It’s January! Spend the new year with one of our Staff Picks!
Michelle – Administration
Alpha, Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, and Marcin Kowalcyzk, New DVD Alpha
Alpha is the story of a young man trying to survive in extreme conditions and the friendship that he discovers with a wolf that is also trying to survive. While it sounds like a story that we’ve all heard before, it has one huge twist – it takes place 20,000 years ago. It does tell the story of survival and friendship, but also serves as an origin story of dogs as domestic pets. The movie is worth watching for the beautiful cinematography alone and I would recommend it to any dog lovers out there.
Jean – Reference
The Library Book, by Susan Orlean, New Nonfiction 027.47 ORL
A fascinating recount of the fire that destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library on April 29, 1986. As a librarian myself, I was shocked not to know about this event. But as the author explains, it happened within days of the Chernobyl disaster which dominated the news. Susan Orlean does a nice job of interweaving the story of the fire with the history of libraries in general, and the “who-done-it” angle of the arsonist who started the fire. Recommended for anyone who loves books and libraries.
Hubbell – Circulation
Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain, Nonfiction 641.5 Bou
Anthony Bourdain’s first non-fiction book (did you know he wrote a chef inspired murder mystery first), Kitchen Confidential is both biographical and exploratory of Bourdain’s beginnings as a line cook to his rise as a premier New York chef. It is simultaneously hilarious, depressing, and revealing. And, you might learn a thing or two about cooking for yourself.
Paula – Circulation
The Spy Who Dumped Me, Starring Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, and Sam Heughan, New DVD Spy Who Dumped…
The Spy Who Dumped Me is a hilarious account of a breakup gone wrong. After finding out that her ex-boyfriend is a spy, Audrey and her best friend Morgan get dragged into an international conspiracy and are forced to go on the run across Europe. With the help from a charming British agent, Audrey and Morgan set out to save the world while picking up their own espionage skills along the way. Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon have effortless chemistry as the two best friends turned spies. Their crazy adventures will have you laughing throughout the entire film.
Brigitte – Youth Services
Beartown, by Fredrik Backman, YA Fiction Backman
This Young Adult novel was on several summer reading lists as well as being a Lincoln Award winner for 2019. Set in a small town, this novel tells the story of a junior ice hockey team who are about to compete in the national semi-finals. While the premise seems like a straightforward sports novel, this book is anything but. Fredrik Backman (who also wrote A Man Called Ove) takes the reader deep inside this small community that hinges its happiness on a set of teenaged boys who are unprepared for local fame. A crime is committed – and covered up, leaving everyone scarred. The characters have various viewpoints with rich relationships. All events are interwoven, leaving the reader both elated at hockey games and devastated in the players’ personal lives. More than anything else, Beartown forces readers to think about the ripple effect of their actions, and tackles difficult subjects such as the idealization of celebrity and personal integrity.
Theresa – Youth Services
The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, New Fiction Morris
This book is based on the true story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, who in 1942 was forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners. Using the privileges of his position, Lale risks his own life to help keep fellow prisoners alive. He also manages to fall in love along the way, and vows to somehow survive the camp and marry his beloved Gita. As another look into the atrocities of the Hitler regime, this is ultimately a hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.