April 2023

Laura's Picks:Lady's Guide

A lady’s guide to fortune-hunting by Sophie Irwin (2022)

Kitty Talbot is determined to wed a wealthy husband for the sake of her impoverished sisters. Lord Radcliffe is equally determined not to let his feckless brother fall into her mercenary clutches. Sparks fly during their battle of wits, and fans of Jane Austen and Bridgerton will enjoy this rare treat.

John's Picks:

 Freedom- Journey

Freedom by Journey (2022)

The fifteenth studio album by the band and their first release of new material in eleven years.  It is also the second album not to feature bass player Ross Valory, who was let go in 2020 and replaced by session bassist and American Idol alum, Randy Jackson.  At over seventy minutes, it is the band’s longest studio recording, excluding compilations.  The songs on the album have hints of the band’s musical past that any fan is sure to pick up on.  It is proof that Journey is still going strong today.


Piano Book by Lang Lang (2018) Piano Book

The sixteenth studio album by Chinese virtuoso pianist, Lang Lang.  It contains classical pieces for solo piano that Lang Lang himself has described as the songs that made him want to become a musician in the first place.   In addition to popular classical standards such as “Für Elise” and “Clair de Lune,” there is also a 12-track variation on “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”  The album is a window into Lang Lang’s remarkable skill, and as a pianist myself, I strongly relate to it.



Elvis (2022) 

A dramatic biopic directed by Baz Luhrmann, and starring Austin Butler as the titular rock & roll legend.   The film chronicles Elvis’ life, including his rise to fame and his contentious relationship with manager Colonel Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks.  Butler’s performance was universally praised, garnering him a Best Actor nomination and it’s not hard to see why; he embodies Elvis Presley like no other.

Lauren's Picks:

 Poppy War

The Poppy Warby R.F. Kuang (2018)


Inspired by twentieth century China, this military fantasy follows Rin, a poor orphan who shocks everyone when she aces the Keju exam and gets into the top military academy in the empire. With her acceptance Rin thinks she has overcome her past, but her troubles are just beginning. She faces discrimination from her privileged classmates who have been training their whole lives to get into the academy, and who don’t take kindly to a peasant interloper in their midst. But a war is looming on the horizon, and Rin may hold the key to saving the empire, if it doesn’t destroy her first.