"The Rime of the Modern Mariner" by Nick Hayes uses Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem about the ancient mariner to describe our environmental folly. Hayes' graphic novel is a worthy update and adequately infuses the tale with modern horrors like oil spills, sludge, floating garbage fields and rotting whales.
As a graphic novel, the art is very important. In this regard, Nick Hayes excels. The black ink on cream paper evokes wood cuts, connecting this new version to older arts. A judicious use of blue adds variety and depth which is needed because this is a long graphic novel. It is not too long, however.
Hayes also should be credited with clever word play. As an environmental cautionary tale, he has quite a challenge since the muck is made of polystyrene, neoprene, Tupperware, polymers and such. His rhyming, though not perfect, is clever. He rhymes "St. Elmo's eerie fire" with "North Atlantic gyre," for example. He's not Coleridge, but he's good.
The documentary "The Other F Word" takes an inside look at parenting by punk and hardcore musicians. Bands known for their raucous, anti-establishment stance find themselves family men with play dates and school outings alongside world tours and endless partying.
The DVD focuses on Jim Lindberg from Pennywise, a father of three daughters, but there are plenty of other musicians with cameos. Lindberg gets a tattoo for his youngest during the filming, because he already has a tattoo for the older daughters. Lindberg is definitely feeling torn by the responsibilities to band and family. A few minutes on skype while on tour can't replace the moments he's missing of their childhood.
I just finished Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl," which was one of the library's most checked-out book of 2012. I read it because my book group chose it. It's not something I would pick, but the point of being in a book group is to try new things.
There are no heroes in this novel. There are plenty of formulaic characters, but the plot takes so many twists that their flimsiness is almost always secondary to the plot. The action slows down considerably toward the end, when psychological maneuvers take center stage.
One thing that makes this book so readable is that most of the action takes place in Missouri; folks pop in and out of St. Louis. The muggy summer is aptly described, but at least one of the main characters cannot abide our fellow citizens.
Out of the Napoleonic era, LA Meyer brings us a swashbuckling young woman who conquers the high seas and all other formidable obstacles, whether natural or of human design. The series of novels features Mary "Jacky" Faber, a waif orphaned in London who must live by her wits, of which she has considerable in supply.
If you are not familiar with this book, I suggest that you skip the introduction written and read by Jacquelyn Mitchard. There's nothing wrong with the intro, it just ruins the dramatic impact of the book's greatest line. You're not going to miss much if you skip the intro, but if you insist, save it for last.
Does your book discussion group have difficulty coming up with titles? Does your group spend too little time talking about the book and too much time deciding what to read the next month? Is your group having a five minute book discussion followed by 55 minutes of talk about other things?
The St. Louis County Library's Book Discussion Kit collection may be just the fix. The book kit collection has over 300 titles consisting of historical fiction, current fiction, non-fiction (that reads like fiction) and mysteries. The kit includes not only books but a readers' guide. The guide contains book reviews, discussion questions and author information which may help your group stay focused. Hopefully there are a few or many titles in the book kit collection that your group will enjoy. You can view available titles here. Some groups have six months planned out so when they meet they actually discuss the book they came to discuss! I would be happy to help your group so give me a call at 314-994-3300.
--Peggy D., Headquarters
Most readers by now have heard about Gillian Flynn's huge bestseller "Gone Girl," in which the bizarre story of a difficult marriage is told from wildly different perspectives. In this suspenseful page-turner, readers hear from Nick in the days following his wife's disappearance and from his wife Amy's diaries. The novel has many twists and turns, and Flynn uses the multiple voices effectively.
As someone who came of age in the mid-1980s, I was all too familiar with Andrew McCarthy, the actor. He starred in such movies as "St. Elmo's Fire," "Pretty in Pink," and "Less Than Zero." I wasn't that impressed with his acting, so when I saw his biography in the New Materials section, I passed it by several times. But, with nothing better to read, I finally picked it up off the shelf.