Prime Suspect 6: The Last
Jane Tennison returns after a seven-year hiatus. Two illegal immigrants, sisters who were rape and torture victims in the Bosnian conflict, have been killed, and gathering evidence on the "prime suspect" is being blocked not only Jane's superiors, but by the British government as well. Although Jane is eligible for retirement, and is feeling some pressure to resign from the department, a visit with her aged father makes her decide to risk it all to bring the man to justice.
October 2004 Archives
Prime Suspect 6: The Last
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was unjustly overlooked when it opened in theatres last summer. Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, the 2003 film features a group of 19th century literary characters, such as Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll (and friend), "an" (not "the") Invisible Man, Tom Sawyer and Dorian Gray, led by H. Rider Haggard's Alan Quartermain (Sean Connery) to stop a dangerous criminal from starting a world war in 1899 Europe. Full of exciting stunts, effects and in-jokes (catch the name of Nemo's first mate), League is a terrific fantasy/adventure from beginning to end!
Stop, I know what you're going to say - "Rick, we thought you were supposed to be metal, then why are you recommending the musical Hair?" Yes, it is a musical, but the fact that the movie is about a bunch hippies taking drugs makes it seem much more natural when people burst into song in the middle of a conversation. All of the musical numbers are excellent, if you're in the right frame of mind for this type of film. Director Milos Forman keeps you interested with some fascinating camera work, and never lets the musical aspect take away from his very visual style of story telling.
Jamie Lee Curtis Jamie Lee Curtis gives a fantastic performance as a middle aged woman who wakes up one morning to find that she and her teenage daughter are in each other's body. In the process of trying to find a way to get back into their own selves they come to understand and appreciate what life is like for each other. The younger brother is just too obnoxious to be believed, and the grandfather is a bit annoying, but Mark Harmon does a good job as the mother's bewildered fiancé.
Capturing the Friedmans
A fascinating true story of a well-respected schoolteacher on Long Island that is arrested, along with his young son, for abusing his students. Definitely not light moviegoing fare, but a really gripping story that leaves you questioning everyone involved. The filmmaker makes no judgments, he merely lets the people involved speak for themselves. I still don't know who is telling the truth. Maybe they all are.
by Tenacious D
Tenacious D's self-titled 2001 album is in a category all by itself. Jack Black's sense of humor comes thru loud and clear, as he and guitarist Kyle Gass host an ensemble of guest musicians thru such hilarious songs as "Wonderboy", "Explosivo" and "Tribute". Those of you who enjoyed Black's family-friendly rocking in School of Rock might want to wait until the grand-parents have gone to bed before listening to Jack' musings.
You Are The Quarry,
Morrissey's You Are The Quarry is the long-overdue return of the former lead singer of the Smiths. Backed by a terrific bunch of musicians and featuring some of Morrissey's most stinging lyrics, this is a top-notch return to form. Welcome back dude!
God Bless the Go-Go's,
by The Go Go's
Maybe I'm dealing with getting older by rediscovering some of the favorite bands of my youth. At any rate, this is a surprisingly good album by one of my favorite 80's bands. I'm usually wary of reunion albums - with good reason- but this is California-style pop at its best, bringing to mind bands like the Descendents. As usual with the Go-Go's, the slower songs are a bit weak, so stick to the more upbeat tracks, particularly "Unforgiven."
by Franz Ferdinand
For those who like cutting edge power pop/rock, the group Franz Ferdinand delivers the goods on their self-titled first album. Similar in style to the Strokes, this Scottish band highlights punchy playing with sharp lyrics.
...and this is our Music,
by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
A bit of a throwback, this one is. Not so much musically (but there is a bit of the past that surfaces there as well) but rather, conceptually. "...and this is our music" sounds like it was envisioned and written with a certain "wholeness" in mind, the same way bands used to put out "albums" instead of singles or videos. While all the tracks are strong, none stand out. The songs are played and arranged with assured confidence. Sixteen musicians overall are credited in the liner notes (including the Holy Spirit for "just kicking back and doing his thing"). It takes a close listening to discern just how much is going on. An organ drones, casually anchoring the songs. Horns appear frequently, meshing with the fabric of each tune.
