Staff Picks January 2018

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks

Movie: Frozen

frozen coverSing along with the Snow Queen Elsa and her sister Anna on their journey to break the icy spill and save the kingdom. Magical and fun movie.

CD: The Original Decca Recordings, 1944-1950 by Billie Holiday billie holiday decca

Enjoy this wonderful two-disc collection of Holiday’s Decca recordings.

 

Emily’s Picks

Audiobook: The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

A tender and loving study of one of nature’s most mysterious creatures, the octopus. soul of an octopusMontgomery considers every facet of the animal (appearance, life cycle, intelligence, even the potential for consciousness) with a beautiful voice and with the utmost care and empathy. A wonderful read!

CD: FROOT by Marina and the Diamonds  froot

A great pop album from a lesser-known band! Lead singer Marina has some amazing vocals, especially in the title track and in “Blue.” An album as fun and colorful as its title and cover suggest.

Jessie’s Picks

Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

potc curse of the black pearl“The roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow’s idyllic pirate life capsizes after his nemesis, the wily Captain Barbossa, steals his ship, the Black Pearl, and later attacks the town of Port Royal. Captain Barbossa kidnaps the governor’s beautiful daughter, Elizabeth. In a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl, Elizabeth’s childhood friend Will Turner joins forces with Jack. What Will doesn’t know is that a cursed treasure has doomed Barbossa and his crew to live forever as the undead.”

Audiobook: A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

“Chief Inspector Gamache is called to a tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art trick of the lightworld gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. Where nothing is as it seems. Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart. And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they’ve found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.”

 

Kim’s Picks

Audiobook: The White Darkness by David Grann

David Grann treks from the Amazonian jungle of his Lost City of Z to the savage desert that is Antarctica with this gripping saga of another explorer challenging the elements and himself.  In concert with two other modern day relations of early 20th century polar white darknessexplorers, Henry Worsley, a decorated British soldier and relative of Frank Worsley, one of the intrepid Ernest Shackleton’s team, set off to duplicate or exceed their relatives’ early 20th century explorations and in so doing honor their achievements.  That team succeeded, but when Worsley set out alone at age 55 to traverse Antarctica from coast to coast—which no one had ever accomplished—victory was not in the cards.  Actor Will Patton does a marvelous job reading Grann’s account of an alternately heart-breaking and inspiring adventure into the white darkness.

Movie: The Secret of My Successsecret of my success

Its antecedent is naturally How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying minus songs but is nevertheless an amusing, sometimes hilarious send-up of, in this instance, a Midwestern kid rising to the top of the New York elite via accident and moxie.  You can’t go wrong with a mistaken identity scenario, and you must smile or laugh out loud whenever remembering the elevator sequence.

 

Mary’s Picks

night at the operaMovie: A Night at the Opera (The Marx Brothers Collection)

“A New York scandal, a riot on a ship, and an evening of insanity in a concert hall are some of the problems resulting from Groucho’s outrageous business schemes. The goal, to bring Milan’s finest opera stars to Manhattan.”

Audiobook: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

“An enchanting fairy tale by master storyteller Neil Gaiman, full of unexpected stardustadventures, true love, whimsy, wonder, and plenty of magic. Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria Forester–even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that stone barrier, Tristran learns, lies Faerie…and the most exhilarating adventure of the young man’s life.”

 

Stephanie’s Picks

cb strikeTV Series: CB Strike

“Cormoran Strike is a war veteran turned private detective operating out of a tiny office in London’s Denmark Street. Though he’s wounded both physically and psychologically, Strike’s unique insight and his background as an SIB Investigator prove crucial in solving complex cases that elude the police.”

Audiobook: The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

“A flight attendant wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man – and no idea what happened. Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and flight attendantthe accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police – she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home – Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?”

All quoted summaries by catalog.ccls.org .

 

Staff Picks December 2018

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks:

Movie: Tosca’s Kiss

toscas kiss“Captures the world of the ‘Casa di Riposa’ in Milan, the world’s first nursing home for retired opera singers, founded by composer Giuseppe Verdi in 1896. Featuring Giuseppe Manacchini, Leonida Bellon, Salvatore Locapo, Giovanni Erminio Puligheddu, and Sara Scuderi, its inhabitants are singers many of whom had significant careers on the opera stage, re-living and re-enacting their triumphant roles of the glorious past.”

