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Relax with Holiday Books and Movies!

snowmanThe holiday hustle and bustle is upon us, with lists galore of things to do and shopping and baking to finish. It is often difficult to find time to sit down and just relax. A great way to escape the holiday rush is with a book or film about the holiday season.
Manhattan Public Library has an excellent selection of holiday-themed fiction from which to choose. Many popular writers publish a Christmas novel each year. Anne Perry, a popular mystery writer, has a series of Christmas mysteries, beginning with the title “A Christmas Journey.” Other authors with books in a holiday series include Richard Paul Evans and his Christmas Box Trilogy, and Donna VanLiere and her Christmas Hope series.

grisham
Known for his best-selling legal thrillers, John Grisham is the author of “Skipping Christmas” –“Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether… skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences-and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined. A classic tale for modern times, “Skipping Christmas” offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.” Another author known for his thrillers is David Baldacci, whose book “The Christmas Train” is popular at this time of year. There are many new holiday-themed romance novels, such as “What a Lady Needs for Christmas” by Grace Burrowes;  “By Winters Light” by Stephanie Laurens; and “Mr. Miracle” by Debbie Macomber. Other new titles include “Death of a Christmas Caterer” and ” All He Wants for Christmas”. Look for our display of holiday-themed fiction for books by these and other authors, in a display case on the first floor of the library. (more…)

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Sherlocked

Keri Mills
Young Adult Librarian

sherlockThe series, “Sherlock,” premiered in 2010 and has since gained legions of followers. If you are one of the many, like myself, who have been “Sherlocked,” then you were unhappy with the news that season 4 will not even begin filming until the winter of 2015. Having to wait two years for new episodes practically qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment! Other than watching reruns of previous seasons, what are Sherlockians to do? Here ae a few suggestions to get you started.

Try some classic Sherlock Holmes. Start with “The Sherlock Holmes Collection” by A&E Television. This collection presents the five surviving episodes of the classic BBC show that aired in the 1960’s with Sherlock played by Peter Cushing. Or, watch “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous Sherlock mysteries. This movie adaptation was created in 1983 and stars Ian Richardson as Holmes.

For a more contemporary take, there is the movie “Sherlock Holmes” and its follow-up “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” both directed by Guy Ritchie and released in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Holmes is played by Robert Downey, Jr. and Watson is played by Jude Law. These films diverge quite a bit from the classic Sherlock Holmes portrayal, in that Holmes and Watson are more like big blockbuster action heroes than intellectuals. However, Holmes is still arrogant, impulsive, intelligent, and of course, amazing at deductive reasoning. Another option is “Elementary,” a CBS TV series that debuted in 2012, with the third season slated to premier in October. Originally, producers garnered a lot of flak as they seemed to be riding on the coattails of “Sherlock’s” success, but this show can definitely stand on its own. Like “Sherlock,” it is set in the modern day, but, the setting is New York instead of London. And, while Holmes (Jonny Miller) still has a sidekick, she is now a woman, Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).

expressBesides watching other adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, anything based on Agatha Christie’s mysteries is a good choice. One of the great classics is “Murder on the Orient Express.” This 1974 film is star-studded with such actors as Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, and Vanessa Redgrave. In the movie, the Orient Express, a luxurious passenger train, is stopped by deep snow, and passengers discover that a murder has been committed. Luckily, or not so luckily for the murderer, famous detective, Hercule Poirot, happens to be on board. He must identify the murderer before he or she decides to strike again or is able to escape from the train. Another option is “And Then There Were None.” In this 1945 movie, based on Christie’s book by the same name, ten people are invited to an island for the weekend by the mysterious Mr. U. N. Own. Left on the island by boat, and then stranded, the ten begin being murdered one by one. Will they discover the murderer before all ten are dead?

For something a little different, “Doctor Who” is a good alternative. For those of you unfamiliar with “Doctor Who,” it is a long-running British science fiction TV series (recently celebrating 50 years). The Doctor, who is a Time Lord, explores the universe in his TARDIS, a time-traveling space ship that resembles a blue British police box. Along with various companions, the Doctor travels throughout time to save civilization and right various wrongs. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, co-creators and writers for “Sherlock,” are also writers for “Doctor Who” (Steven Moffat is also the executive producer for “Doctor Who”).
If you just want to see more of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the library has several of their movies. To see the two of them together again, watch “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” See Martin as Bilbo Baggins, and hear Cumberbatch’s marvelous voice as Smaug, the fire-breathing dragon.

imagesRRCDMDWQWhile none of these movies can take the place of “Sherlock,” hopefully they will help to tide us over for awhile. All of the above titles can be found at MPL. And, while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the original Sherlock Holmes adventures by Sir Arthur Conan D

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SCREWBALL COMEDIES FOR EASY SUMMER VIEWING

indexQQVUNTAOIs it even too hot to READ?  As the dog days of summer arrive, look for effortless, lighthearted entertainment in the screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s.  These films characteristically feature nutty plot lines, witty repartee, a rapid-fire delivery style, a skillful blend of sophistication and slapstick, elegant settings, and battling but romantically-inclined main characters.  The films first appeared in the early 1930s, with mega-hits It Happened One Night and My Man Godfrey.  They came at a time when the nation was dealing with the fallout of the Great Depression, and they were movies that made people laugh and were guaranteed to have happy endings.  They showcased many of the greatest stars of Hollywood from that golden era.  These screwball comedy classics are all available from Manhattan Public Library. 

It Happened One Night (1934), Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable 

Twentieth Century (1934), John Barrymore and Carole Lombard

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur

My Man Godfrey (1936), William Powell and Carole Lombard

Topper (1937), Cary Grant and Constance Bennet  

The Awful Truth (1937), Irene Dunne and Cary Grant  

You Can’t Take It with You (1938), Jean Arthur and Jimmy Stewart

Holiday (1938), Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn 

His Girl Friday (1940), Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant

My Favorite Wife (1940), Irene Dunne and Cary Grant

The Philadelphia Story (1940), Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant

The Lady Eve (1941), Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda

indexZ5EIHXVLBall of Fire (1941), Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck  

The Palm Beach Story (1942), Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea

Woman of the Year (1942), Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy   

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Cary Grant, et al.

 

 

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Longmire fans!! He’s Back!!

large_Spirit_of_Steamboat_Craig-JohnsonThe new Longmire television season (season 3) begins on A&E on June 2. The hit drama is based on the popular mystery book series by Craig Johnson. The newest and 10th book in the series, Spirit of Steamboat, is available at Manhattan Public Library. If you are not familiar with the series, start with the first title, The Cold Dish. You can also catch up on the series with the DVD of the first season.

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More Movie Viewing for Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Susan Withee, Adult Services Department Manager 

Whether you’re hosting a house full of company or hoping for some welcome time to yourself this holiday season, consider watching one of these endearing but often-overlooked popular films with Christmas or New Year’s Eve themes.  Modern comedies, sublime romances, and forgotten classics, they’ll help keep everyone cozy and entertained through the winter holiday season.   Oh, and P.S., they would also make great last-minute gifts.

 5th avenueIt Happened on 5th Avenue (1947).  This delightful screwball comedy from the post-WWII era is reminiscent of Miracle on 34th Street and stars Don DeFore, Ann Harding, Gale Storm, and Charlie Ruggles.

The Shop around the Corner (1940).  A forgotten Jimmy Stewart Christmas classic that was later remade as “You’ve Got Mail,” this film is a sometimes bittersweet romantic comedy set in a shop in Budapest, and co-stars Margaret Sullavan and a host of wonderful supporting characters.

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