Solano County Library Staff Picks



Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern Times
I start every weekday morning with the Today Show. So when Al shared his new book on television, I placed it on hold. I really enjoyed the book. All parents/couples, despite their social economic status, have similar relationship, parenting, and professional problems and that's what makes this book so relatable. It's just that many of us can't escape to our country home in upstate New York, but isn't it comforting to know that other people have the same problems you do and if they can overcome the problem so can you.
Recommended by: Juli W. Want it? 




I recently hosted a baby shower and turned to many books for game ideas and themes. What I really needed was inspiration. Lauren Conrad's book "Celebrate" was definitely inspirational, but in all honesty unattainable on my budget. But don't let that stop you from checking it out. I enjoyed the pictures and party themes. Conrad gives great suggestions for meals, games, party favors and even clothing for various party events. We may not live in the "O.C." but we can try to party like we do just with a "S.C." (Solano County) budget.
Recommended by: Juli W. Want it? 




Carnage (DVD)
If you like biting, dark humor this may be the film for you. It’s based on a play and is directed by the great Roman Polanski. It’s under an hour-and-a-half, and there are only four actors appearing in the movie—and what a collection of fine actors! Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz play a married couple who are guests at the apartment of another married couple, played by Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly. The former couple has a young son who has hit and injured the latter couple’s son with a stick at school. The two couples meet each other to discuss the problem. At first, everything is civil, if a bit strained. Each couple tries to be polite with the other, but there are some veiled criticisms. Soon the politeness gives way to overt and confrontational resentment. Each couple starts to go after the other. And then strains begin to appear between each married couple and the husbands and wives start to go after each other. The mental anguish the characters go through is excruciating—and funny. Delightfully so for the audience. Are you trying to imagine “delightfully excruciating”? Well, it’s a good trick on the part of the writers and deftly handled.
Recommended by: Jeff K. Want it? 




The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances
The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances is another hilarious and surprisingly informative book by Matthew Inman. He writes about the good, the bad, and the ugly truths of running. This collection of comics has something that every runner can relate to and laugh at.
Recommended by: Laura S. Want it? 




Finest Hours
I watched the movie and of course, the feeling of "there's something missing" hit me. I thought, I have to read the book. The coast guard assembled a rescue team who faced the most daring sea rescue. Their bravery was incomprehensible knowing the slim chance of surviving. The book was well written and it won't disappoint.
Recommended by: Loida M. Want it? 




Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
I'm not a gamer at all, but I did grow up at exactly the time this book covers (roughly 1989 to 1995), and I vividly recall the Sega v. Nintendo wars. Harris does a great job of capturing what was happening behind the scenes during those battles, as well as why it was of importance to the gamers themselves. If you absolutely hate videogames, there's no need to read this, but if you have even a passing interest in them, this is a great, entertaining read.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens who made England (audiobook)
I listened to the audio version of this, and it's a really compelling listen. I don't think Jones is breaking any particularly new scholarly ground, but this is an excellent way to get an overview of one of most interesting and crucial periods in English (and European) history.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




After seeing the film, I was inspired to read the book that prompted the making of the movie. If you're going to read the book, it is better to read the book prior to seeing the film. However, it is an intriguing read, and it is easy to see why they decided to put it out into the theaters. Getting used to the way Jack describes everything takes time, but once your brain wraps around it it becomes the most interesting part of the book.
Recommended by: Mychal T. Want it? 




Louise Erdrich writes a fictional account of Native American and American culture surrounding a family's tragedy and their community and how they heal. Erdrich is never cloying, her characters are rich, humorous at times, and complex. I enjoyed this read very much.
Recommended by: Emily R. Want it? 




Phenomenal : a hesitant adventurer's search for wonder in the natural world
"Phenomenal "reminds us what it is like to feel awe and a connection to our world and the people in it. Henion reconnects with nature and herself after the birth of her son by visiting a variety of phenomenal natural occurrences, such as the Northern lights, the Catumba lightning strikes of Venezuela, the Tanzanian herd migration, bio-luminescent waters, a Hawaiian volcano and it's mystic culture, and others. In doing so, Henion tapped into how her son and children look at the world in wonder and awe and curiosity. This book was spiritual and scientific. Refreshing and soulful to view the world and it's beauty with new eyes and appreciation. (sigh!)
Recommended by: Emily R. Want it? 




The productivity project : accomplishing more by managing your time, attention, and energy better
This is a book about helping to better manage your time, attention and energy. What I really liked was, that on top of giving advice on ways to tweak your workflow, there are also little challenges to help you think about what it is you need to work on and ways to better understand how to make his ideas a reality with your life. The author spent many years on this project trying various ways to manage his time and figured out the ways that he found worked best from reading other authors' books and articles to actually trying various techniques out in real life. He tells you what worked and what didn’t and why. Though everyone is different, he feels a lot of things he found worked for him will work for many other people, including you!
Recommended by: Sarah Lee GZ. Want it? 




13 hours : the secret soldiers of Benghazi (DVD)
If you like movies about war and things of that nature then this is a film for you. It is based on a remarkable true story, and is absolutely a picture of heroism. You will be on the edge of your seat the entire movie; this intense film will give you a new perspective on life.
Recommended by: Mychal T. Want it? 




I'll Be There (audiobook)
This story has made me more emotional than any of the many other books that I have read for awhile. Reading the blurbs I thought this was just going to be another teen love story, but it is really way more than that. It is about the love of two brothers who manage to overcome everything they have going against them and still come out okay at the end. It definitely was a twister and surprised me.
Recommended by: Sarah Lee GZ. Want it? 




