December 2020

It’s December! Enjoy the holidays with one of our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

One of Us is Lying, by Karen M. McManus, Young Adult Fiction YA McManus

Five high school students enter detention together. Only four make it out alive. One of Us is Lying is a classic “who dunnit?” mystery with a modern spin to it. After Simon Kelleher dies during detention, the other four students, Bronwyn, Nate, Cooper, and Addy, become suspects in a murder case that turns into the talk of the town. Each student swears they had nothing to do with it, but they all have secrets to hide. Secrets that are threatened to be exposed through the gossip app that Simon created for the school. Each chapter alternates between the four students’ perspectives, slowly revealing more evidence that leads to Simon’s death. It was definitely one of the most thrilling YA novels I’ve ever read. It’s fast-paced and constantly keeps you guessing. Each new chapter causes you to question each of the students up until the very end.

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Nancy – Reference

Wrinkles, by Paco Roca, Graphic Novel Roca (GRAPHIC)

This award winning graphic novel is a story of friendship and compassion set in an assisted living facility.  It is wonderfully illustrated and has also been adapted into an award-winning international animated film featuring the voices of Martin Sheen, Matthew Modine, and George Coe.  The film is available on Kanopy, the library’s on-demand video streaming service.

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Jean – Reference

The Erratics, by Vicki Laveau-Harvie, New Nonfiction 306.87 LAV

Two sisters are called home to their remote childhood house in Alberta, Canada after their mother falls and breaks her hip.  Neither sister has been in touch with their parents after being disowned and estranged from them for decades.  Each of them is confronted anew with their mother’s lifetime of mental illness, and the frail father who has enabled her.  This slim memoir is beautifully written and easily readable.

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Three Little Truths, by Eithne Shortall, New Fiction Shortall

For fans of Sophie Hannah and Nicci French, this contemporary drama is set in Dublin, Ireland. Martha, Robin, and Edie all are all doing their best to keep up appearances with the neighbors. Neighborhood gossip abounds via WhatsApp and old-fashioned whispering over the fence.  As each of them harbors their own secrets, they will soon find how inextricable each of their lives are bound. 

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Chris – Technical Services

The Rise of The G.I. Army 1940 – 1941: The Forgotten Story of How America Forged a Powerful Army before Pearl Harbor, by Paul Dickson, New Nonfiction 940.5412 DIC

A wealth of information that has not been addressed in many of the works on WWII.  The reader comes to know the importance of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and the Pre-Pearl Harbor draft in winning the second World War.

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Margaux – Youth Services

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, by Garth Nix, New YA Fiction YA Nix

Susan Arkshaw has just witnessed something shocking. The man she knows as “Uncle Frank” has just been turned to dust in front of her very eyes by an attractive man named Merlin. Thus begins her adventure: a quest to learn who her father really is, which subsequently leads her to realize who she really is. Merlin is a Left-Handed Bookseller, one who fights and incidentally is very well-read (and who doesn’t love a well-read protagonist). He and his sister are charged with helping Susan find her father and protecting her. First off, what a romp. This book takes place in the 80’s, so it’s technically “historical fiction” ((cringe)). I loved the fast pace, and the well-drawn characters. Garth Nix is really good at quick world-building. He’s not going to take 200 pages to flesh out the lore and backstory of the book. Right away, the reader finds herself in the middle of a thrilling adventure, where Susan is trying to navigate her coming of age with her mother’s dementia, and her new friend’s madcap ideas. Read this if you love London, fantasy, or just want to read a YA novel that doesn’t have any hot and heavy love stuff.

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Time for Bed’s Story, by Monica Arnaldo, New Juvenile Fiction JE Arnaldo

A good picture book for bedtime. Honestly, what kid hasn’t complained about going to bed at one point? Well this story is told from “the bed’s” perspective, and the bed has a lot to say about their child’s sleeping habits. The child has smelly feet, tosses and turns all night, and frankly, the child complains. A fresh new take on the classic bedtime story.

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Andrea – Technical Services

Mother for Dinner, by Shalom Auslander, New Fiction Auslander

Seventh Seltzer has done everything he can to break from the past, but in his overbearing, narcissistic mother’s last moments he is drawn back into the life he left behind. At her deathbed, she whispers in his ear the two words he always knew she would: “Eat me.” Deliciously and irreverently funny!

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Cathy – Circulation

Midsomer Murders, starring John Nettles, Jane Wymark, and Barry Jackson, DVD Midsomer Murders Series 1

A veteran Detective Chief Inspector and his young Sergeant investigate murders around the regional community of Midsomer County. All great and beautiful scenery. Not necessary to watch in order but it helps.

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Michelle – Administration

A Timeless Christmas, by Alexis Stanton, available as an Ebook on Overdrive/Libby

This is a cute Christmas story about Charles Whitley, an inventor from 1902 that travels to the future and meets Megan Turner, a historian who works at the Whitley Mansion, the home that Charles left behind and is now a museum. The book is full of fun man-out-of-time antics that blossom into a sweet love story surrounded by the joys of Christmas. The story was turned into one of Hallmark’s famed Christmas movies this year, but the book is better!

