Tag Archives: movies

The Drum is Calling Us In

“there were men of good faith
Robbing babies from their cradles
Like the monsters we used to tell each other about
Ripping children out of their mother’s arms
To be imprisoned in the houses of a god
Whose teachings were love

But the things that were done were not love”

On September 30, we recognize Orange Shirt Day in solidarity with Phyllis Webstad whose brand new orange shirt was taken from her on her first day at residential school.

“When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

“Our nation is built above the bones of a genocide”
“We are not free to shed our history
Like an inconvenient skin

If you wore an orange shirt because every child matters, you can augment your act of reconciliation by vising the Millennium library to view the exhibit entitled Framing Residential Schools Narrative, Landscapes of Resiliency by Vanda Fleury-Green. Vanda has spent the last 10 years visiting the locations where residential schools once stood and has photographed what is left of them. She has made some haunting discoveries.

“and sometimes the medicine we need most
Comes from remembering who we were
So we can reconcile it against who we wish to become

The drum is calling us in”

This tobacco is in acknowledgement of the children taken and the parents left behind; of Survivors who walked these grounds while sharing their stories

                In this exhibit, you may touch the bricks of the residential schools and witness the tiny baby blankets and child size moccasins that emphasize how young the children were. Some windows have broken glass and mirrors that fracture the viewer’s image in the same way that the students’ lives were fractured from being taken away from their homes. Every object is thoughtfully arranged to carry the viewer into the past for remembering and also forward towards reconciliation.

MacKay Indian residential School 1914–1933 Fisher Island Manitoba

“Our fight is not meant to be with each other
Our fight is to be better
Always improving
Moving toward what we wish this nation to be

We can be better”

                The Framing Residential Schools Narrative is currently showing in the 2 windows on the main floor of Millennium Library by the New and Noted area. In early December the exhibit will expand into the 8 windows by the Richardson Reading Terrace. In tandem, the exhibit Reflections on Shoal Lake Water is on the 2nd floor in the Wii ghoss area and both exhibits will be showing until the end of February 2020.

“At the core of our values
Is dignity
And yet we strip mine a culture of its identity
Allow our leaders to erode each treaty
And stab flags into the land
As if mountains can be owned
As if water is property
Where is our dignity
If we cannot hold true to the promises we make?”

                Winnipeg draws its drinking water supply from Shoal Lake and the undignified building of the aquaduct is a constant reminder of broken promises for Kekekoziibii, the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation who were displaced, isolated and robbed of their own drinking water. In Urban Eclipse : Rising Tides of the Kekekoziibii, filmmaker Jesse Green travels back to his home community interviewing people about the impacts of the aqueduct in the 100 years since it was built. Through the film, viewers will come to understand the complexities of colonialism; how the web of politics, displacement, residential schooling, and the role of media affected the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.

Letter from Chief Redsky asking for the payment for the Shoal Lake land
Source: Library and Archives Canada, MIKAN no. 2075667, item 138.

“If the world brings a challenge to one of us
It brings it to us all
We rise and fall together”

                Urban Eclipse will be screened at the Millennium Library on November 3rd 2019, at 2pm in the Carol Shields auditorium.  Admission is free of charge. Join Vanda and Jesse as they introduce the film and talk about their journey in bringing their vision to life. Come listen to the beat of their drum, it calls us in.

All quotes in orange are by Shane Koyczan’s Inconvenient Skin Theytus Books. 2019.

Colette

Foreign Films, Lives Like Ours

I’m going to let you in on the best kept secret in pop culture: there is a place that makes films and TV series reflective of our daily lives, but with none of the “punch up” of drama or the exaggeration of sitcoms. Next time you are looking for something new and different to watch, an Asian film or TV series is a great bet.

There are numerous areas of Asian films: Korean, Japanese live action and anime, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Mainland China–all with rich and unique traditions and styles. They all share a tendency to make more films and television shows about daily life as it is than any other medium save literary novels.

It’s an intimidating field to try to navigate, and there are still many quality productions not in translation, but with streaming and home video, this avenue is more available than ever before. The library has a great selection in these areas and I hope here to provide some welcoming starting points or entertainment for just one night when you are looking for a break from your usual preferred watching!

moodforlove A frequent critic pick for best movies of the 21st century, In The Mood For Love offers a look at two individuals who live in the same apartment block, their spouses are having an affair and they are attracted enough to each other to consider having one themselves. This simmers at the back of their minds as they go to work and eat dinner, unsure of how they’d feel about themselves should they decide to do what they want, until finally a choice is made. A real slow burner, like a mystery that only comes together when you have the full puzzle.

