Staff Picks

The Light FantasticBrandon
The Light Fantastic
Terry Pratchett

Synopsis: It's just one of those days when nothing seems to go right a most inopportune time for the first tourist ever to set foot (and carnivorous Luggage) on the Discworld to be extending his already eventful vacation. But with a monstrous red star on a direct collision course, the future for the residents of this flat planet carried by four elephants riding on the shell of a giant turtle swimming through space appears uncertain at best. Fortunately, there is one individual who can save Discworld from total destruction. Unfortunately, that hero happens to be the singularly inept wizard Rincewind, who was last seen falling off the edge of the world.

Brandon Says: If you crossed Monty Python with J.R.R. Tolkien you would end up with something like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Smart, funny, and entertaining, The Light Fantastic—the second book in the “Discworld” series—is even better than the first (The Colour of Magic).

Brandon's Past Staff Picks
On Basilisk StationCrystal
On Basilisk Station
David Weber

Synopsis: Honor Harrington in trouble: Having made him look the fool, she's been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin by a superior who hates her. Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station. The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens. Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling, the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is Up to Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn't work to police the entire star system. But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They've made her mad!

Crystal Says: Get ready for a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants space adventure! David Weber blends intense science fiction with human ingenuity and cunning. Honor Harrington is an unforgettable character whose journey will have you racing through the pages to see how it ends.

Crystal 's Past Staff Picks
The Child FinderDonna
The Child Finder
Rene Denfeld

Synopsis: Three years ago Madison Culver went missing at the age of five while looking for a Christmas tree with her family. Private investigator Naomi Cottle continues the investigation and believes that Madison's disappearance can only be the result of an abduction. Naomi's personal journey from foster child to adulthood parallels her search for Madison, and as her fears and sources of determination come to light, the narrative also dips into Madison's mind, allowing readers to experience her terrifying ordeal at the hands of her captor.

Donna Says: Rene Denfeld’s sophomore novel brings the same captivating qualities that were present in The Enchanted, especially the use of imagination to survive the most horrific circumstances and environment. I am primed and ready for a follow up to The Child Finder, so please Ms. Denfeld, don’t let me down.

Donna 's Past Staff Picks
Fight ClubElizabeth
Fight Club
Chuck Palahniuk

Synopsis: Every weekend, in the basements and parking lots of bars across the country, young men with white-collar jobs and failed lives take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded just as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter, and dark, anarchic genius, and it's only the beginning of his plans for violent revenge on an empty consumer-culture world.

Elizabeth's Past Staff Picks
The DinnerMegan
The Dinner
Herman Koch

Synopsis: It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse -- the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Megan Says: Rarely does a film do the book it originated from justice, but in the case of The Dinner that is precisely the case. Both are excellent. The Dinner will leave its viewer or reader facing a very difficult ethical question. The proper course of action is absolutely black and white, but when we are talking about the future of your child, how far will a parent go to save them? Parents would do anything for their children, right?

Megan's Past Staff Picks
Your NameNina
Your name

Synopsis: Mitsuha and Taki are two total strangers living completely different lives. But when Mitsuha makes a wish to leave her mountain town for the bustling city of Tokyo, they become connected in a bizarre way. She dreams she is a boy living in Tokyo while Taki dreams he is a girl from a rural town he's never been to. What does their newfound connection mean? And how will it bring them together?

Nina Says: The world knows the name Miyazaki, arguably the Walt Disney of Japanese animation. Fittingly, Disney has made his films – from My Neighbor Totoro to Princess Mononoke – as well known as Snow White and Maleficent. Director and writer Makoto Shinkai earned his place as the future of dramatic animation with Voices of a Distant Star, made solely on his personal computer in the early 2000’s. With Your Name, he’s sealed it. The film is the second highest grossing domestic film in Japan behind Spirited Away, and earned Shinkai several critical nods, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Award for Best Animation. Your Name, in point, transcends what most Americans think of when they hear the word “anime.” Just as Miyazaki films do. It’s a poignant look at coming of age, down-to-earth humanness against the backdrop of time and space itself. It reminds us of the importance of what connects us, and how strong those bonds are no matter the odds.

Nina's Past Staff Picks
Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister BrainRandall
Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain
A. Lee Martinez

Synopsis: What's the best diet for overall health and weight management? How can we change our finances to retire earlier? How can we maximize our chances of finding our soul mate? In The Calculus of Happiness, Oscar Fernandez shows us that math yields powerful insights into health, wealth, and love. Using only high school-level math, Oscar Fernandez uses everyday experiences--such as visiting a coffee shop to provide context for his mathematical insights, making the math discussed more accessible, real-world, and relevant to our daily lives. Every chapter ends with a summary of essential lessons and takeaways, and for advanced math fans, Fernandez includes the mathematical derivations in the appendices. A nutrition, personal finance, and relationship how-to guide all in one, The Calculus of Happiness invites you to discover how empowering mathematics can be.

Randall Says: Pulp-era sci-fi antics and outrageous humor from a truly imaginative writer: Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain is a wacky romp through familiar SF and B-movie tropes. This is a fun, easy read to kick off the New Year.

Randall's Past Staff Picks

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