CD: Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: Christmas Favorites from the World’s Favorite Tenorscarreras domingo pavarotti christmas

A collection of classic holiday songs performed by three of operas brightest and most beloved stars.

Emily’s Picks 

Movie: Gremlins

A great horror-comedy for those who want a more off-the-beaten-path holiday movie (or gremlinsjust a fun creature flick to watch anytime). A few good scares, lots of laughs, and great practical effects that still hold up today– all with a yuletide backdrop. It’s pure fun!

Audiobook: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaimanocean at the end of the lane

A wonderful fairytale for adults. Equal parts enchanting, frightening, and somberly reflective. You won’t be able to put this one down, and before it’s over it will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even cry.

Jessie’s Picks

Movie: The Muppet Christmas Carol

muppet christmas carol“Miser Ebenezer Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas and reforms his heartless and money-grubbing ways after being visited on Christmas Eve by four ghosts.”

CD: Christmas Songs by Diana Krall diana krall christmas

A collection of Christmas classics performed by Krall, in her wonderful jazzy style.

 

Kim’s Picks

Movie: Southern Comfort

southern comfortWalter (The Warriors) Hill-directed cult film pitting perplexed National Guard soldiers against territorial Cajuns in a Louisiana swamp. A game of survival.

Audiobook: Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen

“Murder, politics, and G-strings collide in this caper from the strip tease hiaasenbestselling author of Tourist Season. Hilarity and chaos break out in a strip joint when a bachelor party gets out of hand, making the drunken guest of honor a threat to ‘big money’ and ‘big government.’”

Mary’s Picks

Movie: Santa Claus: The Movie

santa claus the movie“This is the story of a master toymaker who discovers a magical kingdom of elves at the North Pole. He is entrusted with special powers to become Santa Claus! He meets Patch, an eager-to-please elf who becomes mixed up with a dastardly toy tycoon’s plans to take over Christmas.”

CD: The Nutcracker by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky nutcracker highlights

The Berlin Symphony Orchestra performs highlights from Tchaikovsky’s timeless holiday classic.

Stephanie’s Picks

CD: Christmas Classics by Bing Crosby

bing crosby christmas“Some of Bing Crosby’s greatest holiday classics have come together for Christmas Classics. This collection includes White Christmas from the Frank Sinatra show in 1957, as well as his 1977 collaboration with David Bowie.”

Movie: BlackkKlansman blackkklansman

“Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.”

 

All quoted summaries by catalog.ccls.org .

August Staff Picks

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks
tunnel.jpgTV Series: The Tunnel
Remake of Danish-Swedish TV series The Bridge, but this time, a British and a French detectives must work together to resolves crimes. It casts old European enmities in a new light.mefistofele

CD: Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito
Not very known opera of Arrigo Boito, Verdi’s greatest librettist. Based on the tragedy Faust by Goethe. Excellent performance recorded in 1995, at Teatro alla Scala.

Jamie’s Picks
Thor-Ragnarok-Poster(2)Movie: Thor: Ragnarok
The best of the Thor movies; Taika Waititi brings his signature style (also directed What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople) to the superhero movie to great effect. This movie is hilarious and so much fun. I told my husband in the middle of it that I never wanted it to be over!room on fire

CD: Room on Fire by The Strokes
A classic album for early 2000’s pop rock. Punchy and catchy on the surface with somewhat melancholy lyrics. This album cemented The Strokes as a giant in indie rock.

Jessie’s Picks
black pantherMovie: Black Panther
This movie takes place after “Captain America: Civil War” and follows the new Black Panther as he becomes King of Wakanda. The great cast brings to life the complex characters of the wondrous kingdom of girl waits with gunWakanda.

Audiobook: Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
Based on the true story of one of the first female deputies, this mystery series debut has humor, intriguing characters, and suspense. A good read for fans of historical mysteries!

Kim’s Picks
the killersMovie: The Killers
Talk about a debut. One-time trapeze artiste Burt Lancaster gets the lead role in this classic 1946 film noir featuring screen siren Ava Gardner and a host of great supporting and character actors. The action takes place in New York, Philly and Pittsburgh, where Edmond O’Brien’s insurance investigator orders a steak sandwich that looks more like creamed chipped beef on toast and proceeds to eat it with a knife and fork.

