Aurora Public Library Blog

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March 2018 - Posts

Lost Lenore

Post by Tessy W. 

Mild Spoilers Ahead  

Stumbling across the dramatic cover, a scarlet wing on a field of black, the title embolden on the side, I was intrigued.

"Why haven't I heard of this series before?" I asked myself, excited by the possibility of an undiscovered story.

A dystopian sci-fi, "Red Rising" by Pierce Brown has an interesting plot summary. In a socially stratified society based on colors, the main character, Darrow, is a Red. Tolling under the surface of Mars in the hope that one day their decedents will gain a habitable planet, the Red's are subservient to an upper class of Golds. When Darrow finds out otherwise, that Mars has been habitable for generations, he seeks bloody vengeance as he aims to infiltrate the golden upper class to eliminate his enemies. 

With the promise of complex politics and societal upheaval with a brooding hero who would risk becoming the very thing he hated to reach his goal, I downloaded the eBook via Overdrive immediately.

For a purported young adult series edging into adult fiction, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that Darrow was married at the beginning of the novel.

I should have been suspicious.

But I was too fascinated by the idea of a main character already taken, side-stepping the standard young adult love plot. With his clever red-headed wife, Eo, who was as political as Darrow was tenacious, I was flipping pages at light speed at the prospect of a power couple waging guerilla warfare against an unscrupulous upper class.  As Darrow's character became fleshed out, theRed Rising worldbuilding of the cramped subterranean caverns beneath the Martian surface expanded. Lit by flickering holoCan screens full of propaganda espousing brave pioneers, dusted, desperate people toiling in the mines to free the helium-3 that would terraform the planet, and the heavy pulse of the drills vibrating through my imagination, built itself into a fascinating world. Then, I started to notice that Eo's character wasn't keeping pace.

"Oh no," I whispered, hands stilling.

Eo is murdered on page forty-five. Thus spurring Darrow's long (four books with the fifth coming later this year) and bloody vengeance.

There are various names for this overarching phenomenon: "The Lost Lenore", "Stuffed in the Fridge", "I Let Gwen Stacy Die", or "Disposable Women".  As storytelling patterns, these tropes center around the death of a character in the name of moving the plot forward for the main character, with the variations centering on the manner of death and how relevant the killed-off character was to the protagonist.

Eo is a Lost Lenore. To be a Lost Lenore, you must do more for the story dead, then alive. Your memory spurs the hero to greater adventures, to deeper emotional depths, but you however, will always be a ghost, reduced to whatever characteristics the main character chooses to remember. 2

The trouble with these plot devices are their frequency, and their targets. 

It only took a few descriptions of Eo's beauty and her fragility, her descriptor as "the spirit of her people",3 coupled with the overarching revenge plot-line to make me suspicious enough to search for spoilers. Because inevitably, in a world where female protagonists are still an exciting novelty, we have male heroes with female supporting characters, and they will die first.

I only had to flip a few chapters forward before my foresight was rewarded. Darrow is devastated, and then swiftly ensnared by the machinations of the main plot line, haunted by his dead wife and spurred by the injustice of her death.

The Red Rising Saga is a popular series. Reviewers and Goodreads alike are exultant with their praise for Darrow's characterization and the fast-paced action of "Man vs. Society".

But I put the book down.

The media we consume has been improving in its representation of diverse characters. I can find books with interesting female protagonists of color or movies featuring complex LGBTQ characters. They aren't always easy to find, but I no longer have to resist the urge to edit all of the pronouns in a five hundred page novel or dismiss an author's character description in favor of my own.

So when I'm faced with a book that is taking a few steps backward in our cultural evolvement of storytelling, I don't have to read it.

 

Looking for sci-fi/fantasy? Try a few from my bookshelf (in no particular order)!

 

References
Brown, P. (2014). Red Rising. New York: Del Rey.
TV Tropes. (2018). The Lost Lenore - TV Tropes. [online] Available at: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheLostLenore [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
Brown, P. (2014). Red Rising. New York: Del Rey, p.15.

Posted by behrhart@auroragov.org  On Mar 20, 2018 at 10:34 AM
  

March new releases banner

Post by Kristin S.

