January 14, 2012

Moneyball

Moneyball is nominated for a few Academy Awards this year, notably Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt for acting, and Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, story by Stan Chervin.

Moneyball is based on a true story, one written by Michael Lewis (author of The Blind Side) in the book by the same name. Michael Lewis is known for smart, incisive reporting. If you enjoyed Moneyball the movie, get more of the story by reading the book. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Lewis says the movie “took the story of an idea and turned it into the story of a man.”

Moneyball was nominated for Best Picture – Drama at the Golden Globe awards this year, and its star Brad Pitt also earned an acting nomination.

We currently have Moneyball in stock.

Check out our other blog posts to learn more about The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, The Ides of March, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, and the rest!

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January 14, 2012

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Hugo is nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Martin Scorsese, and Best Adapted Screenplay, John Logan.

Martin Scorsese won a Golden Globe for Best Director for Hugo, his adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a publishing phenomenon. The book looks intimidating, but its 533 pages are mostly beautiful black & white illustrations. The book evokes the feeling of a silent film, but in book form.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is also available in audio book. To make up for the lack of illustrations, the audio book tells the wordless parts of the story through orchestrated music and sound.

Selznick’s follow-up book, Wonderstuck, is similar in style, challenging young readers to perceive stories in different ways.

At this time, the Book Cellar has Wonderstruck and the audio book of Hugo, but we are out of stock of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Check out our other blog posts to learn more about The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, The Ides of March, Moneyball, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, and the rest!

January 14, 2012

The Help

The Help has received many Academy Award nominations this year: Best Picture, and three acting awards: Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, and Octavia Spencer.

Octavia Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for her glowing performance as Minnie Jackson in The Help.

The Help was nominated for many other Golden Globe awards, including Best Picture. Stars Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain were also nominated.

We barely need to talk about The Help, really. The movie held the number one spot for 25 days, the longest number one streak since The Sixth Sense in 1999. The book was so popular it stayed in hardcover for over two years, and the paperback continues to rest leisurely on its throne at the top of the best-seller charts.

If you have yet to get swallowed up in the hype, the book is worth your time. Not enough time to spare? Pick up the audiobook. It is a fabulous production. Even though it was recorded before the movie, the audiobook stars Octavia Spencer as Minnie, along with Jenna Lamia as Ms. Skeeter and Bahni Turpin as Aibileen.

Read the book and seen the film? Learn more about the author and read her book recommendations on her website.

At this time, the Book Cellar has used copies of both the hardcover and paperback of The Help, new copies of the paperback, and a used audiobook on CD.

Check out our other blog posts to learn more about The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Hugo, The Ides of March, Moneyball, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, and the rest!

October 23, 2011

Book Cellar Tumblr

 

Want to take a virtual tour of our store? Check out our Tumblr page, with regular updates of different sections and special displays in our Nashua, NH store.

bookcellarnh.tumblr.com

September 22, 2011

Book Club Recap: Stephen King’s The Stand

Our Book Club discussed Stephen King’s The Stand on Sept. 7, 2011. This may seem like an unusual book club choice (and in fact, it must be, because no reading-group guides exist for the book online). We learned, however, that the book has a little bit of something for everyone: horror, suspense, action, humor, sci-fi, romance, adventure. It’s a meaty book that spans all genres.

We normally read one book a month, but with The Stand we expanded it to two months. Many people in the group were really into it, but didn’t have the time to finish the 1400-page tome in the allotted 30 days. We got attached to the characters, especially Nick and Stu. Frannie, not so much.

Even though King updated the book in 1990, it still felt stuck in the 70s at some parts, especially regarding the cost of things and an archaic (for the 90s) view of birth control. We weren’t sure why it even had to be updated. We also debated if the book would still be interesting without the sci-fi elements. Isn’t a pandemic wiping out most of the world’s population enough? Why add a villain, a Sauron-esque embodiment of evil? We felt his motivations and purpose were a little vague.

