Ann Arbor District Library 2016 Staff Picks: Books, Movies, Music & More

Ann Arbor District Library 2016 Staff Picks

We don't just lend media; we indulge in it, too!

The Gregorian calendar rules most of the world, but time is a continuum. That's why our 2016 Ann Arbor District Library staff picks for books, music, film, and more include items that go back as far as 1865. Our list is comprised of media (and a few other things) that made an impact on us in 2016, no matter when the material came out.

Libraries have always acted as curation stations, helping sort through the vast amount of media released every year. On our website, we have more than 50 staff-curated lists of recommendations, but we don't just advocate for things digitally. We share our "picks" in person every time you step into the library. Books with prominent positions in our spaces, whether facing forward or on shelf tops, are chosen by staff members because they want you to pick up those pages.

Consider the massive post below featuring 55 books, 25 films and TV shows, and 20 albums -- plus a few odds and ends -- as a continuation of those curated lists, those forward-facing books, and the Ann Arbor District Library’s ongoing mission to bring high-quality art, entertainment, and information into your lives.

So, ready your library cards: Most of the recommendations below are in our collection; just click on the {AADL} link at the end of each pick to be taken to the item's page on our website.

Josie Parker | Director
📖 Book
Lila by Marilynne Robinson (2014) {AADL}

Eli Neiburger | Deputy Director
📖 Book
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (2013) - Any fans of Iain M. Banks Culture novels will feel right at home with Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch series. Breq was once a powerful ship, but now she's just one body on a 20-year quest ... for JUSTICE. The Radch is a predominantly female galactic empire struggling to hold itself together. Such outstanding writing, pacing, and worldbuilding makes it hard to believe it's a debut novel. All three Imperial Radch books are available at the library. {AADL}

Amy Cantu | Librarian
🎥 Film
A Canterbury Tale (1943) - This strange and magical movie filmed in 1943 is at once a tender homage to the English countryside and threadbare mystery that barely holds its thematic scenes together. It’s also now one of my favorite films. During a blackout in a small southeast English village, three modern-day Canterbury pilgrims -- a classical music student, an American soldier, and a Land Girl from London -- are thrown together to solve a mystery involving the infamous “glue man,” an eccentric nocturnal who pours glue on the hair of British women who date American soldiers. It’s a shaggy dog of an odd movie, with lovingly filmed asides about English myths, history, and moments of sublimity unique to the legendary filmmaking duo of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger -- made perhaps all the more poignant because it was filmed during the dog days of World War II. {AADL}

Laura Pershin Raynor | Librarian
📖 Books
Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb (2016) - This compelling novel tells the story of a survivor who lands in the strange world of Jewish Savannah after WWII. Through Yitzhak's eyes, we see the tenuous relationships between black and white, reform and orthodox, men and women. The combination of American innocence, greed, and racial divide makes fascinating reading as we watch young Yitzhak traverse the new world. {AADL}
Full of Beans by Jennifer Holm (2016) - Bean Curry and the Diaper Gang have hilarious little escapades in this kid's book that is getting lots of buzz. This is the story of a struggling Key West during the Clutch Plague and what happens when the "New Dealers" come to town to spiff it up and turn it into a slick tourist attraction. {AADL}
🎥 Film
Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King (2000) - These friends of mine, from my college days, leave me speechless. Their wonky, wacky courageous style made me go back and view Half Japanese again this year and it brought me great joy. {AADL}

Erin Helmrich | Librarian
📖 Book
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan (2015) - Youth, recklessness and the need to find the next wave, the best wave, the unsurfed wave mixed with gorgeous and literary descriptions of water, living and traveling define this memoir. Those with surf stoke and without will enjoy the barbaric adventure. {AADL}

