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Monday, March 31, 2014

Hot This Week: March 31

With its acclaimed ensemble cast, American Hustle debuts atop this week's DVD list, while the animated hit Frozen makes it as well. The soundtrack to that film tops the music charts once again, with six new titles making the list for the first time. New titles from Harlan Coben and Terry Pratchett lead the way in fiction this week, while Adam Braun's The Promise of a Pencil (available only from Midwest Tape) is the top new non-fiction title at #2.

  1. American Hustle
  2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  3. Dallas Buyers Club
  4. Thor: The Dark World
  5. The Counselor
  6. Captain Phillips
  7. Frozen
  8. Free Birds
  9. About Time
  10. Last Vegas
  1. Frozen Soundtrack
  2. YG, My Krazy Life
  3. Foster the People, Supermodel
  4. Skrillex, Recess
  5. The Pretty Reckless, Going to Hell
  6. Pharrell Williams, G  I  R  L
  7. Rick Ross, Mastermind
  8. Enrique Iglesias, Sex + Love
  9. Lorde, Pure Heroine
  10. Taking Back Sunday, Happiness Is
  1. Missing You, Harlan Coben
  2. Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett
  3. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  4. Power Play, Danielle Steel
  5. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  6. Be Careful What You Wish For, Jeffrey Archer
  7. The Bootlegger, Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
  8. Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson
  9. Night Broken, Patricia Briggs
  10. The Auschwitz Escape, Joel C. Rosenberg
  1. 10% Happier, Dan Harris
  2. The Promise of a Pencil, Adam Braun
  3. Killing Jesus, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  4. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell
  5. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  6. Not Cool, Greg Gutfeld
  7. The Future of the Mind, Michio Kaku
  8. Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg
  9. Things That Matter, Charles Krauthammer
  10. You Must Remember This, Robert J. Wagner and Scott Eyman

Friday, March 28, 2014

New Rowling, King Books Set for June

Written by Jon Williams

As we wait for spring to kick into full gear, it’s never too early to start thinking about summer beach reading and audiobooks for long trips. There is a wonderful slate of books scheduled for release later this spring and into the summer, but June looks to be a monster, with highly anticipated new titles coming from two juggernauts of the literary world.

It was recently announced that June 24 would bring The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. This will be the second crime novel featuring private detective Cormoran Strike. The first Strike novel was last year’s The Cuckoo’s Calling, in which Strike investigated the death of supermodel Lula Landry, the adopted sister of his childhood friend. That book, of course, made news (and jumped to the top of the bestseller lists) when it was revealed that Robert Galbraith was, in fact, the pen name of J.K. Rowling, the wildly famous author of the Harry Potter books. After that series concluded in 2007, she made her first foray into writing for adults with 2012’s The Casual Vacancy. When that book was an automatic bestseller, she decided to use a pen name for her next book in order to see how it would perform on its own merits. That plan was foiled shortly after The Cuckoo’s Calling was published; however, it was drawing rave reviews even before the truth about its authorship was revealed. The Silkworm promises to pick up where the first book left off, with Strike this time investigating the case of an author gone missing before the publication of a devastating tell-all.

Before that comes out, though, June 3 will bring a new novel from Stephen King. Like Galbraith’s crime novels, King calls Mr. Mercedes his first “hard-boiled” detective novel, with his own signature macabre twist. The tale deals with a killer who operates by driving a stolen car into crowds of people, and the retired police officer on the trail to track him down before he can strike again. This is King’s first novel since last year’s Doctor Sleep, the long-awaited sequel to his early classic The Shining, and it kicks off a busy month for the horror master. On June 30, Under the Dome returns to CBS, a show based on King’s 2009 tome about a small town mysteriously trapped under an invisible force field that completely seals them off from the outside world. The second season’s premiere episode was written by King himself. In addition, later this year (November 11) King will publish Revival, a story more typical to his roots in the horror genre.

