Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Back of Beyond

Back of Beyond is the first in C. J. Box's Cody Hoyt series. Hoyt is an alcoholic, chain smoking cop in a small Montana town with a rep for bad behavior, or outside-the-box investigative skills, depending on how you want to look at it. A fire with a body is reported so Hoyt goes to investigate, discovering it is his good friend and AA sponsor. Cody knows this wasn't a suicide and his hunt for the truth leads him to dangerous back country of Yellowstone National Park and the potential end of his career. I found it well paced and with plenty of surprise curves to keep me guessing.  We read it for Mystery Lovers Book Club this month and the average rating was 4 1/2 stars among attendees.  

Superhero Film Festival

Don't forget this Friday is the Superhero Film Festival here at Main in the Large Meeting room! Below is the basic timeline, so you can come see your favorite or see them all.

2:00 pm: The Justice League: The New Frontier (2008, animated)  

3:15 pm: Superman: The Movie (1978 with Christopher Reeves)

5:45 pm: Captain America, The Winter Soldier (2014 with Chris Evans)


Friday, July 24, 2015

Meet me in the Musical Aisle

I don’t know what it is, but there is something about the summer that brings out the show tune lover in me.  Maybe it’s the warm weather that gets me craving a “surrey with the fringe on top”?  Or the brightness of the summer sun reminds me of the exuberance of Technicolor classics?  Either way, I just have to watch musicals “in the good ole summertime”.  

The library has all of my favorites:  Singin’ in the Rain, Meet me in St. Louis, Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, Oklahoma … I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  This summer, I decided to expand my musical repertoire and watch The Last Five Years starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.  Based on Jason Robert Brown’s stage production of the same name, The Last Five Years, chronicles the five year relationship of struggling actress, Cathy Hiatt and Jamie Wellerstein, an up-and-coming writer.  The story is told from the points of view of both characters - Cathy’s story is told in reverse order, from the end of their relationship forward, while Jamie’s is told from beginning to end.  A simple production with amazing music and superb vocal performances, The Last Five Years will stay with you.  In my opinion, this film should have gotten a lot more buzz.  Give it a try!  If you are a musical lover like me, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  I’ve already decided to add it to my summer musical rotation next year.

Libraries in the UK, Part Two: Liverpool

My name is Deanna Menke, and I spent my spring semester in England this year. While I was in the UK, I explored a lot of libraries and saw all of the similarities and differences between them and our very own La Porte County Public Library. (If you missed Part One, click here to learn all about the libraries in York.)
At the end of my first week in York, I was already venturing out to other parts of England as part of my university's International Student Trips. We all crammed onto a bus and drove for two hours to England's west coast to the city of Beatles fame: Liverpool!

The Liverpool Central Library was a massive, imposing piece of architecture near multiple museums. The pavement leading to the front entrance was covered in beautiful black stones with book titles engraved into them: To Kill a Mockingbird. The Canterbury Tales. Pride and Prejudice. For seven writing majors, the invitation was enticing, so we deviated from our original exploration plans and went inside.

Once within the library, our jaws dropped to the floor. The building was magically even more impressive on the inside! There were floors upon floors of books and computers and information centers - the staircases splintered into catwalks as they got closer to the beautiful glass dome that was the ceiling. There was an auditorium on one of the lower floors for theatre performances - the next one was starting in fifteen minutes - and massive oak doors under a sign that read, "Reading Room." Curious, my group of friends gravitated toward the Reading Room, which also had signs that warned all visitors must be silent within its walls.

Every single inch of the Reading Room was covered in books. It was breathtaking! My group's loud gasps of awe briefly disturbed the perfect silence within the room. We climbed tiny spiral staircases to reach higher shelves and caressed the well worn covers of old books. The air tingled with the magic of thousands of stories whispering for our attention.

The Liverpool Central Library was a beautiful masterpiece. No matter who you were, there was a place for you at that library. The building reflected the organization's purpose: to create a space for the community to come together and learn about anything and everything.

The La Porte County Public Library might not end up with a giant Reading Room or fancy catwalks, but we are renovating all of our branches, including our main library, so that our buildings will assist us in our goal to create multiple spaces throughout La Porte County for the community to come together and learn. Whether through reading our books, printing on our 3D printers, taking tech classes, creating art, or listening to stories, we want to help our community learn about anything and everything. 

Keep an eye out for our final blog in this series, Part Three: Alnwick and Edinburgh, to learn all about private and national libraries!

Favorite Female Comedians: Part 2

Amy Poehler is a ray of sunlight made of waffles. This means that she is hilarious and I love her and everyone should watch everything she is in.

You probably live in a small town in Indiana (It’s the public library blog so that seems like a safe bet). Well did you know that Amy Poehler stars in a show based on a small town in Indiana! And that means that you should watch it. Amy plays an up and coming city employee working in the Pawnee Parks and Rec Department. Titled Parks and Recreation, this hilarious show takes us through her life as she tries to do what is best for her department and her town. The love that she shows for her town and her position in small town government is, frankly, inspiring. The library has through Season 7 but the final season is still airing.