Mariah Cherem | Librarian
📖 Books
The Girls by Emma Cline (2016) - I've long been fascinated by group dynamics, cults, charismatic leaders, girlhood/girl-crushes, and LA spiritual-subcultures. So, the second I read about this book, I knew I had to give it a shot — it was basically a checklist of topics that interest me. Cline is an observant writer who includes a lot of perfect details. You'll hear this book described as a fictionalized account of the Manson family. While I can see those connections, I think that's a bit too obvious. I found the writing about coercion, influence and control between and among young women/girls just as compelling and identifiable as that by the main male figure. The Girls has a lot of things to say about girlhood and those times when we aren't sure if we're attracted to someone or want to be that person. {AADL}
Gold, Fame, Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins (2015) - Last year, Watkins expressed her complex feelings about Battleborn, but I adored most of it, which lead me to pick up Gold Fame Citrus. It took me a few chapters, but once I was in, I was in. The future looks very, very arid, and the physical, cultural and social shape of California and the United States is vastly different, but all of this is really just the setting for the journey of a small family. There is no easy path to safety or redemption, but a few significant surprises, and writing that's bleak and beautiful. {AADL}
♫ Music
My Woman by Angel Olsen (2016) - I might have listened to "Sister" on repeat a dozen times when I first heard it. My Woman is a sweeping masterpiece, with such production, arrangement, and tone. This record shows off the power of a voice -- of a writer's "voice," sure -- but also just the sheer visceral power of a literal, sung voice -- that wild thing of Olsen's that swings from whisper to contemplative question to exuberant holler. {AADL}
Downriver by Kelly Jean Caldwell Band (2016) - One of my favorite songwriters, one of my favorite voices from around here. I know a good handful of these songs almost by heart. So thrilled that this album, recorded a few years back, is finally out in the world. Before this, getting to aKJCB live show was really the only way to get these sometimes twangy, always true songs stuck in your head for days. Available at Wazoo and Encore.
FRKWYS Vol. 13: Sunergy by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani (2016) - Warm synth swells and burbles from an original master and a newer Buchla experimenter, collaborating. Especially recommended: playing it LOUD on great headphones -- it rattles my brain into a peaceful place. {Bandcamp}
🎥 Film
Gimme Danger (2016) - If any director could do the story of the Stooges justice, it would be Jarmusch. His task was tricky, but he kept the interview circle tight to focus on the internal logic/world of the Stooges without getting sidetracked or lost in their legacy/relying on interviews with all the musicians and bands they've influenced. So glad this was made about some of the 734's favorite weirdos, and so thrilled I got to catch this. {Film Website}
Holy Hell (2016) - I was lucky enough to catch this as a part of Cinetopia this last year. In the ‘80s, Will Allen, a 22-year-old, joined a guru-based community in L.A. on the invitation of his sister. He remained in the community as both a member and its main documentarian, for over 20 years. Dark, and in a lot of ways tragic, but interesting and ultimately a triumph with Allen's return to the outside world. {Film Website}

Andrew MacLaren | Librarian
📖 Book
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (1962) - The best novels leave you questioning the very nature of storytelling. Shirley Jackson doesn't leave you that way, she gets you there in the first ten pages. But once you think you've figured out what's going on (or at least how we got where we are), you are still questioning, questioning everything, right up until the end. Another incredible narrative voice from Jackson, author of perhaps the greatest ghost story (or not?) ever written, "The Haunting of Hill House." {AADL}
♫ Music
Absolutely Free by Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention (1967) - I haven't listened to Frank Zappa in about 20 years but something made me decide to start again. Most of my old favorite albums didn't click with me (16-year-old me was clearly a different person with different tastes), but this one I'd never gotten to did. Zappa touches on so many different styles of music in this 44 minutes that it should be a chaotic mess, but it flows so perfectly you don't notice until several listens in. Zappa's editing skills are also on display here as he reuses multiple snippets to different effect within the same work. Some of the themes don't work for 2016 sensibilities, but the importance of vegetables will never fade. {AADL}
🎥 Film
Don't Look Now (1973) - Honestly, I picked this one up because of the great artwork Criterion has created for their restoration, and, man, am I glad they make such nice covers. Tense and sad at the same time, the film is more than the thriller it advertises itself as, dealing with the effect the loss of a child has on a family. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie both turn in masterful performances that are worth seeing and the ending does not disappoint. {AADL}

