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Archive for Category: Resources
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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 contains some of recent years' more 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 much larger theme or attitude than the situation of the individual case. 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 rather to much more seasoned genres of True Crime and Noir or pulp detective fiction. There are similarities: both True Crime and Slow crime are concerned with the whole story of a case, at taking time to reexamine every detail, to attempt to uncover some kind of truth or reason, a mission that often ends in vain. Same for Noir/Pulp crime fiction: the beleaguered detective, a little rough around the edges, butts heads with the traditional, crime-solving structure in order to solve the crime and expose that truth is filled with gray areas.

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 murderers were caught, 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, making this novel as 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. Harpers own novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, (her only published work until just recently,) 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, the 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-ish cop show. The Wire, however, was attempting to achieve something different: rather than simply being another well-written and intriguing police show, the series represented 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 composed 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, allowing for an exploration of the way crime and justice will forever battle 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, is called in to investigate 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. Only 30 episodes were aired of the series between 1990 and 1991, when the series was canceled 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, not simply because it was made into a highly acclaimed film starring Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey and Russell Crowe, but because it so aptly captures the sinister underworld of 1950s LA and Hollywood, as well as the complex nature of the investigators pursuing justice.

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. The film twists and turns 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.

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




Now You Can Download Comic Books and Ebooks from Hoopla!

   Monday, June 1st, 2015 - by: Brian Herzog

Chelmsford residents now have a new source for free ebooks, as well as a way to download digital comic books!

We've offer Hoopla for over a year, allowing patrons to download audiobooks and watch streaming movies and television episodes, all using Hoopla. Now through Hoopla, you can also download ebooks and comic books to your computer or mobile device.

Downloadable comic books is a new digital format for us, and it compliments our print graphic novel collections (for Children, Teens, and Adults). The collection so far is small but growing, and some of the most popular titles have been:

hoopla-comic-1peanuts hoopla-comic-2drwho hoopla-comic-3garfield

The library has offered ebooks for years, mainly through our Overdrive catalog. The new ebooks through Hoopla are different. Just like the Hoopla audiobooks and videos, these ebooks are always available - which means no waiting lists!

Ebooks are a new format for Hoopla, so they're still building this collection too. A few of their featured ebook titles are:

hoopla-ebook-1debt hoopla-ebook-3beaton hoopla-ebook-4whitehouse

All of these new Hoopla ebook and comic books can be checked out for 21 days (and of course downloaded again after that if you need more time, since they are always available!). Most of them are also available for both streaming and downloading to you mobile device.

Give them a try at https://www.hoopladigital.com - if you don't already have an account, set one up at https://www.hoopladigital.com/register or contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211 for help.hoopla-ebook-comic

   Posted in Books, Library Information, Resources | No Comments »




Upcoming Library Workshop: Your Library From Home

   Friday, May 1st, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Finally, your favorite author has published libraryanytimeheadersmalla new book, and you can’t wait to read it. It’s 9:30 PM though - how are you going to place a request? Or maybe you’re a student working on a paper late at night, and you just need a few more sources. Or perhaps you’re just interested in finding out more about an author, or researching local services for a project, but if the library is closed, where will you go for the information?

The truth is, many of the services you receive in person or over the phone from a librarian are available to you from home using a computer that’s connected to the internet. You can perform catalog searches, place requests, create book lists, or check due dates.

In addition to the electronic library catalog, many robust and powerful databases are at your disposal 24/7. With just a library card and PIN, you have access to peer-reviewed journals, fully-searchable car manuals, consumer information, full-text business and computer book collections, detailed health information and much more.

Come see how your library never closes by attending one of two upcoming tech talk sessions:

All sessions are held in the main library’s first floor conference room. Space is limited so please register online here or at the reference desk.

   Posted in Books, Computer, Library Information, Programs, Reference, Resources, Web Tools | 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.

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




Upcoming library workshop: Your library from home, Wed. April 1

   Monday, March 30th, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

libraryanytimeheadersmallFinally, your favorite author has published a new book, and you can’t wait to read it. It’s 9:30 PM though - how are you going to place a request? Or maybe you’re a student working on a paper late at night, and you just need a few more sources. Or perhaps you’re just interested in finding out more about an author, or researching local services for a project, but if the library is closed, where will you go for the information?

The truth is, many of the services you receive in person or over the phone from a librarian are available to you from home using a computer that’s connected to the internet. You can perform catalog searches, place requests, create book lists, or check due dates.

In addition to the electronic library catalog, many robust and powerful databases are at your disposal 24/7. With just a library card and PIN, you have access to peer-reviewed journals, electronic car manuals, consumer information, full-text business and computer book collections, detailed health information and much more.

Come see how your library never closes by attending one of two upcoming tech talk sessions:

All sessions are held in the main library’s first floor conference room. Space is limited so please register online here or at the reference desk.

   Posted in Books, Computer, Programs, Reference, Resources, Web Tools | No Comments »




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