September 2022

Amy's Pick

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield (2013)An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth

The subtitle of this fascinating memoir describes it well: What going to space taught me about ingenuity, determination, and being prepared for anything. The author relates his own training and space experience to everyday life from different angles. He's an engaging, conversational writer, and his passion for life on earth and in space is evident.

Laura's Picks

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller (2022)The Bone Orchard

A dying emperor commands his enslaved concubine to solve his own murder: one of his sons is the culprit. If she finds the murderer, she will win her freedom. Charm is a bonewitch with no love for the empire; will she choose justice or vengeance? Not just a whodunit, this is a powerful tale of trauma and survival.

Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine SchellmanLast Call at the Nightingale

Everyone is welcome at this Jazz Age speakeasy, but its future is imperiled when a body is found in the alley nearby. The mystery is as fascinating as the glittering New York nightlife. But this book doesn't shy away from describing everyday life after the lights came on: night raids, uneasy class distinctions, racial tensions. It's all on display in New York.

John's Picks

John Barleycorn Must Die by Traffic (1970)John Barleycorn Must Die Also available to stream free on hoopla!

The fourth studio album by Traffic and their highest charting effort in the U.S. Originally beginning as a solo album for band member, Steve Winwood, he eventually brought other members of the recently separated group to help round out the recordings. Known primarily for the title track, based on the traditional English/Scottish folk song of the same name, this six-track album is a product of its time; the irony being that it (like many albums from this period) is timeless.

Regimental Sgt. Zippo by Elton John (2021). Regimental Sgt. ZippoAlso available to stream free on hoopla!

The "thirty-first" studio album by Elton John. I put that number in quotation marks because, while it was released on vinyl last year, the album was originally recorded between 1967 and 1968 and remained unreleased for fifty-three years. It was shelved in favor of what would become John's debut commercial release, Empty Sky; technically making it his actual first album. Described by songwriting partner Bernie Taupin as having a trippy sound similar to the Beatles, the album at first does not sound like a typical Elton John recording, yet his style is still apparent throughout all twelve songs. As for its delayed release, better later than never.

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)The Fabulous Baker Boys

Directed by Steve Kloves, this musical dramedy, taking place in Seattle, tells the story of the Baker brothers, (played by real life brothers Beau and Jeff Bridges), two lounge pianists struggling to reinvent their career. This reinvention comes in the form of Susie Diamond (played by Michelle Pfeiffer), a singer and former escort. Their popularity increases until tensions within the group begin to surface, which threaten this newfound success. Critically acclaimed, particularly for Pfeiffer's performance, this film hits all the right notes; no pun intended.