Tuesday, March 21, 2017

5 Nonfiction Books to Help You Challenge Your Assumptions and Understand the World

We are currently living in pretty confusing times. Every day we're bombarded with what feels like hundreds of breaking news stories, while the tone of discourse, both in the media and between individuals, becomes increasingly volatile and heated.

If you want to learn more about the world, make some sense of what's going on, and empower yourself to participate more effectively in challenging conversations you might find yourself in, try these great nonfiction books, all available through your local LPLS branch.

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Zinn tells the story of American history from the perspective of people who are often relegated to the margins: women, Native Americans, factory workers and the working poor, and people of color.

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
Loewen examines the biases, omissions, and untruths taught in American history classes to create a more accurate, and often surprising, potrayal of American history. 

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein
Drawing from the crises that occurred both in Iraq and in post-Katrina Louisiana, Klein examines the ways in which tragedy, shock, and extreme violence are exploited for economic gain.

The  New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorbindness by Michelle Alexander
Alexander challenges the assumption of a post-racial America in this examination of how the prison and legal systems perpetuate racism against black people.

Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt by Sarah Jaffe
What makes regular citizens assume the role of activists and take to the streets with movements such as Occupy or Black Lives Matter? Jaffe answers this question in her examination of social movements and protest.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Patronize me: Featuring Daring Greatly

This selection is from Charlene Kever. I, first, met her and her two daughters, Bella and Abby, when they were seeking out a new series for Bella to read. They were getting ready to go visit family and would need something for the car ride. She was into the fantasy genre. So, I immediately thought of The Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I also gave Charlene a list of books to look for in the future. A few weeks later they were back at the library returning their books. Bella loved Redwall. I will never forget the look of pure glee on her face when I asked, "Did you like it?" It was as close to magic as a librarian can experience.

Around Christmas, I received a gift from them. They had discovered I liked coffee during our celebration of National Coffee Day. It was mentioned that Mr. Kever roasts coffee beans and I got really excited but tried to keep it tame. On the following book return, Charlene brought in a jar of freshly roasted beans for me. They were DELICIOUS! Needless to say it is something I have savored. Bit by bit and cup by cup. My husband and I were very appreciative of the thoughtfulness.

Charlene selected, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown. I knew of the book. Several years ago I worked at Barnes &Noble where the book was a bestseller for a while. There was not a day that went by where I wasn't asked to help locate the book for a customer or told I should read it. This book has sat on my goodreads, "To Read," shelf for about 3 years. So, naturally, I jumped at the chance to read it. After simply reading the introduction, I could see why this book came highly recommended by so many. Brene Brown has done several TED talks (follow the link, if you would like to view them). She is well versed in research on shame and vulnerability both of which she has studied for 13 years. She is currently a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She explains how she came about this particular research topic (vulnerability is not a weakness). It all started with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

From this point on I was like a sponge. I soaked up everything this book was offering. It all comes down to the fact that we are individuals who crave the connection with others. The emotions we crave: joy, peace, happiness, and contentment come from these very connections. But one cannot experience them without being vulnerable. It becomes clear that vulnerability is not a weakness but rather a courageous path to engagement and experiencing meaningful connections. Every day we take risks whether it be a new idea, a creative process, a family conversation, a new relationship, speaking in front of a group, a meeting at work, or writing a blog. Each of these requires courage to engage with one another and show emotion. We have to dare greatly.

This is a book I have already applied to my own relationships and daily life. I have learned a lot, know the benefits and want to experience it. I cannot thank Charlene enough for recommending this book. There is no other way to describe it...This was truly life-changing and altering. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Linebaugh Oscars: Lauren's Picks


Favorite movie of 2016
Best Actor or Actress 
Best Music or Soundtrack
La La Land

Starring: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

Movie you have recommended the most
Captain Fantastic
Starring: Viggo Mortensen
In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

Most Anticipated Movie of 2017
Blade Runner 2049  Due out October 6, 2017   
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Robin Wright, and Harrison Ford
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner...

Best New TV Series

Stranger Things
Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, and Millie Bobby Brown
When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.

