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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg book cover
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg book cover

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

DVD MOVIE FOREIGN FRENCH Umbrellas

A tender, bittersweet love story, sung throughout in French.

With a name like the Umbrellas of Cherbourg and knowing it is a musical you can't help but expect some sort of Disney-esque farce, but that would be a mistake. The only thing this movie might have in common with those musical comedies is Jacques Demy's keen eye and ability to draw out color. A heart wrenching plot and depictions of classism are what sets this apart from its American cousins like Funny Face too. -Frannie

The seventh seal book cover
The seventh seal book cover

The seventh seal

DVD MOVIE FOREIGN SWEDISH Seventh

A knight returning home from the Crusades encounters Death, who agrees to a chess game. In the balance hang the lives of the knight and a group of traveling players.

A game of chess with death! This Scandinavian drama is perfect for when you've been running on the existential treadmill trying to make sense of it all. Expert director Ingmar Bergman shoots the blackest blacks in this cinema classic that went on to inspire one of my favorite Scott Walker songs of the same name. -Frannie

Breathless = À bout de souffle book cover
Breathless = À bout de souffle book cover

Breathless = À bout de souffle

DVD MOVIE FOREIGN FRENCH Breathless

Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 anything-goes crime narrative about a young thief on the run and his American girlfriend.

Starring Iowa's own Jean Seberg this crime drama set the style for French New Wave. Cinematically gorgeous with great contemporary costuming this fast paced film is a great entry point for anyone hesitant of watching a subtitled movie. -Frannie

World War Z : an oral history of the zombie war book cover
World War Z : an oral history of the zombie war book cover

World War Z : an oral history of the zombie war

Max Brooks

eAUDIO

This is the fictional, searing, gruesome account of the decade-long period when civilization stood on the brink of extinction due to a viral plague that transformed anyone it infected into a ghoulish creature with an appetite for living flesh, as told by the civilians, soldiers, and politicians who survived it.

A Sci-Fi book for our moment! I was reminded of this gem of an audiobook after listening to an interview with the author Max Brooks on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Brooks knows what he writes about, this book is well researched, and it shows. Personally, I got a bit burned out on zombies in pop culture, but this one is a standout. The real draw is the all-star vocal talent. I think my favorite was trying to figure out what voice Star Wars' Mark Hamill, finally figuring it out, and being just blown away by his performance. -Frannie

Midnight riot book cover
Midnight riot book cover

Midnight riot

Ben Aaronovitch

eAUDIO
Fiction, Fantasy

Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

The first time I heard about Ben Aaronovitch was from seeing his name on what we call our "high holds" list. That's the list librarians use to buy extra copies of our most popular books. I would never have picked this book based on its cover. It's a solid detective series with an urban fantasy backdrop. And we have the audiobook! Good strong narration that keeps your attention. -Melody

City of thieves book cover
City of thieves book cover

City of thieves

David Benioff

eAUDIO

This book written by David Benioff, one of the creators of HBO's "Game of Thrones", is a historical fiction delight, and when narrated by Ron Perlman it is beyond good. Winning the Alex Award (adult fiction with appeal to young adult readers) in 2009, this quickly paced buddy comedy set during the siege of Leningrad is unforgettable in Perlman's voice. There's a reason why this character actor featured on Sons of Anarchy, Beauty and the Beast, and Hellboy seamlessly transitions into voice work. You would never think a fraught quest for a dozen eggs would have so many twists and turns! -Frannie

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