Stock up for the Holiday.

The Nichols Library will be closed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Nov 25th, 26th and 27th) this week. We will be back open for curbside delivery on Monday, 11/30. We will also be getting an inter-library loan delivery.

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What to read? Book group fav

Things Fall Apart by Nigerian novelist, essayist, and poet Chinua Achebe (1930; d.2013) is a book group perennial.

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What to read? high adventure!

From pieces of eight to tales of Gothic horror, Robert Louis Stevenson (11/13/1850) was a masterful teller of tales. Tight plotting and memorable characters don’t grow old. Treasure Island‘s voyage for pirate treasure is made memorable by John Silver’s loveable rogue, who charms as he plots mutiny and mayhem. Kidnapped‘s adventure of a young man cheated of his inheritance is grounded in historic events: the failed rebellion of Bonnie Prince charlie and the trade of indentured servants to the American colonies (Gabaldon fans, this is your wheelhouse). Jekyll and Hyde was something else entirely, a horror story that explored the idea of split personality.

Stevenson’s stories have seldom been successfully translated to film. Hollywood scriptwriters unwisely persist in trying to improve on the master (a notable exception was Disney’s 1960 Kidnapped, which wisely stuck to the text).

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What to Read? Real life snapshots

Tracy Kidders (11/12/1945) non-fiction stories offer snapshots of life as it is lived. He is the author of House, Home Town, A Truck Full of Money, Strength in what Remains, Mountains beyond Mountains, My Detachment, and Among Schoolchildren.

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What to read? War stories, horror stories and yore stories.

Authors of note with early November birthdays. James Jone’s WW2 novels (From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line) spoke from the common soldier’s point of view. Bram Stoker, theater impressario and staunch rationalist, helped invent the Gothic horror genre (Dracula), Margaret Mitchell wrote the best-known novel of the Lost Cause (Gone with the Wind). The library has the movie versions; we can get you the originals via inter-library loan.

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Music Matinee Bluebirds

R&B singers Bonnie Raitt (71) and Rickie Lee Jones (68) share an 11/8 birthday.

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Music matinee: Joni Mitchell

Prairie songbird and poet Joni Mitchell turns 77 today. You can listen to all her flavors: the aspiring folkie, the quintessential hippie, the daring folk-jazz innovator, and the enduring craftsman:

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Showtime: Yellowstone

In this neo-western, Kevin Costner plays a rancher trying to preserve his holdings from outside developers. He is, however, getting on and none of his grown children are ready to take over. Think of Yellowstone as a dysfunctional Ponderosa, or as Walt Longmire on the wrong side of the law. Gripping drama, archetypal characters and fabulous scenery. Seasons one and two are here. Season three is coming in December.

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What to watch: Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman’s untimely death robbed the movie world of a talented actor. His credits include the biopics 42, which tells how Jackie Robinson broke the color line in baseball and Get on Up, which shows how James Brown brought the drama and emotion of sanctified singing to pop music. In Black Panther, superhero T’Challa struggles to protect his kingdom from the world, while in 21 Bridges, an NYPD cop takes on a deadly conspiracy. Whatever the role, Boseman dove deep into the part. One feels like they are at an emoting, thinking person, not someone ‘acting’.

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What to watch? Sean Connery

Connery, the actor who first portrayed James Bond, passed away at the end of October. While best known for the Bond films, some of his best work came later in his career, with classics like The Man who Would b King, an epic re-telling of a Kipling story, The Wind and the Lion, where he Berber kidnapper who sparks an international incident, and The Great Train Robbery, where he plots an audacious heist.

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