Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bollywood movies for check-out

Earlier this month we hosted our 12th annual Bollywood night at Peter White Public Library, an evening of film, dancing and dinner that celebrates Indian cinema. The library owns an impressive collection of Bollywood and Bollywood-inspired films available for check-out. If you haven’t seen a Bollywood film yet, know they are long and colorful, feature a romance punctuated with song and dance, and often offer an intermission half-way through.

Ek Tha Tiger (2012) is a romantic thriller that tells the story of the response of two intelligence organizations to a Trinity College scientist suspected of selling missile technology secrets to Pakistan. The Indian government sends a secret agent, codenamed Tiger, to find out about the professor's activities. Tiger falls in love with the professor's caretaker Zoya who is studying at a dance academy and together they embark on a roller-coaster journey that takes them from Ireland to India, Istanbul to Havana. The plot isn’t the most brilliant but the chemistry between the stars, the action scenes, including one in which our hero stops a runaway tram with only his jacket, are great fun. The dance scenes are set in Ireland and Cuba and reflect the cultures of these countries. The film ends with a hilarious chase that defies logic and matches anything James Bond could do.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) is an old-fashioned love story in which Samar, a fearless Indian army officer, diffuses bombs along the Kashmir border. Through flashbacks we see Samar fall in love with Meera, a young, religious Indian woman he met when he lived in London. In order to save Samar’s life after an accident, Meera offers up their relationship to God. Angry and disappointed, Samar returned to India and entered his risky profession as a challenge to Jesus. Ten years later, a bubbly Discovery Channel intern wants to do a story on “the man who cannot die” and falls for him. Plot twists and turns create a tension increased by the presence of two lovely and well-played heroines.

Veer-Zaara (2005) combines a plea for reconciliation between India and Pakistan with a classic love story. This film recounts the forbidden love between an Indian man and a Pakistani woman and the efforts of a Pakistani lawyer who tries to break the barriers separating the two.

3 Idiots (2009):  Two friends search for their long-lost university buddy, Rancho. The three met while studying at India’s most prestigious engineering university, a school very interested in its ranking, perhaps even more so than in providing a real education. Rancho is the school’s top student even though he prefers chasing one’s dreams to one’s grades. The three friends make life miserable for “Virus” the school’s dean. Then the dean’s beautiful daughter, a medical student, falls for Rancho. A comedy with something to say about education systems.

Lunchbox (2013):  This little love story revolves around a mistaken delivery by the Dabbawalas (lunchbox service) of Mumbai, world famous for their 99.999666% accuracy. The wrong delivery leads to slowly blossoming love between Saajan, a lonely widower close to retirement, and Ila, an unhappy housewife, as they exchange notes through the daily lunchbox.

Dhoom: 3 (2013):  To avenge his father's death, a swashbuckling circus entertainer (Aamir Khan) trained in magic and acrobatics turns thief to take down the Western Bank of Chicago which closed down his family’s Great Indian Circus for defaulting on its loans. It takes two police officers from Mumbai to solve Khan’s riddle. The plot is not the movie’s strong point; however, the dancing and acrobatics are amazing and the chase scenes through Chicago, styled after James Bond, are riveting, especially the Chicago River sequence.

Band Baaja Baaraat (Wedding Planner) (2010):  Shruti is a 20-something no-nonsense girl from a middle class Delhi household who planned out her whole life while still in college. Bittoo has no plans other than to have fun with his friends and stay out of his family’s sugar cane fields. He barely survives his college exams. They meet and, after a rough start, set up a wedding planning business together. When romance interrupts their business plans, they split up only to see their business start to fail. Will they save their romance or their business or both?
Bride & Prejudice (2004):  A modern retelling of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice in Bollywood style.  In Ammritsar, Mrs. Bakshi is eager to find suitable husbands for her four unmarried daughters. When the rich single gentlemen Balraj and Darcy come to visit, the Bakshis have high hopes, though circumstance and opinions threaten to get in the way of romance.

Bollywood movies and a small selection of art Indian cinema will be on display in the DVD section of Peter White Public Library through the end of February.

 ~Cathy Sullivan Seblonka, Collection Development/Reference Librarian

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Great Lakes Great Books list for grades 6-8

Awards season is upon us at the Peter White Public Library, and while you might wonder which of your favorite movies might win an Oscar this year, I am talking book awards. The American Library Association recently released their 2015 Youth Media Award List for books published in the United States. Here in Michigan, the Michigan Reading Association released the 2015 Great Lakes Great Books List for Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Students are asked to read the eight books selected by the awards committee as the best from the previous year, then vote on their favorite. The following books, available to read at the PWPL were chosen for grades 6 to 8.
I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora is a story about two friends whose love of literature sends them on a quest over summer break to remove all the copies of Harper Lee’s classic book from shelves at bookstores and libraries in their town, county and region. Their goal is to generate interest in the book, since they are pretty sure none of their classmates would read it otherwise. It works, but soon the “I Kill the Mockingbird” movement takes on a life of its own, and the two friends might be the only ones who can stop it before others commit crime in the name of literacy. 

