Free YA Audiobooks Week Three

It’s Week Three of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until May 28th, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 3rd free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

X: A Novel
By Ilyasah Shabazz, Kekla Magoon
Read by Dion Graham
Published by Brilliance Audio

Summary: X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

X a novel

Here in Harlem
By Walter Dean Myers
Preformed with a Full Cast
Published by Live Oak Media

Summary: These fifty-four poems, all in different voices but written by one hand, do sing. They make a joyful noise as the author honors the people-the nurses, students, soldiers, and ministers-of his beloved hometown, Harlem. Worship with Deacon Allen, who loves “a shouting church,” and study with Lois Smith, who wants “a school named after me.” Don’t get taken by Sweet Sam DuPree, who “conned a shark right outta his fin.” And never turn your back on Delia Pierce, who claims she “ain’t the kind to talk behind nobody’s back” while doing precisely that-with panache. Inspired by Edgar Lee Masters’s classic Spoon River Anthology, Walter Dean Myers celebrates the voices and aspirations of the residents of another American town, one that lies between two rivers on the north side of an island called Manhattan.

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

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New Releases 5/19

Movies
American Sniperstrange magic
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Strange Magic
Call the Midwife season 4
Beauty and the Beast season 2
Orange is the New Black season 2
Glee season 6
Lovesick
The Living
Girlhood
Leviathan

Musicdesired effect
Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses by Jamie Foxx
Skrillex and Diplo presents Jack U by Diplo & Skrillex
Skeleton Crew by Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear
Sol Invictus by Faith No More
The Desired Effect by Brandon Flowers
True Colors by Zedd
#1 to Infinity by Mariah Carey

Audiobooksi ripper
Robert B Parker’s Kickback by Ace Atkins
I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter *
Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews
Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson *
* on order in the mp3-CD format

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Star Billing: Decoding the Posters

It would be fascinating to attend negotiations that lead to billing order in a movie when the stars are of equal or almost equal stature.  It is not entirely necessary to be a fly on the wall.  There are clues in the poster art as well as in the trajectory of careers.  Being an Academy Award winner was sometimes a plus but did not always guarantee top billing.

The Self-Effacing

William Holden

            It is said that William Holden thought he was something of a fraud, a guy who lucked into movies.  Yet he won an Academy Award for 1953’s Stalag 17 and his resume is strong.  His billing history is intriguing.  A contemporary of Glenn Ford, Holden and Ford switched sabrinabilling priority in their two westerns.  In 1941’s Texas it was Holden, Claire Trevor, and Ford.  In 1948’s The Man from Colorado Ford took first spot on the poster.

It’s a tad surprising that after his 1953 Oscar he did not get billed over Grace Kelly in The Country Girl, which opened in L.A. and New York in December, 1954 but went into general release in May, 1955 after Kelly won a Best Actress Academy Award.  Bing Crosby got top billing because he had an Oscar for Going My Way (1944) and because he was, well, the legendary Bing Crosby.

In 1954 Holden again took third billing in Billy Wilder’s Sabrina behind Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, two other Academy Award winners.

Move forward to 1964’s Paris When It Sizzles, a middling comedy.  Holden reteams with Hepburn but he gets left-hand billing over Audrey.  Their careers at this point were quite similar:  some hits, some misses.  Could this billing reversal have stemmed from The Bridge on the River Kwai, the multi-Academy Award-winning 1957 film for which Holden took a percentage and made a fortune?

Robert Mitchum

The award for self-effacement must go Heaven Knowsto Robert Mitchum, whose motto is generally considered, “Baby, I don’t care.”  He took third billing behind Loretta Young and William Holden in the frontier drama, Rachel and the Stranger (1948).  In the fifties and sixties Mitchum found working with Deborah Kerr a delight and was happy to give her billing over himself in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, The Sundowners and The Grass is Greener.

Sidney Poitier

Critical opinion has it that either Steve McQueen or Lee Marvin were most representative of the sixties, but Sidney Poitier must be accorded accolades for a decade bedford incidentof many important and entertaining films in various genres.  Poitier won a Best Actor Academy Award for 1963’s Lilies of the Field yet this did not translate into billing above Richard Widmark in 1964’s Viking saga, The Long Ships.  Nor did he jump over Widmark in 1965’s The Bedford Incident.  This is a special relationship, however.  When Poitier came to Hollywood from the Bahamas for No Way Out (1950) he was welcomed into Widmark’s home.  It is perhaps indicative of James Garner’s standing in the mid-sixties that he got star billing over Poitier in Duel at Diablo (1966).

One-Sided

Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas

Burt Lancaster and Kirk gunfight at the ok corral 2Douglas made 7 films together, starting with 1957’s Gunfight at the OK Corral.  Lancaster was always first billed, even in Seven Days in May (1964) in which Douglas had the key role of the colonel who realizes that Lancaster’s general is going to implement a coup and must put the kibosh on it.

