Tom Harper’s miniseries adaption of War & Peace follows the lives of several very different characters as they navigate life in early 19th century Russia. They must sort out their wishes, their duties, their hopes and their romantic lives, trials complicated enough without the added concern of Napoleon and his army baring down on your country.
Awkward but well-intentioned Pierre must grow from party-addicted boy to mature member of the nobility, discovering along the way what it means to be a man, what it means to be brave, and what it means to really be in love. Cheerful Natasha loves nothing more than love itself, and finds joy in helping her friends’ and families’ relationships flourish, but where her own heart is concerned, Natasha is unsure what it is she wants, and her exploration of love will have unintended consequences. And handsome Andrei, though rich and powerful and an object of romantic interest for almost all of the ladies of the nobility, wants something more important out of his life. As war comes to Russia, lives are changed in ways the characters could never have imagined, both for better and for worse. As their individual stories change, grow and intertwine, it weaves a beautiful, engaging tale that is at times as heartbreaking as it can be heartwarming.
Paul Dano, Lily James, and James Norton star in this adaption that follows the stories of the three young protagonists along with a myriad of supporting characters, played by actors who are far from background, including Jim Broadbent, Tom Burke, Tuppence Middleton, and Gillian Anderson.
War & Peace is an engaging and beautiful miniseries that leaves you longing to know how your own story would play out in the gilded halls of the 19th century Russian aristocracy.
The first novel in a growing series that currently includes seven novels, plus additional novellas and short stories, Leviathan Wakes combines science fiction and a gritty detective novel to lace the planets with intrigue, mystery, and intense action. The novel is set several hundred years in the future, when humankind has stretched out from its roots on Earth and inhabited Mars, the outer planets, and the Belt. Colonies are dotted around the planets on moons, large asteroids, and constructed space stations, but the real powers are Earth and Mars, and tensions between the two create a cold war that is poised to break into open conflict.
The two main protagonists of Leviathan Wakes are James Holden, an officer on an ice-hauling freight spaceship named the Canterbury, and Detective Miller of Ceres Station, the largest spaceport in the asteroid belt. Miller is assigned a missing persons case that quickly expands to become much more, and Holden and the crew of the Canterbury respond to a strange distress call that blossoms into disaster. These two events intertwine, and soon draw Holden and Miller into a joint fight for their own survival, and a fight to prevent further bloodshed between warring planets and the Outer Planets Alliance (OPA).
Leviathan Wakes was nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award, and the novel and its sequels have also been made into a TV series, The Expanse. From what I’ve seen so far of the TV series, the visual effects are stunning, but the characters themselves are much more engaging in the novel version. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the novels, but have yet to have the TV series really catch my interest.
You can find Leviathan Wakes at the KPL here, or the TV show The Expansehere.
- Joseph, Information Services
In The Community
City of Waterloo Museum
Looking for a fun day out that will keep you warm and help you learn something new? The City of Waterloo Museum is just the place! The museum, inside the Conestoga Mall (550 King St. N), features art and both permanent and featured exhibits for you to explore to learn more about the Waterloo region and its fascinating history.
The City of Waterloo Museum permanent collection includes several fine art collections and the Seagram Collection, a look at the life and influence of the Seagram family, a significant family in the history and development of Waterloo, including details about the businesses they ran, and what life was like throughout the 19th and 20th century.
Until January 26th, the museum is featuring an exhibition for Canada’s 150th anniversary entitled This All Belongs to You, featuring one hundred and fifty stories about and from the Waterloo region. You can also explore the history of Waterloo with displays featuring artifacts from daily life in the history of the city.
Admission to the museum is free! Hours are Tuesday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and, on the fourth Thursday and Saturday of every month, Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For those who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, I can empathize. It’s cold all the time, the sun never shines, and by 4pm you are ready for a nap. Overall, you just want to curl up with a blanket, hibernate, and avoid the grey, dull, darkness of winter. It can be really tough to stay motivated and enjoy the little things. So, I am here to tell you that you’ve got this, you can do it, and the library can help.
When I get into winter, I really struggle with keeping myself interested and engaged. Something that I do to keep myself going is to learn something new. Although my solution may not work for everyone, it is fun, free, and keeps you motivated. This year, I decided to try out a ukulele from the instrument lending program, and honestly it was AMAZING! The ukulele itself was a bright cheery yellow, the strings excited and ready to play, and the sound could brighten any room. Even better, the basic chords were really easy to learn.
With each new song I learnt I felt more productive, a little cheerier, and like I was challenging myself in a positive way; this Ukulele stuck with me. The small, yellow ukulele made the greyness temporarily evaporate while music filled my tiny apartment. It was a fun three week loan period and I grew attached to my new friend, so much so that I was surprised when my partner gifted me my very own ukulele for Christmas!
Well, I guess now that the library has me hooked, in the new year I will find myself a ukulele group in the region!
- Kassandra, Information Services
directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Following a chance encounter in a San Francisco pet store, Melanie (played by Tippi Hedren) takes an interest in Mitchell (played by Rod Taylor). After a little investigating, she finds that he spends his weekends with his mother and sister in a nearby seaside hamlet called Bodega Bay. She decides to take a trip there and see if she can connect with Mitch. Shortly after arriving though, birds of all types in the area begin to act aggressively and attack the citizens of the small town. As the attacks escalate, the townspeople are gripped by fear and hysteria.
I personally have trouble watching “old” movies, as I find most of them very dated, in part from a technical standpoint, but more importantly, from a content perspective. This film is 54 years old, and, frankly, our society is a lot different now. All that said though, this movie stands the test of time decently. Shot long before the advent of CGI and other technological tools available to filmmakers today, Hitchcock uses a lot of tricks to make some of the bird attack sequences quite harrowing. There are a couple of scenes that would be shocking to see in a modern film, I imagine they were way over the top in a mainstream movie from 1963. I can see why, in 2016, The Birds was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress, and selected for preservation in its National Film Registry.
In a nutshell,The Birds was a movie well ahead of its time when released, but it loses some of its luster compared to the horror/thriller films of today.