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Check out our Roku for streaming movies!

   Friday, October 2nd, 2015 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

roku playerThe Library recently added a Roku 1 player, to give patrons another option for watching movies from the our collection.

In case you're unfamiliar with it, a Roku is a small device that connects to a television and is used to wirelessly stream content from online services. Digital versions come with some of the DVDs we purchase, and these are the titles you can access through the Roku. The list of available titles is available on the Roku's catalog record.

The device circulates for one week and can't be renewal. You can place a hold on it from the catalog, to pick up either at the Main Library or the MacKay Branch. It comes packaged in a case that contains all the cables and connectors you should need to hook it up to your television or digital projector, along with a remote control.

Please see the Reference Desk or Circulation Staff if you have any questions, or stop by the Circulation Desk to check it out.

   Posted in 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.

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

How to See New Library Books, Movies, and Music

   Friday, February 10th, 2012 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

New Book AlertsWe now have an easy way to view all the brand new books, DVDs, and audiobooks that get added to the library catalog each week.

To see this list, just click the New Book Alerts button on our homepage. Once there, you can use the menus on the left to see just DVDs, or just Childrens books, etc.

Along the top, you can click to see previous weeks, or see more than one week at a time. These new items lists just started last week, so it'll take a few weeks to build up.

Speaking of book lists, did you know the library has a Reading Room webpage devoted to provided reading suggestions? From there you can find best seller lists and lists of award winners, "read-a-likes" similar to your favorite books and authors, staff picks, and also a list of places from which to download ebooks.

And if you'd like to have reading suggestions delivered to you automatically, via email or RSS feed, check out our Electronic Signups page. You can sign up to receive notifications of new items, best sellers, library events, our Twitter feed and more!

If you have any questions about these options, please contact the Reference Desk.

   Posted in Library Information, Reading Room, Resources | No Comments »

Classic Horror Film Extravaganza

   Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 - by: Chris Kupec, Assistant Director

DVD Cover of The Tingler
As part of our ongoing migration from videocassette to DVD, we recently acquired a slew (slain?) of classic horror films, just in time for all your Halloween needs. These run the gamut from Vincent Price classics like The Abominable Dr. Phibes, The Tingler and Witchfinder General (better known in the United States as The Conqueror Worm) to early 1970's faves like Sssssss starring Strother Martin and the made-for-television The Night Stalker, starring Darren McGavin.

Here are the other titles we just received:

Curse of the Demon
A forgotten classic directed by Jacques Torneur of Cat People fame, and starring Dana Andrews. Here's a detailed review of the DVD via The DVD Journal: Curse of the Demon/Night of the Demon Review

Dracula Has Risen From the Grave
Horror of Dracula
These are a couple of Hammer films, starring Christopher Lee as Dracula, that epitomize the heyday of 1960's British horror.

Dracula's Daughter ; Son of Dracula
A double-feature from Universal Pictures, who gave us the original Frankenstein and Dracula. Dracula's Daughter is from 1936, while Son of Dracula is from 1943, and stars Lon Chaney, Jr.

Burnt Offerings
The Legend of Hell House
Village of the Damned
A trio of intelligent dread-provoking thrillers starring Oliver Reed, Roddy McDowall, and George Sanders, respectively. And let's hear it for Karen Black!

Carnival of Souls
The edition we have is from the Criterion Collection, so it contains both the original theatrical version and the extended director's cut, as well as many extras and commentaries.

Stephen King's It
A mini-series from 1990 of King's book, it won an Emmy. It has a scary clown...need I say more?

For some fun related reading, check out Television Horror Movie Hosts. Those of you who remember Kaiser Broadcasting on channel 56 in Boston, might also remember the Ghoul, who merits a chapter in the book.

Here are some more horror film books in our collection:

Double Feature Creature Attack
Bright Darkness: The Lost Art of the Supernatural Horror Film

Hollywood's Stephen King
Cult Horror Films
Hollywood Horror: From Gothic to Cosmic

   Posted in Books, Current News | No Comments »