And of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of great stories coming out this spring and summer. Are there any titles you or your patrons are particularly excited about? Let us know in the comments section below.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Frozen Continues Its Run of Success

Written by Jon Williams

Disney’s Frozen was released into theaters on November 27, 2013, intended as a delightful holiday treat for the kids. It quickly turned into a phenomenon. It pulled in over $110 million at box offices around the world just during its opening weekend, no mean feat for a film with a $150 million budget. Even more impressive has been the film’s staying power. It was #1 at U.S. box offices three different times, the latest being its seventh week of release, challenging and beating other movies that were more likely blockbusters. As of today, it has earned close to $398 million domestically and over $1 billion worldwide. The movie came out last week on DVD and Blu-ray, where no doubt it will be hugely popular as well.

Frozen’s popularity extends beyond the film itself, though. If you scan our Hot This Week post each week, no doubt you’ve noticed the Frozen soundtrack hovering at or near the top of the music chart since the middle of December. It’s been in the top ten for fifteen consecutive weeks, and at #1 for six of them—including this week. Like the film, the soundtrack has challenged or beaten out albums more likely to be at the top of the charts. Led by the Academy Award winner for Best Song, “Let It Go,” the soundtrack has captured the hearts (and ears) of young ones everywhere—and their parents.

“Let It Go” in the movie is sung by the character Elsa, the snow queen, voiced by Broadway star Idina Menzel. She is joined on the soundtrack by actress Kristen Bell (the character Princess Anna), best known for her recently resurrected role as Veronica Mars, as well as Jonathan Groff (Kristoff) from Glee Josh Gad (Olaf), and Demi Lovato, who performs the single version of “Let It Go.” The soundtrack also features pieces from the score by acclaimed film composer Christophe Beck.

At this early date, the soundtrack is already set to be one of the biggest (if not the biggest) selling CDs of 2014. And for those who just can’t seem to get enough, it is also available in a two-disc deluxe edition that includes 23 additional tracks, featuring demos and outtakes of several songs, plus additional pieces from the score. It has also inspired an edition in the Disney Karaoke series, allowing kids (or whoever) to bring the music home and perform their own renditions.

Needless to say, Frozen fever is at its peak and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon—especially with news that the hit film is in the planning stages for an adaptation on Broadway. If you don’t have the movie or the music on your shelves, what are you waiting for? Just head on over to our website, where you can find it all, as well as plenty of other always-popular Disney films and soundtracks.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hot This Week: March 24

Catching Fire holds its spot at #1 for a second consecutive week, while three titles make the list for the first time. The soundtrack to Disney's blockbuster hit Frozen jumps back to music's top position. Three new titles jump to the head of this week's fiction class, with the latest from Danielle Steel, Patricia Briggs, and Jeffrey Archer making their marks. The non-fiction list sees four new titles this week, one at the top and three at the bottom.

  1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  2. Dallas Buyers Club
  3. Thor: The Dark World
  4. Captain Phillips
  5. The Counselor
  6. Free Birds
  7. Last Vegas
  8. About Time
  9. The Best Man Holiday
  10. Ender's Game
  1. Frozen Soundtrack
  2. Rick Ross, Mastermind
  3. Aloe Blacc, Lift Your Spirit 
  4. Pharrell Williams, G  I  R  L
  5. 311, Stereolithic
  6. Young Money, Rise of an Empire
  7. Lorde, Pure Heroine
  8. Sara Evans, Slow Me Down
  9. Eric Church, The Outsiders
  10. Beyonce, Beyonce 
  1. Power Play, Danielle Steel
  2. Night Broken, Patricia Briggs
  3. Be Careful What You Wish For, Jeffrey Archer
  4. Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson
  5. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  6. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  7. The Bootlegger, Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
  8. Private L.A., James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
  9. The Chase, Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
  10. Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen
  1. 10% Happier, Dan Harris
  2. Killing Jesus, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  3. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell
  4. Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg
  5. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  6. The Future of the Mind, Michio Kaku
  7. Things That Matter, Charles Krauthammer
  8. Jesus, James Martin
  9. You Must Remember This, Robert J. Wagner and Scott Eyman
  10. Where Nobody Knows Your Name, John Feinstein

Friday, March 21, 2014

Winter Is Coming

Written by Jon Williams

I can hear the shrieks of frustration over this headline, as News and Views readers look at their calendars. “Wasn’t yesterday the equinox?” I hear you asking. “Isn’t winter finally over?”

