Staff Choices

Posted by SherriT on 08/13/19
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In Alex Michaelides debut novel, The Silent Patient, Alicia Berenson appears to have it all. She is a well-known painter and her husband is a famous fashion photographer. What would motivate this seemingly content woman to shoot her husband five times in the face and then never speak again? Psychotherapist, Theo Faber, is desperate to work with Alicia to see if he can breakthrough her silence and finally get to the truth.

As it turns out, Alicia feels a draw to Theo as well. At a slow, but not tedious and incredibly suspenseful pace, Alicia begins to open up and little pieces of her story are shared for the reader and Theo to put together. What follows is a suspenseful, thrilling and surprising story that fans of B. A. Paris and Clare Macintosh will thoroughly enjoy.

An adaption of this twisty best-selling novel is in development and will soon come to the big screen.
Posted by JoanL on 08/03/19
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May Attaway is turning 40 and has realized her life might be lacking. As a gardener at a local university, she finds herself more comfortable with trees than people. Living with her father in her childhood home, May starts to wonder how she got to such a place of separateness. “I don’t have a daughter and I don’t know if I ever will. But if I do we will not carry this sadness forward. I’m tired of holding it.”

An unexpected reward of time off has May deciding she will spend the time reconnecting with those who knew her at a different time as she begins to cobble together the pieces. Thinking about a reverse Odyssey “What if Penelope had left?” or a friendless Beowulf, May packs Emily Post’s book on etiquette, a suitcase she has named Grendel and heads out. Each visit reflects on her past, as well as the observation that life is generally complicated.

In Rules for Visiting, Jessica Francis Kane gives us a thoughtful and touching story, and a character you will find yourself rooting for.
Posted by LucyS on 07/31/19
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Actress Alba August is luminous portraying beloved children’s author Astrid Lindgren of the Pippi Longstocking series in this Swedish language film, Becoming Astrid.  Her performance from gawky teenager to a young woman is convincing, tender and compassionate.

Bored and restless, Astrid lived with her large family in rural Sweden. At age 16, she began a job at the local newspaper, first writing up ads and obituary notices, then gained new responsibilities of writing articles. An attraction developed between her married editor and herself and Astrid is soon pregnant. This is really where the story begins. She is forced to move away from her family because of the social mores of the time, around 1926. When her child is born, she must leave him with a foster mother in Denmark. When Astrid finds out that the foster mother can no longer care for young Lasse, she must step up and bring him home. To comfort her son who she barely knows, we see the beginnings of her story-telling talent as she weaves tales to ease his anxiety of being separated from the only person he knew as his mother.

Though her burdens are great, there is a brightness and humanity in how all the actors depict these real-life individuals. It was especially heartwarming to see a reconciliation with her estranged mother. I highly recommend this movie; watch with a box of tissues close at hand.
Posted by Alisa S on 07/20/19
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The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin is a family saga that spans almost a century, starting in the not so distant future and looking backwards, as famous poet Fiona Skinner reflects on her life. An environmental crisis has significantly altered life on earth, but this is not a dystopian novel. Instead, we spend most of our time with the four young Skinner children, who first lose their father to a sudden heart attack, and then their mother to “the pause”, what the kids have dubbed her long period of severe depression that essentially leaves them parentless for several years. This rudderless childhood forges strong bonds between the siblings, but also impacts each of them in ways that will haunt them throughout their lives.
The Last Romantics movingly conveys all  the messiness, heartbreak, and beauty of what makes up a family,and ultimately,  what constitutes love.
Posted by BARB W on 07/17/19
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Indecent is a play about a play, or more precisely, about a response to that play based on fear. On Broadway, in 1923, the play God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch debuted. It had played to many audiences already, but on this night, the police arrested the company on charges of indecency stemming from the intimate, joyous love scene between two women.

Indecent chronicles the development and implementation of this play, and the desire by Asch to display the diversity within the Jewish population and dispel xenophobic views. Sadly, this conflict maintains current relevancy.

