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Archive for Category: Reading Room
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Reading List: Friday Fiction Summer / Fall 2015

   Friday, July 24th, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Were you unable to attend our bi-monthly presentation of new and upcoming releases to read this fall? Here’s a list of the ones we presented last Friday. As always, contact or visit us for even more recommendations!

   Posted in Books, Programs, Reading Room, Resources | No Comments »




Read/Watch List: Slow crime/True Crime/Pulp Noir

   Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Here’s a new genre for fans of True Detective and the like: Slow crime. Back in March, Matt Zoller Seitz, TV critic and editor-in-chief of rogerebert.com, described slow-crime in an article for New York Magazine as a genre that reflects more recent groundbreaking entertainment, including True Detective, the podcast Serial, American Crime, The Jinx and The Killing. The most distinctive characteristic of the genre is its pacing and its attention to detail. As opposed to episodic crime shows, which will often neatly wrap a case in the span of 55 minutes, slow crime serials follow one case through an entire season, exposing a larger theme or attitude than the case itself. Slow crime attempts to relate that the facts of the case, slowly revealed over the course of the show, suggest greater implications for society.

Seitz, in terming the genre slow crime, did so to contrast it with more traditional episodic cop dramas, but when I became a fan of True Detective during its first season last year, I connected it with much more seasoned genres of True Crime and Noir or pulp detective fiction. There are similarities: True Crime and Slow Crime address the whole story of a case, taking time to reexamine every detail, to attempt to uncover a truth or reason, a mission that often ends in vain. Similar to Noir or Pulp crime fiction which features a beleaguered detective, a little rough around the edges, who is at odds with the traditional structure, Slow Crime employs experimental methods to solve the crime.

So, since there’s a week between episodes of True Detective, the next season of Serial doesn’t start until the Fall, and it doesn’t look like there will be any more episodes of The Jinx, here’s a reading/ watching list to keep your suspicions piqued.

In cold blood In Cold Blood

A classic of slow/true crime, Capote follows the case of two men sentenced to death for inexplicably murdering a family in western Kansas. Capote began his research for the book before the arrest and conviction, and thus transcribes first-hand accounts of the trial and sentencing, and spends an immense amount of time interviewing the inmates sentenced to death row. The level of grisly detail, as well as the way a cool, measured tone directly and deliberately contrasts the overwhelmingly chaotic horror of the crime, makes this novel the preeminent example of the genre.

To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee and Capote met as children (the character of Dill is actually based on the young Capote) and she accompanied Capote on his assignment to cover the murders in Kansas. Lee's own novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, (her only published work until July 2015,) tackles similar themes of truth and justice. While not as bleak in tone as the others in this list, the setting, the mystery of Boo, Scout’s peculiar perspective and the sinister, base nature of the Ewells', places this novel in the southern-Gothic canon.

Helter Skelter Helter Skelter

Diving back now to the bleak, dark recesses of humanity, the realms of the Yellow King, in Helter Skelter, the number one best-selling true crime narrative, former L.A. District Attorney Vincent Buligosi provides a firsthand account of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Charles Manson, whom he successfully prosecuted against in 1969. Buligosi’s densely detailed prose, including intimate knowledge of the evidence and the grisly details of the man, his madness and the seven murders he orchestrated and carried out with “The Family”, makes this work a must read for True Detective fans.

The Wire The Wire

Despite being considered one of the greatest American TV dramas, (in my opinion, True Detective has much to thank it for) The Wire debuted in 2002 to only mild reviews. The series’ creator David Simon was already known in television for Homicide, another cult-hit cop show. The Wire, however, achieved something different: the series addressed the issues of law enforcement in the city as it relates to each of five other city institutions. The appeal of the show wasn’t immediate perhaps because of the lack of recognizable markers that made hits out of other cop series. In The Wire, the police equipment wasn’t flashy. The camera work was composed of straightforward shots using no filters (though artfully so). The gang members, drug dealers, politicos and bosses were three-dimensional rather than card board stand-ins for criminals. But perhaps most pertinent to this discussion, it took an entire season to bring down a corrupt entity by exploring the way crime is inevitable as long as no one addresses the deeper problems of inequality and systemic corruption.

Twin Peaks Twin Peaks

FBI Agent Dale Cooper, played by Kyle MacLachlan, investigates the murder of teenage homecoming queen Laura Palmer in a small, Washington logging town called Twin Peaks. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Created by filmmakers David Lynch and Mark Frost, the series explores the world that exists below the surface of this seemingly tranquil mountain town. Each character possesses some ulterior motive, disturbing dreams expose truths in the waking world, and, like True Detective, the closer Agent Cooper gets to the truth in his investigation, the darker and more dangerous the journey becomes. The series aired for 30 episodes, between 1990 and 1991, before ABC cancelled it due to lackluster ratings. Since then, the series has garnered a substantial cult following, allowing for a feature-length film related to the series, and an upcoming limited renewal of the series in 2016.

