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Staff Recommendations – January 2021

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January 2021 Recommendations

This is Your Time
by Ruby Bridges (j Biography Bridges)

“Now is your time!” Ruby Bridges calls with love to peacemakers, young and old.

She uses this little tome to share photos of her experience from the 1960’s to today and to give words of encouragement to readers.

She shares the famous pictures of tiny Ruby, at the stairs of William Frantz Elementary school, flanked by white federal marshals.

She shares the not-so-famous pictures: her brave father, who as a young black man, couldn’t escort his daughter to school. He lost his job and his ability to support his family when his employer fired him in spite of his being awarded a Purple Heart for bravery in Korea. I can only imagine the personal heartache his sacrifice caused him.

She shares photos of Barbara Henry, the teacher who came from Boston to teach Ruby. Although she may have looked like the women protesting outside the school, she became Ruby’s best friend. In a classroom that consisted of just Ruby and Henry, Ruby’s six year old self wrestled with the reality of her unmet expectations of meeting new children and making new friends. Neither she nor her teacher missed a day the whole year; they were there for each other.

She shares photos of protests in 1960 side by side with photos of protests from 2020 and addresses the current challenges to finding equality for all people.

Half of the 60 pages in This is Your Time are black and white photos, and the other half, a declaration by Bridges, which recites facts from the past while it encourages the children of today and celebrates everyone in the march towards our nation becoming truly united, with liberty and justice for all.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Ruby Bridges: A Brave Child Who Made History by Jeri Cipriano, Ruby Bridges (DVD), Ruby Bridges by Madeline Donaldson or Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges.)

( publisher’s official This is Your Time web page ) | ( official Ruby Bridges web site )


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

The Karl Muck Scandal: Classical Music and Xenophobia in World War I America
by Melissa Burrage (Music 780.92 Muck)

Immigrants often face difficulties as newcomers in new lands and times of war often raise negative suspicions of these newcomers to new heights. In The Karl Muck Scandal, you’ll learn about the story of Karl Muck, who was once the esteemed German-born conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. During World War I, when anti-German sentiments were crossing the United States, his patriotism was called into question and he was forced into internment by the government. For those of you who read the 2016 One Book One Nebraska selection, The Meaning of Names by Karen Gettert Shoemaker, you’ll find some of the themes of this book familiar.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Meaning of Names by Karen Gettert Shoemaker, or America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erica Lee.)

( Wikipedia entry on Karl Muck ) | ( official Dr. Melissa Burrage Twitter feed )


Recommended by Scott S.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Polley Music Library

100 Things to Do in Lincoln Before You Die
by Gretchen M. Garrison (917.822 Gar)

Simple enough guide to many of the options open to residents and visitors to Lincoln, but I was disappointed in how it mainly felt like a shopping guide. Yes, there were occasional activities mentioned other than those where you could go to spend money, but having been a lifelong resident of Lincoln, I found the “commercialism” aspects of this book slightly off-putting. I appreciated the fact that the author included lists of alternative stores to go to on the same theme as some of the feature articles, but even though the book came out in 2020, there are already some of the mentioned businesses that are “no more”. And there was a frustrating number of typos and/or factual errors, which a tighter editorial hand might have eliminated.

It’s an okay book, for what it is, but I’d love to see one that emphasizes the kinds of activities individuals and families could take part in that doesn’t involve “buying something”.

However, for what it’s worth, I am proud of myself for being able to check off 67 of the 100 locations/activities in the book, though there’s at least 10 I personally would never do or go to.

(For those seeking non-commercial activities, check out Best Easy Day Hikes of Lincoln and Omaha by Michael Ream Also Inside Lincoln: The Things They Never Tell You a 1984 book by humorist Roger Welsch — admittedly out of date, but filled with lots of fun anecdotes and suggestions.)

