Seconds

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Seconds (1966) is the third and final episode of Frankenheimer’s “Paranoia Trilogy,” a sequence of films that include political thrillers The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Seven Days in May (1964). The central protagonist is suburbanite Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph), a bank executive who has reached the twilight years of his life with few accomplishments, save for a small monument for past glory in the shape of a dust-collecting tennis trophy in his bedroom. In short, life has become a great big bore for Arthur Hamilton. Soon he is plunged into a whirlpool of the bizarre. Strange phone calls in the dead of night from old friend thought dead, pressing him to contact a shadow organization that can grant Arthur a new lease on life. Reluctantly, Arthur agrees and finds the business through a strange series of back doorways and a ride in the back of a meat-packing truck. After smoothed-talked into signing a contract and paying a large sum of money, Arthur undergoes a painful surgical procedure that completely transforms his appearance. With a new look, name, and job history (the latter involving a phony college degree and a fake career as a painter), Arthur (now “Antiochus Wilson,” played by Rock Hudson) begins his life again on the west coast. But not is all what it seems.

 Seconds was the culmination of a series of noteworthy films John Frankenheimer directed between 1961 and 1966, possibly the peak years of his career. The courtroom drama The Young Savages (1961) tackled gang violence and racial prejudice. All Fall Down (1962) was a counterpoint to the seeming perfection of domestic life depicted in TV sitcoms of the time like Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver. Seconds is the dark flipside to the American Dream with an important lesson. It was also ahead of the curve, foreshadowing thrillers in the subsequent decade like The Conversation, The Parallax View, The Stepford Wives, and Capricorn One. Review by staff member Josh D.

Will Krystal’s Hair be Blue?

By nchcpl_admin,

…or pink, red, purple, green, etc.? We have nine days left of Winter Reading for you to turn in all of your review slips and place those marbles in the jar. If the jar gets to the “Fill to Here” line, maybe you will be the lucky person who gets to pick Krystal’s hair color for the next few weeks. Right now the jar is looking rather empty and Krystal’s hair feels safe from crazy hair dyes.

-KrystalMarble Jar 2

New CDs- Winter 2016

By nchcpl_admin,

Lights Out: A Cyber Attack, a Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath

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From GoodReads: “In this tour de force of investigative reporting, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.”

Judging by the number of books checked out from this library on prepping (preparing for a major disaster), this is a topic of hot interest. Renowned journalist Ted Koppel tells us why this should is an important interest and how much we fall short of being prepared for an attack on our electrical systems. It is evident from this book that many experts disagree on a number of important issues as to whether such a catastrophe could occur on a major level. Many agencies seem to be relying on the resources, plans or capabilities of other agencies.

Everyone agrees that extended damage to the electrical grid would have prolonged and devastating results. Most of our fundamental needs are tied to our electrical resources, water and sanitation being the most crucial. The loss of communication and transportation would soon follow. Koppel discusses a number of survival approaches taken by individuals in rural areas and the extensive efforts of the Mormon Church. He points out, however, how difficult it would be to apply these principles to a city such as New York. Koppel explores the role of government agencies in the area of preventing and managing a disaster.

-Review by Janet T., Reference Librarian

Teen Winter Reading 2016

By nchcpl_admin,

snow tree

Okay, so maybe the snow isn’t falling…yet. However, I hear it’s on its way! With this time of year comes our Teen Winter Reading Program. For all of you who have partaken in previous years’ Teen Winter Reading Programs, welcome back! For those of you who are new, welcome!  Loads of prizes are to be won during the Teen Winter Reading Program. The grand prize this year is a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. Second and third prize winners will each win $25 Visa Gift Cards. A weekly prize drawing for a surprise will happen Monday mornings. This year the rules are going to be a little different, so here goes:

