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Staff Recommendations

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The Bennett Martin Public Library downtown maintains an ongoing “Staff Recommendations” display – Staff from throughout the library system are encouraged to submit book, audio, CD and DVD/video recommendations for items to be placed onto this display. Items on the display have bookmarks inserted, giving brief descriptions about the item’s appeal factors, and listing similar books, audios or videos that the reader might also enjoy.

This page on BookGuide is used to highlight some of the items that have appeared on our Staff Recommendations displays in the past, including our staff members’ descriptions of the books, plus links to any “official Web sites” for the books, authors or series, if they exist*. Items on both the display and on this webpage may be recent releases, or older titles that deserve another look. Hotlinks on titles or formats (downloadable audio, book-on-CD, Large Print) connect to the appropriate entry in our on-line catalog, so that you may check on the availability of the item.

INDEXES TO PAST STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS: BY TITLE | BY REVIEWER | TV SERIES/SPECIALS ON DVD | AGATHA CHRISTIE | STAR TREK | STAR WARS

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September 2020 Recommendations

Magic Bites
by Ilona Andrews (Andrews)

A tough, sassy know-it-all who still has a lot to learn, Kate Daniels is a member of the Merc Guild in post-magic Atlanta, GA. Normally she cleans up magical messes (flying snakes, huge tunneling worms) but now she is trying to solve her guardians murder.

Ilona Andrews, the writing spouse duo, introduces us to Kate in this amazingly fantastic world where the question has been posed: What would we do if magic came back?
This book has Necromancers (vampire pilots), the Pack (a mad conglomeration of were-pick-your-flavor-animal who run around in Atlanta) and Kate, who has powers that will be explored, a sword that likes to drip acid around vampires and a backstory that leads into an epic 10 book + saga.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire, Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison or Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach] [ official “Kate Daniels” series page on the official Ilona Andrews web site ]

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Recommended by Rio B.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


Suffragist Sheet Music
by Danny O. Crew (Music 781.592 Cre)

August marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave women the right to vote in our country. The Suffragist movement was a long battle in United States history, starting in the mid-19th century, and branching out through suffrage organizations in many cities and states. The basic proposal within the 19th Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1878, and generations continued the fight to ensure its passage and ratification 42 years later.

Like many of the social movements we saw in the latter half of the 20th century, music was an integral part of sharing the message of the suffragists far and wide. In the era immediately before radio and records became dominant, songs were most often distributed nationally through sheet music, and the suffragist movement’s rise happens to correlate with the Tin Pan Alley era of music publication in our country (It’s worth noting that other social movements of the early 20th century such as the temperance, organized labor and prohibition movements had song traditions memorialized in sheet music, too).

You can learn about many suffragist songs in the book “Suffragist Sheet Music” by Danny O. Crew, available here at the Polley Music Library. The book has no narrative of its own, acting instead as a catalog of many suffragist and pro-womans’ rights songs, reproducing sheet music cover pages and lyrics. In many cases, the music of the suffragist songs borrows from popular secular or political songs, changing the lyrics to familiar melodies of the time. And these songs indeed form a narrative all their own: we find generations of female voices demanding the right to vote and asserting themselves as equals. Some songs take on the issue at the national level, and others tell of the work of suffragists in their own states, such as the “Kansas Suffrage Song” of 1867. In some cases, we see overlaps between the temperance and suffrage movements represented in song. And toward a broader context, some songs are included that oppose suffrage, such as “When the Pigs Begin To Fly” from 1890. As the suffrage movement gains traction and ultimately becomes a reality in 1920, the oppositional songs take on a rather trite character, epitomized by the title of the 1921 tune “Please! Oh Please, Little Suffragette, Don’t Take Away My Cigarette!” that concludes this book’s chronology.

