PBS’s Masterpiece Les Miserables Adaptation

Last Sunday (4/14) PBS’s Masterpiece premiered a new adaptation (non-musical) of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. It continues this Sunday for the next five weeks.




“Les Miserables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose.”–Signet Classics edition back cover.

This BBC adaptation is by Andrew Davies, directed by Tom Shankland, and stars Dominic West (The Affair) as Jean Valjean, David Oyelowo (best known for playing civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma) as police inspector Javert, Lily Collins as Fantine, and Oscar winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite) as Madame Thénardier.

Check out PBS’s official site for Les Miserables, and check out our library catalog for Victor Hugo’s novel and other resources.

Fosse/Verdon FX Miniseries

A new miniseries premiered last Tuesday (April 9th) on the FX cable channel titled Fosse Verdon. It’s based on the Fosse biography written by Sam Wasson, and stars Sam Rockwell as director–choreographer Bob Fosse, and Michelle Williams as actress and dancer Gwen Verdon. Lin-Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame) is one of many executive producers.

“The project tells the story of the romantic and creative partnership between Bob Fosse (Rockwell) and Gwen Verdon (Williams). He was a filmmaker and one of theater’s most influential choreographers and directors; she was the greatest Broadway dancer of all time. Together, they changed the face of American entertainment — at a perilous cost. The series will feature Fosse’s choreography and explore the hidden corners of showbiz, the price of pursuing greatness and the suffering inflicted in the name of art.”[1]

Once Gwen Verdon started working with Fosse, she became his muse. The first episode of the series depicts his almost “need” to have her around while he was choreographing Cabaret in Germany. They eventually married and separated, but Verdon remained legally married to Fosse at his death, and she was the mother of his only child (daughter Nicole Fosse, who co-executive produces).

Check out the official trailer from the series, and also check out resources available on Bob Fosse in our collection:

  1. Goldberg, Lesley (July 24, 2018). “Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michelle Williams, Sam Rockwell Team for Fosse-Verdon Series at FX“. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 15, 2019.

New to the Collection: To Kill a Mockingbird Graphic Novel

If you watched PBS’ “The Great American Read” last year, you will know that the #1 novel voted on by viewers as America’s best-loved novel was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. If you didn’t watch the limited series, the premise was for viewer’s to vote for their favorite novels from a list of 100 “best-loved,” resulting in the #1 American pick.

Whether you’ve read Lee’s novel prior or not, new to our collection is a graphic novel adaptation by Fred Fordham. Fordham notes, “This adaptation…does not seek to reinvent Harper Lee’s story and characters. The text is, as far as has been possible, directly taken from the novel. Where I have made changes, they have been for the sole purpose of best representing the story and sentiment of Lee’s original work in this medium.” So if you’re looking for a refreshingly new take on the novel, check the graphic version out!

To Kill a Mockingbird in MVCC’s library collection:

And check out the full results of “The Great American Read” at PBS’ website:  https://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/results/

New to the Collection – Picks of the Week

Check out my new picks of the week in the Library Lounge “New Arrivals” section!

Johnny Cash: the Life and Legacy of the Man in Black by Alan Light – “Johnny Cash established himself as a true original through a combination of rebellion, determination, and faith. He was a spokesperson for the underdog, with music that transcended genre and spoke to the core of the American spirit. ‘Johnny Cash: The Life and Legacy of the Man in Black’ offers an intimate look at one of music’s greatest icons through more than 100 pieces of revelatory and largely unpublished material from the Cash family archives, including handwritten notes and lyric sheets; personal photographs of Cash with his family, traveling, and performing onstage; and beloved objects from his home and private recording studio. Alan Light, one of America’s leading music journalists, traces Cash’s story from the musician’s origins in rural Arkansas to his early recordings with Sun Records; from his battles with drug dependency to his celebrated romance with June Carter; and from his revolutionary creative breakthroughs, including ‘At Folsom Prison’ and ‘American Recordings,’ to his death and ongoing cultural impact. Rich and insightful, ‘Johnny Cash’ is ideal for all those who want to better know one of the world’s most beloved and influential musicians.”–Back cover.

A Home for Surrealism: Fantastic Painting in Midcentury Chicago edited by Janine Mileaf and Susan F. Rossen – “Chicago has for decades been one of the most prominent cities where European surrealism is avidly collected and displayed. However, there has yet to be a scholarly exhibition and catalog that addresses the local manifestations of this international mode of art. ‘A Home for Surrealism’ focuses on a select group of painters whose work in the 1940s and ’50s both transformed the domestic and domesticated the surrealist, particularly in Chicago. Working independently, but within a chain of social and artistic relationships, this group explored the interior as a site of projected imagination and fantasy, and the self as the generator of such altered perception. Including contributions by Robert Cozzolino, Adam Jolles, and Joanna Pawlik, the book provides a richly illustrated account of an international movement’s unlikely–but somehow ever so fitting–home in America.”–Distributor description.

How to be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal M. Fleming – “How could the same nation that twice voted for an erudite black president then elect an overt racist who can rarely string together coherent sentences? What explains the fact that Democrats who ignored mass deportations under Obama suddenly care now that a Republican is in charge? Why do people still believe that interracial love (or sex) can end racism when thousands of years of intergender love and sex have quite obviously failed to end patriarchy? And why do so many journalists think their job is to report ‘both sides’ of white supremacy? Combining no-holds-barred social critique, humorous personal anecdotes, and the latest scholarship on systemic racism, sociologist Crystal M. Fleming provides a fresh and irreverent take on everything that’s wrong with our ‘national conversation about race.’ Accessibly writing about critical race theory, and breaking through the half-truths and misconceptions that have thoroughly corrupted how race is represented in the classroom, pop culture, media, and politics, Fleming draws on her own experiences as a queer black millennial, college professor, and researcher. Fleming explains how systemic racism socializes all of us to absorb racial stupid ideas, and she shares concrete steps for detecting and dismantling racial oppression. At turns humorous, informative, and biting, ‘How to Be Less Stupid About Race’ is the class your high school and college never offered, the book you wish your racist grandpa or clueless boss would read. It’s a truth bomb and an unforgettable call to action for anyone who wants to challenge white supremacy.”–Book jacket.

