Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Book Lists! What Las Vegas is Reading

What new book lists have gone up today?

What Las Vegas is Reading: Fiction (15 most popular titles from last month!)

What fiction books are your friends and neighbors reading? This is what was most popular last month! Give them a try!

What Las Vegas is Reading: Non Fiction (15 most popular titles from last month!)

The newest diet... The juiciest new crime... What will your friends be talking about? These are the hottest non-fiction books at the library. Check one out today!

Teen Picks: Fiction (15 most popular titles from last month!)

You've seen these in your friends' backpacks. They've been talking about 'em after school. Check these out and see if they're really that good!.

Teen Picks: Non Fiction (15 most popular titles from last month!)

Extreme sports. Manga and Anime. Help when no-one understands. Your friends are reading these, you should check them out!

Teen Picks: Graphic Novels (15 most popular titles from last month!)

Manga, comic books, graphic novels... Whatever you want to call them, they're stories with pictures. But, they're not your parents comic books, and they're DEFINITELY not kiddie books!

Kids Picks: Fiction (15 most popular titles from last month!)

What are the kids in Las Vegas reading? See the top 15 each month and keep on top of what's hot and interesting!

Kids Picks: Non Fiction (15 most popular titles from last month!)

What school assignments have the kids been getting? What are kids into these days? Check out the top 15 picks by Las Vegas kids!

Kids Picks: Picture Books (15 most popular titles from last month!)

What picture books are flying off the library shelves? See the 15 most popular picture books chosen by the kids in the Las Vegas Clark County Library District!

Kids Picks: Early Readers (15 most popular titles from last month!)

Kids just starting to read cannot keep their hands off of books. See the top 15 books selected by starting readers each month!

Urban Fiction Authors, July – Various

Summer is in full swing, so this is a great time to explore new things. That means reading authors you have never read before or reading a genre that you think may not interest you. You will come across some great reads, so go ahead and take the challenge.

Title: DutchAuthor: Teri WoodsGenre: Urban Fiction

Dutch and his dangerous clique take over the lucrative heroin business of a local drug lord. District Attorney Anthony Jacobs is confident that his witnesses will testify against Dutch and his crew. But a sudden turn of events will soon make the DA's job harder than he imagined.

James Bernard Jr., a.k.a. Dutch, has become the most dangerous criminal in New Jersey. From his early skill as a car thief, Dutch recognized the opportunity to rule the streets and he seized it. Feared by all, and completely fearless, Dutch and his dangerous clique take over the lucrative heroin business of a local African drug lord. With both the protection and respect of the Mafia, Dutch becomes the most terrifying force on the streets. District Attorney Anthony Jacobs is determined to take down Dutch and his crew, and he's confident that his witnesses will testify against them. But a sudden turn of events will soon make the DA's job harder than he imagined.

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Book Lists!

What new book lists have gone up today?

Technology: Cell Phone & Pocket Computers

OK, everyone raise your hand if you'd kind of really like to have an iPad - even you PC zealots. (Counting) um hmmm - I thought so!

Your cell phone probably doesn't just make phone calls any more. And there's a good chance you'll get a computer that's the size of a paperback book soon.

Fantasy and Science Fiction Favorites: Fairies

Whether you call them fairies, faeries, fey, fair folk, or sidhe, fairies are not the soft, pretty little sprites from tales of our childhood. The fae are strong, suspicious, and a bit nasty.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday's DVD Releases

Here are the DVD releases for next Tuesday, August 3rd:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Meet the kid who made "wimpy" cool, in a family comedy based on the best-selling illustrated novel Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, the first in a series that has thus far sold 24 million copies. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID chronicles the adventures of wise-cracking middle school student Greg Heffley, who must somehow survive the scariest time of anyone's life: middle school.

Ghost Writer - When a gifted ghostwriter is hired to write the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang, he quickly finds himself trapped in a web of political and sexual intrigue. Lang is implicated in a scandal over his administration's harsh tactics, and as the ghostwriter digs into the politician's past, he discovers secrets that threaten to jeopardize international relations forever.