If you check out this book and find yourself interested in learning even more about the suffragist music tradition, the Library of Congress has an online collection of sheet music you can check out here: https://www.loc.gov/collections/womens-suffrage-sheet-music/about-this-collection/
As social issues rise high in our public consciousness again, we’re likely to see new takes on the protest song tradition. For more books about all kinds of protest music, be sure to stop by the Polley Music Library!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Music is Power: Popular Songs, Social Justice, and the Will To Change by Brad Schreiber, 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, From Billie Holiday to Green Day by Dorian Lynskey or Lyrics and Borrowed Tunes of the American Temperance Movement by Paul D. Sanders.] [ Danny O. Crew‘s curriculum vitae ]

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Recommended by Scott S.
Polley Music Library


Apollo Atmospheres & Soundtracks
by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois (Compact Disc 782.14 Eno)

This is a fascinating collection of 12 tracks that experimental music composer Brian Eno created for a television documentary “Apollo”, which used actual footage from the various Apollo moon missions to try to give viewers a sense of what it was like to journey to the moon. Using synthesizers, electronically modified instrumentation, and unusual sound effects, Eno (with his brother Roger Eno and guitarist/producer Daniel Lanois) creates a unique and intriguing aural snapshot. Tracks range from dark and vaguely disturbing (“Matta” and “Signals”) to mind-expanding, comforting, and mood-lifting.

The presence of some “country” musical influences, in Lanois’ steel guitar twangs in a few tracks reflects the fact that the astronauts, given the opportunity to bring music with them on their missions, almost uniformly chose to bring along country music. Several of the tracks on this 1983 album drift into classical music territory as well.

This music is great to listen to in a darkened room, or on your iPod or phone or car’s audio system at night while gazing up at the field of stars overhead. An odd but highly enjoyable album!

[NOTE: This was remastered and re-released after 2000, with an entire second disc of additional tracks added. The library only has the original single-disc 12-track release.] [ official Apollo page on the official Brian Eno web site ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


Sheet Pan Suppers
by Molly Gilbert (641.7 Gil)

I pick up somewhere in the neighborhood of, oh I would say, 50 cookbooks a year. I browse through the majority of them and put them back on the shelf. A few make it out of the library and into my kitchen, and even fewer impress me. Sheet Pan Suppers: 120 Recipes for Simple, Surprising, Hands-off Meals Straight from the Oven by Molly Gilbert impressed me! The book is full of beautifully photographed meals and easy to follow recipes.

So far, I have made 7 of the recipes in the book. Every recipe was absolutely delicious and surprisingly easy to make. The kettle kale chips and the baked turkey meatballs with slow roasted tomatoes were healthy and straightforward options. I paired the coconut shrimp with spicy orange dipping sauce with king crab legs from Hy-vee for a fancy Friday night dinner. It was a crowd pleaser. Rack of Lamb with Herby Breadcrumbs and Buttered Carrots was my absolute favorite! I swapped Dijon for Horseradish mustard and it was fantastic.

For lunch options I tried the Italian Meat and Cheese Stromboli. I enjoy the fact that Gilbert provides multiple breading options. I used phyllo instead of pizza dough, as it was mentioned in another of her recipes. The Portabella Cap Pizzas with Garlic knots which have become a new weekly tradition in my house. For dessert, I tried the Big Dutch Baby with Meyer Lemon Sugar. I recommend pearl sugar and a long nap afterwards!

If you are looking for a no-fuss cookbook with delicious recipes that impressed a rather picky palate, I highly recommend Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert. I give this cookbook a 10 out of 10 as it is excellent, one of my new favorites. I will read this again, and again, and again. I am planning on buying it and adding to my collection for many future uses and family meal memories!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals From the Oven to Your Table, also by author Molly Gilbert.] [ official Dunk & Crumble (Molly Gilbert) web site ]

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Recommended by Monica K.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


Once and Future, Vol. 1: The King is Undead
by Kieron Gillen (writer), Dan Mora (artist) and Tamra Bonvillain (colorist)

This one caught my eye on the “new books” display at the downtown library, and I’m glad I gave it a try. “Once & Future” is a exciting fast-paced graphic novel story that is like a crossover between Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Volume 1, “The King is Undead” compiles the first six issues of what has turned into an ongoing monthly comic-book storyline.