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November 2020

It’s November! Give some thanks and enjoy our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

Swamp Thing, starring Crystal Reed, Andy Bean, and Will Patton, New DVD Swamp Thing

Sci-fi and DC Comics fans alike will rejoice after watching the masterpiece that is Swamp Thing. In the small town of Marais, Louisiana, a mysterious disease starts to spread throughout the swamps, infecting the residents at an alarming rate. CDC doctor Abby Arcane returns to her hometown to investigate, but what she finds is not what she expects. With the help of biologist Alec Holland, Abby discovers that there is something alive in the swamp, something that is bringing death and darkness to Marais. But there is also something good, a lifeforce that has created the creature Swamp Thing. Together, Abby and Swamp Thing must solve the swamp’s mysteries and fight the darkness before it takes over the town for good. I was absolutely addicted to this show. It is the perfect combination of sci-fi and horror. The story draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the very last episode. It’s definitely a must-see.

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Chris – Technical Services

Vienna Blood, starring Matthew Beard, Juergen Maurer, and Charlene McKenna, New DVD Vienna Blood

From the screenwriter Steve Thompson (responsible for Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch), comes a crime drama set in 1907 Vienna, Austria and brings together a police detective inspector with a doctor to investigate unusual murders. Engaging!

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Chris – Circulation

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, Fiction Morris

In this tragic, true account of life as a prisoner, there is love. Put into camps and stripped of your cloths, your life, your dignity, life goes on in the most horrible ways and finding ways to survive is just a daily task.  Two prisoners, one given the task to tattoo your given number on your arm, finds love with one he has scarred.  In this busy, instant gratification world, this story will remind you to step back and see the sunrise likes it’s your last.

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Michelle – Administration

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, by Suzanne Collins, New YA Fiction YA Collins

This book is a prequel to the Hunger Games series and follows a young Coriolanus Snow (the villain of the original trilogy) as he navigates life in the Capitol a decade after the war. The 18 year old Snow becomes one of the first mentors in the 10th Annual Hunger Games and becomes entwined with the tribute from District 12, to whom he is assigned. This book is not only the origin story of the future President Snow, but it is also an origin story to the Hunger Games as well. In their 10th year, the games are a drab affair that no one wants to watch. It becomes part of the mentorship mission to create more interest in the games. As with her other books, Suzanne Collins has written a fast moving story that you don’t want to put down. I was drawn in from the beginning and couldn’t wait to find out what happened. Of course, the movie rights were already sold before the book was even released, so you can expect to see it on the big screen sometime in the future.

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Killing Eve Seasons 1-3, starring Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and Fiona Shaw, DVD Killing Eve

One of the TV shows that I binge-watched during the pandemic is Killing Eve. I had heard great things about it for years and I must admit, it was not what I expected. It follows the story of an MI6 agent and the female assassin she is tasked with finding. The two become entangled in the most imaginative ways. For a show about a murderer, it is surprisingly bright and funny. It’s the perfect show to watch if you are interested in criminal mysteries, but are tired of all the darkness. It stars Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and Fiona Shaw, and was created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (the creator and star of Fleabag) and has been nominated for numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards.

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Margaux – Youth Services

The Line Tender, by Kate Allen, Juvenile Fiction J Allen

One summer in Cape Cod, tragedy touches young Lucy Everhart’s life for the second time. But when the support of her best friend is the thing that she has lost, how will she cope? While trying to navigate the confusing waters of her grief, Lucy makes deeper connections with the people around her. Part coming-of-age novel, part exploration of grief, this story is the definition of a tear-jerker. Try this on Audio like I did, and you’ll find yourself crying while trying to make dinner (blame it on the onions)—we own this audio title on the Libby app. This middle-grade read is a must for anyone who likes The Fault in Our Stars or any other “sad book.”

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Warcross, by Marie Lu, YA Fiction Lu

In this sci-fi alternate reality, Warcross isn’t just a game, it’s a vital part of life as Emika Chen knows it. In fact, she makes her living hunting down rogue Warcross players for the police. When her hacking abilities throw her center stage during the global Warcross championships, she suddenly finds herself in the game in a whole new way. If you loved Ready Player One’s global videogame vibe or just want to find yourself immersed in a new reality, this is the book for you. Once again, I’d recommend the audiobook which we do own on the Libby app. However, if you want to go analog you can always check out the hardcover of Warcross and the sequel, Wildcard, at the library.

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Jean – Reference

The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig, New Fiction Haig

Have you ever wondered what your life would have been like if you had made a different choice at any point?  This is a lovely novel in which the main character, Nora Seed, is slogging through life because at every step of the way, she has chosen not to take any risks, nor follow any dreams or talents, and is now filled with so much self-disgust and regret, that she just wants to end it all.  In a twist of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, she is offered an alternative life (or rather, lives) to resolve those regrets.  Within a simple story, the author writes beautifully about struggling with depression and regret, and finding the way to living a meaningful, happy life.

