Category Archives: Warner Library

Look What’s in the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. There’s a big browsing section of new books added to the library collection.

(2016-07-08 001)Title: Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?

Author: Brian Fies

Publication Information: New York: Abrams Comicarts, c2009

ISBN: 978-0-8109-9636-6

Library of Congress Classification: PN6727.F483

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Technological innovations–Comic books, strips, etc.
Fathers and sons–Comic books, strips, etc.
Comic books, strips, etc.–United States

The book centers on a father and son. The timeline of father and son is distorted; the son and father age far slower than in the real world. The son is the narrator, and the book begins with them going to the New York World’s Fair in 1939 at Flushing Meadows in Queens. From here, the book walks through the decades of the 20th century, as we see the son (very slowly) growing up. He is a teenager in the 1950s through the 1970s.

What people of the time saw in terms of the advancement of science and technology–flying cars, living on other planets, super cities, etc.–would better life. It all started at the World’s Fair. Father and son, very close at that time, slowly grow apart as the 1950s give way to the 1960s and the distrust of government, which reaches a zenith with Watergate in the 1970s.

The abandonment of exploring space with the end of the Apollo Program was the most glaring error made by the United States. However, even by criticizing the Earth-centered Space Shuttle Program, author Fies reveals the advances in technology that happened from the experiments made on the shuttle missions: computers, cell phones, new appliances, medical advances, etc. So, even though the future did not look like what people in the 1930s envisioned, there have been great technological advances that subtly (or maybe not so subtly) changed our lives. None was as exciting as the flying car or living in houses in the sky a la The Jetsons, but technology nonetheless has had major impacts and has reshaped society–for better or worse.

As each decade is shown with the father-son interaction, there’s the evolution also taking place in a comic book–a comic book within a comic book (graphic novel): Space Age Adventures, starring Commander Cap Crater and Cosmic Boy. Changes in attitudes over time are mirrored here as well. For example, women begin as being visible with little or no power in a minor role and end up in important command positions.

Perhaps the most astounding–and thought-provoking–change in the comic book is the transformation that Cap and Cosmic Boy’s arch-enemy, Xandra, goes through. In the 1930s Xandra is the typical mad scientist out to conquer the world, By the early 21st century, Xandra accepts and becomes part of the status quo. In what was the final issue of Space Age Adventures, Cap confronts Xandra. Xandra tells Cap that he can become a capitalist, sell his inventions legitimately, make billions and take over the world. Infuriated, Cap tries to arrest him only to be stopped by his former allies in authority. Cap is told that Xandra has paid for his crimes and that no one who follows the law can be arrested. Even Cosmic Boy, now finding that he has groupies, decides to stay around on Earth. Demoralized, Cap returns to his Moon base. Food for thought in this world of runaway capitalism.

(2016-05-18 008)The book ends with a young girl being talked to by her grandfather–the former father–and her father–who was the son–about technology and the future. They do this from a city on the Moon.

An enjoyable book.

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Look What’s New in the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. There’s a big browsing section of new books added to the library collection.

(2014-07-12 001)Title: The Ice-Cream Shop Detective

Author: Ronnie Levine

Publication Information: [No place given]: New Views Press, c2014

ISBN: 0692204482 (i.e. 978-0692204481)

Library of Congress Classification: PS3562.E8474

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Franklin, Lissa (Fictitious character)—Fiction
Artists–New York (State)–Tarrytown—Fiction
Criminal investigation–New York (State)–Tarrytown—Fiction
Ice-cream parlors–New York (State)–Tarrytown—Fiction
Detectives–New York (State)–Tarrytown—Fiction
Love–Fiction

Ronnie Levine is a name I know. She’s a local artist who has had at least one installation at the Silver Tips Tea Room in Tarrytown. She has done paintings of downtown Tarrytown that are quite striking. Main Street Sweets, the family-owned ice-cream shop upon which Bellini’s is based, was in one of the paintings. That painting contained the buildings around the shop, and the sky was a breathtaking blue. I remember how beautiful I thought that blue was.

Lissa Franklin is also a local artist who enjoys the old masters, particularly the French Impressionists. She painted a mural in Bellini’s, and then is asked to add to it. (Main Street Sweets also has a mural which I believe Levine also painted.) Bellini’s is owned by Detective Nick Bellini, whose family owns the shop. (Detective Sargent Eugene Buonanno of the Tarrytown Police Department’s family owns Main Street Sweets.) The book begins with the Lissa discovering the body of an acquaintance who she knew from the local artists’ association. The book then backtracks to bring us up to date, and then continues on until the murders are resolved.