Audiobook: The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the the earth is weeping.jpgAmerican West by Peter Cozzens
This is a full-scale treatment of a long and violent episode in U.S. history. The major players are here: Sherman, Sheridan, Miles, Grant, Red Cloud, Captain Jack, Cochise, Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse. The battles and massacres are here: Sand Creek, Little Big Horn, Wounded Knee. The tribes are here:  Modoc, Comanche, Apache, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Crow, Lakota. Cozzens investigates the effects of the press, racism, and the misunderstandings that ensued when a stone age and diverse culture confronted a more homogeneous and increasingly technological society convinced of its Manifest Destiny. One of many takeaways: cessation of the Northern Pacific Railroad’s construction was not caused by Indian attacks, rather the stock market Panic of 1873.

Mary’s Picks
the money pitMovie: The Money Pit
Great comedy from the 80’s. Classic Tom Hanks when he was just life of pibecoming famous.

Audiobook: Life of Pi by Yann Martel
When reading you first think this is just about a boy’s adventure stranded in the ocean, but by the end realize the story is much more complex with a lot of symbolism.

Stephanie’s Picks
white oleander.jpgMovie: White Oleander
An emotional drama centered around crime, foster homes, and the love between a mother and daughter.a colony in a nation

Audiobook: A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes
Deft and thoughtful exposé on race and the “Two Americas” that we inhabit.

All quoted summaries from catalog.ccls.org.

July Staff Picks

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks
history of ancient egyptGreat Courses Audio: The History of Ancient Egypt
You will definitely want to know more about the Ancient Egypt after listening to this Bob Brier’s enthusiastic, passionate and knowledgable story. Go back in time and learn about the pharaos, mummies, everyday life and influence of this amazing culture.220px-Justin_Timberlake_-_The_2020_Experience

CD: The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake
This 2013 comeback album combines Justin Timberlake’s trademark shape-shifting digital funk with a warmer, more organic sound. Some big hits like “That Girl,” “Mirrors” and “Tunnel Vision.”

Jamie’s Picks
bourdainNonfiction DVD: Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony Bourdain’s wonderful original travel show that uses food as a gateway to understanding a place, people, and culture. Bourdain shows that while fancy restaurants are well and good and there are chefs out there doing amazing work, it can be just as valuable and important to be invited into someone’s grandmother’s home for a great meal.siracusa

Audiobook: Siracusa by Delia Ephron
A story about domestic strife told via multiple perspectives with a somewhat unexpected ending that makes you wonder what you would do in that situation. A great beach read!

Jessie’s Picks
jumanji welcome to the jungleMovie: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Hilarious adventure movie about four teens that get sucked into a video game and become their avatars. They then embark on a thrilling, and very amusing, quest to save Jumanji and get back home.circe

Audiobook: Circe by Madeline Miller
Miller wonderfully brings to life and retells the story of Circe, a daughter of a Greek god that plays an important role in Homer’s The Odyssey.

Kim’s Picks
it terror from beyond spaceMovie: It! The Terror from Beyond Space
Inspired by The Thing from Another World (1951) and inspiring Alien (1979), It! recounts an expedition to Mars (in 1973) to rescue the lone survivor of a previous mission who is suspected of murdering the rest of the crew so he could subsist on limited supplies until a rescue craft arrived.  To their eventual horror, an airlock is not closed before an unwanted passenger climbs aboard.  Soon it’s a fight for survival as the intruder thwarts humankind’s puny weapons as well as rays from the atomic pile powering the ship.  Rightly ranked by some as the best science fiction B movie of the 50s, It! might seem primitive to modern audiences but that doesn’t make it any less frightening.

Audiobook: Sapiens:  A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari sapiens
Unusual, superbly written history divided into four parts based on the continuum of physics to chemistry to biology:  The Cognitive Revolution, The Agricultural Revolution, The Unification of Humankind, The Scientific Revolution.  Harari astounds us with his insight, e.g., agricultural societies are more disease prone and work harder than hunter-gatherers, we live in a world of fictions, scientists who developed the atomic bomb should have received the Nobel Peace Prize for making future global wars nothing less than collective suicide, death by aging might become a thing of the past by 2050, neither invention nor a dogmatic belief in the inevitability of progress is true, humans might be advised to value the happiness of animals as much as themselves.

