Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lost in a Good Book ... on TV!


It was recently announced that the Stephen King novel 11/23/63 will be made into a mini-series to be broadcast on the online network Hulu. This, of course, is not the first time one of King's books has been turned into a mini-series or even into a recurring series. Back in 1994, a four part mini-series of The Stand was aired on ABC and currently the King novel, Under the Dome was just renewed for a third season on CBS.

Books have a long history of having their stories made into movies for television and theatrical release. And there have been many occasions of best selling novels getting the mini-series treatment, most notably the epic Roots in 1977.

Nowadays there is a plethora of television series based on books with many more being announced almost every week. Some are a faithful adaptions, while others are just "inspired by" the original. Below are a few of the choices readers and viewers alike have to choose from!


-- A Game of Thrones


The first book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series, along with the rest of the titles, have been turned into one of the most successful and talked about TV shows on HBO. While there are many changes from the books, Game of Thrones has pleased many fans with its faithful adaptation of the books.




True Blood, the HBO show inspired by the Sookie Stackhouse books, recently ended its run after seven seasons. The show focuses on telepath Sookie and the supernatural world of Louisiana. While the show is still mostly about Sookie, after the first season the show differs greatly from the books.




Dr. Temperance Brennan, is introduced in this 1997 book based on author Kathy Reichs's experience as a forensic anthropologist. Bones, now in its 10th season on Fox, like True Blood, is loosely based on this series. Dr. Brennan is still the main character, but that is about the only similarity between the books and the show.




Is it science fiction, historical fiction or romance? How about, all of the above! This hugely popular book series, from Diana Gabaldon, follows the ongoing adventures of Claire and Jamie Fraser, finally got the television treatment its faithful fans have been longing for for twenty years. 




In this 2001 award winning novel from Neil Gaiman, an ex-con, Shadow, becomes the bodyguard of Mr. Wednesday who turns out to be an actual Norse god. Shadow is caught in a fight between older gods, like Wednesday, and the new upstart, modern gods. The Starz series is in pre-production.




The TNT show, Rizzoli & Isles, is based on this long running book series from Tess Gerritsen. Medical Examiner Isles and Detective Rizzoli work together to track down killers in Boston. The show is a bit more light than the books. It also portrays the characters as BFFs, but in the books their relationship is much different. 



--Post by Tracy

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NYCC 2014: A How-to Guide

One of the official posters for New York Comic Con
(The best one, actually, because: Batman.)


This October marked the ninth-ever New York Comic Con, the comic book and pop culture convention held annually in Manhattan. The con made history this year when it topped 150,000 attendees, officially surpassing the attendance of the much older San Diego Comic Con by some 20,000. It made NYCC the biggest comic book convention in the country -- at least for the moment.

This year also marked my sixth time to NYCC, and, as always, I had an absolute blast. With half a dozen New York conventions under my belt, it occurred to me I might be uniquely qualified to offer some advice to you: how to have the best New York Comic Con (or any comic con) experience possible.

After all, NYCC 2015 is only eleven and a half short months away!  So read on for some insider tricks and tips, and start planning your trip today ...



-- DO: Get the insider scoop on upcoming comics

Spider-Gwen

If you're attending New York Comic Con, chances are good that you have at least a passing familiarity with comic books. But the truth of the matter is, whether you're a comics collector, a former fan, or you've never picked up a comic book in your life -- a convention is the perfect place to find out more about this unique storytelling form.

It's also the place to be to hear the newest announcements about upcoming books, events, and new media adaptations of your favorite comics and characters. And it's a particularly exciting time to be a comic book fan, as the industry begins to branch out and try new approaches to bring in fresh (and previously untapped) audiences. Whether it was the announcement of a new Spider-Man book starring Gwen Stacy (played by actress Emma Stone in the Amazing Spider-Man films), an upcoming crossover book entitled (yes, really) Archie Meets Predator, or the special release of an exclusive version of the new Sleepy Hollow comic book (based on the hit FOX series), NYCC is the place to unlock your inner comics nerd.



