Gardiner Public Library will be closed Thursday, November 23rd thru Sunday, November 26th. Enjoy Thanksgiving with your families and friends!

Narrow Gauge Cinema

The Kennebec Journal announced on July 7th that the Narrow Gauge Cinema in Farmington was opening a new drive-in theater in the lot behind the cinema.  It brought back all the memories of childhood that involved my parents loading the 4 kids and the dog into the station wagon with bags of popcorn to go to a drive-in theater.  The one we visited had a playground in front of the huge screen that the kids would all play on until dusk arrived and the first movie started.  We always tried to stay awake through intermission to see the second movie since that one was always a little “racier” as smaller children would have fallen asleep by the time it started.  Remember the speaker that was mounted on a pole which you would hang on your car window so you could clearly hear what was happening on the movie screen?  Cars were larger then and a family of 6 with a dog could easily enjoy a double feature at a drive-in without feeling totally cramped and on top of each other.  Below is a web site from the Smithsonian magazine that will help you remember the glory days of the drive-in.  And if you have never had the experience, then it will give you a sense of what you have missed.  Is the experience worth a trip to Farmington to see a double feature under the stars?  It just might be.

 

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-history-of-the-drive-in-movie-theater-51331221/

 

Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

New Books in the Library!

FICTION:

The adventures of John Carson in several quarters of the world by Brian Doyle.  A young Robert Louis Stevenson is regaled by his landlord of tales of high adventure.

All grown up by Jami Attenberg.  A wickedly funny novel about a 39 year old single, childfree woman who defies convention as she seeks connection.

The arrangement by Sarah Dunn.  This is about a couple that agrees to have an open marriage, for a limited time only and while adhering to certain rules, is a polished, amusing, and highly entertaining take on modern relationships, parenthood, and suburbia.

The coming by David Osborne.  An historical novel beginning with the Lewis & Clark expedition and ending with the decimation of the Nez Perce tribe.  An epic and sure to be a hit with readers interested in the American western expansion.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.  Lovers in a city overwhelmed with violence hear about mysterious doors that will carry them into an alien and uncertain future.

Fast and loose by Stuart Woods.  Stone Barrington is enjoying a boating excursion off the Maine coast when a chance encounter leaves him somewhat the worse for wear.

Good time coming by C.S. Harris.  A powerful story of war’s destruction of property, people, hopes, and morals during the Civil War in Louisiana.  Top-notchy historical fiction reveals the Civil War in all its brutality.

The hearts of men by Nickolas Butler.  An epic novel of intertwining friendships and families set in the north woods of Wisconsin at a beloved Boy Scout summer camp.

The Hollywood daughter by Kate Alcott.  A Hollywood coming-of-age novel in which Ingrid Bergman’s affair with Roberto Rossellini forces her biggest fan to reconsider everything she was raised to believe.

The lost order by Steve Berry.  In the 12th Cotton Malone thriller, the former Justice Department operative pursues current and historical conspiracies.

Marlena by Julie Buntin.  A novel about love, addiction, and loss: the story of two girls and the feral year that will cost one her life and define the other’s for decades.

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey.  This reimagines the back story of Shakespeare’s The Tempest as a tale of star-crossed lovers.

Never let you go by Chevy Stevens.  Eleven years ago Lindsay escaped with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship when her husband was jailed for a hit and run.  Now he is out of prison, and she is sure he will track her down.

Red sister by Mark Lawrence.  This begins a stunning epic fantasy series about a secret order of holy warriors.

The stars are fire by Anita Shreve.  This is a suspenseful novel about an extra-ordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event and its devastating aftermath – based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine’s history.

Ties by Domenico Starnone.  Four years after leaving his wife and children, Aldo returns to them ready to rebuild.  A slim, studding meditation on marriage, fidelity, honesty, and truth.

The wages of sin by Kaite Welsh.  A tale of murder, subversion and vice in which a female medical student in Victorian Edinburgh is drawn into a murder investigation when she recognizes one of the corpses in her anatomy lecture.

Waking gods by Sylvain Neuvel.  Pure, unadulterated literary escapism featuring giant killer robots and the looming end of humankind.  In a word, unputdownable.

The wanderers by Meg Howrey. Three astronauts and their families must endure the effects of a pioneering deep-space mission.

The widow’s house by Carol Goodman.  Blends the gothic allure of Daphne DuMaurier and the crazed undertones of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper – this is a harrowing tale of psychological suspense set in New York’s Hudson Valley.

The young wives club by Julie Pennell.  Finding your one true love happens sometime around high school in Toulouse, Louisiana.  If you are lucky, he might be the man you thought he was.  But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side.