( official Gretchen Garrison web site )


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

Revenge of the She-Punks
by Vivien Goldman (Music 781.66 Gol)

I wish more books in the Polley Music Library came with suggested listening lists for each chapter! Revenge of the She-Punks is a fantastic history of women’s participation in the history of punk music, written by Vivien Goldman, herself one of the first female music journalists in the UK back in the early 70s. The book is divided into four main sections, covering the broad topics of identity, money, love, and protest. As I mentioned, each of these sections has a suggested playlist made of music by the artists who are primarily featured within the section. The coverage starts in the 70s and continues through the present day. Feminism and the role of women in the music is of course the primary focus, but related intersectional topics from these eras are also explored.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try She Can Really Lay It Down by Rachel Frankel, or Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon.)

( publisher’s official Revenge of the She-Punks web site ) | ( official Vivien Goldman web site )


Recommended by Scott S.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Polley Music Library

Phoenix Extravagant
by Yoon Ha Lee (Lee)

Phoenix Extravagant has a striking cover featuring a red East Asian style metal dragon flying over a low roof. This caught my eye because it looks like a great metal album cover. It didn’t have anything to do with heavy metal music, but it did turn out to be a fantasy set in Korea during its occupation by Imperial Japan. Okay, the words “Korea” and “Japan” aren’t in the book, but the details about things like flag designs and geography make it clear that it’s loosely based on this historical situation without being historical fiction.

Jebi is a young artist who has been working hard to pass an art examination and find steady work with the occupiers. They know their older sister wouldn’t approve of collaboration, but times are hard. Beyond Korean folklore being visibly true in this story, there is a police force of metal people in the city that turn out to be powered by magical sigils. Put that together with what’s on this book’s cover and you have a good idea of what Jebi is about to find themself stumbling into. But wait until you find out what the empire is doing to acquire the pigments for these sigils.

I would consider this a “new adult” level book that’s aimed primarily at readers in their 20s. It’s great for people into painting, Korean history and folklore, sympathetic characters in conflict with each other, or who just want a fun adventure story that looks at politics and the dynamics of occupation. Phoenix Extravagant is also the book with the most non-binary people I’ve encountered so far. It’s unclear whether this book will have a sequel. There’s an opening for more, but the story here does come to a satisfying and sublime conclusion.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman or Dragon Pearl also by Yoon Ha Lee.)

( publisher’s official Phoenix Extravagant web page ) | ( official Yoon Ha Lee web site )


Recommended by Garren H.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service

Crossing in Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World
by David Macaulay (j623.824 Mac)

When I was ten years old, my family returned to the U.S. after living in Europe for three years. Our return voyage was on the SS United States, the fastest passenger liner ever – then or since – to cross the Atlantic. Over 50 years later, I still have strong memories of that experience. Little did we know that the ship would be retired just a few months later, the victim of the increasing popularity of air travel.

Twelve years earlier, when author David Macaulay was ten years old, his family moved from England to the U.S., making the voyage on the same ship. In Crossing in Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World, Macaulay has used his family’s experience to frame the story of the United States, and of ocean liners in general. With his characteristic explanatory illustrations, he covers the development of steam engines – originally developed to pump water out of coal mines, but later adapted to transportation, first on land, and then on water. He describes the fierce international competition for speed from the mid-19th century through the first half of the 20th century. He tells the story of naval architects William and Frederic Gibbs and their decades-long dream of building the fastest ocean liner ever, and of how that dream finally came to fruition with the building of the United States.

Illustrations and diagrams show the building process of the ship, which at 990 feet was longer than the dry dock where she was constructed. A six-page foldout illustration shows some of the highlights of the finished liner, including two movie theaters and a swimming pool (both of which I vividly remember). Macaulay includes a few photographs, including one of the ship leaving on her maiden voyage, and the only two photos of his family taken aboard the ship.

While the book is written for young readers, like most of Macaulay’s books it is also a quick, enjoyable and informative read for adults. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in ships or the history of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try other books by the same author, such as Castle, Cathedral, or The Way Things Work, etc.)

( official David Macaulay web site, currently emphasizing Crossing in Time — currently off-line )


Recommended by Peter J.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Virtual Services

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
by Charlie Mackesy (741.5 Mac)

This short, quiet book, almost a graphic novel, came out in 2019. Each page is an ink drawing or a watercolor of the titular characters with some sort of a philosophical observation they make to each other about kindness, or friendship, or life.

