Media Picks

Summer 2018 Media Pick

  • Title: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica 
  • Media:  Print (book)
  • Recommended By:  Linda Kolbusz
  • Teaser:  My neighborhood book club really liked this book.  Here’s a summary from the author’s website:  “At the outset of Kubica’s powerful debut, free-spirited 24-year-old Mia Dennett, an art teacher at an alternative high school and a member of a well-heeled, well-connected Chicago family, goes missing.  As puzzling as Mia’s presumed kidnapping initially appears, things turn infinitely stranger after her eventual return, seemingly with no memory of what happened to her or, indeed, of her identity as Mia.  Key characters share the narrative in chapters labeled either “Before” or “After,” allowing the reader to join shattered mother Eve and sympathetic Det. Gabe Hoffman on their treacherous journey to solve the mystery and truly save Mia.  Almost nothing turns out as expected, which, along with the novel’s structure and deep Midwestern roots, will encourage comparisons to Gone Girl.  But unlike that dazzling duel between what proves to be a pair of sociopaths, this Girl has heart — which makes it all the more devastating when the author breaks it.” 

Winter 2018 Media Pick

  • Title:  Duolingo (
  • Media:  Website/App
  • Recommended By:  Jeanne Pankanin
  • Teaser:  Use this FREE app to learn virtually any language.  Designed like a game, persistent users learn to speak, listen, read and write using a fun format, and one’s improving fluency level is rated.  Use on your laptop or smartphone.

Winter 2017 Media Pick:

  • Title: Music Speed Changer 
  • Media:  Website/App
  • Recommended By:  Jeanne Pankanin
  • Teaser: Music Speed Changer is great for musicians practicing an instrument needing to slow down the tempo or play/sing a different key; speeding up audio books for faster listening; or just rocking out to your favorite song at 130%.  Download it FREE from your smartphone’s store.  Another excellent, similar app for your smartphone or laptop is Amazing Slow Downer, but it has a nominal charge.

Fall 2017 Media Pick:

  • Title: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • Media:  Print (book)
  • Recommended By:  George Dorner
  • Teaser: I am a Russophile (not a Putinophile!) and this novel was just the ticket to read during the current flap. It has just about nothing to do with current politics and is enjoyable front to back. It’s about Count Rostov, who fled before the revolution and returned after, getting caught up “in-between” the politics of the time. He was sentenced to stay in the Metropole Hotel instead of facing the firing squad. His cultural demeanor, wise approach to his sentence, and the clever plot turns kept me reading. What terrific writer, only recently retired from Wall Street.

Summer 2017 Media Picks:

  • Title: EdX (click on link to go directly to website portal)
  • Media:  Online course website
  • Recommended By:  Sarah Stark
  • Teaser: Summer is the perfect time for relaxing and enjoying your surroundings. It also offers time to dig into learning more about a topic you were always curious about, but never had the time to investigate. EdX, founded by MIT and Harvard, provides free online learning courses created and offered complements of highly respected higher education institutions from across the globe. Courses can be self paced or moderated, are offered from introductory to advanced levels, and are available in subjects ranging from art and culture to data analysis and statistics. Take advantage of this marvelous opportunity to keep your brain challenged!

Spring 2017 Media Picks:

  • Title:  “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders
  • Media:  audiobook
  • Recommended By:  Michael Nejman
  • Teaser: Saunders is a best-selling short story writer and this is his first novel. The story revolves around a few little-known incidents where a grief-stricken President Lincoln goes to the tomb of his recently departed son, Willie, to hold the boy’s body. The tale is a masterful mix of historical documentation and ghost story. I chose to listen to the audiobook version because it boasts an incredible list of celebrity readers, including Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller, David Sedaris, Bill Hader Nick Offerman, Susan Sarandon, Don Cheadle, and Megan Mullally (to name but a few!). Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy reads as well as provides incidental music. It’s a joy to experience and I’m betting it will surely win a Grammy next year for Best Spoken Word Album.
  • Title:  “Hidden Figures”
  • Media:  movie
  • Recommended By:  Michael Nejman
  • Teaser: During an Oscar season that features far too many depressing films nominated for “Best Film,” it was a pleasant surprise to experience this uplifting and positive tale. Hidden Figures is about three African-American women who worked for NASA in the early 1960s, and had to deal with daily sexism and racism as they played an integral role in providing the computations needed for the space race with Russia. The movie both inspires and entertains as it features three excellent performance by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae.

Winter 2016 Media Picks:

  • Title: CNN’s Up to Speed & Out the Door (click on link to go directly to website portal)
  • Media:  Email or website portal
  • Recommended By:  Jeanne Pankanin
  • Teaser: Subscribe for emailed weekday briefings on 5 topics that everyone will be talking about!  Get informed & get the conversation started.  Organized by CNN.
  • Title: Daily Good – News That Inspires (click on link to go directly to website portal)
  • Media:  Email or website portal
  • Recommended By:  Sarah Stark
  • Teaser: Ever wonder where all the positive news went? If you want to direct your attention toward daily uplifting information you can share with others, check out this site and choose from the categories of Generosity, Everyday Heroes, Nature, Work, Science and Tech, Mind and Body, and Business. Spread the joy!

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