NEW DVDs:

A man called Ove (2016) starring Rolf Lassgard

Hell or high water (2016) starring Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine

The legend of Tarzan (2016) starring Alexander Skarsgard and Samuel Jackson

Roots (2016) starring Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin

Reversal of fortune (1990) starring Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close

NONFICTION:

An American sickness by Elisabeth Rosenthal.  At a moment of drastic political upheaval, here is a shocking investigation into the dangerous, expensive, and dysfunctional American healthcare system, as well as solutions to its myriad of problems.

Dodge City by Tom Clavin.  This history of the “wickedest town in the West”, full of colorful characters, focuses on Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson.

Enduring Vietnam by James Wright.  The Vietnam War remains the all-encompassing event of the baby boomer generation the author claims in this poignant account of those who fought and died there.  This is an important investigation of the war and its effects on an entire generation.

The face of water by Sarah Ruden.  The author elegantly celebrates and translates the bible’s original languages and looks at how passages have been misunderstood over the centuries.

Fallen glory by James Crawford.  This searching survey of some of humankind’s greatest architectural accomplishments looks at the lives and deaths of history’s greatest buildings.

The 40 year old vegan by Sandra Sellini. 75 recipes to make you leaner, cleaner, and greener in the second half of life.

How not to hate your husband after kids by Jancee Dunn.  A hilariously candid account of one woman’s quest to bring her post-baby marriage back from the brink, with life-changing, real-world advice.

March 1917 by Wil Englund.  A riveting history of the month that transformed the world’s greatest nations as Russia faced revolution and America entered World War I.

My Jewish year by Abigail Pogrebin.  This travels through the calendar’s signposts with candor, humor, and a trove of info, capturing the art of Jewish observance through the eyes of a relatable wandering – and wondering – Jew.

My master recipes by Patricia Wells.  165 recipes to inspire confidence in the kitchen – the perfect successor to Julia Child’s classic The Way to Cook.

Never caught by Erica Dunbar.  George Washington had a relentless pursuit – of his runaway slave, Ona Judge.

Strangers tend to tell me things by Amy Dickinson.  America’s most popular advice columnist, “Ask Amy”, shares her journey of family, second chances, and finding love.

2Brides 2Be by Laura Abby.  In response to the dearth of guides on same sex weddings, Abby draws from her own experience and that of wedding planners to create a handbook to help women achieve the wedding of their dreams.

Walking to listen by Andrew Forsthoefel.  A memoir of one young man’s coming of age on a cross-country trek – told through the stories of the people of all ages, races, and inclinations he meets along the highways of America.

Notes from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, and New York Times Book Review.

Oscar Oddities

 With the Oscars this weekend, it’s fun to look back at some of the odd and interesting facts you may not have known about the big event:

  • Tom Hank’s acceptance speech for his role in Philadelphia became the basis of the film In & Out.
  • Oscar winners sign a contract stipulating they cannot sell their Oscar without first offering it back to the Academy for the sum of $1.
  • One of the requirements to be nominated for an Oscar is that the movie has to be screened in an LA theater for at least 7 days.
  • 3 people have turned down their Oscars, including George C. Scott, who called the awards show a “meat parade” in 1971 and Marlon Brando in 1972.
  • Woody Allen refuses to attend or present at the Oscars, despite winning three awards.  His one appearance was in 2002 when he presented a short about New York City following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Maggie Smith won an Oscar for portraying an actress who lost an Oscar in California Suite, making it the only film revolving around the Oscars to win one.
  • The only film to show an Oscar in a scene while also winning Best Picture is The Godfather.
  • Alfred Hitchcock and William Holden share the record for shortest acceptance speech.  They simply said “Thank you.”
  • Sealed envelopes became customary in 1941, a year after the LA Times broke the press embargo and printed the names of all of the winners before the ceremony.
  • John C. Reilly is the only modern actor to star in three films in the same year that were later nominated for Best Picture: Chicago, The Hours, and Gangs of New York in 2002.
These Oscar oddities are from the web site:

Christmas Movies

What’s your favorite holiday movie?  Is it White Christmas?  Love, Actually? A Christmas Story?  There are certainly many to choose from.  My ultimate favorite holiday movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacationfrom 1989.  A synopsis from the library’s copy of VideoHound’s Golden Movie Retriever says, “The third vacation for the Griswold family finds them hosting repulsive relatives for Yuletide.  The sight gags, although predictable, are sometimes on the mark.  Quaid is a standout as the slovenly cousin.”  Now that doesn’t sound very promising, does it?  But no matter how many times I have seen it, I swear – every time that darned squirrel flies out of the tree and the family all screams and runs for their lives – I end up laughing with tears in my eyes.  The movie stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Diane Ladd, Doris Roberts, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Johnny Galecki.