Elizabeth Pearce | Library Technician
📖 Books
11/22/63 by Stephen King (2011) - I was a Stephen King novice when I picked up this hefty book, and I tore through it in a week. The story of a time traveling high school English teacher who returns to the mid-twentieth century to attempt to stop the Kennedy assassination. Crazy suspenseful, surprisingly romantic, and in general just fascinating. {AADL}
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (2015) - Mind-blowing. A man tries to create a successful and healthy life for himself after suffering devastating abuse throughout his childhood but comes up against his memories and the long-term effects of his abuse so that every step forward seems to lead to two steps back. The support and unconditional love of his friends and family make for a powerful secondary storyline about the challenges of dealing with a loved one's mental illness and, beyond that, the enormous strength of human connection. {AADL}
♫ Music
Real by Lydia Loveless (2016) - Awesome country-punk-rock from the Ohio-based Loveless, who tours quietly around the Midwest with her own special brand of blue-haired swagger. She combines badassery, wit, and heartbreak into killer songwriting. A great album for us Michiganders... there's even a particularly relatable song called "Midwestern Guys" on it. {AADL}
🎥 Film
Manchester by the Sea (2016) - A powerful, beautifully shot movie that tells the story of a man struggling with the demons of his past in a tiny New England town. Not the film to watch if you're seeking a redemptive story, but oddly hopeful nonetheless. (In theaters now, but it’ll be in our collection when it hits DVD.)

Amanda Schott | Library Technician
📖 Book
Be Frank With Me by Julia Clairborn Johnson (2016) - A reclusive author needs to put out another book for monetary reasons. To help keep the author on track, and keep an eye on her 9-year-old son, her publisher sends an assistant out to help. Twenty-something Alice is excited for the chance to work the famous author but finds a great challenge and eventual delight in working with her eccentric son Frank who dresses for breakfast in a tie and tails and has very specific needs regarding where he goes and how he gets there. The dialog is divine! {AADL}
🎥 Film
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) - 14-year-old foster child Ricky Baker is dropped off at his next placement, which is the home of Bella and Hec, who live off the land on a remote farm next to the bush in New Zealand. Tender Aunty Bella and curmudgeonly Uncle Hec end up being not so bad after all. But after tragedy strikes, Ricky is given the news that he’s headed back to child services. This is unacceptable, so he runs away into the bush, soon to be joined by Hec. The fellas are at odds and end up on the run and subject to a nationwide manhunt. A funny and tender movie with such lovable characters. {AADL}
♫ Music
Lemonade by Beyoncé (2016) - A phenomenal album by the queen, with a world tour that was one of the best live shows I've ever seen. The visual album is a must-hear, must-watch. It's Beyoncé, enough said. {AADL}

Toby Tieger | Book Processor
📖 Book
Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari (2015) - This brief sketch of the War on Drugs looks at what has worked and what hasn't when dealing with various drug addictions around the world. It's well-researched, readable, and surprisingly hopeful. {AADL}
🎥 Film
Don't Think Twice (2016) - Six 30-somethings in a Chicago improv troupe start to realize that some of them will make it as artists and others won't. One of the most thoughtful coming-of-age films I've seen in a while. {AADL}
📺 TV
W1A (2014-2016) - A British sitcom about the inner workings of the BBC, which excels at dry lunacy as only British television can. Focuses on the protagonist in his position as the "Head of Values" and his coworkers, including the "Director of Better." {Amazon}
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-current) - A feminist musical dramedy about a woman who moves across the country to follow her crush. It's significantly smarter and much more imaginative than the summary can possibly make it sound; winner of the 2016 Golden Globes for Best Actress. {AADL}

Kathy Randles | Building Supervisor
📖 Books
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (2016) - I normally don't read this author but was glad I read this one. {AADL}
Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo (1994) {AADL}
How to Read Water by Tristan Gooley (2016) {AADL}

Beth-Ann Campbell | Desk Clerk
📖 Book
Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl (1984) - The first autobiographical book by British writer Roald Dahl. It describes his life from birth until leaving school, focusing on living conditions in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s, the public school system at the time, and how his childhood experiences led him to a writing career. {AADL}

Matt Gauntlett | Media and Events Producer
♫ Music
Paradise Gallows by Inter Arma (2016) - Building on the same weird, doomy, spacey, old-West-y brand of heavy metal that they did so well on previous records (2012’s eye-opening Sky Burial and 2014’s 40-minute meditation The Cavern), this record is undoubtedly one of the heaviest and greatest releases of 2016. These guys sound like a wild thunderstorm at their heaviest (think Neurosis, or a more upset-sounding Black Sabbath), and have odd similarities to Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy at their most out-there and moody. If nothing else, listen to this for the drummer, who sounds completely unhinged at all times, even in the simplest moments. {AADL}
🎥 Film
The Nice Guys (2016) - Shane Black flexes the writing/directing muscles we know him for rather neatly here, weaving a serpentine story of two bumbling private eyes investigating a missing girl, and the surprising twists and turns as the scope of the case unfolds. Sound dry and by-the-numbers? It's NOT. Russell Crowe breezily reminds us why he has an Academy Award, while Ryan Gosling absolutely steals the show in one of the great comedic performances of 2016. Oh, and did I mention that all the kid actors are great? What more do you need? {AADL}