In one sense, yes, that’s absolutely true. In another sense, however, the harshest days of winter are still on the horizon. “Winter is coming” are the words of the Starks of Winterfell, one of seven families locked in a war that has swept through the kingdom of Westeros in HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. The show’s fourth season premieres on Sunday, April 6, at 9:00 p.m.

The first season of Game of Thrones made its HBO debut on April 17, 2011. It quickly won acclaim from viewers and critics alike. The first episode (itself titled “Winter Is Coming”) scored 2.2 million viewers, and that number grew to over three million before the season was over. It was nominated for thirteen Emmy Awards, winning two of them, including Best Supporting Actor for Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, better known as “The Imp.”

Upon seeing the numbers for the first season’s premiere episode, HBO executives immediately renewed Game of Thrones for a second season, which began on April 1, 2012. That season built upon the critical and commercial success of the first, growing to over four million viewers for the season finale and garnering another eleven Emmy nominations and six wins.

The third season grew to even more notable heights, averaging more than five million viewers for its ten episodes, plus sixteen Emmy nominations and two wins. The ninth episode, titled “The Rains of Castamere,” featured the Red Wedding, one of the most shocking scenes ever shown on television. I won’t give away any spoilers, but those of you who watch—you know what I mean.

The series, of course, is based on bestselling author George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels. The first season covers the first book, A Game of Thrones (originally published in 1996), from which the series took its name. Likewise, the second season follows the second novel, A Clash of Kings. The third season, however, only covers roughly half of A Storm of Swords; the fourth season, reputed to be the darkest yet, will take on the rest. Two other books in the series have been published: A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. The sixth book will be titled The Winds of Winter; no release date has been announced, but it’s close enough to completion for Martin to have released excerpts onto the Internet. The series will conclude with the seventh book, A Dream of Spring.

The Game of Thrones series and Song of Ice and Fire books are extremely popular right now. Make sure you have them all on your shelves so patrons can catch up on what’s happening in Westeros in advance of the Season 4 premiere.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hot This Week: March 17

The second installment of the Hunger Games series starring Jennifer Lawrence earns the top spot with its DVD debut, while the lauded Dallas Buyers Club makes the list as well at #3. Five new titles debut on the music chart, led by Rick Ross and Pharrell Williams in the top two spots. The top two fiction titles this week are also new: a fantasy installment from Brandon Sanderson and an adventure drama from Clive Cussler and Justin Scott. In non-fiction, Jeff Pearlman's book on the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s just squeaks in at #10.

  1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  2. Thor: The Dark World
  3. Dallas Buyers Club
  4. Captain Phillips
  5. Ender's Game
  6. Last Vegas
  7. Escape Plan
  8. Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa
  9. About Time
  10. Riddick
  1. Rick Ross, Mastermind
  2. Pharrell Williams, G  I  R  L
  3. Frozen Soundtrack
  4. Lea Michele, Louder
  5. Eli Young Band, 10,000 Towns
  6. Beck, Morning Phase
  7. Lorde, Pure Heroine
  8. Schoolboy Q, Oxymoron
  9. Eric Church, The Outsiders
  10. Ashanti, Braveheart
  1. Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson
  2. The Bootlegger, Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
  3. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  4. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  5. Private L.A., James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
  6. The Chase, Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
  7. Bone Deep, Randy Wayne White
  8. Concealed in Death, J.D. Robb
  9. Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen
  10. Sycamore Row, John Grisham
  1. The Future of the Mind, Michio Kaku
  2. Killing Jesus, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  3. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  4. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell
  5. Things That Matter, Charles Krauthammer
  6. Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg
  7. Duty, Robert M. Gates
  8. The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert
  9. I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai
  10. Showtime, Jeff Pearlman

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Quincy Jones!

Written by Jon Williams

Today the renowned musician and producer, best known for his work on Michael Jackson’s biggest albums, turns 81.

Born in Chicago in 1933, Jones moved with his family to Washington and got involved in Seattle’s jazz scene while he was in high school. There he met and befriended Ray Charles when they were both in their teens. Upon graduation, Jones went on scholarship to Schillinger House of Boston, which is now the Berklee College of Music. He left school for a professional career when he got an opportunity to tour as a trumpeter. It was during this time that he began arranging songs as well, which allowed him the chance to work with a wide range of famous musicians.

