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Library Matters

Library Matters is a podcast by Montgomery County Public Libraries exploring the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning.
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Now displaying: February, 2018

Library Matters is a podcast of Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) in Montgomery County, MD. Each episode we explore the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning. Library Matters is hosted by Julie Dina, Outreach Associate, Lauren Martino, Children's Librarian at our Silver Spring branch, and David Payne, Branch Manager of our Davis branch and Acting Branch Manager of our Potomac branch.  

Feb 28, 2018

Listen to the audio

David Payne:  Welcome to Library Matters with your host David Payne.

 

Julie Dina:  And I'm Julie Dina.

 

David Payne:  And today it's movie night.  Get your popcorn ready.  We are going to the movies.  It's that time of year for the Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars.  So what better to talk about movies in the company of MCPL’s great movie buffs, Fred Akuffo from the circulation department at Long Branch.  Welcome, Fred.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Thank you.

 

David Payne:  And David Watts from the circulation department at Silver Spring library.  Welcome, David.

 

David Watts:  Good to be here.

 

David Payne:  I should actually say welcome back because listeners may remember David as a host on Library Matters last year.

 

David Watts:  It’s good to be back.

 

David Payne:  And as I mentioned Fred and David are two of our greatest movie buffs in the library system, so we look forward to hearing from you about the movies today on what is a very gray February Wednesday just a right day for watching movies.

 

David Watts:  Let’s light this thing up.

 

David Payne:  That's right.  So let’s start with a bit about yourselves.  Fred, may if I can turn to you tell us about yourself and your passion for movies.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Okay, well I'm Fred Akuffo.  I work at the Long Branch library.  I’ve been an extreme movie fan for all my life.  I like watching movies that a lot of people don't like watching those are my favorite kind.  I like movies off the beaten path like a lot of my friends don't watch cowboy movies anymore, but those are my favorites.  I like movies where the director makes the most out of a low budget.  Those are my kind of movies.

 

So B-Movies are very fun to me to see what they can do with the limited resources they have.  But then again, I also like movies that are very compelling too.  So movies that go on a different angle than your usual movie out there.  So I like them to steer me in a way I wasn't expecting.  But again, I pretty much watch anything that's out there.  I even though watch La La Land would surprise me.  So yeah, I'm up for a pretty much anything when it comes to film.

 

David Payne:  That’s great.  Thank you and David.

 

David Watts:  I'm a classic movie lover who it’s my side passion just to go to the movies.  I can remember my first movie my aunt took me to see Sound of Music in 1965, at the Silver Theatre, which is now the AFI in Silver Spring and it’s a great place to watch a movie.  I go to probably 30 movies a year.  I'm more the big budget type.  So Fred, where I’m weak, Fred is strong.

 

David Payne:  All right, let’s blend, let’s blend.

 

Julie Dina:  That’s good.

 

David Watts:  I date my life according to what movie was out at the moment.  My right of passage was Star Wars in 1977 I was 16.

 

David Payne:  And still going.

 

David Watts:  And still going.  Took my wife to see Color Purple that was our first movie together.

 

Julie Dina:  Yeah, nice color.

 

David Watts:  So, yeah, can remember different times of my life based on the movie that was out, yeah.

 

David Payne:  Yeah, that’s great.  Well, we got two very interesting magnificent people I’d say which is great.

 

Julie Dina:  The key thing is they balance each other.  [Laughs] So since you guys are movie buffs I'm sure you're aware of the Academy Awards.  So can you tell us what you enjoy most or least about the Academy Awards, what is something you really enjoyed?

 

Fred Akuffo:  Well, the least I enjoy about the Academy Awards is I don't think they give all of film the same look.  For example, you’ll have your urban street films.  I watch Urbanstreet Films on YouTube a lot and there is a lot of them.  But you know, because of the poor acting sometimes the directing isn’t is up to par.  But some of them are great stories and you'll never see any kind of mention.  It’s not that they have to win or anything but you’ll never see any kind of mention of Urbanstreet film or somebody trying to promote that.  The subject matter isn’t all that great but training days Urbanstreet film.  And Denzel Washington had a win for that.  So there is room for it.  So I think they still need to branch out more to some of the more unpopular areas of film making.

 

David Watts:  I think they're searching to be more inclusive part of what limits that or the rules that govern the Academy motion picture arts and sciences.  You know, they have 6000 members who are voting members and not all of them are with the current culture.  So I think they have tried to -- recently they voted to put a limit on how long you can have not actually been in a movie and still vote, which is 10 years now.  So I think that's going to increase the diversity.

 

Another requirement that probably keeps a lot of street movies out is most people don't realize this but only motion pictures that have had a seven day run in Los Angeles qualify to be in the Academy Awards voting.  So if you commercially can get your film into a theater for seven days there is no way that is going to be viewed or voted on by the Academy.  So I think they are hopeful to broaden themselves and I think we see our whole culture evolving.  So certainly you would hope they would become much more diverse.

 

David Payne:  So do you think I mean, we’re now in the 90th year of the Oscars and obviously times have changed considerably since the earlier years, do you think it's a case of the Academy is sort of struggling to keep up?

 

Fred Akuffo:  No, I think it’s actually kind of what Dave just mentioned.  I mean, when you go by a certain rules for so long sometimes you have to evaluate your rules.  You know, it’s like everything, business, whatever, Amazon changed the rules, Netflix changed the rules.  And it’s probably a good thing that the Academy has taken at least some steps towards you know –.

 

David Watts:  Yeah, and I think 2016 was instructive for them when they had their “wide out” and it sort of awaken them to need to refresh the rules that were governing their body and to try to be more towards what the public likes but not so much, not so much.  And that’s his challenge you know that's the part for me.  I enjoy seeing movie stars.  I enjoy seeing people in our culture who are larger than life.  And I'm not putting them up on a pedestal but I mean, they’re attractive people and they live a glamorous lifestyle.  And while we might not aspire to that you do have to admire it in some sense.  So I think that's the great thing about the Oscars to me.

 

Julie Dina:  How about you Fred, what do you like about it?

 

Fred Akuffo:  Well, like that is a gaze to success.  So you know, it's something that you're aiming for or maybe not aiming for but if you can achieve, then you can be put in a group with other folks who’ve done so.  And if you can achieve more than once, then you can actually change movies and change film, change future direction in movies.  So whereas one film may have never gotten a look at one moment 15 years later ago now everybody is doing it so you know sometimes it can be a motivator.

 

David Payne:  So let's turn to this year's Academy Awards.  What do you think of this year's Academy Award nominees? Let's start with David.

 

David Watts:  I've seen eight of the 10 nominees.  I think it's probably on the scale of most years a weak crop.  There is really not a blockbuster.  They tend to be more towards the eclectic artsy side.  Many would say a more towards the MD side of the business.  So each of them make a statement and that’s the important thing about movies is what do they say to us as a culture and as a people.  And what do we use as a launchpad for conversations based on our seeing those movies and relating to them.

 

David Payne:  Fred, any thoughts?

 

Fred Akuffo:  I agree.  I don't think it was as strong as is before.  I notice that this year I don't hear people talking about man, you’ve just got to see this you know or you just got to see that and I know this one is going to win.  To me there is more of an up in the air feeling this year in terms of the nominees.  So but I don’t mind that I mean, you know to me being more up in the air is actually better.  It just gives more motivation for people to push and making their films more distinctive.  It's I think is still moving forward is just this is not the hottest year so far.