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Running is My Therapy : Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Fight Depression, Ditch Bad Habits, and Live Happier, by Scott Douglas, Nonfiction 613.7172 DOU

Since the beginning of the pandemic and the lockdowns, I have taken up running for my mental health.  As someone who has always been active, and swims laps daily, I realized that being outside and moving during the lockdown was essential to my physical and mental well-being during this difficult and challenging time.  This book was a great reinforcement of the benefits that being physically active brings to alleviate anxiety, stress and depression.

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Nancy – Reference

Strange Planet and Stranger Planet, by Nathan W. Pyle, Graphic Novel Pyle

If you need a dose of whimsy, this is the ticket!  Strange Planet is a New York Times bestseller and a great escape!  I became a fan instantly!  Check out the back cover for a taste of what to expect. The sequel is just as good!

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October 2020

It’s October! Check out our Staff Picks for some good tricks and treats!

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Chris – Technical Services

The Indomitable Florence Finch: the Untold Story of a War Widow turned Resistance Fighter and Savior of American POWs, by Robert Mrazek, New Nonfiction 940.5472 MRA

Courageous, resourceful and humble are three words I would use to describe this young Filipina woman, an American war bride turned widow, during the Japanese invasion of Manilla in the Philippines. She provided medicine and food for hundreds of American POWS in Japanese prison camps.  She was captured, tortured, and survived imprisonment in a women’s labor camp until liberation by American soldiers. In 1947, President Truman  awarded her the Medal of Freedom for her bravery, the highest recognition an American Citizen could attain.

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Of Mutts and Men, by Spencer Quinn, New Fiction Quinn

This book is another Chet and Bernie mystery; Chet being the large German Shepard and P.I. Bernie Little his human handler. This is the 10th in a series.  If you enjoy a good mystery and are a dog lover you will like this quirky tale.

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Chris – Circulation

Uncommon Type: Some Stories, by Tom Hanks, Fiction Hanks

I really enjoyed the short stories.  Each one was completely different, from young lovers to family dynamics.  He really brings you in to their lives wanting more. 

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Paula – Circulation

Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake, YA Fiction Blake

Three queens. Three crowns. One throne. Three Dark Crowns is the twisted tale of three sisters who must battle each other to become queen of the island of Fennbirn. Each sister has a special power that she must use to kill the other two sisters and take her place on the throne. Katherine, the poisoner, struggles with her ability to consume the poison she is given daily. Arsinoe, the naturalist, knows she’s as good as dead without any apparent powers. And Mirabella, the elementalist, is the strongest of the sisters, but doesn’t have the heart for war and murder. As dark plots arise to turn them against each other, the sisters must decide what means more to them: family, or the throne. This is one of the best YA fantasy novels I have read in a long time. The flawless and descriptive writing captures you and draws you in. The character development attaches you to the characters and makes you actually care about them. I couldn’t put it down as soon as I started it. It’s no wonder why it received a Lincoln Award (the Illinois Teen Readers’ Choice Award) in 2019.

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Brigitte – Youth Services

Footsteps in the Snow, by Charles Lachman, Nonfiction 364.152 LAC

October means true crime. The oldest cold case in the United States was finally solved after 55 years: the kidnapping and murder of Maria Ridulph in Sycamore, Illinois. After disappearing from her front yard around Christmastime, Maria’s body was found in a nearby wooded area that April. What followed led to over 70 different suspects, multiple family secrets, and deathbed confessions. Charles Lachman weaves personal stories from multiple people who were witness to the aftermath of the crime, including the family effected, close friends, and law enforcement. Pick this up if you’re looking for a quick true crime book to scratch that spooky itch!

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Margaux – Youth Services

The Guest List, by Lucy Foley, New Fiction Foley

Two timelines converge in this classic wedding party whodunit mystery by Lucy Foley. When a reality TV star and a style influencer wed on a small island off the coast of Ireland, everybody is prepared for a show. What they don’t count on is an underlying sense of menace from the groom’s old school friends, a desperate cry for help from “the bridesmaid,” and ultimately the appearance of a body at the end of the reception. Told from multiple perspectives (from “the bride” and “the groom” to “the wedding planner” and “the plus one), the reader gets the whole story of how “the body” came to be from multiple unreliable narrators. I picked up this book on a whim, as it is one of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club picks and was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved the book. It’s perfect to read in gloomy October, and the twists and turns that you encounter as the story unravels had me guessing right up to the end. The reader doesn’t even know who “the body” is until the last few chapters of the book. I ended up listening to the full-cast audiobook version, which I would highly recommend as well. The Library owns this version through the Libby app.

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Hubbell – Circulation

24, starring Kiefer Sutherland, Elisha Cuthbert, and Carlos Bernard, DVD 24 Season 1

You think your days are long?! Counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer doesn’t eat, sleep, or even use the bathroom for 24 hours. This is the role which made Kiefer Sutherland, well before his multiple arrests for assault and public intoxication. Critically acclaimed and guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat, 24 ushered in the Golden Age of Television with its better-than-film production quality and unique real time format in which each individual episode lasts one hour, with a ticking clock and use of contemporaneous split-screen storytelling.

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Cathy – Circulation

Shetland, starring Douglas Henshall, Alison O’Donnell, and Steven Robertson, DVD Shetland Seasons 1 & 2

Set in the Shetland Islands. British crime drama with beautiful scenery, great actors and suspenseful mysteries. The endings are almost always unpredictable! Enjoy! It helps to watch in order but its not necessary.