In the 1960s, Jones turned his attention to film scores, beginning with Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker in 1964, the same year he broke racial boundaries by becoming the first African-American vice president of Mercury Records. He worked on a number of soundtracks and scores throughout the 1960s and 1970s while also recording his own music and producing albums for other musicians. Some of the artists he worked with were his friend Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Count Basie,Sammy Davis Jr., and Frank Sinatra.

As impressive as Jones’s career was to that point, he got his biggest break when he served as musical supervisor on the film The Wiz, an African-American version of The Wizard of Oz. Although the film itself did not fare particularly well, it was Jones’s first chance to work with Michael Jackson, who played the Scarecrow in the movie. When Jackson asked for suggestions on who should produce his upcoming solo album, Jones offered to do it himself. That album became the smash success Off the Wall. The pair would collaborate again on Jackson’s next two albums: Thriller (now the bestselling album of all time) and Bad (the first album to produce five Number One singles).

Throughout his career, Quincy Jones has woven a rich and varied musical tapestry. To discover more of his work, SmartBrowse his name on our website.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Metal Legends Pay Tribute to Ronnie James Dio

Written by Jon Williams

Legendary rock singer Ronnie James Dio passed away in 2010 at the age of 67. Before that, his powerful and distinctive voice led him through a career fronting a number of notable hard rock and metal outfits. He got his start with a band called the Vegas Kings in 1957, a band that would change names several times over the next several years. His big break came when his band Elf started touring with Deep Purple.

On that tour, Dio’s voice caught the attention of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who was on the verge of leaving Deep Purple. The two teamed up to form the band Rainbow, which would release three albums with Dio as the lead singer. The first, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in 1975, contained the rock staple “Man on the Silver Mountain.” Rainbow Rising followed in 1976, with Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll coming in 1978. When Blackmore decided at that point that he wanted to take the band in a more mainstream, radio-friendly direction, Dio began to contemplate his own departure.

Dio got his chance in 1979 when he met guitarist Tony Iommi of the band Black Sabbath, who had just fired their own singer, Ozzy Osbourne. Dio soon joined up, and their first album, Heaven and Hell, was released in April of 1980. Mob Rules (currently out of print), which came out in 1981, was Dio’s second and last studio album with the band. While they were touring in support of that album, they recorded the live set Live Evil, which features Dio performing classic Sabbath hits like “War Pigs” and “Iron Man.” However, during the production of that album, discord set in and Dio once again set out on his own.

This time, he decided to form his own band, named, fittingly enough, Dio. He brought along drummer Vinnie Appice from Sabbath and bassist Jimmy Bain from Rainbow, then added guitarist Vivian Campbell (now of Def Leppard). In May of 1983, they released their debut album, Holy Diver. The title track and the single “Rainbow in the Dark” received heavy airplay on rock radio and MTV, propelling the band to popularity during the rock/metal heyday of the 1980s. Although it would undergo a number of lineup changes, Dio fronted the band through 2004, releasing ten studio albums in that time.

In 2006, Dio rejoined the members of Black Sabbath under the name Heaven & Hell. It started out as just a reunion tour with no other projects planned, but it soon grew beyond that. They released The Devil You Know in 2009 and toured to support it. Plans for further touring and a follow-up album were never realized due to Dio’s illness and eventual passing.

After Dio’s death, the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund was created to support research in hopes of ending the disease. Now, a new album is slated to pay tribute to Dio’s life and legacy, with proceeds going to the Fund. Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life will be released on April 1. Among the acts to be included are Anthrax, Tenacious D (featuring actor Jack Black), Motorhead, the Scorpions, and Rob Halford of Judas Priest. The jewel of the album, though is the “Ronnie Rising Medley,” a nine-minute track combining the Rainbow songs “A Light in the Black,” “Tarot Woman,” “Stargazer,” and “Kill the King,” which will be performed by heavy metal superstars Metallica.