 

yiyi Another one on a lot of critic’s best of the 21st century lists is Yi Yi. This film steeps itself in the minutiae of life: caring for sick relatives, trying to learn a new skill at school, but blossoms to an epic due to the number of character story-lines in the film. It’s breathtaking to learn about a whole family instead of just a few members. The beating heart is a middle class family of four, it’s a difficult year for them that begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral, and each of them deal with the events in a different way. This film is a rare beast, about daily life, but breathlessly exciting, almost like a thriller.

wayhome A Korean film, The Way Home is perhaps the smallest scale film on this list, dealing with only two characters for almost the entire story. A grandson stays with the grandmother he has never met for one summer. He has a real chip on his shoulder and while his grandma does her best to accommodate him, he isn’t sure he wants to make any effort to see past her being mute and living far away from any technology. If you are looking for a movie that will leave you grinning ear to ear, here it is.

 

likefather Japan provides us with Like Father, Like Son, an excellent introduction to acclaimed director Hirokazu Koreeda. An upper-class couple discover their young son was switched at birth with a working-class couple’s child. The father has a distant relationship with his son, so he’s determined to “switch” the children back to the birth families… permanently. This one is a real tear-jerker.

 

corner Anime helps round out our list with In This Corner of the World, a drama that depicts daily life during World War II for one woman who has recently entered into an arranged marriage and moved to a town right by Hiroshima. The film is full of researched details about life at this time and features a strong emphasis on the different bonds between people. Looking for an inspirational watch about staying true to yourself in the face of hardship? This is the one.

 

onceupon We also have some excellent books that can help you navigate these unique cinematic traditions beyond just the slice of life genre: Once Upon a Time in China, and Contemporary Japanese Film being the most aimed at those unfamiliar with Asian film and featuring the widest variety.

 

Happy viewing and a very happy everyday life to you!

-Cyrus

The Influence of Patricia Highsmith

carol Every year in December I lament the fact that there aren’t any fun romantic Christmas movies that star two women as the leads.  I like watching the cheesy predictable Hallmark Christmas movies (especially the ones with extremely far-fetched royalty-themed plots).  I would love for there to be a movie about a woman who goes home for Christmas to a family who is way too invested in her love life and who decides to put an ad out for someone to play her fake girlfriend but then they end up falling in love for real.  (Credit to Hallmark’s A Holiday Engagement.)  But until just this past Christmas season all the leads were only white, straight, and heterosexual.  In 2018 there were several films whose leads were not white, and reportedly Hallmark will be making Hanukkah movies for next winter. Progress!  There are still no queer lead characters (or any queer characters) in sight, however.  In a few of the non-Hallmark Christmas movies (like the Netflix hit A Christmas Prince) queer characters are mostly relegated to the sidelines.  The closest film I can think of that breaks the mould is Carol , which is an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt.  It’s different than the psychological thrillers she is known for.  It’s not cheesy, but it is a romance between women that ends happily and takes place during Christmas.  It’s gratifying to see that Highsmith’s novel has become increasingly relevant to queer women today with the release of Carol.

simplefavor Other media I’ve encountered recently has also been heavily influenced by Patricia Highsmith.  The film A Simple Favor came out last year, based on the book  by first time novelist Darcey Bell.  The novel is more of a straightforward thriller than the film (which has a lot more darkly comedic elements to it) but both offer a critical look at so-called “mommy bloggers” and the edited views of their lives they present to their readers.  Widowed young mom Stephanie is the “mommy blogger” main character whose best friend Emily appears to have gone missing.  What starts off as a missing persons case turns into a mystery about a complicated woman that Stephanie realises she didn’t really know at all.  There are similarities with Gone Girl but Emily’s motivations are very different, and the author uses tropes in a fresh and fascinating way.  Stephanie mentions Emily’s love of Patricia Highsmith’s novels and she references Strangers on a Train  on multiple occasions, including a pivotal moment when she reveals a big secret to Emily.  Emily also leaves behind a bookmarked copy of Highsmith’s novel Those Who Walk Away which Stephanie notices and starts to suspect it might lead to clues about Emily’s disappearance.

