From Page to Screen: Old Yeller

I’ve talked on here before about my hesitance concerning depressing animal books for children.

There are a lot of books/movies that could be added to the list of depressing animal stories for kids, and Old Yeller is definitely one of them.

However, even though it is the granddaddy of all depressing animal books for kids, it is a story that I have a soft spot for. In fact, I’ve reread it a few times and always enjoy it. I can’t deny that it is terribly sad, but I think it has a lot of good things to offer before it rips your heart out and depresses you for days.

Though the book is something I have revisited on numerous occasions as an adult, I have not watched the movie since I was a child. I remedied that this past weekend.

As always, beware–some spoilers do follow.

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From Page to Screen: Longmire

The fight is real . . . at least for Walt Longmire.  As sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, Walt never has a dull day as he works to solve crimes, contend with family, friends, coworkers, and confront the personal demons that have haunted him since the death of his wife.

Craig Johnson’s sheriff is the focus of a series of a books, as well as a popular television series. I have had numerous people recommend the books and the TV show to me, so comparing the first entries in both seemed perfect for our next “From Page to Screen” feature.

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Discussion Thread: Deadwood

This is what happens when a review is 13 years in the making. You’ll understand when you’ve read to the end!

Those of you who have been reading this blog for some time–or, for that matter, those of you who know me in person–probably realized pretty quickly that I have some odd hang-ups when it comes to pop culture. I prefer to think of them as eccentric, but really, that’s just to make me feel better about myself.

One I don’t think I have chatted about on here is my tendency to delay reading or watching something that I suspect I will like simply because I fear being disappointed by it.

So, instead of eagerly trying something that I am excited about like, I don’t know, a normal human being, I will procrastinate about it. And I’m not talking about a matter of days or weeks or months. I mean putting it off for years.

Such was my experiences with Deadwood, the 2004-2006 HBO show about the rough mining camp of Deadwood, South Dakota during its heyday in the 1870s. I first read about the show when it was airing. I was a teenager without access to HBO, but my curiosity was piqued. I love history, and as we established a couple of weeks ago, I also really like Westerns.

I’m also a big fan of several of the character actors in the cast, so knowing that there was a show that brought together the likes of Powers Boothe, Keith Carradine, Garret Dillahunt, Ray McKinnon, William Sanderson, Brian Cox, Zach Grenier, and Leon Rippy just made me ridiculously happy.

After I started working at the library, every time someone would check it out or return it, I’d think, “Oh yeah! I’ve wanted to watch that since I was a teenager. I should put that on hold.”

I also would stumble across discussions about it on pop culture websites, and I was always intrigued by the nostalgic tone its fans adopted when talking about. After reading any article and comment section devoted to Deadwood, I’d think to myself, “I really need to watch that show.”

But I kept putting it off and delaying because I also read about how the show was cancelled suddenly and doesn’t have a proper ending. I didn’t want to devote hours to something that would disappoint me.

I also secretly feared that I wouldn’t even like the earlier seasons before the cancellation was an issue, and for something that I had built up so much in my head, that was just something I couldn’t quite bear. So, I spent nearly 13 years not watching Deadwood but frequently thinking about watching it before late last year, when I finally decided that I was being ridiculous.

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Paulette Jiles’s News of the World

news-of-the-world

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd has a mission that he did not ask for nor one that he wishes, though he readily admits the necessity of his journey. A news reader who makes his living traveling between rough frontier towns in the tension-filled midst of Reconstruction-era Texas, he is asked to return a 10-year-old girl to her family. The child, Johanna, was captured by Kiowa years earlier and seems to have no memory of her former life or native language. She just wants to return to her adopted tribe and keeps trying to run away every chance she gets. As the two travel hundreds of miles together through a land beset by raiding parties and criminals, complications ensue.

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Oddly-Specific Genres: Rugged Romance

“Of course, women don’t like Westerns.”

This statement from a stranger probably triggered one of my more embarrassing social interactions in college.

I don’t know about wherever you went to school, but at my undergraduate college, it wasn’t unusual to find yourself at a cafeteria table of mostly strangers. The following incident was relatively early in my college career, before I realized the importance of coordinating meal schedules with friends and arriving early so that I could avoid the awkwardness of small chat with strangers.

But on this particular day, I didn’t know any better and had found myself in this situation and, as an introvert, I responded by developing a laser-like focus on my plate and ignoring everyone else at the table. I was jarred out of this protective social cocoon when I overheard someone confidently proclaim that “Of course, women don’t like Westerns.”

Now, as a woman who happens to immensely enjoy Westerns–indeed, some of my favorite books, movies, and television shows are Westerns–that broad generalization really infuriated me. And without giving it much further thought or even clarifying context or anything else, I immediately blurted out an unintentionally very confrontational, “Well, I like Westerns!”

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2016 Library Challenge: A Pulitzer Prize Winner

Let’s be real. For many, the Pulitzer Prize is not a reading turn-on.

And I understand why. If contemporary literary fiction isn’t your thing, ploughing through some of the past winners may seem like real work.

But I like literary fiction and think many prize-winning books make for a good read, even if you aren’t living in an ivory tower. If nothing else, they always give you plenty to think about!

Don’t forget that Pulitzers are also awarded for nonfiction, history, and biography.

Ready to take the plunge? Here’s a few prize winners that may just draw you in…

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book with Magic

Magic — yay or nay?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working in a library, it’s that people tend to have very strong feelings one way or another on whether they like books with magic or just fantasy in general. Even with our tween book club, for which the average age is ten, most of our members already have pretty firm opinions on the subject, with some really enjoying escaping into another world entirely and others strongly preferring that their fiction is rooted in realism.

If you’re in the first group, you probably won’t have any problem finding a book for this challenge. But if you’re in the latter and are still stumped for something to read or if you just are looking for something to read in general and don’t mind a walk on the fantastical side, here are some suggestions for you!

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