‘”Do you have any other advice?” asked the boy.
“Don’t measure how valuable you are by the way you are treated,” said the horse.’

Think of Pooh and Piglet walking through the forest and the statements they make to each other about friendship, or the Peanuts characters leaning against the wall as they chat about the world.

The author initially uploaded some of the pages to his Instagram account where they caught the eye of an editor who nearly bullied Mackesy into collecting his drawings into this book. These pages are of the type you will photocopy and put on your refrigerator. I highly recommend this sweet, affirming, sometimes poignant little book. A very quick read at only 128 pages.

( official The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse and Charlie Makesy web site )


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

A Deadly Education
by Naomi Novik (Novik)

I am a big fan of Naomi Novik’s writing, having read her fantastic Temeraire series as well as the stand-alone books, Uprooted and Spinning Silver. Novik’s newest story comes across as a punchier version of Harry Potter with a heroine named Galadriel (yes, named for the character in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings) who is attending a School of Magic (the Scholomance) which has attendees from all over the world. What makes this school different from ordinary schools is the fact that there are no teachers or adults, just the students themselves, who learn their magic skills and hone their crafts with the goal of making it out of the building alive. Unfortunately, there are creatures within the school who are always attempting to attack or eat you before you graduate! I enjoyed the story once it started picking up action towards the end, but A Deadly Education is clearly not Novik at her best. The book gets off to a very slow start and the use of specialized language throughout slows the pace.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, or The Mystery Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart.)

( official A Deadly Education page on the official Naomi Novik web site )


originally Recommended in January 2021 by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service

A Deadly Education is a teens-in-magic-school story that leans all the way into horror. El (short for “Galadriel”) was prophesied to become a world class villain, but in her junior year at the Scholomance, she’s mostly just low on friends and trying to figure out how to survive graduation next year, literally.

Surviving the horde of monsters blocking the school’s only exit at graduation requires alliances, but El hasn’t found the right time to show off her magic. She’s better equipped to incinerate a city than spin up a simple room-cleaning spell, again…literally. Worst of all, the class hero, Orion, keeps saving her life. With other people noticing. Could she possibly look more helpless?

Despite the constant threat and frequent student deaths, I found this to be a hopeful, fun read! I’ll be picking up the sequel as soon as it comes out.

My enthusiasm for recommending this book is tempered a bit by (1) a monster attack being compared to sexual assault, (2) some racist stereotypes, one of which has been edited out of subsequent printings, and (3) the apparent total lack of LGBTQ+ teens in a sizeable cast in a 2020 publication. So heads-up on those aspects.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the The Magicians series by Lev Grossman, or The Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi.)


Recommendation added in May 2021 by Garren H.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service

Trickster’s Choice
by Tamora Pierce (YA Pierce)

Aly comes from an unusual family, her mother is the first female knight in centuries and her father was a common born thief who became a royal spy master. So she is uniquely suited to be kidnapped by a god, sold into slavery, partnered with crows who can become human to save a family who is destined to rule an island kingdom.

Trickster’s Choice is a fast paced, involved read. I absolutely adore Tamora Pierce, who writes about strong girls becoming stronger women.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine, or The Naming by Alison Croggon.)

( official Tricksters page on the official Tamora Pierce web site )


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

Strange Planet and Stranger Planet
by Nathan W. Pyle (741.5 Pyl)

These two volumes are small hardback collections of the comic strips that appeared in Pyle’s web comic “Strange Planet”. comics — usually four-panel strips — look at life from a typical “fish out of water” perspective. The central characters are simplistically-drawn “aliens” — long stretchy bodies, rounded oblong heads, and huge eyes. But the main alien family is just a typical suburban family dealing with typical suburban issues. The main difference is that the aliens don’t have traditional terminology for the everyday things WE take for granted, and the terms they end up using are often very utilitarian, in a “Captain Obvious” sort of way. One alien finds a cat that is happily purring and can only describe it as “This being is vibrating”. The straightforward, seemingly unemotional humor this juxtaposition of terminology creates can lead to lots of silly observations on life.