genuinefraud Genuine Fraud  is a YA novel by e. lockhart which was marketed as being inspired by The Talented Mr. Ripley  by Patricia Highsmith, which is the first in a series about a man who spends his life impersonating people and lying to everyone around him.  Imogen is a girl who has spent her life trying to be someone else, and plans to continue to do so at any cost.  There is a lot of action and the story isn’t boring, but I found this novel suffered from similar qualities as lockhart’s previous novel, We Were Liars .  The strength in her previous books (such as the Ruby Oliver series and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks ) lay in the humour and heart of her characters who have plenty of flaws but are essentially good.  In these two latest books she has written main characters who are not what you’d call “good people” and while I absolutely enjoy books with these kinds of characters, I don’t think she succeeds in creating them.  At the end of both I was left feeling unsatisfied.  Genuine Fraud seems more of a retelling rather than just being “inspired” by The Talented Mr. Ripley.  (In my opinion a far more successful retelling of a classic novel is Catherine  by April Lindner, a modern YA version of Wuthering Heights.)

-Madeleine

A Star is Born… Again

It’s around this time of year when movie studios begin to release the films they hope will be in the running for next year’s awards season. One of the movies that is getting early “Oscar Buzz” is A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Bradley Cooper also directed the film; his first one.

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Did you know that A Star is Born is a remake of a remake of a remake? It’s true. The original A Star is Born was released in 1937. It was remade in 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason, and again in 1976 with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. Each version tells the same basic story of a grizzled down-and-out celebrity who mentors a new, fresh talent, and as the popularity and success of the new talent rises, the career of the established character burns out. (Sorry about the spoilers for an 80 year old story that’s been told four different times).

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In the original, the action is based in Hollywood and tells the story of a young woman who rises out of obscurity and makes it big as a star of the silver screen. Fun fact: the 1937 version was the first colour movie to get nominated for Best Picture. You can watch on WPL’s digital services Hoopla and Kanopy. In the 1954 version, musical numbers abound as Judy Garland’s character transforms from the leader of a musical ensemble into a star of movie musicals. The following remake (1976) ditches Hollywood and makes the mentor character a drug-addled alcoholic rock star (Kristofferson) who discovers the titular star who gets born (Streisand) and the usual twists and turns insue.

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The newest take on this well-worn tale appears to have Bradley Cooper as a country singer and Lady Gaga as a pop singer. It played at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews, and goes to show that, like interesting covers of classic songs, some stories can be told again and again (and again).

-Trevor

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What to Watch on Kanopy?

The Winnipeg Public Library recently started offering access to a new streaming service for films and documentaries, so I decided to check out this new resource.  In addition to documentaries, Kanopy offers a wide selection of international as well as Hollywood movies.

Here are some of my favourite titles so far:

The King’s Choice is a Norwegian film based on the incredible-but-true events surrounding the period of April 9-11, 1940.  When Nazi forces invaded Norway, King Haakon VII was faced with an ultimatum: accede to the demand to surrender his country without resistance, or support the continued resistance of his government and escape the country into exile.  For two days, the king and his family were pursued by the invading German army through the Norwegian countryside. They shared the fear and uncertainty of their countrymen as their towns and cities experienced a new kind of war and then four years of occupation.

In Manchester By The Sea a depressed man, Lee Chandler, must face his painful past when he reluctantly returns to his Massachusetts hometown after the sudden death of his brother.  Upon arrival, he finds that he has been made sole guardian to his teenage nephew. This is a realistic look at the personal cost of guilt with very flawed characters who are struggling with addictions and crushing grief, and yet they must find a way to carry on with the daily tasks and responsibilities of life.

   

In Brooklyn, a young Irish woman immigrates to Brooklyn in the 1950’s in the hopes of finding new opportunities. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland for the shores of New York City and is soon swept up by the intoxicating charms of new love. When family circumstances back home require her to return unexpectedly, she is faced with deciding between two countries – her home and family in the old world and the life she built with the man she loves waiting for her in the new.  Besides the great acting by Saoirse Ronan, the period reconstitution is also excellent, and the story reflects the journey that so many have done and continue to do so today.

     
Le Samourai is a mix of “1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture.”  Alain Delon (one of France’s top actors of all time) plays a contract killer with samurai instincts in 1960’s Paris.  If you have watched and loved The Professional or Ghost Dog, you can now see the movie that undoubtedly inspired both.  John Costello is a contract killer that works according to his own personal code, surviving against both law enforcement and the criminal world by being a loner.  What happens when you are forced to let someone into your life – will it save or destroy you?

