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June 2019 Staff Picks

David’s Pick: Rupture: The Crisis of Liberal Democracy by Manuel Castells

This brief but dense book addresses the recent turn to the right, in some cases to the far right, in politics worldwide, with special attention given to the Trump presidency, Brexit, & recent upheaval in Spanish politics. It’s an excellent primer, very readable & thought-provoking.

David’s Pick: Shoplifters by dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda

A fantastic & heart-breaking story of a makeshift family living on the fringes of Japanese society, building a sort of life for themselves, collectively working to hide the truth from one another about who they are. A thought-provoking meditation on identity, marginalization, & the meaning of family which shows a side of Japanese culture not often seen in film.

Jayme’s Pick: Lenny the Lobster Can’t Stay For Dinner…or Can He?  You Decide! by Finn Buckley

A choose-your-own-ending tale of a distinguished lobster and a fateful dinner party When invited to a fancy dinner party, Lenny brings thoughtful gifts for the hosts and enthusiasm for whatever’s in store. But when he’s greeted with a pot of boiling water and lobster bibs, Lenny (and readers) must quickly decide: should he stay or go?

Jayme’s Pick: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Sleeping Giants is designed for people who like to take things apart and put them back together. Its jigsaw-puzzle narrative style works as a mirror for the project at the story’s center: the gathering and assembly of the scattered pieces of a huge and mysterious robot. But the real appeal of the book is the way in which putting together the robot tears apart the lives of the people involved. The book, like its namesake, is an elegant blend of technology and biology.

Jayme’s Pick: Defending Jacob by William Landay

In Wiliam Landay’s superb literary mystery “Defending Jacob,” two families are shattered by a murder of a child. Laurie and Andy Barber’s 14-year-old son is accused of murdering his classmate. What follows is a moving story about their lives changed forever by this irruption of violence. I read this book with “my hair standing on end,” as one chilling secret after another is revealed, and the final truth comes out as a surprise, and, at the same time, inevitable.

Megan’s Pick: Mistakes to Run With by Yasuko Thanh

Heart-breakingly beautiful is the best way to describe Yasuko Thanh’s first nonfiction book. This memoir tells the story of Thanh’s childhood, her experiences as a sex worker, and how she finds herself in her writing. As a nonfiction writer I fell in love with the style she uses to write this book. It is poetic and powerful, and will linger with me for a while.

 Megan’s Pick: Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa by Jeremy Dutcher

I first heard this album after Jeremy Dutcher took home the Polaris Prize earlier this year. I’m always skeptical of award-winning music worrying that they won’t live up to the hype. Dutcher is a classically trained singer and composer, and in his debut album sung entirely in his traditional language he weaves his song with the songs of his elders which were originally captured using wax cylinder recordings. This album is powerful in the way that it creates an opportunity for story and culture to grow, it also does what Jeremy Dutcher actively advocates for which is creates conversation.

Natalie’s Pick: Hunt for the Wilderpeople by dir. Taika Waititi

Based on a Barry Crump novel, this adventure film is full of comedy and even some heartfelt bonding moments between a Maori youth and his gruff foster-father, who find themselves the focus of a manhunt in the wilds of New Zealand. There’s even a classic chase scene that honours Crump’s fascination with the Toyota Hilux!

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is accessible for the whole family, and is directed by Taika Waititi, known for his comedy including the films Thor: Ragnorok and What We Do in the Shadows.