-- DON'T: Forget that comics influence all sorts of new mediums


The comic-turned-television series, "Powers"


New technologies are changing the way we watch television. DVRs and On-Demand services let us watch the TV shows we want to watch when we want to watch them. And with the creation of such series as Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and Transparent, Netflix and Amazon.com have created hit shows that bypass both networks and cable television, making them available instead through the internet. (Most interesting of all: Netflix and Amazon.com release the entirety of their seasons at once, allowing viewers to "binge watch" a new show, rather than having to wait from week to week for each new episode.)

Now a new company is getting in on the on-demand action: Sony. Later this year will see the release of Powers, a show based on a long-running comic book by the same name. What makes the show so unique?  Only PlayStation owners will be able to watch it, streaming the sci-fi show through their gaming devices.

The cast and creators of Powers were on hand at NYCC to discuss their upcoming show -- and the unique way in which it will be available to viewers. It's a new move for PlayStation, and, if successful, may help to continue ushering in a new era of how we watch television.



-- DO: Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities

King George

One of the funny quirks about NYCC (and many other major comic cons): you don't hear about the guests until well after the tickets have all sold out. And sometimes, you don't hear about the guests until you're sitting down for the Tomorrowland panel and George Clooney makes a surprise Comic Con appearance.

But the stars aren't always a surprise. The Birdman panel and its guests were announced well in advance -- exciting news for fans of Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. Other celebrities of the long weekend included Amy Sedaris, Kevin Smith, Patrick Stewart, Mike Tyson, Karl Urban, Orlando Jones, Ron Perlman, Adam West, director Brad Bird, authors Jeff Kinney and Kim Harrison, and cast members from such shows as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.



-- DO: Look for what you love

CBS's "Elementary" panel

NYCC is a comic book convention -- but the truth of the matter is, you don't really need to be a comics fan to enjoy the con. There are panels and programs on TV shows, upcoming films, authors and their novels, and other pop culture phenomena.

Which is just another way of saying that the con has something for everyone. Case in point: our regular readers will remember that I am a major Sherlock Holmes fan. So I was sure not to miss CBS's Elementary panel, which featured show stars Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock Holmes) and Lucy Liu (Joan Watson), as well as Ophelia Lovibond (playing new series regular Kitty Winter) and show director John Polson. The panelists promised exciting things ahead for the show, and the first, unaired episode of the new season was specially screened for the audience.

For me, getting a personal wave from Jonny Lee Miller was the highlight of the con. Such tiny moments abound at such conventions -- so make sure to seek out panels and programs about the stories you love best. They're out there!



-- DON'T: Stick to the convention floor

The Captains: William Shatner and Patrick Stewart

NYCC hasn't just expanded their numbers -- they've also expanded their venue. In addition to the convention itself, there was a new event offered this year: New York Super Week.

Spread out in locations across Manhattan, New York Super Week offered a plethora of extra programs throughout the con's weekend, as well as in the days leading up to NYCC. Events included a "StarTalk" with physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, a live NRP show with guest Neil Gaiman, and (my personal favorite) an evening with the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, moderated by the original Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner. While you certainly don't have to leave the con to have fun, Super Week is an opportunity to see some of your favorite stars outside of the convention halls -- and with guaranteed seating.



-- DON'T: Restrict yourself to the con




The (Jackie Kennedy Onassis) Reservoir in Central Park

It's no secret to those who know me: New York is my favorite of cities. If you're in town for the con, you might think about taking a day off from convention-going to explore the city itself. (I'd recommend skipping Sunday, one of the most crowded con days and one which is geared specifically towards the smaller set; many of the programs and panels are for kids).

Early October generally makes for beautiful weather in New York City, so you might take a stroll through Times Square for lunch or even make a trip out to Central Park. If you want to get out of Manhattan, there's the Bronx Zoo or the Brooklyn Flea Market. And that is, of course, just for starters. There's no end of things to do in NYC; just pick up a travel guide or try a Google search (or, of course, ask your friendly neighborhood librarian), and see what the city has to offer.