The art is intentionally very basic, and yet Pyle manages to convey a great deal with a limited number of details. For instance, the otherwise expressionless faces take on a totally different dimension when an alien squints his eyes to convey an unexpected emotion. But it is mainly through dialog that the humor comes through.

At its heart, this is a humor strip — and both volumes ARE very funny, in a wry, tongue-in-cheek fashion.

(If you like these two volumes, you’ll probably want to search for Pyle’s strip online — you can follow him directly on his website, and via various social media platforms.)

( official Strange Planet/Nathan W. Pyle web site )


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

Tofu Quilt
by Ching Yeung Russell (j Russell)

Ching Yeung Russell, an award winning author, in this novel-in-verse, shares a patchwork of experiences from her childhood in Hong Kong. She’s a spunky girl who challenges the status quo of “only boys need to be educated.” Supporting characters include a bright and fierce mama fighting for her daughter’s right to learn, a papa whose talents as a tailor supports the family, a beloved grandma who encourages the girl’s talents and a wise uncle who shares with her the delicious dessert that inspires her writing career.

Tofu Quilt is a sweet book that provides an authentic Chinese child’s voice, and reveals the richness of life in spite of poverty in the midst of a loving family. Although the novel-in-verse format lends itself to a quick read, the story will stay with you a long time.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try House Without Walls also by C.Y. Russell, Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate, Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Choksi or The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw.)

( official Tofu Quilt web page on the official Ching Yeung Russell web site )


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

I Hope You’re Listening
by Tom Ryan (YA Ryan)

I Hope You’re Listening is a young adult mystery novel about a seventeen year old, Dee, who is secretly the host of a nationally famous missing persons podcast. This has become her way of coping with an event ten years when her friend was kidnapped in front of her and never found. She’s avoided doing an episode on that disappearance because she wants to keep herself out of the spotlight, but now another young girl has gone missing in the same location and her fans are asking her to feature the case.

Meanwhile, an online tabloid reporter is digging into the identity of the podcast host. And a new family has just moved in next door and their daughter is giving Dee some seriously traitorous blushes, and—what’s this? — she’s a fan of the podcast?

This book does a great job of giving a small town mystery feel that’s also extremely contemporary. I loved the winter setting and vibrant, realistic characters.

( official I Hope You’re Listening and Tom Ryan web site )


Recommended by Garren H.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service

hooplaA Timeless Christmas
by Alexis Stanton (Hoopla E-Audiobook)

I was on a kick of watching quite a few of the “Hallmark Christmas Movies” that aired in October through December, and one of those was an adaptation of this novel — A Timeless Christmas — originally by Alexis Stanton. It was one of the better of the films this past holiday season, so I decided to take a chance on the original 2018 novel.

Megan Turner is a historical scholar, working at the historic Whitley Mansion as a costumed tour-guide, re-enacting what life in the mansion would have been like around 1902, when the famous inventor and innovator Charles Whitley disappeared, never to be seen again. Charles Whitley is that man, who accidentally triggers an unexpected time travel device in 1902, and who then reappears in his mansion in 2018, bewildered and surprised at both his predicament and all the strangers touring his elaborate home.

The “time travel” element is minor in this romance novel about a man out-of-place, a woman who was obsessed with him before he became a reality, and the typical learning experience of an inveterate tinkerer suddenly finding himself thrust into the world of iPhones and streaming video.

A lot of changes were made for the TV-movie, which tightened some plot elements and eliminated others from this novel. One of my favorite elements of the novel is the young daughter of one of the supporting characters, who is the first to recognize that Whitley is a real time traveler. This never made it into the film.

In the end, A Timeless Christmas is a very simply-written, charming little piece of fluff. Don’t expect depth and you’ll find enough to entertain you in this quick-to-read volume.

( Hallmark Channel’s A Timeless Christmas movie web page ) | ( publisher’s official Alexis Stanton web page )


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

The Luminous Dead
by Caitlin Starling (Starling)

The Luminous Dead was the book I read in 2020 that hooked me the hardest. It opens with the main character, Gyre, already descending into a cave system alone. Well, almost alone. She’s wearing a powered caving suit and there’s an topside operator, Em, monitoring her.

