Pat P.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical (CD)

Thursday, November 17, 2016
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical (CD)

Having just attended the local Community Theater of Howell production of the musical Beauty and the Beast, my granddaughter and I fell in love with the music and wondered if we could find the soundtrack here at our Howell library. A short catalog search later and I had the soundtrack in my hands. The same had happened when we attended Cinderella at Howell High School last year, as well as watching the movie Annie. There is a wealth of music on CD here, soundtracks of every type from kids’ movies to hip hop movies and everything in between. Not to mention that if Howell doesn’t own it, it is more than likely possible to interloan a soundtrack as well. We are so enjoying listening again to the beautiful music from the musical!

Check our catalog for this music CD.

 

Pat P., Technical Services

Seinfeldia

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Seinfeldia

How a Show about Nothing Changed Everything

 

As an avid fan of Seinfeld, I was happy to discover this book. It is a detailed accounting of the creation of the show, as well as a behind-the-scenes story of the making of it. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David went out for coffee and dreamed up the show, not really thinking that it would get very far. An NBC executive took a chance and ordered up four whole episodes to be broadcast in the summer of 1989 when not many people were watching anyway. It didn’t have a lot of viewers, but the critics liked it, so they ordered another half season to start in January the following year. It built from there, with more and more people watching “a show about nothing,” which was really about everything. Seinfeld and David drew stories from their everyday lives, mundane events that were made watchable because of the universal themes that everyone could relate to, such as waiting forever for a table at a restaurant, picking up dry cleaning, or returning an overdue library book--all the myriad boring details of life. The writers were instructed to write stories based on actual events in their lives, not to write like a normal sitcom. They would only be on staff for a year or two, because they would run out of material! All in all, a good read about a show that still resonates because of the timeless quality of the stories, and the great ensemble acting of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer.  

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Pat P., Technical Services

Vinegar Girl

Monday, July 25, 2016
Anne Tyler
Vinegar Girl

Anne Tyler fans will be happy to know that she has written a new book! She had announced that her last book would be her actual last book ever. But this one is different. It is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, and it is just great. In this contemporary setting, Kate is living with her father and younger sister and at nearly 30, seemingly stuck in a rut of caregiving. She works at a preschool where she is not diplomatic in her dealings with parents and co-workers; in fact she is known for her sharp tongue. Her father Louis is a sort of absent-minded professor, a medical researcher working on what he considers an important project. Her 15-year-old sister Bunny is in need of supervision, which is left to Kate. Kate doesn’t feel lonely, just unsettled as to how her life has turned out. Then Kate’s father has a proposal for her--literally. Will she marry his lab assistant Pyotr in order for him to stay in this country? His visa is about to expire and he will have to leave if he doesn’t get married. Her father desperately wants Pyotr to stay and work with him. This is someone Kate has never even met. The story unfolds from there, and it is so much fun. Anne Tyler writes so well about family and couple relationships that you almost feel like you know these people. It was a wonderful surprise to discover that she had written another book!

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Pat P., Tech Services

Born Standing Up (Audiobook)

Thursday, June 2, 2016
Steve Martin
Born Standing Up (Audiobook)

Written and read by the author

 

Having read this in book form several years ago and enjoyed it, I happened upon this audiobook while looking for something else and thought I’d give it a try, since it is read by the author himself, Steve Martin. It was definitely worth it! I have always admired his comedy and acting performances and he also proves to be an excellent author as well. (He has written novels and plays, too.)

The story of his life is one of hard work and determination, starting when he was just ten years old selling programs to the public at Disneyland in California, which was only two miles from his house. He would ride his bike up there and interact with the public all day during the summer. From there he moved up to working in the magic shop at the park, learning performing magic by watching the older guys there. Finally, he gets to be an actor in five shows a day at Knott’s Berry Farm. This is where he really learns to be a performer and adjust the act according to the audience’s reactions, learning what works and what doesn’t.

The rest is probably familiar to most people; from there, Martin went on to The Smothers Brothers Show, Saturday Night Live, a hugely successful stand-up act playing to thousands of people in large arenas, and then finally walking away from that to starring in movies. He also discusses his relationship with his parents and sister, as well as the romantic partners he has had.

Martin starts the audiobook in a pretty straightforward way, in his familiar voice. Later on in the story he gets more animated in his reading. For fans of Steve Martin, this will be a pleasure to hear! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this.

Check our catalog for this audiobook or the print book.

