Audiobook Spotlight: Bring Me Home for Christmas

Romance author Robyn Carr will surely inspire some seasonal warm fuzzies with this yuletide installment of her Virgin River series! In Bring Me Home for Christmas, second-grade teacher Becca Timm journeys to the town of Virgin River for an “all-guys” hunting and fishing trip with her brother and a group of his ex-marine friends. Her mission? To bring me home for christmasensure that her feelings for former boyfriend, Denny Cutler, are as dead as she thinks they are (she suspects that her current boyfriend might propose soon, and wants to make sure that heart belongs to him and only him). But when an accident leaves Becca stranded in Virgin River and living in close quarters with Denny, they both begin to realize that their love affair may not be a thing of the past. In fact, it might just be their Christmas future.

Fans of Carr’s series and romance novel-lovers looking for a story with extra holiday charm will love this book, which the Library Journal Review calls a “touching, insightful tale of love, understanding, and forgiveness.” Best of all, it is always available to listen to on RBDigital—no need to place a hold!

For more information about RBDigital, click here!

By Emily

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Staff Picks December 2018

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks:

Movie: Tosca’s Kiss

toscas kiss“Captures the world of the ‘Casa di Riposa’ in Milan, the world’s first nursing home for retired opera singers, founded by composer Giuseppe Verdi in 1896. Featuring Giuseppe Manacchini, Leonida Bellon, Salvatore Locapo, Giovanni Erminio Puligheddu, and Sara Scuderi, its inhabitants are singers many of whom had significant careers on the opera stage, re-living and re-enacting their triumphant roles of the glorious past.”

CD: Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: Christmas Favorites from the World’s Favorite Tenorscarreras domingo pavarotti christmas

A collection of classic holiday songs performed by three of operas brightest and most beloved stars.

Emily’s Picks 

Movie: Gremlins

A great horror-comedy for those who want a more off-the-beaten-path holiday movie (or gremlinsjust a fun creature flick to watch anytime). A few good scares, lots of laughs, and great practical effects that still hold up today– all with a yuletide backdrop. It’s pure fun!

Audiobook: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaimanocean at the end of the lane

A wonderful fairytale for adults. Equal parts enchanting, frightening, and somberly reflective. You won’t be able to put this one down, and before it’s over it will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even cry.

Jessie’s Picks

Movie: The Muppet Christmas Carol

muppet christmas carol“Miser Ebenezer Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas and reforms his heartless and money-grubbing ways after being visited on Christmas Eve by four ghosts.”

CD: Christmas Songs by Diana Krall diana krall christmas

A collection of Christmas classics performed by Krall, in her wonderful jazzy style.

 

Kim’s Picks

Movie: Southern Comfort

southern comfortWalter (The Warriors) Hill-directed cult film pitting perplexed National Guard soldiers against territorial Cajuns in a Louisiana swamp. A game of survival.

Audiobook: Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen

“Murder, politics, and G-strings collide in this caper from the strip tease hiaasenbestselling author of Tourist Season. Hilarity and chaos break out in a strip joint when a bachelor party gets out of hand, making the drunken guest of honor a threat to ‘big money’ and ‘big government.’”

Mary’s Picks

Movie: Santa Claus: The Movie

santa claus the movie“This is the story of a master toymaker who discovers a magical kingdom of elves at the North Pole. He is entrusted with special powers to become Santa Claus! He meets Patch, an eager-to-please elf who becomes mixed up with a dastardly toy tycoon’s plans to take over Christmas.”

CD: The Nutcracker by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky nutcracker highlights

The Berlin Symphony Orchestra performs highlights from Tchaikovsky’s timeless holiday classic.

Stephanie’s Picks

CD: Christmas Classics by Bing Crosby

bing crosby christmas“Some of Bing Crosby’s greatest holiday classics have come together for Christmas Classics. This collection includes White Christmas from the Frank Sinatra show in 1957, as well as his 1977 collaboration with David Bowie.”

Movie: BlackkKlansman blackkklansman

“Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.”

 

All quoted summaries by catalog.ccls.org .

Christmas ’68: Oliver!

“O stands not only for ‘Oliver!’ but also for Originality.  Like all the great works of the modern theater and screen, that’s what ‘Oliver!’ has.  ‘Oliver!’ is an original.  In the nearly ten years between the time Lionel Bart first set pen to paper to create its book, music and lyrics and the time of the release by Columbia Pictures of the lavish film version of the long-run, internationally-acclaimed stage success, there may have been many other attempts to capture that special blend of innocence and sophistication which is the essence of ‘Oliver!’s art but hardly one has come close.  That is why when you see ‘Oliver!’ it is an experience unlike any other.”

