Staff Selections

Kathleen

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
Elyn R. Saks

The Center Cannot Hold is one of the best memoirs in contemporary insanity lit. Ellyn Saks is a professor of both law and psychiatry and is a strong advocate for the legal rights of the mentally ill. If you liked Touched With Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison, or Girl, Interrupted by Susannah Kayson, this engrossing book shows schizophrenia from an insider’s point of view.

Paul

What You See In The Dark
Manuel Munoz

 This original noir is set in bakersfield, California, the town where Hitchcock made "Psycho". A hot and dangerous romance has ignited between the town's most eligible bachelor and an ambitious young Chicana singer. The whole town knows and talks about it. At the same time the actress (Janet Leigh) and the director (Alfred Hitchcock) arrive to shoot the Bates Motel scene from "Psycho". A real murder and a movie murder cross paths. Munoz is a vary talented writer and his sense of noir atmosphere is flawless.

Terry

A Labyrinth of Kingdoms
Steven Kemper

 

 In 1849 the Prussian scientist Heinrich Barth was recruited to join a British expedition to the central and western regions of the Sudan. Over the next 5 years Barth traveled, largely on his own, from Tripoli to Lake Chad to Timbuktu and back. Somewhat obsessive, Barth kept copious and methodical notes on all the people and places he encountered. Despite a massive 5 volume account of his travels, he was judged a failure by his contemporaries and it was left to later historians to discover the true import of his work. This a very readable account of Barth’s journey. One the things that really comes through is Barth’s willingness to accept the societies he encounters as they are, rather than judge them by European standards, which is in stark contrast to those who followed after him.

Tim

The Financial Lives of the Poets
Jess Walter

Never has being laid off and behind on one's mortgage been as winningly presented as in Mr. Walter's novel.  Our hero, Matthew Prior, is out of work, his marriage is going through a very rough patch, he's in charge of the kids as well as his father (an Alzheimer sufferer), and if he doesn't find some money by the end of the week for his mortgage, he'll lose the house as well.  Funny, sharp, wonderfully written, and with one of the best endings I've read in a long time, The Financial Lives of the Poets will have you feeling better about your own situation in no time at all.