Forest Lodge Library

A joint library of the Cable & Namakagon communities.

Staff Picks

Staff Picks - July 2017

Kristine's July Pick:

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

I picked this title as a book, now I’m recommending it as a movie…BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK….which I finally watched on the 4th of July. An excellent translation of the novel, outstanding performances, much to think about. Here’s what I ended up thinking – although of COURSE we should be thanking veterans and active military for their service, that thanks, so especially offered on a few select days each year, is so entirely inadequate. Unless we have been there ourselves, we can have no understanding of what it is they’ve seen, done, survived…or didn’t. We shouldn’t pretend we can understand. Moreover, if we truly honored the essential service these people provide to our nation, we would never allow them to be sent to defend corporate greed or personal agendas. I encourage everyone to see this important and sobering film.

Jennifer's July Pick:

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

I gobbled up Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay in one marathon day of reading. If you’re familiar at all with her work (Bad Feminist, An Untamed State) you’ll already know that she writes the sort of sentences that you want to furiously underline. Hunger is no exception.

Hunger is a powerfully written memoir about food and weight. It’s about moving through the world in a “wildly undisciplined body”. It’s about self-care and self-image. Gay’s vulnerability and honesty will take your breath away.

“This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not.”
-Roxane Gay, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Sarah's July Pick:

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Although not a new title, I highly recommend this one, the first of three mysteries featuring Cormoran Strike. When we first meet Strike, he is a down on his luck curmudgeonly English private detective who has been tapped to investigate the “suicide” of a famous supermodel, known to friends as Cuckoo. She has fallen to her death and her brother is convinced that it was murder. Strike soon finds himself investigating in a world of multimillionaires and spoiled beauties. A smart, witty mystery that will keep your attention from beginning to end.

Staff Picks - June 2017

Kristine's Pick - The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson

I was not quite three years old when Emmett Till was murdered and dumped into a river in Mississippi with a gin fan strung around his neck with barbed wire. I may not have exactly known the story, but, the name was surely part of the vocabulary of the civil rights movement that formed the historical backdrop of my coming of age years.

I knew something about the struggle for voting writes. I knew the definition of miscegenation. I expected The Blood of Emmett Till to be a sober and informative read. But, I was not anticipating the emotional involvement. Author Timothy Tyson does an incredible job of placing you in that little town in Mississippi in the middle of the USA in the middle of the 1950’s, of describing the historical and social circumstances that led up to and resulted from the viscous murder of a 14-year old boy and the acquittal of his killers in a court of law.

In the book’s final chapter Tyson says, “From this tragedy large, diverse numbers of people organized a movement that grew to transform a nation, not sufficiently but certainly meaningfully. What matter most is what we have done and will do with what we do know. We must look at the facts squarely, not to flounder in a bitter nostalgia of pain but to redeem a democratic promise rooted in the living ingredients of our own history. The blood and unjust arc of our history will not bend upward if we merely pretend that history did not happen here.” A few pages later, in his Epilogue, Tyson says, “And difficult though it is to bear, his story can leave us reaching for our better angels and moving toward higher ground.”

Read this book!

Jennifer's Pick - Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

I heard the buzz about this book when it first came out in the fall of 2014. Due to a towering stack of other books that I wanted to get to I put off diving into this one. I wish I hadn’t procrastinated for even a minute.

Just Mercy is a nonfiction account of the author coming of age as a young attorney and his determination to help people who need help the most. Mr. Stevenson dedicated his life and career to serving prisoners on death row.

“I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.”

I started this book with the vague notion that the justice system probably wasn’t fair to everyone in equal measure but that it was chugging along as best it could. Just Mercy opened my eyes. Wide.

“Capital punishment means ‘them without the capital get the punishment’.”

The author addresses tough topics: mental illness, poverty, and racism. By turns Just Mercy is infuriating, hopeful, joyful, and heartbreaking. It isn’t an easy read. However, it is a necessary one.

Sarah's Pick - Where the Shadows Lie by Michael Ridpath
Set in Iceland, this mystery is the first in a four book series featuring Magnus Jonson, a cop from Boston who was born in Iceland. Jonson’s first case is a mystery with ties to Tolkien and an Icelandic saga. Rumor has it that the ring in Lord of the Rings actually exists and may be to blame for a series of murders, both past and present. Iceland’s landscape and history feel like additional characters in this atmospheric thriller. Fans of international mysteries…and The Lord of the Rings…should not miss this title.

Staff Picks - May 2017

Kristine's Pick - NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman
I have been reading Neil Gaiman, champion of libraries and one-time Wisconsin resident for many years…and mostly enjoy his work. Being as I am of Norse descent (half Norwegian, half Danish) I have also been interested in the myths of our tribe and have, further, relished in the History Channel series VIKINGS including its many references to “the gods.” (although some of their made up ceremonies are a little outré…) So, was I anxious to read this fresh title from Gaiman? You bet.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but, I so thoroughly enjoyed it! The unexpected part, I think, was how easy it was to read. Although it is an accurate re-telling of the tales, the language is fresh and accessible. Vital. I encourage you to spend a few evenings curled up with these fabulous stories of gods and monsters, miracles and the end of time. I think that you will not be disappointed!