 

Julie Dina:  Maybe next year.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah, there is always next year that’s the great part of our film, there is always next year and people start working on it now.

 

Julie Dina:  Is there any movie that was actually nominated that you’ve seen that either of you have seen but think hardly anyone else has seen yet and could you tell us about that movie?

 

David Watts:  I think you probably consider the whole crop.  I mean, this was a terrible year at the box office.  There are historically low box office figures for this year.  So I think you would be certainly able to say that about most of the films that are in the best picture category.  I saw Three Billboards in Ebbing Missouri, which is on its face, not a title, it causes you to run out and buy a movie ticket, but it was an excellent movie.  Probably the biggest budget one in the top 10, The shape of Water of seeing Shape of Water.  So I presume that most of the movie going public is going to be basing its opinions based on whether or not they've seen Shape of Water because that certainly will be the ones that the movie industry is behind and pumping to try to see win as many categories as possible to try to get people to go to the movies and see it.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Actually, I think I'll also add Moonlight.  I think there is quite a few people that haven’t seen Moonlight.

 

David Watts:  Yeah.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Good movie.  I didn't even want to see it but after watching it I was you know –.

 

David Watts:  I thought it was terribly depressing.  [Laughs] And I think halfway through when they said well, we call the wrong movie its Moonlight.  I said, oh my goodness.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah.

 

David Watts:  That was probably my least favorite from last year.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah, that's kind of my thing though.  I like movies that you know some people when they’re going through it they’re really going through it for real.  And that’s one movie where if you come out of that at the end of the movie it’s like come on, it doesn't really work like that.  You know, what I mean.  So I like movies that represent some of what people are really, really dealing with.  And it's still an extreme case, you know that movie but –.

 

David Watts:  I don't think people like to go to the movie and feel bad when they leave.

 

Fred Akuffo:  That’s true, that’s true.

 

David Watts:  And that’s always been my thing.  I never really been much in the Spike Lee because he always ends his movies on a downbeat.  And you spend your hard-earned money you want to come out feeling like your life is better somehow for having seen the movie.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Right.

 

David Watts:  And that was just my take on Moonlight.

 

Fred Akuffo:  For me sometimes it's I'm glad that's not me and so my life is better.  [Laughs]

 

Julie Dina:  That’s another way to think.

 

David Watts:  Things aren’t so great.

 

Fred Akuffo:  That’s right I can go out of here.  Man, I'm glad I'm not him.  Okay, okay.

 

David Payne:  With your two very different interests in movies here is an interesting question, what's the most obscure Oscar-winning movie you've ever watched?

 

David Watts:  Come on Mr. B-Movies.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Now Quentin Tarantino, has he gotten any of them?

 

David Watts:  As best picture, no.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah, okay.

 

Julie Dina:  He didn’t get one for the Pulp Fiction.

 

David Watts:  Wait a minute, I’ve got my cheat sheet here.  Pulp Fiction, no.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Or the one with Jamie Foxx.

 

Julie Dina:  Django.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Django.

 

David Watts:  No, certainly not.  [Laughs].  Surely you jest. I saw the most obscure movies obviously to American movie public are the foreign films and I saw Indochine in ’92 that was a very good movie.  It was about French Indochina in the 1920s.  And the female lead in that movie god, her name gets away from me, she is very popular.  But anyways she'd raised a child.  She'd raised an orphan and they later fell in love with the same soldier, which was made for an interesting kind of dynamic –.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Okay.

 

David Payne:  Sounds very complicated.

 

David Watts:  Yeah, it’s very complicated and the movie didn't end with a conclusion that allows you to close your mind to this particular movie.  But it was a very good movie and it won for best foreign film in 1992.  And I thought it was a particularly good movie.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah.

 

David Watts:  Then another obscure one maybe not so obscure was Hidden Dragon.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, yeah.

 

David Watts:  Crouching Tiger won for foreign film I think in 2000 I’m not positive on the year on that but that was a very good movie, very entertaining.

 

Julie Dina:  I really liked that.

 

David Watts:  Yeah, for kids who grew up with Bruce Lee movies it was particularly gratifying to see.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah, I liked that a lot because I’m a heavy, heavy martial arts film enthusiast.

 

David Watts:  So you could really get into that and relate to that one, yeah.

 

Fred Akuffo:  I could get into that.

 

David Watts:  And flying, kicking scenes and all.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Not as much the flying around and stuff because I'm more of the –.

 

David Watts:  The true martial arts.

 

Fred Akuffo:  The pre Bruce Lee type.  So I actually think Bruce Lee destroyed martial arts film because he cause a fight scenes to end in like one second whereas before it would be like two minutes for a fight scene to take place.  So you know, I'll keep my [Multiple Speakers].  But yeah, that was one.  One I thought was obscure and probably because I didn't know anything at all about I guess the culture but The Piano I think won, right.

 

David Watts:  Yes.

 

Fred Akuffo:  And at the time I watched I found it obscure.

 

David Payne:  It takes a bit of re-watching.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah.

 

Julie Dina:  And now a brief message about MCPL services and resources.

 

Febe Huezo:  Watching the Oscars or Golden Globe Award ceremonies is fun to do with friends.  But it's even better to watch the films themselves.  With my MCPL card I can borrow award-winning movies for free.  There is nothing better than browsing the DVD collection at my library.  Stop by our branch today or check this episode show notes for more information about our DVD collection.

 

Julie Dina:  Now back to our program.

 

David Payne:  Well, Oscars certainly has a history of going counterculture and so you always have to be careful of that.  When the artist won in 2012, I think I broke my TV because it was –.

 

Fred Akuffo:  The black and white or --.

 

David Watts:  Well, no and not even for that reason I mean, I've watched extensively silent movies and that wasn't a particularly good silent movie.  But that was the hot or in thing just let us last year with lot I mean, a year before last with La La Land we got the same thing.  La La Land was okay but if you're really in the movies and you're really into musicals La La Land sucked.  Excuse me, if I shouldn’t say that.

 

Julie Dina:  So as we are all aware especially both of you there are 24 categories in the Oscars.  If you could change or add to any of them what exactly would it be?

 

Fred Akuffo:  Fight choreography would be one I’d put in.  I think they need to think about that kind of quality in the movies.  You know, when you have action you wanted to look as real as possible.

 

David Watts:  Absolutely.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Well, maybe not.  Sometimes you wanted to look as vague as possible, but within passing reality if that makes any sense.  Sometimes the Return of the Jedi, the fight scenes look great.  I mean, that returned into the Star Wars fighting looks great.  But then in the next movie is a different fight choreography and it doesn't look so hot.  But if they were let's say a category for that you’d always make it look good.  So you know it would make for better action movies.  You know, what I mean.  And then one I don't necessarily need is the sound group or whatever you know that always wins.  They can win it but you don’t need like 15 minutes in the show to show it.  But I’m sure those sound guys work hard so they deserve it.

 

David Watts:  Yes and big ups to our sound guys.  [Laughs]

 

Fred Akuffo:  There is a place, sorry.

 

David Watts:  I would say we need to add a comic con section because we have all of these superheroes now and certainly I think they need a category unto themselves where their movies aren’t judged against the dramatic movies.

 

David Payne:  So looking ahead to this year's awards you both mentioned it doesn't look like a great year as far as the movie quality.  But can you guess which movie will take home the most Oscars this year?

