“Unmask” These Books and Movies

Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes, as well as in the performing arts and for entertainment.  Masks are also worn for protection, in hunting, in sports, in feasts or in wars or just for fashion and ornamentation.  Functional and protective uses of masks are often seen in medical practice (gas mask, burn mask) and in certain occupations such as a gas or welder’s mask.  Of course, masks are sometimes used to hide a person’s identity or as a disguise. Medical masks have long been used to ward off plague and other infections and today the face mask has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the pandemic. All the attention being given to masks, made me curious to look for book and film titles with “mask/masks/masked” in them. The world of comic books is where some of the coolest masks can be found.  The mask both protects and creates a superhero or villain’s identity and it can play either a symbolic or protective role. A search on Hoopla for comic books with “mask/s “in the title comes up with this selection. And here are some “mask/masked” movies on Hoopla. The “mask/masks/masked” titled ebooks and audiobooks available on Overdrive and Hoopla run the gamut from biographies and memoirs to mysteries and thrillers.  Here are a few: Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West by Matthew Dennison A dazzling biography of Vita Sackville-West, the 20th century aristocrat, literary celebrity, devoted wife, famous lover of Virginia Woolf, recluse, and iconoclast who defied categorization. Conversations With A Masked Man: My Father, the CIA, and Me by John Hadden A series of conversations Hadden had with his father about the older man’s thirty-year career as a CIA officer and how American policy affected the family and the world. It combines the candid descriptions of the world of the CIA with intimate conversations between a father and son, Death Masks: The Dresden Files Series, Book 5 by Jim Butcher Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But he also knows that whenever things are going good, the only way left for them to go is bad. Way bad. Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories by Mary Higgins Clark & Jan Maxwell AUDIOBOOK From Clark’s first-ever published story (1956’s “Stowaway”), to classic tales featuring some of her most memorable characters, this is a jewel of a collection brimming over with the chills and heart-pounding drama we’ve come to expect from the Queen of Suspense. Death Wears a Mask: Amory Ames Mystery Series, Book 2 by Ashley Weaver Detective Amory soon finds herself drawn into another investigation when an old friend of her mother’s asks her to look into the disappearance of valuable jewelry snatched at a dinner party. Life Behind The Mask: A Surgeon’s Memoir by Dr. Michael Akpata This memoir peels back the mask that can separate the doctor from the human being. In this intriguing life story, Dr. Michael Akpata shares his family, education and work story. It is one that is vast, dedicated and truly exemplifies what it means to be a ‘local hero’. The Man In The Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas This is an unabridged English translation of French author Alexandre Dumas’s swashbuckling historical novel, which was first published in serial form between 1847 and 1850. Will the musketeers survive their most daring adventure yet, filled with nefarious politics, deceitful royals, and clashing loyalties? The Marble Mask: Joe Gunther Mystery Series, Book 11 by Archer Mayor & Tom Taylorson Joe Gunther, a Brattleboro, Vermont, cop, is the head of the new Vermont Bureau of Investigation (VBI), a joint task force charged with statewide responsibility for major crimes.  Here, the VBI’s first case takes the force north to Stowe, where a fifty-year-old corpse has turned up in a crevasse on Mt. Mansfield. The Masked City: Invisible Library Series, Book 2 by Genevieve Cogman Librarian-spy Irene and her apprentice Kai are back in the second in this  book-filled fantasy series.  Working in an alternate version of Victorian London, Librarian-spy Irene has settled into a routine, collecting important fiction for the mysterious Library and blending in nicely with the local culture. But when her apprentice, Kai—a dragon of royal descent—is kidnapped by the Fae, her carefully crafted undercover operation begins to crumble. Masked Prey: Prey Series, Book 30 by John Sandford Lucas Davenport investigates a vitriolic blog that seems to be targeting the children of U.S. politicians in this thriller. A Town Of Masks by Dorothy Salisbury Davis A spine-tingling novel about an upstanding small-town spinster whose life is overturned by a shocking murder. Happy unmasking! -Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

Community Stories: Interview with an ER Nurse

Join Librarian Hongmei and Livingston resident Hannah Yan for this informative interview.   Looking to submit your own story and experience? Click here to fill out the Life in Livingston During COVID-19: A Community Story form. On May 23, Livingston Public Library librarian Hongmei Liu had a virtual interview with Hannah Yan, a nurse who works on the frontlines of Covid 19. Using many pictures and some videos, Hannah described what she has experienced on the frontlines. This video is posted at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShBs0fiY91I Hannah, a Livingston resident, got transferred on March 16th from the Medical Adult Center to the Emergency Department at the Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck. As a triage nurse, she works outside in a tent and is the first face the admitted patients see. Not only has she witnessed so many patients’ physical struggles, she is also there for their emotional struggles. Hannah said as a nurse, she should not only just help patients through her medical knowledge and experience, but also be there to comfort them and provide encouragement through devastating circumstances. At the hospital, family members would be grasping the uncertainty of their loved ones on sick beds. Hannah would sit with them and comfort them until they felt better. What got her through these times were donations from residents and inspiring messages. She received so much support from her community through PPE donations. It’s because of  donations that the hospital never ran out of PPE. In the midst of COVID-19, the operating room nurses hung up a poster they made that said “after every storm comes a rainbow”.  This daily reminder gave her hope that this crisis will come to an end. Hannah thanks the community for the support and advises us to wash hands, keep social distancing, and to stay at home when you can. -Hongmei, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian