Donna –  I highly recommend  “The price of civilization : reawakening American virtue and prosperity” by economist, Jeffrey D. Sachs to anyone who wants a better understanding of what happened to America, how we got in this mess and is interested in positive suggestions for making changes and improvements. Sachs does an outstanding job of describing the situation and laying out suggestions for changes that must be made in the years ahead. His facts are well documented and non partisan.

The price of civilization : reawakening American virtue and prosperity / Jeffrey D. Sachs

330.973 SACHS

Nick – “The Lorax” really isn’t the sort of movie I’d normally see, but nevertheless I saw it, and in 3D no less.  I really don’t remember how Dr. Seuss’s original story went but it seems that this movie was really a lesson about greed.  It starts off with this kid that really likes this girl and he finds out that she really digs trees and says she would totally marry any guy that could get her a real tree. So the kid sets off to find himself a real tree and with a little advice from his grandmother to go see the Once-ler he begins his little adventure to find him.  The kid finds the Once-ler and finds out the reason why there are no more trees and why things aren’t so perfect in Thneedville. 

It was a pretty cute story, I can definitely see why certain politicians would hate that movie, since it pretty much tells children that they shouldn’t rape and pillage their world’s natural resources for profit.  If you got kids they would love it.  It’s not too ridiculously cute to be unpalatable for adults.  It’s pretty funny and it never feels like the story is dragging its feet. All in all, I’d give the movie a 3.5 out of 5, mostly because they charged me $15 to see it in 3D…

The Lorax [videorecording]      DVD LORAX



Eugene –  I recently saw the film, “In Darkness,” by Polish director Agnieszka Holland.  It tells the the story of a Polish sewer worker and part-time burglar, Leopold Socha, in the former Polish city of  Lwów  (now Lviv in Ukraine) who used his knowledge of the city’s sewers system to shelter a group of roughly a dozen Jews from the Nazi Germans. At first, he was paid by the people he was hiding to pay for their food, but after the money ran out, Socha and his wife paid for their food out of their own pockets.  In 1978, Socha and his wife were awarded  the title “Righteous among the Nations” by the State of Israel, an honor given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from extermination during the Holocaust.    

It’s not a comfortable film to see, as it raises the question of how each of us individually would behave if an unpopular minority were persecuted by an occupying nation, and you would be executed for sheltering members of that minority.   Leopold and Magda Socha gave us an outstanding example of simple people behaving humanely and courageously when all too many others preferred to offer no resistance to the persecution of the Jews. 

We don’t currently have this film in our collection, but other films directed by Agnieszka Holland available in your Alameda County Libraries are:

Europa Europa [videorecording] / Les Films du losange ; CCC-Filmkunst GmbH ; producers, Artur Brauner, Margaret Menegoz ; director/screenwriter, Agnieszka Holland


The secret garden [videorecording] / Warner Bros. presents an American Zoetrope production ; a film by Agniezka Holland ; screenplay by Caroline Thompson ; produced by Fred Fuchs, Fred Roos and Tom Luddy ; directed by Agnieszka Holland


Washington Square [videorecording] / Hollywood Pictures presents in association with Caravan Pictures a Roger Birnbaum production in association with Alchemy Filmworks ; produced by Roger Birnbaum and Julie Bergman Sender ; screenplay by Carol Doyle ; directed by Agnieszka Holland               DVD Fiction WASHINGTON

Pam –  I’m really enjoying “Words in a French Life” by Kristin Espinasse, about an American woman who moved to Provence when she married a French man.  In this book she inserts French words while writing short vignettes describing her day to day life. I’m finding it an enjoyable way to spruce up my French vocabulary. There are not so many new words that you can’t follow the story and at the end description of each word is provided. This book grew from the author’s blog and she also has also written a memoir called “Blossoming in Provence.”

Words in a French life : lessons in love and language from the south of France / Kristin Espinasse         305.81304 ESPINASSE

Carmin –  I just finished reading the biography,  ”Eva Braun: Life with Hitler” by Heike Goertemaker.  While historical information is scarce about Eva Braun, the author is able to piece together what her life was most probably like with Hitler.  Disappointingly, there is much greater detail given about others that surrounded Hitler in his inner circle than information given on Eva Braun; however, anyone interested in learning about the home life of Hitler during the 1930s-1940s would probably find this book very satisfying.  

Eva Braun : life with Hitler / by Heike B. Görtemaker ; translated from the German by Damion Searls           B BRAUN,E