2014 Oscar Nominees!

The nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards were announced today! While not all of the movies are available at the Library yet, many of them are — or were based on books you can read now.  Click on the links below to go directly to the catalog to place requests on titles

Only Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress are listed here. For the complete list of nominees, go here.

American Hustle. Estimated DVD Release Date: March, 2014. Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence).

The DVD for American Hustle is not yet available to request, but the soundtrack is!

http://vufindplus2.einetwork.net/bookcover.php?id=.b28198220&isn=9781559363303&size=large&upc=&oclc=184982564&category=&format=August: Osage County.Estimated DVD Release Date: April, 2014. Nominated for: Best Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Supporting Actress (Julia Roberts). Based on the play by Tracy Letts.

When the patriarch of the Weston clan disappears one hot summer night, the family reunites at the Oklahoma homestead, where long-held secrets are unflinchingly and uproariously revealed.

http://vufindplus2.einetwork.net/bookcover.php?id=.b32475226&isn=&size=large&upc=043396425620&oclc=&category=&format=Blue Jasmine. DVD Release Date: January 21, 2014. Nominated for: Best Actress (Cate Blanchette), Best Supporting Actress (Sally Hawkins).

After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal, elegant New York socialite Jasmine moves into her sister Ginger’s humble apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself back together again.

http://vufindplus2.einetwork.net/bookcover.php?id=.b32475238&isn=&size=large&upc=043396417847&oclc=&category=&format=Captain Phillips. DVD Release Date: January 21, 2014. Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Barkhad Abdi).

Based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, which was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

Rather read about it? This movie is based on the Captain Phillips’ memoir A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy Seals and Dangerous Days at Sea.

http://vufindplus2.einetwork.net/bookcover.php?id=.b32513628&isn=&size=large&upc=025192211430&oclc=867875439&category=&format=Dallas Buyers Club. DVD Release Date: February 4, 2014. Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto).

Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof’s free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive. Shunned and ostracized by many old friends and bereft of government-approved medicines, he decided to take matters in his own hands, tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Bypassing the establishment, he joined forces with an unlikely band of renegades and outcasts and established a hugely successful “buyers’ club.”

http://vufindplus2.einetwork.net/bookcover.php?id=.b32516307&isn=&size=large&upc=883929246236&oclc=&category=&format=Gravity. Estimated DVD Release Date: February, 2014. Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress (Sandra Bullock).

Dr. Ryan Stone is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky. On a seemingly routine spacewalk, the shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left, and the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space

Her. Estimated DVD Release Date: March, 2014. Nominated for: Best Picture.

Nebraska. Estimated DVD Release Date: March, 2014. Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Bruce Dern),Best Supporting Actress (June Squibb).

After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his estranged son into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Getting waylaid in the father’s hometown in Nebraska, the son tries to reconnect with his impenetrable father.

http://vufindplus2.einetwork.net/bookcover.php?id=.b3251377x&isn=&size=large&upc=013132616315&oclc=&category=&format=Philomena. Estimated DVD Release Date: March, 2014. Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress (Judi Dench).

In 1952, a young Philomena was sent the convent of Roscrea in Ireland, after giving birth to her first child. When her son became a toddler, the nuns sent him to America for adoption. Philomena then spent the next fifty years searching for him in vain.

This film is based on the book Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search.

http://vufindplus2.einetwork.net/bookcover.php?id=.b32279012&isn=9780143125419&size=large&upc=&oclc=852833894&category=&format=12 Years a Slave. Estimated DVD Release Date: March, 2014. Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender),Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o).

The DVD is not yet available from the Library, but you can check out Simon Northup’s memoir, originally published in 1853! The soundtrack is also available.

http://vufindplus2.einetwork.net/bookcover.php?id=.b32467540&isn=9780345549334&size=large&upc=&oclc=864790223&category=&format=The Wolf of Wall Street. Estimated DVD Release Date: April, 2014. Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill).

We’ll order the DVD soon, but for now check out the memoir on which the movie is based.

By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids waiting at home and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king, here, in Jordan Belfort’s own words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called the Wolf of Wall Street.


