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Monday, April 21, 2014

Hot This Week: April 21

The top DVD titles from last week stay strong, with three titles debuting on the bottom half of the list. The Frozen soundtrack continues its dominance of the music chart for yet another week, with four new titles occupying spots 4-7. Mary Higgins Clark holds onto the top line on the fiction list, with Lisa Scottoline and Stuart Woods coming in just behind her. Four new non-fiction titles this week include memoirs by Paul Stanley and Rob Lowe.

DVD
  1. The Wolf of Wall Street 
  2. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
  3. Gravity
  4. American Hustle 
  5. 12 Years a Slave
  6. Homefront
  7. Frozen
  8. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  9. Out of the Furnace
  10. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
CD
  1. Frozen Soundtrack
  2. Pharrell Williams, G  I  R  L
  3. 5 Seconds of Summer, She Looks So Perfect (EP)
  4. MercyMe, Welcome to the New
  5. Black Label Society, Catacombs of the Black Vatican
  6. SoMo, SoMo
  7. Martina McBride, Everlasting
  8. Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
  9. Shakira, Shakira.
  10. Florida Georgia Line, Here's to the Good Times
Fiction
  1. I've Got You Under My Skin, Mary Higgins Clark
  2. Keep Quiet, Lisa Scottoline
  3. Carnal Curiosity, Stuart Woods
  4. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  5. NYPD Red 2, James Patterson and Marshall Karp
  6. Missing You, Harlan Coben
  7. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  8. Be Careful What You Wish For, Jeffrey Archer
  9. The Husband's Secret, Liane Moriarty
  10. Blossom Street Brides, Debbie Macomber
Non-Fiction
  1. Flash Boys, Michael Lewis
  2. Face the Music, Paul Stanley
  3. Thrive, Arianna Huffington
  4. 10% Happier, Dan Harris
  5. Killing Jesus, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  6. Creativity, Inc., Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
  7. Love Life, Rob Lowe
  8. A Call to Action, Jimmy Carter
  9. The Opposite of Loneliness, Marina Keegan
  10. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 Pulitzers Announced

Written by Jon Williams

On Monday, the prestigious Pulitzer Prizes were awarded by Columbia University. While most closely associated with journalism (being named after newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer), Prizes are also awarded in several literary categories, in addition to one for music.

This year’s fiction and non-fiction awards went to a pair of incredibly deserving books. The Goldfinch, released in October, was Donna Tartt’s first novel in eleven years, following up 2002’s The Little Friend (currently out of print). The Goldfinch opens with the main character, teenaged Theo, surviving a terrorist bombing (which claims the life of his mother) at an art museum, and follows as the repercussions of that day reverberate throughout his life. Tartt is an interesting figure in the literary world, shunning interviews and fame and producing new books only rarely; The Goldfinch is just her third novel, with the first being published in 1992.

In the non-fiction category, this year’s Prize went to Dan Fagin for his book Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation. Toms River, New Jersey, is a town renowned for its propensity for sending youngsters to play in the Little League World Series. It has another history, though, as home to a cancer cluster that in 2001 was legally linked to a pattern of toxic dumping. Fagin brings to light the story of how that judgment came about, including the deception of those who kept the dumping going on for so long and the struggles of those who had to live with the consequences of their actions.

With their wins, these authors have etched their names in history alongside a number of well-known books both classic and contemporary. In just the past ten years, Pulitzer Prizes for fiction have gone to such books as A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2011), Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (2009), and The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2007), just to name a few. Since the award was first given in 1918, winners have included The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (1928), The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1940), The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk (1952), The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952), To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1961), A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1981), Beloved by Toni Morrison (1988), and The Hours by Michael Cunningham (1999).

Again, this is just a small sampling of the many wonderful and beloved books that have won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction over the years. Still more have won for non-fiction, in the general category as well as for history and biography. For a full selection of Pulitzer Prize winners available from Midwest Tape, SmartBrowse ‘Pulitzer Prize’ on our homepage.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hot This Week: April 14

This week sees The Wolf of Wall Street jump up to #1, while three new titles debut. The juggernaut that is the Frozen soundtrack continues its roll at the top of the music chart, with six newcomers making it for the first time. Five new titles grace the fiction list, with the latest from Mary Higgins Clark topping them all. There are also four new titles on the non-fiction list, headed by the latest from Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and The Blind Side.

DVD
  1. The Wolf of Wall Street
  2. Gravity
  3. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues 
  4. American Hustle 
  5. 12 Years a Slave
  6. Frozen
  7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  8. Captain Phillips
  9. Dallas Buyers Club
  10. Delivery Man
CD
  1. Frozen Soundtrack
  2. 5 Seconds of Summer, She Looks So Perfect (EP)
  3. Chevelle, La Gargola
  4. Christina Perri, Head or Heart
  5. Shakira, Shakira.
  6. Dan + Shay, Where It All Began
  7. Nickel Creek, A Dotted Line
  8. Johnny Cash, Out Among the Stars
  9. Pharrell Williams, G  I  R  L
  10. NOW That's What I Call Music 49
Fiction
  1. I've Got You Under My Skin, Mary Higgins Clark
  2. NYPD Red 2, James Patterson and Marshall Karp
  3. Missing You, Harlan Coben
  4. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  5. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  6. Destroyer Angel, Nevada Barr
  7. Power Play, Danielle Steel
  8. Be Careful What You Wish For, Jeffrey Archer
  9. Warriors, Ted Bell
  10. Blossom Street Brides, Debbie Macomber
Non-Fiction
  1. Flash Boys, Michael Lewis
  2. Thrive, Arianna Huffington
  3. 10% Happier, Dan Harris
  4. A Call to Action, Jimmy Carter
  5. The Women of Duck Commander, the Robertsons and Beth Clark
  6. Not Cool, Greg Gutfeld
  7. Killing Jesus, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  8. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell
  9. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  10. Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg

Friday, April 11, 2014

Finally! A TV Show about Librarians (Sort Of)

Written by Jon Williams

With National Library Week set to kick off on Sunday, what better time than now for the announcement of a new TV series called The Librarians? Coming to the TNT network later this year, the show will continue the story of the highly successful movie trilogy whose installments have aired on the network in 2004, 2006, and 2008, respectively.

The movies starred Noah Wyle (of ER fame) as scholar Flynn Carsen, who’s hired for a post at the Metropolitan Library. Once ensconced in this new job, he must undertake an action-packed Da Vinci Code-type quest to solve cryptic clues to retrieve and then protect a collection of powerful objects and artifacts. He is joined in all three films by Jane Curtin and Bob Newhart, who serve as his mentors in his role as the Librarian.

In the first film, Quest for the Spear, Carsen first takes the job as Librarian and discovers what his new role entails. Soon, a piece of the Spear of Destiny is stolen by Edward Wilde (Kyle MacLachlan), the previous Librarian, and Wyle’s character must recover it and track down the remaining two pieces to keep them out of the hands of evil. The second installment, Return to King Solomon’s Mines, features an amulet that is key to the discovery of the Book of Solomon, which in turn gives its possessor the power to control space and time. Finally, in The Curse of the Judas Chalice, Carsen must try and keep the fabled chalice from a powerful, ancient vampire.

The Librarians will pick up where the last movie left off. While Wyle will appear in his role as Flynn Carsen, he’ll be joined by four new recruits brought in to assist in a role that is growing far too unwieldy for just one person to handle. Chief among the newcomers will be Eve Baird, played by Rebecca Romijn. While both Curtin and Newhart will also be returning, the new ringleader for this group of librarians will be played by veteran actor John Larroquette. This group will be opposed by the Serpent Brotherhood that was led by Kyle MacLachlan in the first film, now headed by a mysterious figure named Dulaque, played by Matt Frewer.

While these characters’ jobs may be slightly out of line from what’s typically expected of a librarian, we say that anything to draw attention to public libraries is a good thing. While no premiere date has been set, look for the first of the series’ ten episodes to air before the end of 2014.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Get Ready to Sing Your Face Off

Written by Jon Williams

Speaking of TV singing competitions, here comes one with a twist.

Premiering on Saturday, May 31, ABC’s Sing Your Face Off will not feature an unknown cast of varying talents vying for fame and recording contracts. Instead, it will feature a number of celebrities who will attempt to bring an iconic singer or pop star (such as Lady Gaga or Luciano Pavarotti) to life through individual performances. This is not limited to the choice of song, but will be judged also on criteria such as mannerisms and incorporation of signature dance movies, for instance. If the show stays true to its inspiration, the international hit Your Face Sounds Familiar, the performer each contestant must impersonate will be randomly selected each week.

The five people selected to complete on this show reflect a wide range of celebrity backgrounds. One contestant will be NBA star Landry Fields, who plays for the Toronto Raptors. His fellow performers come from more conventionally related fields in the entertainment industry. One is actress Lisa Rinna, best known for her roles on Days of Our Lives and Melrose Place. She’ll be joined by fellow actor and comedian Jon Lovitz, a Saturday Night Live alumnus who has appeared in a number of movies and TV shows in addition to voiceover work and Broadway shows. Combining the acting and music worlds is China Anne McClain, best known for starring in the Disney Channel series A.N.T. Farm and performing on the soundtrack. Rounding out the cast is rocker Sebastian Bach, who fronted the band Skid Row in their late-eighties/early-nineties heyday and his since embarked on a solo career.

Of course, as with any singing show, its success will depend as much on the judges as it does on the cast. Sing Your Face Off’s regular panel of judges will consist of two members. On the musical/singing side there’s Debbie Gibson, the ‘80s pop sensation who first hit #1 with her 1988 single “Foolish Beat.” Judging other aspects of the performances will be Darrell Hammond, another SNL alum known for his hilarious impressions of various well-known figures. The show is also scheduled to have a number of celebrity guest judges. And serving as host will be Scottish actor John Barrowman. In addition to a number of roles on Broadway, Barrowman’s face is familiar from his role as Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and its spinoff, Torchwood.

With its varied array of talent and its far-out premise, this show promises to be a good time, and will likely garner quite a bit of attention when it airs. Make sure your patrons have access to the work of all the celebrities who will appear on the show so they can explore their previous work.