All synopsis from IMDB.com 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Linebaugh Oscars: Brittney and Al's Picks


Favorite movie of 2016   
Starring: Auli'l Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson
Young navigator Moana, the daughter of a Polynesian chief, is chosen to find a precious artifact that could save her people. She teams with demigod Maui to locate a legendary island, and together the pair explore fantastical lands and encounter incredible sea creatures in this animated adventure from Disney.

Best Actor or Actress 
Rachel Bloom from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Tom Ellis from Lucifer

Best New TV Series   

Starring: Tom Ellis and Lauren German
Based on the characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg, Lucifer is the story of the original fallen angel.

Most Anticipated Movie of 2017
The Lego Batman Movie  Due out February 10, 2017

Starring: Ensemble Cast
Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted. 


Best Music or Soundtrack & Best Animated Film   

TV series you have recommended the most   
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend  
Starring: Rachel Bloom
A young woman abandons a choice job at a law firm in New York in an attempt to find love in the unlikely locale of West Covina, California. 

Least Favorite Movie   
Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Starring Ben Affleck Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg


Favorite movie of 2016   
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  
Starring:Eddie Redmayne
The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York's secret community of witched and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Best Actor or Actress
Jennifer Lawrence from Passengers 
Eddie Redmayne from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best New TV Series
Crazy Ex Girlfriend

Most Anticipated Movie of 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2  Due out May 5, 2017
Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' continues the team's adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage. 

All synopsis from IMDB.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Linebaugh Oscars: Garrett's Picks


Favorite movie 2016
Starring: Ensemble Cast

Captain America: Civil War is sort of an easy call for me. Cap’s my favorite superhero, so any movie that makes me question his motives is fun. Ultimately, I land with freedom over security (the central argument of Civil War), but this movie was awesome for making me question it. I got misty-eyed hearing spoken Wakandan for the first time, and laughed with my kids about “Tony Stank.” The airport scene stands on its own, and this is the first movie, ever, to nail Spider-Man. There is some debate about how much of a role Cap really has in his own movie, but I thought this worked really well. Especially with recent developments in our country, it’s interesting to go back and analyze the various characters’ arguments for the Accords, not only from their perspectives as scientists, statesmen, spies, and soldiers, but also from a real-world POV. Worth your time as something more than just an action superhero movie.

Best Actor 
Eddie Redmayne Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

David Tennant wants Olivia Colman to be the next Doctor now that Peter Capaldi is leaving the role, and I have, in the past, been a fan of the Idris Elba option, but I REALLY wish the BBC could go the Redmayne Road with casting. Watching him in Fantastic Beasts was a delight, and the rest of the movie ran the risk of being a backdrop for him. It wasn’t though, because it hung together so well, and enthralled me as a viewer as JK does when she’s at her best. I loved the movie, but Eddie Redmayne’s quiet-around- people / animated-around- the-creatures, fidgety, unsure on his feet but confident with his hands performance made the actor disappear. Those are the best performances.

Best Music or Soundtrack
Luke Cage 

Starring: Mike Colter
I’m going to have to give this to the Luke Cage soundtrack. Featuring Method Man and a range of awesome jazz and soul singers (I think all of whom performed on the show) and one of the coolest opening themes ever, this soundtrack captured the spirit of the character, and Harlem in a way that was, in my opinion, unmatched by anything since the Awesome Mix for GoTG did that same job for them. The full orchestral scoring on this plus the in-show performances by some musicians are just special in a way that makes you feel it as part of the atmosphere of the show.

Best Animated Film

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba
As is typical with a lot of kids’ movies nowadays, there’s a lot more going on in this movie than would be immediately apparent. Certain divisive administrations could benefit from this movie’s twin messages of acceptance of others and not judging citizens by how they look on the surface. In addition, the movie does a lot of the things that Disney films are supposed to do, like entertaining children, telling good jokes and being pretty and musical. Finally, Jason Bateman was perhaps born to voice a cartoon sly fox. It’s perfect when you hear it.