Kick-Ass - Ordinary teenager and rabid comic-book geek Dave Lizewski captures the imagination of the public when he becomes the no-nonsense vigilante Kick-Ass. After he teams up with the fearless father-daughter crime-fighting duo, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, the three work together to take down the criminal empire of local mafioso Frank D'Amico. But when D'Amico's son Chris is reborn as Red Mist, the showdown between the forces of good and evil will force Kick-Ass to live up to his name, or die trying.

Which of these will have the most requests by next week?

This week’s release with the most requests is Clash of the Titans with 782 requests. (Repo Men was a distant second with 490 requests!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jane Austen Fight Club

We've all be watching the zombification of the gentle drawing-room books like Pride and Prejudice (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and Sense and Sensibility (Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters), but this is a new... Something.

Probably better not watch this with small children.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

London Cabbie's Summer Reading Picks

NPR has posted a london cab driver's summer reading picks. A London cabbie? "NPR's Scott Simon calls (Will Grozier) "the best-read man that I have ever encountered in my life" — which is why NPR occasionally calls Grozier up for reading recommendations."

Read NPR's entire story, including Grozier's great descriptions of these books! Then request them from the Las Vegas Clark County Library District catalog below!

Ian McEwan

Can a man who has made a mess of his life clean up the messes of humanity? A complex novel that brilliantly traces the arc of one man's ambitions and deceptions, "Solar" is a startling, witty new work from the author of "On Chesil Beach" and "Atonement."

The Extinction Event
David Black

John Grisham meets Whitley Strieber in this headlong chase-thriller that plunges a man and woman into an apocalyptic maelstrom of violence and intrigue. David Black is a renaissance man . . . and this is his best work!--Stuart Woods.

A Week in December

Sebastian Faulks

London, the week before Christmas, 2007. Over seven days we follow the lives of seven major characters: a hedge fund manager trying to bring off the biggest trade of his career; a professional footballer recently arrived from Poland; a young lawyer with little work and too much time to speculate; a student who has been led astray by Islamist theory; a hack book-reviewer; a schoolboy hooked on skunk and reality TV; and a Tube train driver whose Circle Line train joins these and countless other lives together in a daily loop.

With daring skill, the novel pieces together the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life. Greed, the dehumanising effects of the electronic age and the fragmentation of society are some of the themes dealt with in this savagely humorous book. The writing on the wall appears in letters ten feet high, but the characters refuse to see it -- and party on as though tomorrow is a dream.

Sebastian Faulks probes not only the self-deceptions of this intensely realised group of people, but their hopes and loves as well. As the novel moves to its gripping climax, they are forced, one by one, to confront the true nature of the world they inhabit.

Colm Toibin

It is Enniscorthy in the southeast of Ireland in the early 1950s. Eilis Lacey is one among many of her generation who cannot find work at home. Thus when a job is offered in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go. Leaving her family and country, Eilis heads for unfamiliar Brooklyn, and to a crowded boarding house where the landlady's intense scrutiny and the small jealousies of her fellow residents only deepen her isolation.

Slowly, however, the pain of parting is buried beneath the rhythms of her new life -- until she begins to realize that she has found a sort of happiness. As she falls in love, news comes from home that forces her back to Enniscorthy, not to the constrictions of her old life, but to new possibilities which conflict deeply with the life she has left behind in Brooklyn.

In the quiet character of Eilis Lacey, Colm Toibin has created one of fiction's most memorable heroines and in Brooklyn, a luminous novel of devastating power. Toibin demonstrates once again his astonishing range and that he is a true master of nuanced prose, emotional depth, and narrative virtuosity.

Pearl Buck in China: Journey to The Good Earth
Hilary Spurling

The much honored biographer unearths the life and work of Nobel Prize winner Pearl Buck, whose novels captured ordinary life in China.

Mike's Hardboiled Mystery Picks

Mike, out at the Enterprise Library, always has a great hardboiled mystery on tap. He's the man to see if you need to feed your gritty mystery addiction. Each month, Mike suggests three wonderful books in the down and dirty mystery genre.

Here are Mike's picks for the month:

Crossroad Blues (Nick Travers series)
Ace Atkins

Nick Travers is an ex-New Orleans Saint turned blues historian at Tulane University who is headed deep into the Mississippi Delta to unravel two mysteries: one about the recent death of a colleague and the other surrounding the decades-old murder of blues legend Robert Johnson.