DO: be sure to take awesome pictures.
Pictures of people dressed up as Calvin and Hobbes are always awesome.



-- Post by Ms. B

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October Library Reads



The October Library Reads list is out and here are a few of the picks. To see the full list, click here.


by Garth Stein

“Garth Stein has given us a masterpiece. This beautiful story takes readers on a thrilling exploration of a family estate brimming with generations of riveting Riddell family ghosts and secrets. This is a true exploratory novel, taking readers through secret passageways, hidden rooms, and darkened corridors that engage all of the senses.”

Whitney Gayle, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT



by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden
Foreword by Rob Reiner


“Even if you don’t have a crush on Cary Elwes, you’ll enjoy this vivid behind-the-scenes account of the making of The Princess Bride. His stories, especially those involving Andre the Giant, will leave you in stitches. Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, and others also recount their experiences. An amusing account of a group of performers who came together to make a heartfelt film that is loved by many.”

Emily Weiss, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH



by Jane Smiley


“Smiley’s latest is a love song to American farms and the people who keep them. This glorious and heartfelt novel chronicles the lives of an Iowan farm family over 30 years, beginning in 1920. Family members are born, grow, change, and die. Readers follow their triumphs and crushing losses and, along the way, learn about the evolution of farming and society in the United States. Definitely one of the best novels of 2014.”

Laurie Van Court, Douglas County Libraries, Parker, CO





by Keith Donohue


“Emotionally scarred by a near-drowning experience, young Jack Keenan spends all his time indoors, fanatically preoccupied with drawing strange things. While Jack’s parents chalk his drawings up to the imagination, Nick, Jack’s only friend, notices mysterious things happen whenever Jack picks up a pencil. This detailed coming-of-age tale with a twist offers unique insights into boyhood friendships and the complexities of adult relationships.”

Courtney Block, Charlestown Clark County Public Library, Charlestown, IN




by Ashley Weaver


“Lovers of Agatha Christie and Jacqueline Winspear will enjoy this elegant murder mystery set on holiday at the English seaside. What starts out as a lark, intended to make Amory Ames’s misbehaving-but-oh-so-delicious husband jealous, turns into a dangerous and deadly game of whodunit for Amory and her friends. Love, jealousy, and revenge are tangled together in this smart and sophisticated British mystery reminiscent of the genre’s golden age.”

Vanessa Walstra, Kent District Library, East Grand Rapids, MI






--Post by Tracy

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Holiday Crafts



Looking for some craft ideas for the upcoming holidays? Look no further than the library. We have plenty of craft books to choose from. Here are just a few of the titles available.

Halloween:

-- Artful Halloween: 31 Frightfully Elegant Projects by Susan Wasinger - These 30+ costume, pumpkin, and home-decorating ideas are not just beautiful--they are scary beautiful. From unique pumpkin decorations to a “blood”-splashed dinner-party centerpiece to a Yard Specter made from two poles, a string of lights, and torn, draped fabric, these creepy but stylish Halloween projects will give your home a spooky, sophisticated look . . . with gothic flair!

-- All You Frightfully Fun Halloween Handbook by Carole Nicksin - From adorable pumpkin families and classic jack-o-lanterns to down-right scary giant spiders (eek!), the All You Frightfully Fun Halloween Handbook packs in more cute and creepy crafts for tabletops, porches and yards than you'll have room to display. The best part? Every idea comes with simple instructions and a clear list of budget-friendly supplies you'll find online or at nearby stores.

-- Best of Halloween Tricks & Treats from Better Homes and Gardens - Cool ideas for a personalizing any Halloween party From spooky to whimsical and everything in between, this all-new edition of Best of Halloween Tricks & Treats is a treasure-trove of neat ideas and helpful how-tos for adding a personal touch to Halloween parties and celebrations.


