Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Book of Ballads, illustrated by Charles Vess

Fantasy and comic book illustrator Charles Vess brings to life thirteen ballads through pictures. Set out in sequential-art form, this delightful and daring book will captivate comic book, art and folk music fans alike.

With the help of many fantasy authors, such as Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Charles de Lint, Vess’ elegant art gives weight and background to the musical tales adding elements not in the originals as each author expresses their ballad with their own personal style.

Here songs and folktales of England, Ireland and Scotland made popular by groups and singers as Steeleye Span and Loreena McKennitt are represented in black and white with the original ballads follows each author’s interpretation.

See the hard-hearted Barbara Allen, discover the ugly Alison Gross, admire the brave and sexy Sovay and marvel at Vess’ skill to pull them all together into this marvelous book of ballads!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Modern and Creative Book shelves

If you are like me, you go to the library and check out a big pile of books.  But when you get them home you have nowhere to put them - all the available shelf space being taken up with the books you already own.  So, you end up with piles on the floor that dogs and husband (not to mention yourself!) trip on or knock over.
But fret no longer! Here is a creative idea designed to hold your books without taking up floor space and giving your home an interesting modern art look!
If your house isn't big enough for you to devote a whole room to books, with comfortable chairs to read in, then  this designer bookcase is the one for you!  Inspired by the smallness of modern Japanese homes, kick back and relax within arms reach of your next title!
Need to move large numbers of books and don't want all the heavy lifting.  Then shelves on wheels might be the thing for you!  Just load these shelves up with your school books, work books or reading projects and wheel them from room to room as you move about your house or office!
To see more creative ideas for bookshelves click here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ella Enchanted - The Movie

Having read this wonderful reworking of the well known Cinderella story and reviewed it here, I thought to give the film of the same name a try.

Supported by a star studded cast, Anne Hathaway plays Ella: a girl placed under the gift or curse of obedience by her well meaning fairy godmother, Lucinda. The spell forces Ella to obey any command, be it ridiculous or sinister. After being forced to give up her best friend by her horrible step-sisters, Ella decides it is time to look up Lucinda and get the spell removed. With the help of a Benny, man accidentally turned into a book, and Slannen, an elf who wants to become a lawyer, Ella sets off to Giantville. On the road she is captured by ogres, rescued by the prince (Hugh Dancey), then saves him from a royal conspiracy and learns the strength to break the curse must come from inside herself.

As a movie in its own right, this glitzy, feel good story works well. There is humour, evil to overcome and a love story. Unfortunately fans of Gail Carson Levine’s novel are left wondering what went wrong. Gone is Ella’s sassy spirit, her ambition and determination. The friendship between Ella and the prince is put aside for a love-hate relationship and the steadfast King, who governs his lands so well, is put aside for an evil regent.

All in all, if you enjoyed the book, skip the movie, but if you haven’t read it, then you will find this a charming family flick.

Rated: PG.
Run Time: 96 minutes

Friday, September 5, 2008

John Adams - the HBO Miniseries

As a former New Englander, and a Colonial period history buff, I knew that I had to see this movie. What an awesome recount of the life and times of John Adams (Paul Giamatti) and Abigail Adams (Laura Linney). The sets are remarkable in their showing an expert rendition of that time period. From the inception of the Declaration of Independence, to the death of John in 1826, it shows the courage of a man who was hot tempered, yet a great orator in the courtroom and meetings with the delegates. What a thrill to see the White House being built, his being sworn in, and many other tidbits of his life.

As we know from our history books, Abigail was an integral part of her husband's life as a President. While he was in France, Abigail wrote many letters to John, but he was silent. You can see the uncomfortable atmosphere portrayed after their 3 years of being away from each other. Their love for each other through all the hard times keeps them strong for everything that they had to endure.

The author of the book, David McCullough, was on site while the film was being made, and he was really excited at how good the production crew made his book come alive. This movie is not for the faint-of-heart as a man is tarred and feathered and surgeries are done with no anesthesia. It makes me thankful for how far we have come in the medical field. It is for adults and young adults alike. A must see for every history buff.

To request your copy from the JCLC catalog click here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Monk's Hood by Ellis Peters

The year is 1138 and England is in the midst of civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Maud. But for now, the town of Shrewsbury has been left in an uneasy peace with both monarchs gathering their forces elsewhere.

Even so, plots are afoot within the Abbey town. Gervase Bonel, a wealthy landowner has bequeathed his land to the church and plans to live out his days in the sparse comfort of the abbey. So, when the man falls ill, it is the abbey’s herbalist and sometime detective Brother Cadfael who hurries to his aid. Cadfael is unprepared for what he finds for not only has Bonel been poisoned with monk’s hood oil but someone has used Cadfael’s own supply!
Confusion amounts over who was the intended victim as Bonel’s poisoned meat came from the Prior Richard’s own table, and even Cadfael himself is suspected for not only did the poison come from his laboratory, but the victim’s wife, Richaldis, was once Cadfael’s betrothed.
The obvious suspect is Bonel’s stepson, who has reason enough to commit the murder, but Cadfael is not convinced of the boy’s guilt and sets out to learn the truth of this deadly mystery.

Not into books? Then don’t miss the excellent TV series, starring Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Strap yourself in for the thrill ride you’ll want to take again and again!’re about to take ff on a heart-stopping adventure that will blow you away…
Ever dreamed you could fly; to know what it is to soar above the earth? For 14 year old Max, and her adopted family, flying is no dream, it is a reality. Genetically engineered in an experimental lab known as “The School”, these six kids are only 98% human, the other 2% is genetically altered avian DNA.
With the help of Jeb, one of the scientists, Max, Fang, Iggy, Gasman, Nudge and Angel have escaped and are free, that is until their old guards, mutant wolf-humans called Erasers, find their hid-out. Led by Ari, Jeb’s son, the Erasers capture Angel and take her back to the lab.
Now the “Flock” must use all their unique talents to rescue the six year old. Along the way Max learns that not everything in their crazy mixed up world is as it seems. Oh yeah, and she is destined to save the world.
Based on characters created in Patterson’s bestselling books When the Wind Blows and The Lake House, this fast paced sci-fi thriller has the feeling of James Cameron’s Dark Angel. Filled with frenzied chases and turbulant action this YA novel is not to be missed!
Request your copy today! Just click here!