Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Filipino man turns his home into a public library

Hernando Guanlao has set up an informal library outside his central Manila home to encourage his community to share in his joy of reading, BBC News reports.

In 2000, Guanlao put his collection of books — he owned fewer than 100 — outside the door of his house, offering them to anyone who wanted to borrow them. People did. They even added to his collection. There are now close to 3,000 books — he doesn't keep an inventory as numbers are always changing — on the shelves and boxes stacked outside his door. "It seems to me that the books are speaking to me. That's why it multiplies like that," he says of his unadvertised library, dubbed the Reading Club 2000. "The books are telling me they want to be read…they want to be passed around."
Locals call it "the library on Balagtas Street." Guanlao insists there are no rules at his library, and people can borrow the books for as long as they want, or even keep them permanently.
"People can borrow, they can read, they can take home. In fact, the club is open 24/7. I never close," he tells the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Despite the Philippines' very high literacy rate, access to books in the country, especially among the poor, is limited. Guanlao reaches Manila's poorest communities on his "book bike." He loads a large basket with books and delivers them to families who can't afford to buy books or make the long trek to the national library. Guanlao is also starting to branch out, helping two other men set up similar ventures in other provinces. Eventually, he hopes to set up a "book boat" that would travel around the islands of Sulu and Basilan, "an area better known as a hideout for separatist rebels than for any great access to literature," BBC News reports. "A book should be used and reused. It has life, it has a message," he says. "As a book caretaker, you become a full man."

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Downton Abbey has monster ratings with U.K. third season premiere

I can't wait for Season 3 to be broadcast in North America! I know that we will have long hold lists for this one!
Published on Monday September 17, 2012
Toronto Star

Downton abbey

Nick Briggs/AP Elizabeth McGovern stars as Lady Cora, Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham, Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey.
Paul Irish
Entertainment Reporter
The incredibly popular costume drama Downton Abbey launched its highly anticipated third season in Britain Sunday evening to huge ratings and positive reviews.
The show — described by some as Upstairs, Downstairs on steroids — was watched by an average of nine million people (a 36 per cent share of the total audience), according to BBC News.
Though the premiere’s viewership wasn’t as high as the show’s second season’s opener in 2011 (9.3 million) or that year’s Christmas episode (a staggering 11.33 million), viewers weren’t disappointed and critics were quick to praise the work written by Julian Fellowes and starring Hugh Bonneville.
“This felt like a programnme back to its best, the one we fell in love with back in 2010.” said The Telegraph. “The script was tight, the detail was there.”
After season two left some critics and fans disappointed, The Mirror said the show was “back on form.”
Giving the opening episode four stars out of a possible five, The Times asked the question: “Which heart does not guilty swell at the return of this blissfully undemanding nonsense??”
And although the miniseries is a huge hit in Canada, fans must wait until Jan. 6, 2013 to see the premiere of the third season.
In a nutshell, the show is a saga centred on a fictional, noble British family, featuring servants, beautiful costumes, sibling rivalries, skullduggery, drama and, of course sex, all set in early 20th-century England.
Television information website catermatt.com says that after viewing the first episode of the third season “it looks like Grantham’s fortune has already all but run out courtesy of what happened with the failed Canadian rail investment, and it raises all sorts of questions that many of these people have never been forced to ask before. For example, what (will there be to eat) when the servants have nothing left … how will some of these folks, so concerned with social stature, find a way to keep the illusion going. If the first two seasons were about the creation of the world, season three may in many ways be (about its deconstruction).
The Huffington Post reports “After Lady Mary and cousin Matthew’s troubled and two series-long courtship, the episode begins with wedding preparations - which did not run smoothly.”
“They spiced things up with enough flirty chat to make a viewer blush, and a nice bit of pre-wedding conflict over yet another surprise fortune for Matthew.”
This Sunday, Sept. 23, sees Downton Abbey in the running for several Primetime Emmy Awards in the U.S. battling Mad Men, Breaking Band, Homeland, Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire for best drama.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Wallander Television Series

The Lincoln Public Library has the first and second series of these great show if you want to get caught up for series 3!  Kenneth Branagh is magnificent.

On the cusp of a network-TV season filled with new and returning dramas – all high-octane, high-concept, and often empty of everything except by-rote plotting – some truly great TV returns on PBS.
Masterpiece Mystery!: Wallander III (Sunday, 9 p.m., most PBS stations – although WNED, serving Southern Ontario, will air this on Sept. 30) brings back Kenneth Branagh as Swedish detective Kurt Wallander in new adaptations of the popular novels by Henning Mankell. And, as ever, Branagh is great.

He was a little younger than the Wallander in the books when these adaptations arrived a few years ago, but Branagh has become the definitive Wallander now – brooding, laconic and deadpan. Beautifully crafted, visually arresting, the adaptations capture the cold, despairing heart of Mankell’s novels – the weary cop asking the eternal question, “What kind of world are we living in?”
In the first drama, An Event in Autumn, Wallander appears to have found some solace and peace. He’s in a new home with girlfriend Vanja (Saskia Reeves), and is looking forward to life rather than looking back in sorrow and regret. Then, a body turns up, too close to home to ignore. Soon, he’s brooding again. And Vanja is concerned. He says this: “I’ve seen three dead girls in the last week. I don’t think you can do what I do and not end up like this.”
Imbued with both reticence and gravity, Branagh’s Wallander is compelling because he’s simultaneously decent and terribly flawed. His brooding self-absorption drives others away, even his daughter. And yet he tries to be caring. It’s just that his pessimism turns out to be the appropriate stance in a place and a society where terrible things can happen to the innocent. Wallander is depressed, a man who takes personal and professional slights too seriously, and the actor gives him the ideal level of vulnerability without milking pity for him.
As usual, there are three dramas in this season, and what happens in the first has echoes and ripples in the other two stories. We see Wallander smile, but smile in a way that suggests his facial muscles aren’t used to the expression. And, as he becomes obsessed with the crime at hand, he puts those close to him in the sort of danger that might make forgiveness impossible. As ever, the productions are wonderfully cast with skilled, experienced British actors. Reeves is great, as is Lindsay Duncan (Rome).
There is rarely a hint of melodrama in these adaptations. Even when a criminal is loose, there are police on the chase and you know there will be a twist in the tale before it ends. There is, of course, a temptation to classify the Wallander books and adaptations as part of a trend toward what’s being called Nordic noir – the popular Stieg Larsson novels and movie versions, and the American adaptation of the Danish TV series The Killing. But the Wallander TV dramas remain separate, thanks to Branagh’s extraordinary exploration of the character. (John Doyle, Globe and Mail, Sept. 8, 2012)