Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Full of film premieres, December is a movie-going month. This is so the films will qualify for the Academy Awards the following year and because sitting in a dark theater seems to be just the antidote to all that holiday shopping, eating and celebrating.  But, before you rush out and buy those movie tickets, remember that December is also a great month to sit and read the Monrovia Public Library books on which some of these blockbusting films are based.

Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini and soon to debut as a film directed by Angelina Jolie, is a terrific biography of a local (Torrance) boy who not only competes in track and field in the 1936 Olympics, but becomes a prisoner of war during World War II.  Author Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote the spectacular Seabiscuit delivers a page-turning and memorable story of survival and triumph.

Wild, by Cheryl Stayed, is a memoir of a woman trying to overcome her past by hiking the 1,100 mile long Pacific Crest Trail that leads from the Mojave Desert to the Oregon border. Battling both the elements and an exasperating lack of preparation and expertise for such a hike, the book captures readers in both positive and negative ways. Read the book to see how you feel about the author and story. The movie of Wild stars Reese Witherspoon.

What happens to a dynamic 50-year-old Harvard professor when her memory starts failing and she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease? Still Alice by neuroscientist Lisa Genova is a novel about this struggling woman. As Alice quickly declines she and her family try to find everything they can about this heartbreaking illness that radically changes their lives. The book is realistic and touching. The movie stars Julianne Moore.

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