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Staff Picks: Books, Movies, Music

December is here and many of us are trying to find thoughtful gifts. Others just want to have fun. Either way, why not give your friends and family something they can enjoy over and over again? The books, movies and CDs below are recommended by library staff. Linked titles will take you to pages with more information about the author, artist or title. Most of you are probably familiar with online ordering or will find these titles at a local retailer.

Feel free to add your recommendations to the list using the comments section below! The more, the merrier!


Alex Edwards recommends-

Michael Dirda. On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling. “Perfect for the Sherlock Holmes fan in your life. Dirda is one of the country’s best book critics and a member of the Baker Street Irregulars.”

Alice Bampton recommends-

Dr. Seuss. The Lorax. “My son and I loved Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and, although it was written some years ago (my son is 40+), its message is still valid.”

Nevada Barr. Anna Pigeon series. – “I’m a fan of Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon stories about a woman park ranger and, because I worked in a non-traditional job (chemist) for a woman, I can empathize with her.”

Bill Greene recommends-

Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games trilogy (Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mocking Jay)

“It is equally parts adventure, science fiction and romance.  It is told from the first person, female, young adult point of view.  The author has created a society about 100 years in the future on a possible parallel earth that reflects and comments on conditions on the earth we live on today.   Plot and character development are excellent.”

Laura Hutelmyer recommends-

Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler. The Future of Us. The book is set in 1996 before most teenagers have been introduced to the Internet. “I’m anxious to see how this author spans the gap of time between 1996 America Online and 2011 Facebook. It should be an interesting study in the evolution of social media.”

Joanne Quinn recommends:

The MAD Fold-in Collection. – “When I was growing up, my mother – oops, I mean the Easter Bunny- would give my sister & me  a magazine subscription instead of candy. I received Mad Magazine for years this way, so imagine my delight to see that they have compiled all 410 of Al Jaffee’s inside back cover Fold-Ins into a four-volume set. Heart be still. I remember reading the magazine from cover to cover and saving the Fold-In for last – and trying desperately not to figure out the image in advance, so as to savor the surprise. Even better, the geniuses at Mad have reprinted the completed folded image alongside the original, so that you don’t have to bend the heck out of the lavish $80 set!”

Joe Lucia recommends-

Siva Vaidhyanathan. The Googleization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry).

Eli Pariser. The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding  from You.

Stephen Johnson. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.


Joe Lucia recommends-

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 & 2

Gran Torino

Laura Hutelmyer recommends-

Songcatcher. “This movie chronicles the journey of Dr. Lily Penleric who traveled the Appalachian mountains in search of unrecorded folk music. This is an interesting story accompanied by a great sound track. A CD is also available.”

Alice Bampton recommends-

Dicken’s Christmas Carol (the movie) simply because it is traditional. (There are many versions of this title, which you can browse using the link provided.)


Laura Hutelmyer recommends-

Norman and Nancy Blake. Back Home in Sulphur Springs. “If you are a fan of Old Time music or are just curious about the genre, you can’t go wrong with Norman and Nancy Blake. I was first introduced to their music by my cousin who lives near Sulphur Springs and considers Norman and Nancy neighbors. Although I have yet to hear them in person (a personal goal) I love all of their recordings.”

Joe Lucia recommends-

Death Cab for Cutie. Transatlanticism

Radiohead. In Rainbows.

John Scofield. That’s What I Say: John Scofield Plays Ray Charles

Luisa Cywinski recommends-

Vince Guaraldi Trio. A Charlie Brown Christmas. “When I hear this music, I’m immediately transported to the living room floor of my childhood home, lying there watching the angel chimes make shadows on the ceiling while they spin around over the candles.”


I’m anxious to see how this author spans the gap of time between 1996 American Online and 2011 Facebook. It should be an interesting study in the evolution of Social Media.



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Last Modified: December 12, 2011

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