Playwright Paula Vogel pulls all the emotion and intention possible from her characters, and we find ourselves breathing the same air they do. Indecent, nominated for the Best Tony in 2017, does what theater does best: perpetuate the relentless pursuit of truth in art.
Posted by Alisa S on 06/26/19
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The River by Peter Heller is one of the best books I've read so far this year, but it is hard to classify. It is in parts a riveting suspense tale, an outdoor adventure, and an elegiac ode to nature.  But mostly this novel is a beautiful, heartrending story of friendship between two young men. Best friends and avid outdoorsmen Wynn and Jack are on a canoe trip in Northern Canada when everything starts to go horribly wrong. They must call on all their survival skills and instincts as they are forced to outrun a vicious forest fire while simultaneously trying to save the life of a woman who has been brutally attacked. Facing constant danger from fellow men and nature, both Wynn and Jack must confront their deepest held values, revealing fault lines in their friendship. The River would make an awesome action film...I'm already casting the two main characters in my mind.
Posted by NealP on 06/24/19
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Todd Milstead is a real jerk.  He is egotistical, he drinks too much, and he cheats on his wife.  He thinks he is a great writer, but has not published anything of significance.  One night, while showing off to friends at one of his parties, he quotes a paragraph from a book All My Colors – a book that may or may not exist.  Astounded that no one has ever heard of it, and with a perfect recollection, he publishes it himself to instant acclaim.  Then things get weird...

Written by Emmy-award winning author David Quantick (Veep) and set in DeKalb, IL in 1979 All My Colors is a darkly humorous, twisted, and terrifying novel that shows the painful price one pays for their actions.
Posted by SherriT on 06/14/19
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Summer is wedding season and Tif Marcelo’s book The Key To Happily Ever After is the perfect book to give you an inside look into wedding planning.

This lighthearted family drama is about three sisters who own a wedding planning business and discover love around the same time. Set in Washington, D.C. the de la Rosa sisters, Marisol, Jane and Pearl find that working together comes with its challenges. There is some family conflict and a little bit of drama, but overall it shows the closeness sisters share even when they are fighting.
This charming, fun, and, at times, genuinely moving, trip down the aisle(s) is full of romance, family drama and unexpected twists.

The Key To Happily Ever After is a perfect one to add to your summer reading list to enjoy on the beach or while sipping lemonade on your front porch.
Posted by bpardue on 06/11/19
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The progressive/psychadelic band Gong has a long discography, going back to the late 1960s, and a massive family tree of members, ex-members, solo/spinoff projects, and beyond. Before his passing in 2015, leader/founding member Daevid Allen instructed the current lineup to keep the band going and make the music their own. "The Universe Also Collapses" is the band's second post-Allen album (after 2016's "Rejoice, I'm Dead," which might be seen as a bit of an Allen tribute), and they really hit their stride here. There are trademark Gong sounds, such as the ghostly "glissando guitar" parts, along with searing guitar & saxophone solos and tight ensemble playing. The lyrics all revolve roughly around the themes of quantum physics, rebirth, the here & now, etc. However, much of "The Universe..." also has a harder edge than Gong's earlier work, giving it all a more modern feel. Album closer "The Elemental" feels like some sort of lost, longer Robyn Hitchcock song, and gives the band a roadmap to a sound that's compatible with their past, but definitely forward-looking. A great addition to an already expansive catalog.
Posted by jonf on 06/06/19
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Crown Jewel is the 2nd Simon Riske thriller. Riske is a former gangster who redeems himself , works in high finance and also repairs high end autos. Simon also works to solve problems for rich clients who desire discretion and results. This leads him to take a job finding a group of card cheaters at the casino in Monaco.
Along the way , he meets a German princess with some problems of her own which tie into his initial mission. Simon does it all, part James Bond , and part Jack Reacher, he deals with organized crime from Albania, wealthy but corrupt gamblers and deals with them with strength and humor. A great summer beach read, fast, great locales and a love story. Christopher Reich is a master of page turners.
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