BJM's leader and brainchild Anton Newcombe (one of the most intriguing narcissist timebombs in the history of rock) has toned down the bands sound, which in the past veered more into the retro garage territory. This time around, he still hearkens back to the 60's for his musical inspiration but adds his own, more contemporary touches. While the music may be more subdued, the song titles and subject matter still touch upon the classic rock and roll cliché of drugs ("Prozac vs. Heroin" and "A New Low in Getting High"). This time, however, the songs are put forth with an air of melancholy and resignation. It's almost as if Newcombe and his band mates feel as if they no longer have to try to impress people. With quiet resolve the band appears to be looking backwards and realizing how lucky they are to have come out of their hedonistic rock and roll past relatively unscarred. It's that resolve that is in evidence in these songs. Life isn't easy for hell-bent artists who live past their point of departure. While there's only one Keith Richards, there are thousands who've wrecked themselves the same way, and in Newcombe's defense, he realizes he's getting off light.
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar,
by Martin Walker
This might be a long biography, but Walker does an exellent job of creating the world of Joseph Stalin. His use of terror and murder during his reign is wonderfully documented as well as his obsession with his family. One interesting aspect of World War II is how ill-prepared the Russian army was for the attacks by the German army.
The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History,
by D.W. Meinig
Vol. 1 -- Atlantic America, 1492-1800 Vol. 2 -- Continental America, 1800-186. A wonderful history of how the continent's regions & cultures took shape, explaining the geographic, cultural, & economic forces that formed the modern North American scene. If you like information presented graphically, you'll love the many excellent maps and charts. This is a must-read for American history buffs!
Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market,
by Eric Schlosser
Want to know why we're losing the so-called "war on drugs"? Eric Schlosser's Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market examines the social and political aspects and history of this nation's obsession with illegal narcotics on both sides of the legal arena. See how lousy economic conditions in the American heartland actually force people to enter this trade, and how ignorant lawmakers actually make things worse.
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Full Spectrum Dominance, by Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky - We've all heard the name before. And the quote, "Noam Chomsky is one of the most important intellectuals of our age", is often repeated. But sometimes people my age can find all of this clout off-putting. I mean, who really wants to read a book by an "important intellectual" anyway? I think that if you give him a chance, most readers will find Chomsky to be engaging, thought-provoking, perhaps even life-changing. But where to start? A quick search of our catalog reveals 30 titles by this author. To ease you into the world of Noam Chomsky, I'd start with the DVD version of Manufacturing Consent". If that peaks your interest, try the audiobook version of Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Full Spectrum Dominance. After that, there are plenty of books to choose from. Enjoy!
Millions of Monarchs, Bunches of Beetles: How Bugs Find Strength in Numbers,
by Gilbert Waldbauer
Essays on the different reasons insects sometimes gather in large numbers, exploring the strategies and outcomes of massing by our six-legged neighbors. From menacing locust swarms to the popular ladybugs, they're all here. Waldbauer has a knack for clear explanations and a good eye for fascinating details. This is popular science writing at its best. Readers will never again look the same way at groups of insects.
Michael Bloomfield: If You Love These Blues,
by Jan Mark Wolkin & Bill Keenom
This moving "Oral History" comprises reminiscences by friends and acquaintances of the late Chicago-born master of the blues guitar. Born into affluence, the adolescent Bloomfield disdained his straight-laced background and sought out the company of the elders of the Chicago Blues scene, such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and big Joe Williams. Due to his guitar virtuosity and the emotional depth of his playing, he was accepted as a peer by the older black musicians. Bloomfield came to national prominence as a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and the electric Flag, although his most popular recording was 1968's gold album, Supersession. He was supposed to play on the entire Supersession disc, but his chronic insomnia incapacitated him and his place was taken by Steven Stills for the LP's second side. This sleep disorder caused and/or exacerbated Bloomfield's growing chemical dependencies, which ultimately led to his overdose death in 1981 at the age of 37. Throughout the book, the love and admiration felt for this charismatic figure is apparent in the stories (sometimes harrowing) of those who came to know him; whether fellow musicians, friends or family members. Bloomfield himself is quoted in several extended passages. A striking black and white photograph of the guitarist cradling a Les Paul adorns the cover and numerous other photos judiciously supplement the text.
Lord of Misrule: The Autobiography of Christopher Lee,
by Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee has had a remarkable career spanning 56 years and has both delighted and terrified his fans, both young and old. From his upbringing as a proper English gentleman and his RAF stint, we follow Lee's career from Hammer Studios to Eisengard. The photos are excellent, especially one showing him with his friends Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and John Carradine, all of whom, like Lee, are actors in a class all their own.
