Librarian Recommends: Tyler van Helden
September 28, 2018
Librarian Recommends is a weekly curated post of materials available to you, patrons of Barron Public Library and the More system at large. This week focus has been given to books with a far reaching purpose. From Meacham’s accounts of America’s political beginnings, Lukianoff and Haidt’s reframing of the next generation, Orange’s contemporary account of native traditions, and two films that give viewers windows into worlds most of us will never experience.
The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels (more)
By Jon Meacham
“Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham helps us understand the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear.” (Goodreads)
This librarian recommends because we are living each day in a turning point for America. What will solidify as the cornerstone for our tomorrow is hard to see when wading in the today. In the 24-hour news cycle, the barrage of political commentary, Meacham best frames today by looking at our past.
The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure (more)
By Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt
“The generation now coming of age has been taught three Great Untruths: their feelings are always right; they should avoid pain and discomfort; and they should look for faults in others and not themselves. These three Great Untruths are part of a larger philosophy that sees young people as fragile creatures who must be protected and supervised by adults. But despite the good intentions of the adults who impart them, the Great Untruths are harming kids by teaching them the opposite of ancient wisdom and the opposite of modern psychological findings on grit, growth, and antifragility. The result is rising rates of depression and anxiety, along with endless stories of college campuses torn apart by moralistic divisions and mutual recriminations.” (Goodreads)
This librarian recommends because Lukianoff and Haidt frame a generation that has been heavily criticized in a light of understanding. People growing up today are not like their grandparents, read this to find out why.
Author interview on NPR’s Morning Edition, September 4, 2018.
There There (more)
By Tommy Orange
“There There is a relentlessly paced multigenerational story about violence and recovery, memory and identity, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. It tells the story of twelve characters, each of whom have private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and unspeakable loss.(Goodreads)
This librarian recommends because the story is about an America that is trying to hold onto its traditions in a modern world.
This book has been longlisted for the National Book Award.
Freak Show (DVD) (more)
“Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther, The Imitation Game) is one-of-a-kind: a fabulous, glitter-bedecked, gender-bending teenager whose razor-sharp wit is matched only his by his outrageous, anything-goes fashion sense. When his glamorous mother (Bette Midler) is forced to send him to live with his straight-laced father (Larry Pine), Billy finds himself a diva-out-of-water at his new ultra-conservative high school. Undaunted by the bullies who don’t understand him, the fearless Billy sets out to make a big statement in his own inimitable way: challenging the school’s reigning mean girl (Abigail Breslin) for the title of homecoming queen. This proudly offbeat comedy is an irresistible ode to outsiders and nonconformists of all stripes. With Laverne Cox.” (IFC Center)
This librarian recommends because the film covers contemporary issues of bullying and gender non-conformity. If you are looking for a comedic buddy-buddy film, this is a great one with a distinctive spin. Based on the book with similar title by James St. James.
Kings (DVD) (more)
“KINGS stars Oscar winner Halle Berry and Daniel Craig as citizens of the same South Central Los Angeles neighborhood set against a backdrop of rising racial tensions during the verdict of the Rodney King trial in 1992. In her first English-language film following the critically acclaimed Mustang, writer-director Deniz Gamze Ergüven's KINGS tells a dramatic story of family bonds and the lengths one mother will go to bring her children home. Halle Berry stars as MILLIE, a tough and protective single foster mother of eight who must ally herself with OBIE (Daniel Craig), her neighbor and a local loose cannon, when racial tensions start to run dangerously high. As the civil unrest in Los Angeles grows following the acquittal of four of the officers accused of beating Rodney King, Millie and Obie must navigate the chaos that surrounds them in order to ensure her children's safety. KINGS focuses on the fragility of family relationships and touches on turmoil and tensions of the past, which sadly prove to be more relevant than ever in today's social and political climate.” (Rotten Tomatoes)
This librarian recommends because we are living in an era of increasing media coverage of racial tension. The film has received underwhelming reviews from critics worldwide. I challenge you to watch and decide for yourself. If you watched Selma, get on the list for this film NOW!
What's Coming Up:
October 4: Menomonie Public Library - Knowing News: Recognizing and Engaging with the News 7-8:30 pm, Community read of "The most important book on the realtionship of journalims and democracy published in the last fifty years." - Roy Peter Clark, Poynter Institute