Two Men with the Blues by Willie Nelson and Wyntan Marsalis

Two Men with the Blues by Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis (2008)
Two Men with the Blues is truly something special. Recorded on January 12 and 13, 2007, at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis, two of the most significant figures in modern-day country and jazz, stirred the sounds of New Orleans, Nashville, Austin and New York City into a joyous live performance of blues and standards. Try it – you'll like it!

Straight into Darkness by Faye Kellerman

Straight into Darkness by Faye Kellerman (2005)
It’s 1929, and the Nazis are causing daily trouble in Munich at the time that police inspector Axel Berg searches for a serial killer.

Before you come to the library, preview the book. You can also visit the author's website.

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo (2007)
This is a travel book and an enlightenment book with very funny moments. The two diametrically opposed personalities encounter forced togetherness on a road trip from the East Coast to a family Midwest farm. The author carves out two distinct men, one who is patient about the differences in people and one who is not tolerant of different people. Fast, laugh-out-loud read which provokes reflection on one's own personality traits.

I’m Not There

I’m Not There (2008) R
Six different actors portray various aspects of Bob Dylan’s life (chronologically). At times the movie seems to drag, but what makes this movie is Cate Blanchett’s performance as Bob Dylan. It’s definitely a must see. She was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress and didn’t win, though she deserved the honor (but she did win the Golden Globe).

The six actors as Dylan: Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere.
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The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (2008)
Inspirational in a common sense, real life kind of a way. Though battling terminal cancer, Pausch doesn't write about dying - he writes about living in a way that stresses the small things we can do to make our lives joyful. Tigger vs. Eeyore. 61 little chapters in 206 little pages - no preaching, no grand "what is the meaning of life" ramblings. I was reluctant to pick this book up and have already recommended it to several people, including my niece who is about to embark on her career as a teacher. Great life lessons for teachers in this book, for parents, for anyone.

Visit The Last Lecture website to find out more about Randy Pausch (who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008) and more about the book. You can also watch the lecture that inspired the book, listen to Pausch read an excerpt, and discover online extras.

The Thin Man Goes Home

The Thin Man Goes Home (1944)
In the 1930s and 40s, William Powell and Myrna Loy made a series of six mysteries in which they starred as Private Eye Nick Charles and his wife Nora. In The Thin Man Goes Home, fifth in the series, Nick and Nora and their dog Asta take a train loaded with wartime travelers to Nick’s hometown. Once there, Nora is determined to show Nick’s father that Nick’s a success, even if she has to make up a crime for him to solve. Lots of site gags and slapstick, including Nora trying to put up a folding deck chair (an exercise I find equally perplexing) and Nora starting a riot in the local pool hall. The movie is full, too, of great 1940s suits and dresses.

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver (2008)
This book is vintage Lincoln Rhyme. In this thriller, Deaver graphically portrays murder(s) via computers. The concept really blows the reader away. We are all vulnerable in cyberspace. As the plot twists and turns, the romantic team of Lincoln and Amelia face the ultimate amoral mastermind. This reader was breathless and involved until the last word of the last page.

Visit the author's website for an excerpt and interview. Watch a video on Amazon.com.

The Green Mile

The Green Mile (1999) R
Based upon a Stephen King book, this movie tells the story of Louisiana prisoner, seven foot John Coffey. Coffey’s mystical powers, his wrongful execution, and the ensuing strange happenings create a movie that’s spellbinding from beginning to end. Nominated for four Oscars.
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The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil

The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil (2005)
The Singularity is Near is a book about future technology and how it will affect mankind. The author is a well-known inventor and futurist. The “Singularity” refers to a time when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence, like a supercomputer. Kurzweil believes that time is coming very soon. Advances in several fields -- computer technology, genetics, robotics, biomedicine and nanotechnology -- will all advance and merge to become the next evolutionary step of mankind.  Kurzweil sees the elimination of all disease and pollution, and believes our lifespans will increase dramatically. He believes these advances will happen in our lifetime. His ideas are interesting and even frightening at times. The book was technical and difficult to read at times, but well-organized and very thought-provoking.

