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Hungering for More

The World of The Hunger Games book coverAt the info desk, I’m getting even more requests than usual right now for the three books in Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy.  Maybe that has something to do with Catching Fire being the highest-grossing movie in the country right now (just a wild guess!).

If you want to borrow The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, or Mockingjay novels from SJPL right now, chances are pretty good you'll need to put yourself on the holds list first. You shouldn’t have too long of a wait before you can pick up or download your copy, however. 

But even if you have more immediate Hunger Games needs and would like to be able to check something Hunger Games-related out of the library right now, you’ll find many of SJPL’s branches have interesting companion books waiting on the shelves for you to take home and enjoy. Try an advanced search by subject to look for "hunger games"-related material in our catalog.

Some of the things you could find include:

The World of the Hunger Games
 by Kate Egan.
A companion guide to Panem, the world in the "Hunger Games." 

The Hunger Games: Tribute Guide by Emily Seife.
Provides profiles of the tributes from the twelve districts.

The Hunger Games and Philosophy: a Critique of Pure Treason Edited by George A. Dunn and Nicolas Michaud.
Examines the key characters, plot lines, and themes of the series while applying the perspectives of Charles Darwin, Thomas Hobbes, and Plato.

The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide
 by Creek Stewart.
Infused with themes and references from "The Hunger Games" books and movies, this survival field manual provides practical instructions for real-world skills, from building a shelter and finding water to making a fire and providing field first aid.

And if all this dystopian angst gets to be a bit much, maybe try:

The Hunger Pains

A parody from The Harvard Lampoon, starring Kantkiss Neverclean.

King of Fiction

Doctor SleepDoctor Sleep, Stephen King’s much-anticipated follow-up to The Shining, has finally been released and the San Jose Library has copies in both print and audio format. However, as there are currently a healthy number of patrons on the waiting list, some Stephen King fans may want to tide themselves over with other Stephen King works while they await their turn for the latest from the celebrated storyteller.

Carrie book coverOne older title that immediately springs to mind is Carrie, since a new movie adaptation of the 1974 novel is being released later this month. I just borrowed the e-book from SJPL myself. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the horror genre in general and I actually hadn’t read much by King before, but I was gripped by Carrie from the first page. I was impressed by Stephen King’s focus on character and how sympathetic he is to some of the most uncomfortable, awkward and downright painful elements of being an adolescent girl. I say that as someone who has been a teenage girl in admiration of someone who has not (which is not to say I would have ever been driven to Carrie’s most infamous uses of her telekinetic power, even if I had any).

As the October 18 opening date of the new film approaches, you can borrow the 1976 film adaptation on DVD too. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie both received Academy Award nominations for their performances.

You can also check out the audio recording of Carrie on CD or as an e-audio book on Overdrive (you can even listen to a couple of excerpts from the e-audio book before checking it out).  The audio book is narrated by Sissy Spacek.

Question of the Week: Fernandel

DON CAMILLOA caller asked for a movie with a title of "something like God’s Little Acre," but she could not remember any better. I looked up "God’s Little Acre" in the library catalog showing the result of only a book, God’s Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell. By searching Link+ there was a videocassette, "God’s Little Acre," based on the same novel by Erskine Caldwell, about a "saga of a Georgia farm family and their search for a treasure which an ancestor may have buried on their farm…" This, the caller said, was not what she had in mind; then said, matter-of-factly, the actor of the movie was Fernandel! Great! 


By searching "Fernandel" in the library catalog, there were three entries (of book and music), but no movies or videos. I went on searching "Fernandel" on IMDB database, the result page contained a filmography for Fernandel as "Actor" listing 152 titles. Featured on the same page were a few movies for which he was known, and one of them was "The Little World of Don Camille" which the caller recognized immediately as what she wanted. The description of the movie reads "In a village of the Po valley where the earth is hard and life miserly, the priest and the communist mayor are always fighting to be the head of the community…"


There were also a biography for Fernandel (1903–1971), as well as photos and reviews of his comedies all of which appeared to be so much fun. By now, I wished I had known these movies sooner. For a copy of the movie, the caller wondered where she could buy one. It turned out to be easy - Available on Amazon was a DVD release of 2008 for the movie.  


This reference exchange was gratifying for both the caller and me – she located a DVD of the movie retrieved from her memory and I discovered a popular movie of the 1950s.


See more Questions of the week!

The Great Gatsby Alive Again

F. Scott FitzgeraldI saw the new Baz Luhrmann film adaptation of The Great Gatsby yesterday, and much as that story's narrator Nick Carraway ponders the life and character of his mysterious rich neighbor Jay Gatsby, I found myself pondering some mysteries about F. Scott Fitzgerald. I wonder how he would have received this most recent retelling of his master work, with its rap soundtrack and 3D effects. After The Great Gatbsy was published in 1925, Fitzgerald wrote to his friend Edmund Wilson "that of all the reviews, even the most enthusiastic, not one had the slightest idea what the book was about." It makes me wonder if Fitzgerald would think this new movie has any idea what the book is about, or whether the critics who have reviewed the movie do. In my entirely humble opinion, I think he just might have approved of Luhrmann's visions of decadence, disillusionment and disappointment, but as the author has been dead for 73 years, my opinion must remain mostly wild speculation.