We jump straight into the action, as British ultranationalist sect steals a historical artifact unearthed by archaeologists from a lakebed in Cornwall — the scabbard supposedly used by King Arthur to hold Excalibur — a magical totem that has the ability to heal grievous injury, and which that sect believes they can use to resurrect the long-dead Arthur.

Meanwhile, senior citizen Bridgette McGuire, former monster hunter, slips away from her senior care facility and enlists the aid of her grandson, Duncan, to uncover one of her caches of monster hunting weaponry. Also bringing in Duncan’s would-be girlfriend, Rose, a historian, they begin a quest to try to prevent the horribly-revived King Arthur from gathering the powerful tools he would need to begin a cleansing purge of all but the loyal Celts in England.

The writing is fast and furious, but the characters are well realized. The artwork, by Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain is uniformly good, particular the coloring by Bonvillain and the facial expressions by Mora. The story is heavily laden with Arthurian mythology, but with a modernized twist. And the plot allows Gillen to shine a damning light on the causes of ultra-nationalism, both today and back in history.

I really enjoyed this fantasy/horror/adventure tale, and look forward to future volumes. This first volume was released in graphic novel form in August 2020, and was a 2020 nominee as “Best New Series” in the Will Eisner Awards.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Camelot 3000 by Mike W. Barr and Brian Bolland, The Once and Future King by T.H. White or Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory.] [ publisher’s official Once and Future series web page ] | [ official Kieron Gillen Tumblr blog ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
by Grady Hendrix (Hendrix)

Having read both Horrorstor and Paperbacks From Hell, also by Grady Hendrix, I was intrigued by TITLE when I saw it on the new books display at the downtown library, and decided to give it a try — figured it couldn’t go wrong with a Southern-flavored vampire story.

This is an interesting amalgamation of “southern fiction”, horror story and historical fiction (events in this book are set from the late 1980s to the late 1990s). The central character is Patricia Campbell, a slightly nervous and unfulfilled wife in a tradition southern marriage, with a somewhat inattentive husband and two kids who are moving into the “troublesome” years. Looking for some variety in her life, Patricia joins a book club — first with a bunch of stuffy women reading overly pretentious novels, then with a group of friends, who all want to read True Crime non-fiction volumes.

When an elderly neighbor lady goes insane and attacks Patricia one night, it’s the first step down a dark and confusing path. The demented woman’s nephew moves to town and, despite his charming attempts to fit into local society, Patricia suspects him when a number of children disappear. Events rapidly escalate, and Patricia must convince her fellow book club members that James Harris is not only suspicious — he’s actually an inhuman monster — a vampire.

This book is far less about the “horror” elements, though they are certainly present. It is, rather, a marvelous little look at the relationships between a bunch of Southern belles in a book club, and their awkward and uncomfortable relationships with their husbands and children. There’s a lot of humor, mixed liberally with some stark terror. The last 50 pages are particularly…disturbing. Yet, I enjoyed it, and recommend it to horror fans who like a bit of humor, or to “southern fiction” fans who don’t mind a bit of horror.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Horrorstor or Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction, both also by Grady Hendrix.] [ official Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires web site ] | [ official Grady Hendrix web site ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Freedom
by Phillip Hoose (j Biography Colvin)

Are you on the search for a new historical heroine or hero? Countless people have been inspired by Rosa Parks and her act of civil disobedience that helped to spark the Montgomery Bus Boycott, but who inspired Ms. Parks? “Claudette Colvin: twice towards justice” helps bring better to light the story of one of the Civil Rights Movement’s founding mothers. Often overlooked due to a “bum rap,” Claudette Colvin was only fifteen years old when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus. She demanded her “constitutional right” a full nine months before Rosa Parks made a similar act of civil disobedience, so why is her story not better known? Although she was pushed aside by the adults of the movement, Colvin never stopped fighting for what she believed in: herself and her rights. Despite her poor treatment Colvin agreed to take part in the landmark case of Browder vs. Gayle. The resulting ruling against the city of Montgomery brought about the end of the bus boycott and desegregated the system, making Colvin twice the pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II by Albert Marrin or A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Harfield. Both of these works also focus on race relations and facets of U.S. history which are not always commonly known or discussed. These titles are great resources for in-depth look into these American experiences.] [ official Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Freedom page on the official Phillip Hoose web site ]