Ronnie James Dio may be gone, but he hasn’t been forgotten, as this all-star tribute clearly shows. In today’s music world, his voice is as important as it ever was. Share his work, and that of these other artists, with your rock-loving patrons. SmartBrowse Ronnie James Dio or any of these other bands on our website for albums not mentioned here, as well as concert films, soundtrack appearances, and much more.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hot This Week: March 10

Captain Phillips jumps to the top of this week's DVD listing, while the second Thor installment is the top debut title at #2. Half of the CD chart is new, with Schoolboy Q leaping over the Frozen soundtrack to place his new album at #1. The latest in Kim Harrison's paranormal fantasy Rachel Morgan series rules this week's fiction list, while a new book detailing the science of the human brain debuts atop the non-fiction side.

  1. Captain Phillips
  2. Thor: The Dark World
  3. Ender's Game
  4. Last Vegas
  5. Escape Plan
  6. Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa
  7. Riddick
  8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
  9. Rush
  10. Runner Runner
  1. Schoolboy Q, Oxymoron
  2. Frozen Soundtrack
  3. Beck, Morning Phase
  4. Romeo Santos, Formula: Volume 2
  5. Dierks Bentley, Riser
  6. Eric Church, The Outsiders
  7. The Fray, Helios
  8. NOW That's What I Call Music 49
  9. Beyonce, Beyonce
  10. Lorde, Pure Heroine
  1. The Undead Pool, Kim Harrison
  2. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  3. The Chase, Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
  4. Private L.A., James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
  5. Concealed in Death, J.D. Robb
  6. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  7. Blackberry Pie Murder, Joanne Fluke
  8. Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen
  9. One More Thing, B.J. Novak
  10. Sycamore Row, John Grisham
  1. The Future of the Mind, Michio Kaku
  2. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  3. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell
  4. Killing Jesus, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  5. The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert
  6. Duty, Robert M. Gates
  7. Things That Matter, Charles Krauthammer
  8. Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg
  9. Glitter and Glue, Kelly Corrigan
  10. George Washington's Secret Six, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

Friday, March 7, 2014

Explore Best Actor McConaughey’s Work

Written by Jon Williams

At the Academy Awards ceremony last Sunday, Matthew McConaughey took home the statue for Best Actor for his role as AIDS patient Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. The critically acclaimed film was nominated for six awards on the night and took home three, including Best Supporting Actor for Jared Leto in addition to McConaughey’s victory.

It was the first Academy Award in McConaughey’s 20+ years in acting. He got his big break when he starred as perpetual teenage wannabe David Wooderson in Richard Linklater’s cult classic Dazed and Confused. McConaughey has carried Wooderson with him ever since: the lines “all right, all right, all right” and “just keep livin’” from the conclusion of his acceptance speech, come straight from the character’s mouth, and he created the “just keep livin” non-profit foundation to impact the lives of high school students.

From there McConaughey appeared in a number of films, such as Angels in the Outfield and Boys on the Side, but it was 1996’s A Time to Kill that made him a star. In that film, based on a John Grisham bestseller, McConaughey played Mississippi lawyer Jake Brigance, who is hired to defend a man who killed two others after they were wrongly acquitted of raping his daughter. That catapulted him into an even bigger 1997, when he starred in Contact with Jodie Foster and Amistad with an ensemble cast including Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins.

This was followed by a period in which McConaughey was primarily known for starring as the male lead in romantic comedies. It started with The Wedding Planner, in which he played opposite Jennifer Lopez. Then he was in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with Kate Hudson, Failure to Launch with Sarah Jessica Parker, Fool’s Gold with Hudson again, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past with Jennifer Garner (who was also in Dallas Buyers Club). Although the romcoms were his most visible work during this period, he also managed to star in other fare, like the action film Sahara and the football drama We Are Marshall.

After Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, McConaughey took two years off, beginning to redefine himself with 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, in which he played an attorney who is the polar opposite of A Time to Kill’s noble Brigance. Then he played yet another attorney in yet another Linklater film, the dark comedy Bernie. Since 2012, he’s been on another level, with movies like Magic Mike and Mud, to say nothing of Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street, which itself was nominated for five Oscars. To top it all off, McConaughey also stars with Woody Harrelson in the hit HBO series True Detective, which airs its Season 1 finale this Sunday night.

