Blogs

Nico Walker: Veteran, Bank Robber, Prisoner, and Now a Lauded Novelist

Nico Walker — the debut author who is making waves with his novel, Cherry — did not follow a traditional track to publishing his first novel. At the age many young authors would attend writing classes or workshops, Walker served as a medic in Iraq. Later, he’d return to the United States with PTSD and became addicted to heroin—a habit that he supplemented by robbing banks in the Cleveland area. He is now serving 11 years in a Kentucky federal prison for those crimes, where he wrote Cherry on a typewriter.

 

The book was later sold to Knopf, and movie rights have been acquired by the Russo brothers, who directed Avengers: Infinity War.

 

 

The novel seems to fictionalize this experience, pulling the reader into Walker’s gritty worldview with lean, choppy prose that’s comparable to Donald Ray Pollock’s, who also hails from Ohio. The book is a tough read, blending a nameless narrator’s love story with strong imagery of war and addiction, but its critical reception has been strong. Vulture mused that Cherry “might be the first great novel of the opioid epidemic.”

Put Cherry on hold today.

Dying to Know How HBO’s Sharp Objects Miniseries Ends? Then Read Gillian Flynn’s Great Novel

Many readers recognize Gillian Flynn as the author of Gone Girl, the 2012 best-selling novel that earned the former Entertainment Weekly critic a massive fanbase. But the author launched her career in 2006 with an equally creepy and sinister work titled Sharp Objects. The novel follows Camille Preaker, a reporter with a complicated family history who returns to her own small town to report on a murder. As fans of Gone Girl already know, the novel is littered with dark secrets and surprising twists. Even Stephen King was a fan upon the novel’s release, stating: “To say this is a terrific debut novel is really too mild.”

 

Sharp Objects has stirred up a lot more interest recently because of a new miniseries on HBO. The series features Amy Adams as Preaker, as well as some script writing from Flynn. Though the series has aired three out of eight episodes, you can beat HBO to the punch by reading (or listening) to Sharp Objects. You can place your hold below.

Sharp Objects

Michael Pollan Weighs the Therapeutic Value of Psychedelic Drugs in How to Change Your Mind

Psychedelic drugs like LSD and “magic” mushrooms tend to stir up a particular association with the rebellious youth of the late ‘60s. But Michael Pollan, the respected journalist who deconstructed American eating habits in books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, has started a psychedelic conversation that has nothing to do with rebellion.

In How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science About Psychedelics Teaches us About Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, Pollan argues that psychedelic experiences can be useful—and therapeutic—for patients with repetitive brain patterns. Through meticulous research, Pollan presents a compelling exploration of LSD and psilocybin treatment for those suffering from depression, alcoholism, and anxiety. For interested parties and skeptics alike, Pollan’s exploration of the subject comes mixes enough science and history with his own personal experiences to make for a compelling trip.

In Enlightenment Now, a Harvard Professor Calls on Raw Data to Argue Positive Worldview

Newspapers have never been go-to sources of comfort for Americans, especially while utilizing the mantra “if it bleeds, it leads.” But Harvard professor and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker has a counter-argument for those negative headlines—and any person who argues that society is headed toward a complete collapse. Pinker’s latest book—Enlightenment Now: The Case for Science, Humanism, and Progress—argues that we are in a golden age for happiness and prosperity, and that there’s data to prove it. The author calls on 75 graphs across a variety of subjects to show global progress, as well as its ties to concepts in Enlightenment thinking. What’s more, the book just received a glowing endorsement from Bill Gates, who called it his “new favorite book of all time.”

You can place a hold on Enlightenment Now, now.

Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage Explores Commitment Under Duress

An American Marriage Book Cover

Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage is one of the few 2018 titles generating buzz among critics and readers alike. The novel, which is the latest installment in Oprah’s Book Club, follows two young professionals in Atlanta: Celestial and Roy. The newlyweds face a nightmare scenario when Roy is wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison, leaving Celestial to decide how to live her own life outside. Readers and critics have lauded Jones for the compelling premise, but also for her difficult exploration of the concepts of marriage and commitment.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Check Out These Grammy-Winning Albums Today

The 2018 Grammys came to a close recently, with Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar taking home the top prizes. Whether you’re a fan of pop, rock, rap, country, or jazz, JDL has a wide selection of offerings from the 2018 Grammy winners. You can place holds on some of the winning albums below:

24K Magic by Bruno Mars
Won: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year (“That’s What I Like”), Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Album, Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical): 24K Magic, Bruno Mars

Damn. by Kendrick Lamar
Won: Best Rap Performance (“Humble.”), Best Rap/Sung Performance (“Loyalty.”), Best Rap Song (“Humble.”), Best Rap Album.

