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

September 2013 Recommendations

book cover  Antiques Disposal
by Barbara Allan

This is the sixth entry in breezy Trash n' Treasure series. Brandy Borne and her mother, Vivian, are always looking for merchandise for their antique booth in the mall. Big Jim Bob, Vivian's old friend, and owner of a storage rental business, tells her that there might be something valuable in an abandoned unit that will be up for auction. Vivian and Brandy have the winning bid and take some of the boxes home. They go through them and find a 1946 drawing of Superman, a set of Havilland China and an old cornet. Brandy stashes the cornet with the other cornets in the garage and they go back to the storage unit for more boxes. When they get to there, Brandy and Vivian find that someone broken into the unit stole the rest of the boxes and killed Big Jim Bob. That night someone breaks into the Borne house and steals a cornet from their music room. Why does someone want that old cornet? Barbara Allan is the pseudonym for the husband and wife writing team of Barbara and Max Allan Collins. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Donna Andrews and Ellery Adams.]


[ official Antiques Disposal page on the official Barbara Allan web site ]

Review Score – 5
Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department


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book cover  A Street Cat Named Bob
by James Bowen [Biography Bowen]

James Bowen's recent bestseller is a sweet "animal and their human" tale, that should appeal to anybody who loved the books about Dewey the Library Cat. Bowen was a recovering drug addict barely making a living at busking in the high-traffic areas of London, when he crosses paths with an injured male ginger cat in the hall of his flophouse. Despite attempting to avoid making the connection, Bowen feels drawn to the cat, and takes the stay in, nursing it back to health and finding a new purpose in his own life. In describing his rewarding new relationship with this extraordinary feline, Bowen reconnects with life -- leaving behind the life of a starving street musician and taking on the challenges of a licensed vendor of news magazines. He also reconnects with friends and family from his past and gets completely off of drugs. In his own works, Bob, the street cat, saves Bowen's life. Bob has become something of an internet celebrity, following the posting of some YouTube clips of James and Bob during their street musician days. You can now follow Bob's adventures on Twitter and Facebook, too! [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Dewey.]


[ YouTube videos associated with Street Cat Bob ]

Review Score – 8
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope
by Ian Doescher [791.437 Doe]

May the Verse be with you! This book is a re-telling of the Star Wars story (now known as Star Wars IV, A New Hope) in Shakespearian style, or in other words, written in iambic pentameter form. As a fan of both Star Wars and all things Shakespeare, I found this book to be witty, creative and well written. The author's use of well-known Shakespeare monologues as applied to Star Wars is exceptionally clever. The illustrations are also well done. Quoting the book jacket: "This is the book you're looking for." [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Wars by George Lucas (both the book and movie); Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown; Hamlet by William Shakespeare (and all other plays by Shakespeare as well).]


[ Publisher's official William Shakespeare's Star Wars web page ] | [ official Ian Doescher web site ]

Review Score – 8
Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Benediction
by Kent Haruf

Nebraska author, Kent Haruf, has written another compelling story that includes small town living, family issues, terminal cancer, an estranged son, death and hope. [You might like to go back and read his other titles if you haven't already -- Plainsong, Eventide, The Tie That Binds.]

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

[ Publisher's official Benediction web page ] | [ Wikipedia page for Kent Haruf ]

Review Score – 10
Recommended by Meredith M.
Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors


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book cover  Spider-Man Noir
by David Hine, Fabrice Sapolsky and Carmine DiGiandomenico [741.5 Hin]

I haven't been following contemporary comics too closely in recent years -- too many reboots of long-standing continuity to allow me to enjoy yet another rehashing of the same old origin story for favorite old characters. But, when I saw Spider-Man Noir, a small graphic novel, on the new books display recently, I was captured by its unique take on the Spider-Man mythos. Instead of simply retelling the story of how Peter Parker got bit by a radioactive spider, lost his Uncle Ben, and took up the life of a web-slinging vigilante in a contemporary setting, Spider-Man Noir throws the action back to the late 1920s/early 1930s era of prohibition, speak-easies, corrupt cops, and reporters out to make names for themselves. Peter's spider abilities are attributed to a mystic curse, and many of his familiar enemies (The Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter, the Vulture, etc.) are given completely new spins. This multi-issue comic book was compiled into a smaller-than-usual trade graphic novel, with gorgeous illustrations. I loved how the artists managed to capture the visual essence of some of comicdom's most recognizeable characters, but cloaked them in early 20th century clothes and dialog. This title really makes me to read Marvel's other "Noir"-set storylines, but I do wish to complain about the size at which they reproduced this comic-book story. The pages are crammed with lots of details, and lots of lines of dialog, and reproducing it at a smaller-than-expected size makes it much harder to read. None-the-less, I really enjoyed this alternate-history title and recommend it, especially to longtime Spider-Man fans! [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the other Marvel "Noir" comics/graphic-novels.]