TV series you have recommended the most
A Series of Unfortunate Events 

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris and Wil Arnett
I have been trying to get everyone to watch this. Neil Patrick Harris is Count Olaf in an squint-eyed, menacing, airborne, cross-dressing, acrobatic, purposely bad-acting, evil way that’s sometimes hard to keep up with. Patrick Warburton is a fabulously depressed and monotone Lemony Snicket with an ongoing mystery and backstory of his own. You need know nothing else. The only shortcoming this clever & sardonic show has is that there’s not enough of it out yet. The whole series of thirteen books will be made into shows. Each of Snicket’s books commands two episodes of the show, and Daniel Handler is an executive producer. This is what he would have done with his material a dozen years ago if there hadn’t been the studio/Jim Carrey static. Seriously entertaining in a way that I’m watching with my whole family. Addictive in tone and structure, and funny in a way that rewards the attentive.

Least Favorite Movie or TV series:
Suicide Squad

Starring: Ensemble Cast
I have skipped every Superman and Batman movie since Heath Ledger, so it’s possible that I’m missing crucial superhero facts that I needed to truly enjoy this film. But, you know, I doubt it. Somehow, I doubt it. Will Smith was engaging. That might be it. That might be the only thing I can point to that I actually liked about this movie. The whole enterprise is rampantly misogynist from beginning to end, from Harley’s vapidity to the multiple butt-slaps and kitchen lectures sprinkled throughout. The major villain is a woman who can’t control herself, and even Amanda Waller seems about as deep as a puddle in this. Trying to do too much, the wrong way, too quickly, and with too much neon – did DC learn nothing from Batman & Robin? And then there’s Jared Leto’s Joker. Like a Juggalo hipster Joker, well-spotted, whole rest of the world, but the character itself comes off unlike a psychotic crimelord and more like somebody who read about one once. If Heath wanted to watch the world burn, Jared wants to arrange guns in a spiral and talk about fire until three AM over unmasculine coffees. Bah.

Most Anticipated Movie of 2017
Wonder Woman

Starring: Ensemble Cast
It would be easy for me to pick any of the Marvel movies I’m looking forward to – Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel – but I’m pretty well sure those are all going to be excellent, so that cuts the anxiety part of anticipation in half and makes it much easier to deal with. Anticipation requires a certain modicum of anxiety to really make itself felt, I find. So. I’m really nervous about Wonder Woman. Now more than ever, we need a good movie about a heroine from a faraway land with a balanced message of peace and justice and a strong narrative and DC’s track record has not been awesome. The treatment of women in the aforementioned Suicide Squad is enough to crawl my spine. The previews look good on this one, though, and it seems as if DC might have finally abandoned this dumb-as- mud Zack Snyder muted palette, both in tone and costuming, so we’ll see. (Holds breath until June.)

Best New TV Series
The White Rabbit Project

Starring: Build team from Mythbusters
Because I am a huge fan of the Mythbusters, it was nice to see the Build Team of Grant, Kari & Tory back on TV. Netflix’s The White Rabbit Project takes an episode and breaks down things like superhuman ability, heists, engines of war, etc. while also incorporating not only the science behind things – like how closely can we mimic Iron Man and Electro’s abilities with what exists now – but also failed & successful attempts at stuff (the show profiles both the Grandpa Gang and D.B. Cooper in the heists episode) while also giving the White Rabbit folks a chance to build, do and experiment. The build team was arguably the most accessible aspect of Mythbusters, and while the White Rabbit format’s a little clunky at first, you get used to it and it becomes more polished. I eagerly await another season of this. Science! Kind of. 