Mary’s Picks
War-horse-posterMovie: War Horse
An emotional and epic film for horse lovers with a great cast. Showing the trauma of WWI through the journey of a horse and the people he impacts.forever vienna

CD: Forever Vienna by André Rieu
Andre Rieu’s concerts are guaranteed to put you in a great mood. He is fantastic at really showcasing how wonderful classical music is.

Stephanie’s Picks
insecureTV Series: Insecure
Comedy series about two twentysomething best friends trying to navigate the navigate the tricky professional and personal terrain of L.A., while reconsidering their life choices.i see you

Audiobook: I See You by Clare Mackintosh
In this psychological thriller, danger lurks around every corner. You won’t want to stop listening.

All quoted summaries from catalog.ccls.org.

June Staff Picks

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks
art of the stealDocumentary: The Art of the Steal
This excellent documentary follows the struggle for controlling the art collection of Dr. Albert C. Barnes and the Philadelphia Barnes Foundation. It is about how you can steal art worth billions and violate Dr. Barnes last wishes.villa lobos

CD: Villa-Lobos Par Lui-Même by Villa-Lobos
This disc is for the Villa-Lobos lovers and has a lot of historical value. It is Villa-Lobos’s vision of his work and almost all pieces are conducted by himself. Recorded between 1954 and 1958, and performed by the Orchestre National de la Radio Diffusion Française.

Jamie’s Picks
Lady_Bird_posterMovie: Lady Bird
Funny and affecting coming-of-age story of a Sacramento teenager and her complicated relationship with her mother. Excellent acting by Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf.
when-they-call-you-a-terrorist-1
Audiobook: When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
A powerful memoir that poignantly depicts what it was like to grow up black around LA at the height of the war on drugs and the generational effects of imprisonment and surveillance on a community.

Jessie’s Picks
cocoMovie: Coco
Heart-warming Pixar film about a young Mexican boy that loves music, but his family does not. He travels to the Land of the Dead, meets his musical idol, and discovers his family’s history.still life

Audiobook: Still Life by Louise Penny
The first book in the numerous awards-winning Three Pines mystery series. The characters and the setting, which makes you want to travel to small Quebecois towns, sets this series apart from other mysteries. In this book Chief Inspector Gamache travels to Three Pines to solve the murder of a retired school teacher/ amateur artist.

Kim’s Picks
panic in year zeroMovie: Panic in Year Zero!
Only months before the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, moviegoers were presented with this apocalyptic film about a middle-class California family on vacation trying to survive a nuclear attack and remain civilized.  Academy Award-winning actor Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend, 1945) directed this very compelling low-budget thriller.

Audiobook: The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston the lost city of the monkey god
Preston, a prolific author of crime (the Pendergast series), true crime (The Monster of Florence), and modern-day adventure (Talking to the Ground:  One Family’s Journey on Horseback Across the Sacred Land of the Navajo) here details another authentic contemporary saga:  the expeditions into the pristine Honduran department known as  Mosquitia in search of La Ciudad Blanca, the fabled “white city,” aka City of the Monkey God.  Writing for National Geographic, Preston accompanied the camera crew, archaeologists, sponsors, and two British ex-special forces men into a savage habitat replete with poisonous snakes, sucking mud, and disease-carrying insects.  The journey was only possible after the forest canopy was penetrated with lidar (Light Detection and Ranging).  The explorers paid a high price for their discoveries as many came down with the horrific and often fatal parasitic disease known as Leishmaniasis.  Despite the discovery of a lost civilization, serious issues must be addressed:  who created the white city and its satellite population centers centuries ago, what catastrophes caused the citizens to leave, and how can we combat the spread of tropical diseases and potential pandemics when deadly microbes take advantage of global warming to move north?

Mary’s Picks
divine secrets of the ya ya sisterhoodMovie: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
A true chick flick, with a great female cast. After years of mother-daughter tension, Sidda’s mother’s friends kidnap her to try to bring them closer together.the secret

Audiobook: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Great introduction to the law of attraction, the power of positive thinking and how it effects your entire life. Listeneing to this audiobook just puts you in a good mood.


Stephanie’s Picks

young adult.jpgMovie: Young Adult
Raw and honest, funny yet uncomfortable to watch at times, Young Adult is the story of a writer of teen literature who returns to her small hometown to relive her glory days and attempt to reclaim her happily married high school sweetheart.

Audiobook: Defending Jacob by William LandayCover image
“Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next. His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.”