Sarah's Pick - Jeffrey Deaver’s latest Lincoln Rhyme novel is his usual fast paced, clue-driven, intelligent story. In this one, a traveling businessman is snatched off of an Upper East Side street in broad daylight. The perp leaves a miniature noose at the site of the kidnapping, and Rhyme must outmaneuver the suspect before he takes another victim. Full of twists, including a BIG one at the end!

Staff Picks - April 2017

Kristine's Pick - If you like food you’ll enjoy this title by Sarah Lohman, subtitled “The Untold Story of American Cuisine.” I found it highly readable, very enjoyable, educational and entertaining.

The author spent several teenaged summers working in a living history park where some of her duties included cooking historically correct food. Her interest in the subject continued into her adult years. She spent a lot of time researching flavors that she feels unify American cuisine and came up with eight: black pepper, vanilla, chili powder, curry powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG(which, it turns out, is NOT some evil chemical combination but was first made with kombu dashi) and, most recently Sriracha. She combed dozens of historical cookbooks to determine when the above flavors came to be featured in recipes. She discovered the people behind the popularization of these flavors and, sometimes, the events that pushed them into the culinary spotlight. I was, for instance, fascinated to learn that before the mid 1800’s vanilla was available to only the wealthiest people….and that before vanilla became a cupboard staple, rose water was used to flavor cookies, cakes and puddings.

Lohman also includes recipes…some historical, some classics featuring the flavor in question. If you like food, if you love to cook and enjoy paging through recipe books…or if you’re just interested in the commercial history of what we eat, you’ll appreciate this book!

Sarah's Pick - In 1986, Christopher Knight left his home in New England and walked into the Maine woods, where he stayed, without human contact, for almost three decades. He was arrested for breaking into cabins and camps, where he had taken food, reading material, and clothes periodically throughout the years. His story, pieced together through interviews by and letters to the author, is one that fascinated me. How does someone survive the Maine winters in only a tent? Why would anyone want to do that? I read this book in only a couple of sittings and had to remind myself that it wasn’t a novel. A quick, fascinating read, perfect for a rainy spring day in the northwoods!

Staff Picks - January 2017

Kristine's Pick - What fun to read a book that was entertaining, inventive and maintained one's interest throughout. Wonderful characters...I'm always a fan of a smart, intrepid, fearless heroine...and the support characters and manifest world were all well-created.

Irene is a Junior Librarian in the INVISIBLE LIBRARY, an institution that exists outside of Time. Junior Librarians are generally sent out into one of the worlds to “collect” a book required to maintain the stability of the Library and all the worlds. The novel posits that many versions of the world we’re familiar with exist simultaneously…the Library calls them “alternates.” These worlds are similar, but, not the same, dependent on whether they are more given to order, Dragon forces, or chaos, a preponderance of Fae energy in the system. Having just returned from a mission, Irene is sent away again on another, this time with an intern to mentor. Irene suspects fairly quickly that there’s more to this intern, Kai, than first meets the eye. They are sent to an alternate to locate a book that is coveted by the Fae and by vampires already present on the scene. They join forces with a very Sherlock type of detective…and the game is on.

Yes, this concept bears some similarity to the tv show The Librarians, and the movies from whence that show came…(and which I also recommend!) It’s a fun concept…and works well both in book and film/tv form. I went directly from THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY to its follow-up, THE MASKED CITY, which I also enjoyed(and which is also at the library, OUR library)...and now eagerly await the third in the series, THE BURNING PAGE, which should arrive before the end of the month!

Rose's Pick - An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

Sarah's Pick - Arthur Pepper is a creature of habit. Even after his wife dies, he’s up at the same time every morning, dressed in the same pants and sweater vest, and follows the same routine every day. A year after her death, he finds a beautiful charm bracelet hidden amongst her things. He soon realizes that she had a secret life before they met, and he sets out on a round the world trip to find out every detail about her adventurous past. A fun, witty novel, filled with great challenges for poor, out-of-his-element Arthur. This is a sweet, lovely story perfect for those who liked Harold Frye and grumpy Ove.

Jayme's Pick - Captain Fantastic (Movie Rated R)

Released on July 8, 2016 Captain Fantastic is comedy-drama film written and directed by Matt Ross and starring Viggo Mortensen.
It’s a tale of a homeschooling family living off the grid deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. A devoted father raises his six eccentric kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education, guiding them in the wild without technology and demonstrating the beauty of co-existing with nature. When the family is forced to leave their paradise and enter the world they begin a journey that challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent and family in modern-day America. It is both moving and meaningful.