Maybe Something Beautiful : How Art Transformed a Neighborhood
This gorgeous book is based on the work of muralist Rafael Lopez. Don't be surprised if the vibrant artwork and heartening narrative get you planning your own neighborhood revitalizations.
Recommended by: Natasha N. Want it? 




Dr. Noel Zone presents Danger is Everywhere: A Handbook for Avoiding Danger
So you're feeling safe, huh? Well, maybe you need this book to open your eyes to the myriad of unimaginable dangers all around you! Plenty of survival experts will tell you how to deal with grizzly bears, and lightning and even the Zombie Apocalypse, but only Dr. Noel can help you with toilet sharks and the hidden perils of ballroom dancing. There's a lot of fun—and fear—on every page of this book. But please, I beg you, ignore what Dr. Noel says on page five. He was just kidding.
Recommended by: Nancy V. Want it? 




The Girl from Summer Hill
This is the first book in a new series from Jude Deveraux. A light-hearted romance novel set as a modern-day Pride and Prejudice, the formulaic story is a classic for a reason. Casey is a lovable Elizabeth Bennet and Tate is a quintessential Mr. Darcy, naturally making them a couple with chemistry readers will enjoy until the very end.
Recommended by: Nanett O. Want it? 




Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back
In 1871, Japan sent five young girls to study abroad in America. Their mission was to learn American ways, return to Japan, and create an education system for Japanese girls. A very daunting task for the girls aged 6 to 14! Upon their return to Japan, they found themselves strangers in their own land. Even though they had been born samurai, they were raised as Americans. Nimura writes a vivid, engaging tale of these extraordinary young women caught between two cultures, and how they worked to achieve their insurmountable task.
Recommended by: Michelle F. Want it? 




Carry On
Rainbow Rowell excels at characters that are realistic and relate-able even in a world that is closer to the Potterverse than our own. This story of four teenagers finding their way into adulthood and unraveling how what happened in the past affects their future will keep you turning the pages and makes it difficult to put the book down. Wonderful writing and world building, even better than Eleanor and Park.
Recommended by: Taaren S. Want it? 




The Orphanage (DVD)
I don’t watch many scary movies, but this one has been my favorite ghost story for years. Laura purchases her childhood home, an old orphanage by the sea. She moves her family into the old house, and has plans to reopen the facility for children with special needs. Before long, her son, Simon, begins speaking to an “imaginary friend.”
Recommended by: Kristina C. Want it? 




Room (DVD)
'ROOM' is my favorite movie so far this year. It is the story of a mother and her five-year-old son held captive in their captor's shed, the 'room'. This is not a typical kidnap story, it pulls at every emotion in a very unique way. Brie Larson's performance was worthy of her Academy Award, and Jacob Tremblay gave possibly the best child actor performance of all time. 'ROOM' is a film you will not regret watching.
Recommended by: Mychal T. Want it? 




Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (DVD)
After the world learns that "the end" will be in three weeks, many people react in very different ways. Two neighbors, Dodge and Penny, go on a road trip with hopes to reunite with the ones they love. This movie will make you think about what is really important to you. The movie is labeled as a comedy, but there are some sad moments as well.
Recommended by: Kristina C. Want it? 




Castle in the Sky
Studio Ghibli and director Hayao Miyazaki are best known for their stunning animation and rich storytelling. "Castle in the Sky" (1986) is Studio Ghibli's first official feature film. Pazu, a young boy from a small mining town, encounters a girl named Sheeta with a mysterious crystal necklace. They both set out on an adventure to see the Laputa, the mythical floating castle in the sky, while avoiding being captured by air pirates and government soldiers. Anyone who has enjoyed other Studio Ghibli films such as Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away will love this film as well.
Recommended by: Andrea K. Want it? 




One Punch Man 1
One Punch Man is a new hit manga series where the protagonist Saitama has to deal with monsters and disasters that plague City Z on a daily basis. Unfortunately, his super strength is too powerful and he defeats every enemy with just one punch! The series takes a humorous jab at typical shonen action manga by introducing over-the-top, overpowered monsters (and equally absurd heroes) that are crushed almost instantly by a seemingly unremarkable rookie hero.
Recommended by: Andrea K. Want it? 




This fast paced novel takes you around the world from the jungles of South America, to the streets of Paris and Washington D.C. Undercover DEA agent Marshall Everett leads a wild and dangerous life as he tries to bring down a powerful drug cartel. Mild mannered Ariana Grande is living in New York and beginning her career in fashion when her father becomes the U.S. ambassador in Argentina. Two very different lives, but when their paths cross life will never be the same. A refreshing change from Danielle Steele novels I have read in the past. I couldn’t put it down.
Recommended by: Kristen M. Want it? 




Courageous (DVD)
This heartwarming family movie follows a group of police officers as they experience work and family life. When tragedy strikes, they are forced to come to terms with their role as fathers and challenged to make some changes. This positive, uplifting film is a nice change the current box office fare and worth the viewing time.
Recommended by: Kristen M. Want it? 




Descender. Book one: Tin stars
10 years after the Harvesters have destroyed the worlds of the United Galactic Council a young companion bot named Tim-21 wakes up to discover everyone in the mining colony dead. But who will get to the little robot first and why is he so important? Image Comics delivers another outstanding series with this new science fiction story by Jeff Lemire with beautiful watercolor artwork by Dustin Nguyen. Collecting issues #1-6, Descender vol. 1 Tin Stars is an exciting introduction to what promises to be an intriguing and imaginative universe.
Recommended by: Sandy S. Want it? 






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