Joe Harris | Systems Specialist Desktop Engineer
♫ Music
Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino (2016) {AADL}

Tim Grimes | Manager, Community Relations and Marketing Dept.
🎭 Theater
The Humans by Stephen Karam (2016) - The absolutely best play that I saw last year sadly closes in New York in just a few weeks. This comedy-drama is a brilliant ensemble piece, focusing on one family -- three generations -- as they gather in a rundown two-story Manhattan apartment for Thanksgiving dinner. Filled with heartbreak, humor, and poignancy, the play features a remarkable set, a series of haunting, unsettling noises, and lights that get dimmer and dimmer as the play progresses. The Humans was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play. The script is available in the library. {AADL}
🎥 Film
Don't Think Twice (2016) - The story of a struggling improv troupe in transition when one of their members captures a spot in a national SNL-type television show. The film is both funny and bitingly honest as the group faces the realization that one of their friends may become famous and leave the others behind. {AADL}

Molly Jones | Desk Clerk
📖 Book
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (2015) - Bride, a beautiful woman with blue-black skin, grew up negotiating a world where skin darkness affected her family relationships, self-worth, and choices. Now, a successful and self-assured professional woman, she tries to make amends for a lie she told as a child, setting off a chain of events that lead her to northern California, an orphaned girl named Rain, and a magic reliving of her not-so-magical childhood. {AADL}

Lucy Schramm | Desk Clerk
📖 Books
Making Toast: A Family Story by Roger Rosenblatt (2010) - The final book I read in 2016 also turned out to be one of my favorites. Making Toast chronicles the period of time after Rosenblatt’s daughter -- a pediatrician and mother of three young children -- dies unexpectedly. Rosenblatt and his wife move into his daughter’s house to help their son-in-law and the children with their grief and the work of daily life. What could be a heartbreaking book is instead at turns funny, wise and poignant. Rosenblatt never resorts to sentimentality and his spare words lingered with me long after I’d finished this book. {AADL}
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (2016) - Astounding. {AADL}
Underground Airlines by Ben Winters (2016) {AADL}
Moonglow by Michael Chabon (2016) {AADL}
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (2016) {AADL}
♫ Music
Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording (2015) - I have spent a large part of 2016 listening, like the rest of the world, to Hamilton -- and for good reason. Each time I listen I encounter something new, and often unexpected, from a character, lyric or instrument. {AADL}
We Got It From Here ... Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest (2016) - Their sixth and final album. Well worth the 18-year wait! {AADL}

Evelyn Hollenshead | Librarian
📖 Books
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson (2015) - This is an absolutely amazing book aimed at teen readers, but I think it's perfect for anyone who is interested in the Siege of Leningrad but doesn't want to dive into a huge academic text. The audiobook is also amazing and it includes parts of Shostakovich's symphony. {AADL}
Ada Twist, Scientist (2016) by Andrea Beaty - The third in a series, this picture book featuring a spunky young scientist and her experiments is one of my new favorites. {AADL}
🎥 Film
Ghostbusters (2016) - It was amazing to see a cast of all women in this remake. It’s hard to articulate how much it means to see women taking the lead in movies like this. I loved it from start to finish, and I’m glad my son will grow up with lady ghostbusters and lady Jedis (looking at you, Rey!). {AADL}
♫ Music
Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording (2015) - If all musicals were mainly like this, I would like musicals a lot more. {AADL}. I also loved The Hamilton Mixtape {AADL}.