Is Voting for Young People?  by Martin P. Wattenberg – “In 2008, everyone expected young people to turn out to vote in record numbers for the first youthful, hip, new media-savvy, African American presidential candidate in history. They didn’t. When Obama ran for re-election, he targeted young voters and they still didn’t come to the polls in overwhelming numbers. What will happen in 2016, another potential history-making election? ‘Is Voting for Young People?’ explores the reasons why young people are less likely to follow politics and vote in the United States (as well as in many other established democracies) no matter who the candidates are, whether they tweet or blog, or what the issues may be. This brief, accessible, and provocative book suggests ways of changing that, and now includes a new chapter on young people’s role in the 2008, 2012, and 2014 elections, looking ahead to 2016. New to the Fourth Edition: A new introduction placing current youth voting trends in context with recent elections. A new Chapter 8 covering the elections of 2008, 2012, and 2014–looking ahead to 2016. Updated voting data on 2012 and 2014 elections. A new concluding chapter offering recommendations for improving young voter turnout.”–Publisher description.

Jerome Robbins: a Life in Dance by Wendy Lesser – “Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) was born Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz and grew up in Weehawken, New Jersey, where his Russian-Jewish immigrant parents owned the Comfort Corset Company. Robbins, who was drawn to dance at a young age, resisted the idea of joining the family business. In 1936 he began working with Gluck Sandor, who ran a dance group and convinced him to change his name to Jerome Robbins. He went on to become a choreographer and director who worked in ballet, on Broadway, and in film. His stage productions include West Side Story, Peter Pan, and Fiddler on the Roof. In this deft biography, Wendy Lesser presents Jerome Robbins’s life through his major dances, providing a sympathetic, detailed portrait of her subject.”–Book jacket.

The Woman’s Hour: the Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss – “The nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history: the ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote. Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, twelve have rejected or refused to vote, and one last state is needed. It all comes down to Tennessee, the moment of truth for the suffragists, after a seven-decade crusade. The opposing forces include politicians with careers at stake, liquor companies, railroad magnates, and a lot of racists who don’t want black women voting. And then there are the ‘Antis’–women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the moral collapse of the nation. They all converge in a boiling hot summer for a vicious face-off replete with dirty tricks, betrayals and bribes, bigotry, Jack Daniel’s, and the Bible. Following a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, along with appearances by Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Frederick Douglass, and Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘The Woman’s Hour’ is an inspiring story of activists winning their own freedom in one of the last campaigns forged in the shadow of the Civil War, and the beginning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.”–Publisher description.

The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer by Charles Graeber – “For decades, scientists have puzzled over one of medicine’s most confounding mysteries: Why doesn’t our immune system recognize and fight cancer the way it does other diseases, like the common cold? As it turns out, the answer to that question can be traced to a series of tricks that cancer has developed to turn off normal immune responses–tricks that scientists have only recently discovered and learned to defeat. The result is what many are calling cancer’s ‘penicillin moment,’ a revolutionary discovery in our understanding of cancer and how to beat it. In ‘The Breakthrough,’ Graeber guides readers through the revolutionary scientific research bringing immunotherapy out of the realm of the miraculous and into the forefront of twenty-first-century medical science. As advances in the fields of cancer research and the human immune system continue to fuel a therapeutic arms race among biotech and pharmaceutical research centers around the world, the next step–harnessing the wealth of new information to create modern and more effective patient therapies–is unfolding at an unprecedented pace, rapidly redefining our relationship with this all-too-human disease. Groundbreaking, riveting, and expertly told, ‘The Breakthrough’ is the story of the game-changing scientific discoveries that unleash our natural ability to recognize and defeat cancer, as told through the experiences of the patients, physicians, and cancer immunotherapy researchers who are on the front lines. This is the incredible true story of the race to find a cure, a dispatch from the life-changing world of modern oncological science, and a brave new chapter in medical history.”–Book jacket.

The Screwtape Letters: and Screwtape Proposes a Toast by C.S. Lewis ; with annotations by Paul McCusker – “A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life from the vantage point of Screwtape, a senior tempter in the service of ‘Our Father Below.’ At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. ‘The Screwtape Letters’ is the most engaging and humorous account of temptation–and triumph over it–ever written. Now, for the first time, ‘The Screwtape Letters’ is presented with its full text alongside helpful annotations provided by Lewis enthusiast and dramatist Paul McCusker. The notes include literary, theological, and biographical information to enhance Lewis’s core themes and demystify complex ideas. McCusker also guides readers to concepts and references from the beloved author’s other treasured volumes to deepen and enrich this timeless classic. The annotated edition is the ultimate guide for understanding the heavenly truths buried in these epistles from below.”–Book jacket.

Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America by Nathaniel Frank – “The right of same-sex couples to marry provoked decades of intense conflict before it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. Yet some of the most divisive contests shaping the quest for marriage equality occurred not on the culture-war front lines but within the ranks of LGBTQ advocates. Nathaniel Frank tells the dramatic story of how an idea that once seemed unfathomable–and for many gays and lesbians undesirable–became a legal and moral right in just half a century. ‘Awakening’ begins in the 1950s, when millions of gays and lesbians were afraid to come out, let alone fight for equality. Across the social upheavals of the next two decades, a gay rights movement emerged with the rising awareness of the equal dignity of same-sex love. A cadre of LGBTQ lawyers soon began to focus on legal recognition for same-sex couples, if not yet on marriage itself. It was only after being pushed by a small set of committed lawyers and grassroots activists that established movement groups created a successful strategy to win marriage in the courts. Marriage equality proponents then had to win over members of their own LGBTQ community who declined to make marriage a priority, while seeking to rein in others who charged ahead heedless of their carefully laid plans. All the while, they had to fight against virulent antigay opponents and capture the American center by spreading the simple message that love is love, ultimately propelling the LGBTQ community–and America–immeasurably closer to justice.”–Publisher description.

Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens edited by Marieke Nijkamp – “Warrior. Actor. Friend. Heroine. Traveler. Sister. Magician. Lover. Biker. In this stunning anthology, #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp teams up with fellow disabled authors to create a collection of fictional stories that dispense with the tired, broken stereotypes–and reclaim narratives and identities. By weaving together tales of interstellar war, an enchanted carnival, or a dating debacle, ‘Unbroken’ celebrates the varied experiences of disabled teens, including teens of color and of diverse genders and orientations, without obscuring the realities of their disabilities. At turns hilarious and heart-stopping, these short stories share a common thread–one that has bent over time but will never break.”–Book jacket.

Beyond Chrismukkah: the Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in the United States by Samira K. Mehta – “The rate of interfaith marriage in the United States has risen so radically since the sixties that it is difficult to recall how taboo the practice once was. How is this development understood and regarded by Americans generally, and what does it tell us about the nation’s religious life? Drawing on ethnographic and historical sources, Samira K. Mehta provides a fascinating analysis of wives, husbands, children, and their extended families in interfaith homes, religious leaders, and the social and cultural milieu surrounding mixed marriages among Jews, Catholics, and Protestants. Mehta’s eye-opening look at the portrayal of interfaith families across American culture since the mid-twentieth century ranges from popular TV shows, holiday cards, and humorous guides to ‘Chrismukkah’ to children’s books, young adult fiction, and religious and secular advice manuals. Mehta argues that the emergence of multiculturalism helped generate new terms by which interfaith families felt empowered to shape their lived religious practices in ways and degrees previously unknown. They began to intertwine their religious identities without compromising their social standing. This rich portrait of families living diverse religions together at home advances the understanding of how religion functions in American society today.”–Back cover.

The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner ; translated and edited with an introduction by John Deathridge – “The scale and grandeur of Wagner’s ‘The Ring of the Nibelung’ has no precedent and no successor. It preoccupied Wagner for much of his adult life and revolutionized the nature of opera, the orchestra, the demands on singers and on the audience itself. The four operas–The Rhinegold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried, and Twilight of the Gods–are complete worlds, conjuring up extraordinary mythological landscapes through sound as much as staging. Wagner wrote the entire libretto before embarking on the music. Discarding the grand choruses and bravura duets central to most operas, he used the largest musical forces in the context often of only a handful of singers on stage. The words were essential: he was telling a story and making an argument in a way that required absolute attention to what was said. The libretto for The Ring lies at the heart of nineteenth century culture. It is in itself a work of power and grandeur, and it had an incalculable effect on European and specifically German culture. John Deathridge’s superb new translation, with notes and a fascinating introduction, is essential for anyone who wishes to fully engage with one of the great musical experiences.”–Publisher description.

Love: the Psychology of Attraction by Leslie Becker-Phelps Ph.D. ; with Megan Kaye – “A dynamic infographic program that uses the lessons of psychological research to help you find a loving relationship. Which ingredients promise the happiest romantic chemistry? How can understanding your own psyche help you succeed in love? What are the rules of attraction? This book answers all your love-related questions to help you crack the code of compatibility. If you are looking for passion, excitement, or security, this relationship roadmap will put you on the right track–and keep you there.”–Back cover.

Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History by Blair Imani – “An inspiring and radical celebration of 70 women, girls, and gender nonbinary people who have changed–and are still changing–the world, from the Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall riots through Black Lives Matter and beyond. With a radical and inclusive approach to history, ‘Modern HERstory’ profiles and celebrates seventy women and nonbinary champions of progressive social change in a bold, colorful, illustrated format for all ages. Despite making huge contributions to the liberation movements of the last century and today, all of these trailblazers come from backgrounds and communities that are traditionally overlooked and under-celebrated: not just women, but people of color, queer people, trans people, disabled people, young people, and people of faith. Authored by rising star activist Blair Imani, ‘Modern HERstory’ tells the important stories of the leaders and movements that are changing the world right here and right now–and will inspire you to do the same.”–Amazon.com.

Sanctuary Cities edited by Marcia Amidon Lusted – “As part of his crackdown on illegal immigration, President Trump’s vow to defund sanctuary cities, cities and counties that protect low-priority immigrants from deportation, has stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy. Are sanctuary cities legal? Should the federal government infringe on states’ rights? Why should illegal immigrants be protected? Do sanctuary cities threaten national security and community safety? Do they encourage illegal immigration? These are among the many complicated questions posed in this enlightening anthology, in which diverse viewpoints address the swirling issues of immigration, federal vs. states’ rights, and America’s moral responsibility as a democracy.”–Publisher description.

New to the Collection – Picks of the Week

Check out my new picks of the week in the Library Lounge “New Arrivals” section!