I am reasonably rather more sure that F. Scott Fitzgerald would have enjoyed the resurgence of interest in his novel that the release of the movie has brought about. The book was never a commerical success in Fitzgerald's lifetime, but today it holds the #3 bestseller spot for all of the books available at, and there is a waitlist to borrow it from the San Jose Public Library (but not a horribly long waitlist, so don't hesitate if you want to add yourself to it!).

Roger Ebert: June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013

Roger EbertLike many others, I was very saddened to learn of the death of Roger Ebert this past Thursday. I grew up watching him argue with Gene Siskel on TV, and when he was absent from television I was glad I could still read his reviews in newspapers or online, even after cancer and surgery left him unable to talk. I didn't realize until reading his obituary that in 1975 he was the first movie critic ever to be award the Pulitzer Prize.  


Ebert also wrote books, and you can find some of them in the San Jose Public Library catalog. His 2011 memoir Life Itself is available both in print form and audio CD. Perhaps you might also want to check out The Great Movies and The Great Movies II or his collection of criticism of the films of Martin Scorsese  (did you know that Roger Ebert wrote the first film review Scorsese ever received? I just learned that).


Two thumbs up for a life well-lived, Mr. Ebert. You will be missed.

New Books and Movies from the Mind of Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck PalahniukThis year, San Jose has concluded its 23rd Cinequest Film Festival. For the past 23 years, the festival has highlighted a distinguished artist from the film world through its Mavericks Spirit Award. This award has been presented to  the likes of Directors, Actors, Writers and Screenwriters such as; Werner Herzog, John Waters, Kevin Spacey, Wes Craven, Ian McKellen, Edward James Olmos, J.J. Abrams, and Deepak Chopra. This year’s honored recipients were Harrison Ford and Chuck Palahniuk. Naturally - I decided this would be a good year for me to attend the film festival since I had not yet attended one, and wouldn’t miss an opportunity to hear one of my favorite authors, (Chuck Palahniuk), speak about a short film which was being premiered based on his short story, "Romance". Palahniuk would also be speaking about his influences behind his contemporary classics Fight Club, Lullaby, Choke, and various other great books he wrote - some of which have been adapted into hollywood films or are currently in production to become films.


Some avid readers scorn at the concept of movie adaptations of novels. I personally enjoy the perspective some films bring to a novel. However, not all hollywood interpretations amount to the same expectations or quality - Palahniuk made a good point in his response to the question the moderator presented on the amount of influence he himself has in the movies that are made from his novels. Palahniuk mentioned that the most direction he would have given in any film created from his novels, was only to have a few words with the screenwriter for edits he would have liked to added to his novels. He expressed a fascination in the change his fiction took within the hands of another artist. He used the analogy of his novels being his children in which he didn't want to hold hands with throughout all its endeavours, but rather let it take its own form with anyone else influenced by it. It was a humble opinion Mr. Palahniuk presented to the many fans in the theater that day. He also presented NEWS that 3 more of his novels had been signed for production deals. One of them, I am personally excited to hear coming to theaters soon - Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey.


For those who haven't seen or read Palahniuks breakthrough title, Fight Club - reading the synopsis for Rant, may make you think twice of considering delving into such a morbid book full of Palahniuk’s humor. However, if you enjoyed Fight Club, you will be equally satisfied to know more of Palahniuk’s chaotic imagination has made its way to hollywood. The other two novels he announced would be adapted into movies are; Lullaby and Haunted. These two other novels are sure to be a treat for the fans of suspense. Palahniuk also added that he is currently working on the sequel to his most recent novel Damned. The book is to be titled Doomed and will be released October, 2013. For those adjudicated readers - you should not be intimidated by merely one of Palahniuk’s novels, but instead keep an open mind to his unconventional plots. Yes, most of Palahniuk’s wit feeds from violent and/or grotesque forms. Nevertheless, his underline of human nature insights the reader into contemplating the bigger picture of such raw emotion. Accompanied by his stirring content, is Palahniuk’s unconventional writing style. Something he often changes up in each novel for the sake of aggregating the protagonist characteristics for the reader to apprehend. In his novel Pygmy, the plot of young spies sent to America as exchange students to execute a terrorist plan - Palahniuk adds a harsh accent to the protagonist throughout the entire narrative to emphasize the cultural contrast of the invaders. In Rant, Palahniuk switches to a biographical narrative from the testimonials of the friends and family of Buster Casey - a self-destructive individual who spawns a pandemic sickness that nearly wipes out half of the American population.


You can find all of Chuck Palahniuk’s titles in our catalog including his latest Damned, which is available in eBook format.