I had heard of the Italian movie classic The Bicycle Thieves many times before, but thanks to Kanopy, this was my chance to finally see it.  In postwar Rome, a man is on his first day of a new job that offers hope of salvation and escape from poverty for his desperate family.  Putting posters on walls may be a modest job, so when the bicycle which is needed for his work is stolen, he sets off to track down the thief with his son in tow.  An increasingly desperate quest to save their future.

Another classic from the silent cinema era is Fritz Lang’s Metropolis,  now available fully restored and with the original orchestral score.  The film takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground while slaving away maintaining nightmarish machinery, and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor.  Will the love of two people from those separate worlds be enough to bridge the divide?  This was the first time that a humanoid robot was featured on film, and it’s visuals would inspire science-fiction work up to this day.
What about you, what would you recommend?
Louis-Philippe

Books-to-Movies, 2018 Edition

The New Year has kicked off, and with it a new list of books being made into movies this year! I thought I would compile a list of the upcoming releases to give our readers a chance to read the book before the movie. (If you’ve already read the book, I hope you’re looking forward to seeing the movie on the big screen and comparing it to the book.) I’ve divided the list by genre so that there is something for everyone, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Enjoy!

Sci-Fi

 playerone   Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Set in a futuristic society where humanity’s only escape from the desolate, unfriendly world is a virtual utopia called OASIS, teenager Wade Watts has studied the puzzles and intricacies of the game and hopes to unlock the clues laid by the OASIS creator who promises power and fortune to those who can unlock them. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg and judging from the trailer features some fantastic special effects.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

I have written about my love for Jeff VanderMeer’s writing in a previous blog post, so naturally I have to include the film adaptation in this list as well. I hope the film will do the book justice! A biologist, a psychologist, a surveyor, and an anthropologist are sent out to explore an area known as Area X. We are not given much information regarding Area X, simply what the narrator, the biologist, tells us. VanderMeer ratchets up the suspense and dread throughout the novel to its shocking conclusion, which luckily to the readers isn’t a conclusion at all as there are two other books in the trilogy afterwards.

Romance

fiftyshades  Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

The last book in the trilogy takes place after Christian Grey’s big announcement, and we see Christian and Anna living blissfully until someone from their past threatens their happily ever after. The movie promises to be romantic, steamy and passionate and is, naturally, being released on Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t read the first two of the trilogy, you’ll want to start with those before reading this one.

Fiction

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Though this could be considered a romance, as well as a comedy, I have opted to put it in general fiction, a place where you will find the novel in the library catalogue. Rachel Wu is meeting her boyfriend of two years’ family for the first time in Singapore, a family which her boyfriend has been very secretive about. Is he ashamed because they are not wealthy? Quite the opposite, he hails from one of the wealthiest families in Singapore where opulence and luxury are the norm. They’re not just rich, they are crazy rich.

Children’s

peterrabbit   The Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

The trailer for the movie has touted some controversy and groans from the audience for appearing to be nothing like the book. There is, however, still a protagonist called Peter Rabbit (voiced by Late Night host James Corden) and of course a Farmer McGregor chasing him out of his garden. Read the beloved picture book that began the series before you bring the kiddies to the remake, nostalgia abound!

Young Adult

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This classic novel of one young girl’s journey to find her father who is trapped by “The Black Thing” is sure to bring in people of all ages, not only for nostalgia’s sake but also the A-List cast which includes Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. Be sure to delve into the classic before you head to the cinema.

 everyday  Every Day by David Levithan

A fascinating concept for a book, the protagonist, known simply as “A”, wakes up in a different body every day. One such body is a boy named Justin and there A meets Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon and forms a connection with her. This connection leads them to find a way to be with Rhiannon every day no matter which body they find themselves in. It is a book and film which can explore many issues pertinent to the present day, and reminds us that love is love.

Graphic Novel

Black Panther

Yet another entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther the film is naturally getting a lot of hype, and fingers crossed the film does the comics justice. If you’re unfamiliar with the character, the library has plenty of graphic novels to get you up to speed on who/what/where/when and how is Black Panther and his secretive nation of Wakanda.

