Monday, March 31, 2008

Play Ball!

With the 2008 Major League Baseball season kicking into high-gear, let's take a look at some of the better baseball books out there to help get you fired up for this season. Most baseball books are located in the adult non-fiction section under the number 796.357. Since there are so many good books out there, here are some of the best and most intriguing ones in our collection.

Title: The Summer of '49
Author: David Halberstam
Focusing on the chase for the American League Pennant in 1949 between the Yankees and Red Sox, Halberstam shows how important baseball was in American society following World War II.
796.357 Halberstam

Title: Eight Men Out
Author Eliot Asinof
The definitive look at the Black Sox Scandal of the 1919 World Series. Well-written and researched, it was made into a movie of the same title in 1988 with John Cusak.
796.357 A

Title: Now I Can Die in Peace
Author: Bill Simmons
A popular columnist for, Simmons is a Boston native and shameless Red Sox fanatic. Following the 2004 Red Sox championship, he collected articles detailing the heartache he had gone through as a Sox fan up to the time when his team finally broke the Curse of the Bambino.
796.357 Simmons

Title: I Had a Hammer: the Story of Hank Aaron
Author: Hank Aaron
Not much explanation needed here - the former home run king looks back on his career and the experiences he had in baseball.
796.357 Aaron

Title: The Echoing Green
Author: Joshua Prager
Bobby Thompson's home run off Ralph Branca is one of the most famous moments in baseball history. In The Echoing Green, looks at the moment when the the Giants beat the Dodgers for the National League Pennant and the swell of conspiracy theories that have grown up around it.
796.357 Prager

Title: The Baseball Hall of Shame
Authors: Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo
Look at the game from a completely different perspective! The Hall of Shame Books focus on baseball's less than stellar moments, from bloopers and screw-ups to bizarre players, managers and umpires.
796.357 Nash

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wii Change: April 5 11a.m. til 3 p.m.

We have a change for the first Wii tournament date - it will now be on April 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will not be held on April 6. Instead of spreading it out over 2 days, we decided to put things together in one day instead of having to come in twice.

We will open the doors a few minutes early to begin sign-ups: make sure you have your library card with you! Then, we will get things underway with Super Smash Brothers Brawl and Wii Sports Bowling. Time constraints will keep us from playing all five games, but don't worry - we will be rotating games every month and you don't need to be here every month to take part.

The Weekend Watch

Just in case you already miss the snow due to the spring thaw, The Weekend Watch is ready to give you one last wintry fix, courtesy of horror master Stephen King.

Originally airing on ABC as a three-part mini-series, Storm of the Century takes a look at an isolated fishing island in Maine that is unlucky to be the meeting point of three major winter storms, creating the storm of the century. If the weather wasn't bad enough, a stranger appears on the island just as the weather starts to turn bad and commits a horrible act. The islanders find themselves cut off from the mainland and at the whim of both the storm and the stranger.

Storm of the Century is at once a suspense/horror film, but also a bit of a morality tale. The islanders are forced to make a hard decision in order to survive the storm, but is it the right one?
Storm of the Century is not rated and is located in the fiction DVDs under S (horror)

Music Spotlight: Jarvis Cocker

Artist: Jarvis Cocker

Album: The Jarvis Cocker Album

Though not a big name in the United States, Jarvis Cocker was a rock icon in England in the late 90's and earlier this decade. As the frontman of the band Pulp, he is best known for has biting social commentary mixed in with well-crafted lyrics and memorable pop hooks. With the break-up of Pulp in 2002, Cocker has moved on to a solo career and managed to keep his songwriting skils at the top of its game.

The Jarvis Cocker Album is loaded with masterfully written songs that show off Cocker's knack of matching words with the perfect music. Toning down the social aspects of his lyrics, Cocker lays down a solid range of tunes, starting with his first single Don't Let Him Waste Your Time and Black Magic, a great pop song wrapped around a sample of "Crimson and Clover." The rest of the album moves through a range of sounds: moody (I Will Kill Again), light & airy (Baby's Coming Back to Me), and heavy (Fat Children).

While not an album for all tastes, The Jarvis Cocker Album is an example of a musician who has utitlized his rock experience to develop into a top-notch songwriter.