The World of Scary Video Games by Bernard Perron: “As for film and literature, the horror genre has been very popular in the video game. ‘The World of Scary Video Games’ provides a comprehensive overview of the videoludic horror, dealing with the games labelled as ‘survival horror’ as well as the mainstream and independent works associated with the genre. It examines the ways in which video games have elicited horror, terror and fear since ‘Haunted House’ (1981). Bernard Perron combines an historical account with a theoretical approach in order to offer a broad history of the genre, outline its formal singularities and explore its principal issues. It studies the most important games and game series, from ‘Haunted House’ (1981) to ‘Alone in the Dark’ (1992- ), ‘Resident Evil’ (1996-present), ‘Silent Hill’ (1999-present), ‘Fatal Frame’ (2001-present), ‘Dead Space’ (2008-2013), ‘Amnesia: the Dark Descent’ (2010), and ‘The Evil Within’ (2014). Accessibly written, ‘The World of Scary Video Games’ helps the reader to trace the history of an important genre of the video game.”–Publisher description

Never Lost Again: the Google Mapping Revolution That Sparked New Industries and Augmented Our Reality by Bill Kilday: “As enlightening as The Facebook Effect, Elon Musk, and Chaos Monkeys–the compelling, behind-the-scenes story of the creation of one of the most essential applications ever devised, and the rag-tag team that built it and changed how we navigate the world. ‘Never Lost Again’ chronicles the evolution of mapping technology–the ‘overnight success twenty years in the making’. Bill Kilday takes us behind the scenes of the tech’s development, and introduces us to the team that gave us not only Google Maps but Google Earth, and most recently, Pokémon GO. He takes us back to the beginning to Keyhole–a cash-strapped startup mapping company started by a small-town Texas boy named John Hanke, that nearly folded when the tech bubble burst. While a contract with the CIA kept them afloat, the company’s big break came with the first invasion of Iraq; CNN used their technology to cover the war and made it famous. Then Google came on the scene, buying the company and relaunching the software as Google Maps and Google Earth. Eventually, Hanke’s original company was spun back out of Google, and is now responsible for Pokémon GO and the upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Kilday, the marketing director for Keyhole and Google Maps, was there from the earliest days, and offers a personal look behind the scenes at the tech and the minds developing it. But this book isn’t only a look back at the past; it is also a glimpse of what’s to come. Kilday reveals how emerging map-based technologies including virtual reality and driverless cars are going to upend our lives once again. ‘Never Lost Again’ shows us how our worldview changed dramatically as a result of vision, imagination, and implementation. It’s a crazy story. And it all started with a really good map.”–Publisher description

Homer’s The Odyssey : a new translation by Peter Green: “‘The Odyssey’ is vividly captured and beautifully paced in this swift and lucid new translation by acclaimed scholar and translator Peter Green. Accompanied by an illuminating introduction, maps, chapter summaries, a glossary, and explanatory notes, this is the ideal translation for both general readers and students to experience ‘The Odyssey’ in all its glory. Green’s version, with its lyrical mastery and superb command of Greek, offers readers the opportunity to enjoy Homer’s epic tale of survival, temptation, betrayal, and vengeance with all of the verve and pathos of the original oral tradition.”–Book jacket

Writing the Literature Review by Sara Efrat Efron and Ruth Ravid: “This accessible text provides a roadmap for producing a high-quality literature review–an integral part of a successful thesis, dissertation, term paper, or grant proposal. Each step of searching for, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing prior studies is clearly explained and accompanied by user friendly suggestions, organizational tips, vignettes and examples of student work. Also featured are excerpts from peer-reviewed quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods articles. This is the first book to focus on crafting different types of reviews (systematic, traditional-narrative, or hermeneutic–phenomenological) that reflect the writer’s research question, methodological choices, and approaches to knowledge. It describes what all reviews have in common and highlights distinct characteristics of each type. The book includes dos and don’ts for evaluating studies and constructing an argument, and software suggestions for locating, organizing, and arranging sources.”–Back cover

When Death Becomes Life: Notes From a Transplant Surgeon by Joshua D. Mezrich, M.D.: “A gifted surgeon illuminates one of the most awe-inspiring achievements of modern-day medicine: the movement of organs between bodies. At the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Joshua Mezrich creates life from loss, transplanting organs from one body to another. In this intimate and profoundly moving work, he sheds light not only on the extraordinary field of transplantation that enables this kind of miracle to happen every day, but also on the incredible doctors, donors, and patients who are at the center of this near-unimaginable world. [This book] is a thrilling look at how science advances on a grand scale to improve human lives. Mezrich examines more than one hundred years of remarkable medical breakthroughs, connecting this fascinating history with the inspiring and heartbreaking stories of his transplant patients. Combining gentle sensitivity with scientific clarity, Mezrich reflects on his calling as a doctor, conveying what the life of a surgeon is really like and how it feels to experience soaring victories as well as crushing defeats. He introduces the modern pioneers who made transplantation a reality–maverick surgeons whose feats of imagination, bold vision, and daring risk-taking generated techniques and practices that save millions of lives around the world. We hear the stories of the donors and the recipients, learn of the ethical issues involved, and celebrate the unbelievable strength of the human spirit. Mezrich takes us inside the operating room and unlocks the wondrous process of transplant surgery, a delicate, intense ballet requiring precise timing, breathtaking skill, and, at times, creative improvisation. In this illuminating work, Mezrich touches upon the essence of existence and what it means to be alive. Most physicians fight against death, but in transplantation, doctors take from death. Here the dead give their last remnant of life to the living–and Mezrich shares his gratitude and awe for the privilege of being a part of this transformative exchange. After all, the donors are his patients, too. Part history, part memoir, all completely riveting, [this book] offers the human story behind the most exceptional medical advancements of our time and stands as a beautiful, poignant reminder that a life lost can also offer the hope of a new beginning.”–Book jacket

Luminous Creatures: the History and Science of Light Production in Living Organisms by Michel Anctil: “Naturalists in antiquity worked hard to dispel fanciful ideas about the meaning of living lights, but remained bewildered by them. Even Charles Darwin was perplexed by the chaotic diversity of luminous organisms, which he found difficult to reconcile with his evolutionary theory. It fell to naturalists and scientists to make sense of the dazzling displays of fireflies and other organisms. In ‘Luminous Creatures’ Michel Anctil shows how mythical perceptions of bioluminescence gradually gave way to a scientific understanding of its mechanisms, functions, and evolution, and to the recognition of its usefulness for biomedical and other applied fields. Following the rise of the modern scientific method and the circumnavigations and oceanographic expeditions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, biologists began to realize the diversity of bioluminescence’s expressions in light organs and ecological imprints, and how widespread it is on the planet. By the end of the nineteenth century an understanding of the chemical nature and physiological control of the phenomenon was at hand. Technological developments led to an explosion of knowledge on the ecology, evolution, and molecular biology of bioluminescence. ‘Luminous Creatures’ tracks these historical events and illuminates the lives and the trail-blazing accomplishments of the scientists involved. It offers a unique picture of the awe-inspiring, phantasmagorical world of light-producing organisms, viewed from the perspectives of casual observers and scientists alike.”–Back cover

