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Meet Lori Rader-Day at Cook Library at 7 p.m. July 15. Register

I really enjoy reading debut novels. It’s so much fun discovering new authors and anticipating their future books. One such author is Lori Rader-Day, whose psychological thriller, The Black Hour, comes out July 8.

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Periodically, the Cook Library Cinema Club will shine the Spotlight on Directors -- where we'll highlight the work of some of the greatest directors of American films.

 

billy-wilder-1We'll start with the late, great Billy Wilder -- one of the most versatile and successful directors of Hollywood's Golden Era.  In a career that spanned over 50 years, 60 films, and included six Oscar wins, the Austrian-born filmmaker was a true triple-threat who wrote, directed, and produced everything from heavy drama to broad comedy.  The Jewish Wilder began his career as a screenwriter in Germany, but emigrated to the U.S., via Paris, as the Nazi Party gained power in the 1920's.  He first gained attention in Hollywood for his screenplay of the classic comedy Ninotchka, starring Greta Garbo.  Early directorial assignments soon followed, with Wilder directing his own screenplays for such classic dramas as The Lost Weekend and Double Indemnity.  After the huge success of those films, there was no stopping his particular brand of genius, and his filmography is studded with some of the most successful movies of all time, in every genre imaginable.  You will find a great selection of Wilder's best films here at the library.  So many wonderful films to choose from!  Three of our favorites are highlighted below.

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hoopla is an always available collection of eVideo, eMusic, and eAudiobooks.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_oneplusone.jpgI’ve read every JoJo Moyes book that’s been published in the U.S. So it’s a no brainer that I’d grab her newest book One Plus One. It’s another contemporary opposites attract love story. What I love about her latest book is that I care equally about each character. Jess is trying to hold everything together, despite her vanishing husband, her teenage son who is being bullied, and no money to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Tanzie, her math prodigy daughter. She cleans the home of tech millionaire Ed, who has problems of his own but finds himself coming to her rescue. Moyes lovingly and capably guides the reader to a satisfactory conclusion with lots of laughs along the way. Robert Harris is another author whose novels never disappoint.

b2ap3_thumbnail_officerandaspy.jpgAn Officer and a Spy takes a shameful part of French history and thrillingly transports the reader to another country and place in time. I felt I was an observer in the courtroom, political and military back rooms, meetings and dinner parties of 19th century Paris. Alfred Dreyfuss, a Jewish officer in the French army is accused, tried and found guilty of being a spy. Some years later Georges Picquart, an officer involved in the case, finds evidence that this may not be the case. Those are the facts and Harris builds his story around them, revealing the racism and class issues that made Dreyfuss an easy scapegoat. It’s clear that Harris meticulously researches his novels and each one provides insight into real people caught up in almost unbelievable events.

b2ap3_thumbnail_oppositeofloneliness.jpgMarina Keegan was a promising writer, just hired by the New Yorker, whose play was about to be produced in New York, whose stories and essays had already been published in prominent magazines and who tragically died in a car crash five days after graduating magna cum laude from Yale. Her book of essays and stories, The Opposite of Loneliness was published two years later and I picked up her book, not knowing any of her writing or her short life. In a review J.R. Moehringer describes a “sorrow/joy” feeling while reading her book. Sorrow, for her short life so filled with promise, and joy that her insights and words provide hope for all of us. Marina’s voice leaps off the page and I savored every sentence.

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First off, it’s because her name is “Rainbow.” How cool is that? How could you ever get mad at someone named “Rainbow?” You’d just end up smiling every time you said her name!b2ap3_thumbnail_RR-1.jpg

Second, her books are outstanding. Along with authors like John Green, she’s leading the trend in young adult fiction away from vampires and dystopian worlds and into realistic fiction, with fully-fleshed, relatable characters. (Thank goodness.) She doesn’t rely on complicated plots or action scenes – she just tells b2ap3_thumbnail_rowell-books.jpgsimple stories that go straight to the heart. Her books Eleanor & Park and Fangirl delve into teen insecurity, broken families, and the betrayal of friends with compassion, wit and heart. They’re young adult books that adults will also relate to and love.

Rowell is publishing her first adult novel in July, called Landline. (Thanks to the publisher for providing our library with an ARC.) Georgie McCool, the main character, is a writer for a TV comedy, and she and her writing partner/best friend, Seth, have just gotten the break of their lives – a network executive wants a pilot for their new series. The problem is that they have to get it done in ten days, right over the Christmas holidays, when Georgie is supposed to visit her husband’s family in Omaha. Her husband takes their daughters and goes to Omaha, while Georgie stays behind in LA for a week that transforms her attitude about her career and her marriage.

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