January 2014 Archives

The Day Kennedy Was Shot

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Click for availability and more information The Day Kennedy Was Shot, by Jim Bishop
 
The downloadable book The Day Kennedy Was Shot by Jim Bishop is a unique book. It chronicles all the events in Dallas and Washington on the day the 35th President was assassinated. Bishop did a great job describing all the key players, and retracing Lee Harvey Oswald's moves on that fateful day. I believe he captured the mood of the nation, which was traumatized by the violent event. The evidence is laid out against Oswald. Bishop also examines Jack Ruby, who killed Oswald before Oswald could be tried for the murder. He describes Oswald's strained relationship with his mother and Russian wife. Interactions and conflicts between the Dallas Police, Secret Service and FBI are described. Bishop details how the Kennedy family distrusted Lyndon Johnson, and wanted to maintain control of all funeral arrangements. Kennedy administration members were asked to stay on to make a smooth transition. Some agreed, some didn't.

This is a long book, but there's a lot of interesting information, which will appeal to conspiracy theorists and historians alike. Bishop intertwines events in both cities skillfully. Sometimes it's tricky to try and skip from one situation to another, but if you stick with it, you'll be rewarded. I think this is one of the better books on the Kennedy assassination.
-Carl

Exporting Raymond

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Click for availability and more information Exporting Raymond
 
Exporting Raymond is one of those obscure, yet very funny, titles in our DVD collection. It's a documentary which details Phil Rosenthal's trip to Russia to help develop a sitcom based on Everyone Loves Raymond. (Rosenthal was a creator of the sitcom.) Before he leaves on his trip, he's advised to get "k and r" insurance. This is a "kidnapping and ransom" payment! This is not very reassuring. When he arrives, he quickly discovers that he has serious artistic differences with the Russian production crew. They care more about imagery than they do about content. To make matters worse, he cannot get the actor he wants to play the lead, and the actor they do finally choose can't seem to act! He gets so frustrated at one point that he states he wishes he had been kidnapped! Eventually, his luck begins to change, and the project, somehow, takes off. A very funny subplot is the interaction with his family, which seems to be very much like the Romano family. If you like subtle comedy, much like the Larry David kind, you'll really enjoy this obscure gem.
-Carl

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Swindle

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Click for availability and more information Swindle, by Gordon Korman
 
After a mean collector named Swindle cons him out of valuable Babe Ruth baseball card, Griffin Bing needs a plan to get it back. Griffin puts together a band of misfits to break into Swindle's compound and recapture the card.
-Deirdre

How Oliver Olson Changed the World

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Click for availability and more information How Oliver Olson Changed the World, by Claudia Mills
 
Oliver Olson's teacher is always saying that one person with a big idea can change the world. But how is Oliver supposed to change the world when his parents won't let him do anything on his own--not his class projects or even attending activities such as the space sleepover at school. Afraid he will become an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, Oliver decides to take control of his corner of the universe!
-Deirdre

The English Girl

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Click for availability and more information The English Girl, by Daniel Silva
 
Yet another home run for Daniel Silva! The English Girl continues the adventures of Gabriel Allon, a fine arts restorer who also doubles as an cut-throat agent for the Israeli government, with his being asked by a long-time pal in the British secret service to help them find a young English girl who has been kidnapped. She is of particular interest to the British government since the British prime minister and this young lady were having an affair. Silva, as usual, keeps the plot racing as Allon searches not only to rescue the kidnapped girl but to discover why she was taken. Allon find out that there is far more involved in the kidnapping event than first assumed. As usual, Silva's writing is terrific with a finely constructed plot with the always intriguing character of Gabriel Allon at the center. For those who have read the other books in the Gabriel Allon series and have become big fans of Allon, the ending (actually the last sentence of the book) will add to the anticipation of Silva's next book featuring Allon. The English Girl is highly recommended.
-Roy

The Music Never Stopped

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Click for availability and more information The Music Never Stopped
 
I had no idea what I was getting into when I played the 2011 DVD The Music Never Stopped. Since I grew up in the 1960s, I was able to relate to many of the issues that were central to the story. It's about the relationship between young Gabriel Sawyer and his father, Henry. Henry had instilled the love of music in his son at a young age. When Gabriel was a teenager, he was the member of a typical rock band. His father insisted he go to college, even though Gabriel wasn't sure it was for him. On the night Gabriel wants to go to a Grateful Dead concert, his father makes him attend a college night at his school. Gabriel sneaks out to go to the concert, but the concert is sold out. His father is not pleased. He tells Gabriel he cannot see his girlfriend anymore. The final straw comes when Gabriel invites his parents to his band's performance and someone buns an American flag. His parents leave before Gabriel can play a tribute for them. When Gabriel gets home, he gets involved in an argument about the Vietnam War. Since his father's brother had been killed in action, his father takes Gabriel's antiwar stand as a slight to his uncle. Gabriel storms out and disappears - apparently travelling to Greenwich Village to see many of his favorite musicians perform.

Twenty years later, Gabriel's parents are called to a hospital where he had an operation for a brain tumor. He had been found wandering the streets of the city. The doctors explain that Gabriel has no short term memory. He eventually moves into a psychiatric hospital. Henry does some research to see how he can help his son. He finds an article on the use of music therapy to help people like his son. Henry then hires a music teacher to work with his son. They discover they can communicate with Gabriel through the music of his generation. His father sells all his old records to buy albums that his son used to listen too. Henry is able to get tickets for a Grateful Dead concert after weeks of trying to call into a radio station. Gabriel and Henry attend the concert, and rekindle their bond.

This movie is very powerful. The actors are sensational, and the sound track is incredible. It's different. That's what makes it stand out. The Vietnam War tore many families apart. This movie explores this tear in the family fabric. You can learn a lot from this movie.
-Carl

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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