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Michelle – Administration

Irresistible, starring Steve Carrell, Chris Cooper, and Rose Byrne, New DVD Irresistible

In these turbulent political times, I have missed having Jon Stewart break down the day’s events on The Daily Show. So, I was very excited to see the new movie that he wrote and directed called Irresistible. It stars Steve Carrell as a major political consultant who, after Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016, decides to help a retired Marine run for mayor of a small town in Wisconsin. The movie is a bipartisan peek behind the curtain to what goes on during a political campaign as both Democrats and Republicans are the butt of the joke. It is a side of the campaign that we don’t normally get to see and it puts so much into perspective. As a bonus, Steve Carrell never fails to amuse me! It also stars Chris Cooper, Topher Grace and Rose Byrne.

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September 2020

September 2020It’s September and we are back with our Staff Picks: Quarantine Edition! Check out some of the things we read, watched, and listened to while stuck in quarantine over the past few months!

Michelle – Administration

watchmenWatchmen, starring Regina King, Jeremy Irons, and Tim Blake Nelson, New DVD Watchmen

This series is set in an alternate reality Tulsa, where the cops have to wear masks to protect themselves, though costumed heroes are seen as vigilantes. The show does a great job of blending in actual historical facts to create this new reality. Regina King stars as Detective Angela Abar, and the story and her place in it slowly unfolds around her. The series is definitely a slow burn, but was interesting enough to keep me watching. Though I had not either seen the previous movie or read the comic series, this show is a sequel of sorts to both. I was able to enjoy the show without watching/reading the earlier work.

Chris – Circulation

jojo rabbitJoJo Rabbit, starring Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi, and Scarlett Johansson, New DVD JoJo Rabbit

JoJo Rabbit is about a young boy’s fascination with Hitler and the Nazis. Hitler is JoJo’s imaginary buddy he talks to. JoJo finds out the truth about his mother’s doings and may have different feelings about Hitler and his actions. It’s good, funny, and also sad, yet entertaining.

Paula – Circulation

fire and bloodFire and Blood, by George R. R. Martin, Fiction Martin

Fire and Blood is the prequel to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Going back 300 years before Game of Thrones takes place, Fire and Blood tells the history of House Targaryen and its rule over Westeros. Beginning with Aegon the Conqueror, Martin goes into great detail about the first seven of seventeen Targaryen kings, recording all of their successes and failures throughout their reigns. I found it fascinating learning about the bloody history of the Targaryens. From watching the show or reading the books, you only learn about a select few Targaryen rulers. But with Fire and Blood, you get a special look into the foundation of Westeros as we know it. It’s also written as a history book told from the viewpoint of a maester, making it feel like a true piece of history from the world that George R. R. Martin has created.

Jean – Reference

distant deadThe Distant Dead, by Heather Young, New Fiction Young

A body burns in the high desert hills. A boy walks into a fire station, pale with the shock of a grisly discovery. A middle school teacher worries when her colleague is late for work. By day’s end, when the body is identified as local math teacher Adam Merkel, a small Nevada town will be rocked to its core by a brutal and calculated murder. Weaving together the last months of Adam’s life, Nora’s search for answers, and a young boy’s anguished moral reckoning, this unforgettable thriller brings a small American town to vivid life. It is filled with complex, flawed characters wrestling with the weight of the past, the promise of the future, and the bitter freedom that forgiveness can bring.

Wow, this book knocked me sideways. This book has everything – a powerful opening and a plot that keeps you engaged until the very end, characters you come to know and think about when you’re not reading the book, and a beautiful writing style that is rare, and made me flip to the beginning and start again when I finished. This book will stay with you for a long time.

Melissa – Technical Services

catch and killCatch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, by Ronan Farrow, New Nonfiction 331.4133 FAR 

Farrow tells the story of how he worked to bring the Harvey Weinstein scandal to light, even after being swept under the rug by his own NBC bosses. The story unfolds against a backdrop of cover ups, payouts, and coercion. It’s revealed that many women and journalists attempted to speak out over the years only to be stripped of their voices. The methods used are shocking, including paying operatives to befriend victims for years to watch and learn what they plan to do with their accusations. Weinstein had mob connections that he used to threaten women, journalists, and even competitors in the film industry. The larger story revealed is how Weinstein was only one of countless powerful men who treated women this way. These men were protected by other powerful men, enabling them to continue to commit these crimes. It’s easy to see the absolute necessity of the MeToo Movement after reading this book.