Rachel Yanikoglu | Librarian
🎥 Film
Durrells in Corfu (2016) - I discovered this DVD set on New Year’s weekend and I did not want it to end. In 1935, when dreary English weather and four miserable children challenge the spirit of their widowed mother, she decides to sell everything and move the family to the sun-drenched Greek island of Corfu. As they find new ways to do everyday things, they find peace in paradise without much money. By the final episode, I was working out a list of who I needed to recommend this treasure to. {AADL}

Laura Van Faasen | Desk Clerk
📖 Books
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (2015) - This concise, exciting and fact-packed book sees the easy segue between bicycling and aerial locomotion, which at that point was mostly a topic for bird fanciers and dreamers. Brothers Orville and Wilbur, with their unyielding resolve, changed the course of history. A totally fascinating read that helped me recall many other highlights of our history. {AADL}
Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot by Mark Vanhoenacker (2015) - Marvelously literate. This 747 pilot takes you along over mountains, oceans, deserts, and conveys his experiences in a way that makes you appreciate the details of flight, the men and women who pilot the machines, and gain a unique and poetic view of our world from the sky. {AADL}
The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches From an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks (2015) - It’s a book about a way of life essentially unchanged for centuries in an era that’s all about change and flux. Beautifully and intelligently written by an Oxford graduate who returned to the Lake District in northern England, with a determination to continue to farm where generations of his forebears had done so. {AADL}

Audrey Huggett | Library Technician
🎥 Film
Song of the Sea (2014) - A young boy named Ben must go on a journey to save his sister, who is one of the fabled selkie - a human able to turn into a seal. A modern day exploration of Irish folklore wrapped in stunning animation and supported by a captivating story. {AADL}
📖 Book
Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang (2016) - Set in 1988, Paper Girls has it all, fantasy, aliens, and some phenomenal characters. I love it when girls get a chance to kick some butt, and this graphic novel gave its characters numerous chances to shine. {AADL}
🎲 Game
Dungeons & Dragons, 5th edition by Wizards of the Coast (2014) - Most people are familiar with D&D, which has been around in various incarnations since the '70s, but the most recent version is probably the most accessible to new players. I highly suggest giving your imagination a workout and trying out D&D in the new year. (D&D rulebooks are coming to AADL soon, but you if can't wait, you get them locally at Vault of Midnight!)

Emma Garrett | Desk Clerk
📖 Books
The Girl With All the Gifts (2014) - It's a zombie/post-apocalypse story where the "good" guys are lead by the small zombie child who has somehow become a hybrid zombie/monster/human, her humanity is tested to by her schoolgirl crush on her female teacher. It's amazing how much coming of age in a school where you are strapped to a chair and bathed in chemicals so you don't devour the people around you has in common with coming of age in a regular high school! I hadn't read many zombie or apocalypse stories before this one and I didn't anticipate the beautiful descriptions of clouds of zombifying fungus sprouting through the land. M Carey is a pen name for Mike Carey, of Guardians of the Galaxy fame, but he writes these really stunning and intricate female characters. {AADL}
The Mothers by Brit Bennett (2016) - It's easy to say that this is a book about an abortion, and it does show the complexity, conflict, and loss of people faced with that decision. Bennett has written about abortion in a way that both pro-lifers and pro-choice advocates can tolerate because the story transcends political ideology. But I actually think that the novel is more about friendship, in the vein of Sula {AADL} and Truth and Beauty {AADL}. Two women grow up in each other's shadows, borrowing each other's courage and beauty, and unfolding their life stories together. {AADL}
Thank You for Your Service by Dave Finkel (2013) - I'm also not usually a fan of military stories, but honestly the second season of serial got me thinking about the daily challenges of fighting in Afghanistan. Thank You for Your Service follows the returns of several marines and the ways they try to piece together their lives. It's journalistic feature writing at its best -- insightful, compassionate and unsparing. {AADL}
Evicted by Matthew Desmond (2016) - Talk about great participant observation journalism! Neither the landlords nor the tenants emerge unscathed from this portrait, but neither do they lose their dignity. Desmond weaves the context of deteriorating housing stock in Milwaukee and the way police charge landlords for "quality of life" complaints at their properties, all of which pushes thousands of residents out onto the streets. You see the lines waiting at housing court, the way poor and homeless neighbors take care of each other, and the personal travails of speculators trying to profit from the ghetto. Like "thank you for your service," this is a depressing book, but worth wading through. {AADL}

