Fabulous Fiction Firsts #157

In Aussie Toni Jordan's Addition, there is no getting around the fact that Grace Lisa Vandenburg is neurotic - lovable but definitely neurotic! - counting the bristles on the toothbrush and the poppy seeds on her cake (daily) neurotic. Her obsession with counting renders her unemployable and very much a loner except for Nikola Tesla, the turn-of-the-twentieth-century inventor whose portrait sits on her bedside table and who rescues her in her dreams.

Seamus Joseph O'Reilly, an Irish transplant is intrigued by Grace who steals his banana at the check-out line. A shared table at Grace's morning coffee run soon blossoms into romance, and Grace begins to want a normal life with this passionate and darling man. The path to recovery as well as true love is never smooth - but on the way, Grace learns a few valuable lessons and we are treated to a "sweet, agreeable romantic comedy".

This superb debut marks Jordan (interview) as a writer to watch.Discussion questions are available for an upbeat book group choice.

For a novel on the topic of obsessive-compulsive disorder, try teen novelist Terry Spencer Hesser's Kissing Doorknobs. For another humorous take on the subject, try Steve Martin's The Pleasure of My Company.

Twilight on DVD!

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Twilight is now officially on DVD! Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) doesn’t expect much when she moves to the small town of Forks, Washington, until she meets the mysterious and handsome Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson)— who happens to be hiding a dark secret: he’s a vampire. As their worlds collide, Edward must battle the bloodlust raging inside him as well as a coterie of undead that would make Bella their prey. The movie is comparatively close to it's book counterpart and has action, comedy and romance. While it can get melodramatic at parts and some scenes are funny without meaning to be, over all it's a fair representation of Stephenie Meyer's best-selling novel. The two-disc copies AADL acquired features: Audio commentary by Director Catherine Hardwicke, Kristen Stewart, and Robert Pattinson, music videos by Muse, Paramore and Linkin Park, five extended scenes with director introductions, five deleted scenes with director introductions and the seven-part documentary: "The Adventure Begins: The Journey from Page to Screen"

Request your copy today!

This weekend, try comic opera

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Check out Albert Herring, which opens today at Mendelssohn Theatre. The music in this three-act comic chamber opera is by Benjamin Britten, one of England’s best known composers. The libretto is by Eric Crozier. The U-M production was wittily previewed last month by the director, U-M Professor Robert Swedberg, in an appearance at our Pittsfield branch.. Read a preview of the show at Mlive.

Ever gone fishing with John?

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Well, here is your chance. You can be taken away on a fishing trip with Mr. John Lurie in the DVD Fishing With John. And to make things even more fun… Matt Dillon comes along on at trip to Costa Rica and Tom Waits joins him while fishing for snapper in Jamaica. This gem of a TV series, with directing, writing and music done by Lurie, is from 1991 and is available from The Criterion Collection. The deadpan dialog and lack of knowledge of actual fishing leaves these trips as something to be seen. The drowsy lull of the narrator and the whole show itself is reminiscent of the fishing shows you’d wake up at 3am to find on the tube, only it’s John Lurie and a friend fishing each time, and you’re sucked in and can’t stop watching. Jim Jarmusch, Willem Dafoe and Dennis Hopper also appear on episodes of Fishing With John. File under: hilarious.

Speeding ticket campaign is hoax

A Michigan “speeding ticket campaign” is a hoax, maybe even an urban legend. Check your e-mail for this: "Beware all you lead foots!!! Spring is Coming! . . . and so is Operation Yellow Jacket. Look out for MI-DOT trucks parked along the road or suddenly appearing behind you pacing you - it could be a Trooper driving the truck. Called 'Operation Yellow Jacket', each Michigan State Police District has a truck cleaned up and ready to go! These trucks have specially modified engines that can virtually catapult the truck from snow-plow speed to intercept speed in seconds. And when the engine boost kicks in, the warning lights automatically change from flashing yellow to the dreaded red and blue! . . . “

Science Fair is beyond fun for Middle Schoolers and beyond

Science FairScience Fair

What a hilarious book! Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson bring science fairs to a whole new level in this comedy-thriller of a novel. Science Fair: a story of mystery, danger, international suspense, and a very nervous frog, features Toby and his best buds, Micah and Tamara. They battle, suffer, endure, and enjoy(?) the usual middle school happenings. Meanwhile, Grdankl the Strong, president of Kprshtskan, is plotting to take over the American government and destroy America, and plans to secretly use the kids of Hubble Middle School to activate the plan by using their Science Fair projects in an elaborate scheme.

