Holiday CD is music for tired ears

If your ears are jangling from too much holiday noise, switch to the uplifting sounds of this CD, Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: Christmas Favorites from the World's Favorite Tenors. Not only are their voices glorious, but the selections - including I'll be Home for Christmas and Joy to the World - hit just the right note, too. Happy holiday listening!

Bah, Humbug! Who's the best Scrooge?

scrooge

There have been dozens of film and TV adaptations of Charles Dickens' classic Christmas ghost story A Christmas Carol including musical, animated and dramatic versions. But which is the best, and which features the most convincing portrayal of Ebeneezer Scrooge? Is it Reginald Owen, Alistair Sim, George C. Scott, Michael Caine, Mr. Magoo, Bill Murray, Disney's Uncle Scrooge, Patrick Stewart or someone else? Our family favorite is the musical 'Scrooge' featuring Albert Finney in the title role. Although this version is temporarily not available from the library's collections, it's worth looking for. What's your favorite?

Trevanian, 1931-2005

Trevanian, author of The Eiger Sanction, Shibumi, and several other titles considered the thinking man’s airport fiction, died December 14, 2005 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The Eiger Sanction, published in 1972, was a spoof on the James Bond novels. One critic declared that Trevanian’s first novel was “…more intelligent, witty, and stylish” than the original 007 tales.

Trevanian was one of at least five pseudonyms that Rodney Whitaker used to write on a wide variety of topics, including the law, religion, and the movies.

History Bits: 1915 Historical Fiction

Lizzie Bright And The Buckminster Boy tells a little-known piece of early 20th century history and race relations through the eyes of two children in a small town in Maine. Lizzie lives on a small island which has been inhabited by ex-slaves for generations. The Parson has a son referred to as the the Buckminster Boy. The Buckminster family is new to the coastal town of Phippsburg. Although there is profound impact on the island residents, the characters are deep and surprising. Hope and redemption remain a possibility beyond the end of the story.

Best-Reviewed Movies of 2005

Metacritic.com has released a list of the 20 best-reviewed movies of 2005. Although many of these titles won't be released on DVD until next year (especially those that have only recently arrived in theaters in that last mad dash for Oscar contention), a few of the lower-profile titles on the list are already here on DVD. Check out Downfall, Nobody Knows and Memories of Murder. Also on order are Murderball and Turtles Can Fly.

Lawyers in Movies

Ed Masry, the lawyer made famous by the oscar-award winning Erin Brockovich, recently died of complications from diabetes. Erin Brockovich, directed by Steven Soderbergh, is just one of many compelling movies centered around lawyers, courtrooms, and intense legal battles. Here are some others: Philadelphia, The Firm, Judgment at Nuremberg, 12 Angry Men, A Few Good Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and of course, I can't forget to mention this legal thriller!

What's a six letter word for.....?


Did you know that December 21 is the anniversary of the first crossword puzzle ever printed? It was compiled by Arthur Wynne for the New York World newspaper in 1913. And that was the beginning of an addiction that drives spouses mad and squanders hours of time perhaps better spent washing the kitchen floor. But we love them and so does Marc Romano, author of Crossworld:One Man's Journey into America's Crossword Obsession. Romano gives us an entertaining history of this pasttime and also gives us a bird's eye view of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament hosted by Will Shortz, creator of the New York Times puzzles. He meets the quirky players, and enters himself the next year. He provides anecdotes, gives tips on competing and even lets us in on the little know fact that Shortz has the only degree in "enigmatology." I don't have a clue.

The Winter Battle: Remembering the Bulge

On December 16, 1944 eight German armored divisions and a total of 250,000 men launched a surprise attack in foggy, rainy weather in the Ardennes Forest initiating what became known as the ‘Battle of the Bulge.’ Ultimately, more than a million men were involved, with nearly 200,000 total casualties inflicted. It was Nazi Germany's last major offensive campaign on the Western Front and briefly succeeded in penetrating up to 65 miles into the allied lines, the so-called 'bulge,' before it was stopped, reversed and the original lines were reestablished by January 21, 1945.

Superhero by Marc Tauss

Maleek loves comic books. He is also a superhero. When the city parks disappear Maleek puts on his superhero costume and sets out with his trusty robot Marvyn to find a way to restore the parks. Black and white real life photos capture the wonder and adventure of childhood.

Before You See the Movie, Listen to the Book

Odds makers are betting that Brokeback Mountain will walk away with the most Oscars next March. We’re betting the audio version of Annie Proulx’s spare and moving love story will win your praise too.

Joan Didion’s memoir of love and loss, The Year of Magical Thinking, made the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2005 list. The book is headed for a spring 2007 opening on Broadway, so you have plenty of time to listen before opening night.

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