The Indispensable Composers by Anthony Tommasini: “When he began to listen to the great works of classical music as a child, Anthony Tommasini had many questions. Why did a particular piece move him? How did the music work? Over time, he realized that his passion for this music was not enough. He needed to understand it. Take Bach, for starters. Who was he? How does one account for his music and its unshakable hold on us today? As a critic, Tommasini has devoted particular attention to living composers and overlooked repertory. But for him, as for all classical music lovers, the canon has remained central. In 2011, in his role as the chief classical music critic of The New York Times, he wrote a popular series in which he somewhat cheekily set out to determine the all-time top ten composers. Inviting input from readers, Tommasini wrestled with questions of greatness. Readers joined the exercise in droves. Some railed against classical music’s obsession with greatness but then raged when Mahler was left off the final list. This intellectual game reminded them of why they loved music in the first place. Now, in ‘The Indispensable Composers,’ Tommasini offers his own personal guide to the canon–and what greatness really means in classical music. What does it mean to be canonical now? Who gets to say? And do we have enough perspective on the twentieth century to even begin assessing it? To make his case, Tommasini draws on elements of biography, the anxiety of influence, the composer’s relationships with colleagues, and shifting attitudes toward a composer’s work over time. Because he has spent his life contemplating these titans, Tommasini shares impressions from performances he has heard or given, as well as moments when his own biography proves revealing. As he argues for his particular pantheon of indispensable composers, Anthony Tommasini provides a master class in what to listen for and how to understand what music does to us.”–Book jacket

Breaking and Entering: the Extraordinary Story of a Hacker called “Alien” by Jeremy N. Smith: “This taut, true thriller dives into a dark world that touches us all, as seen through the brilliant, breakneck career of an extraordinary hacker–a woman known only as Alien. When she arrived at MIT in the 1990s, Alien was quickly drawn to the school’s tradition of high-risk physical trespassing: the original ‘hacking.’ Within a year, one of her hallmates was dead and two others were arraigned. Alien’s adventures were only just beginning. After a stint at the storied, secretive Los Alamos National Laboratory, Alien was recruited by a top cybersecurity firm, where she deployed her cache of virtual weapons–and the trespassing and social engineering talents she had developed while ‘hacking’ at MIT. The company tested its clients’ security by every means possible–not just coding, but donning disguises and sneaking past guards and secretaries into the C-suite. Alien now runs a boutique hacking outfit that caters to some of the world’s biggest and most vulnerable institutions–banks, retailers, government agencies. Her work combines devilish charm, old-school deception, and next-generation spycraft. In ‘Breaking and Entering,’ cybersecurity finally gets the rich, character-driven, fast-paced treatment it deserves.”–Book jacket

Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires by Juan Cole: “In the midst of the dramatic seventh-century war between two empires, Muhammad was a spiritual seeker in search of community and sanctuary. Many observers stereotype Islam and its scripture as inherently extreme or violent-a narrative that has overshadowed the truth of its roots. In this masterfully told account, preeminent Middle East expert Juan Cole takes us back to Islam’s-and the Prophet Muhammad’s-origin story. Cole shows how Muhammad came of age in an era of unparalleled violence. The eastern Roman Empire and the Sasanian Empire of Iran fought savagely throughout the Near East and Asia Minor. Muhammad’s profound distress at the carnage of his times led him to envision an alternative movement, one firmly grounded in peace. The religion Muhammad founded, Islam, spread widely during his lifetime, relying on soft power instead of military might, and sought armistices even when militarily attacked. Cole sheds light on this forgotten history, reminding us that in the Qur’an, the legacy of that spiritual message endures. A vibrant history that brings to life the fascinating and complex world of the Prophet, ‘Muhammad’ is the story of how peace is the rule and not the exception for one of the world’s most practiced religions.”–Publisher description

Influenza: the Hundred-Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History by Jeremy Brown, MD: “On the 100th anniversary of the devastating pandemic of 1918, Jeremy Brown, a veteran ER doctor, explores the troubling, terrifying, and complex history of the flu virus, from the origins of the Great Flu that killed millions, to vexing questions such as: are we prepared for the next epidemic, should you get a flu shot, and how close are we to finding a cure? While influenza is now often thought of as a common and mild disease, it still kills over 30,000 people in the US each year. Dr. Jeremy Brown, currently Director of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health, expounds on the flu’s deadly past to solve the mysteries that could protect us from the next outbreak. In ‘Influenza,’ he talks with leading epidemiologists, policy makers, and the researcher who first sequenced the genetic building blocks of the original 1918 virus to offer both a comprehensive history and a roadmap for understanding what’s to come. Dr. Brown digs into the discovery and resurrection of the flu virus in the frozen victims of the 1918 epidemic, as well as the bizarre remedies that once treated the disease, such as whiskey and blood-letting. [The book] also breaks down the current dialogue surrounding the disease, explaining the controversy over vaccinations, antiviral drugs like Tamiflu, and the federal government’s role in preparing for pandemic outbreaks. Though 100 years of advancement in medical research and technology have passed since the 1918 disaster, Dr. Brown warns that many of the most vital questions about the flu virus continue to confound even the leading experts. [The book] is an enlightening and unnerving look at a shapeshifting deadly virus that has been around long before people–and warns us that it may be many more years before we are able to conquer it for good.”–Publisher description