For Gyre, this is about a life-changing payment for completing the job. She’s skilled but she didn’t meet background requirements so she faked her resume. Things start smoothly enough, but Em is not very talkative. Gyre starts finding bodies of previous cavers and seeing inconsistencies between suit sensors and her own eyes. Is the growing risk worth the payout?

This is a fantastic read if you like adventure stories with a mystery to unravel. This book keeps the cast of characters small but well-developed. Thoroughly immersive.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Descent by Jeff Long, or Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.)

( publisher’s official The Luminous Dead web site ) | ( official Caitlin Starling web site )


Recommended by Garren H.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service

Before the Ever After
by Jacqueline Woodson (j Woodson)

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson tackled my heart with ZJ’s story, a novel in verse that shares how ZJ, a growing boy, learns to cope with the changes in his family as his football hero father deals with the consequences of a career fraught with injuries.

ZJ finds he can depend on his friends and his family as his father goes from being everyone’s football hero to someone who struggles to remember his son’s name. As the family’s world changes, ZJ discovers that daily life is about more than being a hero, and being a dad still means every single thing.

If you’ve never tried a novel-in-verse before, I highly recommend starting with Before the Ever After. Even though they are quick to read, the format lends itself to nuanced stories. In this novel, Woodson immediately immerses you into the world of ZJ and his friends, and suddenly, even if like me, you’re not a fan of football, you find yourself rooting for ZJ and his father, and left with a happy feeling for getting to know ZJ and his friends. It’s a moving story and thoughtfully done.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, These Hands by Margaret Mason or I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes.)

( publisher’s official Before the Ever After web page ) | ( official Jacqueline Woodson web site )


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

Superman Smashes the Klan
by Gene Luen Yang (YA PB (Graphic Novel) Yang)

Acclaimed Asian-American graphic novelist (American Born Chinese) Yang provides his take on one of the giants of the comic-book industry — Superman. Yang took the plot of an early 1940s-era 16-episode Superman radio serial, “The Klan of the Fiery Cross”, and beefed it up with additional subplots and a stronger sense of social justice.

This storyline is set in the early days of Superman’s existence — it is a late 1930s setting, and Superman as a hero has only recently begun his exploits. In fact, he still hasn’t fully realized the full range of his own powers — he can’t fly, use heat beams or x-ray vision from his eyes, or exhale frost breath.

The story of Superman Smashes the Klan focuses on the Lee family, who are moving from Chinatown into Metropolis proper, and who begin to face both outright and subtle racial discrimination. One of the fellow baseball team members of the “Unity House” baseball team that a Lee teenager joins, turns out to be nephew of the Grand Dragon of the local branch of the Klan of the Fiery Cross (a thinly veiled version of the KKK). The plot involves the Lee family getting further and further involved in a disturbing battle against racists, and Superman learning about his own true alien nature and the abilities he’s never been aware that he had.

I anticipated not liking this, but exactly the opposite was true — the storytelling and artwork here were superb, and Yang’s extensive afterword notes helped to explain a lot of the time-period-sensitive references in the story. This isn’t really a “superhero” story — it’s more a story illustrating how anyone can stand up to racism and fascism. I enjoyed this one so much after reading the library copy, I went out and bought a copy for my own collection.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try American Born Chinese also by Gene Luen Yang.)

( DC Comics’ Superman Smashes the Klan web page ) | ( official Gene Luen Yang web site )


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

by Adrienne Young (YA Young)

Dark and gritty, you will fall in love with Fable as the characters layered tales unwind.

Fable, the main female character, is left on an island full of the rejects and dregs of society, by her own father.

She escapes aboard a ship, captained by a secretively compassionate man. She slowly makes a family with him and his crew. Fable wins her continued passage on their ship with her inheritance: a ship, sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The same ship that killed her mother. Her father literally carved the map of how to navigate towards the treasure into Fable’s arm.

Fable ends in a cliff hanger but the good new is, the second book comes out in March!

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, or Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin.)