(This answer would have been Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency though, if only I had watched more of it. I have all of these built up on my DVR, but I’ve only just started watching this brilliant and disturbing show. It’s hilarious in that “I’m glad no one heard me laugh at that” kind of way. The actors are all fantastic, and the sets and costuming along with that make you forget that this is not a movie. I feel like the lines between movies and TV in terms of production blurred long ago anyway, and this is an excellent example of that phenomenon. Also, the BBC seems to get away with more on their basic networks than we do.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Linebaugh Oscars: Jessica's Picks


Favorite movie 2016

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker
In short, the movie is about an event that happens across the world. 12 alien spacecrafts descend in various places across our planet. No one knows what their purpose is: Are they attacking? Are they exploring? Are they gathering data to attack in the future? Are they looking to take over? 
In the US, Colonel Weber asks linguist professor, Louise Banks, to join forces in interpreting/translating what the aliens want. This is a different brand of scifi film. The focal point is the story, not the effects and explosions. It is smart, subjective and deeply moving. Arrival will leave the each viewer with a different set of emotions and thoughts to ponder over. It is the best movie I have seen since Interstellar. There is so much more I want to say but I am of the opinion the less said about this one the better the viewing. 

Best Actor or Actress 
Felicity Jones from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Starring: Ensemble Cast
I enjoyed this movie so much more than I thought I would. It is probably my favorite Star Wars movie at this point in time. (I, also, am slightly biased. I have loved Jones since her role as Jane Hawking in The Theory of Everything.) Felicity Jones's character was incredible and I am of the opinion it is all thanks to her acting. She didn't just play a part. She became Jyn Erso. She didn't just help a rebellion form and act. She became the rebellion. Their symbol of hope for a better life. There is nothing I love more than a female leading a group of people in search of a better outcome for everyone...Not just herself but everyone.

As for best actor, that's hard. There are several movies I haven't seen yet and those would probably effect my decision. Two of which are Dev Patel in Lion and Denzel Washington in Fences. I did see Hell or Highwater and believe Jeff Bridges (as always) did a fantastic job. Actually, Chris Pine and Ben Foster did as well. So, as you can see...I am undecided right now.

Best Music or Soundtrack
Captain Fantastic

Starring: Viggo Mortensen 
First off, this movie is one the best movies I have seen in a while. It has earned a spot on my all-time favorites list right next to Garden State. In short, the movie is about a family living isolated from society where the parents, Ben and Leslie Cash, can raise them to think critically, have extensive knowledge of their country/country's history, and be physically fit; a utopia of sorts. After a tragic event, Ben is forced to bring his children into the outside world for the first time. The family searches for strength and balance in new territory of the outside world looking in.

The soundtrack blends things together which mirrors the blend the family is experiencing. Folksy covers from American pop culture, some atmospheric music, and beautiful renditions of classical music. It gives the viewer a point of reference to the family's culture. The music pairs perfectly with this beautiful story of love and family. 
Sampling of songs:
"Sweet Child O Mine" by the cast of the movie, 
"Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 1010 Prélude" 
by Yo-Yo Ma, 
"Scotland the Braver" by Murray Huggins, Kirk Ross, Brian Tichy & David Delhomme

Best Animated Film
Finding Dory

Starring: Original Cast members from Finding Nemo with newcomers.
Our favorite fish return for another deep sea adventure of seeking and finding. But there is another story beneath the layers of beautiful animation and Dory's funny moments. It is a story, once again, of family and who defines that. Home is not just a place it is a state of being. People are what make your home. And family is not always defined by blood.

Movie or TV series you have recommended the most

The Night Of (TV)

Starring: Riz Ahmed
HBO's 8 part miniseries, which aired earlier in 2016 is based on Criminal Justice, a British television series which aired in 2008-09. After a night of partying with a female stranger, Nasir's world is flipped upside down when he wakes up to find her dead. He cannot remember anything past a certain point in the evening and ends up being charged with her brutal murder. With each new turn and piece of information the case begins to take on political and racial overtones. Nasir's survival begins to rest in the hands of a fellow inmate rather than his attorney. The story begins to get complex from this point on as the viewer is thrust into the world of prison and our justice system. One finds how easily the evidence can be the farthest from the truth.

Midnight Special (movie)

Starring: Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, and Jaeden Lieberher
This was a moving and intense movie. It is a story about a father's love and how far that love will reach in order to protect his son. Father, Roy, discovers that his son, Alton, possesses special powers. Not only are scientists (which attracts the law) hot on their tail but a religious cult from Texas is seeking Alton's powers as well. The movie plunges you into a mad chase and doesn't let up until the very end. The ending, though, is what really impressed me. It defines the beauty of acceptance and uniqueness. 