We wondered how long the people of Boulder would be able to survive just by foraging for food. Also, we wondered why some people thought it was a good idea to just leave the community and head back to their homes, as though they could just make medicine or something if they got ill. It’s not that easy. And, as someone said, “Stephen King don’t know nothing ’bout birthin’ no babies!” A woman who had given birth by C-section wouldn’t be able to later have a natural birth without serious complications.

One thing we couldn’t figure out: why was the superflu called Captain Trips? According to google, this was also a nickname for The Grateful Dead‘s Jerry Garcia, but that doesn’t explain why King chose it as a euphemism for the superflu.

Still, despite these nitpicks, it was an entertaining book and an even better discussion. It’s fun to wonder who you might become after the end of the world. Would you be a hero or a villain? Would you even be able to survive? And if you did, what would you miss most about civilization?

For next month, we’re reading Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle, a more traditional book club selection.

August 2, 2011

Re-Evaluating High School Reading

Most schools in our area resume in about a month. There’s still plenty of time for some last-minute summer reading.

Local summer reading lists include a mix of old standbys–Jane Eyre, Huck Finn, 1984, various Dickens, Anne Frank, etc.; hot young-adult bestsellers like Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan or Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel; and some unusual adult genre fiction choices, such as Lee Child. I, for one, was happy to see Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men recommended at one local school.

It’s fantastic that more and more young-adult books are being put on high school reading lists. I despised many of the books I read in high school, probably because I didn’t really understand them.

Another seminal high-school read is William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. For some inexplicable reason, about 30% of visitors to the Book Cellar blog come here because they’re searching for the book cover image to Lord of the Flies.

Back by popular demand!

I read Lord of the Flies in high school and hated it. Correction: I read three chapters (the first, the last, and–spoiler alert!–the chapter where Piggy gets crushed by a rock), and hated it. (But I still aced my test!) Admittedly, I’m probably not the world’s greatest judge of the book’s quality. Still, I have no desire to re-read this book. Human nature is despicable and violent. I get it. Do I really need a whole book demonstrating this? My current opinion is, of course, highly influenced by my latent teenage disgust. Are there any books you read in high school and felt one way, but reading it later in life changed your opinion? Continue reading

July 27, 2011

Hunger Games Casting

Following up their exclusive photo shoot of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Entertainment Weekly has another exclusive Hunger Games spread, this one featuring Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, who play Peeta and Gale, respectively.

Hunger Games Boys

So what do you think? Do you like these choices or would you pick someone else instead?

Me, I’m still rankled over the decision to cast Lenny Kravitz as Cinna to really pay much attention to this. SPOILER ALERT: I was a little late to the game reading books 2 and 3 of the trilogy. When Cinna is beaten and taken into custody during Catching Fire, I had a hard time caring because I kept picturing it happening to Lenny Kravitz, which just doesn’t affect me emotionally at all. Maybe I should seek counseling to get to the bottom of my unhealthy, unexplained hatred of Kravitz. Was his cover of “American Woman” really that bad?

Anyway, back on track: Cinna is supposed to be fairly normal looking for someone from the Capital, very unlike the flamboyant mini-skirt- and high-heel wearing Kravitz. But hey, maybe playing against type will work for him.

There’s also talk of splitting the trilogy of books into four movies. Do you think there’s enough content in the books to do this, or are producers just salivating a little too early at the thought of increasing ticket sales a la Harry Potter and Twilight?

March 22, 2011

March Recommendations

For the month of March, Emma recommends the following four titles:

Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

Emma says: The first novel by the crazed mind that belongs to Chuck Palahniuk. He may be crazed, but he is brilliant. He redefines modern fiction and has created a genre all its own. Fight Club went on to be a hit classic film directed by David Fincher. Devilish fun!

Did you know? Like with any book-to-film adaptation, the movie has quite a few differences from the book. You can find a list of all the differences between the two at the blog The Book Was Better. Even the author of this blog admits that the movie and the book are both pretty darn good. Have you read both? Which did you enjoy more? Also, Palahniuk has a website chock full ‘o content about himself, his fourteen novels, and other works. You can even find out how to pronounce his name on his FAQ page.