Clawing to the Summit

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen had a small part as a delinquent in 1956’s Somebody Up There Likes Me, which starred Paul Newman as boxer Rockytowering inferno Graziano.  Newman never looked back on his leading man career while McQueen served an apprenticeship on TV’s Wanted:  Dead or Alive and in small roles in such films as Never So Few.  He starred in The Blob, but who knew what that would become?  In 1960’s The Magnificent Seven he tried to upstage Yul Brynner by constantly fiddling with his hat.  The breakthrough was 1963’s The Great Escape.  It must have seemed that he’d always follow Newman.

The annual Quigley Poll of boxoffice popularity tracks the McQueen/Newman career arc:  1967 (McQueen #10, Newman #3), 1968 (McQueen #7, Newman #2), 1969 (McQueen #3, Newman #1), 1970 (McQueen #3, Newman #1), 1971 (McQueen #4, Newman #3), 1972 (McQueen #8, Newman #7), 1973 (McQueen #3, Newman #7), 1974 (McQueen #5, Newman #3), 1975 (McQueen #9, Newman #5).

Redemption of a sort occurred with 1974’s The Towering Inferno.  McQueen had the left-hand slot, with Newman to his right—but a smidgen higher, followed by William Holden and Faye Dunaway.

Trajectories

Jeff Chandler and Jack Palance

Jeff Chandler was a lieutenant in World War II who helped wrest back control of the Aleutian Islands from the Japanese.  After the war he found himself crooning and playing leading men for Universal.  Unfortunately, Chandler died after a botched back operation in 1962. Notable for this analysis is that he played the noble Roman Flavius in The Sign of the Pagan (1954).  His nemesis was Attila, who was portrayed by Jack Palance, another war vet.  In 1958 they again shared time in Ten Seconds to Hell, a saga of two former German soldiers now defusing unexploded bombs.  Chandler was top billed in each of these films.

Jack Palance and Lee Marvin

Lee Marvin was another World War II vet who caught the acting bug.  Ahead of him at mid-century was Palance, the first to achieve postwar film success in such movies as Panic in the Streets (1950), Sudden Fear (1952), and The Big Knife (1955).attack

In 1956’s Attack, Palance is Lieutenant Costa, at odds with the cowardly Captain (Eddie Albert) while Marvin is a Colonel intent on achieving political success when the conflict is over.  Forward to 1970’s Monte Walsh.  Screen time and billing has been reversed.  Marvin is Walsh, Palance his sometimes partner.  Marvin had won an Academy Award for 1965’s Cat Ballou and had ascended into the firmament and made excellent films for a time:  The Professionals, The Dirty Dozen, and Point Blank.  Poor choices thereafter tarnished his status.  Palance outlived him and won a Supporting Actor Academy Award for his crusty cowpoke in City Slickers (1991).  Both Marvin and Palance had “the look.”  They were not your typical tall, dark and handsome Hollywood heart throbs but they had gravitas.  (There’s an article to be written on the myth of the TD&H guys.  More often than not our legends of classic Hollywood were not of that ilk.  Think Cagney, Bogart, Robinson, Muni, Tracy.)

Lee Marvin and Paul Newman

Pocket Money (1972) was a plot-thin but major movie Marvin did with another star:  Paul Newman.  Who got top billing?  Marvin had an Oscar but Newman had nominations and had been a leading man almost from day one.  The poster features Newman’s name on the left, Marvin’s slightly raised on the right.

Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson

Both Bronson and Marvin had dirty dozen posterappeared in uncredited small roles in the Gary Cooper service comedy You’re in the Navy Now (1951), and throughout the 1950s both built impressive character actor resumes, often as gunslingers and gangsters.  In 1967 both appeared in the massive hit, The Dirty Dozen.  Marvin was riding high on his Academy Award for 1965’s Cat Ballou and led the crew.

By 1981’s Death Hunt the Marvin-Bronson ranking was reversed.  Bronson had developed an international following and made it big in the States with Death Wish (1974).

Marvin’s career, on the other hand, had tailed off through a myriad of poor choices.  In the Death Hunt poster Bronson gets the left-hand spot but Marvin is a smidgen higher on the right.

Actors vs. Actresses

When it came to men and women, more often than not it was the actor who got top billing.  Opposite send me no flowersinstances include Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison and The Sundowners

Audrey Hepburn got star billing over Fred Astaire in 1957’s Funny Face.  The reasons are probably her Oscar and Astaire’s self-effacement as well as his being perhaps considered on a downward trajectory.