Sixty years after 1930s bluesman Robert Johnson - who, as legend has it, sold his soul to the devil at a Mississippi crossroads - was murdered after a gig at a Greenwood, Mississippi juke joint, a college professor following rumors of nine unknown Johnson recordings goes missing in the Delta. Ex-New Orleans Saint - turned Tulane University blues historian - Nick Travers is sent to find him. Clues point to everyone from an eccentric albino named Cracker to a seventeen-year-old hitman who believes he is the second coming of Elvis Presley.

Tonight I Said Goodbye (Lincoln Perry series)
Michael Koryta

Investigator Wayne Weston is found dead of an apparent suicide in his home. His wife and five-year-old daughter are missing. Lincoln Perry and his partner Joe Pritchard are hired by Weston's father to bring some resolution to the high-profile case.

The investigators quickly discover there is much more to the situation than the news reports: rumors of gambling debts and extortion, a millionaire real estate tycoon, and a group of Russians (with ties to organized crime - who don't appreciate being investigated — a point they make very clear with baseball bats).

Just when Perry and Pritchard feel they are closing in on answers, another murder forces them to change directions. Perry travels to a resort town in South Carolina to check on a very dangerous ex-Marine. He finds more than one game, and all of them are deadly. The stakes quickly become personal for Perry, and it's clear that there will be no walking away from this case.

China Trade (Bill Smith/Lydia Chin series)
S. J. Rozan

It's a city within a city, of smells, sounds, dark shops, and close-knit families; it's a world all its own. And in all of New York's Chinatown, there is no one like P.I. Lydia Chin, who has a nose for trouble, a disapproving Chinese mother, and a partner named Bill Smith who's been living above a bar for sixteen years.

Hired to find some precious stolen porcelain, Lydia follows a trail of clues from highbrow art dealers into a world of Chinese gangs. Suddenly, this case has become as complex as her community itself--and as deadly as a killer on the loose...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Book Lists!

What new book lists have gone up today?

New eMedia (New downloadable audiobooks, ebooks, music and videos!)

Doing a long drive? Or just caught in traffic on the way to work? Long wait in the doctor's office? Pull your MP3 player or ebook reader out and who cares! Try these new downloadables today! See all the downloadables at the eBooks to Go page!

Urban Fiction Authors, July – Various

Summer is in full swing, so this is a great time to explore new things. That means reading authors you have never read before or reading a genre that you think may not interest you. You will come across some great reads, so go ahead and take the challenge.

Title: Platinum Dolls
Author: Relentless Aaron
Genre: Urban Fiction

After asking several people what author they would recommend in the urban fiction genre, Relentless Aaron’s name was mentioned quite a bit. I had never read any of his books, but I have heard he can be compared to greats such as Donald Goines or Iceberg Slim.

"Welcome to a world of smokin' hotties, unlimited cash, and ultimate ambition. . . in the latest urban tale from the grandmaster of raw street lit "RELENTLESS AARON

Stew Gregory's drive for success is legendary, as is his lust for the ladies. Now that he's grown his Internet empire, Platinum Dolls, from a amateur website into a major player in the multi-billion-dollar industry of online adult entertainment, gorgeous women from around the globe would give anything to play their part. Their dream: to become a Platinum Doll. But at what price?

Stew knew that his success could win him some enemies. But he never expected his infamous luxury penthouses would be torched--or that his girls would be shot down in cold blood. There was a time when this hard-working manhustler could have anything he wanted. Now, Stew has everything to lose. While the profits are growing as fast as the body-count, his own time is running out. He knows that once a player has reached the top of his game, there are only two things he can do: fight to stay there, or die trying...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

NPRs Nonfiction Bestsellers list for the week

National Public Radio just published their Nonfiction Bestseller list for 22 July 2010. You can visit the actual list to read their delightful descriptions of the books, then visit the Blog Book List to request those from the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District!

And be sure to attend the Scout, Atticus and Boo event (#15 on NPR's list) this evening, at the Clark County Library, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of my favorite book of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird!

To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee

Scout, Atticus and Boo
A Celebration of 50 Years of To Kill a Mockingbird

Mary Murphy

New Book Lists!

What new book lists have gone up today?

Adventures in Exotic Lands: Russia

Those of us who grew up in the 1960s remember Russia and the USSR as the Ultimate Evil. They were always the bad guys in James Bond films!

