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Monday, January 16, 2017

Hot This Week: January 16

There's something for just about everyone on the movie list, as both the top two and the bottom two are new this week. With the holidays now firmly behind us, Pentatonix has vacated the music chart, making way for the soundtrack to the animated musical Sing. In fiction, Danielle Steel's latest novel debuts at the top of the list, while new books from Douglas Preston and Gary Taubes make their way onto the non-fiction list.

DVD
  1. Jason Bourne
  2. The Secret Life of Pets
  3. Sully
  4. The Magnificent Seven
  5. Storks
  6. Suicide Squad
  7. War Dogs
  8. Bad Moms
  9. Blair Witch
  10. Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
CD
  1. The Weeknd, Starboy
  2. Moana Soundtrack
  3. Bruno Mars, 24K Magic
  4. Drake, Views
  5. J. Cole, 4 Your Eyez Only
  6. Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording
  7. twenty one pilots, Blurryface
  8. Sing Soundtrack
  9. Suicide Squad: The Album
  10. Trolls Soundtrack
Fiction
  1. The Mistress, Danielle Steel
  2. Two by Two, Nicholas Sparks
  3. Below the Belt, Stuart Woods
  4. The Whistler, John Grisham
  5. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  6. Cross the Line, James Patterson
  7. No Man's Land, David Baldacci
  8. Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult
  9. The Chemist, Stephenie Meyer
  10. Tom Clancy: True Faith and Allegiance, Mark Greaney
Non-Fiction
  1. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
  2. The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher
  3. Killing the Rising Sun, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  4. The Magnolia Story, Chip and Joanna Gaines
  5. The Undoing Project, Michael Lewis
  6. The Lost City of the Monkey God, Douglas Preston
  7. The Book of Joy, Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
  8. When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
  9. Settle for More, Megyn Kelly
  10. The Case Against Sugar, Gary Taubes

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Lot to Look Forward to in 2017

Written by Jon Williams

The new year is upon us. We noted before 2016 ended that it was, in many ways, a difficult year in pop culture. With the beginning of 2017, however, we have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, to rinse out whatever bad taste might be lingering in our mouths, and get a fresh start. With that in mind, here are just a few of the cool pop culture projects on the horizon for this year.

For your patrons who like superheroes, there’s a lot to be excited about. It starts in March with Logan, which will be star Hugh Jackman’s last hurrah as Wolverine. In May, the second volume of Guardians of the Galaxy will follow up the 2014 blockbuster detailing the first adventure of the galactic team of misfits. Then in June, Spider-Man: Homecoming gives a solo adventure to Tom Holland as the webslinger, following his scene-stealing appearance in last summer’s Captain America: Civil War. Later in the year, Thor: Ragnarok sees Chris Hemsworth return as the god of thunder for his first standalone since The Dark World. For those who prefer DC to Marvel, fear not: Wonder Woman gets her own movie in June, as Gal Gadot builds upon her small role in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. In November, the DC heroes come together for Justice League, much like Marvel’s The Avengers.

Quite a few popular films and series have sequels or new installments coming to theaters in 2017. Keanu Reeves is back for a second action-packed round of John Wick in February. The Fast and the Furious gang is back in April for the highly anticipated The Fate of the Furious. May’s Alien: Covenant brings Ridley Scott back to the director’s chair for a movie that bridges the gap between Prometheus and Alien. The popular rebooted Planet of the Apes series continues in July with War for the Planet of the Apes. October’s still-fairly-mysterious God Particle is the third installment of the Cloverfield series. In December, the Barden Bellas return for a third Pitch Perfect movie. And one of the most anticipated movies of the year also opens that month: the as-yet-untitled Star Wars: Episode VIII, which will pick up where The Force Awakens left off.

The Force Awakens itself, of course, is a series continuation, coming after—depending on your point of view—1983’s Return of the Jedi or 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. Either way, it was a long time for fans to wait. The same can be said for a pair of long-awaited sequels finally coming in 2017. First up is T2 Trainspotting, which sees Ewan McGregor and the rest of the cast from the beloved 1996 original return and reunite. Then, in October, Harrison Ford resurrects yet another of his iconic characters for Blade Runner 2049, which comes 35 years after its sci-fi masterpiece predecessor.