Buzz in Brookline: 2014

It’s a new year and a fresh chance to get a jump start into your weird, strange choices of reading materials. Don’t be alarmed, this is exactly the kind of things we want to you to be reading with us, The Buzz. For 2014, the Brookline Buzz has completed their reading list for the year, divided up into four categories.

To start things right, the first category will be entitled as “Strange Happenings.” What does this mean, you ask? These are the books where strange events occur and the characters are forced to accept the reality of the situation as they try to live. As before, we will be doing a nice mix of graphic novels, fiction, and non-fiction reads to spice it up.

First up, “Black Hole” by Charles Burn!

Black HoleMany may be familiar with this arguably creepy book, in which a bunch of suburban Seattle teens in the mid-1970s start experiencing not only their own personal dramas, but also the realization of strange mutations passed around through sexual encounters. This inexplicable plague causes a range of mutations, from horribly grotesque to mildly odd and easily concealable, but still causes all of the teenagers to rethink their life decisions.

In February, we will be tackling “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales” by Oliver Sacks.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a HatOliver Sacks, a neurologist interested in both people and disease, takes on the fascinating world of neurological disorders. While this book tells stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations, Sacks remains deeply human in his interactions and recording of his patients. An eye-opener, this book allows us to step into another world and take on a whole new understanding of the patient’s worldview and how one copes with these struggles.

In March, for the last book of this category, we will ready “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline.

Ready Player OneIn 2044, the real world is total trash and people are expected to escape to the alternative virtual world OASIS, where you can be anyone you want to be, live in any place on ten thousands of planet, and fall in love with the person of your choice. On top of being a part of this virtual world, the creator hid a series of fiendish puzzles within based off of late twentieth century pop culture, in order for a chance to win the ultimate prize. Our hero, Wade Watts, found himself stumbling across the first puzzle and finds himself racing to the end in order to survive against powerful and vicious competitors both in the virtual and real world.

Getting pumped? Brookline is too, and this is just the first batch.

Bad Craft Night + Cookie Exchange

Tuesday, December 10th | 6:00-8:00pm

CLP – Lawrenceville | 279 Fisk St., 15201

Do you know how many random craft supplies the Library has? Leftovers from craft programs, things people have donated, things that we’ve found hidden in cabinets…help us get rid of some of this stuff at our first ever BAD CRAFT NIGHT.

Our goal is not to make great art. Instead, we want to see your WORST. What can YOU do with googly eyes, bits of yarn and old buttons? What if we hand you a glue gun, some felt, and half a silk lei? Make something awesomely awful to give away at a white elephant gift exchange. Create something to show your ex how much you (don’t) care. Make Aunt Ida something in exchange for the horrible Christmas sweaters she insists on making each year.

If you insist, you can make something that’s not horrible. We won’t judge.

Because it’s the season for fat and sugar, we’ll also be eating cookies! Bring along something you’re dying to get out of your house or make something delicious just for the occasion – your call.

Cookies and crafts…what could be better?

See you on Tuesday,


Book Buzz: Pairings — Family Dramedy and the Holidays

Holiday season is upon us! Halloween is next week, and from there it’s a steady flow: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year’s…

Many of us spend time with family during this oh-so-joyous season, and many of us regret that decision within hours of the parents (or children, or aunts, or cousins) descending.  Let’s spend November reading some books that might make us feel better about our family drama, and will also remind us why we love our families even as they drive us INSANE.

Bechdel, Alison. Are You My Mother
Tuesday, November 12th | 7:00pm
CLP – Lawrenceville
279 Fisk St., Pittsburgh, PA  15201

A few months ago, the Book Buzzers out in Brookline read Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and by all accounts they loved it.  Let’s capitalize on that success by reading the companion piece, Are You My Mother.  This poignant graphic-memoir explores Bechdel’s relationship with her mother, a disappointed artist who spent her adult life married to a closeted gay man.  And, bonus: the graphic format means it should be pretty doable to get it read by November 12th, even though I didn’t pick a title until October 26th!