Mystery/Thriller

spiderweb   The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

I find it interesting that they chose to make the most recent entry in the Lisbeth Salander series into a film when they have not continued with the English version of the other two in the series. Nevertheless, the book and movie continues with hacker Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist as they tackle yet another mystery together. Though not penned by the author of the original Millennium trilogy, Lagercrantz continues delving into the story and history of Lisbeth Salander. If you would like to watch the rest of the trilogy on film you can borrow the three films from the library with Noomi Rapace in the lead role, they are absolutely phenomenal.

Suspense/Spy

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

This upcoming spy/thriller stars Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton who play spies on opposite sides. Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a spy trained to seduce the enemy. Edgerton plays a Nate Nash, a CIA operative who handles Russian Intelligence. Their attraction to each other, and Dominika’s having been forced into becoming a “sparrow” leads her to choose a double life, working for the CIA and working for Russian Intelligence, a choice which has deadly consequences. A fast-paced thriller that is action-packed, and which stars the incredible Jennifer Lawrence is sure to bring people to the theatres, but I assure you, the book is just as good.

Historical Fiction

 guernsey The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

A writer looking for inspiration learns of a book club in Guernsey created during the German occupation as a way for the townspeople to get together without arising suspicion. Written as an epistolary novel the book features the protagonist’s correspondence with a native of Guernsey as she learns of and speaks to those in the society. The movie stars Lily James in the lead role, along with Matthew Goode and Jessica Brown Findlay.

Are there any book-to-movies coming out you’re looking forward to seeing that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments below. Happy reading and viewing!

 

-Aileen

Tangentially Speaking, not the center of IT

This story begins back when I wasn’t a regular library user. In fact, to be honest, I didn’t think to use the library much at all. I know you’re all gasping, “How could he!,” “What a fool!,” so I’ll give you a paragraph break to catch your breath.

I was young. I was naïve. I was on a mission to complete a sub-list of THE LIST. My goal: to read every book mentioned in Donnie Darko. And before you ask, yes, compiling a list of books to read from a beloved movie or television show is a thing1. People do it for Gilmore Girls. Sometimes a work of art strikes you in just the right way and you end up falling down the rabbit hole2 exploring its references and allusions.

Image credit Keir Hardie (https://flic.kr/p/4x2mqf)

Because of Donnie Darko, I read and watched Watership Down. I started reading Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. Then I started reading it again.  Then I told myself that one day I would be smart enough finish it. My heart skipped a beat when they released Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut and it featured a commentary track with Kevin Smith. And I would laugh to myself while listening to a soundtrack featuring Echo and the Bunnymen3—did I mention Donnie Darko features a man in a giant bunny suit?

Donnie Darko also put a pair of Stephen King novels on my to-read list: The Tommyknockers and another, the title of which I can’t quite remember at the moment4.

But the main obstacle to my goal, the problem that hounded me for years, was trying to track down a copy of “The Destructors” a short story by Graham Greene. In Donnie Darko the Greene’s story is banned from the titular character’s high school because it is seen to promote vandalism. So too, in my life, did it seem to be banned. I scoured bookstores of all shapes and sizes:  from corporate edifices to fly-by-night street sellers. Graham Green was prolific and I found many of his novels, my favourites being:  Doctor Fischer of Geneva and A Burnt-Out Case. But it wouldn’t be until years later that I was able to track down a copy of “The Destructors.” I found it at a place that doesn’t ban books. I found it, if the opening paragraph didn’t give the ending away, at the library.

Alan

1 Part of what put Atlas Shrugged on my list was Mad Men, but that’s a blogpost for another time.

2 Alice in Wonderland reference AND Donnie Darko allusion!

3 Track 3 on this album.

4 Someday I’ll think of it.

“Secret” Things the Library Can Do for You (Part 3)

Need a place to chill out (literally) as you run hither and yon this summer? I suggest you take a relaxing break at the nearest WPL branch. I’ll bet you drive or bus past one regularly. Why not drop in and get caught up with the daily paper or magazines? Or enjoy our air conditioning and free WiFi? And drink some water – you know you don’t drink enough water.

Here are some other things you might not know we offer, as part three of our “’Secret’ things the library can do for you” series.

Secrets

Obviously discussing the library

 

Free movie screenings

That’s right – free movies, just bring your own snack. Every month the Millennium Library hosts super popular movies that were adapted from books for both adults and kids. Coming soon, Lion, based on A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the series by Jeff Kinney.

