Shelfish: The Blog of Answers

Do You Love A Capella Music?

Straight No Chaser's The New Old FashionedHave you noticed the surge in popularity of a capella music? Since The Sing-Off debuted on NBC in 2009, a capella has really hit the mainstream. The breakout stars of the singing comeptition show, Pentatonix, have won a grammy and performed sold out shows at Madison Square Garden. Their youtube channel has over eight million subscribers. That's more than Lady Gaga, Daft Punk and Beyoncé.

In 2012, Deke Saron, the vocal producer of The Sing Off turned his attention to the feature film Pitch Perfect starring Anna Kendrick as the newest member of an all-girl singing group taking on their male rivals in a college competition. The breakout success of that movie and its soundtrack led to the sequel, Pitch Perfect 2, another box office smash.

This week, one of the most popular music downloads on our digital media service, Hoopla, was The New Old Fashioned by Straight No Chaser an a capella group formed at Indiana University that rose to stardom (and earned a five album deal with Atlantic Records) thanks to its hilarious online video for The Twelve Days of Christmas.

So why is a capella so popular right now? Perhaps it's the authenticity. Audiences have become used to trickery, from autotune to lip syncing, in popular music. It feels good to hear talented people using just their voices to create something beautiful. A capella offers a sense of authenticity that you don’t get from the overproduced songs you typically hear on the radio.

Do you have a favorite singing group? Tell us about it on the Eisenhower facebook page.

Music to Start Your Day

According to music psychologist David M. Greenberg of the University of Cambridge and City University of New York, the best way to wake up in the morning is by listening to music that plays at a tempo of 100 to 130 beats per minute and brings you "through multiple stages from ... tiredness to being more alert and then getting energy from there." He put together a playlist of songs that meet these requirements. Many of the tracks are available at Eisenhower. A couple of my favorites are Cold Play's Viva Va Vida (on CD or digital download) and Bill Withers' Lovely Day .

Find the complete playlist at Music.Mic. and start your day off right.

The Artwork of Bruno Sowa

When next visiting Eisenhower, please take a minute to view the exhibit in our display case. It features artwork, including paintings and wood carvings by Bruno Sowa, the father of one of our patrons. It's beautiful work and we think you're really going to enjoy it.

From Hell

While certainly better known for the superhero masterpiece Watchmen, for my money, Alan Moore's best and most satisfying work might be From Hell, the obsessively-researched recounting of the Jack the Ripper murders. Of course, no one knows who the killer really was, but by combining together all the theories into one massive conspiracy involving the British royal family, the Freemasons, the Elephant Man, writer Oscar Wilde, and even occult magician Aleister Crowley, Moore makes a compelling (though almost certainly wrong) case for who Jack might have been.

From Hell is a dense, dark read, with beautifully grisly, scratchy, black and white artwork by Eddie Campbell that evokes the common horror of Victorian life. It's not for the faint of heart, but it is Halloween-time afterall.

From Hell is available in the library and as a digital comic on Hoopla Digital.

-Chris, Marketing

Halloween Reads

Here are some spooky reads and movies to get you in the Halloween spirit.

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
William Peter Blatty's thrilling masterwork of faith and demonic possession. Raw and profane, shocking and blood-chilling, it remains a modern parable of good and evil and perhaps the most terrifying novel ever written. Find the eAudiobook and the movie in the library.

World War Z by Max Brooks
Love The Walking Dead? This is an oral history recorded after humankind was nearly wiped out after a zombie apocalypse. Try the audio version and catch some of the famous actors. Find the eAudiobook and the movie in the library.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
This is the story of a diabolical carnival that wreaks havoc on the lives of the people of a small Illinois town, much like the one in which Bradbury grew up. (Library Journal) Find the eAudiobook and the movie in the library.

Why Not Me?

Mindy Kaling’s much-anticipated follow-up to Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) was released in September to much fanfare, and a spot on the bestseller list right away.

Why Not Me? will appeal to fans of the author and comedienne’s first book, and shows like The Office and The Mindy Project. Kaling talks about her experiences dating, meeting other celebrities, being a celebrity, acting and writing for TV, and what it’s like to create, write and star in your own show.

