By Darren Aronofsky
Star Rating

Rated by Zachary C
Dec 16, 2017

On a disturbance scale, Mother! falls somewhere between other Darren Aronofsky films, Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, with a story more comparable to Noah combined with an all-out assault on social etiquette and political correctness that creates the strangest kind of satire.  

In a movie of characters' without names, Jennifer Lawrence plays the titular mother. Wife to a famous poet, played by Javier Bardem, she single-handedly rebuilds their house which has been lost in a fire. She paints, builds, and decorates all day long while he attempts to write. Quiet and secluded, their existence


By Jennifer Mathieu
Star Rating

Rated by Becky C.
Sep 2, 2016

As a children’s librarian, it’s uncommon that I recommend a book about a teenage runaway to parents looking for a book about relationship-building. But author Jennifer Mathieu has written an uncommon book. I just can’t recommend it highly enough. In this cautionary tale of what can go wrong when parents put too many restrictions on their teens, Rachel Walker is a seventeen-year-old girl who runs away from her strict, Quiverfull-adhering, fundamentalist Christian home in an effort to feed her curious mind and to build a life of her own. What I like most about this book is how complexly the

The Girl's Guide to Homelessness: a Memoir

By Brianna Karp
Star Rating

Rated by Helen H.
Dec 29, 2015

Reading Brianna Karp’s memoir of losing her job, home, and family reminded me in many ways of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Except instead of embarking on a months-long solo hike, as Strayed did, Karp faces the challenges of living in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot. With no water or electricity. Frustration at Brianna’s “unwise” choices (surrounding her involvement with a fellow homeless gent) is always followed by a heart-wrenching family story that would have left me a gelatinous blob.

Most compelling are Karp’s explorations of her own potential racism, degree of homelessness, family history


By Alejandro Amenábar

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Aug 15, 2014

Based in Roman Egypt, Agora is about a female professor and philosopher, Hypatia, who teaches young men about science. Encouraged by her father, she surrounds herself with information in the great library of Alexandria and is constantly testing new scientific theories. She is quite content to live her life researching but several men would like to marry her, including Orestes, one of the disciples that she teaches, and Davus, her slave. Love, however, is not the only thing that Hypatia has to worry about. Although their world seems calm and peaceful, an uprising by Christians begins to brew

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (and How to Reverse It)

By Robert D. Lupton
Star Rating

Rated by Megan C.
Jul 13, 2014

If you’ve ever felt uncertain or uncomfortable about giving or serving in your community or abroad, but could never quite put your finger on why, this book is for you. Toxic Charity explores how charity can often be detrimental to those it purports to benefit. Featuring stories of organizations’ and people’s successes and failures, it offers both negative and positive examples of where community service and giving can help or harm, what some rules of thumb are, and best practices. Whether your focus is secular or religious, this book addresses what’s working in charity, what isn’t, and gives


By Jim Crace
Star Rating

Rated by Megan C.
Apr 15, 2014

An unconventional telling of Jesus' forty days in the wilderness, Quarantine grips the reader in a mysterious world of deception and dream. We follow six characters' sojourn in the desert: a merchant and his wife, a wealthy but barren Jewish woman, an elderly Jewish man suffering from a tumor, a madman from the east, a philosophical young Greek, and Jesus the Galilean. It is a believable work of historical fiction with a twist of suspense. At the end the reader is left to interpret the meaning of events.

Crace's writing holds nothing back, exposing his characters' raw and unflattering motives

Going Clear, Scientology: Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief

By Lawrence Wright
Star Rating

Rated by Michelle H.
Sep 30, 2013

Lawrence Wright’s journalistic writing is the perfect voice for the subject of Scientology. In the hands of most other writers, Scientology would float into the ether, a dark and unfathomable history left unread by sensible readers.  That said, though Wright offers Scientology an even-handed approach, his book is full of strange stories, made stranger when compared to the seemingly (sometimes) sane and healthy lives of people who are associated with Scientology. 

Wright’s aim, he tells us, is to “learn something about what might be called the process of belief.”  He describes in detail the

Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Apr 16, 2013

Plain Wisdom tells a heartfelt, true story of two women, one Old Order Amish and one Englischer.  Although culturally worlds apart, they immediately discover a shared bond—love, laughter, and tears.

Cindy Woodsmall is a writer of Amish fiction, and to clarify and make her books more real it is imperative that she understand the people and places she writes about.  With her first invitation into the world of the Old Order Amish community where she meets Miriam Flaud, a friendship is born.  As Cindy and Miriam share stories of food, work, children, faith and a host of other topics, each learns

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Aug 22, 2012

When She Woke is the second novel by Hillary Jordan. Unlike her prize-winning historical fiction Mudbound, When She Woke is a dystopian novel inspired by The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The novel opens as Hannah Payne awakes in prison and tries to come to terms with the fact that her skin has been turned red. In her near-future Christian fundamentalist America, convicted offenders are “melachromed”, injected with a virus that turns their skins the color of their crimes and most are promptly released from prison to a public life filled with prejudice and hardship. Melachroming takes

Adam and Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
May 7, 2011

      This is a book of a great imaginative writing.  It tells the story of a suspicious death of a famous world astrophysicist, Thom Bergmann, who was on the brink of proving the existence of extraordinary civilizations.  After his death, the only proofs of his findings are saved on a flash drive worn as a necklace by his wife Lucy.  She is later contacted by an anthropologist, who asks her to retrieve and deliver a case which contains rare historical documents, a codex, revealing reinterpretations of the Book of Geneses, which will bring a resolution and peace to religions disagreements to