Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

Creepy (in a good way)

I have loved Neil Gaiman's Coraline since it was published in 2002. The cover art was too scary for me, so I had to avoid looking at it as I read the book. I went to see the movie (in 3D!) this weekend and it made me appreciate the book even more. A few fun nods to Michigan added to the movie's charm (producer Bill Mechanic's an MSU grad), and the voice of Teri Hatcher makes for a sickly sweet Other Mother. If I had my way, the soundtrack would have included more music from They Might Be Giants but the movie almost lived up to my imagination.



Wendy W.

In Memoriam for 2008

They may have passed on in 2008 but their life's work will continue to resonate from the books, films and cd's by and about them.

Robert Rauschenberg (Artist)

Harold Pinter (Writer, Actor, Political Activist)

Paul Newman (Actor)

David Foster Wallace (Writer)

Heath Ledger (Actor)

Tim Russert (Journalist)

Bobby Fischer (Chess Player)

Arthur C. Clarke (Writer)

Sidney Pollock (Actor, Director)

Eartha Kitt (Actor, Singer)

Isaac Hayes (Musician)


Robert Rauschenberg : breaking boundaries



Read It Before You See the Movie!

Steve Lopez, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, was rounding a busy street corner, when beautiful violin music caught his attention.  He discovered a man in tattered clothing, playing a beaten-up, two-stringed violin.  Sensing a column topic, Lopez struck up a tentative acquaintance with Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, former Juilliard School of Music student, now living on the streets of L.A., coping his best with the effects of schizophrenia.

Thus began a life-changing friendship between the two men, which Lopez chronicles in The Soloist: a Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music The movie of their story appears in theatres in March, 2009.


The Soloist: a Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music

Black Postcards: A Rock and Roll Romance

One of the founding members of severely underappreciated '80s slowcore band Galaxie 500, lounge-rock group Luna, and half of the duo Dean and Britta, Dean Wareham has made a life out of almost, but not quite, breaking through to fame and stardom. Rolling Stone magazine once declared Luna "the greatest band you never heard of", and that pretty much sums up most of Wareham's career. With Black Postcards, every last awful detail about being a middle-rung rockstar is laid bare: the booze, the pills, the anonymous hookups with groupies during European tours, and the inevitable breakup(of both the band, and later, his marriage). While that's oddly entertaining in itself, what's even more interesting is Wareham's tales of the indie rock explosion of the late '80s to mid '90s, and the subsequent rise and fall of the grunge era. Through it all, Wareham provides a brutally honest, often ugly look at the frustrating position of being marginally successful in the music industry.


Black postcards : a rock & roll romance
Stewart F.

Illustrator Kadir Nelson: “It’s part of my DNA!”

I wish I could have seen the exhibit for Kadir Nelson presented by Calvin College. It was held in conjunction with Festival of Faith and Writing and was called Beauty of the Spirit: Paintings and Illustrations by Kadir Nelson. Kadir Nelson gave new life to Ellen Levine’s edition of Henry’s Freedom Box with his detailed illustrations. Kadir showed the sorrow and pain, happiness, hard work and determination in Henry’s story. In Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led her People to Freedom Carole Boston Weatherford tells of the struggle of slave life while Kadir does a fantastic job of illustrating the determination for freedom from it. He has illustrated books for Debbie AllenSpike and Tonya Lee and Jerdine Nolen. And Kadir knows Hip Hop as you can see from the work he has done with Hip Hop artists like Tupac& Biggie, NeoSoul, Ecay Uno and others in the entertainment industry. He did art work for the movie Spirit, stallion of Cimarron. Now he is the author of his own book We Are the Ship:the story of Negro League baseball. But what I like most are the old time portraits that portray a lot of character in the faces, body, hands and feet. Check Kadir Nelson out and see how well he does the future and the past!

Henry's Freedom Box



Go Guides!

Here’s a plug for the topic guides on the new KPL website. During my first post-launch visit to the site, I found that the highlighted topic guide was “Parenting.” I took a look and realized that the guide will be useful for a local committee I’m serving on.

Today I distributed copies of the Parenting guide to the group.  They were impressed to see such a variety of resources gathered together… …KPL catalog headings and website topics, books recommended by staffdatabasesnewspapers and magazinescommunity resources and websites.

The committee includes some early childhood development experts and educators, and they offered some suggestions for additional resources we could add. I’m glad the new website will be interactive so users of the topic guides can help us make them even better!


mother reading while child jumps on bed
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