As we approach Thanksgiving Day, your friendly neighborhood Library bloggers are here to tell you what they're most thankful for this year ...
-- Orphan Black (BBC America)
Just what I needed -- another television show to obsess about. But once I got into it, there was no turning back for me with Orphan Black. This Canadian-produced show became a huge hit for BBC America in the spring of 2013. Actress Tatiana Maslany stars as Sarah, a street-wise single mother desperately attempting to get her act together so she can get her daughter back. She discovers that she is not as alone as she thought she was. After witnessing the suicide of Beth, a woman who looks exactly like her, Sarah finds that she is one of many clones who have been placed with a variety of families. And now, someone is trying to kill them off, one by one.
The show can be a little out there at times, but the heart of the show is about families and relationships. First off is Sarah's relationship with her daughter, Kira, and her foster brother, Felix. And then there are the other clones, each one more unique than the last. From hippy scientist Cosima to control freak Allison to trained assassin Helena, television has never really seen the likes of them before. The most amazing part of the show is the fact that Ms. Maslany plays every one of the clones. Sometimes it's easy to forget that they are not different actresses playing these parts. She is truly amazing.
So, for this wild and never-boring show, I am very thankful!
Click here to request Season One and Two of Orphan Black from the Catalog
-- The Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack
Guardians of the Galaxy was a lot of fun, but far from the best superhero film I've ever seen. However, I absolutely LOVED the soundtrack! These are the songs of my youth. I was pleasantly surprised throughout the entire movie with 70s hit after 70s hit blaring throughout the theater.
Listening to the soundtrack makes me so happy and takes me back to a much simpler time in my life, when all I had to worry about was whether I wanted to go out and play, watch TV or listen to 13Q on my brand-new clock radio. For the past several months, this has been my go-to music to cheer me up, help me to clean my house and to just pass the time.
My favorites are Come and Get Your Love by Redbone, Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede, Fooled Around and Fell in Love by Elvin Bishop and I Want You Back by the Jackson 5.
For these songs, and the whole soundtrack, I am truly thankful.
Click here to request Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 from the Catalog
-- Comic Books
This past year, I rediscovered my love of comic books. Not that I was ever a huge fan of the genre, but as a kid, and even into my teens, there were several comic books that I liked. Of course, I loved to read just about anything, so it's really no surprise that the stories were more important to me than the artwork. While I can't remember every comic book that I read, I know that I liked a wide variety of them. One of my favorites as a teen was The Fantastic Four.
Now I'm mostly reading comic books with characters I already know from television shows (Doctor Who, The X Files, Sleepy Hollow). I've also been reading graphic novels like Snowpiercer by Jacques Lob, The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman and The Intergalactic Nemesis by Jason Neulander.
For rediscovering my love of comic books, I am thankful.
Click here to request The X-Files Season 10 from the Catalog
-- Honorable Mention: The Phryne Fisher Series by Kerry Greenwood
For finding a new mystery series to check out, I am thankful! Thanks, Ms. B!
Read Ms. B's review of this series here.
MS. B'S PICKS:
-- Interstellar (Directed by Christopher Nolan)
When I heard that Christopher Nolan -- one of my favorite filmmakers -- was doing a movie about space travel, I could not have been more excited. So when I say Interstellar exceeded my wildest expectations, that is no mean feat.
There's no need to spoil the plot; I've found that Nolan movies are at their most effective when the story beats and plot twists come as a surprise. What I can tell you is that, as a lifelong enthusiast for all things related to astronomy and space travel, watching Interstellar on an IMAX screen was the emotional equivalent of buying a first-class ticket on board the next space shuttle. This was the first film that made me feel just how overpoweringly vast, immensely lonely, and awesomely mind-bending space really is. The alien worlds were more alien, the cost to visit them more extreme. It makes for a story that feels like a true window into the possibilities of uncharted territory -- along with a great set of characters, a crackerjack plot, an emotional core that deeply resonates, and a fantastically sarcastic robot.
So, for a sci-fi film that gave my imagination a ride through the final frontier, I am truly thankful!
Click here to request the making-of book Interstellar -- Beyond Time and Space: Inside Christopher Nolan's Sci-Fi Epic by Mark Cotta Vaz from the Catalog
But what started life as a rather simple animated television show (that is absolutely not intended for children) has grown into something more than a showcase for swear words and crude humor. Don't get me wrong; there's still plenty of that. But for years now, South Park has been used by its creators (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) to offer biting social commentary on a wide variety of issues -- politics, religion, freedom of speech, the environment, poverty, sexism, prejudice, and, at the core of it all, childhood.
South Park's continual ability to provide all that and more, while still telling good stories filled with irreverent humor, is an incredible feat. All the more stunning is their track record. As this year's eighteenth season continues, many of the episodes are on par with the best work Parker and Stone have ever done.
South Park can't last forever, but for now, it's going strong -- and, for that, I'm quite thankful!
Click here to request Season 17 of South Park from the Catalog
-- Loki: Agent of Asgard (by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett)
"You are your own worst enemy." The saying's a cliché for the best of reasons: it's so utterly true. For most of us, the person who holds us back from reaching our full potential is ourselves.
It's a concept that forms the backbone of the story being told in the pages of Marvel's new comic Loki: Agent of Asgard. If you've seen the Marvel movies, you already know that Loki is not only the kid brother of the heroic Thor -- he's also a jealous megalomaniac who is bent on conquest, revenge, and all your usual boilerplate bad-guy schemes.
... or at least, he used to be that guy. Now, after a rather complicated series of events, Loki finds himself on the path to redemption. He's got a fresh new outlook, and he's keen to do what he can to make up for his past ways. But there's a few problems along the way -- including an older version of Loki himself, traveling through time to lure this new and improved Loki back to his former ways.
It all makes for a unique, heartbreaking, and undeniably fun story that explores the struggle to keep the world from stuffing you into its own expectations of who you really are ... and what you have to do to find your own path to the truest version of yourself. It's a story that resonates with me more than any other comic I've ever read -- which, as a lifelong comics fan, is truly saying something.
With crackerjack writing and stunningly emotive artwork, it all makes me quite thankful for the Agent of Asgard.
Click here to request Loki: Agent of Asgard - Vol 1 from the Catalog
-- Honorable Mention: The Martian by Andy Weir
For introducing me to one of my new all-time favorite novels, I am thankful. Thanks, Tracy!
Read Tracy's review of The Martian here.
And, of course, Dancing Groot. Who isn't thankful for Dancing Groot?
-- Post by Tracy and Ms. B