By: Kara Schroader
Woody Grant is no spring chicken. He may be old, drunken, and deranged, but he isn’t interested in slowing down anytime soon.
In Nebraska, directed by Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, The Descendants), accomplished actor Bruce Dern portrays 80-something Woody. Suffering from dementia, Woody has fallen into the bad habit of wandering off along the local interstate. His wife, Kate (June Squibb), is fed up with his antics.
However, Woody is on a mission. He’s just received a magazine sweepstakes coupon in the mail as the recipient of a one -million dollar prize. Since Woody no longer has a driver’s license, he intends to walk from his home in Billings, Montana, to Lincoln, Nebraska (more than 800 miles) in order to claim his prize.
Woody’s son David, played by comedic actor Will Forte, tries explaining to his father the sweepstakes coupon is the oldest scam in the book. Woody, being the stubborn man he is, ignores his son’s logic. He strongly feels the million-dollar prize is his last chance to win something in life. David sees his dad’s ill-fated quest as a chance for quality father-and-son time and agrees to drive him to Lincoln, defying the objections of mom and brother, Ross (Bob Odenkirk).
So begins this terrific road-trip movie. Shot in stark black-and-white, Nebraska is both grim and funny. It’s a potent mix, with everything rooted deeply in the culture of the mid-west. Dern won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for this career-crowning performance.
Nebraska moves at a comfortable pace across the plains of Middle America. You can’t predict where the two unlikely protagonists will end up next. They seem simple men at first, but Payne doesn’t leave them simple for long; past troubles and missed opportunities reveal themselves, but never too sadly. The plotting is sparse, focusing mostly on the characters—the illogical and determined father, the logical yet loving son, and the cantankerous, fed-up mother.
Like Woody’s son and wife, we know he’s being duped, but it’s hard not to hold out some sort of hope for the guy—that maybe some good will come of the trip. In the end, both father and son experience a brief triumph not to be missed.
Buzzfeed.com recently released an article “14 Books to Read Before they Hit the Big Screen” that has been making the rounds through the popular social networking sites Facebook and Pinterest. As many libraries struggle to remain relevant, anything that reminds people to read is a good thing. The popularity of book-based movies and the quantity being released in the near future is astounding, and could have a positive impact on libraries by encouraging the non-reader to pick up a book.
Books being made into films is not a new phenomenon. Many popular film classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird, East of Eden, and Gone With the Wind were books first. What makes the trend unique this time around is that many of the films are based on book series. I suppose the trend started with the popularity of the Harry Potter films, continued with the Twilight films, and is still going strong with the Hunger Games films. Everyone wants to jump on the book series to film series bandwagon.
The question is, which series is going to be the next Harry Potter? Will it be Divergent by Veronica Roth, the dystopian story about a teen being called the next Hunger Games? Will it be The Maze Runner by James Dashner, a dystopian story about teens in a deadly maze? Will it be The Giver by Lois Lowry, yet another dystopian story about a teen? I think you should check all of the books out at the Daviess County Public Library and read them before you make a decision!
In the last installment, I discussed the popularity of social networking, and featured two popular reading/book social networks: GoodReads and Shelfari. Riffle and Fictfact are two other book networking sites that are less popular.
Riffle, an alternative to GoodReads, launched in May 2013. I became aware of the site about a month ago, when a co-worker mentioned it to me. She described it as “Pinterest for books.” Of course, I had to check it out! I promptly created an account. I was directed to insert my three favorite books, and asked for my favorite genres of books so the site could create a list of people for me to “follow.” Riffle shows you lists and books recommended by the people you follow, giving you the opportunity to mark the books as something you would like to read.
I’ll be honest and say that I’m not a fan of Riffle. I just don’t get it. I don’t like the set-up, and it took me way too long to figure out what I was supposed to be doing on the site. I like the concept of the site, but I do not like the execution. Despite my dislike of the site, there are a few things I like about it. I like that you can become an “expert” in a category, and fans of that category can see your book recommendations. I also like that you can create lists of books to share on Facebook and Twitter.
Riffle is a free site, and you may sign up through Facebook or Twitter, or create an account using an email address. I have not been on the site long, and have not added very much content, but you may follow me at: https://read.rifflebooks.com/profiles/139304.