Matthew McConaughey is a talented, fascinating actor with a long and varied career. For more of his films, SmartBrowse his name on our website.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Celebrate Women on Saturday, March 8

Written by Jon Williams

International Women’s Day began in the early 1900s as part of a campaign for women’s rights, particularly the right to vote. In 1914, the day was officially observed on March 8 for the first time. During that year it was used as an opportunity to rally for peace in the looming face of World War I. On its centennial celebration, International Women’s Day is now officially recognized by 27 countries around the world, while many more observe it as well. It is now seen as a day to celebrate the achievements of women, as well as to inspire new generations to the lofty heights only dreamed of by their predecessors.

One way to celebrate the achievements of women is through biographies and profiles of notable women. A number of these have graced the bestseller lists recently, such as I Am Malala (about a Pakistani girl’s fight for education) and Lean In (a memoir from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg). On a historical level, women like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Anne Frank continue to fascinate, as do the Princesses Diana and Grace of Monaco. These are just a few of the hundreds of titles about fascinating women that can be found here in our International Women’s Day collection for 2014.

Of course, hearing their stories is only one part of the equation. Another part is actually experiencing the work they create. In fiction, women are among today’s most popular authors. J.K. Rowling, of course, is responsible for the classic Harry Potter books, and her two novels since then (The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s Calling) have been huge bestsellers. One of the hottest books of the past year has been Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings are experiencing similar popularity. Names like Nora Roberts, Jodi Picoult, and Janet Evanovich are mainstays on the bestseller lists, and there are plenty of classics from authors like Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Willa Cather, to name just a few. And let’s not forget To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee’s only novel is one of the best of all time.

In film and television, one of the buzziest names in pop culture right now is Lena Dunham, creator and head writer of the hit HBO series Girls, currently in its third season. (Incidentally, on International Women’s Day this Saturday, Dunham will be hosting Saturday Night Live.) In 2008, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director for the film The Hurt Locker. Other notable female directors include such names as Penny Marshall, Nora Ephron, and Sofia Coppola. And the list of talented actresses, past or present, would be too long to even begin.

It’s a similar story in music, where women are a dominant force in the industry. Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry are some of the biggest stars in the world right now, with New Zealand teenager Lorde well on her way to joining them. They follow in the footsteps of classic artists like Madonna, Stevie Nicks, Janis Joplin, and Loretta Lynn, again to name just a few. Going back further, there are names like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. And this is obviously just limited to pop vocal music—there are plenty of other genres which have seen incredible contributions by women.

So use this Saturday to encourage your patrons to celebrate the life and work of women all around the world. You can search for names of individual women on our website, or SmartBrowse International Women’s Day to find a wealth of material by and about women to add to your library’s media collection.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hot This Week: March 3

It was a good week for sci-fi action films, as Ender's Game and Riddick come in at #1 and #2, respectively. Fresh off last night's Academy Award for Best Song, the Frozen soundtrack finds itself back atop this week's CD chart. Thrillers rule the day in fiction, with new titles by J.D. Robb and J.A. Jance coming aboard. The top non-fiction titles undergo a significant shuffle, while a history of the Allman Brothers sneaks in at #10.

  1. Ender's Game
  2. Riddick
  3. Captain Phillips
  4. Last Vegas
  5. Escape Plan
  6. Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa
  7. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
  8. Runner Runner 
  9. Carrie
  10. The Family
  1. Frozen Soundtrack
  2. Eric Church, The Outsiders
  3. Cole Swindell, Cole Swindell
  4. NOW That's What I Call Music 49
  5. Beyonce, Beyonce
  6. Lorde, Pure Heroine
  7. Katy Perry, Prism
  8. Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
  9. Issues, Issues
  10. Toni Braxton and Babyface, Love, Marriage & Divorce
  1. Concealed in Death, J.D. Robb
  2. Private L.A., James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
  3. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  4. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  5. Like a Mighty Army, David Weber
  6. Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen
  7. One More Thing, B.J. Novak
  8. Killer, Jonathan Kellerman
  9. Sycamore Row, John Grisham
  10. Moving Target, J.A. Jance 
  1. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell
  2. Duty, Robert M. Gates
  3. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  4. The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert
  5. Killing Jesus, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  6. Things That Matter, Charles Krauthammer
  7. Glitter and Glue, Kelly Corrigan
  8. Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg
  9. George Washington's Secret Six, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
  10. One Way Out, Alan Paul