A Star For Mrs. BlakeMore Staff Picks +
Smith takes us on a pilgrimage, traveling with 5 Gold Star mothers to visit the graves of their boys in France after WWI. Smith helps us see war from various perspectives, beyond the obvious tragedy of death. We find hope and a continuance of life in honoring those we have lost.
Baby, You’re Gonna Be MineMore Staff Picks +
Kevin Wilson has proven himself to be a good writer since his debut novel “The Family Fang” published in 2011. This book of short stories does not disappoint. The characters in his stories are people that you swear you know or have at least observed. His story telling ability is remarkable. You know exactly why his characters do what they do because he does such a great job of setting the stage for either what you would have guessed is coming or something totally unexpected. I highly recommend his books.
The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of MoviesMore Staff Picks +
In the past decade, Hollywood has endured a cataclysm on a par with the end of silent film and the demise of the studio system. Stars and directors have seen their power dwindle, while writers and producers lift their best techniques from TV, comic books, and the toy biz. The future of Hollywood is being written by powerful corporate brands like Marvel, Amazon, Netflix, and Lego, as well as censors in China. Ben Fritz chronicles this dramatic shakeup with unmatched skill, bringing equal fluency to both the financial and entertainment aspects of Hollywood. He dives deeply into the fruits of the Sony hack to show how the previous model, long a creative and commercial success, lost its way. And he looks ahead through interviews with dozens of key players at Disney, Marvel, Netflix, Amazon, Imax, and others to discover how they have reinvented the business. He shows us, for instance, how Marvel replaced stars with “universes,” and how Disney remade itself in Apple’s image and reaped enormous profits. But despite the destruction of the studios’ traditional playbook, Fritz argues that these seismic shifts signal the dawn of a new heyday for film. The Big Picture shows the first glimmers of this new golden age through the eyes of the creative mavericks who are defining what our movies will look like in the new era.
Stars over Clear LakeMore Staff Picks +
It's World War II and there is a German Prison Camp near Clear Lake, IA. With most of the able-bodied men off to war, Lorraine's dad needs help on the farm, and hires some of the prisoners to do it. Lorraine loves to dance at the famous "Surf Club ." One of her dad's German prisoners plays a mean saxophone sometimes for the bands. Sparks click and romance blooms, despite the differences in language, culture and of course WWII!
Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was InventedMore Staff Picks +
In the late 1800s lived Lizzie Magie, a clever and charismatic woman with a strong sense of justice. Waves of urban migration drew Lizzie’s attention to rising financial inequality. One day she had an idea: create a game that shows the unfairness of the landlord-tenant relationship. But game players seemed to have the most fun pretending to be wealthy landowners. Enter Charles Darrow, a marketer and salesman with a vision for transforming Lizzie’s game into an exciting staple of American family entertainment.
My Year of Rest and RelaxationMore Staff Picks +
The unnamed narrator in this bold new novel is in search of a reawakening. In her eyes, only sleep, countless hours of it, can enact a desperately needed reset of her life. With the aid of an ethically questionable psychiatrist and an abudance of black out inducing medication, her sleeping quest begins.
A Night DividedMore Staff Picks +
My fifth grader has been begging me to read this depiction of a family separated overnight by the construction of the Berlin Wall. Told from the view point of the youngest daughter, 12 year old Gerta, she takes us to a place in history where your own ideas and criticism of your government is a risky life or death venture. Gripping until the end, this is on my must read list for any upper elementary and older to appreciate their own intellectual freedoms and learn about a not too distant event in world history.
The Polygamist’s Daughter: a memoirMore Staff Picks +
After reading "Under the Banner of Heaven," by Jon Krakauer, and "The 19th Wife" by David Ebershoff, both good reads, I thought this book might be similar. I was disappointed though, to find that it fell short of being either well-written or well-researched. The book lacks substance and seems to elaborate on some insignificant memories to fill up the pages.
Passenger (Passenger, #1)More Staff Picks +
Etta Spencer is about to walk onto the stage for a performance of a lifetime. Her whole life has led up to this moment. When she is pushed through a strange glimmering doorway, her lifetime of practice and status as a musical prodigy is left behind. Her life intersects with a young man who is off limits to her in his time. The secrets he harbors threaten to create more barriers to the future only Etta dares to hope for. Fans of time travel will adore the tale that is capable of sucking the reader into another series. Full of questions without answers, inter-racial relationships, love and mystery tug at the heart and intellect.
Wicked MortalsMore Staff Picks +
All of us thrill to scary stories. We cannot leave them alone. Over and over again, we peer into the dark places seeking monsters, creatures, sources of evil. We know instinctively that these alien forces threaten our safety and everything we love. We tell these stories as warnings to keep our guard up against the darkness outside. But what if it isn't outside? What if it hides in someone you know? Or the person looking back at you from the mirror? And, most terrifying of all, what if the scariest part of the stories is that they're true? This collection of tales is taken from the monstrously successful Lore podcast, which began in 2015 and as of October 2017 had an audience of five million seriously creeped out devotees. Even on paper Mahnke's storytelling style is inviting and empathetic. (It practically begs for a campfire and wolf howling in what you hope is the distance.) Worryingly, the author suffers no shortage of material, from serial killers to magicians to folk healing gone hideously wrong. All too tragic. All too human. All too possible...Anyone else want to turn on all the lights and hide under a blankie?