Some branches also hold NFB Film clubs for both adults and kids. This summer three branches will be hosting special kids’ screenings of NFB short films on Indigenous Legends.

 

Art and sculpture

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The art of Jennifer Sanderson is coming to the Millennium Library in July

The Millennium Library has so much art inside and out that it’s featured in the Winnipeg Arts Council walking tours. It also hosts rotating exhibits in its Blankstein Gallery, a feature that is so popular, it has been adapted into art walls for smaller branches, some of which have already begun showing exhibits by local groups and schools.

 

Let us look it up!

Ask Us

Ask us! Look how friendly we are.

Do you know what people did before Google? They called the library. Many people still do! We love it when you ask us to research things. We can find addresses and phone numbers, old newspaper articles, building codes, car prices… I once helped a gentleman find the right size hole to only allow the birds we wanted into the bird house he was building.

 

We ♥ WPG

 

Westwood

A West End literary walk

We love to highlight the history and beauty of our city with talks and walking tours and special collections online and in print (side point: have you seen the new Local History Room??). We’ll help you explore your city, neighbourhood, and even house. Yes, house. You can search for your address in our Henderson Directories going back to 1880 to see who used to live there!

And now that we have our book bike, we can bring the library with us wherever we go. Look for us the next time you’re at a festival, or, for that matter, the Goodwill Social Club (Wednesday, August 16).

 

Our love in action:

WPL at Pride 2017

WPL at Pride 2017

 

Happy summer!

 

Erica

 

 

 

How Do We Retire With Dignity?

After 30 years of working in administrative support at Winnipeg Public Library – mostly as a desktop publisher and marketing assistant – I am retiring at the end of June. Immediately upon deciding I felt a wave of sadness for having to say goodbye to my co-workers (who have been great to work alongside) and tasks like making posters or web pages that sing or taking photos for our newsletter that make others smile. I also felt relief like an untied balloon finally able to (slowly) lose its long-stored air. I could mentally begin to let go of work responsibilities which always tended to weigh on me. There was also a refreshing note of expectation as I began to anticipate new rhythms, including more time to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. (Perhaps more reflective writing, cooking and gardening?)

But how do we retire with dignity and not a ton of regret? I’m not entirely sure. I haven’t navigated this transition before so I am by no means an expert. It’s likely a different challenge and experience for each individual, but I have noticed there are a lot of library resources right here that can help with the process. What a privilege it is to be part of a library that serves so many in so many meaningful ways!

There are self-help books that help you to think financially smarter about retirement or how to set goals and a bucket list for a more ‘fulfilling’ next life chapter. The ‘Parachute’ series is one such resource.

Screen-Shot-2016-05-18-at-12.32.06-PM.pngWhat Color is Your Parachute? For Retirement by John E. Nelson

“Today’s economic realities have reset our expectations of what retirement is, yet there’s still the promise for what it can be: a life stage filled with more freedom and potential then ever…What Color Is Your Parachute? For Retirement offers both a holistic, big picture look at these years as well as practical tools and exercises to help you build a life full of security, vitality, and community.” (Publisher summary)

 

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How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free by Ernie J. Zelinski

“The key to achieving an active and satisfying retirement involves a great deal more than having adequate financial resources; it also encompasses all other aspects of life–interesting leisure activities, creative pursuits, physical well-being, mental well-being, and solid social support.” (Publisher summary)

I’m imagining retirement as a transition into something less definable than ‘fading gently into the sunset’. Maybe it’s time to take stock of my life and its many mistakes and learn from them as best I can. How can I be of service to others when I don’t have a 9-4:30 job anymore? How can I work on neglected parts of my life with hope and not give in to despair? After all the external labels like ‘Library Marketing Assistant’ are stripped from me, who am I anyways? Somehow I think reflective books as well as works of fiction and movies might be the ticket for me, and maybe for others too.

Here are just a few alternatives for those dreaming about retirement, or who are about to go down this hopeful yet scary path into the unknown with me:

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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This perhaps is a movie and a book about how not to retire, a cautionary tale about leaving your job in bitterness!

” …Fredrik Backman’s heartwarming debut is a funny, moving, uplifting tale of love and community that will leave you with a spring in your step… At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d’etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents’ Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.
But isn’t it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so? In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible….”