 

David Watts:  It would be Shape of Water.  I mean, it's a big budget film with a big studio behind it.  I believe it's nominated for 13 Academys of which it probably will take home seven to eight.  The juries do allow over whether it's the best picture.  The female leading actress who did a phenomenal job probably is going to lose to Frances McDormand who will win for Three Billboards.  The male lead did a particularly good job but he is not there yet.  He will probably win in a year or two.  This year belongs to Gary Oldman who will win for Darkest Hour.  His performance was phenomenal although it was hard to believe that he was Winston Churchill.  No, slide aside the prosthetics were not very good but his performance was excellent.  Winston Churchill certainly is a historic figure renowned for his strength of will and force of character and Oldman did an excellent job portraying that.

 

David Payne:  Fred, any thoughts?

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah and I haven't got into those yet.  Although I do think the subject matter for Billboards will probably have some to do with.  I think people you know there is like a non-trusting aspect in society now for different authorities, different entities and things like that.  And that kind of speaks to it on you know make sure these people do what they say they’re going to do it all that kind of thing.  So I think that'll have some to do with in impact.

 

David Watts:  Yeah, Michael Sharon was the actor I couldn't think of who was in Shape of Water and is nominated for best actor.  I don't think he will win, but I think he is coming.  He is in more and more feature films and he does an excellent job portraying the characters.  I do think that Margot Robbie is making some heads turn so while she won't win as best actress she is another one who is on the way.  She is establishing herself.

 

Julie Dina:  Okay, so on another note, since that we know our customers will be listening to this podcast they’ll probably come run into the branches.  What are you both doing at your branches to celebrate the Oscars?

 

Fred Akuffo:  Well, at my branch we have a display at the front of the circ desk that's off from the DVD collection.  And that display has what I would call the higher-quality newer movies sitting on it.  So these are movies that are 2018, ‘17 that by customer rating rate over a certain amount.  And I find that folks as soon as they come through the door shoot right to that display get their things and get their movies that they're looking for that they are surprised to see sometimes and then head on out.  So other the Oscar movies are on there along with some other movies that are of the same quality but maybe just not as popular.  So just one little thing you do that kind of boost that level of interest for those people who enjoy film.

 

David Payne:  And just a reminder that’s at Long Branch.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Long Branch library, yeah.

 

Julie Dina:  You also serve popcorn?

 

Fred Akuffo:  No, not yet.  But I do give suggestions and our oral reviews of the ones that I have watched off of that display rack which people seem to enjoy.  And also they’ll bring it over and ask me, what do you think about this, what do you think about that and they want to know what I really think.  You know what I mean.  So I try to give them my best on that.

 

David Payne:  So there you have the listeners you want to about a movie go to Long Branch.

 

Julie Dina:  Go to Long Branch.  How about you David?

 

David Watts:  Yeah, we’re putting out a book display I just talked with our senior librarian and we’re doing a book display on the books that were adapted into movies To Kill a Mockingbird, Godfather, which is my all-time favorite.  There is several books that have been adapted and we’re going to feature those books in a display near our circulation desk.

 

David Payne:  So let's look ahead further into the year and pause the Oscars themselves.  Which 2018 to be released films are you both looking for to seeing?

 

David Watts:  I never look ahead.  I hate to be a kill joy.

 

Fred Akuffo:  You just name as they come.

 

David Watts:  Well, yeah, I focus on what's current what’s out although I'm sure there are some interesting things coming.  My daughter was telling me that the follow-up to Justice League is the optimal war or something along those lines.  And I assured her it won't be a final one.  She said, dad, this is the last one.  I said, no, it’s not.

 

David Payne:  Just like Star Wars.

 

David Watts:  It’s not the last one.

 

David Payne:  Fred.

 

Fred Akuffo:  I’m looking forward to the Hans Solo part of that.  I guess it’s part of that series.

 

David Watts:  Yes.

 

David Payne:  So, I like the last one they did so which surprised me because I didn't like Rogue One, but yeah, they build on it.  I think it'll win.  Everybody wants to know the origin know of Hans Solo of what, who in the world he is so I think it’ll be another successful one.

 

Julie Dina:  So it's obvious you guys watch a lot of movies.  However, I am wondering, do you actually go to the movie theater to watch these movies and if you do, do you prefer watching it on the big screen compared to watching it at home?

 

Fred Akuffo:  This feels like a confessional.  [Multiple Speakers] No, I'm probably not like my man Dave here.  I don’t do 30 a year.  And I definitely don’t do them at the movie theater just because you know I got two kids.  By the time I'm getting out there we’re talking like $90 you know what I mean.  So it's a little bit pricey.

 

David Payne:  Oh, you can't take them for it.  Your passion is not their passion.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Surprisingly my son is definitely a movie guy.  He comes to me and says hey, dad, you got to check this new movie out.

 

Julie Dina:  Wow.

 

Fred Akuffo:  And he is when I'm talking about films he is very eager to hear what I think about them.  So for like The Avengers, The Justice Leagues you know and I tell him things like, you know, I don’t like those guys because or Batman, let’s put the Batman.  I’m not a fan of Batman.  And he is like how can you not be a fan of Batman.  I’m like because Batman didn’t have any superpowers.  And so he is very interested in why I don't like certain things and he looks forward to seeing movies that I do like so that he can see how else he can experience the movies.  You know, what I mean.  So it’s kind of interesting.  But yeah, going to the theater is a little bit challenging, more challenging than it was when I was younger so.

 

Julie Dina:  Have you thought about coupons?

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah, I would need it.  I would need a $30 coupon you know, right.  I mean, we’re talking about I mean, when I was going to the theatre it’s like you could go to a dollar theater, dollar movie.

 

Julie Dina:  It’s true.

 

David Payne:  No such thing.

 

Julie Dina:  I used to go to go to those.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Now, a dollar you can’t even –.

 

Julie Dina:  You can buy popcorn.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Nothing, you know, there is nothing for a dollar.  In fact the candy is almost as much as the movie.  So it’s tremendous.

 

David Watts:  Well, let me tell you my secret.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Okay, give me one.

 

David Watts:  We live parallel lives here so I do know that you get a day off during a week and if you go to the first show AMC is $5, okay.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Okay.

 

David Watts:  So as long as you don’t drag your crumb snatchers along, it's a pretty reasonable venture and it’s a good escape and it also helps I think center you given your responsibilities and duties this in the library.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Definitely.

 

David Watts:  You need some time alone.  You need some destressing and that's what I use the movies for.  I watch movies at home and at the movies I watch classic movies at home and really that's my forte.

 

Julie Dina:  I love classic movies.

 

David Watts:  I’m a classic movie watcher of the 100 or so movies that have been best picture I've seen 98 of the 100.  So that's because I really get into classic movies.  The modern movies I like the ones who are near the top of the crop.  Not so much like Fred, I'm not digging down in the bargain bin to watch your first effort.

 

Fred Akuffo:  I love the bargain bin.

 

David Watts:  Yeah, I’m not doing that.  But one of the things that has changed with movies overtime is dialog has changed and as you talked about sound, the reason they give those awards for sound is because it's particularly difficult to balance dialog and sound effects.  And when you go to the theater you’ll because of Dolby technology you’ll hear that thumping base but then you'll get to the dialog part as Mark is motioning to me speak up, speak up, speak up and that's how you know you really didn't have the best sound guy.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Right.

 

David Watts:  And you don't have that with the classic movies.  The classic movies used smaller ensemble cast.  It was easy to understand who the characters were and they had to play off of each other.  Now, you have huge amounts of cast in movies you know that are in double digits that they never did.  In the classic age of movies they never had more than 10 actors in a movie.  So it was very easy to know the characters, to know the plot, to understand, to not have your brains blown out by base in the sound effects.  They threw in sound effects, but they weren’t for the purposes of waking people up as they are now.  They used the sound effects in modern movies to keep a somnolent moviegoer from falling asleep.

 

Fred Akuffo:  So to me, I look at as a little different.  Like let's take John Wick pure action.  There is nothing to think about except what you’re looking at in front of you.  The sound part, although I don't --.

 

David Watts:  But John Wick is ultraviolet.  You could not have taken your kids today.

 

Fred Akuffo:  No, no, we didn’t go to that long way.

 

David Watts:  Please tell me you did not take your –.

 

Fred Akuffo:  That’s my $5 I bought myself.  [Laughs] But that one where they shoot the guns and you can hear the bullet shells hit the floor, you know that's where your sound and dialog that you know for so John Wick there is no dialog.  So that's kind of where I look forward to, you know, the sound even though I don't want them to take 15 minutes in the award ceremony.  But so I do appreciate them but yeah, there is a catch, Catch-22 to all that, I guess you know.

 

David Payne:  Okay, so we usually end our interviews asking the guests what they are reading right now.  Perhaps we should ask you what you’re watching Fred.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Let's see.  The last thing I watched DVD I watched was a series called Insecure.  You know, I’m finding the series to be pretty entertaining as well as you know the feature films.  So I'm getting into a lot of the series.  So Insecure is about a young lady trying to manage her young life in the workforce in I guess is Los Angeles with all of what society has to offer some of it pleasant, some of it not so pleasant.

 

It's one that a lot of the young folks are watching.  Other series like you know Newsroom, Deadwood different series that talked about different things that I don't really experience.  I’m not in the new circuit.  I'm not in the wild frontier, but those movies did a very good job of depicting those particular types of lifestyle.  So I like watching series for that kind of thing to be transported in a believable sense to another place.

 

David Payne:  Great and David.

 

David Watts:  Well, I'm doing it all.  I consume it in every way possible.  Last movie, All The King’s Men with Broderick Crawford 1949 Oscar winner.  I just finished Midnight Line by Lee Child is part of a Jack Reacher series.  I’m reading Origin by Dan Brown, big Dan Brown fan.  So yeah, whatever way I can get content I’m upon it.

 

David Payne:  Sounds like you have it.

 

David Watts:  I have it, yeah.

 

Fred Akuffo:  I’d tell you one of my latest watches that I really liked was Fences.  I thought that was a different kind of look for somebody who is a major film player.  So I thought Denzel playing a broken guy who –.

 

David Watts:  Well, he actually won the Tony for that performance.  He should've won the Oscar.

 

Fred Akuffo:  He should have, yeah.

 

David Watts:  He should have won the Oscar and that was my disappointment with Moonlight, yes.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Right, because I thought it was very well done.  I thought it was realistic.  You know, I thought it was –.

 

David Watts:  It was passionate.

 

Fred Akuffo:  I thought it was a passionate centered performance you know, and the compelling part was that he wasn't running away or he didn’t let the character run away from you know life’s ills.

 

David Watts:  Then he should have won best actor for that that Casey Affleck won for Manchester by the Sea which was another depressing movie.  Denzel was robbed but he has been robbed many times during his career.  He was robbed in Hurricane when Kevin Spacey beat him out for American Beauty.  He was also robbed for his performance in Malcolm X.  He is certainly was well deserving for Fences, yes, absolutely.

 

Fred Akuffo:  So if you’re dad out there pick up Fences it’s a good one.

 

David Watts:  And I just wanted so you know he is the actor of my time.  You know, a lot of people where Daniel Day-Lewis is nominated this year for Phantom Thread and that was a disappointing movie and a disappointing performance from Daniel Day-Lewis.  But those are two penultimate actors of my age group.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Daniel Day-Lewis is definitely my guy too, yeah definitely.

 

David Watts:  Yeah, he is Denzel and Daniel Day-Lewis and you know that's one of the wonderful things about movies.  I can look back at different eras and see people who dominated the movies during those periods.  Sidney Poitier, he was particularly strong actor in the 60s.  You go in the 40s it was Bogey.  You go in the 50s, Brando, On The Waterfront.  So it’s just amazing to look back over your life and see how these artists affect you both visually and you know viscerally because they do.  You go to the movies and you feel emotive.  You want to express yourself as you come out.  You go to a love story and you feel love.  You go to a tearjerker and you come out crying.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah, I got some stuck in my throat.

 

David Watts:  Yeah, exactly, you’re not crying.  My wife always says, yeah, crying over there, are you?

 

Fred Akuffo:  Well, I cannot swallow, you know.  [Laughs] Actually that’s how I give a movie credit.  If it can make me tough to swallow then I know you did something.

 

David Watts:  Brian's Song, right?

 

Fred Akuffo:  Well, more like let’s say De Niro in um, is it the Awakening when he was they were trying some research Robert Williams and De Niro, yeah that was a that had me swallowing and trying, yeah, I couldn’t get it down.

 

Julie Dina:  But you weren’t crying.

 

Fred Akuffo:  Yeah, I’m not all the way, not all the way, yeah.

 

Julie Dina:  Well, this has been very, very entertaining and I would like to thank you David and Fred for joining us today.

 

Fred Akuffo:  No, we’re happy to be here.

 

David Watts:  Thank you for having us, yeah.

 

Julie Dina:  Let's keep the conversation going by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast on the new Apple podcast app, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.  Also, please review and rate us on Apple podcasts would love to know what you think.  Thank you for listening to our conversation today.  See you next time.

Feb 27, 2018

Episode Summary: MCPL film fans Fred Akuffo, circulation manager at Long Branch library, and David Watts, circulation manager at Silver Spring library, look at this year's Academy Award contenders, consider past award winners, and share their love for very different kinds of movies. 

Recording Date: Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Hosts: Julie Dina and David Payne

Featured MCPL Resource: Enjoy movie night at home with one (or more) of MCPL's thousands of feature film DVDs. From Batman to Bollywood, we've got movies for every film fan. Check out our latest movies and television series today!  

What Our Guests Are Reading / Watching:

Fred Akuffo: Insecure, an HBO series starring Issa Rae. Newsroom, a behind the scenes look at a fictional cable news program. Deadwood, a Western tv series set in 1870s South Dakota. Fences, in which an African American former baseball player watches others break the color barrier in Major League Baseball.  

David Watts: All the King's Men, a 1940s film about a corrupt populist politician. David has also recently read Midnight Line, the latest Jack Reacher thriller by Lee Child and Origin, the new Dan Brown novel. 

Movies Mentioned During this Episode

American Beauty

The Artist

Awakenings

Brian's Song

The Color Purple The movie is based on a book by Alice Walker.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Darkest Hour 

Django Unchained

The Godfather

The Hurricane

Indochine

Justice League

La La Land

The Last Jedi

Malcolm X

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

On the Waterfront

Phantom Thread

The Piano

Pulp Fiction 

Rogue One

The Shape of Water

Solo: a Star Wars Story

Star Wars: a New Hope

Suicide Squad 

To Kill a Mockingbird

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Training Day

John Wick

Actors and Actresses Mentioned During this Episode

Casey Affleck

Humphrey Bogart

Marlon Brando

Broderick Crawford

Robert De Niro

Bruce Lee

Spike Lee

Daniel Day-Lewis

Frances McDormand

Gary Oldman

Sidney Poitier

Margot Robbie

Michael Shannon

Kevin Spacey

Quentin Tarantino

Denzel Washington

Robin Williams

Other Items of Interest Mentioned During this Episode

2018 Oscar Nominees

The Academy Awards (Oscars) 

Academy Awards for Best Picture winners

AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD

B-Movies - A favorite movie genre of guest Fred Akuffo

 Read the transcript

Feb 14, 2018

Listen to the audio

David Payne:  Welcome to Library Matters with your host David Payne.

 

Julie Dina:  And I’m Julie Dina. 

 

David Payne:  And for today's episode we’re going to be talking about romance just in time for Valentine's Day.  And joining me today I have two I have romance readers from our MCPL staff both Children’s Librarians at our Silver Spring branch Carly Beveridge.

 

Carly Beveridge:  Hi, everybody.  It’s nice to be here today. 

 

David Payne:  And Michelle Halber. 

 

Michelle Halber:  Hello, thank you so much for having us. 

 

David Payne:  And thank you very much for joining us.  Let’s start with a bit about yourselves, why do you both like romance books?

 

Carly Beveridge:  I started reading romance novels back in high school.  I think they're just kind of sometimes it’s just an escape to read them.  The nice thing is they have so many different mixes with different genres.  And they have you can find great stories and great characters. 

 

Michelle Halber:  I started actually much later.  I was a snob about romance novels when I was younger.  But as I've gotten older I have three kids and I definitely like to have the happy ever after and it's just fun.  You can read the historicals where you get pretty clothes and pretty dresses and lots of friendships and then you can read the contemporaries and it just is a lot more fun to read that something that's a little bit lighter and not as heavy. 

 

Julie Dina:  Would you then say that thank God for romance books now you have your three kids. 

 

Michelle Halber:  I've never got it that way.  [Laughs] But yes, actually they do help keep me more safe. 

 

David Payne:  Obviously, a new way of thinking there.

 

Michelle Halber:  There is a new way of thinking.  I love my historicals.  I love the children’s books but it’s just so especially right before bed, it's just a way for me to relax.  I know I don't have to necessarily worry I can get into a story.  They can still be engrossing.  There can still be some thriller types or romantic suspense novels.  But I know I don't have to worry about whether the heroine or the hero is going to survive till the end of the story. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  Well, I can say even as a single person that God for themselves [Laughs].  I think that’s a nice thing about them is that anybody can really pick them up and there is such a wide variety even just for anybody.  So I enjoy them.  The nice thing is with my family we kind of go, hey, this is a good one to read and my dad and I even share them like my mom and I and my dad and I we share them and say hey, this is a good one because we look for good stories, not just hey, this is that it’s very typical body stripper where it is just what they call the smut book or it’s just nothing but hey, they’re romping around in the sheets.  [Laughs] So we look for like this and the good characters, the good story just like any good book.  So like I said my family we share them around.  And Michelle and us one of the things we’ve started talking about we share authors back and forth and hey, this is a good book so, yeah. 

 

Julie Dina:  That’s really cute. 

 

David Payne:  That’s great.  But awful family reading. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  Yeah.

 

David Payne:  So we’ll know in our heads what a romance novel is.  But let me ask you, maybe start with Michelle, how would you define a romance book?

 

Michelle Halber:  That's one of the really nice things about romance is they’re not.  There is no one definition of a romance book even in Montgomery County Public Library systems you will find romance novel, you will find books about romance or books that have romance in it in the fiction shelves, in the romance shelves even in the science fiction shelves.  So there is not really one type of book, there is romance with a little bit of supernatural, there is romance with there are stories Philippa Gregory's books could be kind of considered she has written a whole bunch of stuff on the Tudors about the wives and of Henry VIII and that could be considered in some ways romance.  It may not necessarily and happily but it’s still there is still romance in it.  Just about any book could be considered to be a romance book.  And that's I think one of the things that a lot of people don't realize in a story.  I mean, you can pull up a James Patterson or a Victor Flynn and there is some kind of romance somewhere.  Indiana Jones, there is romance in that so part of that is a romance whether it is considered a romance novel or not. 

 

David Payne:  So typically a romance novel can cross several genres.

 

Michelle Halber:  It can cross every genre. 

 

David Payne:  Yeah, would you agree?

 

Carly Beveridge:  Yes, I would agree the nice thing about romance is that it has many sub genres.  I’m going to give you the definition for the romance novel itself.  It has to do with a plot that actually centers around two individuals falling in love but there has to be an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.  Now lately there has been some disagreement between authors whether or not there actually has to be that optimistic ending whether there has to be a happy ending or not.  Because not everything you know not everybody like the Tutors that kind of stuff.  There Philippa Gregory, her books, you know, can be considered romance, but there is not always a happy ending.  So you know, not every romance situation is going to be a happy ending.  But so people are more open to that kind of stuff now.

 

David Payne:  Is that a newer trend?

 

Carly Beveridge:  Yes, that is a newer trend, yes. 

 

Julie Dina:  And you’re one.  [Laughs] So while we’re still on the topic, what are the typical characteristics of a romance literature?

 

Carly Beveridge:  Okay, so the typical characteristics.  So obviously you’re going to have two we tend to have two main characters.  A lot of times it’s either told first person, third person point of view.  Doesn’t it mean once what do you think Michelle?

 

Michelle Halber:  Traditionally there is going to be an expectation of a happy ending.  There will be some kind of arc in terms of a meeting whether it's brand-new or whether it's a past love and then usually right around the midway point in the book is where the relationship really starts to deepen and then it’s usually some kind of conflict.  It's just like any traditional novel because I forgot the question.  But the typical characteristics so it’s just like any traditional novel.  And that's I think part of why I don't necessarily understand the negative stereotype because it really is a traditional novel.  It's just gotten a bad wrap over the years I think.

 

Julie Dina:  Why do you think?

 

Michelle Halber:  I think it has to do with back, you know, back when they first really started coming out back in what was 1800s, early 1900s it was seen more as a you know we be woman's kind of book to pass the time is kind of a frivolous type book.  So I think that's kind of where it started and then a lot of people they look at some of the I think the Harlequin type series where they see those just the covers and go oh, that doesn’t look like a good reading.  And a lot of times if you get into the books those covers look absolutely nothing like what the characters depict inside even look like.  So it’s just really taking the time just like any book, you got to look at read the first chapter see what it's about, look read the inside cover.  So you got to look past the cover of the book, which is why a lot of times when somebody is looking for when I'm helping customers and patrons a lot of times if somebody is looking for a light read I will hand them something like Kristan Higgins, which my favorite of hers is The Best Man, it’s a cute story, it’s lot of fun, nothing serious. 

 

But it's just got a picture of a boy and a girl and they're just standing around.  And so it's not and I've had a customer say, oh, good it's not a shirtless man that’s on the cover, yeah.  So it’s a nice way of kind of leading them in and not I think the e-readers have made a huge difference in this.  I think this is when 50 Shades became so big was because people could read it on their e-reader until nobody knew what they were reading.  And it's a little bit less intimidating than somebody seeing you on the subway with a shirtless man covered book, right.  But that's part of it I think is that not the shirtless men covered books are not good because they are but it makes some people hesitant to take them seriously

 

Julie Dina:  And they might catch a cold.  [Laughs]

 

David Payne:  Leaving nothing to the imagination.  So with that let’s go to our big question.  I’ll start with you, Carly.  Do you have a favorite romance author and novel?

 

Carly Beveridge:  Oh, okay, yeah, Michelle and I’ve been talking about this for a while.  So I don’t know just like it's really hard to pinpoint.  I have a couple of favorite readers authors that I go to.  I really like Lynsay Sands, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kerrelyn Sparks.  I tend to like the more paranormal kind of like a vampire, werewolf those kinds of stories.  And I like the series stories where you get to continue on with familiar characters.  So I tend to go with those.  But I also like The Outlander series so that’s more of your historical time travel.  I am a – I like reading all kinds of different stuff.  Also my family is also Scottish, so that throws that there in too.  But honestly I’ll go into library or Barnes & Noble or even the grocery store and I'll look at the books and I’m like oh, I haven't seen this one yet.  So I'll turn the book over and I’ll start looking at it.  But yeah, like I’ve said, I need good characters, I need a good story.  If I see like I’m kind of turned away by characters that are like oh, she is just sitting there just crying that’s not going to do it for me.  I like strong characters. 

 

She is getting up a lot of the ones in like some of Lynsay Sands characters or female characters they’re vampires and they get how they have connections they have life mates.  And the guy would then go, I’m here and you're my life mate and you go like, no, you’re not.  [Laughs] I don’t know what you’re talking about.  So like I said, I like the strong characters and they’re set in more I'm fine with contemporary modern times, and like I said with The Outlander, what's neat with that one is it skips around between Scotland and World War II England and World War I and then I also my family they’ve read all the books too.  So like I said, my family we share books and we also watch the TV series too.  So yeah, those are some of my favorites.  Lately, I've also been going to Overdrive, one of our e-reading.  I'll go for more for the audio books for that to download the audio books just because I have a nice long drive to and from work. 

 

So it’s great with my car.  And I've got one of the cars with the Bluetooth sinking between my phone and my car so I can listen through my car which is very nice.  I go to Overdrive to download the books and several of those authors are on there.  We may not be able to find it on the shelf at the library.  So I'll go there and get the audio book or the e-book and the nice thing too is I've made requests there for purchases to be made.  And I’ve got notifications that they've been requested.  So that's been really nice too.  So we can always get the requested at the library, but we can get it on Overdrive.

 

David Payne:  And Michelle?

 

Michelle Halber:  For contemporary my favorite author is Kristen Ashley.  And there is only just a few of hers that's available through Overdrive.  She has got a couple on audio through Overdrive and then one for the e-book.  I do a lot of e-book reading.  I tend to do it a lot more than I do the actual paper copies because I'm going to and from different appointments and shopping the book I’d rather just take the reader it’s a lot easier.  One of the things I do like about Kristen Ashley is that she tends to have more mature characters.  Some of them are past childbearing age.  Some of them are in their mid to late 20s and early 30s.  And that's a more unique population and it's not you know the 18-year-old who was just coming in and the young adult type book.  She is more of an older a lot of her characters tend to be older and she has written a ton of books.  She has written like 50.  For historical, I guess, and only in thinking about all of this if I realize that I probably actually tend to more historical and I had talked to Carly and she tends to do those series. 

 

And I’m like by book 25 I kind of go by The Harry Potter Rule.  If it’s more than seven oh my god [Multiple Speakers].  Come on.  No, so I kind of like a series to start and end.  You can have some cross meeting of characters from different series and that’s a lot of fun.  But yeah, I’d like a series to end.  I don't want the children of the children or where the next cousins in the town over but we start a new series.  But I do tend to go to historical I really like Julia Quinn.  She has got a lot of humor in her books.  The Viscount I guess who I can’t remember the title is just so funny.  So she has got a lot of humor.  Lisa Kleypas has a series called the Wallflowers Series.  I think it secrets on an autumn night.  I think is book one it’s just four girls who are considered wallflowers for different reasons and they kind of band together and it’s much about friendship as it is about love. 

 

So you're seeing their relationships with each other develop as well as you’re seeing relationships with partners develop.  For diversity and historical Beverly Jenkins is phenomenal and Alyssa Cole is on a ton of lists as having one of the best romance novels of 2017.  And I'm still in the middle of that because that is a pretty powerful book.  So it's not one that you can just read as easily as you can some of the other romances.  You really do need to sit down to really enjoy it because there is a lot of rich historical detail in there. 

 

David Payne:  Great, thank you.

 

Julie Dina:  That’s plenty. 

 

Michelle Halber:  We should give you more. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  I’m sure. 

 

Michelle Halber:  We have lists. 

 

David Payne:  How much time do we have?

 

Julie Dina:  I guess this won’t be the time for me to say, tell me more, tell me more.  So with all of this being said, would you say romance novels or romance movies have changed within the past 15, 20 years?

 

Michelle Halber:  Well, as I said, I have three kids an 18-year-old, a 12-year-old and an 8-year-old.  So I have not [Multiple Speakers] getting out of house was an accomplishment for many, many, many years.  So I cannot tell you about those movies but hopefully Carly can. 

 

Julie Dina:  Maybe Carly can.  It’s on you Carly.

 

Carly Beveridge:  I don’t know like as far as movies and TV shows and things like that I think people are still interested in watching like we've still seen redoing things like Jane Austen and those kinds of books.  So there are certain classics, things like that.  I don't think those are going to lose, those are timeless.  We have seen things like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies things like that.  So we've seen kind of some trying to update and get more of the young adult teen interested in that and trying to modernize some of that.  But you’ve gotten things like Bridget Jones Diary, which is considered the chick lit in there.  But I think what you have seen is maybe more acceptance of like the LGBT in with the romance genre with more of those characters with romance movies and TV series, things like that.  I think that’s maybe the big change that we’ve have seen in past several years.

 

Michelle Halber:  Even Downton Abbey, there was a lot of romance in Downton Abbey.  And the arcs just kept going I mean, when the actor who played Matthew I think his name was left the show, they ended up trying to find that character another guy and that was part of the series.  So they knew that even in something like Downton Abbey part of what was keeping people interested was a type of romance and there is some LGBT in that show.  So they are definitely there are some new conversations that are being added to these books and these movies that make it I think a little bit more unique than there used to be. 

 

Julie Dina:  I'm glad you mentioned chick lit.  What's the difference, what’s the primary difference between the two, between chick lit and romance?

 

Michelle Halber:  The main difference is that with chick lit you don't always have to have its not always just to focus on romance between a woman and partner.  A lot of times is more contemporary.  You're looking at usually from the woman's point of view a lot of times it could be between about woman's friendships in her workplace and things like that.  Again one of the iconics is Bridget Jones Diary that that's kind of an iconic chick lit book movie those kind of things.  So I guess it's often the modern womanhood is what you're looking at with chick lit.  You do have kind of a lot of controversy around some chick lit as far as you know is it really a legitimate kind of field and you know whether or not it's worth, you know, is it great to read.

 

Julie Dina:  I like your expressions here.  [Laughs]

 

Michelle Halber:  But you know what, it’s very popular.  And those books just they can have great storylines being great characters and strong characters.  So chick lit is I’ll say I think it’s just as important.  Those stories are just as important and people identify with those characters.  So and they a lot of times do have romance and one of the lines that really sticks out in Bridget Jones you know that iconic he likes you just the way you are.  So I love that line.  So it gets flashing but it has great, they have great lines, great stories.  So again, it's your choice what you read. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  And a lot of romance, especially contemporary romance does have a piece of like a romantic suspense to it either there is some danger and that wouldn't be in the chick lit or there is a kidnapping or I can even think.  But there is more to what's happening in the romance because there can be military romances.  So you could be on the battlefield, which you wouldn't see in a chick lit.  There could be I don’t know sports brawls and all sort of things like that that wouldn't come up in a chick lit type novel.  So especially with the contemporaries and that's usually what chick lit is, it’s usually a contemporary novel.  There is some I hate to say there is sometimes a more depth in the romance then there is a chick lit but that's almost the way it is because there is usually a conflict in the romance that has a little bit stronger than the conflicts that would be in a chick lit that made any sense [Laughs].

 

David Payne:  Yeah, so perfect sense to me. 

 

Julie Dina:  Perfect. 

 

David Payne:  Talking about terminology and I think you mentioned the term earlier called the bodice-ripper. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  Yeah.

 

David Payne:  Something is always associated with the romance genre.  Can you talk about what bodice-ripper actually is?

 

Carly Beveridge:  I think a lot of that stigma has to do with again the whole Fabio covers with the romance.  It’s, you know, just that whole picture in your head of the scene of just the woman's old-style bodice being bulled after like the elaborate sex scene.  But really it's a lot of times in the stories you know that's a very small piece of what's actually happening.  And you have a range from some stories that really there is just some small kissing to all the way to U genre like the erotic genre where it’s more in depth.  But yeah, I think that’s really what it comes down to it’s just that whole stigma of that picture of you know just that scene in people heads. 

 

Michelle Halber:  And there is actually a sub genre of romance I mean, Carly was talking about some of them, but there is actually something called clean or Christian romance, which is a one without a whole lot of physicality mentioned descriptions or anything like that but it's all still romance.  So it’s not just the bodice-ripper.  It's not just the girl waiting to be saved.  Courtney Milan, who is generally historical I mean, her characters what I love about her stuff and I think we have some of the books at Montgomery County Public Libraries but it’s also Overdrive.  And even some of them are on cloudLibrary as well, which is the other downloadable e-book we can access through Montgomery County Public Libraries with your library card and your pin number, which is usually the year you were born. 

 

She has got scientists.  She has got just very unique characters.  She has got one woman who was a champion chess player for many years when she was a child.  She has got another one who is a scientist and had to hide her papers under her friends name because he was male and could take all of these really, really intellectual smart women struggling to survive in a time period where that love is difficult.  I don’t even know how we got onto that the bodice-ripper.  [Laughs] But it’s not like these women are necessarily stupid either, so there is just an intelligence about these characters that make it very appealing and it’s not the bodice-ripper is such a we don’t want people to think that that's how we don’t want you to view it that way anymore. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  Yes.

 

David Payne:  Somewhat old-fashioned.

 

Carly Beveridge:  Yes.

 

Michelle Halber:  It’s an old-fashioned terminology of looking at, yes, there we go, thank you. 

 

Julie Dina:  There has been a change. 

 

Lauren Martino:  And now a brief message about MCPL service and resources. 

 

Lisa Navidi:  This month we celebrate Black History month not only with displays of books and DVDs, but also with special films, speakers, book discussion and a virtual trip from Selma to Montgomery.  There is something for everyone in your family.  You can find a link to our Black History month events and resources in this episode show notes. 

 

Lauren Martino:  Now back to our program.

 

Julie Dina:  So do either of you have any favorite romance characters?

 

Michelle Halber:  Okay, so I’d have to say one of my favorite is Jamie from Outlander.  He is definitely one of my favorites. 

 

Julie Dina:  Are you in love?

 

Carly Beveridge:  Yeah, I’ve got part of it, tattooed on my arm.  Part of it’s because I’m Scottish but part of it has to with Outlander.  I love my Outlander.  [Multiple Speakers]

 

David Payne: Must be that kilt.


Carly Beveridge: Yeah, the kilt, the hair, and the accent.


Julie Dina:  How about you Michelle?

 

Michelle Halber:  No, I don’t think so.  Well, I'm reading it.  I can follow them with any character. 

 

Julie Dina:  Yeah.

 

Carly Beveridge:  But no.

 

Julie Dina:  That’s good too.  And it could be in the next book.

 

Carly Beveridge:  Could be.  I could fall in love with the character in the next book and that’s always part of the fun. 

 

Julie Dina:  And I’m sure, MCPL will have to have book for you. 

 

David Payne:  So as I mentioned earlier we’re coming up to Valentine's Day.  Do both of you have suggestions for anyone feeling particularly lonely on Valentine’s Day, where would you start?

 

Michelle Halber:  I would absolutely not have them read a romance novel that might make me feel little lonely but I’ll lead them to a very interesting non-fiction perhaps.  [Laughs] Something interesting, something about somewhat no, my gosh, no of course not.  You think read one the day after they can read one day before but the day of Valentine’s Day, no.  You got your friends.  [Multiple Speakers] The joint motion like all the single ladies thing with Beyonce where they used to I don’t know if they still do.  Don’t quote me where they used to teach the dance for women and men, presumably in their theater at one of their studios on Valentine's Day.  So I would do and the power of being one.  I wouldn’t focus on the fact that you don't necessarily have anybody to spend and I go and have fun, don’t read a romance novel that would be what I would say. 

 

David Payne:  How do you follow that Carly?

 

Carly Beveridge:  I'm going to go if I go out, go have fun. 

 

David Payne:  And there you have it. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  Why do you do that to yourself?

 

David Payne:  So do you have or both of you a favorite romance novel trope, is there a trope that you absolutely can’t stand. 

 

Michelle Halber:  I used to but I used to have these things that I didn't like, like oh please, like again.  But yeah, these authors even when they're doing I mean, there is some that I will shy away from unless it’s an author I really, really trust.  But there is always the surprise baby, there is always the old love, which turns out to be some of the best books I've read.  So I’ve learned not to say no to anything.  I'm willing to try it, that’s the neat thing about romance.  There is the supernatural with Susanna Kearsley there is Lynsay’s and J.R.  Ward is probably right in there for the vampires, right in the ones that Carly would like and there are werewolves and there is historical and it's just there is so much that I’ve learned not to say no to anything I’m willing to try it.  But yeah there is a couple I would be like oh, please but not anymore. 

 

Julie Dina:  And what about you?

 

Carly Beveridge:  No, there is not yeah, there is not too many that I won't.  I mean, again like I said I like it to actually have a story just like any book.  I wanted to have a good storyline.  If I start reading it and I feel its storyline is weak or the characters just aren't connecting for me I’ll put it down just like when I talk, I told my kids, if it’s a story you’re starting to read it, don't like it put it back.  So yeah, I'm willing to try.  I’m going to try anything. 

 

Julie Dina:  Would you happen to know if any romance literature that has actually made it to the box office and it’s been a big hit?

 

Michelle Halber:  Pride and Prejudice.  Is that what you're asking? I mean, Pride and Prejudice is the classic romance.  It's not even necessarily again but it’s more about communication and understanding and the different classes and caste system is that they have.  But I think a lot of it does come from the Jane Austen beginnings.  What do you think Carly?

 

Carly Beveridge:  As far as movies that I can think of like I said Bridget Jones Diary that was came from chick lit some of the others Waiting to Exhale, there is another considered chick lit.  More recently, you've got the Nicholas Sparks movies in the books that’s another big draw.  Those are considered more contemporary then you got some of your others I'm trying to think of some of your other books that are considered YA.

 

Michelle Halber:  The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  Well, that one is almost like the young adult chick lit you could consider because they has to do with friendships.  No, there is another one. 

 

Julie Dina:  Twilight. 

 

Michelle Halber:  Yeah, Twilight can be considered one, yeah and that one really bridges pretty much several genres.  [Laughs] No, I have another one that I'm trying to think of that actually has to do with like it has to do with like Zombies but it's more of like a YA.  Now when I can kind of think of is Stardust that came out a few years ago based on an older book but I love that one.  Once a great one Robert De Niro’s and that one.  Claire Danes and that one too.  So that’s a great one if you haven't seen that one.  But a lot of many more if they think there is some kind of audience they'll go for it. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  Yeah, they’ve even started a smaller company called Passionflix that you can subscribe to which is I know nothing about it, this is not an endorsement.  I haven't seen any of their movies.  But just to show you I mean romance is romance writing and romance books is a huge market. 

 

Michelle Halber:  It is the number one selling genre.

 

Julie Dina:  Really. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  And so Passionflix is creating I think their goal is to create books based on and movies based on the books that people are loving that are not necessarily coming out into the theaters that are making it that way.  But yet clearly have a huge audience maybe some of them are Robert stuff will be in there.  I don't exactly even remember what, who is the authors that are being filmed.  But and I don't know how good they’re going to be.  But there is a huge market for romance. 

 

David Payne:  You think just because people want to escape, is that the biggest reason, does it offer that escape for people?

 

Carly Beveridge:  Yeah, I think for some its escape.  I think again it's you’re having more authors that have good storylines, good books.  You do have I think the percentage of men who are actually reading romance is still small, but you do have seen a bit of an increase in male writers in the romance genre, which is nice.  But yeah, some of its escape, some of its because there are good quality books out there, good series books out there.

 

Michelle Halber:  And a lot of people start by the self-publishing and they can get a lot of I shouldn’t say a lot, a number of them can get into the traditional book publishing system because they have enough of the market.  They have created enough of an audience that they have and their books are good.  Obviously there is a lot of stuff that wouldn't necessarily be good either but hopefully people will learn to separate that.  But because it's such a huge industry and publishing it’s even though something I think New York Times is like taking out their books, the romance stuff from the lists that they’re giving it a try.  They’re giving the writing a try.

 

David Payne:  Well, we normally wrap up our podcasts by asking our guests to talk about the book they’re current reading and enjoying or book they recently read and enjoyed.  So let me turn to Carly first, romance or not romance. 

 

Carly Beveridge:  Oh, gosh, okay.  So I'm one of those people who read like two and three books at a time because I’m usually listening to one and I'm reading some.  Okay, so one that I’ve got two that I kind of want to recommend.  So I just this past year I read Carve the Mark definitely highly recommend that one.  You’ve got some romance in there, but you've also got some kind of fantasy sci-fi in that as well.  So that’s the great it’s in the young adult and I've seen in the regular kind of adult as well.  We’ve got in both and in Montgomery County.  So that is a definite recommendation.  And the other one I would recommend that I have read not too long ago is Alex & Eliza.  It has to it's a historical romance, young adult, and it is fabulous and we have on order the second book that is coming out.  And it has to do with Eliza Hamilton and his wife when they are teenagers during the American Revolution it’s really good. 

 

Michelle Halber:  This is going to sound funny after we've been talking about the books that end with a happy ending.  But my best book of 2017 was actually a young adult titled They Both Die at the End, it's a phenomenal.  It talks about its kind of pose at this dystopian world where people are being notified when they're going to die that day.  And so it talks about these two different people and how they decide to live their lives.  There is a day that they think it's going to be the last day like if they walk out of the house move staying in the house keep them safe and protected and will they survive or if they walk out of the house it’s like these choices that you make. 

 

But the book is actually more about how you live and how you choose to live rather than how you may or may not die.  So that was my best book of 2017.  Right now my husband and I listening to the audio book of Endurance by Scott Kelly and we are fascinated by that.  He is an astronaut who has been in the international space station for over a year and he comes back and he is talking about just the whole process and like what happens to him after and how he goes before it’s fascinating.  And then what else am I reading, again a ton because I have X number of books on cloudLibrary, I’ve X number of books on Overdrive.

 

Carly Beveridge:  Me too and audible and yeah.

 

Michelle Halber:  Plus all the children’s books I'm reviewing and meeting for the children’s librarian stuff.  So I’m still I got to finish Alyssa Cole’s.  I think it's an undivided and that’s why I was trying to Google real quickly while Carly was talking.  I think it's an undivided union is book one in her series and so that’s what I’m reading at the moment. 

 

Julie Dina:  Well, thank you so much Carly and Michelle for joining us today.  I've got to say this was a very fun episode.  Let's keep the conversation going by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast on the new Apple podcast app, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.  Also, please review and rate us on Apple podcasts.  We’ll love to know what you think.  Thank you for listening to our conversation today.  See you next time.

Feb 13, 2018

Episode Summary: Romance enthusiasts Carly Beveridge and Michelle Halber share their love for the characters, stories, and increasing diversity of romance books, movies, and TV series.  

Recording Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Hosts: Julie Dina and David Payne

Guests: Carly Beveridge, children’s librarian at Silver Spring library, and Michelle Halber, also a children's librarian at Silver Spring library. 

Featured MCPL Resource: Celebrate Black History Month with MCPL's many inspiring and informative events, books, and other resources. 

What Our Guests Are Reading:

Carley Beveridge: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth and Alex & Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz. 

Michelle Halber: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera and Endurance by Scott Kelly. 

Authors Mentioned During this Episode: 

Kristen Ashley

Jane Austen - Books and movies 

Beverly Jenkins

Susanna Kearsley

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Lisa Kleypas

Courtney Milan

Julia Quinn

Lynsay Sands

Kerrelyn Sparks 

J.R. Ward

Books, Movies, and TV Shows Mentioned During this Episode:

The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

Bridget Jones Diary - The book by Helen Fielding, was made into a movie. 

Downton Abbey

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

The Outlander - First book in a series by Diana Gabaldon. The book series has been made into a TV series

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - The book, by Steve Hockensmith, was made into a movie.  

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - The book is the first of a series. Two movies were made based on the book series. 

Stardust - The book, by Neil Gaiman, was made into a movie.  

Waiting to Exhale - The book, by Terry McMillan, was made into a movie.

Warm Bodies - The novel, by Isaac Marion, was, yep, made into a movie. 

Other Items of Interest

cloudLibrary - Collection of fiction and non-fiction ebooks available for MCPL customers to borrow. 

The Harry Potter Rule - If a series has more than 7 books in it, guest Michelle Halber is not interested.

Fabio - Ubiquitous model for romance novel covers during the 1980s and 1990s. 

Overdrive - Collection of fiction and non-fiction e-books, as well as online audiobooks, available for MCPL customers to borrow. 

Passionflix - Online collection of movies based on popular romance novels. Alas, not an MCPL resource. 

Read the transcript

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