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Fun Reads & Streaming Movies

What We're Reading & Watching

"You work in a library, you must read a lot!"
Well... we try. Here's what we've got sitting on our desks right now!

What We're Reading

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion

Recommender: Hillary Ostermiller, Communication & Media Studies Librarian

In this collection of essays, Jia Tolentino, staff writer for The New Yorker, tackles big ideas in contemporary public imagination (the internet! reality TV! scamming! athleisure!) and examines how they shape our personal understanding of ourselves. The content is fascinating, the prose is masterful, and the insights are likely to keep sparking in your brain for some time to come.

Available in our Browsing Collection.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Recommender: Carolyn Schubert, Interim Director of Research & Education Services; Health Professions & Nursing Librarian

Often feeling like I have too much to do and unsure how to best manage my time and energy, I was drawn to this book. Admittedly, there’s no magic algorithm that that calculates my best schedule. Instead, the book provided some good evidence to help me step back, reflect, and reconsider my peak windows of energy. This is definitely informing how I consider scheduling my scholarship and project time for the Spring.

Available in our regular Book Collection and our Browsing Collection.

How to Date Men When You Hate Men

Recommender: Kerry Scannell, Outreach Coordinator

As a young feminist, the dating world in 2019 is a chaotic mix of weird, weird emotions. Blythe speaks to you from this book as your most honest best friend; she'll affirm your love of Timothée Chalamet, and she'll sit down with you and try to decide if that really WAS a date or not. It's hilarious, it's poignant, and so full of heart. I wanted to hug it when I finished it.

Available in our regular Book Collection.

The Joy of Search: A Google Insider's Guide to Going Beyond the Basics

Recommender: Elizabeth Price, Business Librarian

Too many people think they are expert researchers simply because they have access to Google. Russell, the senior research scientists for search quality at Google, attempts to correct that misperception by showing readers how to utilize advanced Google operators and specialized tools like Google Image Search and Google Street View through a series of search “stories.” Each story ends with a short list of research lessons and an exercise allowing you to try those strategies yourself. Later chapters emphasize how to triangulate information and find context to understand the whybeyond the results page. Teaching students the nuances of finding and evaluating online information is a monumental task; reading this book is a first step toward improving the quality of their research skills.

Available in our regular Book Collection.

Here Beneath Low-Flying Planes

Recommender: Hillary Ostermiller, Communication & Media Studies Librarian

This award-winning collection of stories contains eight perfect little glimpses into different lives, including realizations made during a bike-a-thon through New York, an impromptu dumpling party, and a sudden storm in Texas. Merrill Feitell packs a lot of humanity into such a slim volume.

Available as an e-book to either download or read online.

What You Are Getting Wrong about Appalachia

What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia is a frank assessment of America's recent fascination with the people and problems of the region. The book analyzes trends in contemporary writing on Appalachia, presents a brief history of Appalachia with an eye toward unpacking Appalachian stereotypes, and provides examples of writing, art, and policy created by Appalachians as opposed to for Appalachians. The book offers a must-needed insider's perspective on the region.

Dare to Lead

Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential. When we dare to lead, we don't pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don't avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it's necessary to do good work. But daring leadership in a culture defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start.

Butch Heroes

Portraits and texts recover lost queer history: the lives of people who didn't conform to gender norms, from the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries. Brodell offers a series of twenty-eight portraits of forgotten but heroic figures, each accompanied by a brief biographical note. They are individuals who were assigned female at birth but whose gender presentation was more masculine than feminine, who did not want to enter into heterosexual marriage, and who often faced dire punishment for being themselves.

Sargent's Women

With unprecedented access to newly discovered sources, Donna M. Lucey illuminates the lives of four extraordinary women painted by the iconic high-society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny clairvoyance, Sargent's portraits hint at the mysteries, passions, and tragedies that unfolded in his subjects' lives. Born to unimaginable wealth, these women lived on an operatic scale, and their letters and diaries create a rich depiction of the Gilded Age and the acclaimed but secretive painter whose canvases defined the era.

What We're Watching

His Girl Friday

Recommender: Hillary Ostermiller, Communication & Media Studies Librarian

His Girl Friday is one of the all-time great screwball comedies, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. Enjoy some journalistic shenanigans with dialogue so fast you’re in danger of getting whiplash.

Available via Kanopy Streaming.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Recommender: Kerry Scannell, Outreach Coordinator

Want to feel every emotion in under two hours? Watch this film. Hilarious, heartbreaking, incredibly eccentric and weird. Taika Waititi takes you on a literal adventure with a foster kid and his curmudgeonly, unwilling foster father.

Available to stream via Kanopy.

Faces Places/Visages Villages

Recommender: Hillary Ostermiller, Communication & Media Studies Librarian

In this charming and surprisingly moving documentary, legendary New Wave director Agnès Varda and muralist JR travel through rural France creating massive portraits of the people they meet. JR teases Varda about her experience photographing naked men, and Varda urges JR to get over himself and remove his ever-present hat and glasses. It is an hour and a half of pure delight.

Available via Kanopy Streaming.

Eighth Grade

Recommender: Kerry Scannell, Outreach Coordinator

If you had an adolescence, you'll connect to this movie. If you have any level of anxiety, you'll connect to this movie. If you're a woman, you'll connect to this movie. If you like the Vine where the kid says, "LeBron James," you'll like this movie.

Available via Kanopy Streaming.


Recommender: Hillary Ostermiller, Communication & Media Studies Librarian

Who doesn’t want to see Audrey Hepburn run around Paris? Charade is a suspense-thriller-romance-farce starring Hepburn as a menaced widow and Cary Grant as a guy with some murky motives. Plus, Walter Matthau as you’ve probably never seen him before.

Available via Kanopy Streaming.

What We Do In The Shadows

Recommender: Kerry Scannell, Outreach Coordinator

Imagine one of those day-in-the-life documentaries. Now imagine it's a day in the life of a group of vampire roommates in current-day New Zealand. Example of dialogue:
Roommate 1: You can't go to the ball as Blade. He's a vampire hunter.
Roommate 2: Yeah, but vampires love Wesley Snipes.

Available via Kanopy Streaming.