Information, Answers & Reviews

Real Steel

ImageIt is not often that a movie impresses me with its sheer chutzpah in taking three previously made stories and combining them into a new film. This is what the film Real Steel has done and it works amazingly well. Take The Champ, about a boxer and his son, and the complete plot of Rocky, mix with the episode Steel from the Twilight Zone about a robot boxer, stir well and out pops Real Steel. Read more »

Hachi: A Heart-Warming Tale Inspired by a True Story

Professor Parker Wilson and his dog, HachiFor those of you who love animal stories, this DVD from our collection is a must see! Hachi, starring Richard GereJoan Allen, and Sarah Roemer, chronicles the life of an extraordinary dog named Hachiko. No one really knows where Hachi came from, but the small Akita puppy shows up at a train station one evening as Professor Parker Wilson (played by Gere) comes home from work. Though the professor's efforts to find Hachi a new home prove in vain, his wife and daughter watch the bond between man and dog grow and agree that Hachi should stay. As he grows, Hachi becomes so attached to his master that he walks him to the train station each morning and awaits his return there each afternoon. 

One day, however, tragedy strikes and the professor does not return home on the train. Though the professor's family tries to explain to Hachi that the professor won't ever be coming home, Hachi continues to wait for his master's return at the station each day--for nine years! This truly inspiring story is family-friendly and shows the beauty of a dog's loyal and undying devotion for his master. If you are particularly tender-hearted, make sure to keep a box of tissues handy, as this movie may tug on your heartstrings!

This title is located in our Juvenile Collection on the first floor of the library. A trailer is available to watch at the Internet Movie Database website.

 

A History of the World in 100 Objects

ImageWhat a cool idea for a book. Telling the history of the world by looking at museum artifacts. To make it even more interesting, these descriptive reports of jewelry, mummies, pottery, coins, art, textiles, etc. were written by experts for radio.  Luckily, for us we get to view the pictures also, hundreds of them.

A History of the World in 100 Objects is no coffee table book but a book to be read end to end. The entries for each of the objects (that range in date from 2,000,000 B.C. to 2010 A.D.) describe not only the artifacts themselves but what they teach us about history and about humanity. For example of silver bowl full of coins from around the year 927--shows that already England was well on its way to becoming a monarchy. Inscribed on one coin is Athelstan Rex totius Britanniae or Athelstan, King of All Britain.  

Other items found in this same buried stash were arm bracelets from Ireland, Viking coins, and others from as far away as Afghanistan. A Viking stash of coins showed that they were becoming Christian--engraved on several was St. Peter's name (Petri), but also inscribed was the hammer from Thor, the old Norse god. Read more »

New! eBooks From the Gale Virtual Reference Library

The library has recently purchased this large collection of eBooks from Gale, part of Cengage Learning, a world leader in e-research and educational publishing. Access thousands of pages in hundreds of eBooks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Print, email and download articles.

 

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Arctic Obsession: the lure of the Far North

ImageOne of the earliest historical reports of a far northern, snow-covered place was by Pytheas who sailed out of what is now Marseilles in 325 B.C., and discovered a place he called Ultima Thule, a six day journey north of Britain. No one knows exactly where his ship landed but people believe that it may have been Iceland, Greenland, Norway or the Shetlands.  Pytheas described the remarkable midnight sun and reported that the sea surrounding Thule was "neither sea nor air but a mixture like a sea-lung that binds everything together."

In the following centuries the Romans and medieval scholars called the Far North "the kingdom of the dead" where the Cyclops lived "in a place of chaos, the abysmal chasm." In those days scholars also believed that the North Pole was a "gigantic metallic rock rising out of the ocean." Read more »

From Book to Best Picture

We are sThe Descendantstill a few weeks away from the Academy Awards, but the nominations were announced last week.  Out of the nine best picture nominees, six are based on books.  So while maybe watching the nominated movies is on your February list, it also proves an opportunity to add some new book titles as well.  The six books include:

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

"With beautiful and blunt prose, Hemmings explores the emotional terrain of grief, promising something far more fulfilling than paradise at its end."--San Francisco Chronicle


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a miracle, a daybreak, a man on the moon. It's so impeccably imagined, so courageously executed, so everlastingly moving and fine." --Baltimore Sun

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Sherlock

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It's 2011, there have been a series of deaths, they don't seem related to the police and this is what Scotland Yard is saying at their press conference.  Suddenly there is the sound of cell phone after cell phone notifying each reporter and officer in the room they have received a text.  It consists of one word only, "Wrong."   No it is not an admission from a super criminal, it's Sherlock Holmes.  The case is interesting and the game is afoot. Steven Moffat , the current producer of BBC's Doctor Who, has brought Sherlock into the 21 Century and he fits in very well indeed. Read more »

African American History Month

ImageFebruary is African American History Month! Celebrate all aspects of African American history in MCPL's Movies and Music area. We currently have a special display of DVDs featuring related titles. These DVDs range from documentaries, like Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and The Jack5ons: A Family Dynasty, detailing the rise of the Jackson family, to feature films including Malcolm X and Amistad. You might also enjoy some films by these African American directors: Spike Lee, John Singleton or Kasi Lemmons. There are many other DVD titles about African American history in our catalog.

Don't forget we also have a huge number of music CDs by African American artists. This wide variety includes artists like Robert Johnson, Nicki Minaj, David Baker, and Billie Holiday. You can also find numerous African American musicians on Freegal. These artists include Usher, Aretha Franklin, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Beyonce, Bessie Smith, Marvin Gaye, and many more. With Freegal you can download their songs for free! 

February's Books Plus Discussion

Your Blues Ain't Like MineAs the temperature switches almost daily between winter and spring, it's almost time to draw together to discuss an interesting book. In honor of Black History Month, February's  discussion will be on Bebe Moore Campbell's Your Blues Ain't Like Mine.

This novel is set in rural Mississippi in the 1950s and also in Chicago during more contemporary times. It's a novel about family, community, and civil rights.

Books Plus meets the first Sunday of each month. All are welcome. Join the discussion or simply come to listen.

No registration necessary. Drop in.

2 p.m., First Sundays

See the full winter and spring schedule below. Read more »

New Poetry Books for the New Year

Come, ThiefHere are a couple more poetry books that I've been enjoying lately.

Jane Hirshfield's Come, Thief is an inviting and intriguing book by one of our best poets. Her poems are on the small side with lots of white space but they are packed with so much insight and punch, that they more than satisfy. To her poems Hirshfield brings an eye for nature, wisdom for relationships and a Zen philosophy. Here's the beginning of "Fourth World."
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