It is curious that Doris Day did not get star billing over Rock Hudson in 1964’s Send Me No Flowers.  Their prior two films together were Pillow Talk (1959) and Lover Come Back (1961).  For reference see the Quigley Poll:  1959 (Hudson #1, Day #4), 1960 (Day #1, Hudson #2), 1961 (Hudson #2, Day #3), 1962 (Day #1, Hudson #2), 1963 (Day #1, Hudson #3), 1964 (Day #1, Hudson #3), 1965 (Day #3)

Actresses

What happened when two actresses of equal magnitude got together?  Take those grand dames of Hollywood, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.The Hours  Who would have thought back in the thirties and forties that these future Academy Award winners would deign to confront each other on screen.  After all, who would be top ranked on the poster?  But the pairing came to pass with the 1962 shocker, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.  Perhaps it was Davis’ two Oscars to Crawford’s one that gave Davis the preferred left-hand spot.

It’s a no-brainer that Meryl Streep would have star-billing in The Hours (2002).  She had a Supporting Actress Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and a Best Actress Oscar for Sophie’s Choice (1982).  Julianne Moore placed second on the poster with Nicole Kidman third.  Note, however, that Moore is between and behind the other two. (Kidman would win Best Actress for the film.)

All Star Casts

An all-star cast film, especially a prestigious one like 1962’s The Longest Day in which most What a Way to Goeveryone had equal time, called for alphabetization.

What a Way to Go!  (1964) is an interesting study.  Bespeaking Shirley MacLaine’s status, she got to lord it over six leading men.  Most astonishing, perhaps, is that Robert Mitchum had first billing among the men.  (Remember, he never cared.)  Those men were Paul Newman, Dean Martin, Gene Kelly, Bob Cummings, and Dick Van Dyke.

The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964).  One of the ads featured a double column, those performers on the left being Ingrid Bergman, Alain Delon and Jeanne Moreau.  On the right were Rex Harrison, George C. Scott and Omar Sharif.  “And Shirley MacLaine” was centered below.  In another poster with portraits of the cast MacLaine gets top left.

Casino Royale (1967).  (“CASINO ROYALE Is Too Much…For One James Bond!”)  The order:  Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Woody Allen, Joanna Pettet, Orson Welles, Daliah Lavi, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Charles Boyer, Jean-Paul Belmondo, George Raft, John Huston, Terence Cooper, Barbara Bouchet.  The first five had the most to do.  Some, like Holden, were seemingly there on a lark.  (The film was a satire on spy films but in retrospect shows us something about the sixties.)

One of the more intriguing all-star movie posters is Steel Magnolia (1989).  It features the six female leads standing, in this order:  Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah, and Dolly Parton.  But as far as their names go, Sally Field is first, followed by Parton, MacLaine, Hannah, Dukakis, Roberts.  The story does revolve around Field and Roberts, the latter just starting on her big screen, leading lady career.

An Exception

A more recent curiosity as far as billing isHeat concerned is 1995’s HEAT, the epic crime film from director Michael Mann.  Although they’d been in The Godfather, Part II, this was the first time Al Pacino and Robert De Niro faced each other on screen.  Pacino got left-hand poster billing despite De Niro having won a Supporting Oscar for The Godfather, Part II (1974) and a Best Actor Academy Award for Raging Bull (1980). Pacino’s Best Actor Oscar hadn’t come until 1992’s Scent of a Woman.  Nomination-wise, their resume was quite similar.

Conclusion

One can make many connLast Vegasections and draw plenty of conclusions about star billing based on movie posters and/or some knowledge of the stars’ careers.  For fun, guess what determined billing order for such movies as Ocean’s 11, The Departed, and Last Vegas.  Why was James Stewart’s name above John Wayne’s in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance poster (1962)?  Why was John Wayne’s name ahead of Henry Fonda in 1948’s Fort Apache?  Why was Richard Widmark’s name ahead of Fonda in 1959’s Warlock?  Why was Dustin Hoffman’s name above and as large as the title of Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)?

By Kim

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Free YA Audiobooks Week Two

It’s Week Two of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until May 21st, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 2nd free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

Dodger
By Terry Pratchett
Read by Stephen Briggs
Published by HarperAudio

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Dodger is content as a sewer scavenger. But after he rescues a young girl, whose fate impacts some of the most important people in England, everything changes. History and fantasy intertwine with Dodger’s encounters with Charles Dickens, the mad barber Sweeney Todd, and much more.

Great Expectations
By Charles Dickens
Read by Anton Lesser
Published by Naxos AudioBooks

Summary: This Victorian tale follows the good natured orphan Pip as he makes his way through life. As a boy, Pip crosses paths with a convict named Magwitch, a man who will heavily influence Pip’s adulthood. Meanwhile, the earnest young man falls for the beautiful Estella, the adoptive daughter of the affluent and eccentric Miss Havisham. Widely considered to be Dickens’s last great book, the story is steeped in romance and features the writer’s familiar themes of crime, punishment, and societal struggle.