Katrina Shafer | Desk Clerk
♫ Music
My Woman by Angel Olsen (2016) - Olsen's influences on this album range from ‘60s girl groups to Fleetwood Mac, but her voice is entirely her own. I discovered this album while sick, but I couldn't resist singing along to "Shut Up Kiss Me" in the car. The sore throat was worth it. {AADL}
📖 Book
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin (2016) - Shirley Jackson was never content with the ordinary. The author routinely created detailed stories about inanimate household objects to occupy herself while performing chores, was a self-described amateur witch and a true believer in ghosts. This biography details the imagination behind her writing along with the struggles of her rocky marriage with New Yorker critic Stanley Hyman, the expectations of raising four children and running a household in the 1950s, and her desire to write with little time to do so. All this adds up to Jackson's veiled theme of discontent with domesticity in her horror writing and the still modern battle of working mothers trying to find a balance in her comedic family tales. {AADL}
🎥 Film
Green Room (2016) - This horror film about a punk band trapped by a group of neo-nazis (commanded by Patrick Stewart) after they witness a murder is a thrilling, head-spinning maze that leaves you on edge as the band desperately attempts to escape. It also showcases a stunning performance from Anton Yelchin, which is now tragically one of his last. {AADL}

Heather Shell | Desk Clerk
📖 Book
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (2008) - This is a book of great subtlety and significance. It traces the growth and impact of the friendship between a reclusive concierge and the precocious 11-year-old girl who lives in her building {AADL}. The 2009 film adaptation is also excellent {AADL}.
🎥 Film
Only Yesterday (1991) - With animation by Studio Ghibli, this film was made in the early '90s but only released in the U.S. in 2016. The movie examines the power of memory the reverberations of the past in the life of a 27-year-old woman, who stands at a crossroads in her life. The engaging animation and the charming storyline make this a must-see for anyone who enjoys Japanese culture or animated films. {AADL}
♫ Music
The Rhythm of the Saints by Paul Simon (1990) - This album is a masterpiece. Simon brings his characteristically profound lyrics to life with Latin American rhythm and instrumentation. Though you may be familiar with a few songs, the album as a whole is the kind you can listen to on a loop and still be captivated by new layers of meaning and musicality. {AADL}

Lucy Roehrig | Librarian
♫ Music
Blackstar by David Bowie (2016) - The final work by the late, great artist incorporates jazz and pop sensibilities with Bowie's crooning -- at times haunting and always memorable {AADL}. Also, check out the soundtrack to Bowie's critically acclaimed Broadway musical play, Lazarus, which also features his music. The lead singer on the soundtrack is Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under, Dexter) who sounds incredibly like Bowie {AADL}.
📖 Book
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal (2016) - A fascinating study by biologist de Waal of animal intelligence and cognition. He discusses various experiments that show the incredible approaches scientists are using to better understand animals that go beyond traditional lab experiments. Given the right tools and settings to work with, these scientists are introducing us to animal intellects that will surprise and amaze everyone. {AADL}
📺 TV
Detectorists (2015-; 2 seasons so far) - A funny, very original, and award-winning show from England that stars Mackenzie Crook (who played Gareth on the British version of The Office) and Toby Jones (Infamous, Frost/Nixon) as metal detector enthusiasts ("detectorists") and the day-to-day goings-on in the small village. Will they ever find that buried Saxon treasure? Watch and find out. {AADL}

Amanda V. Szot | Graphic Designer
♫ Music
Apocalypse (2013) and Where the Giants Roam EP (2015) by Thundercat - I was first introduced to Thundercat in 2016 and his albums have been on constant rotation ever since. The special jazz-funk-fusion-type-substance on these two albums makes them complex and worth many, many listens -- songs range from quiet and introspective to dance floor inspiration. Stephen "Thundercat" Bruder is a freakishly skilled bassist with a unique style (in both sound and aesthetics) and has been featured with other musicians like Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, and Kendrick Lamar. AADL doesn't have either of these albums in the collection, but the library has 2011’s Golden Age of the Apocalypse {AADL}. You can also check for Thudercat’s music at Wazoo, Encore, Underground Sounds, and PJ’s.
🎥 Film
Hell or High Water (2016) - Amazing modern western crime drama was directed by David Mackenzie and written by Taylor Sheridan. This is a slow-paced and brooding film with superb acting and storytelling. Plus, I'm a sucker for any movie that is filmed on location in the stark and gorgeous landscapes of New Mexico. {AADL}
📖 Books
Pretty Much Everything by Aaron James Draplin (2016) - If you're a designer, this really needs to be on your bookshelf. It's a truly remarkable book that is jam-packed with the work of graphic designer Aaron James Draplin -- a Michigan native who works out of Portland, Oregon. AADL was really fortunate to host Draplin in October 2016 as he embarked on his official book tour -- and watch this space for the video from his talk! {AADL}
Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams (2016) - I've always been a fan of Terry Tempest Williams' writing, and this book, released in the centennial year of the National Park Service, was an important release. Williams explores the lands and landscapes of 12 National Parks with a very personal perspective through her signature approach to environmental writing and social commentary in an age of climate change and pressures on our wild lands and open spaces. {AADL}