Spring is almost upon us, which means it's time to head outside with a new book to work on that sun tan or hunker down at night during a storm with a great movie. Check out the recent bestsellers and newly released DVDs below. Stop in to your Aurora Public Library to pick up your copy or read and watch online!

Books that recently premiered on the New York Times Bestseller List:

New Fiction

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A former prisoner of war returns from Vietnam and moves his family to Alaska, where they face tough conditions.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

A newlywed couple's relationship is tested when the husband is sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Borrow: [Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Louisa Clark moves to New York and is torn between high society and the life she enjoys at a vintage clothing store.

Look for Me by Lisa Gardner

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook]

Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren teams up with a torture survivor to find a missing teenager whose family members were gunned down.

Night Moves by Jonathan Kellerman

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Homicide detective Milo Sturgis enlists the psychologist Alex Delaware to help solve a John Doe case.

Dark in Death by J. D. Robb

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook]

Lieutenant Eve Dallas must find a killer inspired by police thrillers before another victim is murdered.

Fall from Grace by Danielle Steel

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook]

A widow left out of her husband's will tries to make a new life as a fashion designer.

The Kremlin's Candidate by Jason Matthews

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A counterintelligence chief and her lover, who is a C.I.A. agent, learn of Vladimir Putin’s plan to assassinate a United States official.

City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A New York City detective and an F.B.I. special agent track down a killer.

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Flavia de Luce, a young British sleuth, gets involved in solving a murder after experiencing a family tragedy.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A C.I.A. analyst's job and family are threatened when she discovers Russian agents in the United States.

Munich by Robert Harris

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Two former friends who attended Oxford accompany Hitler and Neville Chamberlain to a meeting in 1938 and are forced to make a consequential decision.

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

The fourth book of the Red Rising Saga. A hero of the revolution finds his fate tied up with others as the war continues.


New Nonfiction

Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A case for using reason, science and humanism to counter pessimistic views of Western civilization.

All-American Murder by James Patterson and Alex Abramovich with Mike Harvkey

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

The story of Aaron Hernandez, the New England Patriots tight end convicted of first-degree murder.

Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler

Borrow: [Print]

A divinity school professor examines her tacit beliefs when she learns she has colon cancer.

Directorate S by Steve Coll

Borrow: [Print]

How the United States failed to understand a secret wing of a Pakistani intelligence agency and doomed two wars.

Lost Connections by Johann Hari

Borrow: [Print]

The journalist describes nine causes of depression and anxiety, and offers potential solutions.

How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

Borrow: [Print]

The decline of democracies in Europe and Latin America and ways to avoid authoritarianism.

Trumpocracy by David Frum

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

A former speechwriter for George W. Bush argues how America might become an illiberal democracy.

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A memoir by a former U.S. Border Patrol agent who is the grandson of a Mexican immigrant.

Rise and Kill First by Ronen Bergman

Borrow: [Print]

A history of Israel’s targeted assassination programs, with accounts from current and former members of the Israeli government.

Brave by Rose McGowan

Borrow: [Print] [eAudiobook]

The Hollywood actress details growing up in a cult and the traumas of the entertainment industry.

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

Borrow: [Print] [eAudiobook]

A Yemeni-American doorman travels to a civil war-engulfed Yemen in the hopes of restoring a nearly lost art of coffee cultivation.

Jackie, Janet & Lee by J. Randy Taraborrelli

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

A biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; her mother, Janet Lee Auchincloss; and her sister Lee Radziwill.

It's Even Worse Than You Think by David Cay Johnston

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist describes how he believes the scope of the Trump presidency differs from all the others.

Happiness is a Choice you Make by John Leland

Borrow: [Print]

Wisdom and stories from six New Yorkers age 85 and older that challenge notions of aging.

Together We Rise by Women's March Organizers and Conde Nast

Borrow: [Print]

Photographs and profiles of the organizers and participants of the 2017 Women’s March.

The Square and the Tower by Niall Fergusen

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

The historian uses network theory to understand the past and the present.

