Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Black Cat (DVD)

Pre-code psychological horror film with Boris Karloff, and Bela Lugosi-the first and best of eight pairings. Lugosi, given an especially rare chance to escape his usual typecast as the villain, gives what might be his best performance. Also of note is the art direction, which matches the mood with effective use of shadows. This film, with features a dark focus on the occult, is a smart pick for someone who wants something a bit different from the normal Universal Monster fair. ~Jim, CCL

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Excellent look at how people misread others. Gladwell shares examples from news stories in which world leaders, CIA agents, fund managers, college students, police and citizens consistently misunderstand the strangers they encounter. Gladwell presents this study in genius fashion. Audiobook is great too. ~Barbara, HH

Lake of the Ozarks by Bill Geist

Go back in time to the late 1950s and early 1960s, to Midwest America and the newly created Lake of the Ozarks, where kitschy attractions and colorful destinations were just beginning to appear on the shores. The Arrowhead Lodge, a small resort, hosted vacationers and fun-seekers from the region, and author Bill Geist spent his formative years working summers there with a bevy of memorable characters. The lodge and the era are now part of history, but here Geist shares the memories of the people and the place that stayed with him a lifetime. ~Meredith, CCL

The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende

An author known for depicting vibrant female characters in her novels takes us along on her own journey of development as a woman.  "When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating," begins Isabel Allende.  The daughter of a woman abandoned by her husband to fend for herself and her three children in a culture and time that offered her no “resources or voice,” Isabel bristles at injustices from an early age, and comes of age bolstered by the second wave of feminism in the late 1960s.  So begins an examination of the souls of women through the lens of her own life and experiences.  The down-to-earth language made reading this book feel like sitting down to coffee with a wise and passionate friend. ~Claire Michelle, HH

The King of Confidence by Miles Harvey

Antebellum America in the modern Midwest was a place of endless and untamed nature. It attracted intrepid settlers and adventurers unfettered by the conventions of the Old World. Anything was possible, even to claim an island in Lake Michigan, declare yourself a prophet, and crown yourself a king. In The King of Confidence you'll follow the tale of James Strang, the audacious man who did those things. You'll learn about Strang and his followers, and also about this exceptional place and time in history, when the US frontier was a magnet and breeding ground for pioneers, dreamers, fortune hunters, schemers, and what became known in America as the "Confidence Man". ~Meredith, CCL