Tuesday, August 4, 2015

You Read the Book (Maybe), Now See the Movie (Maybe): Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn, author of the bestseller Gone Girl, made into a movie starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, now has another book that's been made into a movie.

Dark Places tells the story of Libby Day who was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered. Libby testified that her 15-year old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, she is leading a troubled life and is contacted by The Kill Club, who believe Ben is innocent and that the actual killer is free. Starting to doubt what she saw on the night of the murders, Libby agrees to work with the group and goes back to her hometown to relive the murders.

It's another thriller from Flynn and the movie (see the trailer here), starring Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, and Corey Stoll, looks to be as tense and riveting as Gone Girl. The movie opens on August 7.

Monday, August 3, 2015

#MCM Man Crush Monday- Carlos Arturo Torres

Who is Carlos Arturo Torres? He's a designer who's making some children's lives much more exciting.

Photo from http://www.wired.com/2015/07/lego-makes-everything-bettereven-prosthetic-kids/?mbid=nl_72815.
Torres created Iko, a prosthetic arm that can be customized with Legos, allowing children to make their arms look however they want and help them feel more comfortable and have fun while wearing the prosthetic. It's a great step in a field where 3-D printers are already making strides in how prosthetic limbs look. It's an awesome idea and for that, Carlos Arturo Torres is our Man Crush.

Read about Carlos and Iko here.

Interested in health and science? Take a look at some of our newer books on those subjects.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Staff Review: How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz

A lot was riding on how I felt about How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz. Lutz is one of my favorite authors and wrote my favorite series ever, The Spellman Books, which follows a family of private investigators who investigate each other about as much as they investigate suspects. She wrote that series' final book, The Last Word, in 2013 and I was sad that it was all over. So sad, I actually wrote a sonnet.
Shall I compare thee to another series?
Thou art more beloved by me than most books.
Why this is so I have several theories
And forever in me you have your hooks.
Thou art far more witty and have more heart
Than so many books before you I've read.
You are wacky, wonderful, you are smart.
Reaching the end of you I do so dread.
Lisa Lutz, your author, is wise, 'tis true.
Relationships and family struggles,
Love, grief, regret, hilarity make you
Enthralling for some books full of Muggles.
You are dear to me, Spellman family.
Devoted to you, I will always be.
Clearly, I was broken-hearted. 
I knew Lutz hadn't retired from writing and that her new book would come out eventually, but I was so enamored with the Spellmans that I was nervous about reading it. What if the characters weren't as charming and real as the Spellmans? What if I didn't like it and all I would have left of my Lutz love were books I'd already read and no expectation of future happiness? (I can be very dramatic when it comes to my books.)
After reading the Spellman Books, I knew Lutz's voice very well and as I read the first page of How to Start a Fire, my fears disappeared. This story follows three women, Anna, Kate, and George, for twenty years, starting from their meeting in college. In the hands of another author, I might not have wanted to read this book. A tale of friendship that includes marriages, divorces, affairs, addictions, and a big secret that changes the characters' lives seems all too familiar, but Lutz's sharp, accurate, and darkly funny writing make Anna, Kate, and George stand out when they could have been boring stereotypes.
Look at these three snippets. A lesser author could have made these simple and dull, but Lutz's writing makes them crackle.
Anna understood the customs of these events: a polite question was asked, and a polite answer was provided. She also knew that honesty was often the most direct path to ending a conversation. 
"Do you have a name?" he asked."Doesn't everyone?" she said.
"I'm not asking for your phone number or even a last name. Just give me something to call you," he said.
"I'm Kate," Anna said.
She smiled at her little joke. Miles thought the smile was for him. She had done this before, given Kate's name. She did it because she was doing something Kate would never do.
"A pleasure meeting you, Kate."
"Is it?
"She's incapable of having a normal conversation. I asked if she had any brothers or sisters. She said, 'Yes.' That's all. I asked her what she did for fun. She said, 'Not work.' I asked her what she'd done before coming to Blackman and Blackman, and she said, 'Something completely different.' I even made the mistake of inquiring about the scar on her forehead. It's not like she tries to hide it or anything. Told me she got it in a prison knife fight. Sometimes her only response to a question is 'I don't plan to answer that.'"
The heart, wit, and realness of the characters in her previous books are present in her latest. I no longer have the Spellman family to follow, but because they were a part of Lutz's imagination and immense talent, I haven't really lost anything; I've gained the anticipation of anything she writes. After reading How to Start a Fire, I will no longer fear to read anything new by her.
~Aisha, Adult Services