Thanksgiving:

-- Thanksgiving Day Crafts by Arlene and Herbert Erlbach - Using these easy-to-follow directions and traceable patterns, readers can make their very own miniature pilgrims, a leaves-in-the-wind glitter globe to give to someone special, pumpkin napkin rings to help decorate the table for a Thanksgiving feast, and more!

-- Martha's Classic Thanksgiving by Martha Stewart - This DVD covers the traditional Thanksgiving basics plus offers more ideas for those interested in trying something new. Includes turkey, stuffing, side dish and dessert recipes, centerpiece, table setting and decorating ideas and Thanksgiving crafts for kids.

--Thanksgiving Crafts by Jean Eick - Through easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step illustrations, this book shows readers how to make Thanksgiving crafts and decorations using everyday objects and craft materials. Activities and games are also included, as well as a brief description of the holiday.



Hanukkah:

-- Hanukkah Crafts by Karen E. Bledsoe - Provides information about the origin and customs of Hanukkah, ideas for celebrating this holiday, and directions for making such crafts as a dreidel mobile, holiday cards, and candle candy holders.

-- Happening Hanukkah: Creative Ways To Celebrate by Debra Mostow Zakarin - Explains the history and customs connected with Hanukkah and provides ideas and instructions for making greeting cards, gift wrappings, presents, decorations, and holiday foods.




Christmas:

-- Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas: Crafts, Decorating Tips, and Recipes, 1920s-1960s by Susan Waggoner - Inspired by the most sought-after treasures from the 1920s through the 1960s, Waggoner recreates a tempting array of decorations and provides step-by-step instructions that allow anyone to deck their halls with cellophane wreaths, glittered glass ornament balls, beaded bell garlands, and whimsical, tinsel-bedecked treat cups.

-- Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ornaments to Make: 101 Sparkling Holiday Trims -The wondrous assortment of handcrafted trims in this book provides hundreds of ideas to spark your creativity. The step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and patterns ensure each beautiful Christmas ornament you make is filled with the beauty of the season.

-- Christmas Crafts by Fay Robinson - Using these easy-to-follow directions and traceable patterns, you can make a stuffed snowman to keep you company on cold nights, a photo frame to give to a friend, some evergreen boughs to decorate your home, and more!


Kwanzaa:

-- Kwanzaa Crafts by Judith Hoffman Corwin - Kwanzaa Crafts offers creative projects for making a Kwanzaa place mat and candle holder, and other Kwanzaa symbols, and for holiday decorations, gifts, games, and wonderful treats to eat.

-- Kwanzaa Karamu: Cooking and Crafts For a Kwanzaa Feast by April A. Brady - Kwanzaa Karamu is full of fabulous foods you can make for a Kwanzaa feast or for your dinner tonight. Its pages are packed with easy-to-make crafts for Kwanzaa time and for all the year-round.


--Post by Tracy

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Big Read 2014: "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury


The Big Read 2014: Fahrenheit 451
Cosponsored by Community College of Allegheny County

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future. The protagonist is Guy Montag, a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities -- the printed book -- along with the houses in which they are hidden.

So what is the Big Read?  It's a month-long celebration of reading, literacy, and community engagement, focusing this year on Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Events are being held across the county (and, in fact, the nation) to explore this science fiction classic -- including speakers, book discussions, and film showings.

Read on to see what Monroeville Public Library is doing to celebrate this year's Big Reads event. Be sure to join us!




Click here to request Fahrenheit 451 from the Catalog

Click here to request the Fahrenheit 451 audiobook from the Catalog

Click here to request the Fahrenheit 451 film adaptation on DVD from the Catalog

(Or, just stop into the Library and pick up one of our Display copies!)





Upcoming Big Read Events:



Ray Bradbury: The Man, The Writer, and Mentor
Monday, October 13, 2014
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Gallery Space

Gregory Miller, English teacher at Fox Chapel High School, will give a presentation about his friend and mentor Ray Bradbury, and how Bradbury shaped his writing and outlook on life. Miller's presentation will include personal items that Ray Bradbury gave him, such as manuscripts, jewelry and clothing.