Lissa’s opinion of contemporary art was fascinating and informative. She not only doesn’t like it, she explains the idea behind it: expressing ideas or feelings in physical form. This form can be anything but what the French Impressionists and other artists from the past did, namely painted what they saw around them. I have no real interest in modern art, and this explanation came as a revelation.

The idea fits nicely into the story, as Lissa ends up being enlisted by Nick to help the Tarrytown Police crack a case that deals not only with murder but also with art forgeries, particularly those of Monet. Lissa loves Monet’s art, and has studied him and the other French Impressionists. As a result, she is able to tell by looking at a painting whether or not it is a forgery. In one dialog with an art critic, she discusses the idea behind modern art which, paradoxically, she points out that art forgeries should be considered contemporary, since the entire idea behind them is to mimic and copy something. With a laugh, he agrees. This would theoretically turn forgeries into acceptable modern art.

Lissa’s just had a past relationship that we learn little about, except she had been in it for several years and left after realizing that the man was no good. Nick’s ex-wife materializes after having run away to Europe to work with a world famous doctor that she met where she worked. We find all this out from Nick’s sister, who goes on to tell Lissa that Nick’s ex quickly became dissatisfied with her life and walked out on Nick, but not before having an abortion and not telling her husband beforehand that she was pregnant. The ex and Nick’s sister had been friends since childhood. She came back because she realized her mistake and wanted Nick.

And that’s it. We never see the ex again in the entire book. Occasionally she’s referred to; as far as we (and Lissa) can tell, Nick does not learn about the abortion. Whether or not the ex even talked to him is never revealed. However, Lissa’s attraction to Nick is not only evident, but his evident attraction to her ends with their pillow talk in the last scene of the book. No big surprise.

There were an awful lot of typos, too. I normally don’t pay much attention to typos, unless there are many, and this book has misspellings as well as words repeated or the wrong word used.

This is a first novel. However it is not evident if this is going to be a one-shot novel or if it is the first in a series.

Look What’s in the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. There’s a big browsing section of what new books the library bought.

(2014-02-09 001)Title: The Historic Shops & Restaurants of New York

Author: Ellen Williams & Steve Radlauer

Publication Information: New York: The Little Bookroom, 2002

ISBN: 978-781892-145-1-54 (1-892145-15-4)

Library of Congress Classification: TX907.3.N72

Dewey Decimal Classification: 917.471

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Restaurants—New York (State)—New York—Guidebooks
Stores, Retail—New York (State)—New York—Guidebooks

I came across this book when I was weeding the out-of-date books in the travel section in the library. I was intrigued so much that I took it out. The Historic Shops & Restaurants of New York is for those into New York City history, specifically the history of shops and restaurants in Gotham.

The book’s focus is on establishments that are a century or so old. The term “store” has a wide meaning: apothecaries, pharmacies, leather goods, clothiers, sporting goods, home fittings, jewelers, watchmakers, butchers, fishmongers, grocerias (grocery stores), hardware—you name it, it’s probably listed.

There are some interesting entries. Did you know that Bloomingdale’s donated most of the men’s department to recruiting during the 1898 Spanish-American War? The store also granted extended leaves of absence at full pay for those employees who enlisted. During World War I, the store turned a full floor over to the Red Cross and posted signs in the grocery department (!) reminding shoppers of the rationing schedule: no wheat on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Tuesdays were meatless.

Macy’s, in the meantime, had introduced the world to the first store Santa Claus in 1870. The Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924, with the giant balloons joining three years later. Originally the balloons would be released at the finish line; people would then bring them back for a reward. And Macy’s red star logo? It came from founder and ex-seaman Roland Hussey Macy, upon whose hand was a red star tattoo.

A hospital for dolls exists on Lexington Avenue. The Doll Hospital was founded in 1900 originally to restore the tangled hair on dolls but quickly expanded into making all repairs dolls may need. After Teddy bears, introduced in 1902, became popular, the Doll Hospital also serviced them. After World War II, the Doll Hospital began selling dolls imported from Europe. And as customers are reminded, the hospital hasn’t lost a patient yet.

I’m interested in the restaurants and cafés. The Landmark Tavern was built at 11th Avenue in 1868, before landfill extended Manhattan over to 12th Avenue. The tavern initially served immigrants, sailors and longshoremen. Mare Chiaro is better known as the Sinatra Bar, since Frank Sinatra had patronized it since 1941. In 1860, McSorley’s Old Ale House served Abraham Lincoln, who was then an ex-Illinois congressman running for president. Lincoln was speaking at Cooper Union, founded the year before by philanthropist Peter Cooper. One of Cooper’s closest friends was John McSorley.