The book is funny, charming and relatable. I recommend it to fans of pop culture and entertainment memoirs like Yes, Please by Amy Poehler and Bossypants by Tina Fey. 

-Rebecca, Answers

October Recommendations

In the mood to watch something dark? Check out a scary movie that you might have missed.

The Descent - A group of women friends go on a caving expedition and encounter some unexpected inhabitants. Be prepared for some genuinely startling moments in this underground adventure tale gone awry. 

Warm Bodies - For the zombie aficionado that also enjoys a good romance movie, Warm Bodies blends horror and comedy into a witty modern take on the undead apocalypse. 
Battle Royale - This brutal take on the concept of a televised cage match between teenagers was surely an inspiration for The (much tamer) Hunger Games. In Japanese with subtitles.
The Babadook - This Australian film centers on a struggling single mom and her troubled son. Horror is mixed with grief and childhood fears in an emotional and unique tale. 
You're Next - A home invasion thriller with a twist, You're Next includes some dark laughs alongside its terrifying moments.
Need more suggestions? Visit the Answers desk for a recommendation, or check out Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movie's You've Never Seen for some creepy inspiration. 
-Hadley, Answers<--break->

Suspect Cinema

Celebrate Banned Books Week with our series of banned books adapted for the big screen. Join us every day this week for a screening of a controversial classic movie.

Fahrenheit 451
Monday, September 28th, 1:00 pm
In an oppressive future, a fireman whose duty is to destroy all books begins to question his task. Starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie. Directed by Francois Truffaut from the classic novel by Ray Bradbury.

In Cold Blood
Tuesday, September 29th, 1:00 pm
After the brutal murder of a rural family, two drifters come to terms with the repercussions of their actions. Starring Robert Blake and Scott Wilson. Directed by Richard Brooks from the novel by Truman Capote.

The Outsiders
Wednesday, September 30th, 1:00 pm
Rivalry between two gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, heats up when one gang member kills a rival. Starring Matt Dillon and Ralph Macchio. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola from the novel by S.E. Hinton.

To Kill a Mockingbird
Thursday, October 1st, 1:00 pm
As seen through the eyes of his daughter, a lawyer in the Depression-era South defends a black man against a charge of rape. Starring Gregory Peck. Directed by John Mulligan from the classic novel by Harper Lee.

Nineteen Eighty-Four
Friday, October 2nd, 1:00 pm
In a totalitarian future society, a man whose daily work is rewriting history rebels by falling in love. Starring Richard Burton and John Hurt. Directed by Michael Radford from the novel by George Orwell.

Books For Fashion Week

It's September, and to some that signifies the height of fashion season. This fashion week, check out some titles Eisenhower has recently added to the collection and get motivated to try a new look! If you sew your own clothes and like modern, edgy design, try She Wears the Pants by designer Yuko Takada. For men needing a basic set of tips, try How to Tie a Tie: a Gentleman's Guide to Getting Dressed by Tristan Ryan Jin. If you are expecting, and feeling limited by the racks in the maternity aisles, check out Bump It Up by Amy Tara Koch for some inspiration. Just need a general primer? Costume designer Alison Freer's How to Get Dressed might be of interest. For more specific help finding books about fashion, sewing, or anything else this fall, visit the Answers Desk and we'll be happy to point you in the right direction. 


Images Comics Added to Hoopla Digital

Cover of The Walking Dead Volume One, Days Gone ByWe're super excited that titles from Image Comics are now available for our patrons to access instantly on their smartphones, tablets, and computers using our digital media service, Hoopla Digital!

The addition of Image titles broadens Hoopla's catalog of more than 350,000 movies, TV shows, music albums, eBooks, audiobooks, and comics to include Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' space opera, Saga, Nick Spencer's Morning Glories, and more. Plus, new comics are beig added to Hoopla every week.

To celebrate the addition of these great comics, we've increased the monthly borrowing limit from seven items to ten! Eisenhower Library Card holders can get started enjoying these comics and more by visiting or downloading the free hoopla digital mobile app on their Android or iOS device.

-Chris, Marketing