Sedaris, David. Holidays on Ice
Tuesday, November 26th | 7:00pm
Espresso a Mano
3623 Butler St., Pittsburgh, PA  15201

We will NOT be meeting in December — too much going on for too many people — so we’ll be pairing Are You My Mother with a holiday-centric dramedy by master essayist David Sedaris.  If you’ve ever read anything by Sedaris, you know that he’s irreverant and hilarious, and this collection of essays is no exception.  It’s also not JUST a Christmas book. Sedaris mixes in tales of tardy trick-or-treaters and the Easter bunny.  Try to get the 2009 edition of Holidays on Ice, not the 1997 one — Sedaris updated the collection and includes six all-new essays.

The November 26th meeting will be at the fabulous Lawrenceville espresso bar Espresso a Mano. This is one of my happy places — the owner, Matt, always remembers my drink (half whole / half skim latte), even when it’s been weeks or even months since my last visit, and there’s a fabulously comfy couch on which we all can sit and talk about books and families.  Join us for hot, frothy beverages and great conversation about books and crazy famlies.

See you soon,


Let’s get creepy, Lawrenceville

Want to know something REALLY SCARY? In a couple weeks, a doctor is going to cut out my tonsils.  This means that Book Buzz: Pairings will NOT be meeting the second Tuesday in October.  However, Joe, Kate and Sarah didn’t want to skip October entirely and suggested we talk about TWO books at ONE meeting. Crazy!! But, I do what the people want.

They also suggested reading scary books.  I’m totally okay with that — it will be October, after all.  So, here’s what’s on deck:

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 | CLP – Lawrenceville

The Haunting of Hill House | Shirley Jackson

Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodara, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, the lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable noises and self-closing doors, but Hill House is gathering its powers and will soon choose one of them to make its own.


The Woman in Black | Susan Hill

Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford–a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway–to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow’s house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip he anticipated quickly takes a horrifying turn when he finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images–a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and, most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed all in black.

Don’t be afraid…


July and August Book Buzz Picks!

New books for you to read and discuss!

July 23, 7pm

Franktuary, 3810 Butler St.

The Unlikely Disciple / Kevin Roose

No drinking. No smoking. No cursing. No dancing. No R-rated movies. Kevin Roose wasn’t used to rules like these.  But when Roose leaves his Ivy League confines to spend a semester at Liberty University, a conservative Baptist school in Lynchburg, Virginia, obedience is no longer optional.


On July 23rd, come for Book Buzz – stay for trivia! Trivia @ Franktuary begins at 8pm.


August: The Jazz Age

 August 13th, 7pm

CLP – Lawrenceville

Rules of Civility / Amor Towles

Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey Kontent embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.


August 27th, 7pm

720 Music, Clothes and Café, 4405 Butler St.

Jazz / Toni Morrison

The story of Joe Trace, a door-to-door salesman in his 50s, his mentally unstable wife, and his 18-year-old lover. Set in Harlem in the 1920s, the story captures the rhythms of the city and the bittersweet mood of African American life at a moment in our history we assumed we understood.


Book Buzz TONIGHT! Let’s start thinking about zombies.

So, in just a few hours I’ll be meeting up with some awesome readers at House of the Dead to discuss Feed, the first book in the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant.  I’m so excited to talk to people about this book!  Are you coming?  If so, here are some things I’m looking forward to discussing:

Was the future depicted in Feed realistic? Why or why not?

How did the infection affect how people access and interpret the news? Do you think the media outlets of 2040?

Georgia, Georgette, Shaun, “Irwins,” even using the term “zombie” to refer to the infected — what do you think of the use of current zombie lore being used in Feed?  Did it make things more realistic, or pull you out of the story?

Who was your favorite or least favorite character? What did you think about the relationships between the characters?

While Feed is a zombie novel, there is a lot more to it — do you think Grant is trying to make any statements about current culture?  What themes do you notice in the book?

The ending of Feed is…a little bit of a cliffhanger.  Are you excited to read the sequel?

(Oh, BTW — Geek Pittsburgh interviewed me about this book discussion! Read the article here.)

Not dead yet,