Jarvis Cocker can be found in the Rock Music collection under MR Cocker

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Music Spotlight: Plain White T's

Artist: Plain White T's
Albums: All That We Needed, Every Second Counts

Probably best known for the stripped-down ballad Hey There, Delilah, The Plain White T's are very upfront about what they do: they play straight-up power pop and they play it well. Frontman Tom Higgenson's songwriting is full of clever hooks that keep the music fresh after repeated listenings.

All That We Needed is the album that put the band in the social conciousness and on the pop charts with Hey There, Delilah, an acoustic closer that is as solid of a song as you can find on the airwaves. the rest of the album, however, is a more up-tempo collection of songs that crank through at a rapid clip - few tracks last more than 3 1/2 minutes. All That We Needed kicks off with the strong title track, then follows with the sharp Revenge and radio-friendly Take Me Away. Until the album wraps up, the music barely slows down to take a breath. Other Standout Tracks: Lazy Day Afternoon and Breakdown.

The Plain White T's followed that up with the release of Every Second Counts. Similar to All That We Needed, they come out swinging from the first note of Our Time Now and don't let up. We get a interesting take on breakups with Hate (I Really Don't Like You) and relationships on Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk. Matching the tone of Hey There, Delilah is Write You A Song, another acoustic ballad rich in sentimentality. Overall, Every Second Counts is clearly a step forward for the Chicago-based band and provides glimpses of success that is yet to come.

Plain White T's can be found in the Rock Music collection under MR Plain

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Music Spotlight: Yo La Tengo

It's been almost a month since we have highlighted any music, so we'll post a few spotlights on some of the new cds we have added to the collection in the last month!

Artist: Yo La Tengo
Album: I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

How's that for an eye-catching title? Despite the confrontational tone implied by the title, Yo La Tengo is not a hard-core metal band. Instead, they are actually a rather eclectic alternative three-piece group that isn't afraid to experiment musically and push boundaries.

On I Am Not Afraid of You..., Yo La Tengo runs the gamut of what they are capable of musically. Each track is distictly different from each other and allows different musical elements to shine through. I Am Not Afraid of You... kicks off with the guitar-heavy Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind, then transitions to the horn-laden pop song Beanbag Chair. As the album progresses, Yo La Tengo alrenates through various styles, all of which would seem disjointed on paper, yet they seem to flow smoothly from the album's first note to the last. Standout tracks: Beanbag Chair, Mr. Tough, Sometimes I Don't Get You, Daphina, and Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind.

I Am Not Afraid of You... can be found in the Rock Music cd collection under MR Yo

Album: Our Little Corner of the World: Music from The Gilmore Girls

Artists: Various Artists

Yo La Tengo appears on another new cd in our collection, though only one track which proves the album title. Our Little Corner of the World, Music from The Gilmore Girls features music that appeared in the first two seasons of the former WB television series. Boasting a lineup of critically-acclaimed indie bands, Our Little Corner of the World is an impressive colelction of music as far as soundtracks go. Featuring artists like The Shins, XTC, Big Star, Bjork, and Ash, the soundtrack almost feels more like a mix tape than a soundtrack, but in that lies its charm. Standout tracks: Know Your Onion by the Shins, Thirteen by Big Star, I'm the Man Who Murdered Love by XTC, My Little Corner of the World by Yo La Tengo, and Smile by Grant Lee Phillips.

Our Little Corner of the World can be found in the Soundtracks cd collection under L Music

April is Wii Month!

To go along with our kick-off of the Nintnedo Wii tournament on April 5th and 6th, we are making April an all-Wii month with a Wii gaming night on April 21. Taking away all the pressure and competiton of the tournament, we will be setting up the Wii and letting you come in and play for a couple of hours. We will have Guitar Hero and Super Smash Brothers set up and ready to go.

The Wii game night will start at 5 p.m and run until 7 p.m. It is a chance to get some added practive for the tournament and just hang out and relax with firends.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wii Tournament update!

The Battle of the Boxes Wii tournament will kick off next month on April 5 & 6 with your chance to take part in five different games. We will get things underway at 1 p.m. on both days and will have the Wii up and running until 3 p.m. It is up to you to bring your skills and challenge others over Wii Sports Bowling, Wii Sports Golf, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Guitar Hero III and Dance, Dance, Revolution!