Chris – Technical Services

resistanceResistance, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Clemense Poesy, and Ed Harris, New DVD Resistance

Based on a true story.  An aspiring Jewish actor in France joins the French resistance and saves the lives of hundreds of Jewish orphans pouring into France to escape the Nazi’s.  This actor became the world famous mime, Marcel Marceau. “The Best Way to Resist is to Survive.”

the boy who followed his fatherThe Boy Who Followed his Father into Auschwitz: A True Story of Family and Survival, by Jeremy Dronfield, New Nonfiction 940.5318 DRO

The discovery of a diary kept by Gustav Kleinmann from Vienna, Austria and the remembrances of his son, Fritz, tells their heartbreaking tale of love and support during the darkest hours of WWII imprisonment in numerous concentration camps.  That fact that they and the diary survived is a miracle. Sometimes the only way to resist is to survive, and tell the stories for those who did not survive.

your life is a recordYour Life is a Record, by Brandy Clark, New CD 781.64 Clark

Singer/songwriter with country styling but no twang. Accentuating a cozy acoustic quartet with the lush sounds of the Memphis Strings and Horns. The instrumentation manages to be simultaneously intimate and luxurious, a sound that not only suits Clark’s impeccably crafted tunes but enhances them.

 

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April 2020

April 2020It’s April! Check out some of our Staff Picks to help get you through your quarantine!

 

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

catch and killCatch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, by Ronan Farrow, New Nonfiction 331.4133 FAR

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ronan Farrow tells the story behind his groundbreaking reporting on the sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against powerful men in Hollywood, beginning with Harvey Weinstein. Farrow discusses both the woman who came forward and the powerful men who tried to bury this story. This book is well-written and reads like a mystery novel, the most engaging nonfiction book I’ve read in a while.

 

Jake – Administration

talking to strangersTalking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know, by Malcolm Gladwell, Nonfiction 302 GLA

In his latest book Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell tries to unravel and then understand the various ways people misjudge each other. Gladwell looks at both current social interactions, a police officer pulling a motorist over, and then also historical social interactions, the Prime Minister of England meeting Adolf Hitler, and then identifies how misconceptions and false confidence end up undermining events. As in his other books, Gladwell presents his scenarios and analysis in an easy to understand manner that ultimately forces the reader to reevaluate how they may have once interpreted things. A quick and informative read!

 

Chris – Technical Services

rampageRampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila, by James M. Scott, Nonfiction 940.54 SCO

A WWII history account of Douglas MacArthur returning to the Philippines as promised and liberating Manila. The 29 day battle for Manila was one of the darkest chapters of the Pacific War.  It resulted in the catastrophic destruction of the city and a rampage by Japanese forces that brutalized the population. Landmarks were destroyed, houses torched, resistors tortured and killed, women raped and children murdered.  An estimated 100,000 civilians lost their lives. Meticulously researched and well-written by a noted war historian.

 

the perfect horseThe Perfect Horse : the Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis, by Elizabeth Letts, Nonfiction 940.542 LET

A nonfiction story that reads like fiction about the Lipizzaner horses (from the world famous Spanish Riding School in Vienne, Austria) and other purebred Arabian horses saved at the end of WWII. A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor.

 

Paula – Circulation

knives outKnives Out, starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Ana de Arnas, New DVD Knives Out

Knives Out is a fun and crazy modern-day murder mystery. In the style of Agatha Christie, a family patriarch is found murdered in his bed, and all of his family members quickly become suspects. Daniel Craig stars as Benoit Blanc, the detective mysteriously hired to solve the case. Working through each family member, Blanc tries to narrow down a suspect, but new twists and turns continuously throw him off the trail. Filled with an all-star cast and a good mix of comedy and mystery, Knives Out will keep you guessing until the very end.

 

Hubbell – Circulation

unsaneUnsane, starring Clare Foy, Joshua Leonard, and Jay Pharoah, Find it on Kanopy!

Claire Foy (known for playing a young Queen Elizabeth in Netflix’s The Crown) gives a great performance as an involuntarily committed mental institution patient. At the start, we feel for her in her forced confinement, but her reality shifts quickly.

 

 

 

 

leave no traceLeave No Trace, starring Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie, and Dale Dickey Find it on Kanopy!

A father and daughter live a self-sufficient wilderness lifestyle in the forests of Oregon. But when they are found out by social services and forced to live in society, their priorities clash with their expectations.

 

 

 

first reformedFirst Reformed, starring Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, and Cedric the Entertainer, Find it on Kanopy!

Ethan Hawke plays a deeply troubled priest whose relationship with a pregnant parishioner and her radical environmentalist husband creates a feud you don’t see coming.

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March 2020

March 2020It’s March, and you’re in luck! We have more picks for you at the library!

 

 

 

Paula – Circulation

doctor sleepDoctor Sleep, starring Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, and Kyliegh Curran, New DVD Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep is the fantastic sequel to Stephen King’s eerie The Shining. Now an adult and struggling with alcoholism, Dan Torrence is still haunted by the events from his stay at the Overlook Hotel during his childhood. Looking for a fresh start, Dan moves to a new town and begins to turn his life around. Just when things are returning to normal, Dan meets Abra, a girl with the same abilities, or “shine,” that he has. She tells him of the True Knot, a cult that is hunting down innocent people with “the shine” and feeding off of their abilities to become immortal. Together, they must find a way to stop the True Knot and save Abra’s life, for she is their next target. The film is an excellent follow-up to The Shining. Ewan McGregor is as talented as ever and shines in his role, pun intended. Full of mystery and suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Doctor Sleep is a great movie for any Stephen King fan.

