Madi's Staff Recommendations

Welcome to Madi's recommendations! Check out what Madi has been reading below.

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Several People Are Typing: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385547222
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - August 31st, 2021

Several People Are Typing is the kind of book you get someone else read with you just so you have a person to text "WHAT JUST HAPPENED" after every chapter. I am a bit leery when it comes to AI, and this nightmarish set up had me giggling and gasping at every hilarious twist. Perhaps it is from familiarity with Slack and mundane office work, but for a novel about a man trapped in a professional instant messaging program and told through the very same media, I myself was ensnared. Read this as a commentary on capitalism and the toxic praise that comes from not taking a break and working yourself into oblivion (in this case, literally), or just enjoy it as a humorous science fiction mix up - either way, it is an enjoyable foray into a very weird book.

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We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538746837
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - November 10th, 2020

As a true crime reader, I can be hesitant to read a book about an unsolved case. Naturally you wonder - how will this end? There is no need for such hesitation in We Keep the Dead Close. Becky Cooper takes a case that has turned into Harvard myth and brought the investigation the victim deserved to fruition. Cooper, a Harvard alumna herself, details her time at the Ivy League school and her personal growth following graduation as it evolves into the study of Jane Britton’s murder in 1969. Her reexamination brings attention to Britton’s life, not just as a victim but as a woman with personality and accomplishments. This deep dive into a cold case reads as a slow burn, but I really enjoyed how Cooper handled her investigation with grace and dignity while still being incredibly thorough. We Keep the Dead Close is an extremely worthwhile read.

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Whisper Down the Lane: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781683692157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - April 6th, 2021

Whisper Down the Lane is a love letter to the horror classics of the 70s and 80s. An alternating story of six-year-old Sean and his single mother together against the world as they try to establish themselves in a new town and a new school in 1983, and Richard, an elementary school art teacher newly married with a stepson with which he is trying to establish a father-son relationship in 2013. Sean tries to keep his mother happy and ends up embroiled in a school wide scandal about a satanic cult, while thirty years in the future Richard is starting the school year trying to make sense of what seems to be a series of escalating grotesque pranks.  A psychological horror with just enough gore, Chapman crafts the story with twists and turns that keep you gripped. This book perfectly shows how dangerous groupthink can be and shows the similarities between the mindset that allowed the Satanic Panic to flourish, and the dangerous conspiracy theories that lead to real harm today.

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Daddy: Stories Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780812998641
Published: Random House - September 1st, 2020

Emma Cline’s Daddy is a beautiful short story collection that showcases what a talented writer she is. Each story is unique but tied together by the way they are written: you, the reader, are dropped in the middle of each person’s story during a particularly low point of their lives. Cline allows the narrators to describe as much or as little as they want about how things were, but always details the consequences of their actions with which they now must live. This collection rings with nostalgia for the way things were, but clearly reminds that life only moves forward. Cline’s ability to capture a variety of voices shows how different people at different points in their lives handle their current surroundings. This multitude of perspectives show just how similar we really are, and for that, this book deserves to be read.

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Grown Ups: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982141943
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - February 2nd, 2021

The anxiety is REAL. This book started out feeling like a phone-crazed Black Mirror episode but quickly turned into a mother-daughter relationship evaluation in the midst of a personal crisis. Jenny’s in her mid-thirties and wants desperately to actually live the life she presents on social media, but instead is spiraling into a mind-numbing, constant anxiety that sinks further when her extroverted, dare I say ridiculous, “psychic” mother decides to live with her. I was worried this book would be just another “the younger generation and those phones!” where our protagonist learns some kind of unplugging lesson, but it is so much deeper. Jenny deals with real problems women face, including the struggles of both motherhood and infertility, largely through her frantic yet comedic e-mails, social media posts, and inner monologues. I especially appreciated how it deals with infertility, as reproduction is so often considered a woman-defining ability, making it a silent struggle not often discussed. I cannot stress enough how well this book handles the stigmas and struggles that women face, including female relationships that are much more than catty bickering. Grown Ups makes you want to hug your best friends and call your mother.

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The Last Book on the Left: Stories of Murder and Mayhem from History’s Most Notorious Serial Killers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328566317
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - April 7th, 2020

To no fan's surprise, the boys of Last Podcast on the Left have created something awesome. With nine chapters on the most notorious serial killers in true crime history, this book is not for the faint of heart, but then again, neither is the podcast. For fans of the show, like myself, this book is a wonderful reevaluation of the killers, but told completely fresh - all the content was written originally for this book, both the facts and the jokes. While it is a gruesome topic, the humor and commentary intercut in the narrative (thankfully) provide some comic relief. It's a truly unique true crime book, including the cartoon illustrations throughout. Whether you are just getting into true crime, want to read a fresh take on these killers, or are just a fan of Last Podcast, this book is a must-have.

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Save Yourself Cover Image
ISBN: 9781455591435
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - March 24th, 2020

Cameron Esposito's Save Yourself is the perfect bundle of female empowerment, gay pride, and comedy wrapped in one. Though she has spoken of her childhood in her stand up, I was not prepared for the depth of this memoir or the complicated issues addressed, from struggles within Catholicism to eating disorders to coming to terms as well as coming out with her own sexuality. This memoir is wonderfully written, emotional, and hilarious. It is an essential reminder that women and LGBTQ+ people can and will carve out their own space to thrive among a society that too often tries to ignore, or worse, silence them.

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Action Park: Fast Times, Wild Rides, and the Untold Story of America's Most Dangerous Amusement Park Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143134510
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 30th, 2020

There never has and never will be another place like Action Park. In his memoir, Andy Mulvihill, son of Gene Mulvihill, founder and operator of Action Park, recounts the inception, operation, and eventual closure of the park that shaped not only his adolescence but his adulthood as well. This book hilariously details how the infamous New Jersey park was his father's way of allowing people to be as dangerous as they might want, which, apparently, was extremely. The first-hand account of the home-grown, family run park brought some humanism to a place frequently labeled as a ticketed death trap, though the risk for injury and even death was very real. As a person mildly obsessed with amusement parks, I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who loves non-commercial parks; my hometown park even got a shout out (hey, Kennywood!). While it's a family narrative at its core, the stories in this book are sometimes terrifying but usually hilarious. There really is nothing in the world like Action Park.

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How to Pronounce Knife: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316422130
Availability: Usually Ships within 2 weeks.
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 21st, 2020

In a tumultuous time of xenophobia and class division within the Western world, How to Pronounce Knife exposes the reality of immigrant families’ struggles. Each story in this collection has its own way of making class division painfully apparent as Laotian working class immigrants take jobs barely capable of sustaining a family while trying to integrate into Western culture without completely eradicating their Laotian culture and heritage. This collection is emotionally raw, with many told from a child’s perspective that left me feeling vulnerable yet hopeful. It’s a beautiful collection that I’d highly recommend everyone read, if only to gain some insight of those often belittled or flat out ignored in Western society.

Uzumaki (3-in-1 Deluxe Edition) (Junji Ito) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781421561325
Availability: Backordered
Published: VIZ Media LLC - October 15th, 2013

Black Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393358155
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - July 7th, 2020

White Noise Cover Image
ISBN: 9780140077025
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 7th, 1986

Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic. Cover Image
ISBN: 9781781807545
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hay House UK - May 9th, 2017