In "The Long Night," author Steve Wick tells us what it was like to be a broadcast journalist in Europe, and chiefly Berlin, during the 1930's rise of Adolf Hitler. But Wick wasn't born until 1951. So instead, he examines the work of William Shirer to capture a foreign correspondent's view of a Germany gone mad.
The first time I read Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," I was troubled by the author's too close proximity to the history. Part history, part memoir, the book also reflects a measure of intimacy like the pages of a diary. Though I did not doubt or distrust the author's honesty or the integrity of his research, his personal involvement in the story made me question his objectivity.
I've always found that any mundane task, such as studying, cleaning, or the aforementioned laundry, always goes faster set to some really good music. Luckily for those of us who get stuck with drudgery, SLCL has some grand scores to make your next annoying chore feel like an epic quest.
"I think you might want to watch this movie," a co-worker told me.
"What's it about?"
"Well, it is about a tire that comes to life and goes on a killing spree."
(Insert chirping noises representing the crickets in my head as I stare dumbfounded at said co-worker.) "OK...a tire. That comes to life. And kills people."
A week later I bring home my DVD copy of "Rubber" and the above conversation repeats itself between my husband and myself, both of whom have been known to lament the lack of new and creative thinking in the movies today. Well, a killer tire certainly challenges that belief - let "Rubber" begin.
And here is the weirdest thing of all; "Rubber" is actually very entertaining. The film sets itself up as a meta-cinema experiment where the audience at home is watching a group of spectators on the screen who have gone to the desert to watch a movie. So, it's all a joke - the killer tire, the exploding heads, the squished scorpions. Or is it?
How would the modern superheroes we have come to know and love have lived in the 17th century? Prolific author Neil Gaiman gives us his vision in "Marvel 1602," which collects an eight-part mini-series from Marvel Comics. Branching from the courts of Queen Elizabeth to a colony in the New World, this critically acclaimed series mixes historic settings with vivid art to create a tale worth reading. Instead of spandex-wearing superheroes publicly using their powers to fight crime or save the world, Gaiman created a time and place where anyone with unnatural abilities is considered a witch. Readers will be introduced to familiar characters in new roles, such as Daredevil as a blind minstrel, Dr. Strange as the Queen's physician, the Fantastic Four as elemental explorers, and a worthy enemy in Count Otto Von Doom. This graphic novel is a fun read for teens and adults.
--Aaron E., Headquarters
Have you ever looked at a pile of unread newspapers and wished that someone would pull out the best of the lot for your reading pleasure? Good news! The book "Deadline Artists: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns" does just that. Editors John Avlon, Jesse Angelo, and Errol Louis present a selection of the best columns published in newspapers all over the country from 1757 to 2011.
The columns are classified into broad subjects such as politics, humor, crime, sports, and farewells. Contributors include Jimmy Breslin, Erma Bombeck, Walter Winchell, Will Rogers, George Will, Art Buchwald, William F. Buckley Jr., and Molly Ivins. Each section is arranged chronologically. Together the columns present an interesting window into American history.
First time author Amor Towles' "Rules of Civility" is a stylish and sophisticated novel reminiscent of the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald. It's a believable not-so-classic love triangle that makes excellent use of the written language.
Set in late 1930s New York, Towels gives the reader a realistic feel for the lifestyle of this particular time and place. His depiction of Manhattan apartments, restaurants, jazz clubs, publishing houses and the Hamptons kept my attention even before the plot twists. How he captures the character and mindset of two young women making their way through this pre-war world kept me from wanting it to be over. It's a classy novel without a classic ending.
--Laura S., Sachs Branch
After the Super Bowl ends, many St. Louis residents begin to think about the upcoming baseball season. In honor of Black History Month, you may be interested in reading the following graphic novels to help pass the time until spring training.