Pat – Circulation

the peanut butter falconThe Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Shia LaBeouf, Zack Gottsagen, and Dakota Johnson, New DVD Peanut Butter Falcon

This is an authentic and heartwarming movie. The Peanut Butter Falcon is an adventure story that begins when Zak, a young man with Down Syndrome runs away from the nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler.  He hides out in a boat owned by Tyler, a hard-up fisherman still mourning the death of his older brother.  The two of them form a bond that leads to a very heartwarming friendship, and Tyler works to fulfill a promise he made to get Zak to a wrestling school run by The Saltwater Redneck. Great acting and a well done movie.

Chris – Circulation

new way to bakeA New Way to Bake: Classic Recipes Updated with Better-For-You Ingredients from the Modern Pantry, by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Nonfiction 641.815 NEW

I love this idea of using wholesome, healthy ingredients and not feeling guilty or fat after eating.  This book takes old and new recipes and switches ingredients to enhance the flavor and make them a little more nutritious. Simply changing the flour makes it a healthy choice.

 

Chris – Technical Services

blue zones kitchenThe Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100, by Dan Buettner, New Nonfiction 641.563 BUE

Author Dan Buettner researched areas around the globe where people live long and have less dementia and asks the question, “What do they eat?” The answer is a plant-based vegetarian diet. A very interesting read.

 

 

desk 88Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America, by Sherrod Brown, New Nonfiction 328.7309 BRO

Sherrod Brown, a US Senator from Ohio elected in 2006, tells the stories of eight senators who also occupied desk #88 and how each made a decisive contribution to creating a more just America.

 

 

 

Cathy – Circulation

piano guysThe Piano Guys, by The Piano Guys, CD 786 Piano Guys

The Piano Guys play modern music with a twist: to the piano or cello. Listeners will recognize most of the tunes and hopefully really enjoy their interpretation. Their mix of classical music with film scores, rock hits, and pop favorites paired with their creative videos resonate with audiences across generations.

 

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February 2020

february 2020It’s February! Fall in love with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

Jean – Reference

nine perfect strangersNine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty, Fiction Moriarty

This is a light, fun story that is a perfect winter read. Each chapter is in the voice of one of nine characters who are struggling in mid-life, and on impulse each one signs up for a 10-day “health retreat” in the middle of the outback in Australia. The owner of the retreat and her staff have their own secrets, and the author reveals each storyline in pieces to keep you reading until the end.

 

Chris – Technical Services

this is really warThis is Really War: the Incredible True Story of a Navy Nurse POW in the Occupied Philippines, by Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, New Nonfiction 940.5472 LUC

The author describes the experiences of Dorothy Still, one of twelve navy nurse POW’s in WWII. Held captive in a POW camp, they continued to nurse the sick and dying, even though they were also facing starvation.  All 12 came home. Highly recommended, powerful story of the will to survive and fight against all odds.

 

Hubbell – Circulation

juniorJunior: Writing Your Way Ahead in Advertising, by Thomas Kemeny, Nonfiction 659.1023 KEM

Copywriting is not what it used to be. And creative work in advertising has changed a lot since the days portrayed in Mad Men. However, not everything has changed. Thomas Kemeny did not go to a traditional ‘portfolio school’ nor did he have a pedigree to get him in the door at some of the nation’s top advertising firms. He explains in his debut book (which is somewhere between memoir and textbook) how he did it and how he made a name for himself in an uber-competitive creative field without much help. It’s also blue, which is different.

Chris – Circulation

starbucksHow Starbucks Saved My Life: a Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else, by Michael Gates Gill, Biography 921 Gill

Michael Gill, who was a big time Advertising Exec, was forced to step out of his comfort zone and old privileged habits after 25 years. Let go from his job, in his 60’s, divorced, and finding it hard for anyone to hire him, set him on a humbling journey.  While he sat in a Starbucks and knew he no longer could afford the expensive coffee and needed insurance, he changed his life by excepting employment at Starbucks as a last resort.  In a not so great neighborhood (he thought) in New York, with his new role serving people, new young female manager, and people from different backgrounds, he was challenged daily. He experienced things he never had to deal with since things were just handed to him in the past. This journey was so much harder, yet he found a way to survive and accept, realizing nothing in his past life was as good as this.

Paula – Circulation

jokerJoker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, and Zazie Beetz, New DVD Joker

Joaquin Phoenix takes on one of his most challenging roles yet in this extremely dark origin story for one of the most notorious villains ever created. Phoenix stars as Arthur Fleck, a deeply troubled man with a mental illness no one understands. All Arthur has ever wanted to be since he was little was a comedian, but all of his efforts at becoming one have failed. His dead-end job as a clown and mediocre stand-up gigs only make him a target of brutal physical and verbal abuse. As you watch Arthur’s descent into madness, you are torn between sympathizing for him and being utterly disturbed by him. Phoenix does an excellent job of portraying the tortured man, and shows how abuse from others can drive a person into darkness. The film is a good platform for raising awareness of mental health issues while also giving us a viewpoint for the Joker that we’ve never seen before.