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Kahn-Cullors and asha bandele

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

Reflections on love, justice and humanity from a founder of Black Lives Matter.

 

 DVD New Releases (Dec-Jan):

Thor: Ragnarok

Borrow: [DVD]

Thor must race against time to stop Ragnarok - the destruction of his world and the end of Asgardian civilization at the hands of the ruthless Hela.

Daddy's Home 2

Borrow: [DVD]

When it comes to raising their kids, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad (Will Ferrell) finally have this co-parenting thing down. That is, until their dads come to town, putting their newfound partnership to the ultimate test in this hilarious comedy.

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Borrow: [DVD]

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol.

Same Kind of Different as Me

Borrow: [DVD]

The inspiring story of an international art dealer who must befriend a dangerous homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage, a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the most remarkable journey of their lives.

The Star

Borrow: [DVD]

Bo, a brave donkey, and all his new hilarious animal friends go on the adventure of their dreams filled with lots of laughter.

The Disaster Artist

Borrow: [DVD]

The true-story of aspiring filmmaker and infamous Hollywood outsider Tommy Wiseau (James Franco); a celebration of friendship and dreams pursued against insurmountable odds. Based on the best-selling tell-all about the making of Tommy's cult-classic disasterpiece The Room.

Molly's Game

Borrow: [DVD]

Molly's Game is based on the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.

The Phantom Thread

Borrow: [DVD]

Set in the glamour of 1950's London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) meets Alma and finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

Call Me by Your Name

Borrow: [DVD]

Amid the summer splendor of 1980's Italy, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire that will alter their lives forever.

Coco

Borrow: [DVD]

In DisneyPixar's extraordinary adventure, a boy who dreams of becoming a great musician embarks on a journey to uncover the mysteries behind his ancestor's stories and traditions.

Battle of the Sexes

Borrow: [DVD]

The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.

The Darkest Hour

Borrow: [DVD]

As Hitler's forces near the United Kingdom, it is up to Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) to decide between negotiating peace or fighting against impossible odds.

Lady Bird

Borrow: [DVD]

A warm, affecting comedy about a high school senior (Saoirse Ronan) who must navigate a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother over the course of her eventful and poignant senior year of high school.

 

Sources: The New York Times, Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon, Goodreads, EarlyWord, Novelist

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Mar 13, 2018 at 10:09 AM
  

Academy Awards introduction

 Post by Chris G.

Well, it's red carpet season, and the Academy Awards, the most prestigious award show for film, is in its 90th year. Whether you're looking for this year's nominees or the Best Picture from 1929, you can find an abundance of Academy Award-winning films on the shelves of your library. This post showcases Aurora Public Library's current DVD holdings of this year's nominees, as well as former Best Picture and Best Animated Feature winners. This year's nominees are organized alphabetically and include the number of awards for which they've been nominated. The Best Picture and Best Animated Feature winners are organized reverse chronologically by the year they won, so the most recent is first. The Academy didn't start giving out the Best Animated Feature award until 2001, so that is where that list ends. You can click on any of the film's titles to place a hold. Many of this year's nominees are not on video yet, but the library has placed most of them on order, and they'll start circulating as soon as they're available. You can get in line for one of those by clicking through to the catalog record, selecting "Request It" and entering your account information. And the Oscar goes to...


