared (or been mentioned) in the various Harry Potter books. Produced like a school handbook, with supposed hand-written notes in the margins by Harry and his friends, this is a quick read that any Harry Potter enthusiast should track down. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Quidditch Through the Ages [j823 Row] ]

[ official J.K. Rowling web site ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Death Troopers
by Joe Schreiber

What happens when you take good old zombie horror fiction and combine it a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away? You get Death Troopers, a unique and entertaining foray into the Star Wars expanded universe. Roughly one year before a farm boy from Tatooine encounters a pair of droids that will change his life forever, the Imperial prison barge Purge breaks down in a remote sector of space. They discover a Star Destroyer, seemingly abandoned and adrift in space. A team is deployed to the Star Destroyer to salvage parts to repair the Purge. Only half of the team makes it back as they find themselves infected and dying from an unknown disease. Within hours, roughly a half-dozen survivors are all that are still alive after the contagion kills the others. Unfortunately for the survivors, death is only the beginning… Schrieber's book is an entertaining gory thriller that requires no knowledge of Star Wars beyond the original trilogy. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Red Harvest (reviewed below).]

[Also available in downloadable audio and book-on-cd formats.]

[ official Joe Schreiber blog ]

related lists See more books like this on our Star Wars booklist
Review Score - 8
Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


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book cover  Red Harvest
by Joe Schreiber

Schriber's prequel to Death Troopers takes place during the days of the Old Republic, thousands of years before the events of the original Star Wars trilogy. It is a time when both the Jedi Order and the Sith number in the thousands and wage a seemingly never-ending battle with each other for the fate of the galaxy. One of the Sith Lords, Darth Scabrous, has devoted years of research to unlocking the secrets to immortality. His machinations will draw a young failed Jedi and her ability to communicate with plants into Scabrous' vile quest. Scabrous' research unlocks a fatal virus that doesn't just kill, it transforms and it hungers… Red Harvest is an enjoyable gory and macabre thriller. Readers don't need to have much understanding of the time of the Old Republic and the Expanded Universe to enjoy the book, but it certainly helps. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Death Troopers (reviewed above).]

[ official Joe Schreiber blog ]

related lists See more books like this on our Star Wars booklist
Review Score - 7
Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


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book cover  Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus
by Mary Shelley

I recently re-read Frankenstein, for the first time since my college years. My science fiction club selected this Mary Shelley classic for one of our monthly book discussions. I'm glad I took the chance to read it again, because I enjoyed it a lot more now than when I was "forced" to read it as "a work of great literature." What started for Shelley as a challenge from other writers to write a "scary story" really evolved into an impressive exploration of what it means to be human -- the inherent frailty of mind, body and spirit, scientific hubris, and the ease with which our morality and ethics can be compromised. If you think you're familiar with this story merely from watching any of the various Frankenstein movies, you've been misled. Do yourself a favor -- prepare yourself for prose that can be overly florid, and dialogue that can be a bit stilted. But if you stick with it to the end, you'll find yourself impressed with what has arguably been described as the first true science fiction novel.

[This title is available in a wide variety of formats, and has also had numerous pastiches, parodies and follow-ups written to accompany it.]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemBridesmaids
[DVD Bridesmaids]

Annie thinks her life has hit bottom. Her business goes under, her boyfriend leaves her, and she starts sleeping with a guy who doesn't want to be in a relationship. Things start to pick up when her best friend Lillian gets engaged and she's asked to be the maid of honor, but then only get worse when she's constantly being outdone by the perfect bridesmaid, Helen. Join Annie and the rest of the bridesmaids for the dress fitting and bachelorette party from hell. If you're looking for a good go-with-your-girlfriends kind of movie this is it. The SNL comedic genius of Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph is great, but Melissa McCarthy steals every scene. [If you like this one, you may also enjoy Bride Wars, another great comedic wedding movie.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Bridesmaids web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Carrie K.
Bennett Martin Public Library and South Branch Library


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book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemHocus Pocus
[DVD j Hocus]

Before she and her sisters were hanged for witchcraft in the 1600's, Winifred Sanderson says a curse claiming that when a virgin lights the black flame candle they will come back to life. In modern day Salem, Max tries to impress a girl by lighting the candle, which brings the witches to life. Now he and his sister along with the girl he's trying to impress have to save Salem from the witches. The storyline alone is good but add to it the comic genius of Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker and you've got a great Halloween movie that never grows old. [If you enjoy this, you may wish to try The Witches (DVD j Dahl)]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Carrie K.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemSomething Borrowed
[DVD Something]

I am a sucker for romantic comedies. No matter how predictable the story line may be, I get pulled right in. Something Borrowed is about two women who have been friends since childhood. Darcy is about to marry Dex, the handsome guy that her best friend Rachel has had a crush on since law school. Dex and Rachel spend a night together and Rachel soon finds herself caught between staying loyal to her best friend and following her heart. Something Borrowed is funny and has a lot of heart. The cast of Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Colin Egglesfield is great. If you are a fan of The Office, John Krasinski is also in the film and provides a lot of laughs. [If you like this, you may also enjoy these other romantic comedies: While You Were Sleeping, Love Actually, Sabrina, and The Holiday.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official MOVIE web site ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Alyse S.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemWarehouse 13 - Season One
[DVD Warehouse]

Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering are Secret Service agents assigned to the president's protection detail. After an incident with an ancient artifact they find themselves reassigned to a mysterious warehouse in the boondocks of South Dakota. Warehouse 13 is filled with supernatural artifacts that, when in your possession, cause trouble. Their mission is to find the artifact, snag it, bag it, tag it and bring it back to the warehouse for safe keeping. Joining them on their quests are their straight and narrow boss Artie, teenage tech wizard Claudia and the mysterious Mrs. Frederic. [If you like this, you may also enjoy Sanctuary -- a series about things that go bump in the night, or Eureka -- about a town filled with magical mysteries - even has some crossover episodes with Warehouse 13.]
[Also available: TV Tie-in novels based on Warehouse 13.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this series ] | [ official Warehouse 13 page on scifi.com ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Carrie K.
Bennett Martin Public Library and South Branch Library


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book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemThe X-Files: Season One
[DVD X-Files]

Over the course of nine seasons on The X-Files, from 1993 to 2002, Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully became iconic characters in the lore of unexplained phenomena and alien/government conspiracies. The extensive alien conspiracy storyline arc eventually became somewhat suffocating to the series' whole premise, though the performances remained excellent. I encourage viewers to return to this first season, to re-visit some of the most fascinating cases and creepy threats that the show ever introduced. Yes, there were some pretty laughable plots and effects in the first season, but it also brought us such classics as the shapeshifting multi-generational serial killer Tooms in "Squeeze" and "Tooms", the ancient threat of an alien lifeform found in a deep core sample in "Ice", the asexual predator in an Amish community in "Genderbender", the blatant government cover-up of a crashed UFO in "E.B.E.", and the creepy, deadly nighttime forest threat of "Darkness Falls". Go on, give Mulder and Scully another chance. You know "The Truth is Out There!"
[Also available: The other 8 seasons of this series, plus a number of tie-in novels.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ X-Files episode guide at epguides.com ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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last updated October 2011
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