  1. All forms and the ballot box are at the Main Circulation Desk (that’s the desk upstairs where you check out your stuff!)
  2. Grab a registration card (YOU ONLY NEED TO DO THIS ONCE!) and turn it in at the same desk listed in step 1. Congratulations! You are now signed up for Teen Winter Reading at this point!
  3. Once you’ve completed steps 1 and 2, grab a review sheet… or multiple if you think you’ll be snowed in and have a huge stack of books to read!
  4. Once you’ve read a book, or attended a teen program, fill out your review sheet and turn it into the TEEN ballot box. The way to fill out a review slip is listed on the back of each slip, but you fill in the title, circle whether you loved or hated the book (or teen program), and write 2-3 sentences explaining why you loved or hated it. DON’T FORGET TO PUT YOUR NAME AND PHONE OR EMAIL ON THE REVIEW SLIP!
  5. Tell the staff at the Main Circulation Desk that you’ve completed (x) number of review sheets and collect your candy:

1 Completed Review Slip = 1 piece of candy.

  1. Grab more review slips and get to reading!

~Krystal

Coming soon: Teen Picks

By nchcpl_admin,

Question mark

That’s right… we want to know what you’re reading. Did you like it? Did you hate it? Do you want to share your opinion with other teen readers? Shoot Krystal an e-mail at krystals@nchcpl.lib.in.us.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

By nchcpl_admin,

Goodreads Synopsis:  “Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen. That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right. Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.”

Carry On, Chapter 1, Sentence 1: “I walked to the bus station by myself.”

I HATED this book. This was an “I almost gave up and quit” book because Simon was such a “git”. I almost never give up on a book. Seriously, I kept comparing him to Harry and couldn’t take it. With that being said, I’M SO GLAD I STUCK TO THIS BOOK! I ACTUALLY LOVE THIS BOOK SO, SO, SO MUCH! It literally took me twenty-nine chapters, but the entrance of Baz made it all worthwhile.

For fans of Rowell’s Fangirl, you’ll already know that this is based off of a fanfiction book written by Cath. If you haven’t read Fangirl yet, you really need to! It isn’t necessary for this book, but it’s a fantastic book and you’ll at least be prepared for the aspects of fanfiction that you see in this book. After reading the synopsis, you’ll know that there are strong similarities between this book and the Harry Potter series: boy wizard as “The Chosen One”, arch nemesis, super evil character threatening to destroy all of magic, smart best female friend, a head wizard “The Mage”, and a wizarding school. Now, take all of those elements and throw them into a blender…out comes Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow.

Baz (whom I think of as the Malfoy character) is actually Simon’s roommate (for seven years) and a vampire. They have the same antagonist views toward each other as Draco and Harry…only that changes drastically as the story goes on. The Mage is no Albus Dumbledore, and that’s all I’m saying because spoilers are begging to spill over my fingertips. As to Penelope (the Hermione character), she pretty much stays the same. I mean, Hermione was perfect, why change her character?

If you’ve read my previous book reviews, you know that I listened to the audio book version of this. Just so you’ll be prepared, (unlike me, whose eyebrows constantly stayed raised for the first quarter of the book until I was immune to it) ‘f’ bombs get dropped. A lot. Those brits sure do enjoy their cursing. Also, if you listen to the audio book, you’ll have a hard time trying NOT to affect an English accent for days afterward. You’ve been warned.

Read the book: it’s got one of my favorite kissing (snogging) scenes of all time, it’s snort-stop-snort because you snorted-stop-bust out laughing funny, and has just the right amount of action to keep the plot going (starting from Book Two…aka “The Entrance of Baz”).