All quoted summaries from catalog.ccls.org.

May Staff Picks

STAFF Picks (1)

Jamie’s Picks
the-crownTV Series: The Crown
Beautifully filmed with fantastic costumes, this series chronicles the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The chemistry and tension between Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth and Matt Smith as Prince Philip is palpable, and as an American I found it interesting to learn more about palace dynamics– such as how much control the “courtiers” have on the royals.
emotion
CD: E·mo·tion by Carly Rae Jepsen
Super catchy and poppy; a distillation of being a boy crazy young girl without being too juvenile or sugary, meaning anyone can give this a listen and enjoy it.

Jessie’s Picks
ant-manMovie: Ant-Man
“Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.”between shades of gray

Audiobook: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
“In 1941, Lina and her family are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers.”

Kim’s Picks
running targetMovie: Running Target!
Future Academy Award-winning cinematographer Conrad Hall shows his early skill with this beautifully photographed color adventure set in the Colorado Rockies.  Future Academy Award-winning composer Ernest Gold provides the significant score.  The story:  a sheriff (Arthur Franz) reluctantly leads a modern day (circa 1956) posse into the wilderness to recapture four escaped convicts.  Richard Reeves’ obsession with his weapon (his “brother”) remains germane today.

Audiobook: Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler by Bruce Hendersonsons and soldiers
The author follows a half dozen German-born Jews who as teenagers in the 1930s were sent or made their way from Hitler’s increasingly-dangerous Reich to the United States.  As they reached military age and Germany declared war on the U.S., they enlisted and found themselves training at Camp Ritchie, Maryland.  These “Ritchie Boys” learned interrogation techniques and because of their familiarity with the German language and culture became invaluable assets in front-line units from D-Day until the war’s conclusion.  Some actually made contact with their families, others expected and found the worst:  their kin had died in extermination camps.  This is an exciting and moving tale one hopes Hollywood will turn into an epic film—with actors of the appropriate age as the real Ritchie Boys.

Mary’s Picks
chocolatMovie: Chocolat
A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village. Their unconventional style changes the rigid community.

CD: Eden by Sarah Brightmaneden.jpg
Sarah’s best album with a mix of English, Italian, French and Latin, as well as a mix of classic Opera, pop and New Age.


Stephanie’s Picks

hungerAudiobook: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
Listening to Roxanne Gay read her beautifully-written memoir Hunger was like listening to a close friend divulging some of her most intimate yet painful feelings and memories. It is quite literally the story of her body, and the way she and others have treated it. Powerful, raw, and heartbreaking, it is a must read.

CD: Beast Epic by Iron & Winebeast epic
After multiple albums of experimenting with new sounds, it seems that singer Sam Beam has gone back to his sweet melodic folk roots. This is his best album since Our Endless Numbered Days.

All quoted summaries from catalog.ccls.org.

April Staff Picks

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks

Image result for home again posterMovie: Home Again
Very, very, light, fairy tail comedy with no strong characters. But, if you are looking for entertainment, this movies does deliver it!

CD: Lady Soul by Aretha FranklinImage result for lady soul aretha franklin
This is another Aretha classic and it includes the full-length version of Chain of Fools, as well as other hit songs. Enjoy the wonderful voice of the “Queen of the Soul.”

Jamie’s Picks

Image result for how to train your dragon posterMovie: How to Train Your Dragon
So much fun and so heartwarming! Any pet lover will relate to the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless. Witty and insightful script with great voice-acting by Jay Baruchel.Image result for the buried giant

Audiobook: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
A historical fantasy set just following the end of King Arthur’s reign. An easy read but a thoughtful one that reflects on the relationship between memory and trauma in a society.

Jessie’s Picks 

Image result for death in paradise posterTV Series: Death in Paradise
“British cop Richard Poole is a fish out of water when he is sent to the tiny island of Sainte Marie to solve a mysterious murder. Awaiting Richard is a ramshackle station and a very different type of policing.”

CD: La Roux by La RouxImage result for la roux cd
The debut album by La Roux, a synth pop duo comprised of Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid. Heather Phares of AllMusic calls this group “…a standout, not just among the many other ’80s revivalists, but the entire late-2000s pop landscape.”