There’s a lot here. The book is of interest to anyone who wants to poke around the more than a century old stores and restaurants of New York City.

Look What’s in the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. Visit your public library soon and see what they have of interest.

(2014-01-26 005)Title: The Law of Superheroes

Authors: James E. Daily and Ryan M. Davidson

Publication Information: New York, N.Y.: Gotham Books, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59240-726-2

Library of Congress Classification: PN6790.U5

Dewey Decimal Classification: 741.5

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Superheroes in literature
Law and literature—United States
Law—United States—Popular works

Actually, this book is not in the Warner Library but is from the Larchmont Public Library. I got this book through the Warner Library. The Warner Library, like most public libraries in Westchester County, is part of the Westchester Library System (WLS), an organization that links all the libraries together with one online catalog. This catalog allows the borrowing of materials across libraries. In this case, Larchmont was the only WLS member that had this book.

This book comes from a blog, Law and the Multiverse. I’ve never heard of the blog before this, and I learned about the book from Hamilton Book, an online bookstore that sells remainders of titles. I was intrigued and decided to see what the book was like before I bought it. I was pleasantly surprised.

Generally, law can be very dull, especially case law–at least to me. I’ve never had any interest in being a lawyer, and I’ve only really encountered court cases and legal decisions during research into different topics. Some of my research into court cases are in ancient Athens or Rome. What Daily and Davidson do is take stories out of the comic books and discuss, from a legal perspective, if what is portrayed in the story follows the law. The chapters cover: constitutional law; criminal law, evidence; criminal procedure; tort law and insurance; contracts; business law; administrative law; intellectual property; travel and immigration; international law; immortality, alter egos, and resurrection; and non-human intelligences. They draw on both Marvel and DC superheroes.

They discuss quite a few characters and stories. Is the Joker insane or not? (Conclusion: he isn’t.) The use Marvel’s Civil War event to discuss international law is interesting. With Wakanda’s king, T’Challa/Black Panther marrying Ororo Munroe/Storm and by his taking the side of anti-Registration of mutants forces in the United States would be the same as if Great Britain had taken the side of the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War. (It would be an act of war against the sovereignty of the U.S.) Ben Grimm registers then moves to France so that he can not be used by the U.S. government; would this be possible? (Yes, and because he registered before he moved to France, Grimm did not break the law.)

Would gene patents affect Spider-Man? Superman’s talk about renouncing U.S. citizenship in Action Comics  #900 is also an interesting high point. Would the law protect Wayne Enterprises from liability after Batman sets up franchises? Answer: no, but Iron Man’s franchises and funding through the Maria Stark Foundation would protect Stark Industries from liability.

If you like comic books and like to think about the plot lines and whether or not they make sense, this book is for you. It’s just a fun–and interesting–book.

Look What’s in the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. Visit your public library soon and see what they have of interest.

Title: Moon Crest 24: New Friends [volume 1]; Old Friends [volume 2]

Author: Story and art by Derek Calixto

Publication Information: Self-published by Derek Calixto, 2008-2010

ISBN: 978-0-9832000-0-0 (volume 1); 978-0-9832000-1-7 (volume 2)

Library of Congress Classification: PN6790.U5

Dewey Decimal Classification: 741

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Vampires—Comic books, strips, etc.
College students—Comic books, strips, etc.
Demonology—Comic books, strips, etc.

This is definitely manga.

The art is definitely Japanese-style. The first exposure to manga I had was with Star Blazers, the 1970s television series about the Battleship Yamato being resurrected and sent into space to “save the human race.” I suppose it is more accurate to call Star Blazers anime rather than manga, but the style of art is the same.

In these manga books, Derek Calixto has created an Earth where thousands of years ago demons lived and roamed. They were defeated and driven into the netherworld. Now they want Earth back, and the only ones who oppose them are the vampires, specifically Drake von Greyssen and Daniel. These vampires were killed fighting the demon Zander 2000 lunar cycles ago. They aren’t exactly dead but they aren’t alive, either. The “spirits” of the vampires are attached to two humans, Dwayne and Derek. Whereas Dwayne can communicate with Daniel, Drake has no idea that he is now part of Derek, and vice-versa. Drake simply emerges, and then Derek regains consciousness and Drake disappears. It’s not until volume 2 that the two vampires meet up again and Daniel discovers that Drake is attached to Derek. Daniel then has Dwayne keep an eye on him.

