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By the Book at the Bandera Library

by Michael Garr

Book Reviews
by Michael Garr,
Bandera Library Director

So, after our recent scare over no phones and no internet, I saw a rise in books being checked out and newspapers and magazines being read. It was almost “old school” for about 24 hours. Let’s keep that good habit going, read well and often. In this column, I thought we’d go the movies and look at books in print that have now translated into film at your neighbor Cineplex.
Stephen King’s blockbuster series, “The Dark Tower,” started with a book called “Gunslinger.” The series is a fantasy with a western slant. It’s interesting seeing Texas native Mathew McConaughey cast as the villain. If the movie appealed to you, check out the entire book series.
Filmmaker Christopher Nolan did a superb job translating book material to produce “Dunkirk.” The Bandera Library has two books on the subject, Walter Lord’s “Miracle of Dunkirk” and Robert Jackson’s “Dunkirk, the British Evacuation.” Obviously, both books provide deeper glimpses into the events than a two-hour movie seldom can.
New in the theater is a film adaption of Jennifer Walls memoir, “Glass Castle.” The author recalls her life growing up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father and distant mother, and describes how she and her siblings had to fend for themselves until they finally found the resources and will to leave home. The library has two copies of the book, so there’ll probably be no long wait for it to return to the shelves.
A 2017 movie that is now on DVD is “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” by Ben Fountain. A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents, caught on tape by an embedded Fox News Crew, has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America’s most sought-after heroes. On a Thanksgiving Day football game, as a guest of the Dallas Cowboys, 19-year-old Billy Lynn will begin to understand the difficult truths about himself and his family. And he’ll discover love.
As mentioned in a previous column, the Mitch Rapp character created by thriller writer, Vince Flynn, comes to life on the big screen in the movie, “American Assassin,” due for release on Sept. 15. You will probably see me in the movie queue waiting for my ticket.
And finally, there is a great movie I watched on NetFlix — “Hidden Figures” — an adaptation of the book with the same name written by Margot Lee Shetterly. The book is about a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" who used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. It was nominated for three Academy Awards in 2017, including Best Picture.
The Bandera Library has created a Book into Movies section on the new arrival bookshelf. It gives a second life to old friends that have hidden themselves in the “stacks” since their publication. Meet these book friends and other books when you next visit the Bandera Library. And don’t forget us the next time the area goes dark. Be old fashioned and read a book.