This Year's Nominees and Winners


 "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail" - 1 nomination
 
 "All the Money in the World" - 1 nomination
   
 "Baby Driver" - 3 nominations
   
 "Beauty and the Beast" - 2 nominations
   
 "The Big Sick" - 1 nomination
   
 "Blade Runner 2049" - 5 nominations
   
 "The Boss Baby" - 1 nomination
   
 "The Breadwinner" - 1 nomination
   
  "Call Me By Your Name" - 4 nominations
   
 "Coco" - 2 nominations
   
 "Darkest Hour" - 6 nominations
   
  "The Disaster Artist" - 1 nomination
   
 "Dunkirk" - 8 nominations
   
 "Ferdinand" - 1 nomination
   
 "The Florida Project" - 1 nomination
   
 "Get Out" - 4 nominations
   
 "The Greatest Showman" - 1 nomination
   
"Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2" - 1 nomination
   
 "I, Tonya" - 3 nominations
   
 "Kong: Skull Island" - 1 nomination
   
  "Lady Bird" - 5 nominations
   
  "Logan" - 1 nomination
   
  "Loving Vincent" - 1 nomination
   
 "Marshall" - 1 nomination
   
 "Molly's Game" - 1 nomination
   
 "Phantom Thread" - 6 nominations
   
  "The Post" - 2 nominations
   
  "Roman J. Israel, Esq." - 1 nomination
   
 "The Shape of Water" - 13 nominations and 2018 Best Picture
   
 "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" - 4 nominations
   
  "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" - 7 nominations
 
  "Victoria & Abdul" - 2 nominations

 "War for the Planet of the Apes" - 1 nomination
   
 "Wonder" - 1 nomination


Best Picture Winners


 "Moonlight" (2016)
   
  "Spotlight" (2015)
   
  "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" (2014)

 "12 Years a Slave" (2013)
 
 "Argo" (2012)
   
 "The Artist" (2011)
   
 "The King's Speech" (2010)
   
 "The Hurt Locker" (2009)
   
  "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008)

  "No Country for Old Men" (2007)

"The Departed" (2006)
   
 "Crash" (2005)
   
 "Million Dollar Baby" (2004)
   
 "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003)
   
 "Gladiator" (2000)
   
  "American Beauty" (1999)
   
 "Shakespeare in Love" (1998)
   
 "Titanic" (1997)
   
 "The English Patient" (1996)
   
  "Braveheart" (1995)
   
  "Forrest Gump" (1994)
   
 "Schindler's List" (1993)

 "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991)
   
  "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989)
   
 "Rain Man" (1988)
   
 "The Last Emperor" (1987)
   
 "Out of Africa" (1985)
   
  "Terms of Endearment" (1983)
   
  "Gandhi" (1982)
   
 "Chariots of Fire" (1981)
   
 "Ordinary People" (1980)
   
 "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979)
   
 "Annie Hall" (1977)
   
 "Rocky" (1976)
   
  "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975)
   
 "The Godfather, Part II" (1974)
   
"The Sting" (1973)
   
 "The Godfather" (1972)
   
 "The French Connection" (1971)
   
  "Patton" (1970)
   
 "A Man for All Seasons" (1966)
   
  "The Sound of Music" (1965)
   
 "Tom Jones" (1963)
   
  "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962)
   
 "West Side Story" (1961)
   
 "Ben-Hur" (1959)
   
 "Gigi" (1958)
   
"The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957)
   
 "On the Waterfront" (1954)

 "From Here to Eternity" (1953)
   
  "An American in Paris" (1951)
   
  "All About Eve" (1950)
   
 "All the King's Men" (1949)
   
 "Hamlet" (1948)
   
 "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947)
   
  "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946)
   
 "The Lost Weekend" (1945)
   
 "Going My Way" (1944)
   
 "Casablanca" (1943)
   
"Mrs. Miniver" (1942)
   
 "How Green Was My Valley" (1941)
   
 "Rebecca" (1940)
   
 "Gone with the Wind" (1939)
   
 "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937)
   
 "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936)
   
 "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935)
   
  "It Happened One Night" (1934)
   
  "Cimarron" (1930-31)
   
 "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1929-30)
   
 "The Broadway Melody" (1928-29)


Best Animated Feature Film Winners


 "Zootopia" (2016)
   
 "Inside Out" (2015)
   
 "Big Hero 6" (2014)
   
 "Frozen" (2013)

 "Brave" (2012)
   
  "Rango" (2011)
   
  "Toy Story 3" (2010)
   
 "Up" (2009)
   
  "WALL-E" (2008)
   
  "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (2005)

  "The Incredibles" (2004)
   
 "Finding Nemo" (2003)
   
 "Spirited Away" (2002)

 "Shrek" (2001)


With so many movies on this list, you ought to keep busy until next year's Oscars! This year's winners were announced on Sunday, March 4th and the selected titles will be available in the coming months as they are released. 

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Mar 05, 2018 at 12:50 PM