Today’s Specials- Wednesday, November 2nd 2016

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​Hot special- BBQ pulled pork sandwich! With fried jalapeño chips, white cheddar and roasted garlic mayo on a onion roll with chips! $8.99

1/2 special – Turkey Reuben panini ! With turkey, coleslaw, Swiss and Russian on rye! With a cup of soup! $5.99

Homemade soups-

Buffalo cauliflower chowder  (v)

Italian sausage greens & beans (gf)

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Tenth of December by George Saunders

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Our “You Gotta Check This Out” pick of the week is Tenth of December, a collection of short stories from Syracuse University professor George Saunders.

Each one of the 10 short stories is like a little explosion, sparking the mind and providing enough fodder to fuel an entire book club meeting.

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Although the stories vary greatly in theme and length, a dark and unsettling tone pervades. Often, while things start out on a bright note, there is evil lurking around the corner, blackness and rot hiding just behind a sunny and healthy exterior.

In “Escape from Spiderhead” and “The Semplica Girl Diaries,” two of the collection’s more memorable stories, Saunders uses alternate realities to present scathing social commentary about our own time. The former tells the story of a prisoner who, as a result of his crime, becomes a subject to futuristic pharmaceutical testing. The latter takes the form of diary entries from a future dad who’s desperate to keep up with the Joneses.  Both start out lightly and brightly enough, but soon it becomes apparent that something is not quite right, and there will not be a happy ending for our protagonists.

These searing stories will brand a mark on your brain. Check them out today!

Downton Abbey – Seasons 1-3

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What is it that makes Downton Abbey so addictive, and so universally liked?

From the beginning, we at the Library were hooked by the show’s ability to transport us to a world reminiscent of Jane Austen novels.   Although set a several decades ahead of Austen, Downton Abbey similarly takes us back to life on an aristocratic English estate, to a time of ladies and gentleman, a place where many readers have always somewhat felt more at home.

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No Internet or cell phones?  How quaint!  No jobs to do but entertain, manage the estate, or for the servants, cook and clean?  Oh, how we long for that simpler time!  Class issues?  These only make for more intense romantic relationships!  Of course, we immediately loved the whole reverse Darcy-Elizabeth thing we saw happening with Mary and Matthew.

Did we mention the beautiful dresses?  The accents?  The love, lust and drama?

So we at the library were early adopters.  We were not tough sells. A show with all the appeal of an ongoing Austen novel, on PBS? What more needed to be said?

But before we knew it, everyone we knew seemed to be watching the show.  We mean eve-ry-body. Our family members.  Our neighbors.  Our friends who like Judd Apatow movies.  Our boyfriends and husbands who like Jackass movies.

What was it about the show that appealed to them?  They seemed at a loss to explain it themselves. “I don’t know what it is about this show – I just love it so much!” seemed to be a common utterance by many a fan after devouring an entire season of the show over the course of a weekend.

If you ask us, we think the broad appeal of Downton can be attributed to how well it plays to four primary appeal factors: character, plot, setting, and tone.  The characters feel like family.  The plot is fast-paced and exciting, jumping from one intense situation to another.  The setting is vivid and transportive.  The tone is dramatic and serious, but with great splashes of humor, romance, fun and excitement.

Of these four factors, though, we think the success of Downton hinges of its characters more than anything else.  The characters are fabulously deep and varied.  They are lovable in their virtuousness and undying love of one another (Bates! Anna!). They are despicable in their holding of grudges and seeking of vengeance (Thomas!  O’Brien!)   Most of all, the majority are supremely relatable in their mix of vice and virtue, their internal conflict between doing what convention dictates and doing what is right, and their flawed but ultimately well-meaning natures (Mary! Matthew! Mr. Carson! Lord Grantham!  et. al.)

At the end of the day, it’s our feeling as though we know the cast of characters, loving them and loathing them in them in turns them as if we knew them personally, that keeps us coming back for more.  Because we care so much, we can’t keep ourselves from tuning in to see which of will end up dead, imprisoned, pregnant, married, etc.

Downton Abbey, Seasons 1-3, are our You Gotta Check This Out “Pick of the Week!” Check one out today.

Girls, Season 1

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Our You Gotta Check This Out Pick of the Week is Girls, Season 1.

This show and its young writer/producer/star Lena Dunham swept award season, and for good reason.

Lena Dunham, creator and star of "Girls."

Lena Dunham, creator and star of “Girls.”