There are also some intriguing book adaptations on the way. Coming later this month is A Dog’s Purpose, and who’s not a sucker for a good dog story? That’s followed next month by Fifty Shades Darker, the second installment in the publishing (and now film) phenomenon by EL James. Christian audiences can look forward to The Shack in March, based on William Paul Young’s 2007 bestseller. The hit young adult novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio comes to theaters in April, starring Room’s Jacob Tremblay. In October, Jo Nesbo’s bestseller The Snowman becomes a big-screen adventure. And there is also a pair of highly anticipated Stephen King adaptations on the way. First up, at the end of July, is The Dark Tower, based on his multi-book magnum opus. In September, there’s It, one of his most popular books, which was previous made into a TV miniseries in 1990.

But that’s not all! In addition to movies, television (including streaming services) has become a hot place for book adaptations to land. Available today on Netflix is A Series of Unfortunate Events, from the popular kids’ fantasy series. Rationing out those eight episodes will help pass the time until April, which is a big month. On April 26, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian The Handmaid’s Tale comes to Hulu. On the 30th, NBC will premiere Midnight, Texas, based on a series by Charlaine Harris, who also wrote the books that HBO’s True Blood was based on. Also that month, Neil Gaiman’s fantasy epic American Gods will debut on Starz. Then, at some point later this year, HBO will have Cormoran Strike, a limited 7-hour series adapted from Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling’s mystery novels The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil.

So that’s just a scratch of the surface of what’s coming in 2017, and that’s without venturing into music or audiobooks. Please let us know what you and your patrons are most looking forward to in the comments section below.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hot This Week: January 9

This week's hot movie listing is topped by the exploration of the Miracle on the Hudson, starring Tom Hanks, and also includes the remake of The Magnificent Seven. The Christmas album from Pentatonix holds strong at #1 in music for yet another week. In fiction, Stephenie Meyer and Michael Connelly break back onto the list. In non-fiction, the recent memoir from the late, great Carrie Fisher is this week's top audiobook.

DVD
  1. Sully
  2. Storks
  3. Suicide Squad
  4. War Dogs
  5. The Magnificent Seven
  6. Bad Moms
  7. Central Intelligence
  8. Kubo and the Two Strings
  9. Ben-Hur
  10. Mechanic: Resurrection
CD
  1. Pentatonix, A Pentatonix Christmas
  2. The Weeknd, Starboy
  3. Bruno Mars, 24K Magic
  4. J. Cole, 4 Your Eyez Only
  5. Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording
  6. Moana Soundtrack
  7. twenty one pilots, Blurryface
  8. Drake, Views
  9. Pentatonix, That's Christmas to Me
  10. Suicide Squad: The Album
Fiction
  1. Two by Two, Nicholas Sparks
  2. The Whistler, John Grisham
  3. Cross the Line, James Patterson
  4. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  5. No Man's Land, David Baldacci
  6. Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult
  7. The Chemist, Stephenie Meyer
  8. Night School, Lee Child
  9. Tom Clancy: True Faith and Allegiance, Mark Greaney
  10. The Wrong Side of Goodbye, Michael Connelly
Non-Fiction
  1. The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher
  2. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
  3. The Book of Joy, Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
  4. The Undoing Project, Michael Lewis
  5. Killing the Rising Sun, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  6. The Magnolia Story, Chip and Joanna Gaines
  7. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
  8. Settle for More, Megyn Kelly
  9. Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham
  10. Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hot This Week: January 2

Welcome to 2017! We hope you all had a wonderful New Year's weekend. Three new movies top the first hot list of the year, led by the runaway hit Suicide Squad. The seasonal music of Pentatonix remains strong. The fiction list just sees some shuffling while some recent favorites break back onto the non-fiction list as the publishing world gets geared up for the year to come.

