New Releases 6/6

Movies
Fifty Shades Darker
A Cure for Wellness
The Last Word
A United Kingdom
The Sense of an Ending
Beauty and the Beast
Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back
Heartland
The Ticket
Land of Mine
The First Great Escape
The Guys Next Door
Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric

T.V. Series
Wentworth, Season 3
The Young Pope
Kingdom, Seasons 1 & 2
Van Helsing, Season 1
Doctor Who, Series 10 Part 1

Music
Relaxer by Alt-J
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom by Halsey
Dua Lipa by Dua Lipa
I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone by Chastity Belt
Last Young Renegade by All Time Low
Life is Good by Flogging Molly
Gone Now by Bleachers
Is This the Life We Really Want? by Roger Waters

Audiobooks
Love Story by Karen Kingsbury
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

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June is LGBT Pride Month

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month! I have put together a short list of movies, T.V. series, and audiobooks featuring LGBTQ+ characters, themes, or topics. Check out the XYZ Connect webpage to see what events we have planned in celebration of Pride Month!

Movies
Moonlight– A young black man struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.

Blue is the Warmest ColorThe colorful, electrifying romance that took the Cannes Film Festival by storm courageously dives into a young woman’s experiences of first love and sexual awakening. Blue is the Warmest Color is loosely based off of the comic by Julie Maroh.

Carol Two women from very different backgrounds find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change. Carol is based off of The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith.

All About My MotherA woman must come to terms with the death of her 17-year-old son and her past when she seeks out her son’s father.

The Danish GirlThe remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer. The Danish Girl is based off of the novel by David Ebershoff.

The Way He LooksA fun and tender story about friendship and the complications of young love.

T.V. Series
Orange is the New BlackBrooklynite Piper Chapman, whose wild past comes back to haunt her and results in her arrest and detention in a federal penitentiary. Orange is the New Black is based off of the novel by Piper Kerman.

GleeA talented group of high school misfits transforms into a performing sensation with the help of a dedicated teacher. 

Will & GraceWill and Grace live together in an apartment in New York. Will is a gay lawyer, Grace is a straight interior designer, and every day is full of laughs.

FriendsThree young men and three young women – of the BFF kind – live in the same apartment complex and face life and love in New York. While Susan and Carol are the only known LGBT characters on Friends, there are implications throughout the entire series that Joey and Phoebe are bisexual.

The L WordA group of lesbian and bisexual women experience life in Los Angeles.

Audiobooks
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz- Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.

Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli– Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker- As a young, black woman living in 1930s Georgia, Celie faces constant violence and oppression. The Color Purple was made into a movie starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan– When Paul falls hard for Noah, he thinks he has found his one true love, but when Noah walks out of his life, Paul has to find a way to get him back and make everything right once more. David Levithan has written many YA books featuring LGBTQ+ characters and themes, including the novel Two Boys Kissing.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray– When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island’s other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.

 

All images and summaries taken from catalog.ccls.org.

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Peyton Place: Return to Innocence

Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place was the scandalous and best-selling novel of 1956-57.  The title has become synonymous with small-town America, especially its hidden, often odious human substratum.  Here, in a story set immediately before and during World War II, patriotic parades, picnics, and proms mask hypocritical, sexually repressed, judgmental, mean-spirited, alcoholic, catty, and even murderous citizens.

In 1957 Peyton Place was made into a big-budget and highly successful film that may be the ultimate quality Hollywood soap opera.  (It became a hit primetime TV soap in 1964.)  With a running time of 2 hours and 37 minutes, Peyton Place allowed significant time for each of its multitude of characters to make an impression, and of its 9 Academy Award nominations five were for acting:   Best Actress (Lana Turner), Supporting Actor (Arthur Kennedy, Russ Tamblyn), Supporting Actress (Diane Varsi, Hope Lange).

The virtually unknown Varsi landed the key role of Allison MacKenzie, the high school senior who doesn’t want to attend college to learn how to write, she wants to write even if her apprenticeship is on the town’s newspaper.  It is Allison’s voice periodically narrating the story.  Another prominent inhabitant of the town is Dr. Swain, played by ubiquitous character/supporting actor Lloyd Nolan.  The climax turns on Swain’s decision to renege on a promise.  His voice of reason and compassion is raised to hold the community accountable.

Even now Peyton Place is a surprisingly affecting movie that can bring tears to the eyes.  Why?  Is it the tree-lined streets, the lake, the Labor Day celebration, the students and teachers holding hands and singing “Auld Lang Syne”?  It is perhaps a fantasy, a terrain that never existed, an environment we think or wish or maybe did inhabit as carefree children.  (Another example of this yearning is seen in “Walking Distance,” the 1959 Twilight Zone episode in which Gig Young interacts with his younger self and longs to remain in the town of his youth.).  One must not neglect another “character” that allows the film to successfully carry all this emotional weight:  Franz Waxman’s lovely theme and score.  Just before Waxman’s music wraps it up, Allison’s voice provides hope for the future:  “We’d finally discovered that season of love.  It is only found in someone else’s heart.  Right now someone you know is looking everywhere for it, and it’s in you.”