~Krystal

 

Downhill Racer

By nchcpl_admin,

Downhill Racer (1969) was the work of four notable talents – actor Robert Redford, director Michael Ritchie, writer James Salter, and cinematographer Brian Probyn. Together, these four men welded the film’s steely attitude and astonishing look. Racer began life as a pet project of Redford’s, who selected writer James Salter (The Hunters) to write the screenplay. As developed by Redford and Salter, ambitious skier David Chappellet is not a team player. Much to the concern of old-school coach Eugene Claire (Gene Hackman), David’s single-minded strive to be among the famous sports champions is more important to him than team comradery. With his defiant, anti-authority personality, David Chappellet ranks among the antiheroes common in Hollywood movies from 1967 to 1975 – Clyde Barrow in Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde, Ben Braddock in Mike Nichols’s The Graduate, Wyatt and Billy in Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider, Hawkeye and Trapper in Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H, and R.P. McMurphy in Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Downhill Racer was Michael Ritchie’s debut as a feature film director. Ritchie had an unconventional, unique approach to shooting scenes. In a style akin to documentary-type filmmaking, Ritchie worked with cinematographer Brian Probyn on capturing some amazing images – from the freeze-frame shots of skiers in the opening credit sequence, to the beautiful Alpine scenery that adorns much of the film, to the awesome climax. Ritchie would go on to direct many other sports-related films – baseball in The Bad News Bears (1976) and The Scout (1994), football in Semi-Tough (1977) and Wildcats (1986), and boxing in Diggstown (1992). Much like his contemporaries Hal Ashby, Bob Rafelson, Peter Bogdanovich, and William Friedkin, Ritchie achieved much success in the 1970s.

Commended for its dedication to authenticity by real-life skiers, Downhill Racer is also a rather good character study boosted with some impressive kinetic imagery. This should make the film appealing to viewers with only a passing knowledge in skiing. Staff member review by Josh D.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

By nchcpl_admin,

“Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.”  (Goodreads Synopsis)

“So in order to understand everything that happened, you have to start from the premise that high school sucks.” (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Chapter 1, Sentence 1)

This is a story about a boy telling his story of knowing a girl with cancer. No, this book is NOTHING like The Fault in Our Stars. Yes, they both feature a girl with cancer. That is about as far as the similarities go. Oh, and the fact that this was made into a movie as well. I swear, that’s all the similarities I can think of.

As many of you know, or will know immediately, I commute to work…about an hour each way. As such, most of my reading gets done via audio books in my car. This was one such book. I would like to warn anybody reading this review that listening to this on audio is not a good idea if you are driving—driving while having your head thrown back in laughter is not safe. No accidents occurred during the listening of this book, but a squirrel nearly bit it.

Another warning, the main character and his friend Earl do their best to gross each other out. This means that you will read very creative and highly inappropriate insults and references to things that, depending on your humor, will offend or amuse you. I would love to give some examples here, but I’ll just say that anytime Earl is about to eat Pa Gaines’s food or something Vietnamese, there are references to donkey genitalia.

I ended up giving this book 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads because it has its moments of awkward high school humor, but I wasn’t overly fond of any of the characters at the end of the book. I like my characters with spunk and drive…I do not like my characters to meekly accept what life has thrown at them. In short, this book was just too realistic for me. Give me my fantasy novels any day of the week.

So, reader of this review, read it or don’t read it. If you do read it, you will get some chuckles– but don’t expect life to have new meaning.  And if you decide that you’d rather re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the fifth time–you can always just watch the movie. -Krystal

 

 

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

By nchcpl_admin,

In the grand sixth chapter of the epic Star Wars chronicles, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) travel to the desert planet Tatooine to free Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from cryogenic sleep. Infiltrating the fortress of the vile racketeer Jabba the Hutt, Luke and Leia rescue Han and join forces with a community of Ewoks on the forest moon of Endor. While the heroes battle a squadron of the Empire’s imperial army, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader plot to turn Luke to the dark side. But Luke has a plan of his own, determining to reawaken the spirit of Anakin Skywalker within the corrupt psyche of his father. The galactic civil war climaxes in an exciting, action-packed confrontation that will decide the destiny of the galaxy. Staff review by Josh D.

New CDs – December 2015

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Test Learning Center Post 2

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