Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Those People by Louise Candlish

On the problem of despicable neighbors, here's a book about a couple that moves into an idyllic neighborhood in South London and drives its families to desperation. Each is nursing a private beef with a spouse, partner or neighbor, causing them to make wildly irrational decisions, all leading to a shocking fatal accident. There are many red herrings and an abrupt open-ended finish, leaving the reader to imagine what may happen. ~Barbara, HH

There There by Tommy Orange

"The world is made of stories, nothing else; just stories, and stories about stories". So writes Tommy Orange in this mournful, beautiful debut. A member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, Orange writes about urban Indians tied together by an upcoming Powwow in Oakland, CA. He masterfully holds his swirling cast of characters together through multiple points of view and flashbacks, yet somehow makes you care about the fate of each. ~Mary, HH

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

Is digital technology improving our lives, or has it become a time-wasting distraction? Newport encourages us to first evaluate what’s most important to us in life generally, and then to use this knowledge to guide our digital choices. Among other things, the author invokes the words of ancient philosophers and looks at how Amish communities evaluate technology, and provides practical strategies to help readers undergo a “digital declutter.” Recommended for fans of minimalism books, and for anyone who would like to improve their relationship with technology. I loved this book because it helped me to see my use of technology in a new way. ~Laura, CCL

Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz

In this down-to-earth 1998 book you accompany the author on a tour of the South, visiting towns, Civil War battlefields and other sites, and meeting people for whom the war and the issues around it aren't entirely over. There are serious issues on race, poverty, class, and differing viewpoints on the war raised, but there are plenty of lighthearted parts as well, such as being embedded with hardcore Civil War reenactors who take their hobby very seriously. A great book for Civil War buffs, or as a study of Southern American life. ~Meredith, CCL

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Did you ever think you'd have much in common with a Roman emperor from the second century? You may just find you do when reading emperor Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, where you get to look inside his mind and read some of his most intimate thoughts on life, death, and glory. A fan of Stoic philosophy, you can read his ongoing struggles to be the person he wanted to be, and to assume with grace life's both great and mundane problems. As it is a personal journal, the writing style is casual and easy to read. You will hopefully come away with some fresh ideas on living your own life, but at the least it will give you food for much thought, and leave you feeling compassion for this person who truly worked hard all his life at being a better person. ~Meredith, CCL