Geralyn B.

Knight of Cups (DVD)

Monday, August 15, 2016
Knight of Cups (DVD)

Starring Christian Bale, this film has very little dialogue throughout the movie. You would think that a film such as this would be boring, but I was mesmerized while watching it. No violence or bad language. There was a plot that showed vivid imagery and party scenes. It’s almost like reading a picture book that has no words. The special features explained how they filmed the movie. There wasn’t much of a script. Actors were put into a situation/scene and were told to ad lib including body language and facial expressions. I think other films directed by Terrence Malick may be of the same essence.

Check our catalog for this movie on DVD.

 

Geralyn B., Technical Services

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Michael Punke
The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge

I was intrigued when people started talking about the movie The Revenant. Their opinions were that the movie was very gruesome. The movie is based on the book The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke. It is a pioneer story of sorts that takes place during fur trading and struggles with Native Americans. The “gruesome” incident was a man getting attacked by a bear. The fur trader’s back, head, and throat were raked by the bear’s claws. To me, the movie didn’t really show this graphic scene. When reading the book, I felt the injuries that he suffered and how a member of his company tried stitching up his raw skin to cover at least his throat so that he could breathe easier. Two men were assigned to wait until he was dead and bury him so that the rest of the company could complete their mission. The bear-injured man survived after the men deserted him, so thus he wanted revenge for them not helping him. They even took all his weapons. His will to survive compelled him to drag his body until it was healed enough to find sustenance and a way to travel to find the men who deserted him. He was even helped by Native Americans. I loved the survival skills that were mentioned in the book about finding ways to get food without weapons. I preferred the encounter of revenge that took place in the book rather than the movie version.

Check our catalog for this book, the audiobook, the Blu-ray and DVD movie version of it.

 

Geralyn B., Technical Services

 

Lost in My Own Backyard

Monday, April 25, 2016
Tim Cahill
Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park

I would love to live in the vicinity of a national park. Tim Cahill, founding editor of Outside magazine, writes about his experiences in his book, Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park. No wonder he might get lost, considering the Yellowstone National Park covers almost 3,500 square miles. He touches on the popular landmarks in the park, but also writes about hiking the backcountry. He stresses paying attention to the fact that wildlife is allowed to run free. You need to know safety tactics when confronting large animals like bison, moose, and especially bear. Bears can smell who may be in their environs from 18 miles away. He also warned about horseflies in July, stating that their bites actually tear bits of flesh off the body. Cahill reminisces about finding out-of-the-way geysers, rainbows shown in waterfalls, and even seeing moonbows in the waterfalls at night. Besides gathering information from Cahill’s encounters, he lists other books to get a better understanding of Yellowstone National Park.

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Geralyn B., Technical Services

 

Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Kathleen Winter
Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage

Kathleen Winter had recently packed a “getaway suitcase” in hopes of traveling when she received an invitation to be a writer on board a ship cruising the “Northwest Passage.” This educational voyage carried other resource staff such as marine biologists, geologists, birdwatchers, and cultural ambassadors (heritage). Kathleen was a long-time resident of Newfoundland, but now she was given the chance to travel closer to the Arctic Circle via Greenland, Baffin Bay, Beechey Island, Prince of Wales Island, King William Island, and Bathurst Inlet. This route was historically unsuccessfully travelled by Sir John Franklin and his entourage of two ships in 1845 in the hopes of finding a northern route “to the Orient.” Kathleen experienced setting foot on “ancient” land that indigenous people inhabited the best way they could, considering glacial melt was making their food sources (polar bears and seals) scarce. Unfortunately, she also experienced a panic when the ship ran aground. This happened because parts of the Northwest Passage were not charted or landmasses had shifted. Her journey's tale is told in Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage.

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Geralyn B., Technical Services

438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Jonathan Franklin
438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea

Imagine surviving in the Pacific Ocean for 438 days!

Salvador Alvarenga’s story, 438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea by Jonathan Franklin, reveals his tale of “resilience, will, ingenuity and determination” to survive drifting west 6,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to the Marshall Islands. Alvarenga was a shark fisherman who had to travel over 100 miles from shore to fill a cooler because oceans have been overfished. After setting 2,800 hooks, 4,000 pounds of fish brought a man about $150. Alvarenga, being very experienced, felt more at home on the sea, but gale force winds are never predictable.

Two fishermen left Costa Azul, Mexico on November 18, 2012 and one survivor drifted to shore on Tile Islet on January 29, 2014. Besides catching/storing fresh water and food, Alvarenga had to “survive” seeing & conversing with people after his time at sea. It was especially hard because the inhabitants where he landed didn’t speak Spanish. I felt like I was in his boat with a broken motor, catching and eating raw food, and staying out of the sun.

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Geralyn B., Technical Services

Jimmy Bluefeather: A Novel

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Kim Heacox
Jimmy Bluefeather: A Novel

Being a lover of nature and adventure, our library has 2 books by Kim Heacox that I have enjoyed: Jimmy Bluefeather: A Novel and Rhythm of the Wild: A Life Inspired by Alaska's Denali National Park. One of the storylines is about Jimmy Bluefeather, a high school student that is guaranteed a spot on a NBA team, until his leg is injured in a logging accident. James struggles to “reinvent” his life’s path while swallowing the speculation that the accident was caused by rivaled negligence. His grandfather, Old Keb, being a native of mixed blood that includes Tlingit, successfully steers a reluctant James in a direction that involves his hands rather than his legs. Keb introduces James to the ancient practice of carving a canoe. The canoe is carved from a log that Keb has saved from a time when his mentor was still alive. Keb’s wood shed becomes the town’s gathering place to help or watch the boat come into form. Being a respected elder of the village, the townspeople, are aware of Keb’s deteriorating health, and wonder if the hand carved “vehicle” will become a way that Keb is brought “home.” This book weaves Keb’s life, which is rich in ancient culture, to “modern times” that are embroiled in land rights.