The Meaning of Life: the Case for Abolishing Life Sentences by Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis: “Most western democracies have few or no people serving life sentences, and research suggests that sentences of longer than twenty years are not justified. Yet here in the United States, over 200,000 people are serving life in prison. How has the United States become the world leader in imposing life behind bars? Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis of The Sentencing Project, a leading criminal justice reform organization, argue that there is no practical or moral justification for a sentence longer than twenty years. In fact, harsher sentences have been shown to have little effect on crime rates, and a broad body of research demonstrates that people ‘age out’ of crime, meaning that we’re devoting significant resources to incarcerating individuals who pose little threat to public safety. Such extreme punishment for serious crime also has an inflationary effect on sentences across the spectrum, helping to account for severe mandatory minimums and other harsh punishments. A thoughtful and stirring call to action, ‘The Meaning of Life’ also features moving profiles of a half dozen people affected by life sentences, written by former ‘lifer’ and award-winning author Kerry Myers. A key part of an upcoming campaign to end life sentences spearheaded by The Sentencing Project, ‘The Meaning of Life’ offers a much-needed road map to a more humane criminal justice system.”–Book jacket

Accessible America: a History of Disability and Design by Bess Williamson: “In the aftermath of World War II, with injured veterans returning home and the polio epidemic reaching the Oval Office, the needs of people with disabilities came forcibly into the public eye as they never had before. The U.S. became the first country to enact a series of national accessibility laws, beginning with the Architectural Barriers Act in 1968 and continuing through the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, bringing about a wholesale rethinking of our built environment. This progression wasn’t straightforward or easy. Early legislation and design efforts were often haphazard or poorly implemented, with decidedly mixed results. Political resistance to accommodating the needs of people with disabilities was strong; so, too, was resistance among architectural and industrial designers, for whom accessible design wasn’t ‘real’ design. Bess Williamson provides an extraordinary look at everyday design–from ergonomic kitchen tools to curb cuts on sidewalks at intersections–to provide an insight into a world in which we are all active participants, but often passive onlookers. Richly detailed, with stories of politics and innovation, ‘Accessible America’ takes us through this important history, showing how American ideas of individualism and rights came to shape the material world, often with unexpected consequences.”–Book jacket

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: the Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux: “Soon after publication on September 30, 1868, ‘Little Women’ became an enormous bestseller and one of America’s favorite novels. Its popularity quickly spread throughout the world, and the book has become an international classic. When Anne Boyd Rioux read the novel in her twenties, she had a powerful reaction to the story. Through teaching the book, she has seen the same effect on many others. In ‘Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy,’ Rioux recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write ‘Little Women,’ drawing inspiration for it from her own life. Rioux also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore America apart, has resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women. Alcott’s novel has moved generations of women, many of them writers: Simone de Beauvoir, J.K. Rowling, bell hooks, Cynthia Ozick, Jane Smiley, Margo Jefferson, and Ursula K. Le Guin were inspired by ‘Little Women,’ particularly its portrait of the iconoclastic young writer, Jo. Many have felt, as Anna Quindlen has declared, ‘Little Women changed my life.’ Today, Rioux sees the novel’s beating heart in Alcott’s portrayal of family resilience and her honest look at the struggles of girls growing into women. In gauging its current status, Rioux shows why ‘Little Women’ remains a book with such power that people carry its characters and spirit throughout their lives.”–Book jacket

Which Side Are You On?: 20th Century American History in 100 Protest Songs by James Sullivan: “When he emerged from the nightclubs of Greenwich Village, Bob Dylan was often identified as a ‘protest’ singer. As early as 1962, however, Dylan was already protesting the label: ‘I don’t write no protest songs,’ he told his audience on the night he debuted ‘Blowin’ in the Wind.’ ‘Protest’ music is largely perceived as an unsubtle art form, a topical brand of songwriting that preaches to the converted. But popular music of all types has long given listeners food for thought. Fifty years before Vietnam, before the United States entered World War I, some of the most popular sheet music in the country featured anti-war tunes. The labor movement of the early decades of the century was fueled by its communal ‘songbook.’ The Civil Rights movement was soundtracked not just by the gorgeous melodies of ‘Strange Fruit’ and ‘A Change Is Gonna Come,’ but hundreds of other gospel-tinged ballads and blues. In ‘Which Side Are You On’, author James Sullivan delivers a lively anecdotal history of the progressive movements that have shaped the growth of the United States, and the songs that have accompanied and defined them. Covering one hundred years of social conflict and progress across the twentieth century and into the early years of the twenty-first, this book reveals how protest songs have given voice to the needs and challenges of a nation and asked its citizens to take a stand–asking the question ‘Which side are you on?'”–Book jacket

We also added a bunch of DVDs including:

  • The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Moving and Greased Lightning Double Feature
  • Fantastic Beasts
  • Sparkle
  • Shampoo
  • A Star is Born – 1937 version
  • The Blue Planet Complete Collection
  • and more…




New Arrivals to the Collection This Week

Check out some of these new arrivals to our collection located in the Library lounge!

#NeverAgain by David Hogg and Lauren Hogg: “From two survivors of the Parkland, Florida, shooting comes a declaration for our times, and an in-depth look at the making of the #NeverAgain movement. On February 14, 2018, seventeen-year-old David Hogg and his fourteen-year-old sister, Lauren, went to school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, like any normal Wednesday. That day, of course, the world changed. By the next morning, with seventeen classmates and faculty dead, they had joined the leadership of a movement to save their own lives, and the lives of all other young people in America. It’s a leadership position they did not seek, and did not want–but events gave them no choice.”–Publisher (Random House) description.

Your Rights in the Workplace by Attorney Sachi Barreiro: “‘Your Rights in the Workplace’ is an invaluable reference for every employee. Whether you have questions about your paycheck, discrimination, layoffs, or benefits, you’ll find answers here. Get the facts on drug and other workplace testing; sexual harassment; wrongful termination; wages and overtime; sex, race, age, and disability discrimination; family and medical leave; on-the-job safety and health; health insurance and retirement plans; and unemployment, disability, and workers’ compensation insurance.”–Publisher (Nolo) description.

