Staff Picks 2021, Part II by monique | January 21st, 2022 | Staff Picks We are back to share more of our staff picks from 2021. In this round we hear from Julie, Emily, and Jen. Julie’s Top Picks Who needed some happy endings… Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne The Roommate by Rosie Danan Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon One of Those Days by Yehuda & Maya Devir Emily’s Top Picks Books: Hidden Valley Road : inside the mind of an American family by Robert Kolker Over the Top : A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness Movies: Shang-chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Spider-Man: No Way Home Podcasts: Dark Downeast: If you’re interested in local true crime, this series narrates different crimes throughout the Downeast area. Your Own Backyard: This podcast helped to re-open the case which occurred in 1996 of Cal Poly student, Kristin Smart’s, disappearance. Jen’s Top Picks Audiobooks: The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles read by Edoardo Ballerini, Marin Ireland, and Dion Graham: I was hesitant about reading this book because I absolutely adore Towles’ previous work A Gentleman in Moscow. I should not have worried. It is an adventure to follow along with Emmett, his brother Billy, and the rest of the crew as they navigate relationships new and old and the voice actors bring the character’s personalities to life in a way that adds to their exploits. Towles’ prose is still as delightful, insightful, and stretching as A Gentleman in Moscow. News of the World by Paulette Jiles read by Grover Gardner: This book has been on my “To Read” list for quite some time. A movie has been made of the book starring Tom Hanks, but I told myself I could not watch the movie until I had read the book. I wish I had read it sooner. Set in the west after the Civil War, this is the tale of a widower who travels from town to town spreading the news of the world. As he prepares to leave one place for another, he is tasked with returning a recently freed Kiowa captive to her family. Not only is it a good story with a mix of adventure, danger, kindness, evil, and love, but it also delves into the complexities of family. Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman read by Lesley Manville: Fun. That’s the first word that pops into my head when I think of this book. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just a bit of fluff. It is smart, too. The cast of characters are well developed and you know you just want to hang out with them or, better yet, be like them. In a retirement village four friends create a club in which they discuss unsolved crimes, but luckily for them, a real murder takes place in their little town and they set about to find the murderer. If this isn’t already in development for Masterpiece Mystery, you know it should be! We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker read by George Newbern: To say this is a story of a man who returns home after 30 years in prison, is to just touch the tip of the iceberg. The young girl and her younger brother who are greatly impacted by the turn of events are real, damaged, complex, and a joy. I was certainly intrigued by the who-dun-it aspect of the story, but I fell in love with the girl and her brother. The River by Peter Heller read by Mark Deakins: This is another author that had been on my “To Read” list for a while. Two experienced outdoorsman who are also best friends decide to take a canoe trip in the wilds of northern Canada. On this trip, they experience dangers from nature and man, and whether they make it out alive is up in the air until the very end. This is a peak into a friendship between men who have experienced their own love and loss and wondering how the friendship will fare when it is tested by fire.