Great Expectations

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

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New Releases 5/12

Moviesstill alice
Still Alice
Mortdecai
Murder in the First season 1
The Cobbler
The Last Five Years

Music
When the Smoke Clears by Hinderbush
Bush by Snoop Dogg
The Traveler by Rhett Miller & Black Prairie
Banditos by Banditos
Neon Future II by Steve Aoki
Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour by Leonard Cohen
Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack by various

Audiobooks
Fiction
And Sometimes I Wonder About You by Walter Mosley enemy inside
The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child
The Enemy Inside by Steve Martini
Dry Bones by Craig Johnson
Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver *
The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer
Trauma by Michael Palmer & Daniel Palmer
Nonfiction
The Quartet by Joseph J. Ellis
Reagan by H. W. Brands

*also on order in the Playaway format

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Free Audiobooks

Once again SYNC is providing teens and other lovers of Young Adult Literature free audiobooks!

Starting today, SYNC will provide one YA bestseller and one classic for free! The current titles will be replaced by a new pairing on May 14th. Each week until August 13th there will be two new titles you can download, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 1st free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

Beautiful Creatures
By Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Read by Kevin T. Collins, Eve Bianco
Published by Hachette Audio

Summary: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations.
Ethan Wate is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

Rececca
By Daphne Du Maurier
Read by Anna Massey
Published by Hachette Audio

Summary: The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

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New Releases 5/5

Movies
Selma selma
Black or White
The Pyramid
Mr. Turner
Spare Parts
Mr. Selfridge season 3
Dancing on the Edge
DCI Banks season 3
Father Brown season 2
Death in Paradise season 3
Dalziel & Pascoe season 11
Halt and Catch Fire season 1
Parenthood season 6
Broadchurch season 2
Masters of Sex season 2
White Collar season 6
The Frontier
Against the Sun
Murder of a Cat
A Few Best Men
The Nun

Music
Wilder Mind by Mumford & SonsWaterfall My Morning Jacket
California Nights by Best Coast
Traveller by Chris Stapleton
Born Under Saturn by Django Django
Danger in the Club by Palma Violets
I Can’t Imagine by Shelby Lynne
Soul Food by The Word
Special Effects by Tech N9ne
Now #1s by various
Now 54 by various
The Waterfall by My Morning Jacket
FutureSoul by Boney James
Jackie by Ciara

Audiobooks
Fictiongod in ruins
14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro^
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
The Fall by John Lescroart *
Don’t Go Home by Carolyn Hart
Nonfiction
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
^on order in the Playaway format
*on order in the mp3-CD format

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May the 4th Be With You!

It is Star Wars Day! Come into the library and check out a Star Wars movie, book, or video game. Here are some of the items that we have:

Movies
Star Wars Episode I The Phantom MenaceStar Wars
Star Wars Episode II Attack of Clones
Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope
Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode VI Return of the Jedi
Star Wars The Clone Wars

Books
Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahnstar wars scoundrels
Outcast by Aaron Allston
A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller
Darth Plagueis by James Luceno
Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
Star wars: The Clone Wars by Karen Traviss
Star Wars, the Old Republic: Revan by Drew Karpyshyn

Video Games
Star Wars, the Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels for Nintendo Wiikinect star wars
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga for various consoles
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars for various consoles
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for various consoles
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II for various consoles
Kinect Star Wars for Xbox 360

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New Releases 4/28

Movies
The Gamblerpaddington
Paddington
The Wedding Ringer
Inherent Vice
The Admiral: Roaring Currents
50 to 1
Mommy
Always Woodstock
Accidental Love
Appropriate Behaviour
The Devil’s Violinist
Boy Meets Girl
Le Silence De La Mer
Last Days in Vietnam
Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
Suits season 4
Royal Pains season 6
The Mentalist season 7Twice Told Tales

Music

Jekyll + Hyde by Zac Brown Band
Stages by Josh Groban
The Magic Whip by Blur
Suffer in Peace by Tyler Farr
Twice Told Tales by 10,000 Maniacs

Audiobooks
Fiction
The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearllast bookaneer
Gathering Prey by John Sandford
Perfect Match by Fern Michaels *
Your Next Breath by Iris Johansen *
Early Warning by Jane Smiley
Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories by Mary Higgins Clark
Hold Me by Susan Mallery *
Nonfiction
Brain Maker by David Perlmutter, M.D., F.A.C.N. & Kristin Loberg
* on order in the mp3-CD format

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Dance into Spring

Looking for music to dance into Spring? Here you go!

Want to explore more? Browse through the Chester County Library System Catalog and find your next great listen.

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