Early Closing

The Nichols Library closed 4-6pm on Monday 4/16 due to high winds, sleet and generally bad driving conditions. We will re-open as usual on Tuesday 4/17 at 10am.

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Showtime!

tonya It’s the weekend! Time to get the popcorn ready and pop one of these into your DVD player. “The Disaster Artist”  stars James and Dave Franco as a pair of Hollywood outsiders who run amok. “I, Tonya” chronicles the dubious career of the Olympic figure skater  who arranged an assault on a rival skater.   “Lady Bird”, a coming-of-age story about a high-schooler (Saoirse Ronan), was the academy’s bridesmaid, receiving many nominations but winning no awards.  “Murder on the Orient Express” is a “handsomely staged, well-cast” version of the classic Christie mystery.    ‘Stronger” stars Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a Boston Marathon bombing survivor who must adjust to life without legs.

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Crime thrillers: new favorite

abir

A Necessary Evil  marks the return of  Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant “Surrender-Not’ Banerjee, who first appeared in last year’s “A Rising Man.”  Investigating the murder of  their heir to the province of  Sambalpore, Wyndham and Banerjee discover a hot bed of intrigue.  The had offended religious conservatives and his brother, a feckless playboy.  Again, Wyndham  relies on his partner’s in-depth knowledge of Indian culture to crack the case, which is  “even better than his first “(Daily Telegraph).

 

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Crime thrillers: old favorites

jwIn The Disappeared, C. J. Box’s Joe Pickett searches for a missing British CEO.    Jacqueline Winspear, meanwhile, has a new case for Maisie Dobbs in To Die but Once. It is the spring of 1940, and Maisie  is asked to investigate the disappearance of an  apprentice craftsman working on a “hush-hush” government contract.  Way out west, Cave of Bones is Anne Hillerman latest Leaphorn and Chee mystery.   Officer Bernadette Manuelito’s outdoor program for at-risk teens goes array when one of them stumbles upon a human skeleton. And in the sunny Caribbean,  Marine biologist Doc Ford helps on old friend out of a jam involving sunken treasure in Randy Wayne White’s Caribbean Rim.

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Library tour

benneke stacksWhile visiting family in New Haven, we stopped by the Bienecke Rare Book Library at Yale.  In this library’s unique design, the collection is always on display (click on the link for a dramatic view of the stacks, an original Audubon print, and a Guttenberg Bible.  We also paid a visit to the Eli Whitney Museum.

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Fiction: high-stakes drama

flightThese thrillers come with something extra:atmosphere, character and conflict resolution.  In “The Other Mother” by Carol Goodman, a woman assumes best friend’s identity and flees home and husband, infant daughter in tow, to take a job as a live-in archivist for her favorite author. “In the spirit of Du Maurer’s Rebecca, Goodman has concocted a labyrinthine tale deliciously riddled with dark motives and tangled identities” (Kirkus).     “The Flight Attendant” by Chris Bohjalian takes off the morning after a drunken hook-up in Dubai, when the titular character awakens to a most unpleasant surprise.

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Fiction: from out of the past

vVarina” by Charles Frazier’s (“Cold Mountain”) is based on the life of Varina Davis, wife of Confederate President.   Told in flashbacks, it recounts her marriage as a teen to an older widower, his alarming involvement in the secessionist  movement, and her impoverishment after the war, which compelled her to launch a career as a journalist in New York. Varina, as presented by Frazier, cuts a fascinating figure. She is well-educated and shows a surprisingly independence of mind.  In “The Winter Station”  by Jody Shields, a doctor in Manchuria is baffled by a deadly disease that is spreading rapidly through his community.   Based on real events, her portrait of Doctor von Budberg is  “affecting and timely in its exploration of conflicts between cultures and classes, ambition and mortality, science and politics” (Publishers Weekly).  “Chicago” by David Mamet uses the prohibition ear as a backdrop for a drama about a reporter seeking revenge for a gangland murder.   Playwright Mamet’s “patented talent with dialogue” is on full display.

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