I registered for, and previewed, Fictfact shortly before writing this review and I am already a fan. The site was founded in 2009 by Christine Kirsten, a series lover frustrated with trying to keep up with everything that she wanted to read. Fictfact is an easy way of tracking all of your favorite series in one location. When you find the series you are reading, you can mark all of the books that you have read as “read” and it will tell you the next book in the series. If you have read all of the books in the series, Fictfact will inform you will the next book in the series is due to be released. It is a handy tool for someone who reads a lot of series.
Fictfact is not without flaws. I’m not sure about the “social” aspect of the site. I guess it could be used as a tool to find new series by “following” others that like the same series. Fictfact will be moving to a new site soon. The new site, which I previewed, will add a discussion feature which will allow users to talk about books and series, and will add another social layer to the mix. If you sign up now, you may enter for a chance to win a free Kindle from the site.
Fictfact is a free site, and you may sign up using your email address. You may follow my profile at: http://www.fictfact.com/user/evergleam2
Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields met in 2005. Gosling was dating his Notebook costar Rachel McAdams, and Shields was dating her sister Kayleen. After discussing their mutual obsession with the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, the two realized they shared a fascination with the supernatural. During childhood, Shield’s preoccupation with ghosts lead to his parents’ putting him in therapy, and Gosling once moved from a house believing it to be haunted. Their shared interest in ghosts, monsters, graveyards, and zombies sparked the idea of a theatrical ghost love story for the stage. Since a theatrical work is not complete without a soundtrack, the duo began songwriting and learning to play various instruments. Putting aside the scriptwriting aspect of the project, the two became more interested in creating the music. The two named themselves Dead Man’s Bones and soon thereafter released their first eponymous album.
Although the album débuted in 2009, I first heard it only a few weeks ago. Honestly, it wouldn’t have appealed to me nearly as much had half the band not been the incredibly dreamy Ryan Gosling. To me—and to most other women—his voice possesses a distinct allure, and this carries through to his vocals on the album. Mr. Gosling isn’t just a pretty face with a charming smile; this isn’t just a celebrity pet-project. After I checked out Dead Man’s Bones, I quickly became obsessed with the haunting lyrics and sometimes-spooky melodies.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the entire album is collaboration with the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir, started by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist “Flea.” Over the mellow wavering of Gosling’s voice, the children’s choir rises and falls in eerie innocence befitting an album whose songs were adapted from ghost stories.
This album, along with hundreds more, is available for check-out at the Daviess County Public Library.
Working at the Reference Desk at the Daviess County Public Library means we speak a certain mantra on a daily basis: “Fiction is located on the second floor.” The general public wants to read something entertaining, something that will add some shock and awe to their life, or even something so fantastical it can only be found in a fictitious book. The general public does not think the nonfiction collection is for them. Nonfiction seems to be synonymous with boring, mundane, user-only, and straight facts. I’m here to tell you this is a myth.
The first floor of the library is undergoing a change to make the displays more appealing AND to let the general public know that we have nonfiction books that would interest anyone…yes, anyone, so you strictly fiction readers listen up! Let’s say you’re an avid historical romance reader. I can give you a historical romance that actually happened. Here’s a few off the top of my head:
* The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War, and Madness in Seventeenth Century England by Adrian Tinniswood
Are you a murder mystery reader? The true crime section of our nonfiction collection will equally satiate your thirst for crime, mystery, and justice. I would suggest these titles to get started:
* In Cold Blood by Truman Copote
*A Rose for Her Grave and Other True Cases by Anne Rule
How about some adventure-themed fiction? Getting your blood pumping from a thrilling read can be an exalting feeling, but have you considered how exciting a real action-packed adventure could be? Take these titles for an example:
*Runaway Bus and Other True Stories by Deborah Morris
*Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I could easily continue to list sub genres of fiction and provide comparable reads in our nonfiction collection, but I think you get the point by now. The nonfiction collection is for everyone, fiction readers included. To help promote this further, we have also revamped our displays on the first floor. Each display has a running theme that showcases the most popular sections of our nonfiction collection. We have the following displays available at all times:
Current Programs Given at the Library
Keep in mind that these are generic titles of our displays; they still change monthly. For example, the “Cooking” display is currently vegetarian cookbooks, but will change in a few weeks to Thanksgiving-related cookbooks, and then to Christmas-related cookbooks. So if you are interested in history and travel, that particular display will still change within that topic, as holds true for the rest of our displays.
Please take some time to peruse the first floor…you just never know what you might happen upon to intrigue you. And feel free to ask the first floor staff for certain nonfiction books that read like fiction or where some of our displays are located. We are happy to help with anything you may need!