Weekend Picks

Coming Soon

The hottest new Quick Flicks, now holdable and coming soon!

Promising Young Woman

A young woman haunted by a tragedy in her past takes revenge on the predatory men unlucky enough to cross her path.

Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman comes into conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the 1980s and finds a formidable foe by the name of the Cheetah.

News of the World

A Texan travelling across the wild West bringing the news of the world to local townspeople agrees to help rescue a young girl who was kidnapped.

Monster Hunter

A portal transports Lt. Artemis and an elite unit of soldiers to a strange world where powerful monsters rule with deadly ferocity. Faced with relentless danger, the team encounters a mysterious hunter who may be their only hope to find a way home.

 

 

18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics
by Bruce Goldfarb

In reviewing this book I’m deviating from the usual mysteries/crime/thriller books that I normally blog about. But I think this is such an important book that I wanted to make it known to the many lovers of the mystery genre for it gives background to the rules that govern the investigation of crimes and crime scenes, which is certainly something every good sleuth should know.

I’m a miniaturist – I make dollhouses, scale roomboxes, miniature furniture and accessories.  I learned about the subject of this book – Frances Glessner Lee – through the 1/12” scale (where 1” represents 1 ft. in real life) dioramas depicting real crime scenes that she created (see The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death: Essay and Photography by Corinne May Botz).  However, I was totally unaware of the journey that Glessner Lee had to take to get to this point.  Here was a woman who had no scientific or medical background but who began to question how unexplained and unexpected deaths were investigated. Up to this point the field of legal medicine” (forensic science) was steeped in politics, corruption and fear.

Frances worked to have medical examiners replacecoroners (who needed no knowledge of law or medicine, were appointed to their positions and were often corrupt).  In 1943 she became a consultant to the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard Medical School where she created an intensive week-long seminar for police officers.  The seminars provided the participants with the tools necessary to investigate unexpected and unexplained deaths including: how to estimate time of death, decomposition and other post mortem changes, blunt and sharp force injuries and related areas of death investigation.  Harvard Medical School was the only place in the U.S. to offer this seminar. In 1944 Glessner Lee created the dioramas to provide a 3D view of a crime scene, critical to any investigation.  They became an important component to the seminars then and continue to do so today.  “Today, the Frances Glessner Lee Seminar in Homicide Investigation is held at the Forensic Medical Center for the State of Maryland in Baltimore.  The seminars are conducted in accordance with the traditions set by Lee,…

This is a compact version of Francis Glessner Lee’s contribution to forensic science as outlined in this book.  She did so much more.  She was the first person to push to have forensic odontology (teeth) be used to identify victims, though no one at the time felt that this was a valuable tool.  Of course, today, it is used when necessary.  She was always fighting an uphill battle: against sexism, ageism, and ignorance, but she never waivered in her pursuit of what she felt was needed and necessary.

Joanne gives this book 5 stars out of 5!
Joanne gives this book 5 daggers out of 5!

Weekend Picks

Women in Horror Ed.

Ellen Ripley, Agent Clarice Starling, Laurie Strode, they’re all here for Women in Horror Month! But this grassroots movement goes beyond the big names. Checkout what WiHM is really all about!

Alien (Starring Sigourney Weaver)

During its return to the earth, the commercial spaceship Nostromo intercepts a distress signal from a distant planet. When a three-member team of the crew discovers a chamber containing thousands of eggs on the planet, a creature inside one of the eggs attacks an explorer. The entire crew is unaware of the impending nightmare set to descend upon them when the alien parasite planted inside its unfortunate host is birthed.

American Psycho (Directed by Mary Harron)

A wealthy New York investment banking executive hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his illogical, gratuitous fantasies.

Carrie (Directed by Kimberly Peirce)

A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.

The Babadook (Directed by Jennifer Kent)

A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.

The Love Witch ( Directed by Anna Biller)

Elaine, a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic Victorian apartment, she makes spells and potions, and then picks up men and seduces them. However her spells work too well, and she ends up with a string of hapless victims. When she finally meets the man of her dreams, her desperation to be loved will drive her to the brink of insanity and murder.

The Silence of the Lambs (Starring Jodie Foster)

Clarice Starling is a top student at the FBI’s training academy. Jack Crawford wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.

Halloween (Starring Jamie Lee Curtis)

Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

Offbeat | February Meeting

How to Do Nothing:
Resisting the Attention Economy
by Jenny Odell

Print |eAudiobook (hoopla)

We’ll discuss this book and more on February, 25 at 7:00 pm via Zoom. To find out how to join email offbeat@sapl.ca

Further Reading

A vast confusion | Issues

Busy doing nothing | The Baffler

Author interview | The Reviter

Video

How to do nothing | XOXO Festival

Reclaiming our identity in the age of distraction | Interview

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | March Selection

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
by  Gail Honeyman

Print | eBook and eAudiobook 

This Library led book club meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 2:00 PM via Zoom.

Register to drop-in and discuss this hugely popular quirky novel by Scottish debut author Gail Honeyman.

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart. (Source: Publisher)

Further Reading

About the author

Publisher’s Readers Guide (includes discussion questions)

Discussion questions & hosting tips (BookBub)

A Guardian interview

A Conversation with Gail Honeyman (Penguin Random House)

A Guardian book review

An Irish Times book review

An Independent article on loneliness in young people

A US News article on youth loneliness in the U.S.

Watch & Listen

Weekend Picks

Totally 90s Valentine’s Day Picks

Omg…Leo!  😍

We hope you like totally enjoy these awesome Valentine’s Day picks!

Romeo + Juliet 

In director Baz Luhrmann’s contemporary take on William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, the Montagues and Capulets have moved their ongoing feud to the sweltering suburb of Verona Beach, where Romeo and Juliet fall in love and secretly wed. Though the film is visually modern, the bard’s dialogue remains.