How I Resist : Activism and Hope for a New Generation: “In ‘How I Resist,’ readers will find hope and support through voices that are at turns personal, funny, irreverent, and instructive. Not just for a young adult audience, this incredibly impactful collection will appeal to readers of all ages who are feeling adrift and looking for guidance.”–Publisher (Wednesday Books) description.

Illegal : Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin ; illustrated by Giovanni Rigano: “Ebo is alone. His brother, Kwame, has disappeared, and Ebo knows it can only be to attempt the hazardous journey to Europe, and a better life–the same journey their sister embarked on months ago. But Ebo refuses to be left behind in Ghana. Ebo’s epic quest takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step, he holds on to his hope for a new life and a reunion with his family. This powerfully moving graphic novel–by ‘New York Times’ bestselling author Eoin Colfer and the team behind the Artemis Fowl graphic novels–explores the current plight of immigrants searching for a new beginning.”–Back cover

Ali : a Life by Jonathan Eig: “The definitive biography of an American icon, from a ‘New York Times’ best-selling author with unique access to Ali’s inner circle. He was the wittiest, the prettiest, the strongest, the bravest, and, of course, the greatest (as he told us himself). Muhammad Ali was one of the twentieth century’s most fantastic figures and arguably the most famous man on the planet. But until now, he has never been the subject of a complete, unauthorized biography. Jonathan Eig, hailed by Ken Burns as one of America’s master storytellers, radically reshapes our understanding of the complicated man who was Ali. Eig had access to all the key people in Ali’s life, including his three surviving wives and his managers. He conducted more than 500 interviews and uncovered thousands of pages of previously unreleased FBI and Justice Department files, as well as dozens of hours of newly discovered audiotaped interviews from the 1960s. Collectively, they tell Ali’s story like never before–the story of a man who was flawed and uncertain and brave beyond belief.”–Book jacket.

The Oath and the Office : a Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents by Corey Brettschneider: “Can the president launch a nuclear attack without congressional approval? Is it ever a crime to criticize the president? Can states legally resist a president’s executive order? In today’s fraught political climate, it often seems as if we must become constitutional law scholars just to understand the news from Washington, let alone make a responsible decision at the polls. This book is the book we need, right now and into the future, whether we are voting for or running to become president of the United States. Constitutional law scholar and political science professor Corey Brettschneider guides us through the Constitution and explains the powers–and limits–that it places on the presidency.”–Book jacket.

The Red and the Blue : the 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism by Steve Kornacki: “From MSNBC and NBC news correspondent Steve Kornacki, a lively and sweeping history of the 1990s–one that brings critical new understanding to our current political landscape. In this book, cable news star and acclaimed journalist Steve Kornacki follows the twin paths of Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, two larger-than-life politicians who exploited the weakened structure of their respective parties to attain the highest offices. For Clinton, that meant contorting himself around the various factions of the Democratic Party to win the presidency. Gingrich employed a scorched-earth strategy to upend the permanent Republican minority in the House, making him Speaker. The Clinton/Gingrich battles were bare-knuckle brawls that brought about massive policy shifts and high-stakes showdowns–their collisions had far-reaching political consequences. But the ’90s were not just about them. Kornacki writes about Mario Cuomo’s stubborn presence around Clinton’s 1992 campaign; Hillary Clinton’s star turn during the 1998 midterms, seeding the idea for her own candidacy; Ross Perot’s wild run in 1992 that inspired him to launch the Reform Party, giving Donald Trump his first taste of electoral politics in 1999; and many others. With novelistic prose and a clear sense of history, Kornacki masterfully weaves together the various elements of this rambunctious and hugely impactful era in American history, whose effects are still being felt today.”–Book jacket

The Most Dangerous Branch : Inside the Supreme Court’s Assault on the Constitution by David A. Kaplan: “Taking us inside the secret world of the Supreme Court, this book is an incisive look at how the justices undermine the role of the other branches of government–and how we’ve come to accept it at our peril. Never before has the Supreme Court been more central in American life. It is the nine justices who too often now decide the controversial issues of our time–from abortion and same-sex marriage to gun control, campaign finance, and voting rights. The Court is so crucial that many voters in 2016 made their choice for president based on whom they thought their candidate would name to the Court. Donald Trump picked Neil Gorsuch–the key decision of his new administration. The next justice–replacing Anthony Kennedy–will be even more important, holding the swing vote over so much social policy. Is that really how democracy is supposed to work? Based on exclusive interviews with the justices and dozens of their law clerks, prize-winning legal journalist David A. Kaplan provides fresh details about life behind the scenes at the Court–Clarence Thomas’s simmering rage, Antonin Scalia’s death, Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s celebrity, Breyer Bingo, the petty feuding between Gorsuch and the chief justice, and what John Roberts thinks about his critics. Kaplan presents a sweeping narrative of the justices’ aggrandizement of power over the decades–from Roe v. Wade to Bush v. Gore to Citizens United to the rulings of the 2017-18 term. But the arrogance of the Court isn’t partisan: Conservative and liberal justices alike are guilty of overreach. Challenging conventional wisdom about the Court’s transcendent power, the book is sure to rile both sides of the political aisle.”–Book jacket

Black Out : Silhouettes Then and Now by Asma Naeem: “The first book highlighting the historical roots and contemporary implications of the silhouette as an American art form. Before the advent of photography in 1839, Americans were consumed by the fashion for silhouette portraits. Economical in every sense, the small, stark profiles cost far less than oil paintings and could be made in minutes. This book, the first major publication to focus on the development of silhouettes, gathers leading experts to shed light on the surprisingly complex historical, political, and social underpinnings of this ostensibly simple art form. In its examination of portraits by acclaimed silhouettists, such as Auguste Edouart and William Bache, this richly illustrated volume explores likenesses of everyone from presidents and celebrities to ordinary citizens and enslaved people. Ultimately, the book reveals how silhouettes registered the paradoxes of the unstable young nation, roiling with tensions over slavery and political independence.”–Book jacket.