Liz Grapentine | Desk Clerk
📖 Books
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer (2012) - If you like cool twists on old fairy tales, then this sci-fi reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale is for you. Cinder, a cyborg mechanic in a futuristic earth, works for her harsh step-mother to pay the bills left by her deceased adoptive father. But when a mysterious, handsome stranger comes to Cinder's shop with an old robot, and a hard drive with a potential conspiracy theory that could affect the relations between the lunar kingdom and earth, Cinder has to get to the prince before the ball! This tale is more than just a story of a servant with a missing shoe after a night of dancing. Meyer has created a whole new world: a kingdom from the moon, with a Queen who's more ruthless than royal, and more depth to each character than I could ever have imagined myself. The first of a fantastic series in this world, the following tales follow Meyer's adaptations of Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and even Snow White -- each with their own space-age twist! {AADL}
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (2012) - One of the more intuitive and inspirational texts I've read, this book is a great way to feel more connected to the gladiator in you. The book's title comes from the Theodore Roosevelt speech "The Man in the Arena," which sets up the rest of the book -- and if you haven't heard it already, the speech is a good one. This text speaks about the trend in this time to guard against vulnerability, but also why vulnerability is necessary to connect -- to yourself, to others, and to a life of fulfillment and joy. If you want to tap into deepest self, find your vulnerable side, and find how to unleash the power that is being your most authentic self, then this is a book you need to read! {AADL}
Film:
The Jungle Book (2016) - An adaptation of a classic Disney cartoon, this reinvented, live-action film is well-worth seeing. This film pays great homage to the old children's classic, featuring some of the same great songs and iconic scenes that we all know and love, while still remaining fresh for a new audience. There's more plot given to the scenes, and more meaning is given to each character. With an outstanding cast, featuring Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, and many more, this new twist on the old Disney classic - based on Rudyard Kipling's most famous tales - will be a wild time and a great movie night. {AADL}

Anna Benson | Desk Clerk
📖 Book
Wild by Cheryl Strayed (2012) - Traces the personal crisis the author endured after the death of her mother and a painful divorce, which prompted her ambition to undertake a dangerous 1,100-mile solo hike that both drove her to rock bottom and helped her to heal. {AADL}
📺 TV
Broad City (2014) - This Comedy Central show follows two women, played by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, throughout their daily lives in New York City, making the smallest and mundane events hysterical and disturbing to watch all at the same time. {AADL}
♫ Music
Blood by Lianne La Havas (2015) - With a voice that is at once magnetic and soulful, Lianne La Havas mesmerizes in her second studio album. {AADL}

Kayla Coughlin | Library Technician
📖 Book
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (2003) - This is a sweet little tale sure to win the hearts of readers young and old about a small mouse with a whole lot of courage. It's masterful storytelling at its best! {AADL}
♫ Music
Greatest Hits by Earth, Wind & Fire (1974) - This well-rounded album stands the test of time with punchy brass hits and killer vocals as well as jazz ballads to complement the funkiest tunes. {AADL}

Kelsey Ullenbruch | Library Technician
🎥 Film
The Martian (2015) - Full disclosure I am a huge Matt Damon fan, and this movie does not disappoint! Astronaut Mark Watley is presumed dead and left by his crew on Mars. Luckily, he is also a botanist and figures out how to survive until he can re-establish contact with NASA. The plot is equally comedic and gripping, with a balance between "reality" and science fiction that was extremely entertaining and engaging. {AADL}
📖 Books
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (2014) - A young girl is obsessed with finding her mother, and enlists a psychic and alcoholic PI to help her find her. Chapters switch from Jenna's search for her mother Alice, and Alice's experiences of researching and caring for elephants in Africa and New England. I've put off reading any Picoult novels before because I (wrongly) assumed they were all tragic, tear-jerking fiction with a focus on a dramatic female lead. Leaving Time was recommended by a friend and I was initially interested because one of the characters studied grief in elephants, which is a main theme in the book. I enjoyed the enchantment of elephant facts based on Alice, but I also enjoyed the book on the whole thanks to the cast of characters and how Picoult weaved the plot together. {AADL}
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013) - A young woman shares her experiences as a college student and writer through her travels from Nigeria to America and back to Nigeria. This book made headlines soon after it's release and had my interest from the start, but by page 2 I was in love with Adichie's writing. Her mix of intellect, introspection, and cynicism created a gritty and accessible approach to one woman's view of race in America as a non-American black living in America. {AADL}