 

Pat P., Technical Services

Beautiful Ruins

Thursday, April 7, 2016
Jess Walters
Beautiful Ruins

This well-written novel is a behind-the-scenes story of the Hollywood movie industry that begins in 1962 and then jumps forward to the present day and back several times. It begins on the Italian coast with Pasquale, an innkeeper who longs to improve his hotel to attract more guests. An American actress, Dee Moray, arrives and things are forever changed for Pasquale. Dee has been in Rome filming the movie Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who is colorfully depicted as a charismatic boozer. The story jumps forward to the present day with a would-be screenwriter, Shane Wheeler,  pitching a movie to the producer Michael Deane. This same Michael Deane had worked on Cleopatra fifty years ago, and was a large part of the storyline with Richard Burton. Subsequently, Pasquale shows up in the present day looking for Dee, after not having seen her for 50 years. There are several interlocking stories that the author skillfully weaves together. Including the real-life actors of Taylor and Burton in this fictional tale makes it all the more interesting.

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Pat P., Technical Services

Bad Self Portraits (Music CD)

Thursday, February 11, 2016
Lake Street Dive
Bad Self Portraits

After seeing this group perform on Stephen Colbert, I checked our catalog to see if we had any of their music, and I found this CD. Lake Street Dive is a so-called "indie" pop band, but there is more to their music than that description brings to mind. You can hear lots of influences in their music--R&B, soul, retro rock, jazz, and even country. The lead singer has a rich contralto voice, so unlike a lot of female pop stars of today who sing in the upper registers. You can imagine them playing their songs in a small club, but I think they are poised for a larger audience after seeing them on TV. A lot of the songs have a “hook”--they are catchy and you will find yourself humming the tune later after having listened to it. There are also interesting rhythms and beats that make you sit up and listen. I especially liked the title song, but all of the songs are good. They have a new CD coming out this month, which I am looking forward to hearing. Lake Street Drive is a good band that I’m glad to have discovered.

Check our catalog.

Pat P., Tech Services

The Beginner's Goodbye

Monday, March 16, 2015
Anne Tyler
The Beginner's Goodbye

"The strangest thing about my wife's return from the dead was how other people reacted."  This the first line of Tyler's novel, letting you know that this is going to be an interesting book.  Aaron, crippled on his right side, marries a no-nonsense doctor who does not coddle him as his family has done his entire life.  They are fairly happy, but then she dies in a freak accident and he is bereft.  Soon he starts seeing her, as she pops up unexpectedly in ordinary situations, like at the store or on the street.  He is even able to speak to her.  This is a novel of loss and recovery, written in such a lovely way that it's worth reading again for both the story and the beauty of Tyler's writing.  Check our Catalog

Pat P., Administration

Olive Kitteridge

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Elizabeth Strout
Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge is not always the nicest person.  She can be blunt, hurtful, tactless, smothering, thoughtless, even cruel at times.  Yet she can also show love and kindness, and she can be quite vulnerable.  She's married to the long-suffering Henry, who loves her and puts up with her at the same time.  Olive is complicated, to put it mildly.  This novel is actually a series of short stories set in a small Maine town, woven together throughout by the central character of Olive, a retired schoolteacher.  Sometimes Olive is the main character of the chapter, and sometimes she doesn't appear at all, only as mentioned by other characters.  As a teacher, she knows and is known by everyone in town.  Even if she is not the main character, another dimension of Olive is always revealed in how the other characters relate to her.  It's an interesting book, because each chapter can really stand on its own as a short story, yet you want to know more about Olive, a true original and someone we can all relate to in some way.  Check our Catalog

Pat P., Administration

My Stroke of Insight

Friday, August 29, 2014
Jill Bolte Taylor
My Stroke of Insight

Because a dear friend had a stroke, I decided to read this book to help understand what she was experiencing.  Stroke is so common, nearly everyone could benefit from reading it.  It is the first person account of a young (37) neuroscientist who has a stroke and loses all of her left brain function.  Because of her expertise, she is able to describe in detail what happened to her and the long road to recovery she travelled.  It was a seven year plus journey, but she did have a complete recovery.  A fascinating and accessible read, I would recommend this to anyone. Check our Catalog

Pat P., Administration

Childproof

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Roz Chast

This is a very funny book on parent/child relationships from the popular New Yorker cartoonist, Roz Chast.  So much is said in each cartoon, aside from the captions.  Her characters have such a funny, yet real, look about them, and their expressions are priceless.  The situations are so relatable, and succinctly summed up in a deceptively simple cartoon.  Chast has a new book out as well, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, which is also available at this library.  Highly recommended! Check our catalog

Pat P.

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