With the recent release of Martin Scorsese's film, "Hugo," based on Brian Selznick's Caldecott Award winning novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," in theaters and generating Oscar buzz, some may wish to delve deeper into the movie's rich cinematic history, accessible via the SLCL database page. The story centers around an orphaned boy living in a Paris train station and the relationship he forms with the station's toy shop owner and goddaughter. What some viewers may not realize is that "Hugo" pays homage to the life and works of real life French filmmaker Georges Méliès. Méliès, who began his career as a professional magician, went on to become one of the great silent filmmakers, creating over 500 films, many of which were applauded for their special effects.
"Can dogs climb trees? Evidently," writes Susan Orlean. "At least certain dogs can. And they can climb down, too."
A staff writer for The New Yorker, Orlean's work has been snatched up by Hollywood in the movies "Adaptation" and "Blue Crush." That relationship with Hollywood has reversed direction in her latest work, "Rin Tin Tin, The Life and The Legend."
Bob Seger is touring again after a hiatus. His career has lasted for decades and part of his longevity is due to his songwriting. Raunchy anthems like "Fire Down Below" and "Her Strut," are only part of his repertoire. His Silver Bullet Band spent excessive time on the road, and the lyrics for "Katmandu," "Travelin' Man," and "Turn the Page" are ripe for a doctoral thesis on the effects of endless touring.
Peter Mountford's debut novel, "A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism," follows Gabriel de Boya, a young, overeducated freelance writer who lucks into a perfect job with a high-power New York hedge fund. His first assignment is to cover the elections in La Paz, Bolivia, but not as a journalist--the fund wants to know what the president-elect will do with the oil pipeline so they can bet accordingly profit at any expense. All he has to do is get close to the new president without showing his real intentions--especially a press corps that keeps wondering why the new guy isn't publishing anything. When the unexpected happens--Socialist Evo Morales wins the election--Gabriel's position is suddenly more important than his superior expected, and Gabriel's romance with Morales' press secretary gives him a clear advantage. The problem is that he may be falling for her, and for Bolivia.
Animated movies have long had the reputation of being only kiddie fare. Yet with the rise of studios such as Pixar and Dreamworks, animated movies have been moving more towards appeasing parents who are dragged to the theater by their children. Animated movies have always had a special place in my heart, they have the ability to tug at the heart strings, make the kid inside and the adult laugh, make us look at our own lives through a new lens, and simply delight us for ninety or so minutes. Here are a few recommendations to get you started:
I have discovered that my literary heroes aren't strong, self-controlled or mature. They aren't even adults, but confused, impulsive teenagers. One of them likes to steal books and the other prays to trees. The books "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak and "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech present two teenage girls coming of age in the most tragic of circumstances.
This book may be the most frequently published book in history. Many people have them, but hardly use them properly. Many of us have sat on them to boost ourselves at tables to eat with family. If this makes you want to hear more, then this is your book,"The Phone Book: the curious history of the book that everyone uses but no one reads" by Ammon Shea.
Shea's book is full of interesting trivia. For instance, the first phone book published in 1878 had only fifty names listed (no numbers). Other topics covered in that first edition: how to use the phone and how to begin and end a conversation. There was an anti-digit dialing league, unhappy about the new invention (has time changed?) Over the years the phone book, which looked the same for all regions, changed to include photos of each area, allowing cities and towns a bit of civic pride. Shea notes that a few people even collect phone books, with one collection numbering in the thousands!