11/22/63 by Stephen King 
submitted by Debbe



On November 22, 1963 I was sitting in my 7th grade classroom, participating in an art project, a message was sent in from the principal’s office, the President had just been shot. The only other things I remember about being in school that afternoon is that my best friend dropped her bottle of black ink and that my teacher gave me permission to go to the school library, where my mother was volunteering that afternoon. That day and watching the televised events of the following three days changed my life, as it did for many of my generation.

Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors writing today. Horror, science fiction and fantasy are not genres I enjoy reading so that is why I had not chosen to select one of his titles for my bedside table. However the premise of this book was intriguing, as I am one of many, along with King, who have wondered how would the world be different if John Fitzgerald Kennedy had not been assassinated. I’ve always thought I should give King a try so I took this opportunity to do so.

I found 11/22/63: A Novel both fascinating and tedious. King is an excellent story teller. I was hooked from Chapter 1 and finished all 849 pages. I found it to be repetitive, so in my opinion it could have been just as good a story with 200 less pages.

The main character, Jake Epping, by stepping through a time portal can return to 1958. He then has 5 years to decide if Lee Harvey Oswald is a lone gunman (there are the conspiracy theories he needs to investigate) and if he is, how can Jake stop him. Jake has a personal mission that motivates him has well. But over and over again, adding to the suspense of the novel, he is reminded that “the past is resistant to change.”

Five years is a long time so it is not surprising when Jake falls in love with Sadie. She also needs to be rescued and have her future changed. Will he be able to stay in the past with Sadie or will she be able to move forward 48 years with him? The questions keep you reading. The final question is will he use his ability to go back, as every step through the portal resets the past, so if you don’t like the outcome you can change it again.

What will 2011 be like if John F. Kennedy had lived? King has an interesting alternative history to recount. However, this is a work of fiction so it is a history we will never know.

I doubt I will read another of King’s books although I have had others tell me to give The Stand a try, all 1153 pages of it. Maybe in my future life I will.




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Winkie 
submitted by Nita



I picked up Winkie by Clifford Chase because I thought it would be hilarious. Winkie is a teddy bear who comes to life, runs away from home, and is eventually mistaken for a terrorist and put on trial. But Chase eschews “Farce=Funny” literary convention, crafting a brilliant and surprisingly poignant allegory about the loss of innocence and how it may be recaptured through memories.

We begin with Winkie's recollections of his early life:

"He had never been smaller than he was now...but he had once been like a baby just the same. It was a time when he wasn't even Winkie yet, when he wore a white blouse and black velvet dress, and he belonged to the little girl Ruth. He could almost hear her calling to him across time, 'I love you, Marie.'"

The story alternates between Winkie's wistful memories of his early life as a beloved toy, his life in the woods after he ran away and found a bear cub to call his own child, and his present status as an imprisoned terrorist suspect.

"It could be said that the whole of the bear's life as a toy formed one long incantation that produced, at last, the miracle of his coming to life. Winkie had hoped to understand that incantation through recollection, maybe even to reproduce its magic and thus regain his freedom."

Remembrance as self-actualization is a constant thread throughout the tale. Just as Winkie is spurred by memories to will himself to life and mobility, Chase suggests that revisiting those things that fed our spirit as children can recharge our spirit as adults.

“In the dream and in remembrance of the dream, inside and outside, a hated thing might be let go, might fly off, might weep, and then the wider world could unfold again in small clicks…the rose in the coloring book, the rose of the world and hope.”

The book includes photographs of Winkie, his childhood home, and the "Killer Bear Manufacturing Facility." While sly humor abounds in this little gem of a book, you'll want to read it for its heart and the lyrical ring of the language. This is a grown-up fairy tale that will stay with you long after you've stopped reading.


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My Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2012 
submitted by Tony

The year is coming to an end in a few days so, of course, it is time for "best of" lists!