Michelle – Administration

jexiJexi, starring Adam DeVine, Alexandra Shipp, and Michael Pena, New DVD Jexi

I had not heard of this comedy starring Adam Devine, but I was looking for a laugh so I gave it a try. The movie proved to be very silly, but made me giggle. The story follows a guy named Phil who gets a new phone with a very intrusive AI assistant named Jexi. At first, Jexi seems to be able to help Phil improve his life, but then things take a turn to the ridiculous. If you are looking for a fun way to unwind, I recommend you check out this movie!

Cathy – Circulation

the best we could doThe Best We Could Do: an Illustrated Memoir, by Thi Bui, Nonfiction 973.0495 BUI

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

 

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January 2020

january 2020.jpgIt’s January! Spend the new year with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa – Technical Services

evictedEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond, Nonfiction 339.46 DES

Desmond won the Pulitzer for this work. It’s an eye-opening account of how both poor tenants and landlords who cater to low-income families struggle. He follows several people living in Milwaukee in 2008-2009. He does an amazing job of showing the full, cyclical impact poverty can have on a person; how much of their government benefits go towards rent (hint: they have not received a dime more towards housing costs since 1995); how evictions are used strategically; how landlords know they can take advantage of poor tenants. He doesn’t paint landlords as villains, however. In his opinion, they aren’t. They often overlook missed rents and work with people to the extent that they can, but they too have much at stake. This book reads like a novel, and for many of us, can function as eyes into a lifestyle we are fortunate enough to not have to endure.

Cathy – Circulation

the dog who knew too much.jpgThe Dog Who Knew Too Much: a Chet and Bernie mystery, by Spencer Quinn, Fiction Quinn

A nice cozy mystery told from a dog’s point of view. Chet and his owner Bernie are a team of private investigators. They are hired to find a kid who has gone missing from a wilderness camp in the high country. The boy’s mother thinks the boy’s father, her ex, has taken the boy, but Chet makes a find that sends the case in a new and dangerous direction. Perfect for a cold winter’s read!

 

Paula – Circulation

star wars.jpgStar Wars Trilogy. IV, V, VI, starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, DVD Star Wars Trilogy V. 4, 5, 6

With the newest movie of the saga in theaters, it’s time to revisit the trilogy that started it all. The original Star Wars trilogy is an icon in movie history, and it is one of the absolute best sci-fi series ever made. Everyone and their grandma has seen Star Wars. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Don’t listen to the nay-sayers and haters who think it isn’t good. They’re wrong. With an amazing cast of characters, epic space battles, and the adventure of a lifetime, Star Wars is a classic for people of all ages.

Chris – Technical Services

linda ronstadt.jpgLinda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, New Nonfiction DVD 921 RONSTADT, L.

The most popular female artist of the 1970’s, Linda was the first artist to top the Pop, Country, and R & B charts simultaneously. Her extraordinary vocal range and ambition created unforgettable songs across rock, pop, country, folk ballads, American standards, classic Mexican music, and soul. She was the voice of my generation.

 

 

the art of mending.jpgThe Art of Mending, by Elizabeth Berg, Fiction Berg

The author asks the question, “Is it too late to mend the hurts of the past?” She skillfully explores family secrets, sibling interactions and rivalries, and the black sheep of the family.  She confronts some of the deepest mysteries of life, as she explores how even the largest sins can be forgiven by the smallest gestures, and how grace can come to many through the trials of one.

 

 

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December 2019

december 2019

It’s December! Enjoy the holidays with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

Brigitte – Youth Services

gremlins.jpgGremlins, starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, and Hoyt Axton, J DVD Gremlins

Want to watch something truly magical this holiday season? Try the 1984 classic movie Gremlins. Gremlins are cute & cuddly…until you get them wet or feed them after midnight. When a wary inventor buys a mogwai as a Christmas present for his family, he has no idea what wrath he hath brought. So pop some popcorn & get ready to laugh at this Christmas horror movie!

 

Hubbell – Circulation

true detective.jpgTrue Detective Season Three, starring Mahershala Ali, Stephen Dorff, and Carmen Ejogo, New DVD True Detective Season 3

Series creator Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective veered off course in Season Two but was outstanding in its third iteration. This may well be because Pizzolatto himself is a native of New Orleans where the first season took place. After Season Two’s detour to L.A. and the CHP, this story feels so much more authentic taking place in rural western Arkansas, examining the disappearance and potential murder of a brother and sister. Mahershala Ali plays Wayne “Purple” Hays, a Vietnam vet and Arkansas state trooper alongside his partner Roland West, played by Stephen Dorff. The show spans over 30 years, with parallel story lines from the time of the investigation itself and of a present day documentary crew revisiting the unsolved crime after unearthing new evidence that could damage the reputations of the investigators themselves. Ali is amazing as always, being instantly believable as a sharp-witted, fearless detective and a semi-lucid but still focused, aging man. Just like in Season One, the story twists and turns, exposing secrets along the way which even the most seasoned TV seer can’t envision.

Michelle – Administration

let it snow.jpgLet It Snow, by Nancy Thayer, New Fiction Thayer

If you are looking for a light-hearted story for the holiday season, this book is for you. The story follows a Nantucket shopkeeper who finds love with a rich businessman, just to discover that his father, who happens to be her landlord, is the biggest Scrooge of all and is planning to raise her rent and drive her out of business. The story takes place over Christmas and the author really brings a festive spirit to the book.

