Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Staff Picks

The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok

Mira Bartok writes of life lived as the daughter of a schizophrenic, yet musically gifted mother who develops symptoms shortly after the author is born.  Bartok's father, an equally gifted writer but undependable alcoholic, abandons his wife and two small children leaving Mira and her sister to cope with the unpredictability of their mother's behavior. Guilt, wonder, regret and surprise are all over the pages of this memoir, but love is there most of all.  Bartok succeeds in telling this sad, remarkable story in such lyrical language that it sometimes feels like reading poetry. ~Pat, HH

Uncovered by Leah Lax

Leah Lax was born into a non-observant Jewish home but became attracted to the Lubavitcher Hasidic movement as a teenager. She entered an arranged marriage and spent the next 30 years trying to be a model of Orthodox womanhood according to the exacting standards of the sect. She bears 7 children and struggles to repress her attraction to women and to a creative life outside the home. An absorbing and fascinating look at a largely hidden way of life. ~Mary, HH

The Salt of the Earth

This documentary is utterly astonishing. The Brazilian economist-turned-photographer Sebastiao Salgado has spent the last 40 years travelling to the ends of the Earth to document the beauty and the horror of the human condition. This is the sort of film that will stay with you for a long, long time. Having witnessed and documented many of the major events in recent human history, Salgado now turns his camera to the pristine, all-too-often threatened landscapes, flora, and fauna of our Earth. His story and photography will truly take your breath away. ~Elizabeth, HH

No Land's Man by Aasif Mandvi

Aasif Mandvi was known as the Daily Show's "senior Muslim correspondent", a role that brought him celebrity after many years struggling in the theater, TV commercials, and stand-up. He writes with great humor and honesty about a difficult childhood and adolescence. Acting became his salvation and path to acceptance, though not without roadblocks such as being typecast as a terrorist or doctor. Mandvi writes well and his coming-of-age tale is funny and moving. ~Mary, HH

Wayward Pines

Set aside a good block of time for this TV show- if you're like me, you won't be able to stop watching it once you start! M. Night Shyamalan's episodic mystery thriller features Matt Dillon as an FBI agent sent to investigate the disappearance of two other federal agents. After a car accident, he wakes up in the eerily perfect town of Wayward Pines, Idaho without any of his belongings, unable to contact his wife and son. The twists to the story are incredibly surprising and gasp-inducing. It reminds me of the tv shows "Twin Peaks", "The Twilight Zone", and "Lost" all mashed together. ~Elizabeth, HH