Information, Answers & Reviews

The sweethearts of the prison rodeo

Last Friday I decided to scan the shelves in the library and pick up something random but interesting. I came across a DVD called, "The Sweethearts of Prison Rodeo." The title alone is interesting. This documentary film is about inmates housed in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Once a year, every since 1940, the male inmates have been allowed to participate in a rodeo that serves as a short reprieve for them and entertainment for non-inmates. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Where the God of Love Hangs Out

God of LoveAmy Bloom, who used to be a practicing psychotherapist, has won many awards for her short stories. Her latest collection Where the God of Love Hangs Out examines love in many aspects. Bloom shows how it's possible to fall for an older man with a beer belly who suffers from gout and a life-threatening heart condition. The book features two sets of interrelated stories, the first about two couples--close, long-term friends--whose lives are broken apart and rearranged in new and unconventional ways. The second set of stories explores the lives of a jazz musician's widow and her young adult son, Lionel. These four stories reveal how grief makes some people emotionally vulnerable and susceptible to poor life choices.

Shoot 'Em Up

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Sometimes there is nothing better than a good shoot 'em up movie. I love to watch what I know are impossible stunts and a lone man or woman going up against impossible odds and coming out ahead. Die Hard was the first movie I remember seeing of this type, though I'm sure there were earlier ones.
My new favorite in this genre has the honest title of Shoot 'em Up. This 2007 movie stars Clive Owen as a man named Smith who accidentally finds himself in the middle of everything after he comes to the aid of a pregnant women in labor

The Writing Circle

The Writing CircleThis novel examines the writing process itself especially that nerve-wracking period when an author first shares her work with other people. Nancy writes for a medical newsletter for a living; how ironic, she often thinks, that a doctor's daughter researches articles about prostate health, skin cancer, even empty nest syndrome, and then makes pronouncements about them in the voice of a medical practitioner rather than her own. Her novel is a deeply personal story, one that imagines her father's life beginning with the night he watched a couple say good-bye to their newborn daughter. Nancy has waited until after her father's death to imagine his story. And as in all fiction, the bare biographical facts are merely a springboard to the tale, not its actual foundation.

Hoarders

Hoarders is an A&E reality television show that focuses on people that engage in compulsive hoarding. I watched the first four episodes and could not believe my eyes. There are people that collect things, store things and buy knick-knacks, and then there are hoarders. Hoarders are the extreme versions of those that like to collect and store things in their homes.

Graphic Novels for The Afraid

MercuryI will come right out and say that I do not like superheroes (movie or print) and I didn't read comic books as a kid, so I am not naturally drawn to the graphic novel format. Because I'm kind of a nerd, what I do like is big fat novels and dusty historical non-fiction. So color me surprised when recently I've been enjoying more graphic novels. Last night as I finished Mercury by Hope Larson I began to wonder and hope that the reason went beyond the fact that I can read on in a single sitting -- though that is very satisfying too! My rationale is that I've been craving something different. I have read enough fiction to be somewhat bored with a traditional storyline. I want to think while I read -- to be engaged! And picking up some graphic novels has been the way to do that recently. I've tried to compile a list of graphic novels for the hesitant -- for anyone who thought that they weren't interested. Give one a try, you might be pleasantly surprised.

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