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Geralyn B., Technical Services

Grey Owl

Friday, September 18, 2015
DVD
Grey Owl

I was intrigued when I saw Pierce Brosnan dressed as a Native American on the cover of the movie, “Grey Owl.” After watching the DVD, I learned that the movie was based on a true story. When I researched the life of Grey Owl by borrowing books through MeL, I learned that he was born in England with the birth name of Archibald Belaney. Grey Owl traversed the Atlantic Ocean and took residence in Eastern Canada. While in Canada, Grey Owl took on the persona and life style of a Native American. He was a trapper, an author and lecturer of conservation issues, and a ranger of a national park. When animals became scare (overtrapping) for their hides, he advocated for the plight of beaver by creating sanctuaries. He actually had beaver as pets that had part of their home inside Grey Owl's cabin! Life in the wilderness was very grueling of time & energy. Transportation in all seasons included canoeing/portaging, hiking in mud, snowshoeing, and sometimes travelling by train. A trapper may stake out an area to set traps after travelling 100 miles, buying his “grubstake” on credit, building a rustic home with items found in the wilderness, and returning empty handed. I read a book, “Devil in deerskins” that was written by his wife, Anahareo. She wrote about living off the land while being a wife, a mother and a prospector. I enjoyed learning about people that subsisted on bannock.        Check our catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Rinker Buck
The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

The Oregon Trail: a new American Journey by Rinker Buck isn’t the usual tale of "the Donner Party” traveling West in a covered wagon. The author, his brother Nick with his dog Olive Oyl, a Jack Russell terrier, survived the 2000 mile arduous journey in a covered wagon in the twentieth century. The author did extensive research about the Oregon Trail before planning and completing this challenge. The author had the exciting adventure of traveling in a covered wagon with his family (11 children) and parents when he was 7 years old. His father (with a wooden leg), actually pulled the wagon across a bridge when the mule team shied away from the crossing. One item that survived the 1958 wagon ride and was attached to the current wagon was a wooden sign that said, “See America slowly.” Rink and his brother experienced  a multitude of challenges that pioneers in the 1800s endured: learning to harness and drive a mule team; repairing shoddily-built covered wagons (the brakes and wheels being the most crucial parts); driving blindly through rain and sand storms; finding a route across unmarked terrain; experiencing euphoria in altitudes and disappointment in mirages; bypassing the “planned route” because of overflowing river banks or extremely steep, rocky mountains. They did enjoy meeting helpful, interesting people when they camped at public corrals or actually on privately-owned ranches. When the author read pioneer journals during his research, “recycling” was a common occurrence.  Pioneers, as well as the current travelers, had to lighten their loads in order to travel on. This left permission for whomever following a chance to change into clean clothes if needed or take on food that had been too heavy for their mule team to pull. Olive Oyl earned her keep by scaring up rattlesnakes when crossing arid country. Rinker had a way of telling about his journey that let you experience riding on a narrow ridge with a canyon wall inches from your nose and a wheel on the ledge of a 100 foot drop off.

 

 

Geralyn B., Technical Services

 

 

I've always been interested in the Oregon Trail and this book is a fascinating look at that period of American history. The author and his brother purchased 3 miles drove on the trail as much as they were able. They were gone 5 months. A lot of the trail is now under highways and subdivisions but a lot is still available. Rinker researched for 3 years using diaries, history books, etc., and the book reads like a novel. There are different chapters on mules, types of wagons, the pioneers, the Mormons and their part of the expansion, and the wonderful Americans who helped along the way. It took me two weeks to get through the book because I had to keep researching different things about it. Plus I drove my husband crazy by reading parts of the book to him frequently. I highly recommend putting the hours into this book.

 

Sue N., Youth Services

 

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American Sniper

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
DVD
American Sniper

 “American Sniper” (the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history) This true story/movie is based on SEAL officer Chris Kyle’s 4 tours in the Iraq War. He was so dedicated to his “war life” that it overtook his “family life.” He was more connected to his comrades until he decided that “he had enough.” In one scene, he could detect the enemy’s #1 sniper, “the Butcher,” from over a mile away. That sharpshooter was no more. In the movie, when Chris returned, he slowly became the husband & father that he wanted to be with minimal residual effects from the war. He even visited returning soldiers in VA hospitals. Unfortunately, he was killed in America by a returning soldier at a shooting range. The movie showed the multitude of appreciative U.S. citizens that honored Chris Kyle by lining the streets with waving flags as his funeral procession passed by. Unlike “Saving private Ryan” “American Sniper” was a war movie that I could tolerate, but I had to take a break in watching it because was over two hours long. Check our Catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

Blind curves : a woman, a motorcycle, and a journey to reinvent herself

Friday, June 5, 2015
Linda Crill
Blind curves : a woman, a motorcycle, and a journey to reinvent herself

“Blind curves: a woman, a motorcycle, and a journey to reinvent herself” by Linda Crill and the true story/movie “Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed have similar storylines. Both of these true “adventures” are taken by women after suffering a loss of a relationship. These individuals have strong “backbones” and challenge themselves to risks. Linda in “Blind curves” learns to ride a motorcycle just before she joins 3 other individuals on a 2,500 mile round trip on the West Coast from Vancouver, Canada to Mendocino, California. After “laying” a motorcycle down on top of herself during her motorcycle test to driving her Harley up craggy trails with blind curves, this woman truly reinvents herself. Cheryl Strayed similarly challenged herself to backpack the Pacific Crest Trail without previous experience or someone to watch over her in case of tragedy. 

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Geralyn Technical Services

 

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