Visit the author's website for more about the book and other resources. Learn more about technological singularityPreview the book before you come to the library. Check out the site dedicated to the Singularity Summit at Stanford University. Watch this YouTube video on the concept of Singularity.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (2008)
Twenty-six year old Josey still lives with her mother in the family mansion in the mountains of North Carolina. Acting as her mother’s cook, caregiver, and chauffeur, Josey has no life of her own until she wakes up one morning and finds local waitress Della Lee hiding in her closet. Through Della Lee, Josey meets and befriends Chloe, becomes involved in Chloe’s romantic problems and goes on a date with the man of her dreams. A charming romance with a touch of magical realism and maybe a touch of just plain magic.

Visit the author's website for an excerpt, deleted scenes, tidbits, discussion questions, and a preview of all of the candy mentioned in the book.

Ladyhawke

Ladyhawke (1985) PG-13
Visually a work of art, this film is based on a 13th century European legend about a beautiful maiden (Michelle Pfeiffer), a stalwart knight (Rutger Hauer) and a pickpocket (Matthew Broderick). The knight and the lady were once lovers, but a curse by the jealous Bishop of Aquila has left them "always together, eternally apart." By day, she is a hawk; by night he is a wolf.  
          
This one has a great storyline and interesting characters. Philipe's (Broderick) conversations with God add a wonderful dimension to the film as does Leo McKern as the old monk. Check out the original trailer.

The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe

The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe (2008)
This novel is a “first in a series” serial mystery that takes place in rural Ontario. Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef, flawed, middle-aged, divorced, is herself a walking trauma unit. What hasn’t happened to her yet is just a matter of time.

Our killer creatively dispatches his victims with a tad too much gore for my taste, but I often skim the gut wrenching details. However, overlooking that point, the plot gathers momentum until the final scene reaches a pretty exciting ending.

Through the story, we empathize with Hazel because she is “us.” We want her to survive almost as much as we want to stop the killer. The contrast between the rural police force and the urban police force is just another bonus along the way.

Before you get the book from the library, read an excerpt.

The Trouble with Harry

The Trouble with Harry (1955)
When young mother Shirley MacLaine's troublesome husband Harry shows up in the small New England town where she is living, trouble isn't the word for it. Harry was a bad husband and an even worse corpse. When he is found dead (of natural causes, it turns out), everyone thinks that he (or she) somehow accidentally murdered him—and tries to dispose of the body. The absolutely gorgeous autumn scenery is nearly another character.

Directed--with much humor--by Alfred Hitchcock and also starring John Forsythe and Jerry Mathers (of Leave it to Beaver). See it at the library on October 3 at 7:00.

Freedom Writers

Freedom Writers (2007) PG-13
Based on a true story about first year teacher Erin Gruwell (played by Hilary Swank). This is a powerful story that pulls at your heart as you watch naïve but stubborn Erin try to survive and reach her students in a racially violent school after the Rodney King episode in Southern California. With little support, except from her ambivalent father, she takes on the establishment and changes the lives of her students forever. As always, Hilary Swank’s performance is top notch and makes the movie spectacular. Danny DeVito produced this movie...who would have thunk!

Read the basis for the movie -- the real The Freedom Writers Diary, written by Erin Gruwell and her 150 students. Also check out Gruwell's 2007 memoir, Teach with Your Heart. And for more on the Freedom Writers and their mission, visit their website -- Freedom Writers Foundation.
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Something from the Nightside by Simon Green

Something from the Nightside by Simon Green (2003)
ATTENTION MYSTERY LOVERS -- don’t let the “science fiction” sticker on the spine scare you away! This book is just as much a mystery as a work of fantasy. A private detective, with a few special powers, works in London’s other-world, the Nightside. Take the adventure. You won’t regret it!