Staff Choices

Posted by annetteb on 09/27/15
Are you looking to use our Studio Production space to record your latest song? If so, the iRig may be beneficial to your creative endeavors.
The iRig is a guitar interface adaptor for iOS devices. With the iRig, you can connect your electric guitar and bass to our studio equipment, as well as either the iPhone, iPod, or iPad. The iRig works with dozens of other guitar apps, and will help you produce quality recordings. Simply plug your intstrument into the iRig, then plug in headphones or an amplifier to the output, and record your song. 
If you would like to use the iRig during your studio session, please ask for it at the Tech Help Desk. 
We look forward to seeing you in the Studio!
Posted by Uncle Will on 09/16/15
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What would you do if you were suddenly taken back in time 200 years?
Such is the dilemma for Claire Randall, the main character in Diana Gabaldon's epic novel, Outlander, published in 1991 and recently adapted into a TV mini-series. Claire is a WWII nurse in England who reunites with her husband, post-war, for a second honeymoon in Scotland. While visiting a historic hilltop, Claire is mysteriously transported back to 1743, where she must worry for her life, find the secret to her journey into the past, and somehow overcome immense odds to return to her husband, who is determinedly searching for her in 1945.
This series is well-written, keeping true to Gabaldon's suspenseful plot.  The scenery is breathtaking and the soundtrack perfectly underscores the drama of the period. This series should be the first choice you make for date night with that someone who is special.  It has a little bit of everything:  action, romance, humor, history, and grown men in kilts! 
If you enjoy watching, make sure to place a hold on Outlander Season 1 / Volume 2.
Posted by jfreier on 09/10/15
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Professor Jeremy Logan is called to investigate the suicide of a well respected scientist at the prestigious think tank Lux in Newport, Rhode Island. Jeremy is a specialist in analyzing supernatural events, the scientist had been working on updating the west wing of the century old building when he started slowly going mad before killing himself. Logan finds that other members of the Lux have also had similar issues.
Logan soon finds a secret room in the west wing that had been sealed and was not shown on the original blueprints of the building. The room has been closed since 1935 and contains a mysterious machine that may hve been used in seance's to contact the deceased.
The book is fast paced with many twists and great sense of forboding, well written by Lincoln Child, this is his 4th with Jeremy Logan featured.
Posted by lsears on 09/09/15
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Sometimes life begins with sad endings. Eva Thorvald is the central character of Kitchens of the Great Midwest. She is the daughter of chef Lars Thorvald, a man who learned to bake and to make traditional Swedish Lutefisk at his father’s side in Minnesota. Eva grows up precocious and with her father’s love of cooking filtering down through her genes. She never knows her biological father and mother as the family who raises Eva does not tell her about them. They love Eva but do not share her budding interest and talent in gastronomy.
Chapters continue with new beginnings that lead to other endings; humble origins lead to lofty goals; unusual pairings in both food and relationships are showcased as people move in and out of each other’s lives. I feel that the book often changes directions and I was left a little befuddled with how it would conclude as the narrative jumps ahead a few years, introduces new characters, twines around, diverges and comes back to its center again. There is humor and sadness, some vengefulness and cunning, longing, relocation; all with a sense that we make what we will out of our lives, often through some tough struggles but with a sense of Midwestern fortitude.
The payoff I was waiting for delivers in the end. People who enjoy a story told in an offbeat, unconventional manner will enjoy reading author J. Ryan Stradal’s debut novel.
Posted by jdunc on 08/28/15
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In A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope Tom Brokaw, the incomparable newsman, recounts his struggle with multiple myeloma, an incurable form of blood marrow cancer. He describes how his once active life of fly fishing, horseback riding, camping, and hiking came to a sudden halt in 2013 when constant back pain led to the cancer diagnosis. Ever the reporter, Brokaw recorded his experience while battling cancer and based the memoir off of those notes. While the book centers around the diagnosis, Brokaw does an excellent job of reminiscing on his experience reporting world changing events, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Tiananmen Square massacre, and 9/11. He also showcases a profound love for his wife, children, grandchildren and extended family. Throughout the memoir Brokaw comments on the issues with health care in America, coming to terms with aging, and his own mortality.

The one disappointment with the audiobook was that it was not read by the author. Having watched Brokaw for years on the Nightly News and seen many of his stand alone news pieces, including his wonderful work on the greatest generation it was jarring to hear a voice other than his recount the story. However, Mark Bramhall is an accomplished reader and after the first few tracks his booming voice draws the listener in. It is a poignant memoir from one of America’s most well-known and beloved newsmen.
Cancer, memoir
Posted by bweiner on 08/19/15
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Finish off your summer with the novel, Act of God by Jill Ciment. This unique story is an unconventional combination of horror and humor, and it also serves as a narrative about how predictable our lives are until one unforeseen event changes everything.