When the Berlin Wall fell, and the USSR broke up, people started visiting - and it's not such a bad place after all!

Learn more about Russia at your library today!

Books from the Blogs: NPRs Bestselling Nonfiction books for the week

These are the Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers that NPR published for July 22, 2010. You can read the actual article and read their great book descriptions, then request these from our library below!

Book Review: Mockingbird

Kathryn Erskine
Juvenile Fiction

This touching book tells the story of Caitlin, a ten-year-old girl with Aspberger's syndrome, and her father as they attempt to cope with the tragic death of Caitlin's older brother Devon. Without Devon to explain the confusing things in Caitlin's world, like how to tell how someone is feeling by looking at their face, Caitlin feels lost and alone. She wants to find closure and help her father, but she's just not sure how to do that. With the help of a compassionate school counselor, Caitlin struggles to learn about friendship and how to relate to those who are trying to help her.

Caitlin is a very endearing character, and despite the overall sad tone of the book, there are a lot of funny moments. Kathryn Erskine provides a realistic portrait of a child with Asperger's syndrome that is very accessible for elementary school-aged children. This is a great book to introduce children to Asperger's syndrome and to help them understand what it might be like for a child their age to live with it. It's also a great book to use to explore the topic of grief or a grieving parent.

I recommend this book to mature 9 - 12 year olds. Parents, this is definitely a good one for you to read along with your child, since it deals with some heavy subject matter. If you're looking for more realistic fiction dealing with Asperger's syndrome or autism, check out Rules by Cynthia Lord and Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Book Lists!

What new book lists have gone up today?

Romance Favorites: Tear Jerkers

There's just nothing better than a great tear jerker. Love, separation, death... give me more. Sometimes a good sob-fest is sooo worth it!

Check out these great tear jerking romances (have the tissue box ready!), at your library today!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Book Lists!

What new book lists have gone up today?

Mystery Favorites: Military Mysteries

The military is often a society separate and parallel to civilian life. That society has its own share of crimes and investigators.

Check out some of these military mysteries, at your library today.

Tuesday's New DVD Releases

Here are the releases for July 27th:

Clash of the Titans - In "Clash of the Titans," the ultimate struggle for power pits men against kings and kings against gods. But the war between the gods themselves could destroy the world. Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is helpless to save his family from Hades (Ralph Fiennes), vengeful god of the underworld

With nothing left to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus (Liam Neeson) and unleash hell on earth. Leading a daring band of warriors, Perseus sets off on a perilous journey deep into forbidden worlds. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, he will only survive if he can accept his power as a god, defy his fate and create his own destiny.

Repo Men - Humans have extended and improved our lives through highly sophisticated and expensive mechanical organs created by a company called The Union. The dark side of these medical breakthroughs is that if you don't pay your bill, The Union sends its highly skilled repo men to take back its property... with no concern for your comfort or survival.

Remy is one of the best organ repo men in the business. But when he suffers a cardiac failure on the job, he awakens to find himself fitted with the company's top-of-the-line heart-replacement... as well as a hefty debt. But a side effect of the procedure is that his heart's no longer in the job.

When he can't make the payments, The Union sends its toughest enforcer, Remy's former partner Jake, to track him down. Now that the hunter has become the hunted, Remy joins Beth, another debtor who teaches him how to vanish from the system. And as he and Jake embark on a chase across a landscape populated by maniacal friends and foes, one man will become a reluctant champion for thousands on the run.

This week’s release with the most requests is Cop Out with 688 requests.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Book Lists!

What new book lists have gone up today?

Staff Picks (What your library staff is reading!)

Summer Getaway Reads

Oh, baby, it's SUMMER TIME. And we're melting. It's time to GET AWAY from the city. GET AWAY from the kids. GET AWAY from the pets. Spouse? Partner? Well, someone has to stick around to take care of the kids and pets!

Since you're getting totally away - from the heat, from the stress, from the everything, you'll need some great books to read, and videos to watch, while you're lazing about.

See what your library staff is taking with them when they get away!

Movie Review: Everybody's Fine

Everybody's Fine
Directed by Kirk Jones,
Starring Kate Beckinsale, Robert De Niro, Sam Rockwell and Drew Barrymore

I, for one, was not fine while watching this movie. I had such high hopes, given the cast--including Robert De Niro and Drew Barrymore. Instead I was disappointed again and again. I'm going to blame the screenwriter and director.