The Bob Hope Show
Laugh in the Fast Lane ...If you are looking for something a little different than the usual audio book for that commute or vacation ride, try a classic radio program. Comedy SuperStars and The Bob Hope Show are two titles from the Legends of Radio series. On Superstars, Abbott & Costello, Amos 'n' Andy, Burns and Allen, Fibber McGee and Molly and more show how they tore up the airwaves between the vaudeville days and the dawn of television. The Bob Hope Show has Bob's favorites from his radio show that aired between 1938-1955, with Hollywood stars such as Bing Crosby, Peter Lorre, Olivia De Havilland, and Betty Grable. Both titles provide hours of comedy and music from this Golden Age of Radio.
Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia,
by Carmen Bin Ladin
The book chronicles her marriage to Yeslam bin Ladin an older brother of Osama bin Ladin. She gives a pretty grim view of life in Saudia Arabia as it applies to women, discusses how revered Osama is because of his religious piety and the ruling monarchy's covert funding of terrorism. A quick and enlightening read.
Curious New England: The Unconventional Traveler's Guide to Eccentric Destinations,
by Joseph A. Citro and Diane E. Foulds
Attention ghost hunters and connoisseurs of the bizarre. This book is for you. Although there is no mention of Dudleytown in the Connecticut chapter, you will find Bara-Hack and Gungywamp. One wonders if the "ghost squirrels" of Shelton (who are actually albino mutations) should pack their bags and move to Old Lyme so as to inhabit the grounds of the Nut Museum, which houses the world's largest nut, weighing in at thirty-five pounds.
Autumn Glory: Baseball's First World Series,
by Louis P. Masur
As your favorite baseball team competes in the Fall Classic, why not read about the first World Series in Autumn Glory. Louis P. Masur presents a colorful picture of the 1903 postseason series between the Boston Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System,
by Siva Vaidhyanathan
An excellent book in which the author breaks down what is sure to be one of the most crucial topics of our times: the struggle between anarchy and oligarchy, and how this debate has shifted to the forefront of modern life with the advent of the Internet. On one side of this struggle there are those who see information as a commodity to be bought, sold, and tightly controlled - distributed in a hierarchical top-down model. On the other side are those who see information as free; being the communal "property" of, and for the communal benefit of, all people - distributed peer-to-peer in more anarchistic, highly democratic models.
by John Crowley
A novel about the relationship, in the Cold War era, between a young college-student writer and a famous Russian expatriate poet; about how words relate to reality; about what is real and what isn't; about poetry, and about translation (again, what is real). John Crowley's ability to convey multiple nuances and levels of reality is well displayed in this, his latest novel; thus, the translation theme. As with all of Crowley's fiction, a sense of beauty and wonder pervades the book.
The Time Traveler's Wife,
by Audrey Niffenegger
Although I was originally drawn to this book because one of the main characters is a librarian, this has turned out to be one of the best stories I've ever listened to. Henry is a librarian who suffers from a condition that causes him to involuntarily time-travel. Clare, an artist, is his wife. It sounds like an ordinary life, yet Henry time travels, Clare meets Henry for the first time when she is 6 and he is in his 30s- but they are only 8 years apart in age! This story is told from both of their perspectives, and the prose is fluid and descriptive and heartfelt. It's beautiful. I cried. I highly recommend it. Additionally, this is a great story to listen to on audiobook, because there is a male and female reader to read Clare and Henry's parts, which only deepens the contrast between the two literary voices.
The Probable Future,
by Alice Hoffman
The Sparrow women of Unity, Massachusetts have all been born in the month of March, and each has woken on the morning of their 13th birthday with a special ability. Stella Sparrow Avery, the 13th descendant of the Rebecca Sparrow, the child who appeared at the edge of the woods so many years before, wakes on her 13th birthday to discover she has a power, one which will set off a series of events that will change many people's lives. This story takes place in the present, but it is always juxtaposed against the happenings of the Sparrow women of the past, as the big city setting of Boston is similarly set against the small town of Unity. This is a great book for those interested in historical fiction, as well as coming of age tales.
by William S. Burroughs
The newly revised edition of William S. Burroughs' groundbreaking Naked Lunch is one heck of a ride (albeit a nightmarish one). The exploits of an addict's plight and the various bizarre characters he meets while trying to score a fix will leave you reeling from start to finish. Check out the additional notes and essays by Burroughs and the editors as well.