Tom Smith | Library Technician
♫ Music
Paul’s Boutique by Beastie Boys (1989) - I live in both love and fear the day my 9-year-old brings this home instead of a Harry Potter book, but I love the fact we at the library make it an option. {AADL}
🛠 Tool
➥IKAN FLY-X3 PLUS Smartphone Video Stabilizer - This thing is rechargeable And will make you a better person. {AADL}
📺 TV
The Returned. The Complete First Season (2014) - This has been out for a while, but the library just got it in pretty recently. Creepy as hell, well acted, and so atmospheric I was Airbnb-ing the town it was filmed in after the first episode. (Unfortunately, season two is a travesty on the scale of True Detective season two.) {AADL}

Beth Manuel | Library Technician
♫ Music
Good Will Prevail by Griz (2016) - Our family had the pleasure of attending GRiZmas in December at the Masonic Temple. Our son wanted us to experience this musician, so he bought the family tickets and GriZ didn't disappoint. This 25-year-old from Southfield, Michigan, samples the funkiest, bassiest beats and layers it with soulful, deep funk on his saxophone. It was a huge dance party and a lot of fun. {Griz}

Graham E. Lewis | Desk Clerk
🎥 Film
Spotlight (2016) {AADL}
The Danish Girl (2016) {AADL}
Remember (2016) {AADL}
📖 Books
➥The Puffin Chalk series encouraged me to re-read some classics, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol (1865) {AADL} and The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum (1900) {AADL}.

Ira Lax | Library Technician
📖 Books
The Sibling Society: The Culture of Half-Adults by Robert Bly (2016) {AADL}
LaRose by Louise Erdrich (2016) {AADL}
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1869) {AADL}
The Adolescent by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1875) {AADL}
Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years, 1865-1871 by Joseph Frank (1995) {AADL}
♫ Music
Jazz Sahib: Complete Sextets Sessions, 1956-1957 by Sahib Shihab (2008) {AADL}

Christopher Porter | Library Technician
♫ Music
Blackstar by David Bowie (2016) - Written and recorded while Bowie was dying of liver cancer, the record came out just before he succumbed -- and before anybody in the public knew he had been sick. So, the first wave of almost universally positive reviews for Blackstar were written based on the strength of the material, not because people were mourning a legend. If this is Bowie’s “cancer album,” it’s mine as well. When Blackstar came out on January 8, 2016, I spent two straight days listening to it on headphones as my own mother was dying of cancer. But I kept returning to Blackstar based on its stunning artistic merit, not for comfort during my vigil. But when the Starman died on January 10 and it was revealed to be from cancer, the album took on a whole new meaning for me, with the sometimes oblique lyrics suddenly revealing themselves as clear meditations on mortality. Now, Blackstar truly is a source of solace for those of us who have been affected by cancer -- which is most everybody -- and I consider it an amazingly generous parting gift from an artist who has soundtracked my life. {AADL}
📖 Books
Seven Story Mountain (1948), No Man Is an Island (1955), New Seeds of Contemplation (1957), Thoughts in Solitude (1958), and Contemplative Prayer (1969) by Thomas Merton - After my mom died, I dove into reading about grief, from C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed {AADL} to David Ferry’s poem “That Now Are Wild and Do Not Remember” from Bewilderment {AADL}, which uses the neologism “dislanguaged” to describe the feeling when you lose someone you love -- for there are no words. But the author who made the biggest impact on my coming to terms with grief was also the least likely, at least on the surface. Thomas Merton was a Catholic monk who belonged to the ultra-strict Trappist order -- none of which means anything to nonreligious me. But in Merton’s numerous books, he reveals an Eastern mindset, coming across more like a Buddhist philosopher rather than a Catholic priest. His clear prose and confident declarations feel like paths to healing, but his prose is also laced with self-doubt -- especially in his journals -- lending even more power to his writings since we get to see this “man of God” as someone who routinely struggled with very human things. Really, any Merton book in our collection is worth investigating; his humanity is that universal, no matter your religion -- or lack thereof. {AADL}