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Recommended by Meagan M.
Walt Branch Library


My Rescue Dog Rescued Me
by Sharon Ward Keeble (Hoopla eBook)

Available from Lincoln City Libraries only through Hoopla as a downloadable ebook, this book contains 28 stories of rescued dogs who returned the favor. We meet a widow who desperately needed the companionship, a diabetic whose illness was so erratic she hadn’t left her home in years until her rescue dog turned out able to detect her sugar levels, a choking owner who’s dog performed the Heimlich maneuver on her. Sometimes these dogs came from horrific circumstances but there’s always a Happy Ending here for the pets and their new companions.

A sweet, quiet, easy collection of stories to calm your psyche.

[ official Sharon Ward Keeble web site ]

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Recommended by Charlotte M.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want
by Sonja Lyubomirsky (158 Lyu)

The pandemic has altered every dimension of our lives. With all this change, even the most optimistic may be struggling to maintain happiness. So, I wanted to review a book that focused on maximizing mental wellness. I reached out to a friend who is active in the field of psychology, and she recommended The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky. Although It was published in 2008, it is still regarded as a cornerstone for understanding what makes people happy. Her book has recently been featured in articles on Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Atlantic.

The How of Happiness is an empirically-based book with practical advice on how to increase your happiness by up to 40%. The premise of this book is that 40% of what determines happiness is within our control. The other 60% is out of our control: genetic set-point and certain life circumstances. She provides several diagnostic quizzes to determine where you land. Then she provides 12 proven-to-make-you- happier activities, recommending the top four activities that will be most beneficial to you personally.

Many self-help books are products of limited research, opinions, and anecdotal musings. Sonja Lyubomirsky is a well-respected psychologist who received her training at Harvard and Stanford University. This is one of the first books written on ‘happiness’ written by a research psychologist. Every exercise, diagnostic questionnaire and activity is supported by scientific research.

I followed the activities laid forth in this book and found my own happiness levels to improve. A natural skeptic, I was particularly impressed with the author’s dedication to providing the details of the studies that she conducted. All of the studies are clearly sourced within the pages of this book. I had to push through ‘debunking’ the myths as well as some of the more, as she put it, “corny” exercises, but it was well worth it!

[ official The How of Happiness page on the official Sonja Lyubomirsky web site ]

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Recommended by Monica K.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


Love and Meaning After 50
by Julia Mayer and Barry Jacobs on behalf of AARP (306.7 May)

This book is an excellent look at all the many things that couples face after age 50: caregiving, downsizing, and health issues to name a few. Each section includes a survey for couples to take together to start communicating about the future. The chapters feature examples from these well-known psychologists and they offer suggestions to build your relationship through respect, love and communication.

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Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


Listening to the Wind: Encounters With 21st Century Independent Record Labels
by Ian Preece (Music 781.49 Pre)

In this era of streaming music access, record labels might seem like a music industry anachronism, just one more increasingly unnecessary step between artists and audiences. There’s some truth to the idea where popular music idioms are concerned: artists who are already popular can take over their own distribution and promotion easily enough, and artists who are lucky enough to have a viral hit can largely control their own destiny without the assistance of record labels. As the shift to streaming music has taken shape, we’ve seen the major labels lose some of their grip on music distribution, and we’ve seen music journalism in a similar decline, as the algorithms of streaming services take over the business of making recommendations.