The tournament will be ongoing through most of the year and we will be hosting at least one tourney per month, as will 22 other libraries in the state. We will keep track of our top competitors and post a running leaderboard each month. Near the end of 2008, we will send our top players into battle against the other libraries to see who has true mastery over the Wii!

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you make your way to the library to join in the fun:

* The tournament is open to everyone in Grade 6 and up. No one below sixth grade will be allowed to compete, though all are welcome to watch and cheer on the competitors.

*Everyone who competes must present a library card when they sign in. If you do not have a library card, you can get one at the Circulation Desk near the library entrance.
We are looking forward to getting things underway. We'll see YA on the 5th!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Weekend Watch

It's time for a special March Madness/Easter/Spring Break extended edition of the Weekend Watch! Hopefully, we will have something for everyone...

If watching 14+ hours of college basketball isn't enough of a hoops fix for you, check out Hoop Dreams. The film follows two African American high school basketball players in Chicago, William Gates and Arthur Agee, as they are recruited to attend an all-white prep school to play basketball. The boys, and their families, have to endure the long commutes, the long hours and the racial conflicts that go along with their new situation. Hoop Dreams is a fascinating look at the lives of the two players and the demands that accompany a serious push to play premiere college and professional basketball.

Hoop Dreams is rated PG-13 and is located in the non-fictions DVDs under 796.323 HOOP

If you are looking to get away from the wall-to-wall basketball coverage, you might want to try Wonderfalls - a short-lived but thoroughly enjoyable television series. Wonderfalls follows the life of Jaye Tyler, a college graduate who has no ambition in life other than to do as little work as possible. Despite her education, she works as a retail clerk at a souvenier shop in Nigara Falls and lives in a trailer park away from her successful family. Suddenly, she finds objects in the shapes of animals talking to her and telling her to do things. Ultimately, she follows their instructions, even if it conflicts with what she wants to do. Wonderfalls only aired for four episodes before Fox pulled the plug on it, but 13 episodes were filmed and are collected here. It is a funny, weird and different show, but it is definitely worth checking out.

Wonderfalls is not rated and is located in the fiction DVDs under W (Humor)

For something completely different, try Plan 9 From Outer Space - very likely the worst movie ever made! Directed by the laughably inept Ed Wood, Plan 9 follows the attempt of an alien race to conquer Earth. Obviously, they aren't very good at it since they are up to their ninth plan. Any more detail into the plot is meaningless since Plan 9 is just so terrible. But so terrible it is funny. This is the film to watch with a group of friends and laugh about what a bad film this is. Keep an eye out for the poorly disguised pie plates on fish hooks that are an attempt to serve as UFOs.

Plan 9 From Outer Space is rated PG and is located in fiction New DVDs under P (Science Fiction)
Last but not least is the suspense-thriller The Others, starring Nicole Kidman. Set in England at the end of World War II, Kidman and her two children reside in their country manor awaiting the return of her husband from the war. Her children both suffer from a serious disease that makes them allergic to bright light, so they must spend their lives inside their home in the dark. Strange noices begin cropping up and furniture moves seemingly of its own accord, making things more stressful for Kidman. The suspense builds as the "Others" are revealed in a shocking twist that may send you back to the beginning to watch over for clues as to the ending.
The Others is rated PG-13 and is located in fiction DVDs under O (Mystery)

Teen Talkback on March 20th

We kick off spring with our monthly Teen Talkback meeting on Thursday, March 20. We will be discussing the rapidly approaching Nintendo Wii tournaments, next month's program, this summer's Battle of the Books, and picking the programs for next fall.

The meeting will get underway in the Quiet Study Room at 4:30 and will be wrapped up no later than 6 p.m.

Good Reads: The Awakening

Title: The Awakening
Author: Michael Carroll

The Awakening is the first book in the Quantum Prophecy series.

At one time, superheroes and super villains did battle in our world. Then, on Mystery Day, they all vanished without a trace and no explanation. Now, a new generation of heroes is emerging and they will find out what really happened on that fateful day. Not only that, but they soon find themselves trying to distinguish between what is really good and what is evil.