Fahrenheit 451: Film and Discussion


October 15, Wednesday
6:30 - 8:45 p.m.
Gallery Space

Come for a viewing of Fahrenheit 451, the 1966 dystopian science fiction drama directed by François Truffaut and starring Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, and Cyril Cusack, followed by a discussion.


Fahrenheit 451: Book Discussion
October 20, Monday
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Gallery Space

Participate in an engaging discussion about the themes of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and its relevance today.






All Library programs are free, and no registration is required. The Monroeville Public Library is a free, comfortable public space, centrally located for access to all. For more information about upcoming adult programs at the Monroeville Public Library, call the Adult Reference Desk at 412-372-0500 ext. 4.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Thank You For Being a Friend



September is Women's Friendship Month, and while the month is over, it's never too late to celebrate the beauty of friendship!  Read on for five of our favorite fictional friendships:


Rosalind and Celia - Shakespeare's As You Like It



These Shakespearean cousins would clearly be friends even if they weren't related!  When Celia's father bans Rosalind from court, Celia promptly follows her friend into the Forest of Arden. Once there, she's more than happy to join Rosalind in donning disguises and enjoying the often complex, always hilarious antics of the forest. These are pals who know how to stay together through thick and thin -- but who also know how to have fun together.

Request "As You Like It" on DVD from the Catalog



Anne and Diana - L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series



"Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world." So says Anne Shirley, the spunky, imaginative, orphaned hero of L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables books. When she arrives at Green Gables newly adopted, she is thrilled to discover there's another little girl her own age at the next house over -- Diana Barry, who quickly becomes Anne's BFF (or "bosom friend"). Their childhood friendship forms a bond that lasts throughout their lives -- and the book series.

Request "Anne of Green Gables" from the Catalog



Laverne and Shirley -- Laverne & Shirley




Starring Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, this ABC sitcom revolved around the lives of two roommates, co-workers, and best friends. Working together as bottlecappers in a Milwaukee brewery, the characters originally appeared as buddies of Fonzie on Happy Days before warranting their own spin-off show. The two friends were presented as polar opposites: Laverne is a tough-talking tomboy from Brooklyn, while sunny Shirley is a bit shyer and decidedly more optimistic. Their differences give the two gal-pals unique outlooks on life -- but it also makes for a fun, and decidedly hilarious, friendship.

Request "Laverne & Shirley" Season One on DVD from the Catalog



Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia - The Golden Girls




Long before Samantha, Miranda, Carrie, and Charlotte -- there were the Golden Girls. The show revolved around a trio of women living as roommates in 1980s Miami: Dorothy, a no-nonsense but good-humored substitute teacher from New York; Rose, a simple but good-hearted counselor from Minnesota; and Blanche, a Southern belle who just manages to find time for her job at a local art museum in between her busy nightlife. And then there's Sophia, Dorothy's mother, who is perhaps the wisest -- and most mischievous -- of the bunch. Supporting each other through dating woes, family crises, and the challenges of changing lives, these gals are always there for each other. Usually over a cheesecake.

Request Season One of "The Golden Girls" on DVD from the Catalog



Ashburn and Mullins - The Heat




Buddy cop movies are a dime a dozen -- but it's rare that the cops in question are women. In The Heat, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy take center stage as the story's leading ladies. Bullock plays Ashburn, the tough-as-nails FBI agent whose strength and skill in the field isn't enough to win over her fellow agents when they come up against her unforgiving personality. It's not until she meets Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) -- a Boston plainclothes cop whose unorthodox methods seem to (usually) help, rather than hamper, her investigations -- that Ashburn may have finally found a partner, and a friend, who can understand her. It just might take a little effort for them to find a way to work together ... but you can count on there being plenty of laughs along the way.

Request "The Heat" on DVD from the Catalog



-- Post by Ms. B

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Other Baker Street Irregulars



The iconic figure of Sherlock Holmes has proven the inspiration for fictional detectives that run the gamut from Hercule Poirot to Temperance "Bones" Brennan, from Lt. Columbo to Richard Castle. And yet the inspiration for fictional detectives can come from all sorts of places -- even from the history books themselves.