But what about the many kinds of music that don’t fall so neatly into commercially-viable categories? What about the fans of music who are so passionate that they still want a physical object for their stereos, and liner notes to pore over while they listen? This “long tail” area of the music industry is long indeed, and for many music lovers, there is still a world of music that doesn’t fit so neatly into the algorithms of Spotify. Much of this music requires a special kind of attention to detail during the creative process, and the curatorial and artistic contributions of record labels continue to offer an essential relationship that helps to bring new kinds of music to the public.

There are small record labels all over the world focusing on special subgenres of music old and new, bringing the latest sounds and the most essential lost audio artifacts back to our collective ears with love and careful attention to the depths of artistry involved. In “Listening To the Wind: Encounters With 21st Century Independent Record Labels,” author Ian Preece visits over 30 such record labels for in-depth interviews with their founders. You’ll learn a bit about the day-to-day operations of modern small record labels, how they continue to find their voices both within and apart from the digital music world, and often learn about the local music scenes surrounding their home bases. You’ll hear about new artists and labels who continue to focus on old microgenres, from new age soundscapes to free jazz skronkfests to modern classical works, and you’ll learn of many artists and labels whose discographies defy easy labeling by genre altogether.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll get a feel for the strong sense of community that runs within all of these musical circles, where the occupational lines between artists, label proprietors, promoters, journalists and fans are often blurry and subject to constant change. This music matters deeply to these communities, and everyone pitches in to keep the music alive and healthy. This is a large book, but if you’re interested in these topics, you’ll find that the pages fly by. And who knows how much fun you might have coming up with a playlist for listening while you read!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Labels: Making Independent Music by Dominik Bartmanski and Ian Woodward, Punk Record Labels and the Struggle for Autonomy: The Emergence of DIY by Alan O’Connor or Cowboys and Indies: The Epic History of the Record Industry by Gareth Murphy.] [ publisher’s Listening to the Wind web site ]

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Recommended by Scott S.
Polley Music Library


bread&cup (beyond simple food and drink)
by Kevin Shinn (Biography Shinn)

Though filled with recipes that will make fans of this late, lamented Haymarket restaurant pleased, this “cookbook” is not cataloged in the libraries’ culinary section (the 640s), but is rather classified as a biography.

This is wholly appropriate, as it is more a look back at the experiences of establishing and running a restaurant, told from Kevin Shinn’s point-of-view, than it is merely a collection of recipes. Shinn shares multiple entries directly from the “foodie” blog that he maintained over more than a decade, and supplements those blog posts with all-new essays. The book is filled with absolutely gorgeous photos of the foods served at bread&cup over its ten-year existence, as well as of the people who made it the memorable restaurant that it was.

And the section looking back at the cancer battle that Shinn’s wife Karen fought and ultimately lost, is heartbreaking.

Beautiful book. Beautiful writing. Beautiful memories. Captivating recipes. Read this for the personal story. Refer back to it for all the unforgettable dishes the Shinns served over the years!

[ Lincoln Journal Star newspaper article about this book’s release ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


Dark Skies: A Practical Guide to Astrotourism
by Valerie Stimac (520 Sti)

This book, from the publisher of the Lonely Planet travel guides, is one of the more unique “travel guides” I’ve seen in the libraries’ collection in quite some time. It’s a small, 290-page hardback focused exclusively on identifying tourist locales for fans of astronomy and astronomical events. Whether you love stargazing, meteor showers, auroras (Borealis and Australis), eclipses, international launches of stellar vehicles, or other sites dedicated to the study of space and man’s place in it, you’ll find something in this book!

After an extended introduction and explanatory notes, the first section identifies 35 “dark places” — locations where the light pollution of human settlements has little or no affect. Following that is a section dedicated to 13 “Astronomy in Action” locations, including Mauna Kea, CERN, Elqui Valley and the Arecibo Observatory (recently damaged in Puerto Rico). Additional chapters cover the best places to observe expected meteor showers and eclipses, and the best viewing sports in northern and southern hemispheres for the “northern and southern lights”.