The Murder Room, by P. D. James
This is an Adam Daigliesh mystery, her latest, and it is a wonderfully entertaining read. Most intriguing is the "Murder Room" itself - a room in a private museum which figures greatly in the story. Her characters are vividly created, the murders gristly and the book is a fine example of an "English-style" murder mystery.
The Jasmine Moon Murder, by Laura Childs
Author Laura Childs adds another charmer to her Tea Shop Mystery series (Death by Darjeeling, Gunpowder Green, etc.) with the newly published The Jasmine Moon Murder. If you like tea and mysteries, you'll love this cozy mystery featuring the lovely Theodosia Browning, who left a high powered advertising career to run the Indigo Tea Shop in the heart of historic Charleston, SC. In the midst of catering an elegant tea at the first ever "Ghost Crawl" in Charleston's old Jasmine Cemetery, Theodosia witnesses the mysterious death of Dr. Jasper Davis, the uncle of Theodosia's beau, Jory Davis. Dr. Davis was the vice-president in charge of research at Cardiotech, a large medical products company, and Theodosia thinks his murder had to do with the impending release of a new cardiac device. She is warned to stay out of the investigation by the no-nonsense Detective Burt Tidwell, but she is soon up to her neck in more hot water than a tea bag. The delightful blending of murder, tea lore and trivia as well as sumptuous recipes will please old fans and win new ones.
Generations of Winter,
by Vassily Aksyonov
An epic novel in the style of Dr. Zhivago, Generations of Winter follows the Gradovs, a family of Moscow intellectuals, during the turbulent years of the early Soviet State through World War II. Historical figures are used to further the plot, including Stalin himself. This book vividly brings to life the paranoia and terror prevalent during the period, but is by no means depressing. Aksyonov himself was persecuted for his writings and emigrated to the U.S. in 1980.
Football's Best Short Stories,
edited by Paul D. Staudohar
"Are you ready for some football?" Then take a look at Football's Best Short Stories. This collection includes stories written by such unlikely authors as John Steinbeck, Damon Runyon and Ellery Queen. You'll be pleasantly surprised since these stories deal with more than just football!
The Blackbird Papers,
by Ian Smith
NBC News medical correspondent Ian Smith, M.D. writes an exciting thriller, The Blackbird Papers, featuring New York FBI agent, Sterling Bledsoe. Sterling is called by his brother's wife, Kay, when her husband, Dartmouth Professor Wilson Bledsoe doesn't return from an awards party in his honor at the college. Sterling later learns that his brother had stopped to help two rednecks along the side of the road, and then was found dead in the woods with a racial epithet carved into his chest. Sterling investigates his brother's murder, although he and Wilson never got along, and Sterling was always in the shadow of his famous brother. As Sterling begins to look into the murder, he discovers that nothing is what is seems. He finds his brother Wilson's research into hundreds of dead blackbirds and interviews with students, colleagues and even the college president. When the police begin to suspect Sterling, he has to race against time to prove his innocence and find his brothers killers. There are enough twists and turns in this fast paced thriller to keep you reading long into the night, and hoping for the next Sterling Bledsoe thriller.
Altered Carbon, by Richard K.Morgan
The first in a series, Richard K.Morgan's science fiction novel Altered Carbon introduces us to Takeshi Kovacs, a sort of Philip Marlowe-like protagonist from the 25th century. While investigating an attempt to frame an industrialist for murder, Kovacs uncovers... Well, read for yourself. Terrific thrills and excitement are guaranteed. And check out the sequel, Broken Angels, which the Greenwich Library Science Fiction Book Club will discuss here on September 30.
by Chang Rae Lee
Aloft by Chang Rae Lee is a three-generational novel of 20th century America- from Ellis island to McMansions. The principal character is a member of the second generation, giving the reader insight into the past and future of the battle family (once Battaglia), and the story of their assimilation into suburban life. As one reviewer stated:..."the social concerns of this novel are land, money and the pursuit of happiness". But in the context of its social commentary is an absorbing tale of family life with all its trials and tribulations, some unique, some quite familiar. This book has it all.