Do you like romcoms? If so you should watch They Came Together, Amy’s sardonic parody of the romantic comedy genre. (If you don’t like them you should watch anyway because it’s really hilarious.) Coming away, the two points you should get are 1. It’s funny and 2. You should go check it out and watch it.

Finally, the library has her memoir Yes Please
. She talks about how comedians work and discusses the guests that she worked with during her time on SNL. Amy freely admits that the book was written while she was sleep deprived and working 12 hour days, but her honesty is refreshing and her sense of humor is as killer as ever. If you haven’t read it you should start now!

For days when you feel like this:
Check out books, movies and TV shows from Amy at the La Porte County Public Library.


The Fascination of Shipwrecks
If you’re like me, it doesn’t take much for you to become interested in any topic.   Yesterday as I was drinking my morning coffee I ran across an interesting news article: Diver Missing after Trip to Famed Andrea Doria Shipwreck Site.

I can’t say I’m an expert on shipwrecks, but I can’t pretend either that I wasn’t obsessed with learning everything about shipwrecks like the Lusitania, the Britannic, and, of course, the Titanic.  Imagine how surprised I was to discover there was a ‘famed’ shipwreck I knew nothing about.  Naturally this led to some digging through library books to learn more at the Andrea Doria.

In July of 1956, the Andrea Doria was finishing up its journey across the Atlantic to its final destination: New York City.  Earlier that day, the Stockholm embarked on its own journey across the Atlantic—in the opposite direction.  It was normal day for passengers until 11:00 pm.  Thick fog made visibility difficult so navigators for both ships had to rely on their instruments to see if other ships were nearby. 

While the instruments did warn them their ships were on a collision course, this didn’t mean the officers were able to avoid it.  At 11:10 pm, the Stockholm’s bow rammed into the starboard side of the Andrea Doria. Forty-six people died at the initial impact.  The Stockholm was able to pull away from the Andrea Doria and in doing so revealed a forty-five foot hole. 

The loss of life on the doomed vessel might have been significantly higher if the captain and the crew of the Andrea Doria hadn’t worked so well with the passengers to keep them calm and wait patiently for rescue.  It took eleven hours for the ship to sink, and by that point, all passengers were carried to safety on several other ships that came to rescue. 

Passengers had barely made it back to land before scuba divers were eagerly gearing up to be the first to see the Andrea Doria’s final resting place.  The first dive took place two days after her sinking, and the site is still popular today.

Considered the “Mount Everest of shipwrecks,” the Andrea Doria is not for the faint of heart.  She lies 250 foot below the surface—almost too deep for scuba diving.  With factors like depth, water temperature, and rough currents, only very skilled divers successfully make the dive. 

It’s not surprisingly that after forty-nine years underwater, the wreck is deteriorating.  The ‘heyday’ for exploring the Andrea Doria took place in the 1980s and early 1990s.  It wasn’t uncommon for divers to return with sacks of china, silverware, and other souvenirs. 

Divers will still brave the waters and return to the Andrea Doria, to see her with their own eyes, but they will need to imagine her former beauty.  As the sea is want to do, the ship will eventually disappear. 

If you want to do your own research into the Andrea Doria here are a few resources I found very interesting: 

(This is the original article about the first dive down to the wreck.) 

-Ghost Liners by Robert D. Ballard (Call number j910.4 Ba) 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Favorite Female Comedians: Part 1

“Contrary to what I believed as a little girl, being the boss almost never involves marching around, waving your arms, and chanting, "I am the boss! I am the boss!” 
― Tina Fey, Bossypants

Reading or watching something by Tina Fey is the equivalent of finding a word for something you’ve always thought but couldn’t quite express. Even from the beginning of her work at SNL Tina Fey has been a hilarious, satirical, down to earth writer. Her dozens of awards speak volumes about her work not to mention the thousands of gifs, pins and facebook posts that feature her.

Lucky for you the La Porte County Public Library has every season of 30 Rock. That’s right EVERY. SINGLE. SEASON. If you have never seen the show I envy you because you can go right now and watch them from the library. Tina Fey stars as Liz Lemon, a 40-something woman trying to have it all in New York. We follow her as she keeps her sketch comedy show afloat while dealing with insane actors (Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski) and her profit obsessed boss (Alec Baldwin) as well as struggling to balance her dating life and desire for a family. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed in today’s crazy and just want to relax with some cheese, this is a must watch show.

The library also carries another cult classic by Fey, Mean Girls. This hilarious and often quoted movie revolves around Lindsay Lohan who plays the new girl in school. After some of her friends are bullied by the titular mean girls, she joins the popular crowd in order to get back at them. The movie is an insightful and comedic look at high school politics and what it even means to be “mean girls.”

If TV isn’t your thing, check out Bossypants, Tiny Fey’s autobiography. In it she talks about everything from the initial awkwardness of hitting puberty to the difficulty inherent in being a working mother in today’s environment. No matter what stage of life you are at Tina Fey has a hilarious, slightly embarrassing story about her life that you can relate to.

So, with the weather the way it has been, take a page out of Liz Lemon's book and hide inside with stuff from the library.