Monday, April 25, 2011

Water for Elephants

When I first saw the book Water for Elephants was being turned into a movie, I got pretty excited. That is until I saw who was cast in the lead male role. (It's been difficult for me to forgive R-Pats since he forever ruined the role of Edward Cullen in the Twilight movies.) As I was on my way to see this movie, I was half hopeful and half skeptical. It turns out I was pleasantly surprised! I really enjoyed this movie! And since I hadn't read the book in more than two years, I didn't have any of those that's-not-how-it-was-in-the-book moments. I thought it stayed pretty true to the spirit of the original story, and it was beautifully filmed. The costumes and the soundtrack were also pretty amazing. And Robert Pattinson redeemed himself. (I am now convinced that it's the Twilight movie franchise that is terrible and I shouldn't judge the actors too harshly.) All in all, it was a wonderful film-going experience for me. It made me want to run off with the circus myself.

So that's my recommendation for the day: Water for Elephants, the movie. It opened in theaters recently, so you still have a chance to catch it. And if you haven't read the book, you should read that, too! It's a riveting story about the circus in the 1930s. And there is a little bit of something for everyone: suspense, drama, romance... it even makes you laugh out loud at times. I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lark Rise to Candleford

If you're reading this blog, something you should know about me before you commit yourself is that I love the BBC. So many of my recommendations may be BBC related or some other kind of British drama or comedy. Today, I want to talk about the book Lark Rise to Candleford, by Flora Thompson, and the TV series that is based on the book.

The Book

The book was originally written as three short novels called Lark Rise, Over to Candleford and Candleford Green. Later it was compiled into one volume. This is a book that I would recommend reading slowly. It is beautifully written, and you'll want to take in each word. It's a book about a different time when people moved at a slower pace and didn't let the clock rule their lives. So I would recommend picking it up and taking it one story at a time. Read it outside in a park or under a tree. Take a quiet moment to let each story take you back to a simpler place and time.

The TV Show

The TV Show, on the other hand, I did not take at a slow pace. I could not stop watching this show. It had me hooked from the very beginning. It does not follow the book exactly, but it definitely captures the spirit. I just fell in love with each character from Thomas Brown, the cowardly postman, to Dorcas Lane the meddling postmistress.

The story on the television show revolves around the Candleford Post Office, run by Dorcas Lane. The Post Office draws in both the wealthier townspeople of Candleford, and the poorer hamlet dwellers of Lark Rise. The show is filled with colorful characters, and wonderful costumes & set design. The word that keeps coming to mind when I tell my patrons or friends about the show is lovely. It's a lovely show that makes you feel good about life and good about being human.

So that's my latest recommendation: Lark Rise to Candleford - the book and TV show.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Patron Recommends...

Because I work at a small public library, I have the opportunity to get to know some of my patrons really well. One of the best things about my job is talking with patrons about what they are reading, or TV show and movies they are watching. The other day, I was engaged in a conversation with one of my favorite patrons, Mollie, who just happens to share my appreciation for Jane Austen, BBC Drama, and Masterpiece Theatre.

So I was telling her all about Lark Rise to Candleford, a BBC TV show that I've recently been devouring episode by episode every evening. Finally she stopped me and said, "You should write a blog." Later on, our conversation came to mind again, and I thought, why not? It could be kind of fun. Mollie might be the only person who ever reads it, but I'm okay with that.

The Long Surrender
I'm not, however, going to write about books, movies, or TV in this entry. Since I just went to a spectacular concert last weekend, I'd rather write about the new Over the Rhine record The Long Surrender. First of all, I have to say WOW! They are AMAZING live! If you ever get a chance to see them in concert, I'd highly recommend it!

In anticipation of the show, I listened to almost nothing but The Long Surrender in the two weeks leading up to it. It is, in my opinion, their best album to date. (Of course, I think that about all their albums when they first come out because they just keep getting better!) This new record uses the best parts of country, jazz and blues in a perfect combination. They've created incredibly soulful, beautiful songs that make you want to turn up the volume and sing along at the top of your lungs. I adore everything about every song on this record.

The friends I went to the concert with were teasing me because at the beginning of every song they played, I'd say, "Oh! I love this song!" "We know. You don't have to say it every time," was their response. But there is something about their music that moves me, and I just couldn't help getting excited. So that's my recommendation for today: Over the Rhine's The Long Surrender. Check out their website, when you get a chance: