February Books to Films

Sophie Kinsella's bestseller Confessions of a Shopaholic is now a chick flick that would appeal to retail-therapy addicts who won't mind a bit of humor at our expense. Shopping on Madison Avenue is almost as much fun as the original London setting.

Fresh from winning the ultimate Newbery Award, one of Neil Gaiman's earlier novels comes to the silver screen as a delightful animated feature Coraline. While looking for excitement, young Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a strange world where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others. The novel was a New York Times Bestseller, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2002 and School Library Journal Best Book of 2002.

Based on the wildly popular He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt, this potential blockbuster tells the stories of a group of interconnected, Baltimore-based twenty- and thirtysomethings as they navigate their various relationships "from the shallow end of the dating pool through the deep, murky waters of married life", trying to read the signs of the opposite sex. With a star-studded cast, it is sure to please the movie-date crowd.

Never pull a dragon's tail...

No one ever said slaying a dragon would be easy, especially John Aversin, the last living Dragonsbane. Morkeleb, the Black Dragon, has taken the Deep of Ylferdun as his lair from the gnomes. Can John and Jenny Waynest, the mother of John's sons, survive their encounter with the dragon? Find out in Barbara Hamply's Dragonsbane.

Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles

This is the story of Mags, an orphaned gem miner who lives in a land called Valdemar. Abused and dowtrodden, Mags rarely hopes for more than an extra slice of bread until one day a man called a Herald and a strange white horse come to save him from the mine. But despite being free of his horrible master, Mags finds many dangers in his new life as well as many secrets.

If you like Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, then you know it's been a while since she's written a book. It's been five years to be exact (though it seems like longer), so I was excited to see Foundation. This book takes place before the bulk of her series (after the Last Herald Mage trilogy but before The Story of Lavan Firestorm) and explores the very beginning of the Herald's Collegium.

Tale of the Unexpected

Author Peter David is best know for his Star Trek stories. The self-proclaimed "Writer of Stuff" created an entirely original story of a great anti-hero, Apropos. In our story Sir Apropos of Nothing, Apropos travels to the court of King Runcible to seek his revenge against the king's knights who raped his mother, resulting in Apropos. Unfortunately, instead Apropos becomes the squire to a senile knight, Sir Umbrage of the Flaming Nether Regions. That's only the beginning of Apropos' trouble...

Daughter of the Forest

I am not usually a fan of fantasy literature. Too many contrived histories and geographies and unpronounceable names. But, I have a weak spot for Ireland and druids and wise-woman healers and when I came across a promising story, which had consistently excellent reviews, I decided not to let the “fantasy” sticker deter me. I am glad I did not miss this one.

Daughter of the Forest is the first in the Sevenwaters Trilogy -- though with the recent publication of a fourth Sevenwaters story, does that make it a quartet? Richly evocative of roughly the dark ages, when the soul of ancient Ireland was threatened by the arrival of Christianity, it is part history, part adventure, part fairy tale and wholly engaging. Beautifully crafted by author Juliet Marillier, the plot is an adaptation of the fairy tale The Six Swans. Yes, the six brothers are turned into swans by the wicked step-mother and their only sister must weave shirts in utter silence to save her dear brothers from the spell. But, Marillier takes that thread of a tale and transforms it into the most believable story imaginable.

That is just the beginning. In the subsequent Sevenwaters books, the story of the next three generations of this magical family unfolds in an Ireland still landscaped with dense forests, populated with wise druids, herbal healers, seers and harping bards, and entwined with magic.

The Graveyard Book: Audiobook

When a family is murdered only their baby son escapes, crawling away from his house and into the local graveyard. The boy is taken in by the ghosts and named Nobody Owens, otherwise known as Bod.

Even though he is alive, the ghosts and Bod's mysterious guardian Silas, teach him all the ways of the dead and make sure the graveyard is the safest place for him. But one day the man who killed Bod's family comes back to find him...

Neil Gaiman is both the author and audio performer of The Graveyard Book, a beautiful and gripping tale inspired by Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Gaiman's voices for his characters are spot on. You haven't lived (or perhaps had a fulfilling afterlife), until you've heard his rendention of Nehemiah Trot, the graveyard's very own poet. Each CD also begins with a superb musical rendition of the Danse Macabre. If you like this audiobook, you might also enjoy Coraline, another scary book for children read and written by Gaiman and soon to be a major motion picture.

Crossroads

Author Kate Elliott has created for her readers a complex world in her Crossroads series. Book one, Spirit Gate introduces us to a lawless land called Hundred. The godlike Guardians are gone. The eagle-riding Reeves have lost their ability to keep the peace. Now, the people of the Hundred are under attack by a new force. Who will defend the land?

The story continues in book two, Shadow Gate.

Wickedly Good Fun

The Broadway musical Wicked is heading to Detroit in December! The musical opened in 2003 and is based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The novel is an imaginative retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. Wicked is from the perspective of Elphaba, the misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West. It explains her history and childhood, and as one might guess, it isn’t what you expect!

Maguire continued the story with the release of Son of a Witch in 2005. It delves further into Liir’s story, the mysterious boy from Wicked. The third novel in the series is A Lion Among Men. Recently published, it focuses on the Cowardly Lion and his exploits. Get in the mood to see the musical by reading the books and listening to the cast recording.

Twilight: Audiobook

You may have noticed the buzz when Stephenie Meyer's fourth book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, just came out this August or when the Twilight film grabbed Harry Potter's original release date of November 21st (it's not Twilight's fault, don't get mad at them). All this publicity also means that the original Twilight novel is still in hot demand here at the library. But if you're like me and you enjoy audiobooks, then there's a significantly shorter holds list on the Twilight audiobook.

As for the story and audio themselves, for any who've managed to avoid the media, Twilight is a vampire teen romance novel. For personal reasons Bella Swan (the name kinda makes me think of a certain Pirates of the Caribbean character) arrives in the small town of Forks to live with her father. Used to the warmth and sun of Arizona, Bella languishes in the dreary gloom of Washington state until she meets a strange boy at school...

A kid's adventure...

What happens when you take your average teenager, stick him in the body of a warrior and thrown him into a land of elves and magic? You get The Knight and the The Wizard by Gene Wolfe. The story is told from the view of Sir Able of the High Heart. He is an American teenager who enters the world of Mythgarthr. There, an elf queen transforms him into a powerful man. Able then uses the body to become a knight and eventually a wizard all to win the love of Disiri the Mossmaiden.

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