( official Fable page on the official Adrienne Young web site )


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

Sheets of Sound for Guitar
by Jack A. Zucker (Music 787.874 Zuc)

If you play any kind of pick-style guitar, this book will help you to clean up your technique and get you invested in the logic behind economy picking, or combinations of alternate and sweep picking that maximize the efficiency and control of the right hand. Stylistically, the book focuses on jazz passages, the kinds of fluid phrases one often hears played on saxophone, but the techniques work wonderfully no matter what style you prefer.

The book starts with relatively easy fundamentals, simply moving through major and minor scales with a focus on economy picking (carrying through with 2 upstrokes or downstrokes in a row as you switch strings). From there, you’ll break out to various kinds of melodic fragments that move all around the neck, showing you all kinds of potential approaches to the instrument. Exercises are written in 8th notes throughout, though once you’ve learned the mechanics of playing through these pieces, you’re encouraged to mix up the rhythms yourself and find the real music lurking behind the exercises.

Of all the pick-guitar books in Polley, I think this one can offer the most toward maximizing your right-hand technique. Work on a few exercises at a time, starting out slowly using a metronome and gradually increasing the speed, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your picking feels more fluid and expressive.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Guitar Aerobics by Troy Nelson, Vaideology by Steve Vai, or Guitar Sweep Picking & Arpeggios by Joe Stump.)

( official Jack Zucker/Sheets of Sound for Guitar web site )


Recommended by Scott S.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Polley Music Library

Screening Room

formatdvdThe Crown: The Complete First Season
(DVD Crown)

The first season of The Crown covers the marriage of Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, the rapid decline of King George VI’s health and then eventually his death, Elizabeth’s coronation, her relationship with Churchill – played very convincingly by John Lithgow – interactions with the abdicated king (now known as the Duke of Windsor) and other family drama, mostly involving her sister Princess Margaret.

This Netflix series was recommended to me by several friends and family members. Before watching it I knew nothing about the history of the royal family so I spent a lot of the first few episodes on my phone looking at the family tree to figure out who was who. Once that was nailed down things became really interesting. The first season focuses on her learning how to be the queen and being torn in different directions. She wants to remain loyal to her sister and also have opinions on matters but knows that as the Queen she has to do things differently. She also has to deal with a headstrong husband who has to learn how to become a follower instead. It’s really quite fascinating. Claire Foy was a very strong lead but Vanessa Kirby stole every scene.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Queen with Helen Mirren, The Tudors or The Hollow Crown, Reign, Victoria, The King’s Speech or Downton Abbey.)

( Internet Movie Database entry for this series ) | ( Netflix’ official The Crown web page )


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

formatdvdSave Yourselves
(DVD Save)

Alien invasion comedy with aliens that remind you of Tribbles, from the classic old Star Trek episode? You’ve already got my attention. Quirky exploration of oddball relationships? Check!

Comic actors Sunita Mani and John Reynolds play Su and Jack, a young-ish couple in the big city facing stagnation and communication issues in their married life. Unable to disconnect from their social media and e-mail, they ultimately decide to risk their own sanity by accepting a friends’ offer of the loan of his remote country cabin — an opportunity for them to fully unplug, get “back to nature” and reconnect with each other. The only problem: They choose to do so during the same exact moment that an alien race invades the earth. Those aliens — pouffes — look like large furry balls of fluff, but they’re actually quite deadly. But Su and Jack aren’t aware of the fate of the rest of the world, as they revel in their remote vacation, confronting issues in their relationship, and are blissfully disconnected from any news source. Once they discover what’s going on, is it too late for them to make a run for it and get back to civilization, or will they have to try to survive on their own, using only the tools they can find in their remote cabin?

Mani and Reynolds are dry and droll in their witty banter with each other, and anyone who’s glued to their smartphone and surfing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and internet news sites will easily be able to identify with many of the issues Su and Jack are facing. Though ostensibly a “scifi” film, the actual scifi elements in Save Yourselves are fairly thin and unexplained — this is mostly a relationship comedy about two average people stuck in a situation they have no idea how to get out of.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Safety Not Guaranteed.)

( Internet Movie Database entry for this film ) | ( official Save Yourselves web site )


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

last updated November 2022
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