“Girls” paints a fresh, honest picture of life as an average 20-something female in New York City.  Contrary to popular television depictions, it’s not all Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blaniks.

There are problems.  A lot of them.  Most are distinctly first-world problems, dealing with things like boys, roommates, career struggles, and awkward social situations.  Dunham seems to think that laughter is the best medicine for these types of problems, and she sheds a brutally honest light on them, with a “you’ll never survive if you can’t laugh at yourself” mentality.

The reason why this succeeds is because Dunham makes her character supremely relatable.  We laugh embarrassedly at the girls’ foibles, because we have been in their shoes.  And to reiterate, these particular shoes are Chuck Taylors with Sharpie doodles on the side. 

This show may not be as well-liked by those outside of its target demographic. But for women who have recently gone through the struggle of trying to cut ties from Mom & Dad and find their place in the world, the show is a must-see.

The Dark Knight Rises – best movie of 2012?

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If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises yet, you really need to.  It’s the best movie we’ve seen so far in 2012. (To be fair — we haven’t seen Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty yet. So we’ll see. But still).

Christian Bale returns for the third time as the title character.  But when we first find him, he’s not quite the heroic knight and Gotham defender we’ve come to know and love. He’s a recluse, in hiding after having falsely assumed the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent.

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne

It will take the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist who utilizes many of the same theatrical techniques as Batman himself, to make the Dark Knight rise again.

Before seeing the movie, we were dubious about the casting of wholesome Anne Hathaway as the dark and sexy Catwoman.  However, she pulls of the role to great effect.  Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard round out the fabulous supporting cast.

Check this movie out today, if you can get your hands on it! Or add yourself to the waiting list for it, and in the meantime, check out Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. You’ll have an even greater appreciation for the 3rd movie in the series if you watch all three in close succession. We highly recommended it!

The Dark Knight Rises is our “You Gotta Check This Out” pick of the week!

Take Shelter

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Is Jessica Chastain the new Meryl Streep?

Jessica Chastain in Take Shelter

Some might say this is a bold comparison. But we happen to think Chastain is the best thing since sliced bread.  Or, should we say, since Sophie’s Choice.

You might know Chastain from her standout role in The Help. Here, she was loveable and convincing as an excitable blonde bombshell rejected by the society ladies of Jackson, Mississippi.

Or, you might know Chastain from her role in The Debt. Here, she was vivid and credible as Rachel, a serious, thickly-accented Mossad secret agent working in East Berlin during the 1960s.

In Take Shelter, Chastain again undergoes a complete transformation, this time playing a struggling housewife in present-day rural America.  And again, her performance is equally memorable and true-to-life.

Take Shelter finds Chastain’s character trying to hold her family together after her daughter loses her hearing and her husband starts acting – well, strange.  You can see the questions, and later, panic forming in her eyes: Why is her husband turning up late for everything? Why are his clothes saturated with sweat in the morning?  Why does he suddenly decide to make their family dog live outside?  Above all, why is he obsessed with building a storm shelter in their backyard?  It becomes apparent that her husband may be following in his mother’s footsteps and losing his sanity.

As the husband-in-question, Michael Shannon is equally impressive.  He perfects the complex role of a man who is aware of the unreliability of his instincts, but cannot help but following these instincts.  After all, what if his instincts turn out to be correct?

If you haven’t seen Chastain in action yet, now’s the time to check her out.  We’re pretty sure we’ll all be talking about her for years to come!

Take Shelter is our “You Gotta Check This Out” pick of the week!

What do you think???

Magic Mike

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There’s something you need to know before you watch Magic Mike – this movie is kinda serious!

Sure, Magic Mike is fun film to watch for a girl’s night in. If it’s sexy dancing and hot bods you’re after, you won’t be disappointed. Some of the most drool-worthy men in Hollywood are on display for your viewing pleasure, including Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, and Matt Bomer. Did I mention they’re all playing male strippers? *Insert squeal here*

The men of Magic Mike

Alongside the man candy, though, Magic Mike also mixes in a more serious look at the (sometimes unpleasant) realities of what the stripper lifestyle entails. We witness as Mike (Tatum) and the other strippers try to enjoy the sex, drugs, and money that come with their profession without consequence, only to realize that for many of them, this will be an impossibility.

So, if you only wanted the candy, you may be like – what’s up with this salad? But in our opinion, we think the blending of these light and dark elements makes Magic Mike one well-balanced meal of a film.

Magic Mike is our “You Gotta Check This Out” Pick of the Week!

What do you think???