This is my top ten list of graphic novels which I read during the past year. They may or may not have been published in 2012.

All of these works can be checked out from LFPL. Some have more than one volume but I just list the series as a whole when this is the case. If only a particular volume of a series is available at this time, it is annotated by an asterisk.

Due to the difficulty of ranking such varied stories, the following titles are listed in alphabetical order rather than in order of preference.




Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Allison Bechdel

"Are You My Mother?" is a companion piece to Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which centered on her father.



Batwoman: Hydrology, Volume 1 by J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman*



Chew by John Layman



Echo: The Complete Edition by Terry Moore
For a previous review of this work on the Readers Corner, click here.



Grifter, Volume One: Most Wanted by Nathan Edmondson*



iZombie by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred



Scarlet by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev*



Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse



Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire



The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross



If you are interested in discussing these titles or other works of sequential art, please join LFPL’s Graphic Novel Discussion Group. Meetings are held at the Main Library on the second Monday of every month, starting at 7:00 PM.

The next two meetings will take place on the following dates:

January 14, 2013 – We will be discussing digital and web comics.
February 11, 2013 – We will be discussing the role of African-Americans in comics and the comics industry.


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The Innocents 
submitted by Alex



The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton and starring Deborah Kerr, is a 1961 film adaptation of Henry James’ ghost tale novella The Turn of the Screw. The film is over a half-century old yet still has the ability to unnerve its audience through an innovative opening, carefully crafted performances, and unreliable narrative.

The film opens with a black screen and only the haunting sound of a girl singing. We do not see an image for several seconds, we just listen, and right from the start the movie has us on edge. Soon we meet Kerr as Mrs. Giddens, a governess who accepts her first job caring for two young children, and who soon becomes convinced that something otherworldly is wrong with them.

Mrs. Giddens’ demeanor is a shade too dramatic but she might just be resolute in her concern for the children’s safety. Similarly, the children Miles and Flora, portrayed by Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin, respectively, may be possessed by evil spirits or perhaps merely seen askew as such by Mrs. Giddens. As the movie ends, we are left wondering what is real and what is not, and whether anyone at all is really an innocent party.

It is a brilliant movie, and one everyone should check out from our library.

You might also be interested in a direct adaptation of Turn of the Screw. This version was originally produced for Masterpiece Theatre. It stars Jodhi May, Grace Robinson, and Joe Sowerbutts.




Our guest reviewer, Alex Goodman, has worked for LFPL for nine years, and for the past three at the Middletown branch. He has been a film buff for much longer than that.


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Just Kids by Patti Smith 
submitted by Tommy



I’ve been meaning to read this book for two years and just got to it. I regret that it took me so long. Having been a fan of Patti Smith’s music for decades, I am now a fan of her writing. These memoirs have the ease of her speaking voice. At once both soothing and painful, it is one of those books that I can’t put down. She has been through a lot of personal grief, but is able to use her wisdom and the teachings of other wise people to pull through.

But as much as I’ve been into Patti and her music, I knew nothing about Robert Mapplethorpe, her lifelong soul mate, except that he was an artist. Just Kids is a good starting place for information about him and his tragic death. I must admit that this part of the book made me cry.

The more I read about Patti, the more I like her. She likes all the stuff that I like: poetry, Brian Jones, Bob Dylan, Tim Hardin, Rimbaud, Jim Morrison, Jim Carroll, Janis Joplin, The Beats, The Velvet Underground, and Sam Shepard.

Even before she was a singer/songwriter, she was in love with music. She lived in NYC in the late 60’s/early 70’s. She lived in the Chelsea Hotel for a time, and at a wonderful time to be at both The Chelsea and in NYC. This book makes me lonesome for New York.

This book has many stories and they weave through time like a history lesson that is both personal and universal. Her honesty is remarkable. Just Kids is a must read!

The library has a lot of her music which you can find by clicking here.

The library also owns a great DVD on her called Dream of Life.


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