Written in verse, the 2015 John Newberry Medal award winner, The Crossover by Kwame Alexander brings basketball, family and the bond of twin brothers together in a riveting coming of age story that is fast-paced both on and off the court. Josh Bell loves the game of basketball and together with his twin Jordan he is a force on his school’s team. But when Jordan starts thinking more about a girl than his game, Josh finds himself left out of the play. The stories gripping ending will strengthen their family bond. 
In Gaijin: American Prison of War, a graphic novel written and illustrated by Michigan resident, Matt Faulkner, Koji Miyamoto’s 13th birthday becomes cemented in American history as the day that Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbor. Shunned by San Francisco society, Koji and his mother voluntarily go to a internment camp for Japanese Americans. There he faces more racism, because some say he isn’t truly Japanese since his Mother is white and his father is Japanese. While the story of Gaijin is fictional, Faulkner’s historical setting gives young adult readers a glimpse into America’s own internment camps, tackling issues of race, nationalism and family. 

Who doesn’t love a ghost story? In The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier, Irish orphans Molly and Kip seek employment as servants at an English manor in disrepair. But they soon realize that all is not right in the house. A large tree opposite the manor seems to be casting a spell over the residents and a ghost known as “the Night Gardener” haunts the house. 

Mystery abounds in Absolutely Truly by Heather Frederick. In her first book of the Pumpkin Falls Mysteries Series, readers meet 12 year old Truly whose family just relocated from Texas to Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire to take over the 100 year old family bookstore. As her family settles in and her father recovers from an IED explosion in Afghanistan, a mysterious note left in a first edition of Charlotte’s Web leads Truly and her new friends on an adventure to find the owner.  

Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata is about two adoptions and the power of love. Eleven year old Jaden thinks he is incapable of feeling love. He knows his adoptive parents love him, but he doesn’t feel it, or reciprocate it. So when they decide to adopt a second child, from Kazakhstan, Jaden worries that he going to be replaced.  When his parents chose a baby to adopt from the orphanage, Jaden objects, begging them to adopt a toddler he met at the same orphanage instead. Has he finally learned how to love?

When a menacing fairy threatens her father in The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler, Alice can’t believe her eyes. When her father goes missing, presumed to be lost at sea; Alice is sent to live with an Uncle. To every reader’s delight he has an enormous library. To Alice’s dismay she isn’t allowed to read any of the books. When she does, she finds herself in a book. Now how does she get out?  

-- Jenifer Kilpela, Youth Services

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Adult Fiction

Check out these exciting new titles in adult fiction available at Peter White Public Library.

The Photographer’s Boy by Stephen Bates
Stephen Bates’ astonishing first novel is an absorbing juxtaposition of times and places, linking three eras in US history through storytelling. The Photographer’s Boy is a piece of historical fiction but at its heart it is a story of war, love, and journalism. Bates does a compelling job of creating the atmosphere of civil war battlefields in 1938 and providing a glimpse of early photojournalism, which is both unexpectedly exciting and fascinating. This is an entertaining tale of adventure which connects the generations of the 1860s, 1938 and present day.

Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio provides an interesting explanation of how a beloved children’s classic might have come to be. The story follows June Andersen, a banker who left her family in Seattle to make a new life in New York City. Though June is professionally successful and thinks that her life is great, her health is suffering and personal life is filled with unhappiness. After her Aunt Ruby dies and leaves her children's bookstore 'Bluebird Books' to June, she decides to take a quick trip to Seattle and sell the store and return to her life in New York City. Once June gets to Seattle and starts going through papers, she finds out that her Aunt Ruby was very good friends with Margaret Wise Brown, the author of many children's books including Goodnight Moon. This novel is the story of how June re-discovered her aunt, and most importantly, herself and personal happiness.

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
This is an emotionally commanding story of loneliness, loss, guilt, and ultimately forgiveness. Jake Whyte is a loner, a sheep farmer on a small, wet and windswept island off the coast of England. She shuns contact with the locals and her sole companion is her dog named Dog. She's been living there for three years when suddenly something changed and her sheep are being killed off by an unknown predator. While this mystery is taking place in Jake’s present life, there is also her past, which is thousands of miles away and years ago, but is forcing itself into the present.

This is a complex and incredibly atmospheric novel that forces the reader to remain patient as the storyline divides into two timelines. Gradually the two timelines unfold, one going forwards in time and one going backwards, until the reader starts to piece together the story of Jake's background and what is happening in her life currently.