Nathan Weiss

 

It’s been 50 years since the musical film version of Oliver! premiered.  That was oliver posterDecember, 1968, in time for Christmas although the Dickens story is not specifically holiday-oriented and has a grim ending for Nancy (Shani Wallis) and her nefarious boyfriend Bill Sikes (Oliver [!] Reed, nephew of the film’s director, Carol Reed.)  Note that nephew Reed had previously been shot off a rooftop in 1961’s Curse of the Werewolf, so if you were looking for a nimble rooftop climbing thespian….

Director Reed would seem an unlikely choice to helm a big musical, said to be the largest ever mounted in England.  After all, he’d made his reputation with wartime documentaries like The True Glory and such suspense films as Odd Man Out, The odd man out posterFallen Idol, and The Third Man.  However, he had some experience with Jessie “The Dancing Divinity” Matthews in the thirties.  See Climbing High.

In Philadelphia, Oliver! played its months-long run at the Midtown Theater.  Tickets in the Orchestra for this reserved-seat roadshow were $3.00.  As with all roadshows the 60s, the colorful, information-packed program cost a mere $1.00.  In London, about 4,000,000 citizens attended Oliver! during its first year, generating over $3,600,000 in revenue.  The soundtrack was also a monstrous success.

The 60s were a time for musical roadshows that won the Best Picture Academy Award:  West Side Story (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), The Sound of Music (1965), and Oliver!, the next to last musical roadshow that was exceedingly sound of music posterenjoyable and received predominantly favorable reviews.  Wanda Hale of the New York Daily News praised it as “the best musical I have ever seen.”  The last roadshow musical to duplicate such success was Fiddler on the Roof (1971).  Like those other musicals, Oliver! had a plethora of exceptional songs that included the spectacular production numbers “Consider Yourself,” and “Who Will Buy?” plus “I’d Do Anything,” “As Long As He Needs Me,” “Oom-Pah-Pah,” and “Be Back Soon.”

It might seem curious that Oliver! won a Best Picture Academy Award in the year of 2001:  A Space Odyssey, but wait, 2001 was not even nominated!  So there’s little cause to complain.   Oliver! was as compelling and entertaining as the other nominees:  Romeo and Juliet, Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, and Rachel, Rachel.

By Kim

 

References

Holston, Kim.  Movie Roadshows:  A History and Filmography of Reserved-Seat Limited Showings, 1911-1973.  2013.

 

Audiobook Spotlight: Christmas Caramel Murder

Fans of cozy detective novels or the Hallmark channel’s Murder, She Baked movies will surely love author Joanne Fluke’s merry murder mystery, which is available to listen to now on RBDigital! In Christmas Caramel Murder, Hannah Swensen and her pal Lisa have their holiday plans turned upside-down when they discover Phyllis Bates— an old flamchristmas caramel murdere of Lisa’s husband, slated to play Mrs. Claus in the town’s production of Christmas Carol —dead in the snow. Now it is up to Hannah, along with her sister and her late father’s ghost, to prove Lisa’s innocence… and of course, to finish all of her holiday baking in time! Longtime fans of the series will enjoy this adventure with all the fun and familiar characters, and even new readers will find themselves cozying up to Hannah who, according to Publishers Weekly, “is [as] irresistible as a cookie fresh from the oven.”

This eAudiobook and many more are always available to listen to on RBDigital— no need to put it on hold or join a waiting list! If you want to learn more about RBDigital, click here!

By Emily

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Pimpernel Smith (1941)

Generally overlooked and underrated is this amusing, exciting and lightly propagandistic 1941 British film released in the U.S. in February, 1942, two months after Pearl Harbor. Scarlet Pimpernel, The (1934) A modern rendering of the old chestnut The Scarlett Pimpernel, the 1934 film version of which also starred Leslie Howard, this iteration features the actor as archaeologist Dr. Horatio Smith, surreptitiously spiriting from the Continent those considered undesirable by the Nazi regime.  Smith confounds Gestapo chief Van Graun (Francis Sullivan, a sort of British Sydney Greenstreet) at every turn, cheerfully baiting him on the subject of Aryan superiority and trying to convince him that Shakespeare was really the Earl of Oxford, “a very bright Elizabethan light, but this book will tell you he was a good deal more than that.”  Plus, “Perhaps you’d care to read about the Earl of Oxford.”  And, “The Earl of Oxford wrote that, you know.”  (Critics of those propounding this view generally say that no major actor ever supported it, neglecting to mention that Howard—and Chaplin, Orson Welles, Derek Jacobi and Academy Award-winning Mark Rylance—was a proponent.)  At the end of the film, withdrawing into the fog at the railway station, Smith’s words to Von Graun are oddly prescient:  “Don’t worry, I shall be back.  We shall all be back.”

PimpernelSmith1941PosterThe film helped inspire Sweden’s Raoul Wallenberg to begin rescuing Hungarian Jews.

Howard lost his life in 1943 when a plane carrying him and others from Portugal to England was shot down by German fighters.  According to David Shipman in The Great Movie Stars:  The Golden Years (1975), no British citizen was mourned as much as Howard.

By Kim

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