[ Marvel's official Spider-Man Noir database page ] | [ Wikipedia page for the Marvel Noir saga ]

Review Score – 8
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Maddie on Things
by Theron Humphrey [636.7 Hum]

The cover illustration of this one definitely caught my eye -- a gangly dog (a Maine Coonhound), awkwardly posed on the spare tire on a beat-up old vehicle. That was enough to make me glance inside, only to discover dozens more photos of Maddie, posted on top of other things, all over the country. Some are sweet shots, some are bizarre. The photos are interspersed with author Humphrey's recollections of his cross-country tour with his photogenic dog, and the people and places they encountered in their travels. I'm not sure that this book felt like it had any serious point to make, but if you're interested in quirky travelogues with some silly photos of an infinitely patient and lovable dog thrown in, this should be right up your alley!


[ official Maddie on Things web site ]

Review Score – 6
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is for the Downloadable Audio format of this itemAloha, Lady Blue
by Charley Memminger [Downloadable Audio]

Stryker McBride, a retired crime reporter, lives on his dry-docked houseboat at the plush Bayview Yacht Club, waiting for the one of the elderly members to die so that he can move his boat, the Travis McGee, into one of the coveted boat slips. Meanwhile, McBride and his German Shepards, Kane and Lono, provide security for the club. One day, his old high school classmate, Amber Kam, calls and asks McBride to look into the death of her grandfather. The wealthy old man drowned in six inches of water in a taro patch. Wai Lo Fat's death was ruled an accident but Amber isn't sure. McBride investigates and his journalistic instincts are aroused when he learns that Fat was the second member of a secret Chinese society formed during World War II to die this year. McBride is beaten up for asking too many questions. And one of the biggest gangsters in the islands, Auntie Kealoha requests a meeting. McBride doesn't quit unit he unearths some old and shameful secrets. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Douglas Corleone.]


[ official Aloha, Lady Blue web site ] | [ official Charley Memminger Twitter feed ]

Review Score – 6
Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department


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book cover  Murder She Rode
by Holly Menino

Tink Elledge is disappointed that she cannot ride her prized gray horse, Exit Laughing, in the Brandywine, a prestigious three-day equestrian event. She reluctantly turns the reins over to her protégé, Alejandra Delgado, and prepares to watch from the sidelines. A few days before the event a truck accident kills a respected horseman and a promising colt. The young woman riding in the trailer with the colt, Patty McLaren, escapes injury. A few days later Patty, who is Alejandra's roommate, disappears. Menino uses the backdrop of the Brandywine, where the horses go through dressage, cross-country racing and stadium jumping events, for Tink's investigation of Patty's disappearance. This is an excellent debut novel where Menino's love and knowledge of horses and equestrian events shine.


[ official Murder, She Rode page on the official Holly Menino web site ]

Review Score – 7
Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department


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book cover  The Georgia O'Keeffe Collection

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way... things I had no words for." -- Georgia O'Keeffe.

This timeless collection of paintings and photography is available through our CAMIO Database (Catalog of Art Museum Images Online). O'Keeffe is hailed as the "Mother of American Modernism." Her work explores up-close blossoms, Western American (New Mexico) landscapes and subject matter, as well as some city-scapes and photography as well. Femininity, birth, life, and death are strong themes in her art. I encourage you to explore these timeless pieces of American History, as well as other artists and images CAMIO has to offer. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Georgia O'Keefe (DVD); 759.13's; O'Keeffe: The Life of an American Legend, by Hogrefe.]

[Please note: The CAMIO database is available only while on a terminal that is physically within one of the Lincoln City Libraries.]


[ official Georgia O'Keeffe Musuem web site ] | [ Georgia O'Keeffe: About the Painter site from PBS' American Masters ]

Review Score – 9
Recommended by Jeremiah J.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Haven's Wake
by Ladette Randolph

Ladette Randolph, a fifth generation Nebraskan, writes about small town life, love, accidental death, loyalty, conflict, family and tradition. [Ladette has written other books, A Sandhills Ballad, and short stories in This is Not the Tropics. She is also the editor of two anthologies, A Different Plain: Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers and The Big Empty: Contemporary Nebraska Nonfiction Writers.]


[ official Haven's Wake page on the official Ladette Randolph web site ]

Review Score – 10
Recommended by Meredith M.
Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors


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book cover  Attachments
by Rainbow Rowell

Is there such a thing as love at first sight when you've never seen the other person? That is the question Lincoln asks himself. Lincoln works for a newspaper as IT Security. Primarily going through all the flagged company emails and sending off the occasional warning for misuse. Then he starts reading Beth and Jennifer's correspondence. They're violating every rule in the book. But at the same time Lincoln can't help himself. Those heartfelt and funny emails between friends make his long, lonely work nights manageable. Then he starts to fall for Beth. But after months of not reporting them or finding out who Beth really is, he can't exactly introduce himself. "I'm the guy who reads your email and also I love you." That conversation would be very awkward. Rainbow Rowell has a way with characterization that amazes me. I couldn't help myself but relate to the characters. I really felt for Lincoln and even though you only see Beth through her emails I really did love her character. For such a simple premise Rowell really goes in depth with her characters and make them fully formed personalities and believable people you would want to know. Though it is in many ways a love story it also felt very coming of age. I would definitely recommend! [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Rainbow Rowell's novel for teens, Eleanor & Park.]