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About Schmidt directed by Alexander Payne

Loosely based on the book of the same name by Louis Begley, this fascinating movie is about self-discovery of a very ordinary person:

“Warren Schmidt is a retired insurance salesman, who at age 66 has no particular plans other than to drive around in the motor home his wife insisted they buy. He’s not altogether bitter, but not happy either, as everything his wife does annoys him, and he disapproves of the man his daughter is about to marry. When his wife suddenly dies, he sets out to postpone the imminent marriage of his daughter to a man he doesn’t like, while coping with discoveries about his late wife and himself in the process.” (rottentomates.com summary)

index-2.aspx.jpegFalling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
by Richard Rohr

“In Falling Upward, Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or ‘gone down’ are the only ones who understand ‘up.’ Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as ‘falling upward.’ In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness. Explains why the second half of life can and should be full of spiritual richness Offers a new view of how spiritual growth happens and loss is gain. This important book explores the counterintuitive message that we grow spiritually much more by doing wrong than by doing right.” (Publisher summary)

I imagine I concur. Retirement will not be much of anything unless I’ve learned – or am learning – at least from some of the mistakes from my ‘first half of life’.

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

This is a quirky yet lovable book about a recently retired man who decides to make profound changes to his predictable life. His long-suffering wife is surprised when he decides to walk 500 miles in an attempt to save a dying work colleague. “It’s the proverbial case of a man going out to mail a letter and never coming home.” (Publisher quote)

Think ‘Forrest Gump’ for the middle-aged. I have an affinity for this book since I took a walking tour of England last summer, but not for 500 miles! Walking I find is a great metaphor for exploring outer and inner worlds at the same time.

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Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Ann Lamott

“…Lamott ventures to explore where to find meaning in life. We should begin, she suggests, by ‘facing a great big mess, especially the great big mess of ourselves.’ It’s up to each of us to recognize the presence and importance of mercy everywhere — ‘within us and outside us, all around us’, and to use it to forge a deeper understanding of ourselves and more honest connections with each other. While that can be difficult to do, Lamott argues that it’s crucial, as ‘kindness towards others, beginning with myself, buys us a shot at a warm and generous heart, the greatest prize of all.” (Publisher summary)

Wow. That’s a lot to learn, but I do have the rest of my life. I guess we all do.

Au revoir!

  • Lyle

 

 

Read ’em Before You See ’em!

Hollywood’s obsession with books has been carrying on now for a while – and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down in 2017! Blockbuster hits like the Harry Potter franchise and the Hunger Games trilogy show just how successful film adaptations of kids’ books can be.

Will the movie versions be better than the books? There’s only one way to find out: Read ’em before you see ’em. Check out what’s headed for the big screen in 2017.

May 12
Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
A family road trip is supposed to be a lot of fun…unless, of course, you’re the Heffleys. The journey starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns. Gas station bathrooms, crazed seagulls, a fender bender, and a runaway pig – not exactly Greg Heffley’s idea of a good time. But even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure – and this is one the Heffleys won’t soon forget. The film adaptation stars Alicia Silverstone as Greg’s mom and Jason Drucker as Greg.

 

May 19
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
George and Harold have created the greatest superhero in the history of their elementary school – and now they’re going to bring him to life! Meet Captain Underpants! His true identity is so secret, even HE doesn’t know who he is! DreamWorks’ animated adaptation, titled simply Captain Underpants, features the voice talents of Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, and Kristen Schaal.

 

May 19
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
A teen girl who can never leave her house, because she’s allergic to just about everything, falls in love with the new boy next door and starts taking risks in this compelling romance/coming-of-age story. The film adaptation of this young adult novel stars Taylor Hickson (Deadpool) and Nick Robinson (Jurassic World, The 5th Wave).

 

November 17
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Auggie Pullman is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. Born with a terrible abnormality, he has been homeschooled and protected by his loving family from the cruel stares of the outside world. Now he must attend school with other students for the first time – but can he get his classmates to see that he’s just like them, underneath it all?  The film adaptation stars Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as Auggie’s parents, Mandy Patinkin as his understanding teacher, and Jacob Trembly (Room) as Auggie. 

 

December 25
Mary Poppins
 by P.L. Travers

It all starts when Mary Poppins is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks’ house. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life! The film sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, will be a musical set in Depression-era London, with Jane and Michael Banks all grown up. It stars Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins, Hamilton star/creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as her lamplighter friend Jack, and Meryl Streep as Mary’s cousin, Topsy.

Lindsay