Dry – Augusten Burroughs

Emma says: I have been on many journeys with Augusten Burroughs. Some dark, some scary, all of them funny. Dry is an inspiration. A true and vivid account of drug addiction and recovery — with a heavy dose of heart and hilarity. A five-star knock-out!

Did you know? Burroughs has a few television and film adaptations in the works. He is writing screenplays for a television adaptation of Dry for Showtime, and he is working on an original television production for CBS: the new show The Nature of Fire, about a troupe of firemen. Bryans Fuller (producer, Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies) and Singer (producer, The Usual Suspects and X-Men) are adapting Burroughs first novel, Sellevision, for NBC. (source) Continue reading

March 17, 2011

Bookbyte: Practical Magic

Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic was published sixteen years ago. Hoffman herself turned 59 yesterday.

Hoffman has a way of telling the story that feels like, well, like she’s telling story. Some voices make you think you’re there, experiencing the action. But Hoffman’s story is a little detached from that, yet manages to feel more intimate. You’re in the room with her while she spins her mystical tale. There’s little dialog in this book; instead, images are conjured right out of thin air! Continue reading

March 16, 2011

Bookbyte: Gods in Alabama

Our book club read Joshilyn Jackson’s gods in Alabama. Unfortunately, I had to miss the meeting, but I did read the book. So instead of a book club recap, we’ll just have a  review.

gods is a fast-paced, humorous, Southern-flavored romp. It has a killer opening line: “There are gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel’s, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus.” The titular gods are lower case in the title for a reason. Continue reading

March 14, 2011

March Recommendations

For March, Mike recommends classics, philosophy, and poetry:

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, the great Victorian diva. From her aunt’s parlor to the remains of Thornfield Hall, Jane always has her own way of doing things. Can you trust her? It’s up to you. Enjoy the more interesting side of a fairly boring era.

Did you know? Jane Eyre has inspired dozens of films, TV adaptations and books. There have been sixteen feature film adaptations, including the latest with Mia Wasikowska and Judi Dench. Jean Rhys’s 1966 novel Wide Sargasso Sea reveals the backstory of Bertha Rochester, the madwoman in the attic of Thornfield Hall. Jasper Fforde’s hit Thursday Next series started with The Eyre Affair, in which Jane Eyre is kidnapped from the novel. As Thursday Next, the series’ heroine, works to return her to the classic work, she inadvertently changes the ending! And, of course, there’s a paranormal parody: Jane Slayre. Watch the trailer for the new Jane Eyre here.

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Most people who work here hate this book (ed. note: I do!), but I love it. What better way to explore man’s wild side than through kids in the wild. This is why we can’t all just get along.

Did you know? This classic tale of survival and basic human conflict has inspired two films, one in 1963 and one in 1990, starring Balthazar Getty. Lord of the Flies has also found itself alongside Slaughterhouse-five and Native Boy on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books of the 90s. Learn more about banned and frequently challenged books at the ALA website.

Janet prefers Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence

A classic novel of sexual liberation. The subtext, though, is Lawrence’s belief that humans are good when not repressed by society. Quite the opposite view of Lord of the Flies! Continue reading

March 10, 2011

Bookbyte: A Red Herring Without Mustard

Red HerringFlavia de Luce is one of the most witty and memorable characters in fiction today. She hit the scene in 2009 in her debut novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Alan Bradley manages to make believable an eleven-year-old chemistry genius with passion for poison and a vocabulary beyond her years. A lesser author would make her precocious and cartoonish, but brought alive by Bradley’s words, Flavia looks out at you from the the pages, a real girl with wide eyes filled with curiosity.

Her latest adventure, A Red Herring Without Mustard, takes place in the same summer as both Pie and the impeccable follow-up mystery, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag. That’s a lot of murder in one season in the fictional 1950s English village of Bishop’s Lacey. Flavia runs the risk of becoming a pre-teen Jessica Fletcher if the bodies keep dropping at this rate. Continue reading