Each location profile features one or more gorgeous photos plus a detailed description of the location involved, with sidebars listing web addresses (when appropriate) and guides to the optimal times of the year to visit for the best stellar viewing. For places with facilities, there are contact methods, and general hours of availability.

This guide is highly detailed, and my only complaint is that it is published in such a small font that it is often hard to read. That, plus most of the great sites for “dark skies” are so far away from here in Lincoln, NE that it’s not likely I’ll ever visit them. But it’s still great fun to read about them in books like this!

[ publisher’s official Dark Skies web page ] | [ official Valerie Stimac – Travel & Space Tourism Writer web site ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


The Gift of Rain
by Tan Twan Eng (Tan)

Phillip Hutton was sixteen in 1939, when his father and siblings left him home alone in their affluent home on the Malayan island of Penang. Since his Chinese mother had died when he was young, he always felt different from his English father and siblings, and he welcomed the feeling of belonging when he became friends with his Japanese diplomat neighbor, HayatoEndo-san, a master and sensei of aikido. The novel begins when 72-year-old Phillip is visited by a woman from Endo-san’s past who inquires about him, thus most of the novel is a brutal flashback from during World War II. Phillip tried to do the right thing while tangled within conflicting loyalties to his family, his country, his ancestry, and his friend. I lived inside the book for the two weeks it took me to read it, utterly gripped within the beautiful writing and terrified by the horrors of war it described. This book is epic and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. The author’s other book, The Garden of Evening Mists, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Tan Twan Eng is a Malaysian novelist known for being the first Malaysian recipient of the Man Asian Literary Prize, the first Malaysian novelist to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and the first Malaysian author to win the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Garden of Evening Mists, also by Tan Twan Eng.] [ Wikipedia page for The Gift of Rain ] | [ official Tan Twan Eng web site ]

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Recommended by Jodi R.
Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries


Bats: An Illustrated Guide to All the Species
by Marianne Taylor (599.4 Tay)

The libraries, like any other large buildings, are no strangers to having bats show up inside them, requiring a quick call to animal control so that the trespassers can be safely contained and released back into the wilds of Lincoln. August 2020 saw several such visitations at the downtown library — so it was with both amusement and curiosity that I saw this book on our New Books shelves at the end of the month.

This large, encyclopedic volume opens with about 50 pages of general background info about bats, worldwide. It then spends the remaining 350 pages itemizing different individual species of bats. Each entry gives both the scientific and common names of the bat variety, offers a physical description, and talks about where this species is commonly found. It describes particular behavior and eating habits of each species, and offers up information about many different species’ rarities and origins. The book finishes with an extensive index.

This isn’t a book to be read cover-to-cover, unless you’re an absolute bat fanatic. But, for anyone trying to identify a species of bat you may have seen, or anyone just curious about the natural world, it’s a fascinating book to browse in. The only thing I was disappointed about is that it is purely a scientific volume, and doesn’t seem to have related pop-culture information about how “bats” have invaded literature and media. But, still, a fascinating read!

[ publisher’s official Bats: An Illustrated Guide web page ] | [ official Marianne Taylor Twitter feed ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


Screening Room

formatdvdBreaking Bad: The Complete First Season
(DVD Breaking)

High school science teacher Walter White is diagnosed with lung cancer and decides to cook meth in order to pay for treatment. The first season explores him and his partner Jesse – a former student of his – in their attempts to set up a mobile lab, produce the best meth available, and then sell enough to make a profit. Along the way he deals with the drama of having cancer and keeping the meth a secret from his pregnant wife and DEA agent brother-in-law.