Writers Under Surveillance : the FBI Files: “Writers are dangerous. They have ideas. The proclivity of writers for ideas drove the FBI to investigate many of them–to watch them, follow them, start files on them. This book gathers some of these files, giving readers a surveillance-state perspective on writers including Hannah Arendt, Allen Ginsberg, Ernest Hemingway, Susan Sontag, and Hunter S. Thompson. Obtained with Freedom of Information Act requests by MuckRock, a nonprofit dedicated to freeing American history from the locked filing cabinets of government agencies, the files on these authors are surprisingly wide-ranging; the investigations were as broad and varied as the authors’ own works. The files have been edited for length and clarity, but beyond that, everything in the book is pulled directly from investigatory files. Some investigations lasted for years, others just a few days. Some are thrilling narratives. Others never really go anywhere. Some are funny, others quite harrowing. Despite the federal government’s periodic admission of past wrongdoing, investigations like these will probably continue to happen. Like all that seems best forgotten, the Bureau’s investigation of writers should be remembered. We owe it to ourselves.”–Back cover

Printing Architecture : Innovative Recipes for 3D Printing by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello of Emerging Objects: “Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, of Emerging Objects, have developed techniques for 3D printing using powdered materials as diverse as sawdust, clay, cement, rubber, concrete, salt, coffee grounds, and even chardonnay grape skins. This book offers illuminating case studies–from household objects like a tea set printed from tea through modular building components and entire 3D-printed structures. They provide guidance for sourcing alternative materials, specific recipes for mixing compounds, and instructions for conducting bench tests and setting parameters for material testing.”–Back cover

3D Printing for Artists, Designers and Makers by Stephen Hoskins: “Fully revised and with a new chapter and international case studies, this second edition of the best-selling book traces how artists and designers continue to adapt and incorporate 3D printing technology into their work and explains how the creative industries are directly interfacing with this new technology. Covering a broad range of applied art practice–from fine art to furniture-design and film-making–Stephen Hoskins introduces some of his groundbreaking research from the Centre for Fine Print Research along with an updated history of 3D print technology, a new chapter on fashion and animation, and new case studies featuring artists working with metal, plastic, ceramic and other materials. A fascinating investigation into how the applied arts continue to adapt to new technologies and a forecast of what developments we might expect in the future, this book is essential reading for students, researchers studying contemporary art and design and professionals involved in the creative industries.”–Back cover


2019’s Bookish Oscar Winners Are…

Check out the 2019 “Bookish” Oscar winners in our collection!

If Beale Street Could Talk based on the novel by James Baldwin – Supporting Actress (Regina King): “‘If Beale Street Could Talk,’ the only Baldwin novel narrated by a woman, is a love story in which a young couple must weather a false accusation of rape and the predatory misconduct of the police.”–Publisher description. This novel is contained in the collection Later Novels, edited by Darryl Pinckney, published by The Library of America, volume 272.

BlacKkKlansman, adapted from Ron Stallworth’s memoir – Adapted Screenplay (Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee). 

Black Klansman : Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime by Ron Stallworth – “What happens when a black man tries to join the KKK? The true story of one of America’s most shocking undercover investigations–now the basis of a feature film by Spike Lee. When Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper recruiting for the Ku Klux Klan, he responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a white man. That decision launches what is surely one of the most audacious and incredible undercover investigations in history. Detective Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremacists in the military, and even fools David Duke himself. The book is an amazing real-life account that reads like a crime thriller–one that offers a searing portrait of a divided America, and the heroic citizens who dared to fight back.”–Back cover.

Black Panther, based on the Marvel comic book character – Costume Design; Production Design; Music (original score). “Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther’ follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king–and Black Panther–is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.”–Publisher description.

Search “Black Panther” for more formats: books, eBooks, & eAudio.

2017 National Book Award Winners

Check out the 2017 National Book Award winners in our collection:

Fiction winner: Sing, Unburied, Sing / by Jesmyn Ward; located on our main floor lounge area in our Afterclass collection.



Nonfiction winner: The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia / by Masha Gessen; temporarily located on our main floor in the lounge area.


Poetry winner: Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 / by Frank Bidart; temporarily located on our main floor in the lounge area.




Visit the National Book Foundation’s website to watch the National Book Awards ceremony and to see the other finalists.

Gene Luen Yang’s “Reading Without Walls” Challenge

Gene Luen Yang was appointed by the Library of Congress back in January 2016 to be the fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. According to Yang “every ambassador picks a platform, something they want to focus on. Mine is ‘Reading Without Walls.'” While the audience for this particular platform are children, his challenge can easily apply to everybody. His challenge is the following:


So I challenge you to browse our library catalog and pick one of the above criteria and read something new! You could even begin the challenge by browsing our catalog for some of Yang’s graphic novels and knock off number three.

To learn more about Yang’s involvement with this project, check out his website.

Free Comic Book Day Tomorrow – May 6

It’s “Free Comic Book Day” tomorrow! Held the first Saturday every May, “the [comic book] industry comes together to give away free comics and encourage fans, both old and new, to flock to the best place in the comic book community: local comic shops. Major publishers such as DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, and Image Comics put out free comics for fans to enjoy at the more than 2,300 local comic shops participating in Free Comic Book Day.” (www.freecomicbookday.com)

You can find local comic book stores near Palos Hills that are participating in the event by using Free Comic Book Day’s locator web page. Nearby participants are:

Also, check out MVCC Library’s graphic novel section. We have books about comics and we also have graphic novels that are bound collections of comic books such as Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel’s She-Hulk, DC Comics’ Bombshells, and more!