The rich kids at Hubble cheat on their science project year after year and are able to get away with it because of who their parents are. This year’s prize is $5,000 and Toby and his friends are determined to win, not only for the money, but to stick it to the rich Manor Estate kids. Oh, and there’s that whole matter of Toby needing the money to pay off the two guys he’s being chased by, Vader and Wookie, to whom he sold some of his dad’s Star Wars memorabilia to via Ebay. Needless to say this is one fun and bumpy road to the Science Fair. Watch out for the attack robot owl!

Burn vs. Bruges

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A weekend adventure involving movies that you file under B, but not in that way: Burn After Reading and In Bruges. Which B will be for you? I really wanted to like Burn After Reading as I really enjoy the Coen Bros. films, everything from Fargo to The Big Lebowski to Miller’s Crossing. But this one just didn’t do it for me and I even watched it twice. The characters were fun, the acting was good, the action was okay, but the plot just wasn’t as kooky as I’d have liked it to be for the Coen Bros. even though it was indeed kooky. Hardbodies employees Linda (involved in online dating and desires plastic surgery) and Chad (the high energy goofball) find a disc containing the memoir of ex-CIA agent Osbourne Cox. They decide they are going to blackmail him but the plan is foiled and he fights back, Linda starts dating the treasury agent that is married to the woman Osbourne is having an affair with, the Russian embassy gets involved, and murder ensues. (Starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich, France McDormand, Tilda Swinton.)

On the other hand, I didn’t think I’d like In Bruges, and I ended up really enjoying it. It has irony and humor to soften the darkness and violence two hit men encounter while “vacationing” in Bruges, Belgium. (This may have something to do with the fact that I like gangster films and even more-so humorous gangster films.) Ray and Ken are sent to Bruges to wait for “the call” from their man Henry with further instructions. When the call comes it is with news that they weren’t expecting. All the while the two men spend time in Bruges sight seeing, having fun on a set of a film being made, complaining, and drinking, while waiting for a life and death situation to be resolved. (Starring Ralph Fiennes, Colin Farrell.)

Son of Rambow on DVD

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The Son of Rambow is young Will Proudfoot, who is living in early 80s England in a tight religious household where music and television viewing are not permitted. He gets caught up in a mini-caper with the “bad boy” of the school, Lee Carter, and he ends up accidentally seeing part of a bootleg copy of Rambo: First Blood, which ends up turning his world upside down in the most delightful way. Will is a quiet, quirky boy who sits and draws in his notebooks, and after seeing the action-packed Rambo, his imagination runs wild. He also finds himself owing Carter “a favor”, which is to help him make a film to be entered in a film contest. Will is intrigued and quickly agrees to this chance to make a friend and be creative.

The film ends up being Will’s screenplay taken from his sketch pad, is inspired by the original Rambo, and is full of fun antics. As Will and Carter make the film they both have family issues to deal with that tests their unlikely, yet budding, friendship. The tagline on the DVD says “Make believe. Not war”, Which is what this charming and funny film encompasses. It’s about being young and carefree and lost in your own little world.

Countdown to Nerdfighting!

Instead of organs and bones are you made of awesome? Do you know what Nerdfighter means? Do you know what jokes means in the sentence "that is so jokes!"? Soon you will be able to find out! Printz Award Winning and New York Times Bestselling author John Green and his brother Hank Green will be desending on the library with their loyal nerdfighting fans Nov 14th 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM.

The Promotion on DVD

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The Promotion is a new hilarious workplace comedy. Doug (Seann William Scott) works as an assistant manager at a corporate grocery store and, according to his boss (Fred Armisen), is a “shoe in” to manage the new store that’s being built. That is until a do-gooder from Canada named Richard (John C. Reilly) shows up and gives Doug a run for his money. Loads of in-store antics take place as they compete for the promotion, while their eager wives (Jenna Fischer & Lili Taylor) look on, each convinced that their husband will take the prize in the end. Throughout the film both men are tested by corporate and by each other to play the game to come out ahead, with only minor tater tot throwing. A poignant line from the film is when Richard says to Doug, "We're all just out here trying to get food. Sometimes we bump into each other."

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