Know-it-All by Alessia Cara
Won: Best New Artist

Divide by Ed Sheeran
Won: Best Pop Solo Performance for “Shape of You,” Best Pop Vocal Album.

You Want it Darker by Leonard Cohen
Won: Best Rock Performance (“You Want it Darker”)

Concrete and Gold by Foo Fighters
Won: Best Rock Song (“Run”)

Sleep Well Beast by The National
Won: Best Alternative Album

From a Room: Volume 1 by Chris Stapleton
Won: Best Country Album

Dreams and Daggers by Cecile Mclorin Salvant
Won: Best Jazz Vocal Album

Chain Breaker by Zach Williams
Won: Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

Place February’s Hottest New Movies on Hold Today

It just got easier to stay up to date on JDL’s hottest DVD and Blu-ray releases. Starting this month JDL patrons may place holds on the newest movie titles, which now circulate for a full week. This means that you can place holds on your favorite new movies, even before they’re available at your branch. Additionally, there are no longer checkout limits on Weekly DVDs, Weekly Blu-rays, and Video Games. If you have any further questions about our new A/V policies, please contact Carnegie circulation department at (517) 788-4087.

Take a look at some of the titles below. You can also see all of our on-order movies.

All I See Is You

Daddy’s Home 2

Murder on the Orient Express

Same Kind of Different as Me

Suburbicon

Wonder

New Call of Duty Installment Brings Gamers Back to World War II

One of this year’s hottest games is set to arrive at JDL. Call of Duty: WWII, the long-running series’ 15th installment, takes gamers back to Call of Duty’s World War II origins. This title focuses on events during the Normandy invasion, but also has some note-worthy special features; critics are already excited about the “zombie” mode, which allows players to fight against undead Nazis.

JDL has this title for Playstation 4. You can place your holds below.

Call of Duty: WWII (PS4)

Who Needs Sleep? Check Out These Three Horror Novels You Might’ve Missed

With Halloween right around the corner, many of us are combing the stacks for our next big fright. No doubt, the horror genre earned a surge of interest after the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s It was a massive box office hit. Outside of mainstream horror writers like King, though, there are many gems waiting to be found. If you’re just returning to the genre, here are a few of my favorites from the last decade.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Josh Malerman, a Michigan native, scored a huge hit in the horror community with Bird Box in 2014. The story follows Malorie, a single mother with two children, as she tries to survive against a force that has killed most of the world’s population. Here’s the big problem: no one who has seen this thing—whether it’s a monster, or ominous being—has survived. Malerman’s breakout novel is one of the first books in a long time to genuinely creep me out, and he does this through pure sensory deprivation. Because many characters have to remain blindfolded at all times, Malerman uses the sounds, smells, and feelings of the characters to terrify his blind audience. This is recommended if you’re in the mood for something both terrifying and totally different.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Maybe you’ve read about Detroit’s emerging arts community, but it was never as twisted as writer Lauren Beukes’ version in Broken Monsters. In the Beukes’ follow-up to The Shining Girls, readers follow Detroit detective Gabriella Versado as she tracks a killer who fuses people with animals for grotesque art displays. This book is as much mystery as it is horror, which makes Broken Monsters’ 464 pages fly by.

Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Anyone who’s read or watched the film adaptations of Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In knows he’s more than capable of finding an original spin on overdone horror themes. He tackled vampires in the former title, but Lindqvist took on teenage bullying (and revenge) in his follow-up novel, Little Star. The book very much echoes Stephen King’s Carrie, only Lindqvist’s lead character is a star in an American Idol-esque singing competition and her torment comes from a digital audience. The girl’s unraveling is as disturbing as it is sad, which makes the book’s final pages doubly devastating.

Directors Ken Burns, Lynn Novick Revisit Vietnam with 10-Part Series

There are troves of books and documentaries produced on the Vietnam Era, but critics and audiences alike have discovered a fresh perspective in director Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s new documentary. The 10-part series, which was released on DVD and started airing on PBS last week, follows the U.S.’ controversial involvement through the eyes of more than 80 interviewees.

A companion book, written by historian Geoffrey C. Ward, has also been released. You can check out both titles via JDL below. The series soundtrack is available in our Hoopla music collection as well.

PBS is also asking viewers to submit their own stories from the Vietnam War. Veterans are encouraged to share their stories here.

The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward

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