Further Out Than You Thought by Michaela Carter
Michaela Carter’s novel Further Out Than You Thought is a seductive novel about a young woman named Gwen who, upon finding out she’s pregnant, faces the decision of a lifetime – what to do next? Gwen, who is a 25 year old poet, has worked as a stripper in Los Angeles to put herself through graduate school. Will she stay with her charming but perpetually stoned boyfriend, Leo, and raise their child together? Will she rid herself of the fetus? Or will is there a compromise? This novel is tightly written, wasting no moment, no metaphor, and the reader feels the claustrophobia of Gwen’s life almost immediately.

Point of Direction by Rachel Weaver
Rachel Weaver’s novel perfectly captures the folly of youth and the ignorance that propels individuals into situations they're unprepared for. Anna, a young woman hitchhiking through Alaska, it picked up by Kyle, a fisherman, and the two almost immediately fall in love. Anna and Kyle decide to live at an isolated lighthouse north of Juneau, Alaska and it soon takes a toll on both of them, but in different ways. They've kept secrets from one another--painful wounds each is trying to heal on their own but it's in this messiness that the inward journey unfolds. The surrounding water and wild beauty of Alaska create a sustained feeling of uncertain danger. The sense of mystery and tension set against the uncertainty of the Alaskan landscape makes for a captivating read.

--Dominic Davis, Administrative Assistant 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Manga at the Library

Manga is a form of Japanese comic books that is not just for kids, but for adults as well. Over the years, it has become more and more popular to both youth and adults alike. Here are a few recommendations from our local library.
            Yu-Gi-Oh! by Kazuki Takahashi is a young adult manga about a young boy who loves different kinds of games: puzzles, board games, card games… you name it. For a few years, he had been working on an ancient Egyptian artifact called the Millennium Puzzle, until one fateful night when he finally solves the puzzle and awakens the spirit of a master gambler from the age of pharaohs. Awakened after three thousand years, this King of Games possesses tenth-grader Yugi and challenges evil-doers to Shadow Games, where the stakes are high and even the simplest of bets results in danger and weirdness beyond belief. This series contains stories not seen in the anime and is great for those who love games.
            Cased Closed by Gosho Aoyama is a fun and great mystery about a high school student named Jimmy Kudo whos keen observation and sharp intuition allow him to solve mysteries that have left law enforcement baffled and confused. While hot on a trail of a suspect, Jimmy finds himself knocked out from behind and fed a strange chemical. When he awakes, he finds himself transformed physically into a grade schooler! Taking on the pseudonym Conan Edogawa, he attempts to track down the people who did this to him. But until he finds a cure for this bizarre condition, Jimmy does his best to continue to help the police solve their toughest cases.
            Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa is a story about two brothers named Edward and Alphonse Elric, who dabbled in alchemy in order to grant their dearest wish, but in the process lost an arm, a leg, and the younger brother’s own body. The eldest brother, Edward, becomes an agent to the government to put his unique power to use while he finds the solution for him and his brother to obtain their original bodies. However, it won’t be an easy task, for what they are searching for is the Philosopher’s Stone, an alchemical treasure sought by enemies and allies for their own personal gain. An excellent series for those who love Sci-fi and action.
            The Gentlemen’s Alliance Cross by Arina Tanemura is a romantic comedy about a young girl named Haine, who was once a part of a prestigious family of great name. However, in return for a business loan of 50 million yen, the Kamiya family gave their daughter away to the Otomiya family. Haine, now an Otomiya, finds herself newly appointed to the student council of a local private school. Even though she has proper lineage to be on said council, she finds herself struggling to find her place amongst the many secrets of the council’s elite members, especially one council member in particular: Shizumasa Togu, aka “The Emperor”. This series is filled with fun and drama that will melt your heart and put you on the edge of your seat. Will she be able to capture his heart, or will the secrets and shenanigans of the student council keep them apart?
            The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service by Eiji Otsuka is an adult horror about five young students at a Buddhist university that find there’s little call for their job skills in today’s Tokyo… Among the living, that is. But their studies give them a direct line to the dead – the dead who find themselves still trapped in their corpses, and can’t move on to their next reincarnation. In this group of ragtag university students, their ranges of skills include dowsing, hacking, embalming, channeling, psychic abilities, and… being a puppet? This series will leave you hanging and thinking, with chills down your spine. Whether you die from suicide, murder, sickness, or madness, they’ll carry your body anywhere it needs to free your soul!
            Wandering Son by Shimura Takako is a coming-of-age story for the modern generation. Fifth grader Shuichi Nitori and his new friend Yoshino Takatsuki enjoy happy homes and loving families, and are well-liked by their classmates. However, they share a secret that further complicates a time of life that is awkward for anyone: Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. Their journey through discovering themselves and who they want to be leaves you cheering them on and wanting to read the next book.
             For more information on manga and other materials or activities related to/about manga, contact the Peter White Public Library.

- Hayley Maskus
Technical Services, Library Page