On the other hand – if I am feeling sentimental – the Christmas portion of Meet Me in St.Louis, the 1944 musical starring a young Judy Garland along with Margaret O’Brien, Marcy Astor, and Harry Davenport, is sure to bring a smile and a tear to the eye.
Try them both.  Enjoy.  And Happy Holidays.
Scott Handville, Assistant Director

Watch this film!

Return of the Secaucus Seven was released to the theaters in 1980.

Robert Horton reviews the movie for amazon.com: “John Sayles began his commendable directing career with this terrific portrait of 1960s counterculture survivors, now teetering on the brink of turning 30. A homegrown movie all the way, Return of the Secaucus Seven was made for around $60,000 of Sayles’s own money (earned writing horror pictures such as Piranha). An effortlessly funny and thoughtful ensemble piece, Secaucus unmistakably provided the template for the bigger-budgeted The Big Chill: old friends reunite for a weekend to sort through fond memories, old resentments, and new problems. Sayles, longtime producing partner Maggi Renzi, and then-unknown David Strathairn are among the actors. The marvelous back-and-forth patter of the characters and the sprightly pacing show Sayles already had a sure sense of what he wanted on screen, and his mastery of the running gag is in place (the name Dwight won’t ever sound quite the same again). This is the definition of low-budget classic from an indie pioneer.”
In 1997, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Academy Awards

As we gear up for the 2016 Academy Awards this weekend, let’s look back at who won the awards 70 years ago in 1947.  Have these winners held the worth of the award throughout the years?    Check them out from the Gardiner Public Library and see for yourself why they were the winners.

Best Director:  William Wyler, The Best Years of Our Lives
Best Actor:  Fredric March, The Best Years of Our Lives
Best Actress:  Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own
Best Supporting Actor:  Harold Russell, The Best Years of Our Lives
Best Supporting Actress:  Anne Baxter, The Razor’s Edge
 Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

Dance into Spring with an old fashioned musical borrowed from the Gardiner Public Library

Easter Parade (1948) starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire.  When his long-time dance partner abandons him for the Ziegfeld Follies, Don Hewes decides to show who’s who what’s what by choosing any girl out of a chorus line and transforming her into a star. So he makes his choice and takes his chances. Of course, since Fred Astaire portrays Don and Judy Garland plays the chorine, we know we’re in for an entertainment sure thing.

Babes in Arms (1939) starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.  This classic film stars Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland as teenagers living in Seaport, Long Island, NY just before the Great Depression struck.  What to do?  Put on a show!
Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) starring Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, and Carol Channing.  Julie Andrews stars as Millie, an innocent country girl who comes to the big city in search of a husband. Along the way she becomes the secretary of the rich and famous Trevor Graydon (John Gavin), befriends the sweet Miss Dorothy (Mary Tyler Moore), fights off white slaver Mrs. Meers (Beatrice Lillie) and hooks up with a lively paper clip salesman, Jimmy (James Fox). In the end it takes a rich nutty jazz baby like Muzzy (Carol Channing) to unravel all these complications, give a great party, and match up lovers.
Royal Wedding (1951) starring Fred Astaire and Jane Powell.  A brother-and-sister musical team each finds romance when they tour London for Queen Elizabeth’s wedding.
Good News (1947) starring June Allyson and Peter Lawford.  Peter Lawford (as a campus football hero) and June Allyson (she’s the brainiac who tutors him) lead a high-spirited cast that includes Mel Tormé and Joan McCracken. The Varsity Drag and Best Song Oscar® nominee Pass That Peace Pipe stand out among the numbers that are all zip and joy.  And the bee’s knees.
Pitch Perfect (2012) starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson.  Arriving at her new college, Beca finds herself not right for any clique but somehow is muscled into one that she never would have picked on her own: alongside mean girls, sweet girls and weird girls whose only thing in common is how good they sound when they sing together. When Beca leads this a cappella singing group out of their traditional arrangements and perfect harmonies into all-new mash-ups, they fight to climb their way to the top of college music competition.
Bye, Bye , Birdie (1963) starring Ann-Margret, Dick Van Dyke, and Janet Leigh.  When rock star and teenage heart-throb Conrad Birdie gets drafted, the nation’s teenagers go haywire and Conrad’s manager, Albert, faces unemployment. So Albert and his girlfriend organize a nationwide contest in which one lucky girl wins a farewell kiss from Conrad on the Ed Sullivan Show. Kim McAfee turns out to be the lucky teenager and Conrad’s whole entourage moves into her quiet, Midwestern home much to the chagrin of her ever irritable father and her jealous boyfriend.
Gentlemen prefer Blondes (1953) starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe.  These glamorous showgirls have everything a girl could want – except engagement rings! In a quest for true love, Lorelei and her gold digger pal Dorothy set sail on a luxury-liner bound for France. But the pair hits rocky waters when a manipulative detective, an over-aged, over sexed millionaire (Charles Coburn) and the entire men’s Olympic team try to put an anchor in their marriage-minded mischief. It’s a wild and joyously funny ride across the Atlantic as our bathing beauties plan and plot a way to land their men.
Write-ups are from AMAZON.COM

Winter Watching While Watching Winter

Looking for something to do on a cold winter day in Maine?  Here are a few . . . “cool” film ideas for you!