The Awakening is a fast-paced fantasy story that introduces a great concept and interesting characters. The heroes are given cool powers and the villains are as nasty as would-be world conquerors should be. It is a fun read that will leave you anticipating the next book in the trilogy.

The Awakening can be found in YA fiction:
YA Carroll

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Weekend Watch

Go behind the scenes to see what lengths devoted dog lovers will go to to earn top honor for their pooches in Best In Show. You will meet a number of colorful dog owners: the nut-naming Harlan Pepper (Christopher Guest), the slow-witted trophy wife Sherri Ann Cabot (Jennifer Coolidge), and Gerry and Cookie Fleck (Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara) who make up songs about their terrier. The odd characters and their interactions with their dogs and each other make Best In Show a laugh riot from beginning to end. Ultimately, they all travel to Philadelphia to try and earn top prize in the Mayfair Kennel Club Dog Show.

Once the Mayflower Kennel Club competition starts, however, Fred Willard nearly steals the show as the announcer calling the show for television. His one-liners and dim-wit approach make for repeated laughs and make the movie worth seeing all by himself.

Part of what makes Best In Show so great is the fact that most of the lines are made up on the spot by the cast. Guest and Levy sketched out an outline for the film to follow, but then turned things over to their actors to come up with their characters on the spot.

Best In Show is rated PG-13 and is located in the fiction DVD collection under B (Humor)

Comic Book Corner - Astonishing X-men

Astonishing X-men

Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday

Joss Whedon's take on the X-men sees the mutant team taking on a super-powered alien, a rogue computer and team of villains that may not be all they appear to be. Featuring a core team of Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast, Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde, Whedon keeps the action coming, as well as the quick one-liners he is best known for from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The first storyline, "Gifted," centers around the creation of a drug called The Cure that eliminates the mutant gene. The X-men assemble to investigate the background on the drug and how it ties into the appearance of the strange alien named Ord. Along the way, they are reunited with a teammate they thought long dead.

Things rapidly move on to "Dangerous," as the team's Danger Room becomes sentient and attempts to wipe out the team, especially Professor Xavier. After a startling conclusion, the team has no time to rest as a new incarnation of the Hellfire Club emerges and attacks the team. At the center of it all is Emma Frost, whose loyalties are brought into question.

Supporting the rapid-fire story is Cassaday's art, which brings a more realistic look to the characters while maintaining the superhero comic feel.

Astonishing X-men is located in YA non-fiction:
YA 741.5973 Whedon

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Knitting Time!

The next YA program is fast approaching, so get your fingers ready for a tutorial in knitting. We will give you a rundown on the basics and help you get started on your own projects. Knitting needles and yarn will be provided!

The needles start clicking at 5:30 in the Quiet Study Room and will keep going until 7:30.

Just three days later, Teen Talkback convenes again to discuss all thing YA. That meeting will get underway at 4:30 on Thursday, March 20 in the Quiet Study Room. As always, new members are strongly encouraged to attend and share their opinions.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Weekend Watch

Who knew spelling contests could be so entertaining? In the documentary Spellbound, you get a chance to follow the lives of spelling bee competitors in their quest for the title at the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC. Things start off at the regional competitons and the tension only increases as the kids begin to fell the pressure.

What might be the most interesting thing about Spellbound is the individual competitors from a wide variety of backgrounds and the expectations (or lack thereof) heaped upon them by their parents. As the film rolls along, things get more intense and emotionally compelling. In the end, it is an fun and fascinating film.

Spellbound was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2003, but ultimately lost to Bowling for Columbine.

Spellbound is located in the non-fiction DVDs:

Good Reads: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
by Gabrielle Zevin

Though it sounds like something out of a soap opera, high-school junior Naomi has lost her memory after a hit on the head. Now she is looking at her life through new eyes and is surprised by a lot of what finds. With no memory of the past four years, Naomi suddenly has a clean slate to build from. It makes for an interesting look at how much her life changed in those four years. Ultimately, as her memories begin to come back, she has to decide if she goes back to the way she was or continues to chamge based on her new point of view.

Memiors of a Teenage Amnesiac is located in YA Fiction: