Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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Foe by Iain Reid

Henrietta and Junior live a quiet life on their remote farm where Junior tends to their fields and chickens. One evening Junior is surprised to see headlights coming down the drive. In the car is a man who introduces himself as Terrence. He works for a private firm contracted by the government, and he’s there to inform Junior he made the long list of people being considered for the “installation.”

If Junior is chosen, he will spend several years living far away where they are experimenting with life on other planets. And Junior doesn’t have a choice in the matter.

When Junior makes the short list, Terrence returns to live with them to help him prepare. What’s most distributing is that they will be creating a clone of Junior for Henrietta so she won’t miss him while he is away. And Terrence is determined to learn everything about Junior to create his replacement.

Strange and odd yet somehow engaging, Foe will leave you feeling uneasy much like Reid’s first novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things

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Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

Decibel Jones, the one hit wonder and one time leader of the Absolute Zeros, must be more hungover than he thought, because when he wakes up, there’s a large blue flamingo type creature in his living room, and it’s talking to him. The upshot of their conversation is that the band has been chosen to represent the human race in the Metagalactic Grand Prix music contest. Coming in last in the contest will doom the planet to annihilation, so despite his best protestations, Decibel reunites with the only surviving member of the band – Oort St. Valentine – and together they board the ship that will take them to the venue. During their 11 day trip, Jones & St. Valentine try not to kill each other as they inevitably revisit the past, and try to come up with a winning song.

Readers will definitely be reminded of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in this snarky, glitter-filled romp into space. Full of fun and quirky characters, like Oo, the fast-talking red panda who acts as a translator, the Esca, and many more, this is a really fun book that’s laugh out loud funny. Read by Heath Miller.


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Rampage

Davis (Dwayne Johnson) works with primates in San Diego. He is especially tight with George, an albino ape, he rescued as a baby. One night a container falls from the sky. George comes across it and gets sprayed in the face with a mist. The next day Davis comes to work and finds George in the grizzly bears area. One grizzly is dead and George is a mess. He is also way bigger than he was the day before. The government shows up and takes George. But George is being called to Chicago. And George isn’t the only one. Can he be stopped?

This movie was action packed and entertaining. I really liked it especially with The Rock in it! also starring, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Naomie Harris, Malin Ackerman, and Joe Manganiello. Rated PG-13


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Annihilation

Lena’s husband has been gone for a year. He is in the military on a top secret mission and Lena doesn’t know if he is dead or alive. And then he shows up. But something isn’t quite right about him. And then he starts seizing and blood is coming out of his mouth. On the way to the hospital, the ambulance is overtaken by government vehicles. Next thing she knows, she is waking up in a strange facility and her husband is on life support.

Lena finds out that about three years ago something fell out of the sky and created a shimmer. Countless people have gone in but her husband has been the only one to come back. Lena asks to be on the next team since she is a biologist and has military training. A team of five women cross through the shimmer. What happens next is unexplainable.

This movie held my interest and startled me a couple of times. If you have read the book, you will see all of the changes. The premise is the same but a lot of it is different. Starring, Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Oscar Isaac. Rated R


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Artemis by Andy Weir

Less science focused than “The Martian”, Andy Weir’s follow-up explores life on the moon from the perspective of a native – an independent young woman who’s grown up in Artemis, the moon’s only city. Jazz Bashara is a porter, and to supplement her income, she does a little smuggling on the side. She takes on a job that gets her involved in corporate espionage, murder, and a power struggle over a new technology worth trillions.  Now, Jazz needs to find a way to protect not only herself, but the whole lunar community.

Even if you’re not a huge science fiction fan, there’s lots to really like about this book. Along with all the technical stuff, Weir manages to create characters that are easy to connect with. Add some humor, an engaging plot, and lots of adventure, and you’ve got a story that lots of fun from start to finish. It’s a fun read, but if you prefer audio, it’s read by Rosario Dawson, who in my mind would be the perfect person to play Jazz in the movie.


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The Circle

Mae (Emma Watson) is in a boring dead end job. Her best friend, Annie (Karen Gillan), works for a company in the tech world known as the Circle. Annie gets Mae an interview and the next thing she knows she has an exciting new job. At first she is overwhelmed, but she soon excels. She also agrees to transparency. She begins to live stream her entire life. But when a tragic death occurs, Mae starts to rethink everything she knew about this company.

This movie was just okay for me. I did not read the book so I cannot compare the two but I have heard the book is a whole lot better. I didn’t like the characters and there definitely wasn’t enough of John Boyega. Also starring, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Patton Oswalt. Rated PG-13


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Life

A group of scientists are on a mission to find life on Mars. They have the sample and are headed back to Earth. As they begin to study it, the sample starts to evolve. They have discovered life on Mars. As they continue to watch it grow, something goes wrong in the lab and it gets out. Soon it is killing the crew off one by one and getting bigger and bigger. With only a few crew members left alive, will they be able to survive and destroy it or will it make it to Earth and destroy us?

I really liked this movie. I didn’t know what was going to happen and the ending totally tricks you. But if you are watching this for Ryan Reynolds, be warned he isn’t in it that much. Starring, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson. Rated R