IIce Age
TTrue Lies
TTitanic
IIron Will

Movie Scenes In The Library!

I’m thinking of movies with key scenes that were set in a library.  Can you come up with others?

Ghostbusters (1984) – The beginning of the movies has a female specter wrecking havoc on an old card catalog
Breakfast Club (1985) – School detention is held in the library
The Day After Tomorrow(2004) – Survivors of a world disaster take refuge in the New York Public Library
 
Gone With The Wind(1939) – Scarlett first meets Rhett in the home library when she flings a porcelain piece at the departing Ashley
The Librarian(2004) – Where else would the world’s mysterious treasures be kept.  Noah Wylie stars.
The Music Man(1961) – Marion the Librarian gets a bit flustered when the town’s high schoolers kick up their heels in her building.
Desk Set (1957) – Tracy and Hepburn film that shows us the future and is about the head of the research department at a TV network and an absent-minded computer genius.
 Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

Thanksgiving Books and Movies

Check out these books and movies that have the Thanksgiving holiday at their core.
Books:
Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo
An unlucky man in a deadbeat town in upstate New York, Sully must overcome numerous obstacles–a bum knee, terminal underemployment, and a not-too-helpful group of friends–as he copes with a new problem, his long-estranged son.

Weight of Winterby Cathie Pelletier
Dreaming of the history of the Maine town of Mattagash, a 110-year-old woman relives her own life and runs through the history of the town’s assorted residents, beginning with the season’s first snowfall and ending at Thanksgiving.

Cloud Nine by Luanne Rice
Having reopened her bedding shop, Cloud Nine, after recovering from a serious illness, Sarah Talbot rediscovers love when she meets former navy pilot Will Burke aboard a chartered flight while observing the autumn leaves of upstate New York on her way home for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote
Autobiographical story of a boy who recalls his life with an elderly relative in rural Alabama in the 1930s and the lesson she taught him one Thanksgiving Day about dealing with a bully from school.
Movies:
Pieces of April.  (2003)  This is a great little film. In its own way, it highlights the trials and tribulations of holiday gatherings, from trying to make a good impression on your Significant Other’s parents, to making your first big dinner as a young adult. Family outcast April lives in a beat-up apartment in New York’s Lower East Side with her boyfriend, Bobby. In order to spend some time with her dying mother, April invites her conservative suburban family to her place for a Thanksgiving feast. While she frantically tries to complete the meal, the family drives in from Pennsylvania sharing less-than-pleasant opinions about April’s lifestyle.  Patricia Clarkson, who plays April’s mother, received an Oscar nomination for this role.
Hannah and her sisters.(1986) One of Woody Allen’s top 10 films, the story is book-ended by Thanksgiving dinners and is a nice remembrance of the Woody and Mia Farrow collaborations.  It’s an intimate look at three women and the relationships they have with each other and the men in their lives.  Michael Caine received an Oscar for his role as one of the husbands.
Home for the holidays.  (1995) A seriously underrated movie directed by Jodie Foster with terrific performances by Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, and a Polaroid-snapping Robert Downey Jr.   Claudia Larson is a divorced single mom who just lost her job and now has to fly home for the traditional family Thanksgiving in Baltimore. From the plane, she calls for reinforcements–and her brother Tommy makes it down from Boston with a little surprise: a handsome friend named Leo. Between dropping the turkey in their sister’s lap and a few fist fights on the front lawn, Claudia and Tommy recapture their childhood and Claudia and Leo explore the sweet possibility of romance.
Planes, trains, and automobiles. (1987)  An uptight businessman (Steve Martin) faces disaster after disaster as he tries to get back home in time for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner, and along the way is joined by an insane traveling salesman (John Candy) that will not leave him alone.
Nobody’s fool..  (1994)  Most movies that use Thanksgiving to set up introspective family drama follow a pretty basic formula, and ‘Nobody’s Fool’ doesn’t deviate much from that standard. It does, however, star Paul Newman and feature scenes of him bantering with everyone from Bruce Willis to Jessica Tandy to Philip Seymour Hoffman to Melanie Griffith, making it easily the coolest of the bunch.