Kim’s Picks

Image result for stargirl jerry spinelliAudiobook: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
The late John Ritter does a marvelous job reading another terrific Jerry Maniac Magee Spinelli book for teens that will go down well with adults.  The curiously named Stargirl arrives at Arizona’s Mica High and confounds the entire school by carrying on her person a pet rat, strumming a ukulele in the cafeteria, singing “Happy Birthday to You” to those she barely knows, and cheering for the home team and its opponent.  Initially confounded, then ecstatic, and finally fed up with this odd duck, her classmates shun her—all, that is, except Dori Dilson and Leo Borlock, but even Leo eventually bows to the crowd.  Nevertheless, Stargirl has made an indelible mark on her classmates.  A sequel, Love, Stargirl, takes place right here in Chester County.Image result for generation war

Miniseries: Generation War
Originally a TV mini-series, this epic German film beginning with the invasion of Russia in 1941 and concluding with the fall of Berlin in 1945, chronicles the calamitous events affecting five friends:  two brothers in the Wehrmacht, a nurse, a chanteuse, and a Jewish tailor.  A tragic tale writ large.

Mary’s Picks

Image result for pan's labyrinth posterMovie: Pan’s Labyrinth
In the Falangist Spain of 1944 a young girl tries to travel into a fantasy world to escape her evil stepfather.Image result for the secret life of bees

Audiobook: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
A picture of the South in the 1960’s with strong women working together to support each other. All act as mother figures for Lily while she searches for her own mother’s past.

Stephanie’s Picks

Image result for small great thingsAudiobook: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
“Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?”

CD: The Golden Echo by KimbraImage result for the golden echo kimbra
Kimbra famously sang on the major hit song “Somebody That I Used to Know” with Gotye, but she is a talent in her own right. This album includes collaborations with artists such as the Mars Volta, Muse, Foster the People, Silverchair, John Legend and Bilal. Heather Phares of AllMusic notes: “An album that just becomes more engaging with time, The Golden Echo lives up to its name: it refashions the best of what came before it into something alluringly modern and a lot of fun.”

All quoted summaries from catalog.ccls.org.

March Staff Picks

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks

billions.jpgTV Series: Billions

A great soap opera exploring the world of high finance as a separate ecosystem that rules unto itself at the cost of most everyone else. Despite a lack of likable characters, Billions is addictive and highly entertaining. Season 1 released in 2016, Season 2 in 2017, Season 3 coming soon!

Nonfiction DVD: Joan Sutherland – The Complete Bell Telephone Hour Performances, 1961-1968joan sutherland

Opera lovers will find much to enjoy in this Joan Sutherland “Live Greatest Hits” compilation that spans nearly a decade of unrivaled bel canto splendor. Sit back and enjoy this perfect voice singing arias from Tosca, Rigoletto, Norma, Ernani, la Traviata, and more!

Jamie’s Picks

in the gardenAudiobook: In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

A fascinating true account of an American ambassador’s front row seat to Hitler’s rise that reads like a movie or novel. Offers valuable insight into not only how Hitler consolidated his power but how the American foreign service failed to stop it.

CD: The Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unitnashville sound

An alt-country/rock album that has songs ranging from southern rock anthems to bittersweet duets. Favorite tracks are “Cumberland Gap” and “Molotov.” Isbell shows again that he’s an excellent songwriter.

Jessie’s Picks

unbreakable kimmyTV Series: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

A quirky, lighthearted comedy about a former cult member that moves to NYC. Her optimism and naiveté despite her time in the cult endears her to those around her and to the viewer.

Audiobook: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolverpoisonwood

Dean Robertson does a good job narrating this audiobook and handling its various dialects and accents. Because of that the listener gets to experience the story of a missionary family in the Congo around 1960. The story is told from the perspectives of the four daughters and their mom. This is a powerful book and is one of Barbara Kingsolver’s best.

Kim’s Picks

wicker manMovie: The Wicker Man

The infamous British horror film received accolades after its first and extremely limited 1973 release and is now reckoned a veritable masterpiece.  The story:  a police inspector (Edward Woodward) travels to a remote Scottish island in search of a missing girl.  But is she really missing?  Who is Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) and what strange rites does he practice?  With Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland and cult fave Ingrid Pitt.

Audiobook: Charlie Chaplin: A Brief Life by Peter Ackroydcharlie chaplin

Small but mighty is this 8-disc biography of he who was once the most famous man in the world:  Chaplin, the Cockney raised in poverty whose innate talents in mime, music and acting helped create the world of the cinema.