 

[Thank you, Mike Varano, for identifying potentially significant subtext:  characters are constantly opening and closing doors:  front, back, classroom, diner, restroom, office, closet, kitchen, pantry, car, bus, train carriage.]

By Kim

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Free YA Audiobooks Week Six

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

SYNC is providing two YA audiobook downloads per week until August 16th. The current titles are available until June 7th, 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 this week’s pairing of free YA audiobooks!

Beast
by Donna Jo Napoli
Read by Robert Ramirez
Published by Recorded Books

Summary: Elaborates on the tale of “Beauty and the Beast,” told from the point of view of the beast and set in Persia.

 

Of Beast and Beauty
by Stacey Jay
Read by Julia Whelan
Published by Tantor Media

Summary: When nineteen-year-old Gem of the Desert People, called Monstrous by the Smooth Skins, becomes the prisoner of the seventeen-year-old Smooth Skin queen, Isra, age-old prejudices begins to fall aside as the two begin to understand each other.

 

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 8, Kindle, Nook, and MP3 players).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

All summaries are from http://catalog.ccls.org.

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If You Enjoyed…

into the water

Paula Hawkins’ newest novel/audiobook, Into the Water, was published on May 2nd. Into the Water has received positive reviews, and the hold list is getting pretty long. If you enjoyed Hawkins’ Into the Water, or you need something to hold you over until your hold arrives, check out the list below to find a similar audiobook, movie, or T.V. series!

Audiobooks
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn– Reluctantly returning to her hometown after an eight-year absence to investigate the murders of two preteen girls, a newspaper reporter is reunited with her neurotic mother and enigmatic, thirteen-year-old half-sister as she works to uncover the truth about the killings, a probe that leads her all too close to the secrets of her own past.

The Secrets You Keep by Kate White– Bryn Harper, an accomplished self-help author, already has plenty to deal with. She’s still recovering from a devastating car accident that has left her haunted by recurring, smoke-filled nightmares. Worse still, she can’t shake the ominous feeling her dreams contain a warning. In the beginning, Bryn’s husband Guy couldn’t have been more supportive. But after moving into a new house together, disturbing incidents occur and Guy grows evasive, secretive. What the hell is going on, she wonders? Then, a woman hired to cater their dinner party is brutally murdered. As Bryn’s world unravels, and yet another woman in town is slain, she must summon her old strength to find answers and protect her own life. Her nightmares may in fact hold the key to unlocking the truth and unmasking the murderer.

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight– At the end of a long winter, the body of an infant is discovered in the woods near a university campus. No one knows who the baby is, or how her body ended up out there. When freelance journalist, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the story for the Ridgedale Reader, it’s a risk, given the severe depression that followed the loss of her own baby. But the bigger threat comes when Molly unearths secrets. Meanwhile, Sandy, a high school dropout, searches for her volatile and missing mother, and PTA president Barbara struggles to help her young son, who’s suddenly having disturbing outbursts.

Movies
Gone Girl– On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question. Did Nick Dunne kill his wife? Check out the audiobook of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn!

Girl on the Train– Rachel is unemployed and devastated by a recent divorce. She fills her time with drinking, riding the commuter train, and fantasizing about a seemingly perfect couple the train passes by every day. Then one morning, Rachel sees something shocking that unravels her and entangles her in an unfolding mystery. Check out the audiobook of Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins!

Nightcrawler– A pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling, where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents.

T.V. Series
The Fall– A psychological thriller that examines the lives of two hunters. One is a serial killer who stalks his victims in and around Belfast and the other is a talented Detective Superintendent.

The Killing– Following a shocking murder, the lives of the police, suspects and victim’s family are intricately woven together in this ‘spellbinding’ series. This engrossing series has earned huge acclaim, as well as a Golden Globe nomination and multiple Emmy nominations in its first season.

Top of the Lake– A pregnant 12 year-old girl who won’t reveal who the father is, walks chest deep into the freezing waters of a New Zealand lake and disappears. Robin Griffin is called in to investigate and becomes more and more obsessed. As she searches, she slowly begins to realize that finding the girl is tantamount to finding herself, a self she has kept well hidden. A powerful and haunting story about our search for happiness, where the dream of paradise attracts its dark twin, the fall.

 

All images and summaries retrieved from catalog.ccls.org.

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New Releases 5/30

Movies
The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
Fist Fight
The Shack
Golden Years
Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland
Victorian Slum House
Flatball: A History of Ultimate Frisbee

T.V. Series
Major Crimes, Season 5
Queen Sugar, Season 1
Suits, Season 6
The Last Kingdom, Season 2

Music
All the Same by Clayton English
Kids in the Street by Justin Townes Earle
Teenage Emotions by Lil Yachty
El Dorado by Shakira

Audiobook
Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer
Come Sundown by Nora Roberts
Theft by Finding by David Sedaris
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Saddle the Wind  (1958)

In Western Films:  A Complete Guide (1982), Brian Garfield extols Royal Dano’s performance but otherwise comes down fairly hard on Saddle the Wind (1958).  He thought the actors had not received much direction, New York-born John Cassavetes was miscast, and the story familiar and clichéd.  Yet there is much to give pleasure in this film, especially for film aficionados who can put the whole shebang into context.  Familiarity with the entire corpus of film allows one to enjoy almost any movie.