First, the good part. I still like the basic theme--a recently widowed father trying to connect with his four adult children. The children in turn are trying to avoid their father for various reasons.

However, the dialogue gives too much away, sometimes simply describing what is clearly happening in the action. The dialogue often seems contrived and inauthentic. Add to that the numerous implausible plot details, and I am surprised I actually watched the entire movie.

For example, De Niro hitchhikes with a trucker heading west on I-70 to Reno. These days truckers rarely pick up hitchhikers due to insurance restrictions. To top that off, De Niro then takes the "night train" from Reno to Las Vegas. If that isn't a flight of imagination, I don't know what is!

The only elements that I thought worked well, that matched the caliber of the actors, were the flashback scenes where De Niro's character, Frank Goode, pictures his young children when he is meeting up with his adult children. That was a truly creative twist. The rest of the movie left me disappointed. More than once I thought, "De Niro! What are you doing?"

This is one movie--not based a book--that is better suited to book form. There just isn't enough of a plot to put on the screen. The story is mostly about character development, which I definitely enjoy, but in this case it just doesn't work as a movie.

For movies on a related theme--I highly recommend:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Urban Fiction Authors, July – Various

Summer is in full swing, so this is a great time to explore new things. That means reading authors you have never read before or reading a genre that you think may not interest you. You will come across some great reads, so go ahead and take the challenge.

Title: Double Pleasure Double Pain
Author: Nikki Rashan
Genre: Urban Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction

Kyla, a 26-year old woman, remains undisturbed within the comfort zone of her supportive family, her loyal sweetheart, and close-knit friends. An admitted late-bloomer, Kyla returns for her eighth year as a part-time student at the local university. An unforeseen, yet heart-awakening physical attraction and emotional bond form between Kyla and Steph, another female classmate. An uncertain and fearful Kyla must decide whether to continue the now lopsided relationship with her trusting boyfriend of four years, or submit to unfamiliar passions felt toward another woman.Brace yourself for this passionate journey for an answer to the common question "who am I?"

You'll relate to the comical questions Kyla shares with her friends, connect with her thoughts as she silently questions life's everyday activities, and empathize with her as she struggles with the unknown. Hold on tight, and get ready for the ride of your life.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Review - The Burning Lamp

Burning Lamp
Amanda Quick

Amanda Quick is the pseudonym used by Jayne Ann Krentz when she is writing her historical romance. This is the second book in the Dreamlight Trilogy as well as an Arcane Society Novel. Krentz describes this society on her website as “a secret organization devoted to paranormal research… [she] created the world of the Arcane Society because it allows me to write my favorite kind of story: romantic-suspense with a psychic twist.”

Burning Lamp is a sequel to Perfect Poison in which the descendents of Sylvester Jones and Nicolas Winters, the founders of the Arcane Society, work to keep their sanity as their inherited powers threaten to go out of control.

Adelaide Pyrn is a dreamlight reader, a person who can sense and control psychic energy. She has made her fortune in the wild west of America and has come to back to London, her place of birth, as a social reformer who is schooling ex-prostitutes that she has rescued from a terrible life in the brothels. She originally fled London after a mysterious man had her sold into a brothel and then tried to use her dreamlight talent, against her will, to light the burning lamp and allow him to obtain multiple psychic talents. She was able to escape with the lamp and flee to America.

Griffin Winters is a notorious crime lord and the descendant of Nicolas Winters. After reading Winters’ journals about his creation and experimentation with the burning lamp and subsequent fall into madness, Nicolas realizes that he has inherited the talent to manipulate the lamp and is terrified that he will follow his ancestor along the path of insanity. He has been looking for a dreamlight reader as that is the only way, according to legend that he can prevent the madness. Along comes Adelaide, saving prostitutes from brothels and intruding into the crime world in which he has surrounded himself.