The show is well-cast and laid out nicely in 5 seasons. You can clearly see Walter transition from innocent science teacher to hardened-criminal-mastermind Heisenberg. There is some comedy but the show gets much darker as it goes along.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the prequel spin-off series Better Call Saul, Weeds or Sons of Anarchy] [Also available in traditional print format.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this television series ] | [ official Breaking Bad Facebook feed ]

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Recommended by Carrie R.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


formatdvdOn the Town
(DVD On)

This 1949 film, starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, is an absolute classic of the American movie musical genre. It is based off of the 1944 Broadway show of the same name, which itself is based of a Jerome Robbins ballet, entitled “Fancy Free”, which was also first performed in 1944. The Broadway show featured music by Leonard Bernstein, with book and lyrics by Broadway legends Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The studio heads who bought the film rights to On the Town ended up bringing in composer Roger Edens to create an almost completely new soundtrack for the feature film, keeping only 4 of the 20+ Bernstein tracks and adding six new ones.

Kelly and Sintra, with Jules Munshin, play three sailors on leave for 24 hours in New York City from their naval vessel, starting at 6:00 AM. They want to experience everything the city has to offer before they must return to their ship by 6:00 AM the next day. For some, Sinatra’s Chip, this means all the cultural attractions, but for the rest it means girls and nightclubs. Kelly’s Gabey becomes obsessesd with finding the beautiful girl on subway posters as the current “Miss Turnstiles” (“Ivy Smith” played by Vera Ellen), while Chip is pursued by an amorous female cab driver (“Hildy”, played by Betty Garrett’s in the film’s funniest role), and Ozzie (Munshin) hooks up with a rich gal studying at the history museum (“Claire Huddesen” played by Ann Miller). The film follows their crazy antics around town, and the colorful supporting characters they keep encountering, including Hildy’s roommate Lucy Shmeeler (played by Alice Pearce, the only cast member to carry over from the Broadway production).

The music is marvelous, particularly “New York, New York”, and the dancing, especially Ann Miller’s tap number, is thrilling.

Overall, superb performances, superb location footage throughout New York City, and an unforgettable motion picture experience for anyone who appreciates classic film musicals.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any other classic movie musical from the late 1940s to the late 1960s.] [Script and printed music to this are available in The New York Musicals of Comden & Green.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

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Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


formatdvdPeanut Butter Falcon
(DVD Peanut)

First impressions and assumptions are often wrong. Life is an adventure that shows us that again and again.

In an endearing nod to Huck Finn, Peanut Butter Falcon documents the rafting adventures of Zack, a 22 year old with Down’s Syndrome, and his unlikely coach and mentor, Tyler (played by Shia LaBeouf)

Zack escapes a nursing home facility to go on a quest to attend his hero’s wrestling school. Along the way, he latches on to Tyler, who is escaping a shrimping deal gone wrong and a troubled past.
Against the backdrop of stunningly filmed coastlines of North Carolina and Georgia, both characters, as we get to know them, are way more than we assumed, and grow even more likeable as the story progresses.

This is a story of unusual families; families built of friends and love. It’s heartwarming and sweet, with just enough obstacles to keep us rooting for our improbable heroes. Shia LeBeouf, Zack Gottsaggan, and Dakota Johnson are a memorable team of performers who put together an unforgettable experience. Highly recommend!

[Also available in traditional print format.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Peanut Butter Falcon web site ]

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Recommended by Carrie K.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


formatdvdSpider-Man: Far From Home
(DVD Spider-Man)

Spiderman: Far from Home stars Tom Holland as the teen-age Peter Parker in this fast-paced action film which is just the latest in a series of films featuring the Marvel superhero Spiderman. With an all-star cast including Marisa Tomei as Aunt May and Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury, the story takes our reluctant hero all the way to Europe to fight new evil forces alongside a new superhero named Mysterio. Things are not what they seem in this fight against the elements. Tom Holland offers a humorous performance of the teen-age Peter Parker learning the ropes of a superhero while still trying to maintain a somewhat-normal existence as a nerdy science wiz.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of the previous Spider-Man movies, starring Tobey McGuire, Andrew Garfield or Tom Holland.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Spider-Man: Far From Home web site ]

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Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service


last updated September 2020
* Please Note: The presence of a link on this site does not constitute an endorsement by Lincoln City Libraries.

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