DVD
  1. Suicide Squad
  2. War Dogs
  3. Kubo and the Two Strings
  4. Ben-Hur
  5. Bad Moms
  6. Pete's Dragon
  7. Finding Dory
  8. Mechanic: Resurrection
  9. Central Intelligence
  10. The BFG
CD
  1. Pentatonix, A Pentatonix Christmas
  2. Bruno Mars, 24K Magic
  3. The Weeknd, Starboy
  4. J. Cole, 4 Your Eyez Only
  5. Pentatonix, That's Christmas to Me
  6. Garth Brooks, The Ultimate Hits
  7. Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording
  8. Metallica, Hardwired...To Self-Destruct
  9. Relling Stones, Blue & Lonesome
  10. Moana Soundtrack
Fiction
  1. The Whistler, John Grisham
  2. Two by Two, Nicholas Sparks
  3. Cross the Line, James Patterson
  4. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  5. No Man's Land, David Baldacci
  6. Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult
  7. Tom Clancy: True Faith and Allegiance, Mark Greaney
  8. Night School, Lee Child
  9. Turbo Twenty-Three, Janet Evanovich
  10. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
Non-Fiction
  1. Killing the Rising Sun, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  2. The Magnolia Story, Chip and Joanna Gaines
  3. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
  4. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
  5. The Undoing Project, Michael Lewis
  6. Settle for More, Megyn Kelly
  7. Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
  8. Born a Crime, Trevor Noah
  9. The Book of Joy, Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu 
  10. Thank You for Being Late, Thomas Friedman

Friday, December 30, 2016

Saying Goodbye in 2016

Written by Jon Williams

It was a cruel and heartbreaking year in the entertainment industry, with the passing of so many larger-than-life figures, so many of them in unexpected fashion. And unfortunately, 2016 ended much the same way it began. Our first blog post of the year reflected on the passing of David Bowie, and it was followed up a week later with one memorializing Alan Rickman and Glenn Frey. It got no easier from there; some of the notable names we lost in 2016 include Abe Vigoda, Harper Lee, Garry Shandling, Patty Duke, Merle Haggard, Doris Roberts, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Anton Yelchin, Elie Wiesel, Garry Marshall, Juan Gabriel, Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Seeing those names all listed together, it’s a pretty stark list of so many talented people. And sadly, even the holiday season offered no respite. On December 24 we lost Richard Adams, author of the classic Watership Down (which George R.R. Martin called “one of the three great fantasy novels of the twentieth century”) as well as several other well-received novels. Then, the next day, came the passing of pop superstar George Michael, a groundbreaking figure in popular culture who won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year for his debut solo album, 1987’s Faith.

On Monday of this week, Carrie Fisher passed away. Fisher, of course, will forever be most associated with her role playing Princess Leia in Star Wars Episodes IV-VI, and then later in The Force Awakens, but there was much more to her than just that one role, iconic as it may be. In addition to her acting career, she was also an acclaimed writer, responsible for the semi-autobiographical novel Postcards from the Edge, as well as the screenplay for the film starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Her one-woman show Wishful Drinking was turned into a successful book, and her most recent memoir, The Princess Diarist, was released earlier this year. What many fans don’t know is that she put her writing talent to good use during her Hollywood career, serving as an uncredited “script doctor” to punch up dialogue for such films as the Star Wars prequels, Hook, Sister Act, Scream 3, and The Wedding Singer, among others.

What makes the story even sadder is that Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed away just one day later. An actress, singer, and dancer, Reynolds earned a Golden Globe nomination at the age of 18 for Most Promising Newcomer, and her breakout came when she starred opposite Gene Kelly in 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain. She followed that up with roles in films like The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, Bundle of Joy, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. More recent performances included a recurring role on Will & Grace and as Liberace’s mother in Behind the Candelabra. She even did some voice acting, starting with Charlotte’s Web in 1973 and continuing through The Penguins of Madagascar. The relationship between Reynolds and Fisher is explored in the documentary Bright Lights, which will air on HBO next month.

As we get set to watch the ball drop on 2016 this weekend, we can only hope that the coming year will be a kinder one. In the meantime, libraries can help keep the memories of all these wonderful performers alive by sharing with patrons the incredible work they left behind.