This book was typical Krentz…which I have to admit enjoying. She stretches the bounds of strict Victorian romance with these characters. Nicholas is an anti-hero, a crime lord that while doesn’t actually do evil during the book’s storyline, certainly has earned his reputation. Adelaide is not the typical weak willed virginal debutante either. She has made her fortune in the wild west shows, has taken several lovers and makes no bones about what she enjoys and expects from Griffin. I would recommend this book if you enjoy Quick/Krentz’ work and the Arcane Society. My only disappointment is to learn that the third book in this trilogy is written under her Jayne Castle pseudonym, which means it take place in her future world of Harmony, which I don’t usually read.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday's DVD Releases

Here are the releases for July 20th;

Cop Out - Two longtime NYPD partners on the trail of a stolen, rare, mint-condition baseball card find themselves up against a merciless, memorabilia-obsessed gangster. Jimmy (Bruce Willis) is the veteran detective whose missing collectible is his only hope to pay for his daughter's upcoming wedding, and Paul (Tracy Morgan) is his "partner-against-crime" whose preoccupation with his wife's alleged infidelity makes it hard for him to keep his eye on the ball.

The Losers - An explosive tale of double cross and revenge, "The Losers" centers upon the members of an elite U.S. Special Forces unit sent into the Bolivian jungle on a search and destroy mission. The team--Clay, Jensen, Roque, Pooch and Cougar--find themselves the target of a lethal betrayal instigated from inside by a powerful enemy known only as Max. Presumed dead, the group makes plans to even the score when they're joined by the mysterious Aisha, a beautiful operative with her own agenda. Working together, they must remain deep undercover while tracking the heavily-guarded Max, a ruthless man bent on embroiling the world in a new high-tech global war.

The Runaways - Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning star in this music-fueled story of the ground-breaking, all girl, teenage rock band of the 1970s: The Runaways. The film follows two friends, Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, as they rise from rebellious Southern California kids to rock stars of the now legendary group that paved the way for future generations of girl bands. Joan and Cherie fall under the Svengali-like influence of rock impresario Kim Fowley, played by Michael Shannon, who turns the group into an outrageous success and a family of misfits. With its tough-chick image and raw talent, the band quickly earns a name for itself—and so do its two leads: Joan is the band’s pure rock 'n' roll heart, while Cherie, with her Bowie-Bardot looks, is the sex kitten. Written and directed by Floria Sigismondi, the film chronicles Joan and Cherie's tumultuous relationship on and off stage, as the band starts to break out.

This week’s release with the most requests is Bounty Hunter with 777 requests.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Urban Fiction Authors, July – Various

Summer is in full swing, so this is a great time to explore new things. That means reading authors you have never read before or reading a genre that you think may not interest you. You will come across some great reads, so go ahead and take the challenge.

Title: Gimme An O!
Author: Kayla Perrin
Genre: Urban Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction

Kayla Perrin is another author I had never read before, but a friend suggested I read her books. I took the challenge and I was not disappointed.

When L.A. sex therapist Dr. Lecia Calhoun writes a self-help book called The Big O there's no doubt what she's talking about. But this expert on making the right moves in the bedroom, known to the country as Dr. Love, has to admit to herself that it's been a long time ...

Then she appears with star quarterback Anthony "T" Beals on a late-night talk show. It's clear this man knows what O stands for. After all, he got caught with a working girl -- on film! But that's not the worst of his problems. When Lecia tells him he's got issues and his wife should dump him, he really lets loose on national television. Then T comes up with some harebrained plan to solve his marital woes -- involving Dr. Love's help. Before she can blink, Lecia is on a whirlwind cross-country adventure with T ... who teaches her how to move from the sidelines to the playing field -- and demand more for herself. Soon everyone wants to know what is going on with Dr. Love and T Beals.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Book Review: Vanishing Village

Author -Evan Blythin
Genre - Non-Fiction

It seems that community is most likely to happen under a big tree with a few beers--but not too many beers. The focal point of author Evan Blythin's new book about the village of Blue Diamond, NV is the "Tree Bar."

The "Tree Bar" started spontaneously when miners and other residents of the village gathered by several cottonwood trees to relax with a few beers after work. On weekend nights regulars gather to visit, barter, and make music. Eventually, the "Tree Bar" became somewhat more institutionalized, but I won't give away the story. This gradual institutionalization is at the heart of the struggle for community that Blythin, a retired UNLV professor and 30+ year resident of Blue Diamond, presents in his book.