Least Favorite Movie:
Suicide Squad

Starring: Ensemble Cast
Here's the thing. I had high hopes for this movie because of Jared Leto. His role in Dallas Buyers Club proved what capabilities he has as an actor. However, this was a poorly written script and the interpretation of the Joker was not a good one. Instead it left me feeling frustrated and angry. When I saw the first trailer, I believed this might be a breakthrough for DC. Hopes that they had finally grasped how to capture this world and tell as good of a story as Nolan did with the Batman trilogy. But the movie, itself, delivered something far from amazing. There was no building...Of anything really. The viewer was just thrown into this universe and handed a plot with characters you are expected to care about when they are pretty disgusting versions of broken and abusive relationships. I get it. They are villains. But this is the kind of story that requires some amount of sympathy or else the story just fails. And it did. The only thing I liked from this movie was the song, "Heathens," by Twenty One Pilots. At least it has that going for it.
Most Anticipated Movie of 2017

Beauty and the Beast   Due out March 17, 2017

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ewan McGregor, and Ian McKellen
It is no surprise that this is the movie I am looking forward to the most. Belle is this bookworm's spirit animal. Books are as much a part of her life and this story as they are mine. She rivaled Ariel for top spot in my list of "Favorite Disney Princesses." The idea of this character being brought to life by Emma Watson was almost too much to handle. But it's perfect. If anything the role of Hermione Granger was her audition for this role. She is Belle. But the icing on the cake is Dan Stevens playing the role of the Beast. My beloved Matthew from Downton Abbey will be joining Belle's side in this film. I can't wait! It's the best gift this child could receive as an adult. Well done, Disney. Well done.

Best New TV Series
Stranger Things   (Season Two will air on Halloween)

Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, and Millie Bobby Brown
It all begins with a good old-fashioned game of D&D. Then the a son/friend disappears. His friends assemble together to find him...Save him. They meet 11 and their world gets tipped upside down. Nothing is as it seems and as Fox Mulder would tell you, "Trust no one." I reference X-Files because if you take that and mix it with the action adventure friend team from The Goonies; you will have the bones of this show. The pop-culture references are fabulously nostalgic: the clothes, the hairstyles, Eggo waffles on the table for breakfast, the font chosen for the show (straight up 80s horror movie), even the music. The show is extremely addictive. Within 10 minutes of the first episode, I was hooked. Grab your bicycle and join the ride.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Linebaugh Oscars: Kathleen's Picks


Favorite movie 2016
Doctor Strange
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Tilda Swinton

A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts. We walked in with my rudimentary knowledge and SO having NO history with the Doctor. Now [my husband] is a fan. I'm hoping they continue with the canon. 

I am looking forward to catching up on the following nominees this year: Hidden Figures, Arrival, The Girl With All the Gifts, La La Land, Manchester By the Sea, and Lion

Best Actor 
Captain Fantastic - Viggo Mortensen  In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

Best Animated Film
Spirited Away
I got to see Spirited Away on the big screen, so that beats anything else in my book. You can catch other anime films and re-releases on the big screen by following this link.

Spirited Away a girl who's family moves to the suburbs. A sullen 10-year-old girl wanders in to a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

TV series you have recommended the most
Elementary and Man in the High Castle
Season 5 of Elementary can be caught now on CBS. Check out previous seasons by visiting our online catalog. Elementary is a modern take on the beloved detective, Sherlock, and his assistant, Watson. Rather than being in London, the Detective takes up residence in New York City.

Man in the High Castle is loosely based off a novel by Philip K. Dick. An Amazon original, takes a look at what the world might look like if the outcome of WWII had been different; the Axis Powers have won. 

Most Anticipated Movie of 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Starring: Ensemble Cast
Our fearless team is together again for another adventure through time to the soundtrack of Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 2.

Best New TV Series
Starring: Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi
Follow the staff of an insurance company, specializing in products to protect defenseless bystanders from the collateral damage of Superheroes and Supervillains.

Some synopsis from IMDB.com