Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Staff Picks

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer

This clever, fascinating social history of 14th century England is written in the form of a travel guide. What will the people be like? What will you eat? What are the laws, and what might you do for fun? This guide is well-researched (footnotes and a bibliography are included) and hard to put down, with a truly compelling conclusion. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy history, time travel, and thought-provoking reads. ~Laura, CCL

The Pioneers by David McCullough

I found this book started off a tad slow, but provided a necessary background history of the creation of the Northwest Territory in 1787 that opened up the land northwest of the Ohio River to American settlement. Suddenly the US was much bigger, and now anyone who could buy the land could set up a new life in this undeveloped and mostly wild land covered with massive old growth forests. Once McCullough begins to write about these first settlers, the book becomes very lively and hard to put down. It is full of profiles of the very interesting, enterprising, generally optimistic, and sometimes eccentric people who caught "Ohio Fever" and carved out towns and stately homes out of the wilderness, setting up successful systems of government and education that remain today. ~Meredith, CCL

Alien in the Mirror by Maureen Foster

Despite attracting audiences in New York and Los Angeles, this 2014 horror/sci-fi film from director Glazer (Sexy Beast, Birth) had a strictly limited release in the rest of the country.  Like Stanley Kubrick's 2001:  A Space Odyssey, this film starring Scarlett Johansson as a dangerous alien from..somewhere...provides more questions than answers.  Critic Richard Roeper aptly said that it was what they mean when they talk about the cinema as art.  Author Foster digs into the movie's genesis and long gestation to produce a model of single film analysis. ~Kim, CCL

Grant by Ron Chernow

At 959 pages, this book qualifies as a tome, but you won't notice the pages go by reading Ron Chernow's brisk writing. Learn how Ulysses Grant went from hawking firewood on the streets of St. Louis to becoming America's hero and US president. A true American tale of rags to riches, and rags to riches again, and through it all Grant remained the practical, unpretentious person has was before fame and fortune. One my of favorite quotes from the book that speaks volumes about his character came from a friend years after the Civil War: "You might have known him for a year and never learned that he he had fought a battle in his life."  This book is another masterpiece biography from Chernow. ~Meredith, CCL

Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare by Giles Milton

A top secret London organization who undermined Hitler's war machine through acts of sabotage.  Pairs nicely with the movie The Heavy Water War" about the group. ~Laurie, CCL