 

Jean – Reference

their little secretTheir Little Secret, by Mark Billingham, Fiction Billingham

A detective mystery set in England. DI Thorne is investigating what appears to be an open and shut suicide case of a woman who jumped in front of a metro train. He feels compelled to dig deeper, and uncovers a con-man who is preying on vulnerable women and swindling them out of their life savings. I really enjoyed the interaction of the male and female detective partners, as well as the English setting and euphemisms the author intersperses throughout.

 

Chris – Technical Services

hidden in plain view.jpgHidden In Plain View: The Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad, by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard, Nonfiction 973.7 TOB

The patterns we see in quilts originally had hidden meanings which historians are just starting to decipher. Using geometric patterns as codes and stitching, information could be passed in a non-written way. Many West Coast African cultures used oral history to pass on knowledge and brought this with them when they were enslaved.

 

Paula – Circulation

pentatonixChristmas is Here!, by Pentatonix, CD 781.72 Pentatonix

The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without the angelic voices of Pentatonix tackling some of our favorite Christmas songs. Pentatonix, one of the best known a cappella groups in the music world, put their unique spin on holiday classics such as Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas, and Here Comes Santa Claus, and a few other winter related songs like Sweater Weather and Waltz of the Flowers. Their five-part harmony perfectly blends together to create a seamless transition from song to song. This is only one of four Christmas albums Pentatonix has; check out their other three as well!

 

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November 2019

november 2019It’s November! Give some thanks and enjoy our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

red joan.jpgRed Joan, starring Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, and Tom Hughes, New DVD Red Joan

Red Joan is the story of Joan Stanley, the longest serving British KGB spy, who is arrested after years of espionage. She is played by Judi Dench in the present and the story is told in flashbacks. In these flashbacks, we learn how she became a communist sympathizer and how she was recruited by the KGB. The story is very loosely based on real life spy Melita Norwood, who began working as a spy for the Russians in the 1940s and wasn’t discovered until 1992. The movie is superbly acted and is engaging throughout. It really makes you think of how far you would go to do what you think is right.

Pat – Circulation

chernobyl.jpgChernobyl, starring Stellan Skarsgard, Jared Harris, and Emily Watson, New DVD Chernobyl

Chernobyl is a five-part mini-series that relives the events that unfolded on the day, and days after, the Soviet nuclear horror. This show is intense and eye opening. It covers so many aspects of what everyone had to deal with to avoid this disaster from becoming something worse.  It shows beautifully the heroic, ordinary people of Russia and the Physicists, who against the Russian state, made the authorities come to terms with what happened. This is a series not to be missed.

Cathy – Circulation

the glass castleThe Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls, Biography 921 Walls, J.

The Glass Castle is even more profound than Educated. The crazy poverty the kids survive is amazing. It has been adapted into a movie as well. Check it out!! I promise the fans of Educated will love this and if you have not read either- what are you waiting for?? Get these books checked out!

 

 

Paula – Circulation

love hate and other filtersLove, Hate, and Other Filters, by Samira Ahmed, Fiction YA Ahmed

Maya Aziz just wants to be a normal teenager. She wants to go to the senior prom, date the boy she likes, and go to NYU, her dream school, to study film. Her traditional Muslim parents have other plans for her though: graduate high school, attend a college close to home in Chicago, and marry a nice, Muslim boy. However, with fierce determination and a little help from her sympathetic aunt, Maya starts to turn her dreams into reality. But when a terrorist attack hits close to home, Maya and her family become targets of anti-Muslim hate crimes, causing Maya’s world to fall apart. Love, Hate, and Other Filters dives into the issue of Islamophobia and its harsh impacts on those just trying to live a normal life. It is an excellent YA read of romance, family, and the struggles of modern Muslims living in American society.

Jean – Reference

suggested readingSuggested Reading, by David Connis, New Fiction YA Connis

I thoroughly enjoyed this YA read that explores the issue of book banning in a real-life setting. Clara is a senior at an expensive, private high school, but is not part of the wealthy class, and is relying on winning a coveted scholarship in order to attend college. Unlike many of her privileged peers, she works hard, volunteers in the school library, started a “Free Little Library” in her neighborhood, and moderates a book club in her free time. Because of her job in the school library, she gets wind that the school board has instructed the principal to remove a list of titles deemed inappropriate from the library shelves, and anyone caught with one of the books will face disciplinary action. Clara devises a plan to run a “banned book” library from her locker. Her actions will have unforeseen consequences, not only for herself, but also for everyone.

Hubbell – Circulation

the pioneersThe Pioneers: the Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West, by David McCullough, New Nonfiction 977 MCC

Preeminent American historian and author David McCullough’s most recent work is The Pioneers. It examines a lesser known period of American history following the Revolutionary War in which the newly formed United States settled and populated what are now considered the Midwest states. It is told in a way only McCullough can, through the lens of those living at the time. He follows several main characters from the time they settled a town in the wilderness of Ohio, drawing from a vast amount of primary sources. As always, it is meticulously researched and visualizes the era vividly.

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