“The Windsors: From George to Kate” (2012, NR, Documentary) The British royal family has long captivated people around the world. This intriguing documentary gathers archival footage and photographs from nearly a century of the House of Windsor’s history, presenting a unique look at the pomp and pageantry that surround these fascinating figures. Highlights include the wedding of Charles and Diana (1981); Diana’s funeral (1997); and the announcement of Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton (2010).
“Contagion” (2011, PG13) A thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the Centers for Disease Control to deal with the outbreak. Starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, and Laurence Fishburne.
“Serving Life” (2011, TV Documentary) Actor Forest Whitaker narrates the story of a group of inmate volunteers who staff their own hospice inside a maximum security prison in Louisiana where the average sentence is more than 90 years.
“Ides of March” (2011, R, Drama) An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. Starring George Clooney, Paul Giamatti, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
February book club
The selection for the Solon Book Club for February is, “The Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka.
Set in the 1920s, “The Buddha in the Attic” is a novel about Japanese women who were brought to this country as mail-order or picture brides. Each woman carried a picture of her new husband along with her expectations of a new life in America. The dreams did not materialize as the women had to engage in backbreaking work harvest vegetables and pick fruit in orchards. They stuck it out, worked for pennies, bore children and were rounded up and taken to internment camps in the months leading up to the war.
This book should evoke a good discussion. Published reviews are at both ends of the spectrum with very little evidence of the book being just so-so. Reviewers either loved it or hated it and couldn’t get past the first chapter. Criticism is not so much about the contents but of the writer’s style. The book has garnered two prestigious recognitions as a novel for 2011: New York Times 100 Best Books and National Book Award Nominee.
The Solon Area Book Club meets the third Tuesday of the month at the library. The next meeting scheduled Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. All interested adult readers are welcome to attend. For questions about the book club, please contact Joyce at firstname.lastname@example.org. To borrow a copy of a selected book, please contact the library circulation desk by calling 319-624-2678 or email Jacque at email@example.com.
New non-fiction books
The non-fiction side of the new book shelf is overflowing with new selections. Gabrielle Giffords is a recognizable name as a survivor of an assassination attempt in Arizona that left six people dead and thirteen wounded. Her new book, “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope,” with Mark Kelly and Jeffrey Zaslow tells the couple’s unknown story from their behind closed doors to the hospital wards where Gabby struggled for survival.
There are a couple new books from the medical field, “Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have, the Answers You Need” by Rosalind Kalb and “Breaking Free From Depression” by Jesse Wright. The multiple sclerosis book by Kalb is written in an accessible question and answer format covering a wide range of topics regarding the disease. “Breaking Free From Depression” is one of the Guilford Self-Help Workbook series. Dozens of easy-to-use worksheets and forms are included or download and print from the companion website. This book shows how to beat depression and keep your life headed in a positive direction.
Good tips for saving dollars show up in Crystal Paine’s, “The Money Saving Mom’s Budget.” With a subtitle taunting, “slash your spending, pay down your debt, streamline your life and save thousands a year,” this book has tips, worksheets and strategies for families and incomes of all sizes. Kelly Coyne attacks spending from a frugal, homemade angle in this do-it-yourselfer book, “Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World.” Step-by-step instructions on a wide range of projects from growing food to creating laundry soap or fishing in urban waterways are all included.
Babygarten will be resuming on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 9:30 until 10:30 a.m. There is no registration. Children from newborn through 24 months and their caregivers may come to any or all sessions. The program includes approximately 25 minutes of rhymes and songs followed by 30 minutes of play time. This program is specifically designed for one-on-one involvement between parent and child but an extra sibling is welcome occasionally.