LA Confidential LA Confidential

If you’re looking for something that encapsulates the gritty LA noir-style of the TD s02, try James Ellroy’s LA Confidential. LA Confidential is one of Ellroy’s best known works, because it so aptly captures the sinister underworld of 1950s LA and Hollywood and the complex nature of the investigators pursuing justice, not to mention the highly acclaimed film starring Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey and Russell Crowe.

Chinatown Chinatown

Polanski’s Chinatown, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, is another version of the LA noir scene: this time the P. I.’s focus is on the murky background of a wealthy LA industrialist. Plot twists and family secrets abound until Nicholson’s character is so enmeshed it’s no longer clear who‘s in control, similar to the bind Rust Coehle finds himself in as he battles his various demons.

For more reading lists, check out our Pinterest page here, or visit our reading room page, here.

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Book lists: A summer reads preview!

   Friday, May 22nd, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Your summer reading list is here! Our bimonthly presentation of new and recently released books highlighted many great titles for vacations, stay-cations, or just mini-escapes on your lunch break. Highlights from the presentation on May 22th are listed below. Hover your cursor over each book cover to view a brief description. Click on the image to go to the item in our catalog. The full list of books is available on our website. Join us for our next presentation, in two months, on July 17th.

Twenty-three-year-old Elaine Kelly doesn't earn much as a bank teller, and most of her salary goes toward caring for her terminally ill mother. When a lonely old man who deposits money at her bank every week gets hit and killed by a delivery truck, Elaine--a good Irish girl from Queens--thinks she's found the answer to her problems. She'll just transfer $1 million from the dead man's account into hers. Except that the lonely old man may not have been who he seemed. And when you take $1 million that isn't yours, it can cost you... way more

Love May Fail, by Matthew Quick: Inside the O'Briens, by Lisa Genova: In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume: God Help the Child, by Toni Morrison: Festival of Insignificance, by Milan Kundera: Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave: The Dream Lover, by Elizabeth Berg: Delicious Foods, by James Hannaham: The Daylight Marriage, by Heidi Pitlor: The Cake Therapist, by Judith Fertig: The Bone Tree, by Greg Iles: The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George:

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Love Fashion? Read ''Girl in Dior''

   Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 - by: Christine Sharbrough, Head of Reader Services & Circulation

diorThis graphic novel chronicles the career of designer Christian Dior for the last ten years of his life. Brightly colored drawings accompany a biographical history of the famed designer. The dress designs are very Grace Kelley or Audrey Hepburn and pay a beautiful a tribute to a man ahead of his time. Even if you are not a graphic novel fan, this book is fun just to look through for the illustrations.

Click here to link to our catalog and check it out!

   Posted in Books, Reading Room | No Comments »




Reading List: Game of Thrones vs. Wolf Hall

   Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

This year, there are two great book-related reasons to watch TV on Sundays. The first is Game of Thrones season 4, based on the immense fantasy series Song of Ice and Fire by George RR. Martin. Past seasons have brought no end of surprises, and Martin himself was quoted as promising that the surprises will continue, no character is completely safe.

The second reason is Wolf Hall, based on the Booker Prize-winning tome of the same name by Hilary Mantel starring Damien Lewis of Homeland as Henry VIII. The plot mainly focuses on the rise of Henry's chief adviser, Thomas Cromwell, and his role in Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn.

Both series are entertaining, and share many similarities (bombastic kings, ruthless queens, devious plots, and plenty of medieval-style punishment). Of course they are also quite different. So whether you prefer the fantasy, adventure and dizzying cast of Game of Thrones or the heavy historical insight and intrigue of Wolf Hall, here’s some suggestions to satisfy your craving for noble ambition corruption and power on those six days between episodes. Hover over each book cover to see a description. Click on a cover to go to the book in the library's catalog.

Wolf Hall:

Queen's Gambit, by Elizabeth Freemantle The Queen's Lover, by Francine du Plessix Gray Tides of War, by S. K. Tillyard Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, by Eric Ives Thomas Cromwell, by Tracy Borman The Marriage Game: a novel of Queen Elizabeth I, by Alison Weir Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett The Tudors (Showtime series) starring Jonathan Rhys Myers

 

Game of Thrones:

Half a king (Book 1 - Shannara trilogy) During a tumultuous period in the Four Lands, young Druid Aphenglow stumbles on a dangerous secret about an Elven girl's heartbreak and the vanished Elfstones. Set seven years after the High Druid series. Legends : short novels by the masters of modern fantasy The kingdom of the Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the poisonous plots of the rival Lann... Book Jacket Image of item The Plantagents: The warrior kings and queens who made England: The first Plantagenet king inherited a blood-soaked kingdom from the Normans and transformed it into an empire stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this history, Jones resurrects this fierce and seductive royal dynasty and its mythic world. In this remarkable book, Thomas Penn re-creates the story of the tragic, magnetic Henry VII—a controlling, paranoid, avaricious monarch who was entering the most perilous years of his long reign.  Rich with drama and insight, Winter King is an astonishing story of pageantry, treachery, intrigue and incident—and the fraught, dangerous birth of Tudor England.

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