Monday, May 9, 2016

New MEF Title: Howard Zinn's Emma

Grafton is happy to announce that MEF has added a new title to Mary Baldwin College's MEF streaming collection, hosted by Kanopy.

Howard Zinn’s Emma
This filmed performance of renowned historian Howard Zinn's stage play Emma dramatizes the life of Emma Goldman, the famed anarchist, feminist, and free-spirited thinker who was exiled from the United States because of her outspoken views, including her opposition to World War I. Filmed live in 2005 at the Byrdcliffe Theatre in Woodstock, New York, with Zinn in attendance, the play draws on Goldman's influential autobiography, speeches, and political writings to trace her emergence as one of the foremost radical intellectuals and dissident activists in America in the early part of the 20th century. Emma shows us why Emma Goldman was not only a remarkable historical figure but a woman whose fierce wit and political courage continue to resonate today.

Access this film now!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Fairest: A Fairy Tale Murder Mystery

Today's post is a book review written by our student staff member, Elizabeth Lozier. Consider picking up this book at Grafton this May Term!

Typically, I don't find much enjoyment reading graphic novels, but Fairest in all the land by Bill Willingham is a completely different story. As you might have guessed, the story revolves around classic fairy tale characters like Cinderella and Snow White, to name a couple. Of course, what would any good fairy tale be without a magic mirror?

Willingham's novel captured my attention from the very first page when an extremely confident magic mirror begins telling his story to the Barleycorn Women, twelve very tiny women measuring just 2 inches tall, and suddenly his world stops (well for a few days anyways). This story is far from your traditional fairy tale because it is actually a murder mystery of sorts and Cinderella has been charged with the task of figuring out who is murdering her peers. It may seem like a simple task to some, but magic tends to complicate things and Cinderella must rely on her wits to put all the clues together while facing the consequences of her decisions.

Not only was the story line engaging and utterly entertaining, but the artwork was phenomenal! Willingham enlisted several different artists for this collection of 30 short stories. Each one brings a different style of work to the novel which brings the characters to life in ways I never imagined!

Be sure to check to check it out today! You can find this title in Grafton's Bestseller collection!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Take a trip with SAGA

Today's post is a book review written by our student staff member, Ash Aycock. Consider picking up this book at Grafton this May Term!

Forbidden Love. Interplanetary warfare. Secret assassins. Tree spaceships.

In SAGA, a graphic novel series written and illustrated by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples, you witness all of these things and more! A space opera like no other, an unlikely duo fights against all odds to save their child from those that would have them all dead, simply for loving each other. Mix in an assassin with a conscience and his partner, a cat who can tell if you're lying, along with an entire universe of quirky characters, SAGA is sure to take you on the ride of your life.

Now, I know what you might be saying: "Graphic novels, ew." Sure, I get it, graphic novels aren't for everyone, especially in a world run rampant with Marvel and DC superheroes. But I implore you to give SAGA a chance. Beautifully illustrated and with characters you're instantly protective of, SAGA explores the lengths we'll go for love in a universe that would rather squash your dreams than let them come to fruition. SAGA is funny, sad, sexy, and compelling. By the time you finish one of the novels, you're instantly reaching for the next. And if that doesn't convince you, there's a cat that talks. That's gotta be worth something, right? You can find SAGA in Grafton's Bestseller collection!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fates & Furies: Epically Awesome

Lauren Groff's Fates & Furies is a sweeping, surprising novel that is a joy to read and talk about. Mathilda and Lotto are captivating despite, and because of, their faults. Novels that are readable, span decades and successfully reveal profound truths about life are rare. In my opinion, Fates & Furies belongs among them.

I delighted in Mathilda. The leading woman of Groff's story, Mathilda is no Mary Sue or Manic Pixie Dream Girl. In fact, she's described on more than one occasion as far from conventionally pretty. Secondary characters wonder rudely behind her back at the attraction between Lotto and Mathilda. It's Lotto's refreshing ability to see the beauty in everyone that ignites his initial attraction for Mathilda and her ability to manage Lotto that keeps them together. I adore how Mathilda's character bucks the convention of the beautiful and petite heroine. She's broken, and strong, and to me very real (if a bit frightening).

I won't go on (spoilers!), but it's clear I'm a big fan. Pick up Lauren Groff's Fates & Furies at Grafton library this May term. You can find it in the Bestseller collection. If you read it, stop by the library and let me know how you liked it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Mystery? The Westing Game

Today's post is a book review written by our student staff member, Emma Reger. Consider picking up this book at Grafton this May Term!

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin is one of the best mystery books I have ever read (and I’ve read a lot of mysteries). The story begins when an odd assortment of characters are gathered to a new apartment community called Sunset Towers, which, as the book points out, is strange because Sunset Towers faces East and there are, in fact, no towers. The characters who are called to the Towers are the mysterious Samuel Westing’s sixteen heirs, and when he is murdered, it is up to the heirs to figure out which one of them committed the crime in a bizarre game set up in Westing's will. The narrator divulges that one heir steals, one sets off bombs, and one isn’t even supposed to be there in the first place.
 Paired off into teams of two, and given $10,000 dollars to help, the teams race to figure out the solution first, for the winner receives Westing’s entire 200 million fortune. Each team is given a set of clues and told that it is what they don’t have that counts more than what they do. The teams must decide whether to work together to combine their clues or try to go it alone. Throughout the story, skeletons in many of the heirs’ closets are revealed, there are ghosts (or worse) and more murder and plenty of hidden identities.

Outside of being a mystery, The Westing Game touches on subjects such as how to deal with insecurity, neglect, grief, and loneliness, while continuing to move through the story at a quick speed. The vocabulary is rather simple, but if you are looking for a fast, fun read as the year winds down, and even though it is an easy one, The Westing Game is definitely entertaining, puzzling, and clever enough to keep you interested. You can find The Westing Game in Grafton's circulating collection.