[ official Attachments page on the official Rainbow Rowell web site/blog ]

Review Score – 10
Recommended by Wyatt P.
Gere Branch Library


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book cover  This review is for a music CDRed
by Taylor Swift [Compact Disc 781.642 Swi]

This is Taylor Swift's fourth album, and it but remarkably steps out of the "country" genre she is known for. My two most favorite songs on the CD are "We are Never Getting Back Together" and "I Knew You were Trouble." These break-up song titles, inspired the title of the CD in which Swift says all of her emotions which have run rampant the past few years are summarized in the color "red"-- "there is nothing beige about it." The CD overall is great, and I really appreciate Swift's knack for writing her own lyrics-- they're very clever. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Speak Now - Taylor Swift, or Taylor Swift (self-titled album).]

[Also available in vocal selections format.]

[ official Taylor Swift web site ]

Review Score – 8
Recommended by Jeremiah J.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey [YA Yancey]

The Others have come to Earth and at the dawn of their 5th Wave humanity is in shambles. Cassie is alone, doing what she must to survive. Staying alone is her best option because you can't know who is human and who is Other. Then Cassie meets Evan and she must make her decision to trust or surrender, because Evan is the only one who can help Cassie rescue her brother and herself. Yancey does well at creating palpable tension that had me eagerly turning pages to find out what happened next. I can already see a blockbuster movie being made based on this book and I would gladly be the first in line to see it. This is not only an incredible action story, but Yancey's writing is impeccable. I did have a few issues with the way the story was laid out and thought the twists could have been more surprising, my issues were incomprehensible however in comparison to my vast enjoyment. I eagerly await the sequel and in the meantime will make do (happily) with Yancey's other works, starting with his Monstrumologist series.


[ official 5th Wave page on the official Rick Yancey web site ]

Review Score – 8
Recommended by Wyatt P.
Gere Branch Library


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The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this item12 Angry Men
[DVD 12]

Perhaps one of the greatest movies ever made. This theatrical release, directed by Sidney Lumet, was released in 1957, and was based on a 1955 stage play, which in turn was based on a 1954 television film -- all written by Reginald Rose. This 1957 film has one of the best casts ever put together for a movie -- headlined by Henry Fonda, but with superb supporting work by Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, John Fiedler, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec and Robert Webber. The plot, in a nutshell, is that these twelve men are the jurors on a murder trial, and they've been sent away from the courtroom to debate the case and make their decision regarding the guilt or innocence of the accused. All but one of the jurors are set to believe this was an easy case, but Henry Fonda's character has questions -- he's not certain "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the accused is guilty, and his questions begin a lengthy process of each juror re-examining the evidence, the testimonies, and their own preconceptions. Set in the stifling confines of a hot, stuffy jury room, this intense drama pits conflicting opinions and moralities against each other head on, and touches on issues of racism, classism, and the American system of justice. This is an unforgettable production, and although it has more recently been remade in a 1997 TV-movie version (with an equally stellar cast), nothing beats this original. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the 1997 TV-movie, if you can track it down.]


[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ MGM's official 12 Angry Men web page ]

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


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book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
[DVD Hobbit]

I expected a lot from this movie, but it still exceeded my expectations. Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo, did a wonderful job, as did the rest of the cast. There are some new characters and some returning from the trilogy. As before the music and scenery really contribute to the feel of the story. They have broken the book's story line into three parts, and will again be making three movies. In this first one, Bilbo sets off on an adventure with Gandalf and bunch of dwarves. The dwarves are resolved on re-claiming their home and gold under the Lonely Mountain which had been claimed by the dragon Smaug a few generations before. On this journey Bilbo meets Gollum and finds the One Ring. I highly recommend this movie to anyone. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey : Official Movie Guide. by Sibley, Brian; Tolkien, J.R.R.]

[Also available in a variety of other formats.]

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

Review Score – 10
Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library


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book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemA League of Their Own
[DVD League]

I absolutely love this movie! Two sisters join the first professional baseball league for women. As they tour and play more games you start to see the toll it takes on their relationship. I really like the touching ending as well, but you will need to brush up on your baseball lingo. It includes an all-star cast including: Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell, Madonna, Jon Lovitz, and Bill Pullman. Tom Hanks is particularly comical. Won a few Golden Globes, and several other awards. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Sandlot, The Rookie, Trouble With the Curve.]


[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

Review Score – 9
Recommended by Jeremiah J.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemRun Lola Run
[DVD Run]

This is an extremely suspenseful (relatively short) German film; Manni has lost 100,000 Deutschmarks to pay off a mob boss and is about to rob a grocery store; it is up to Lola who "runs" to stop him or come up with the money on her own. Three different scenarios play out of how things might go down; at only 81 minutes this film is extremely action packed and will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Downfall, The Counterfeiters, Das Boot (some of the other German films at LCL).]


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

Review Score – 8
Recommended by Jeremiah J.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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last updated September 2013
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