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The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland #2) by Catherynne M. Valente

The second book, Valente has given us of September in fairy land. This is a very different book than the first, but it builds on decisions made in that first book, while it subverts a lot of expectations readers will carry into a sequel. In many ways, this is a much more creative work than the first, which borrowed heavily on received lore about Fairyland. It is literally darker, but it is much darker in tone as well. There is next to none of the broken fourth wall that gave the first book a self-conscious story-telling quality, but there are far many more quotable parts about dealing with the dark sides of ourselves.


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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1) by Catherynne M. Valente

I came to this looking for bedtime reading material for my daughter, and I'm not sure it is that. The language is a bit dense, and as I read I constantly had Lemony Snicket in my head saying "a word which here means..." though I think there is a lot of appeal in books that do precisely that, challenge the idea of what vocabulary we should expect of kids and underscore that reading plays a big part in language acquisition. 
That aside, there is a bit of a slow start, but once we are in Fairyland this is truly a remarkable book. It is extremely creative, and the story is very compelling. Details are richly lavished on scenery and characters. There is a winking narrator who, like Lemony Snicket, is delighted to break the 4th wall and talk to you about the story you are absorbing and the tricks played on readers to do that. The traditional darkness of Fairy Tales is acknowledged, though the whole thing is finally flipped on its head in a way that makes me grin SO HARD. 



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Margo Price – Midwest Farmer’s Daughter

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You owe it to your ears to give them the gift of “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” by Margo Price. The first country album to be released by Jack White’s (The White Stripes) Third Man Records label will hold your attention with its charm and wit and keep your coming back with its strong sense of melody. 


Fully cooked, completely original, yet familiar, this album hints at influences as varied as Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris and Skeeter Davis while also sounding very comfortable next to contemporaries such as Jenny Lewis and Neko Case. If you’re looking for a creative, vibrant, singer songwriter with country stylings, this album will not disappoint. 


Check out Margo Price – Midwest Farmer’s Daughter album on CD.


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A Sailor's Guide to Earth

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Looking for some truly great new music? Try “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” the latest release from Kentucky’s Sturgill Simpson. Easily the most unusual country album in quite some time. In fact, it quickly colors outside the lines of the musical genre and in the end becomes a hybrid of so many styles it’ll make your head spin – in a good way. With a voice that recalls but never copies artists as diverse as Dwight Yoakam, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Raul Malo – your ears will be entertained from start to finish. At once country, then 6os doo-wop, then covering grunge legends Nirvana, this record is one good surprise after another.
Check out Sturgill Simpson’s brand new album on CD or Download his debut on our Freegal service. 
 




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Ride the Pink Horse

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Ride the Pink Horse

1947
141 minutes


It’s 4:45 on a Friday and the library staff is staring at you like you’re the kind of person who would put a tomato in a fruit salad – in the meantime, you’re just an honest Joe trying to find a DVD but all that’s left are PBS documentaries and old movies – #2 and #1 respectively on your “what not to watch “ list.
Now it’s 4:50 and you pull your Fedora down a little further over your eyes and wish for a cigarette or a .45, anything to look tough as the staff now sees you as the only thing between them and freedom … you hear a low growl and just then you see a DVD cover … a tough looking hombre with a .45 stares back at you – you know the staff will back down when they see this hard-boiled material in your hands, who knows such a patron is capable of , this will show them … so you gamble one of your movie rentals away and also pick up a couple of Ken Burn’s documentaries just for good measure. 
You will have chosen well – odds are you know much more about film noir than you know. Wikipedia lists 366 film titles in its article on “neo-noir” 91 of which were release in 2000 or later, you do the math. Blade Runner is more noir than sci-fi and was written with Robert Mitchum in mind – think Batman Begins, think Bourne Ultimatum and  The Man Who Wasn’t There  - think Marellus Wallace and his glowing suitcase – a direct homage to the McGuffin found in Repo Man and then originally in Kiss Me Deadly … all the way back in 1955. What’s a McGuffin? It’s a subject for another day.
In 1947 WWII vet “Lucky” Gegin (Robert Montgomery) stepped off a Greyhound bus in a small border town and walked into the bus station. He pulled a .45 and a piece of paper out of his suitcase, stuck the .45 in his waistband, the paper in a locker and the key to the locker behind a map in the station. Film noir is as American as Greyhounds and .45s and faith in chewing gum. America of the 1940s and 50s had World Wars and weapons of mass destruction, it had disillusioned vets and it had crime and greed and desperation. It had cities and newly it had suburbs. 
Gegin finds himself in a small border town with revenge in his heart and $30,000,000 on his mind. His sweet-heart left him for a man who had what it takes – and what it took was money. Gegin is met by Pela (Wanda Hendrix) a visionary who sees what’s in Gegin’s future. Because she can’t shake the vision, he can’t shake her and he’ll be glad for it eventually. Gegin goes straight to work but misses his target and then has his second bit of luck – he runs into Pancho. Montgomery is incredibly generous as the director of this film – Thomas Gomez won the first Oscar nod for a Hispanic actor – sure he plays a stereotype but it’s a positive one and Pancho is the better man – it’s hard to see what he sees in Gegin but I think that’s an important point in the film – I won’t give it away, but I think it’s all in the ending – and you can read it Hollywood, or you can feel a little sorry for Gegin.
Anyway, I won’t say much more except that Fred Clark is always the man you love to hate – he made a career of it – and that the femme fatale is almost as much of a non-presence as Montgomery himself – which I also think is the point. You take the “hero” down a notch and de-glamourize the beautiful dame … yeah, this is sounding more and more modern all the time.
So put a little noir in your life. The Stranger, Touch of Evil, Night of the Hunter, Rope … oh, and stay tuned to find out what a McGuffin is.




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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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Reading this was long overdue, but it was worth it. It bears only the slightest resemblance to the Frankenstein of popular culture, the long brutish shadow of Karloff. This is florid and all the science and madness happens off screen. This is theodicy and an infinite set of subtexts tailored to fit the facts. As a thriller, as a pursuit of justice, it is appalling: the hunter makes idiotic decisions, blind to the tropes present day audiences have internalized and now lampoon in self-aware thrillers; the villain makes impossible leaps without even the dignity of plot-devices to be so omnipresent that you could be forgiven for thinking the creature is a figment of Frankenstein's imagination until the last scene. The two leads swing between sympathetic and abominable, unspeakably eloquent and freakishly obtuse. The style of it all is insanely grand, and there are some astoundingly beautiful passages throughout that are a wonder to turn over in your mouth. Descriptions so loving and detailed, overlaid with contemplations thick with Milton and gothic morbidity: these make for dense reading and I could easily imagine this book could be read anew every decade of your life and seem wildly different each time.


Check out this item on : Ebook or Book



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