Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bingewatching for the Holidays: Family drama on “Parenthood”

Put down those worthy histories of war and pestilence, put off the self-improvement tomes until next year, and pick up a DVD set from our collection to chill out during the coming vacation. We have many series for your viewing pleasure, be your interest in murder and mayhem, family sagas, comedy or drama.

For the months of December and January, we’ll be featuring weekly staff picks of particular genres. Sit back and enjoy with no guilt - no calories are involved with this kind of binging.







Meet three generations of Bravermans.  Zeek and Camille have weathered many storms in their 40-plus years of marriage.  They have four adult children, each with their own complicated lives.  Over the years, son Adam and his wife Kristina face a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome for their son Max, Kristina’s unplanned pregnancy and daughter Haddie leaving home. Son Crosby is a screw-up whose life changes drastically when he discovers he has a son. Daughter Julia is a successful lawyer who finds over time that she can’t have it all without paying a price. Daughter Sarah is a single mother who comes home to her parents with her two teenage children to start over in life.

The series is set in the Bay Area, with an excellent ensemble cast.  This is its sixth and final season on network television-critics consider it the best show about families currently on the screen.  It deals with real issues-I thought the episodes dealing with Christina’s bout with cancer were especially good.  My adult son thinks Crosby is the only redeeming character; I like them all, but I have a fondness for Zeek. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Binge watching for the holidays-murder and mayhem: Inspector George Gently and The Fall

Put down those worthy histories of war and pestilence, put off the self-improvement tomes until next year, and pick up a DVD set from our collection to chill out during the coming vacation. We have many series for your viewing pleasure, be your interest in murder and mayhem, family sagas, comedy or drama.

For the months of December and January, we’ll be featuring weekly staff picks of particular genres. Sit back and enjoy with no guilt - no calories are involved with this kind of binging.











DCI George Gently solves crimes in a rapidly-changing Britain.  It’s the Sixties: he and his sergeant, John Bacchus, come from different worlds and different generations but they grudgingly bridge those gaps to catch killers and find justice.
Actor Martin Shaw is no stranger to law and order. He appears as Judge John Deed (DVD JUDGE SET) and P.D. James’ Commander Adam Dalgleish in “Death in Holy Orders” (DVD MURDER LAWRENCE) and “Murder room” (DVD MURDER LAWRENCE).    






A serial killer is at work in Belfast, Northern Ireland targeting young professional women.  The audience learns his identity early on-the real drama focuses on DS Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) in her efforts to catch him.
It’s not a mystery so much as a thriller bound to keep you on the edge of your seat.  Gillian Anderson does a fabulous job as the outsider brought in from London to review the case who finds herself embroiled in a dangerous game with a killer.   

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Binge Watching for the Holidays: Parks and Rec and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Put down those worthy histories of war and pestilence, put off the self-improvement tomes until next year, and pick up a DVD set from our collection to chill out during the coming vacation. We have many series for your viewing pleasure, be your interest in murder and mayhem, family sagas, comedy or drama.

For the months of December and January, we’ll be featuring weekly staff picks of particular genres. Sit back and enjoy with no guilt - no calories are involved with this kind of binging.



Parks and Recreation (DVD PARKS-1 SET)


Welcome to Pawnee, Indiana: join Leslie Knope and her co-workers (Amy Poehler heads a great ensemble cast) as they tackle projects to improve their city. Leslie starts out as assistant director in "Parks and Recreation", but she has big dreams-perhaps the presidency? Her enthusiasm is boundless; her adventures are laugh-out-loud funny. Who ever knew that bureaucracy could be so hilarious?
I discovered the show on an airplane last spring. I’m up to Season six and looking forward to its final televised season, beginning Tuesday January 13.





"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" follows five of the most despicably lovable (or is it lovably despicable?) characters seen in an American sitcom.  Season one introduces twins Dennis and Sweet Dee, and their friends Charlie and Mac.  They run an Irish pub in Philadelphia, and this setting provides the backdrop as they tackle such hilarious issues as racism, abortion, underage drinking, and gun control.  
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is not for the faint-hearted.  It is dark humor at it's finest. The first season is fantastic, but future seasons are even better; The show really hits its stride once Danny DeVito's character Frank shows up in Season Two.





Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Binge Watching for the holidays: American Horror Story: Coven and Penny Dreadful

Put down those worthy histories of war and pestilence, put off the self-improvement tomes until next year, and pick up a DVD set from our collection to chill out during the coming vacation. We have many series for your viewing pleasure, be your interest in murder and mayhem, family sagas, comedy or drama.

For the month of December, we’ll be featuring weekly staff picks of particular genres. Sit back and enjoy with no guilt - no calories are involved with this kind of binging.

