Staff Picks

Some of the items we have enjoyed reading or watching lately; maybe you will like some of them, too !

Deanna’s Picks

Ms. Cortney Recommends:

A Few Of Phil’s Favorites:

I don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but when I happened upon this volume (while looking for something else) I couldn’t resist ordering it !     A simple and approachable biography in words and pictures.

Richard Feynman, who shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1965, was one of the great minds and unique personalities of the 20th century.

He first came on my radar in 1986, when his work on the Rogers Commission investigating the disintegration of the Space Shuttle Challenger changed the entire course of the proceedings with a simple demonstration he performed in the hearing room under the eye of the television cameras.

I earnestly recommend pretty much everything else he wrote, should you want to learn even more.

“A #1 New York Times Bestseller, Anathem is perhaps the most brilliant literary invention to date from the incomparable Neal Stephenson. Now he imagines an alternate universe where scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians live in seclusion behind ancient monastery walls until they are called back into the world to deal with a crisis of astronomical proportions.”

“A sprawling disquisition…[a] logophilic treat for those who like their alternate worlds big, parodic and ironic.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Stephenson’s expansive storytelling echoes Walter Miller’s classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, the space operas of Larry Niven and the cultural meditations of Douglas Hofstadter – a heady mix of antecedents that makes for long stretches of dazzling entertainment.” — Publishers Weekly

“A masterpiece…mind-bogglingly ambitious…readers will delight in puzzling out the historical antecedents in philosophy, science, mathematics, and art that Stephenson riffs on with his customary quicksilver genius…it’s one of the most thought-provoking novels I’ve ever read, and also one of the most engaging.” — Locus, Paul Witcover

Anathem isn’t an easy book, and it’s not a quick read, but it is very definitely a fun one, and very rewarding if you enjoy playing with ideas. — Phil, New Lisbon Library

Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. One spring afternoon, the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow. Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters. Written during the darkest days of Stalin’s rule, and finally published in 1966 and 1967, The Master and Margarita became a literary phenomenon.

‘This is what literature is meant to be’ Anthony Burgess

‘O what we ben! And what we come to…’ Wandering a desolate post-apocalyptic landscape, speaking a broken-down English lost after the end of civilization, Riddley Walker sets out to find out what brought humanity here. This is his story.

‘Funny, terrible, haunting and unsettling, this book is a masterpiece’ Observer

‘A timeless portrayal of the human condition … frightening and uncanny’ Will Self

‘A book that I could read every day forever and still be finding things’ Max Porter

I cannot think of another book that is remotely like Riddley Walker; it is unique.   Puzzling, disturbing, amusing in odd ways, and written in a language of its own …you may like it, you may toss it aside after a few pages, but you’ll never know unless you try it. 

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“A masterwork . . . the novel astonishes with its inventiveness . . . it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue.”The New York Times Book Review

A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole’s hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is “huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans’ lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures” (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).

“By the author of Rosemary’s Baby, a horrifying journey into a future only Ira Levin could imagine.  Ira Levin’s frightening glimpse into the future continues to fascinate readers even forty years after publication.The story is set in a seemingly perfect global society…”

I have always wondered why this book isn’t usually included in the canon of “great 20th Century dystopian novels” like Brave New World, 1984, and A Clockwork Orange, because it surely deserves to be there!

Only available as an audiobook in WRLS, so call us to get it on Inter Library Loan if you want to read it!

I liked this book; enough to seriously consider taking up knitting even though I have never knitted a stitch in my life !

Starts right in with the basics, and moves right along with a world of useful knowledge to take you from complete beginner to competent knitter, with a refreshing and honest approach to both aspects of the title.

I first read this book right around the time it was written in 1979.     It was fascinating then, now even more so as it depicts so many things that have vanished in the intervening years.

I am re-reading it one more time, right now.     Only one copy exists within WRLS, so don’t everyone order it at the same time !