Miss browsing our Relax & Read collection or finding something new on one of our book displays? We thought we'd share a few library staff members' personal recommendations for your quarantine reading (and viewing!) pleasure. Even though our library building is closed right now, If you live in Madison you can still read or listen to many of our book picks with a virtual library card from the Madison Public Library! If you don't live in Madison, check with your local library, who may have a similar service.
Librarian, Reference & Instruction Coordinator
I recently listened to the audiobook version of Lost Among the Living, by Simone St. James. It’s a fun mashup of genres: historical, paranormal, mystery, and romance. I enjoyed how atmospheric it is, and the reader is lovely. There’s romance, drama, ghosts, lies, and murder. Very dramatic, very moody. Perfect for a rainy day.
Here is my "what are you reading" list. I have Cult X by Fuminori Nakamura from our relax and read collection. An amazing novel about the 1995 Tokyo Subway Sarin gas attacks. Shanghai Dream, a graphic novel about Jewish filmmakers who escaped Nazi German to China during World War II and Library of the Unwritten (audiobook) about a library in hell. I guess my inadvertent theme is people worse off than us...
Since everyone so far has talked about what they’re reading, I thought I’d talk about what I’m watching.
I’ve been watching a couple of tv shows on Amazon Prime. The Expanse, a hard science fiction series based the series of books with the same name by James Corey. With excellent storylines, characters, and visuals, it’s perfect escapism. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a show about a housewife around 1960 who discovers she has a talent for stand-up comedy. My favorite character Susie, perfectly played by Alexandrea Borstein, is a crass nightclub employee who ends up managing Midge Maisel’s comedy career. The show and actors have been nominated for (and won) numerous awards.
One more recommendation for an excellent FREE streaming service, Pluto TV. This advertiser-supported site has an extensive library of live-tv and on demand content: TV sitcoms and dramas, movies, news, music, comedy, and “binge” channels the feature one television show. Last weekend on the Live Music Replay channel, I caught Stop Making Sense, one of the best concert films ever made, from the band Talking Heads. Pluto TV has apps for all the major devices, no sign-up or account needed.
Here's what I'm reading: Neon Prey by John Sandford, which is the most recent book in the long-running Lucas Davenport mystery series. These books are ones I've been reading a lot of lately because they are good whodunits and are constantly twisting and turning and having plenty of new surprises throughout the book.
I’m looking in two directions. On one hand, I’m looking backward, to remind myself that we are not the only generation to experience difficult times, and in this instance, a plague. I’m old enough to remember the polio epidemic, and my parents telling me, while on a car trip and passing through a dirty looking city, to roll up the car window, this to not get polio. I also remember the day everybody in my neighborhood lined up at my grade school to take the brand new polio vaccine - the scary photos of children in “iron lungs” in the backs of everybody's mind. That accounts for the book on the yellow fever outbreak along the Mississippi River valley in the 1870’s, The American Plague by Molly Caldwell Crosby and Albert Camus’ prescient La Peste, in the original French, of course.
The other direction shows that, in my heart of hearts, I’m a hopeful Midwesterner, and look forward to the baseball season. So, a baseball history: Baseball in the Garden of Eden: the secret history of the early game by John Thorn. Did you know that baseball “inventor” Abner Doubleday was handed the keys to the Theosophical Society by Madam Blavatsky herself. Who knew?
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