Derek is living with three college women in their apartment. Lucy, Raquel and Dory, who spend their free time hanging out Friday nights in the cemetery, eating pizza and trying to communicate with spirits. This is how they meet Derek, who ends up being taken in by them. Though Lucy already has a boyfriend (a complex relationship), she is nonetheless attracted to Derek. Dwayne attempts to infiltrate the women’s apartment (he wants to live there) when Derek suddenly runs off. The demons, in the meantime, are continuing to cross over to Earth to destroy humanity and take over the planet again. Calixto hasn’t followed the cliff hanger in volume 2 with a third volume as yet.

If you like manga, take a look at these two volumes.

Look What’s New in the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. There’s a big browsing section of what new books the library bought.

Rakoff-Love Dishonor Marry Die Cherish Perish (2014-01-12 003)Title: Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: a Novel

Author: David Rakoff [illustrations by Seth]

Publication Information: New York: Doubleday, c2013 (1st ed.)

ISBN: 978-0-385-53521-2

Library of Congress Classification: PS3618.A436

Dewey Decimal Classification: 813.6

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Men—United States—Social conditions—20th century—Fiction
Women—Social conditions—20th century—Fiction
Gay men—Social conditions—20th century—Fiction
Man-woman relationships—United States—Fiction
Sexually abused children—United States—Fiction

This is a very cleverly-written series of short stories. Two of the chapters were originally broadcast on NPR’s This American Life. And that’s what these stories are about: living in America, an  America from the past, the late 1930s through the 1960s. The stories are written in verse, and I’ve always found it interesting to see how authors rhyme the sentences. I remember in eighth grade, Sister Camilla Mary making the class write one poem, composition and book report every month. The poems were the hardest (it took me a while to fully understand what is a composition), and these poems only  had to be eight lines.

Each chapter stands on its own, but there are links between each story that are revealed as you read. For example, the twelve-year-old who is raped by her step-father in the first story, flees and is kept warm in a frigid railway car by a man in a warm coat. In the next chapter we find out that he’s the father of the main character in the next story. He remembers seeing her freezing and, feeling sorry for her, wrapped her in his arms–he was in a big winter coat–and sang Yiddish songs to her before she fell asleep.

We have Denise, the self-center, pretentious young woman who detests her boyfriend Nathan, who never lets anything bother him. So while they are on vacation with Nathan’s friend Josh, Denise decides to seduce Josh. In a later story, Nathan is the main character in the story and he is has been asked to deliver a toast at Denise and Josh’s wedding. Then there’s Clifford, who discovers he’s gay when he’s in an art class and faints when he sees his first naked man; his cousin, who remembers that Clifford once drew her partially nude and it was the perfect day in her life; and we have Josh, who is now much older and alone, reflecting back on his past–and what he did to Nathan.

There’s sadness here, but also a lot of truth. It’s well-written and very entertaining. The pictures by Seth are powerful, and fit the characters that they portray. Sadly, there will be no further books from Rakoff, who died shortly after finishing the book.

Look What’s New in the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. There’s a big browsing section of new books added to the library collection.

Harris-After Dead (2014-01-12 002)Title: After Dead

Author: Charlaine Harris

Publication Information: New York: Ace Books/Penguin, 2013 (1st ed.)

ISBN: 978-0-425-26951-0

Library of Congress Classification: PS3558.A6427

Dewey Decimal Classification: 813.54

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Stackhouse, Sookie (Fictitious character)—Fiction
Vampires—Fiction
Werewolves—Fiction
Magic—Fiction
Harris, Charlaine—Characters

I read Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books long before they were popular. I even recommended them to a friend of mine, who went on to read every one of them. Me? I read a couple of them. I have collected most of the series–like many other books that I have and are unread. At this point I will have to start over from the beginning. Reading this book did not spoil any of the novels, and I do intend to get back to reading them at some point.

This book serves as a “bookend” to the series; it is not a novel, nor is it a series of short stories. What you have is an alphabetical listing of all the characters that Harris created that appeared at one time or another in her Sookie novels. She tells fans what happened to everyone after the last novel, Dead Ever After, ended. Some of them, such as Sookie and Sam, have happy endings. Others, like Mustapha Khan, are sad. But that’s life. Some of us come to tragic ends, or waste our lives, while others have happy lives, loves, etc. Entries vary from a line to a few pages, depending on the character and how long he/she appeared or how popular he/she is.

Will Harris write other novels in the Sookie universe without making Sookie the main character ? Perhaps. Some entires, like the one for Dahlia Lynley-Chivers reads that she “… still lives in Rhodes [Iowa] and continues to have her own adventures.” Per Wikipedia, Dahlia already appears in a series of short stories.

Whether or not Harris ever returns to writing novels set in the Sookie universe remains to be seen. An interesting book.