Titanic

101-year-old Rose DeWitt Bukater tells the story of her life aboard the Titanic, 84 years later. A young Rose boards the ship with her mother and fiancé. Meanwhile, Jack Dawson and Fabrizio De Rossi win third-class tickets aboard the ship. Rose tells the whole story from Titanic’s departure through to its death—on its first and last voyage—on April 15, 1912.

Reality Bites

A small circle of friends suffering from post-collegiate blues must confront the hard truth about life, love and the pursuit of gainful employment. As they struggle to map out survival guides for the future, the Gen-X quartet soon begins to realize that reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

You’ve Got Mail

Book superstore magnate, Joe Fox and independent book shop owner, Kathleen Kelly fall in love in the anonymity of the Internet—both blissfully unaware that he’s trying to put her out of business.

Before Sunrise

On his way to Vienna, American Jesse meets Céline, a student returning to Paris. After long conversations forge a surprising connection between them, Jesse convinces Celine to get off the train with him in Vienna. Since his flight to the U.S. departs the next morning and he has no money for lodging, they wander the city together, taking in the experiences of Vienna and each other.

The English Patient

In the 1930s, Count Almásy is a Hungarian map maker employed by the Royal Geographical Society to chart the vast expanses of the Sahara Desert along with several other prominent explorers. As World War II unfolds, Almásy enters into a world of love, betrayal, and politics.

Leaving Las Vegas

Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.

Far and Away

A young man leaves Ireland with his landlord’s daughter after some trouble with her father, and they dream of owning land at the big giveaway in Oklahoma ca. 1893. When they get to the new land, they find jobs and begin saving money. The man becomes a local barehands boxer, and rides in glory until he is beaten, then his employers steal all the couple’s money and they must fight off starvation in the winter, and try to keep their dream of owning land alive. Meanwhile, the woman’s parents find out where she has gone and have come to America to find her and take her back.

Bridges of Madison County 

Photographer Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson for four days in the 1960s.

 

Seniors Book Club | March Selection

Moon of the Crusted Snow
by  Waubgeshig Rice

Print | eBook and eAudiobook (Hoopla)

The Seniors Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 2:00 PM via Zoom.

Register to drop-in and discuss this slow-burning thriller and powerful story of survival.

We’ve been waiting for this story. It irresistibly turns our gaze toward something we already knew but couldn’t quite make ourselves see. The result is intense, thrilling, and vivid as the darkest dreams – much like the old Anishinaabeg stories told by the Elders. As one revelation follows another, we come face to face with mystery and responsibility of being human. ~Warren Carious, director, University of Manitoba Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture. 

Further Reading

About Waubgeshig Rice

Quebec couple flees to Indigenous community during the pandemic.

Toronto Star | At Home During COVID-19

Hamilton Review of Books Interview

CBC Books

Twitter

Watch & Listen

Snow
by John Banville

It is 1957 in County Wexford, Ireland.  The Catholic Church rules every facet of the country.  Detective Inspector St. John Strafford is called to the aristocratic home of the Osborne family where a parish priest has been found dead.  Strafford meets obstruction to his investigation at every turn as the “powers that be” attempt to sweep this murder under the carpet.

The manner of the priest’s death immediately had me determine the “why” of the murder, and the “who” followed shortly thereafter.  I expected much more than the story that has played out so many times before in both real life and in fiction than what Banville hands us here.

The graphic and deeply disturbing description of certain events was, to me, completely unnecessary to the plot development.  There were enough hints as to what had taken place without the need for such vivid descriptions.

I found Strafford a rather ambivalent character and as a result just did not find him believable.  He was as disappointing as a DI as was the novel as a mystery.  I expected more from this Booker Prize winning author.

Joanne gives this book 2 daggers out of 5!

Monday Evening Book Club | March Selection

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Print and eBook Options

This Library-led book club meets on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 PM via Zoom.

Register to drop-in and discuss this spell-binding novel and controversial publishing sensation.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy–two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia –trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte , Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Already being hailed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and “a new American classic,” Jeanine Cummins’s American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

FURTHER READING

Jeanine Cummins biography

Wikipedia biography (including timeline of publishing controversy)

Author interview (BookBrowse)

An Irish Times article discussing the controversy with the author

The Atlantic article about the controversy

A New York Times book review

A critical review (slate.com)

Discussion Questions (Publisher’s Reading Guide)

The Death Train (La Bestia)

https://theconversation.com/migrants-at-us-mexico-border-must-get-past-cartels-before-their-long-journey-ends-129403

Mexican Migration in 2021

Jeanine Cummins is working with the International Rescue Committee to raise funds to help support severely under-resourced programs that offer protection and hope to the men, women, and children waiting in Mexico to get to the United States. She is matching donations up to $100,000 until the end of 2020. https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/borderlands

WATCH & LISTEN

Youtube interviews with Jeanine Cummins

ARTE Reportage on La Bestia

An NPR Audio interview

A Bookreporter podcast

“Bookaccino Live” Book Group Event Discussing AMERICAN DIRT

Weekend Picks

Black Films for Black History Month

Check out these acclaimed films in addition to the Library’s online Watch Parties and other community events happening throughout the month of February!

Queen & Slim

While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people across the country.

LA 92

Twenty-five years after the verdict in the Rodney King trial sparked several days of protests, violence and looting in Los Angeles, LA 92 immerses viewers in that tumultuous period through stunning and rarely seen archival footage.

BlacKkKlansman

Colorado Springs, late 1970s. Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer, and Flip Zimmerman, his Jewish colleague, run an undercover operation to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.

If Beale Street Could Talk

After her fiance is falsely imprisoned, a pregnant African-American woman sets out to clear his name and prove his innocence.