Mary’s Picks

leap yearMovie: Leap Year

An unlikely pair travel through the Irish countryside in this fun, romantic comedy.

Audiobook: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilberteat pray

A woman’s search to find herself after a nervous breakdown. An uplifting journey that speaks to all of us and truly opens your eyes to the beauty of life.

Stephanie’s Picks

an inconvenientNonfiction DVD: An Inconvenient Sequel

“A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change into the heart of popular culture comes the follow-up that shows just how close people are to a real energy revolution.”

CD: Love & Hate by Michael Kiwanukalove and hate

Dark, and at times, lonely and sad soul album. Standout tracks are the orchestral 10-minute opener, “Cold Little Heart,” and “Black Man in a White World.”

 

Quoted summaries from catalog.ccls.org.

February Staff Picks

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks

The-Circle-2017-movie-posterMovie: The Circle

“When Mae is hired to work for the world’s largest and most powerful tech and social media company, she sees it as an opportunity. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company’s founder, Eamon Bailey, to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity.”

Audiobook: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbertsignature

“Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker, a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself.”

Jamie’s Picks

silver linings playbookMovie: Silver Linings Playbook

An offbeat romantic comedy about two individuals struggling with loss and mental health issues. Even with the somewhat heavy subject, this movie is very funny! Filmed in locations around Upper Darby and Landsdowne and includes much Eagles pride!

CD: Chris Thile – Thanks for Listeningthanks for listening

A compilation of topical songs that Thile wrote for the “Song of the Week” segment of A Prairie Home Companion. Timely lyrics paired with Thile’s complex bluegrass/pop compositions. I recommend a few listens to let it sink in!

Jessie’s Picks

mr and mrs smithMovie: Mr. & Mrs. Smith

One of the best Action/Romance movies! Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie star in this movie as rival hitmen that married without knowing the other’s true occupation. Chaos and romance occur when they find out the truth about each other.

CD: The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?Everybody_else_is_doing_it_so_why_can't_we_(album_cover)

This is the debut album of The Cranberries and has the hits “Linger” and “Dreams.” The whole album is full of great songs. The celtic influences and the late, great Dolores O’Riordan’s voice make this album a must-listen. My other favorite Cranberries album is “No Need to Argue,” which includes “Zombie” and “Daffodil Lament.”

Kim’s Picks

one-eyed-jacks.64315Movie: One-Eyed Jacks

In 1880 Rio (Marlon Brando) and Dad Longworth (Karl Malden) rob a Mexican bank but are cornered on a mesa by the Rurales.  Dad takes their only horse, promising to return, but he doesn’t and Rio spends years in a hellish prison.  Vowing vengeance, he escapes and finds Dad a respectable family man and sheriff of Monterey, California.  Revenge remains on Rio’s mind, and like virtually every character in the film he dishes out and becomes a victim of lies.  Marlon Brando took over from Stanley Kubrick and others to direct this 1961 minimally-flawed western masterpiece restored for the Criterion Collection.

Audiobook: Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waterscoming to my senses

Founder (1971) of the now iconic Chez Panisse, Waters traces her life from her youth in New Jersey to her Eureka! moment discovering French cuisine on the ground in France and dreaming of duplicating the experience back home in Berkeley, California, hotbed of the Free Speech Movement and liberal causes brought to a head by the Vietnam war.  Waters succeeded.  Her locally grown, organic products and preparation attracted a broad clientele, including such film directors as Coppola, Rossellini and Godard.  Like Julia Child’s books, Coming to My Senses creates a desire to eat and drink the French, or here, the California way.

Mary’s Picks

poldarkTV Series: Poldark

BBC drama at its best. Fall in love with great characters and breathtaking scenery of Cornwall, England.only time

CD: Enya – Only Time: The Collection

Mesmerizing music from Irish vocalist, Enya. Her first album, which includes “May It Be” from The Lord of the Rings movie.

Stephanie’s Picks

cool runnings.jpgMovie: Cool Runnings

“The comedy hit inspired by the true story of Jamaica’s first Olympic bobsled team.”

CD: Dum Dum Girls – Only in DreamsPrint

The Dum Dum Girls’ second album featuring a more polished sound than their first. Contains themes of heartbreak and loss. Tim Sendra of AllMusic writes, “Dee Dee had to change, the change was good, and it led to a fine, grown-up guitar pop record.”