The Colorado scenery is captivating, the gunplay choreography judicious, the music by future master of western scores Elmer Bernstein, and the character actors backing up Robert Taylor and Julie London rather stunning:  Dano as the fanatical, perhaps unhinged Union army veteran who shakes a deed to the verdant valley into the faces of Sinclair (Robert Taylor) and Deneen (Donald Crisp) and dares them to run off him and his small group of sodbusters, Jay Adler as a bedraggled saloon worker, gravely-voiced Charles McGraw as the extremely nasty Venables come to town to test himself against former gunman Sinclair, Douglas Spencer as the ranch hand incapable of chaperoning the increasingly violent Tony (Cassavetes), and Ray Teal as Deneen’s major domo.

The dialogue is also sparkling, and it’s easy to see why.  Rod Serling was the screenwriter.  He’d written Patterns (1955) and Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956) for TV.  The year after Saddle the Wind he was narrating and writing his ground-breaking TV series, The Twilight Zone.

Some of the movie’s pithy monologues:

“Looking after your brother is like poking hot butter in a wildcat’s ear.  It just can’t be done.”  (Douglas Spencer as Hemp Scribner)

“Sonny, I got the guts and the know-how to puncture your belly six times before you can take a breath of air.”  (Charles McGraw as Venables)

“I’m no slut, Mr. Sinclair.  He didn’t buy me like he bought that gun.”  (Julie London as Joan Blake)

“Yes, but not to a man.  I’m telling it to a dirty, little, trigger-happy jackal without a heart in his body. I can’t say it much plainer that that, Tony.”  (Donald Crisp as Dennis Deneen)

Beyond the sociopathic behavior of Tony, larger issues emerge.  Like Shane (1953), in Saddle the Wind we observe characters embroiled in an imbroglio from which neither side can claim a fully satisfactory outcome.  Who should control the valley, the farmers or the cattlemen?  Both have solid arguments.  Human detritus from the Civil War is also in evidence, with the Union veteran (Dano) being taunted by “Dallas” (Richard Erdman).  Consider Cassavetes’ Tony the incarnation of Shane’s gun-for-hire Wilson (Jack Palance) who insults and blows away Elisha Cook, Jr.’s Reb.  Or maybe Charles McGraw’s Venables is the parallel, although we don’t learn anything of his backstory.

By Kim

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Free YA Audiobooks Week Five

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

SYNC is providing two YA audiobook downloads per week until August 16th. The current titles are available until May 31st, 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 this week’s pairing of free YA audiobooks!

Freakling
by Lana Krumwiede
Read by Nick Podehl
Published by Brilliance Audio

Summary: After a traumatic accident removes his telekinetic ability, or psy, twelve-year-old Taemon is exiled to the “dud farm,” where he is surprised to find kind, open people who enjoy using their hands but there are also mysteries at the colony and when Taemon unwittingly leaks one of the secrets he must find the courage to repair the damage, even if it means returning to the city from which he was banished.

 

Boy
by Anna Ziegler
Read by Sarah Drew, John Getz, Travis Johns, Amy Pietz, Bobby Steggert
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

Summary: Anna Ziegler’s Boy is a powerful statement about sexual identity and the mystery of what makes us who we are. After a baby boy is seriously injured in an accident, a doctor persuades his parents to raise the child as a girl. As the child grows up, the child—known as Samantha and Adam at different times—faces an extraordinary challenge to carve out a place in the world.

 

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 8, Kindle, Nook, and MP3 players).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

All summaries are from http://www.audiobooksync.com/ and http://catalog.ccls.org.

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New Releases 5/23

Movies
The Great Wall
Rock Dog
Logan
Dheepan
On the Way to School
Independent Lens: Birth of a Movement
Dark Angel
I Am Heath Ledger
Shake the Dust

T.V. Series
Outsiders, Season 2

Music
One More Light by Linkin Park
Back To Us by Rascal Flatts
Freedom of Movement by Nina Miranda
In the Wind by Magic Giant
Slow All Over by Blond Ambition
Connect the Dots by Misterwives
Manic Revelations by Pokey LaFarge
World Be Gone by Erasure
The King & I by Faith Evans and The Notorious B.I.G.

Audiobooks
Testimony by Scott Turow
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton

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Billboard Music Awards 2017

The 2017 Billboard Music Award ceremony took place last night, May 21st. Check out the winners below!

Artist of the Year
Drake

Top New Artist
Zayn Malik

Top Male Artist
Drake

Top Female Artist
Beyoncé

Top Duo/Group
Twenty One Pilots

Top R&B Artist
Beyoncé

Top Rap Artist
Drake

Top County Artist
Blake Shelton

Top Rock Artist
Twenty One Pilots

Top R&B Album
Lemonade by Beyoncé

Top Rap Album
Views by Drake

Top Country Album
Traveller by Chris Stapleton

Top Rock Album
Hardwired… To Self-Destruct by Metallica

Check out the complete list of winners on Billboards website!

 

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