In this book list, we offer a selection of murder mysteries that all feature a real-life historical figure as their story's star. While fictional, these novels offer a peek into what life would've been like in a variety of times -- and with a variety of very unique people. Here are historical figures like you've never seen them before. Read on and enjoy!



-- Aristotle




Philosopher, scientist ... and now, detective. In Margaret Doody's Aristotle Detective, the young student Stephanos narrates the tale of his teacher solving crimes, using deductive reasoning on par with Sherlock Holmes. The twist, of course, is that Stephanos is a student in 332 BCE Athens, and his teacher is none other than Aristotle himself. Yet this is no dry-and-dusty take on history: Doody seamlessly weaves disguises, escapes, and midnight attacks in with well-researched details of 4th century BCE Athens -- home and politics, citizenship and the legal system, the treatment of men and women, and more. The result is a story as historically informing as it is immensely entertaining.

Click here to request Aristotle Detective




-- William Shakespeare



The era: Elizabethan England. Symington Smythe (who doesn't care for his name) has been trained by his uncle as an ostler, but his real passion lies in a far different direction: the theatre. When, much to his father's disgust, Symington makes for London to realize his dreams, he does so quite on his own. That is, until he encounters one William Shakespeare, a young man also on his way to a life in the theatre. While meeting up with Shakespeare puts Symington on the path towards conspiracy, mistaken identity, arranged marriages, and murder, there's no denying it's an exciting way to jumpstart an artistic career.

Click here to request A Mystery of Errors



-- Jane Austen



Jane Austen couldn't be happier to be visiting her newly-married friend, Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave. But then, tragedy strikes, as Isobel's husband (many years her senior) falls victim to a strange and swift-moving illness. Isobel is heartsick, but her problems are only beginning, as she soon receives a message accusing her of adultery with her husband's nephew -- and of murdering her husband the Earl. Terrified, Isobel turns to Jane for help, and so it is up to the young author to uncover the clues and peel back the mystery before Isobel is disgraced ... and before Jane herself makes an enemy.

Click here to request Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor



-- Eleanor Roosevelt




Eleanor Roosevelt begins her (fictional) amateur sleuthing quite without meaning to; a young woman who works for Roosevelt is accused of murdering her boyfriend. Convinced that her employee is innocent, Roosevelt takes it upon herself to prove it -- even if that means stepping on the toes of several government officials, including the Congressman whose son was the murdered man. There's jewel thefts, gambling, and false identities to contend with, but through it all, Roosevelt -- like her real-life incarnation -- remains steadfast and determined to see justice done.

The Eleanor Roosevelt mystery series deserves special mention for being the work of a perhaps-unlikely author: Roosevelt's own real-life son, Elliott Roosevelt. (Though whether or not he had ghost writers helping him out has been a topic of debate.)

Click here to request Murder and the First Lady



-- Edgar Allan Poe




"Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow." So said Sherlock Holmes, in a line in which author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle poked gentle fun at Holmes's literary predecessor: C. Auguste Dupin, the deducting detective of Edgar Allan Poe's trio of mystery tales. The truth remains that it is Poe, not Conan Doyle, who wrote the first Western modern detective story -- a debt which Conan Doyle himself acknowledged on multiple occasions, with obvious admiration for Poe. It makes Poe a natural fit as the star of a mystery novel, even if we remember the author far better for his tales of horror.

In this young adult read, we hear the tale of Edmund, whose mother is gone and whose sister has just vanished. Alone in the dark streets of nineteenth-century Providence, Rhode Island, Edmund has no one to turn to for help -- save a dark and shadowy stranger who introduces himself only as "Dupin." It seems this man needs Edmund's help as much as Edmund needs his, as the two of them work together to solve the mystery surrounding them.

Click here to request The Man Who Was Poe




-- Post by Ms. B