July 2016 Staff Picks
David’s Pick: The Girls by Emma Cline
It might be unusual to decide on a staff pick when you’re only on page 17 of a book, but this one is special. With barely enough time to establish the protagonist and the milieu, Emma Cline has already hooked me totally with the assuredness of her writing chops and her meticulously detailed scene-setting. Loosely based on the Manson killings of 1969, focused on a main character who passed in and out of a murderous cult in the twisted California of the late 60s, this one promises plenty of spooky thrills and a funhouse-mirror look back at a time when it looked as though America was coming unglued. If Cline can maintain the high level of writing of the first 17 pages, this will be a hell of a read.
Joanne’s Pick: Fresh: New Thinking About What We’re Eating (DVD)
Fresh is a DVD about food, where it comes from, the real cost of “conventionally raised food,” and how grassroots farmers are raising everything we need without industrial chemicals or methods. It’s great to hear of solutions for our food system and to know we can make choices today to help make changes. Growing food can be safe and profitable for farmers, healthy for the people who eat it and good for the land it is grown on.
Megan’s Pick: The Epic (CD)
Growing up I spent a lot of time listening to jazz and blues. This wasn’t really by choice because my dad had a great collection jazz and blues albums, but his love of this music must have rubbed off on me along the way. Even though I’ve found myself enjoying various other kinds of music like Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” whose studio band included Kamasi Washington. This double disc album (which spans nearly three hours) is a reminder that the sounds of John Coltrane and Miles Davis continue to influence the music being made by musicians like Washington. If you’re concerned about committing to a three hour jazz album let me say that this is jazz that will convert any reluctant listener.
Megan’s Pick: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir by Carrie Brownstein
Lately, Carrie Brownstein is best known as one of the talents behind the popular TV show Portlandia, but what many people may not know about Brownstein is her talents extend well beyond comedic timing and the ability to become a host of hilarious characters. Growing up in Seattle in the ’90s, Brownstein was heavily increased by the music scene that was developing in the area. In her memoir, she talks about how she became influenced by the music she was surrounded by and also how she found her community among the music enthusiasts and musicians around her. Brownstein went on to perform with Washington bands Excuse 17, Heavens to Betsy and Sleater Kinney. I was a kid in the ’90s, and a little young for the music that was coming out at the time, but by the time I reached my early teens, I was listening to the music that Brownstein and her peers were creating and was in awe of the power and strength these young women had. While I’m sure this is a great read, I highly recommend enjoying this on e-audiobook because it’s read by Brownstein herself!