The story begins in New York City where identical twins, Edith, the retired librarian and Kat, the free spirit, find peculiar phosphorescent mushrooms growing in their closet. Their landlady Vida is a Shakespearian actress, although she is mostly recognizable for a female sexual enhancement pill commercial she recently did. Vida lives upstairs, as does Ashley, the runaway Russian au pair who is hiding in her closet. When Vida also discovers the funky fungi sprouting in her apartment, the health department condemns the building, sends in the Hazmat team, and life instantly changes for this unusual group of nomads.

To say more would be to give away parts of the story that you should discover on your own. There is a message here about the transitory nature of our existence and the ability we possess to transgress our difficulties. Quirky characters, clever plotting, bizarre humor, and some seriously solid writing make this a very worthwhile read.
dark humor
Posted by Uncle Will on 08/14/15
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Back in 2007, two New Zealand musician/comedians took the USA by storm in the hilariously creative TV series Flight of the Conchords.  One of the shows stars, Jermaine Clement, has gone on to make several films. His most recent is the vampire spoof What we do in the Shadows.
Three vampires agree to let a film crew into their flat to capture the vampires' day-to-day activities...or more precisely, their night-to night ones. What follows in the next 85 minutes is near-genius. Bringing the undead to life is no easy task. This parody on horror films and reality shows will keep you laughing out loud. Be sure to watch through the credits, because this film wants the last laugh.
Below is a short clip highlighting "Stu" the trio's new found human friend, who they have all agreed not to eat!
Posted by lsears on 08/13/15
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Right from the start with Nina George’s dedication of the book to her father I was under the spell of this novel. First published in German, it illustrates how beautiful language can be; nothing was lost in the translation. Some may find this tale a little fanciful, but this is one reason why I enjoyed it: to be taken on someone else’s journey yet find elements that resonate with me. This book is best read leisurely to savor the beautifully worded passages.

A Literary Apothecary is the name of a book store located on a barge floating on the Seine River in Paris owned by a man named Jean Perdu. His talent lies in his ability to intuit what his customers need to read rather than what they came in to get. Troubled for years mourning a lost love, lost time and a lost opportunity he unmoors his barge to travel to the south of France where his beloved Manon once lived to make peace with his decisions. Unexpectedly joining him is a young man from his apartment building, Max Jordan, who views Jean as a father figure. Max is a first time novelist who has experienced success too soon, too overwhelmingly fast.  He is both running from something and running toward something, just like Perdu. Another apartment building resident, Catherine, provides the catalyst for this trek and a renewed sense of hope for the future for Perdu. Along their way on the Seine, Perdu and Max meet others who help guide them and add flavor to their journey.
Nina George has created a winsome, imaginative story deftly wrought. Bonus material at the end of the book includes recipes typical of the Provence region of France and Perdu’s own Emergency Literary Pharmacy title recommendations. The author is also a writer’s rights advocate.
Posted by jfreier on 07/30/15
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The long awaited sequel to "Power of the Dog", Don Winslow's epic novel about the drugwars set in the 1970's. The author picks up the story starting in 2004 with DEA agent Art Keller back to kill drug lord Adan Barrera who has just escaped from a mexican prison, much like the real "El Chapo".
The story shows Keller's relationship working with the DEA and with the mexican authorities, who he never knows who he can trust. The corruption rises to the top of the Mexican government and the power and influence of the cartels is all encompassing.
The parrallel story Of Adan and the cartel families is just as fascinating and truly frightening. A truly great novel, the Godfather of the war on drugs.
Posted by jdunc on 07/30/15
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No Bro-Country here.
I love country music, but I am getting a little tired of hearing about trucks, cut off shorts, and beer in pop country that is on constant loop on the radio. What happened to classic country music? Chris Stapleton’s debut solo album, Traveller, brings real, gritty country music back to the mainstream. With roots in bluegrass and Southern rock, the former lead singer of the SteelDrivers, already has several songwriting accolades. His songs have appeared on albums for Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, and Darius Rucker.
From the title track, I was hooked "I’m just a traveller on this earth, Sure as my heart’s behind the pocket of my shirt, I’ll just keep rollin’ until I’m in the dirt”. His heartbreaking voice and raw feeling come through on the acoustic “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” and “Whiskey and You”. There are some really great Southern rock and blues inspired tracks as well.
Want recommendations on what to read next? Email and we will be happy to assist you in finding a great book to read.
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