The professor part of Blythin doesn't get in the way of getting to the heart of village life. He initially connected to the village because he could climb and trim trees, despite being a professor. Later he got involved in the village Advisory Council and was active in opposing a number of political threats to the village, such as corrupt county officials and a developer who wanted to put in 8,000 houses nearby.

As described in the book, Blue Diamond villagers seem much more like a family than pretty much any other neighborhood in the Las Vegas Valley. This is a distinction the villagers are well aware of. Visitors and new residents are considered "turoids" until they have made enough effort to show they are committed to the life of the village.

A few residents never make it to the belonging stage. Yet, the villagers are open minded enough to welcome a wealthy New Yorker who only spends part of the year in the village, yet obviously appreciates the effort it takes to make community there.

While some in the Las Vegas metropolitan area--or what Blythin simply calls the "megalopolis"--complain about the lack of community, others arguably moved here in part so they could be anonymous. The main differences between the megalopolis and the village come down to differing relationships to people, places, and things--including animals, trees, and junk, etc.

Don't write-off this book just because it has a local author talking about a local subject. I found it to be a well-written and thought-provoking book, with implications far beyond the local context--along with giving a glimpse of what Las Vegas may have been like when it had a population of 500!

I highly recommend this book!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Movie Review - Daybreakers

Directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig
Starring Ethan Hawke and Willem Defoe

While I do love science fiction movies, the previews for this one suggested that it actually bordered on horror and I usually don’t watch those. But the plot of this movie intrigued me, and I was well rewarded. There are some fairly bloody scenes, don’t get me wrong, but the story was interesting and the acting was great!

The year is 2019 and after a mass pandemic, 95% of the human race are actually vampires. The problem? Their food source…the other 5%, is diminishing and soon will be extinct. Ethan Hawke plays a vampire hematologist who is scrambling to find a blood substitute that he hopes will help to save the remaining humans from being gathered up and milked for their blood. Because of his work and sympathy for humans, he is contacted by a covert group that has a cure for vampirism. The typical corporation bad guys don’t want this to happen and bloodshed ensues.

There are several things that work well, though, that make this a special movie in my mind. First, the world that the vampires have made for themselves in the 10 years that they have ruled the world is not your typical vampiric scary castle or murky woods. They have transformed their city and live as they did when they were human. The innovations were fascinated to see unfold, from a coffee stand that served blood instead of coffee, to the highly stylized fashions of clothes. This new world was created with care to seem very realistic.

The moral dilemmas were well handled also. Ethan Hawkes’ character refuses to drink human blood because of his sympathy for the remaining population. However, his brother is part of the elite squad of hunters that tracks down and traps humans for harvesting. Their struggle plays a continuing role in the story as it plays out. Also, the dilemma of giving up immortality to save the surviving human population was addressed very well.

I will warn that there are some very bloody scenes. Despite that, I would highly recommend this movie for its story, acting and cinematography.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday's New DVD Releases

Here are the releases for July 13th;

The Bounty Hunter - Milo Boyd, a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter, gets his dream job when he is assigned to track down his bail-jumping ex-wife, reporter Nicole Hurly. He thinks all that's ahead is an easy payday, but when Nicole gives him the slip so she can chase a lead on a murder cover-up, Milo realizes that nothing ever goes simply with him and Nicole. The exes continually one-up each other -- until they find themselves on the run for their lives. They thought their promise to love, honor and obey was tough -- staying alive is going to be a whole lot tougher.

Greenberg - Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) is single, fortyish and deliberately doing nothing. In search of a place to restart his life, he agrees to housesit for his brother in LA and tries to reconnect with his former bandmate (Rhys Ifans) and successful ex-girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh). But old friends aren't necessarily still best friends, and Greenberg soon finds himself forging a connection with his brother's personal assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig). Despite his best attempts not to be drawn in, Greenberg comes to realize that he may at last have found a reason to be happy.

Our Family Wedding - Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia star in this clash-of-cultures comedy about two overbearing dads who must put aside their differences to plan a wedding for their children, Marcus (Lance Gross) and Lucia (America Ferrera), in less than two weeks. As the wedding brings out the best and worst in both families, the young couple soon discovers the true meaning of love and finds there is truth to the saying -- that when you marry someone, you marry their entire family.

This week’s release with the most requests is Brooklyn's Finest with 474 requests.