Quoted summaries from catalog.ccls.org.

January Staff Picks

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks
wind at my back

TV Series: Wind At My Back

If you liked the Anne of Green Gables and Road to Avonlea, you will love this Canadian TV series about the life in the small mining town during the time of depression in 1930s.

Great Courses Audio: Books That Have Made History: Booksbooks that have made history That Can Change Your Life

This 3-part series of lectures by the University of Oklahoma professor Rufus Fears presents the personal choices of some of the most essential writings in history, ranging in time from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the 20th century, and in locale from Mesopotamia and China to Europe and America.

Jamie’s Picks

you've got mailMovie: You’ve Got Mail

My all-time favorite romantic comedy (maybe my all-time favorite movie). In true Nora Ephron form, the characters are quirky and the dialogue is perfect. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are a duo for the ages.Damien_Rice_O_album_cover

CD: Damien Rice – O 

Contains the popular song “The Blower’s Daughter,” and while that song is pretty good, I end up playing “Delicate” over and over again. Singer/songwriter coffeehouse vibes.

Jessie’s Picks

father brownTV Series: Father Brown

“Celebrated author GK Chesterton’s beloved character, Father Brown, is brilliantly brought to life in this charming ten-part BBC series starring Mark Williams (Harry Potter, Doctor Who). With the warmth of The Vicar of Dibley, the intellect of Miss Marple, the humour of Father Ted and the intrigue of Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown is a fresh new take on a classic genre. Set in the 1950s in the heart of the English countryside, Father Brown is a kindly cleric with a particular talent for solving crimes. Many years spent hearing confessions have given him an uncanny insight into the workings of the criminal mind, and in each episode the enigmatic priest discovers the truth of a crime by looking into the truth of the soul, the passions, dark secrets, hidden desires.”

Videogame: Little Big Planet 3 220px-LittleBigPlanet_3_boxart

“Sackboy, the knitted knight has been equipped with an all-new climbing ability and brand-new power-ups including the amazing Pumpinator. In LittleBigPlanet 3, explore a world filled with creativity as you explore all corners of the Imagisphere, meet the inhabitants of the mysterious planet Bunkum and face the nefarious Newton. Discover a variety of surprises that the LittleBigPlanet Community have created and shared for you to enjoy, with new levels and games to play every day. Then if you’re feeling inspired, flex your creative muscles with the powerful and intuitive customization tools, to bring your own imagination to life in LittleBigPlanet 3.”

Kim’s Picks

the alpsAudiobook: The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond by Stephen O’Shea

O’Shea drives the famous European mountain range in a Renault Megane Sport that elicits oohs and aahs until the admirers find out it’s a rental.  Regardless, O’Shea powers on, meeting up with a friend and “The Last Hippie,” all the while regaling us with the history of the Alps, its multi-lingual inhabitants, and its current state of play often compromised by environmental and technological degradation.  O’Shea’s saga is an often poetic paean to this unique parcel of the world.
brave enough

CD: Lindsey Stirling – Brave Enough 

The dancing violinist who was dismissed by two America’s Got Talent judges but went on to win a Billboard Music Award and came in second on Dancing with the Stars provides 14 of her own eclectic compositions.  They encompass various genres, including pop, rock, New Age, Celtic, and perhaps Mideastern.  Arabian Nights, anyone?  On 8 of the 14 tracks singers such as Christina Perri and ZZ Ward back Stirling up.  “Something Wild,” in which she collaborated with vocalist Andrew McMahon, was composed for Disney’s Pete’s Dragon (2016).

Zoey’s Picks

Big-Sick-Poster Movie: The Big Sick 

I’m not typically a fan of rom coms but the plot of The Big Sick intrigued me enough to give it a shot. And I was not disappointed. It was driven more by comedy than by romance. Kumail Nanjiani’s writing is full of wit and sincerity. It’s a good movie to curl up and watch during a snow day.
we are okay

Audiobook: We Are Okay  by Nina LaCour 

We Are Okay is entirely character driven, but that does not mean it is lacking in plot. LaCour easily plays on the notion of isolation and loneliness while cleverly retelling Marin’s, the main character, nightmarish last year. One of the best LGBT books published in 2017.

 

 

Quoted summaries from catalog.ccls.org.