American Horror Story: Coven DVD AMERICAN-3 SET
“Coven” centers on the witches residing at Miss Robichaux's Academy – a school for witches. Since the time of Salem witches have been hunted and persecuted; Miss Robichaux’s is a place where the coven of young witches can develop their powers away from a distrustful world. Trouble is brewing in the coven; their absentee Supreme, played with aplomb by Jessica Lange, is more concerned with immortality than protecting the wards of the Academy. Add to the mix a voodoo queen, a Minotaur, and a slave owner-I assure you that you won’t turn off the TV until the end.
“American Horror Story” is not for the faint of heart. Be warned that scenes of torture and gore appear on the screen-you may want to avert your eyes. There’s also a lot of humor in “Coven”, compared to the two other seasons. One of my favorite scenes was when one of the witches, tied to the stake and about to be burned alive, was asked for her last words; she shouted at the top of her lungs, “Balenciaga!” (a designer of women’s apparel). You can watch this season even if you have not seen the previous two seasons (on ghosts and an insane asylum, respectively). Virtually the same actors, led by Jessica Lange, appear in each season.



Penny dreadful (DVD Penny-1 Set)
“Penny dreadful” is set in Victorian England. It features classic characters of the horror genre and builds its tale around them. The title refers to a cheap type of serialized fiction comic book (known as a penny dreadful) which was popular in 19th Century England. The storyline introduces characters from Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, and Oscar Wilde’s “Picture of Dorian Gray”. It follows intrepid African explorer Malcom Murray as he searches for his lost daughter Mina. Along the way, he comes across a cast of characters- each with his own secret-that lends a supernatural aura to the series. Timothy Dalton (Do you remember him as James Bond?), Josh Harnett and Eva Green star.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Binge Watching for the holidays: New Tricks and Vicar of Dibley

Put down those worthy histories of war and pestilence, put off the self-improvement tomes until next year, and pick up a DVD set from our collection to chill out during the coming vacation. We have many series for your viewing pleasure, be your interest in murder and mayhem, family sagas, comedy or drama.

For the month of December, we’ll be featuring weekly staff picks of particular genres. Sit back and enjoy with no guilt - no calories are involved with this kind of binging.



New Tricks (DVD New)

Three retired police officers, led by a glamourous and feisty female superintendent are recruited to solve cold cases. Eccentric and set in their ways, they cope with a new-style police force, and each other’s troubled pasts.

Tense crime solving, and offbeat humor make this well-acted series an addictive treat!

vicar of dibley cover image

Vicar of Dibley (DVD Vicar)

The sleepy English village of Dibley is plunged into an uproar when its new vicar turns out to be a woman. And not just any woman, but the unconventional Geraldine Granger who brings her own earthy spirit and ribald humor to the pulpit.

Witty and well-acted, you’ll be in stitches!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

What We're Reading Now: Kill My Mother

Looking for some light, post-Thanksgiving reading?




Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer (GN FEIFFER)

Jules Feiffer’s graphic novel , a homage to noir, begins in the year 1933. Spirited young Annie resents her long-suffering mother’s attempts to provide for her after her cop-father’s death; mother Elsie works for a drunken private eye whom she hopes will solve the mystery of her husband’s murder.   Elsie becomes involved in her boss’ current case involving a tall forbidding blonde; the boss winds up dead. Fast forward to 1943 and the Pacific island of Tarawa, where all the characters converge as a USO troupe performs for war-weary Marines. 

Feiffer dedicated his novel to Milton Caniff, Dashiell Hammett and Billy Wilder among others. Tough broads, blazing guns, a Hollywood actor wildly ambitious beyond his ability, a murderous blonde, complicated family relationships and mistaken identities come together for an ending worthy of the best comic strips- and hard-boiled movies -of the era.      

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What We're Reading Now: Food Books!

Here are two recent titles relating to food that we’ve enjoyed:


Hungry by Darlene Barnes (641.5092 BARNES)
Would your dream job be feeding male collegians five days a week?  New to Seattle, Darlene Barnes did just that at the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at University of Washington.  When she arrived the kitchen was a disaster; fresh food was totally alien to the environment.  She welcomed the challenge of creating good meals, feeding her guys more than just food and learning from them in exchange.  Her memoir is funny, irreverent and includes a few recipes which the fraternity grew to savor.  


 To Eat: A Country Life by Joe Eck (635 Eck)         

Gardeners and life partners Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd purchased 28 acres in Vermont in 1974.  Over the years they created a superb garden, detailing their experience in several books. Each chapter in “To eat” is devoted to a fruit, vegetable or livestock from the farm; line drawings and the occasional recipe add to the reader’s visual and culinary delight.
I made the Hashed Brussels sprouts-they were delicious.