Staff Picks

Freakonomics

Freakonomics (Book)

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime?Freakonomics is a ground-breaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple, unasked question.

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Mao's Last Dancer (DVD)

 Based on the best-selling biography, Mao's Last Dancer is the epic story of a young poverty stricken boy from China and his inspirational journey to international stardom as a world-class dancer.  The story begins when a young Li is taken from his peasant home by the Chinese government and chosen to study ballet in Beijing. 

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Planet Earth (BBC)

Planet Earth (BBC)

 As of its release in early 2007, Planet Earth is quite simply the greatest nature/wildlife series ever produced. Following the similarly monumental achievement of The Blue Planet, this astonishing 11-part BBC series is brilliantly narrated by Sir David Attenborough and sensibly organized so that each 50-minute episode covers a specific geographical region and/or wildlife habitat (mountains, caves, deserts, shallow seas, seasonal forests, etc.) until the entire planet has been magnificently represented by the most astonishing sights and sounds you'll ever experience from the comforts of home. 

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Licking the Beaters 2

Lickin' the beaters 2 : vegan chocolate and candy - Siue Moffat

 Chocolate, candy, and even ice creem—a vegan alternative to ice cream—are featured in this fun vegan dessert cookbook. With quirky illustrations, useful hints, and a handy “Quick Recipe” indicator, vegan renditions of tantalizing delicacies, both traditional and original, are included. Recipes include old favorites, such as carmel corn, saltwater taffy, pralines, cookies, cakes, and fudge, plus some brave, new gluten-free recipes, such as the Fabulous Flourless Chocolate Torte and the Toll-Free Chocolate Chip cookies. These decadent temptations allow treats for dairy-free or wheat-free diets as well as for anyone who loves sweets.

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The Illusionist (L'Illusionniste)

Watching “The Illusionist’’ is like peering through a rippled windowpane onto a past that knows it’s disappearing. A seriocomic evocation of vanished pleasures — postwar Europe, British music-hall performers, the films of legendary French comic Jacques Tati — this glowing animated feature reserves its greatest and quietest melancholy for the gulf that can grow between a father and daughter as the latter moves forward and the former stays put.  

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Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

Sweden's coolest pop star, Jens Lekman, returns with his second album and once again he's knee deep in samples, strings and old-fashioned schmaltz. Armed with a Scott Walker baritone and an imagination that pits shimmering harp against hip-hop beats and brass, Night Falls Over Kortedala is audacious and beautiful.

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Lhasa - The Living Road

Lhasa - The Living Road

Already a star in Canada and France, the gifted singer/songwriter Lhasa sets her sights on America with this remarkable multi-cultural effort. The Living Road, the follow-up to her 1998 debut, features her smoky vocals (in French, English, and Spanish) in front with wonderfully understated support that draws upon Mexican folk styles, French chansons, Spanish ballads, and modern-sounding songwriters like Joe Henry or Jim White.

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Rebecca Makkai - The Borrower

Lucy Hull, a young children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, is unsure where her life is headed. That becomes more than a figure of speech when her favorite patron, ten-year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home and Lucy finds herself in the surprise role of chauffeur.
 
The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and dubious family history thrown in their path. But who is actually running away? And from what?

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Naked and Famous

The Naked and Famous - Passive Me, Aggressive You

On Passive Me, Aggressive You, New Zealanders The Naked and Famous combine noisy electronics and ethereal male and female vocals to create a sound that is at once otherworldly and anthemic.

Recommended if you like: MGMT, My Bloody Valentine, Kate Bush, Passion Pit, Ladytron

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Cut Copy Zonoscope

Cut Copy - Zonoscope

The third album from Australian synth-pop outfit Cut Copy, Zonoscope is a further foray into their hypnotic blend of shoegaze and electro/house. Recommended if you like: New Order, LCD Soundsystem, Daft Punk.

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crow

Nature: A Murder of Crows

Recent studies have revealed that crows are highly intelligent animals with complex social systems. This documentary shows them engaged in high-level tasks such as making and using tools, communicating with over 250 distinct calls, and even recognizing and remembering individual human faces.

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Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx

Bird Cloud

Proulx's first work of nonfiction in more than twenty years, Bird Cloud is the story of designing and constructing a house. It is also an enthralling natural history and archaeology of the Wyoming region

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The Miracle Chase

The Miracle Chase

In The Miracle Chase, three women embark on a spiritual quest in search of answers: Why do some people get miracles and others don't? What do the voices of history and cultural traditions tell us?

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One Night Only

One Night Only

The self-titled second album from Yorkshire-based rock band One Night Only is rife with catchy guitar hooks, irresistible melodies and anthemic choruses. Claim to fame: Emma Watson (Hermione of the Harry Potter film series) stars in the video for the album's standout track, "Say You Don't Want It". Recommended if you like The Killers, Oasis, The Strokes, Pulp.

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Golden Gate

Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge

Kevin Starr’s engrossing new history, Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge, tells the rich story of the massive public works project in a tidy 200 pages. It makes for a wonderful and never sluggish overview—complete with fine reproductions of paintings and photographs—that nevertheless contains many enlightening details. A small wonder in its own right. San Francisco Chronicle

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