The Spellman Books

Other books by Lisa Lutz
Heads You Lose, co-written with David Hayward
A brother and sister pot-growing team finds the headless corpse of the sister's ex-fiancé on their property and must figure out why and how to get rid of it. Repeatedly, because after they move the body, it shows up again. Lutz and Hayward agreed to write alternating chapters without discussing what they were working on and would not undo plot written by the other. At the end of each chapter are notes written from Lutz to Hayward and Hayward to Lutz. This adds even more humor and suspense to an already funny mystery.

How to Negotiate Everything written by David Spellman with Lisa Lutz and illustrated by Jamie Temairik
In Trail of the Spellmans, David Spellman writes a book for his younger sister, teaching her how to negotiate. This is the fully realized version of that book.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Science Friday: Weird Insects

Enjoy this article about tortoise beetles whose special skills include "a tower of poo" on their backs and the ability to "smack their foes with the so-called 'fecal-shield'" when they are in danger, then read more about the interesting and sometimes icky world of insects.

Bugs Up Close Text by Lars-Ake Janzon, Photographs by John Hallmen

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 1965 Dubuque County Fair

The Dubuque County Fair is happening right now at the Dubuque County Fairgrounds.  Here is the entertainment line-up from 50 years ago:

Lassie (needs no further introduction)
Tiu Troupe (from the Ginny Tiu Show)
Johnny Tolitson, recording star

See the full lineup from the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald newspaper.  August 1, 1965, page 5.

Do you love State and County fairs but just don't have time to attend?

In State Fair a small-town family travels to the State Fair.  The father is looking for the blue ribbon for his prize hog, Blue Boy, mom is looking for glory in her cooking, and the kids are looking for love. DVD includes the original 1945 version and the 1962 remake. 

NPR Road Trips takes you to fairs all across the country with Fairs and Festivals: Stories that take you away. (60 minute audio CD)

Butter is a dramedy starring Jennifer Garner and Ty Burrell.  When long-reigning champion butter sculptor Bob is forced to step down, his zealous wife Laura enters the competition herself, to fight for their status as butter royalty. A win seems guaranteed until a formidable contender emerges: a 10-year-old Destiny, an African-American foster child of local couple Julie and Ethan. Suddenly, it's anybody's game and Laura will do anything to win, even if it means resorting to sabotage and seducing her foolish ex-boyfriend Boyd as a co-conspirator.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#WCW Woman Crush Wednesday: Tatiana Maslany

As librarians, we put the priority on what you, the members of our community, will like and not just on the things that we like. That said, when I really, really like something, it can be hard not to gush about it to everyone. So it's possible that if you've asked me for a TV recommendation in the last year that I handed you the first season of Orphan Black.
With the third season of Orphan Black coming out next week, it seemed like a good opportunity to gush about my admiration for Tatiana Maslany yet again. Tatiana Maslany is unquestionably the star of Orphan Black as she plays five of the series' central characters (in addition to several other characters who appear once or twice). That she manages to make each of these characters so distinct is nothing short of remarkable. Of course, there is a fair amount of technical wizardry to create scenes where two, three, or more of Maslany's characters interact, but the truth is Orphan Black's success comes down to Maslany's own skills as an actress. The only thing surprising about Tatiana Maslany's Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series is that this was her first nomination.