Ferndale Library Staff Recommends: Kelly's Picks

Another round of personal picks presented for your consideration of recreational/enlightening engagement by the staff at the Ferndale Library. This week, Head of Circulation Kelly Bennett offers up her picks.

I'm pretty sure the vast majority of folks who see me at the 's Circulation Desk think of me as "the girl whose hair is always different." Indeed, it does change often (currently, it's black with blue-green highlights), but I hope one constant is my insatiable need to recommend library materials to patrons as well as see what they're enjoying. Over my 11 or so years at the library, I've consistently worked the Circ Desk, developed a local music collection and most recently, became the new Head of Circulation.

It's not much of a confession to say that I'm easily obsessed. As soon as I'm friendly with a person, I am likely to spill the beans on the latest thing I can't do without. It's usually after the shine has worn off that I get appropriately embarrassed about past obsessions. From the American Idol contestant that shall not be named to my collection of black and white striped shirts, my fixations run the gamut from the justifiable to the absurd. In this list, I'll share a few from past and present that I think you might fall in love with, too.

1. The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice


This one dates to early high school. The lush world Rice creates makes Meyer's Forks look like a cardboard cutout in an elementary school play. Tragic love, cruelty and kindness, and creatures both terrible and gorgeous all inhabited this place that I wanted, so badly to live in as a geeky teen. These books are worth a revisit, especially in a time when the vampire is losing not only his bite, but his danger and dark sexuality. My favorite in the series: The Vampire Lestat.

2. Sherlock: Series One


This is the latest in a long line of British TV shows that I have fallen for, but the difference with this one is the vehemence with which I pester everyone to watch it. I am firmly convinced that this is the best thing on TV I have seen in at least the last five years. The production values on Sherlock are film quality and the writing is positively inspired, rekindling the spirit of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, especially Sherlock Holmes’ acerbic, slightly loony way of looking at the world. Both Holmes and Watson are brilliantly portrayed and their friendship is believable and funny. The show’s creators are Doyle addicts, so it will only enrich your watching experience if you pick up one of the original story collections or novels. I’d recommend starting at the beginning, like the show does, with A Study in Scarlet.

3. Serial Killers

Including: My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (NEW GRAPHIC 741.5 B) and The Last Victim: A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer by Jason Moss (364.15 M)

My fascination with the dark side of humanity goes farther back than my Criminal Justice degree from Wayne State. I dined on a diet of crime shows and murder mysteries growing up, and though I was occasionally freaked out by a show, I generally have a high tolerance for the scary and macabre. The Last Victim is an exception to this tough skin – I vividly remember the night I hit the point in this book where Moss meets John Wayne Gacy face to face in prison – I could not sleep a wink the rest of the night. Interestingly, the other book, My Friend Dahmer, also deals with coming very close to a killer. Both are a fascinating look at not only these killers, but the outside world’s interest in them.

4. American Gods by Neil Gaiman


I very nearly cheated again on this one by just listing Neil Gaiman, but it only seems fair to save some of his other works for my colleagues to recommend, so I’ll narrow it down to my favorite of his novels (so far). No one weaves a fairy tale like Gaiman, taking his reader into a fantasy world drawn in such detail that you can’t believe it’s not real. Based on the premise that gods and creatures exist because we believe in them, American Gods is funny and fantastic.

5. Great Lakes Myth Society

Including: Great Lakes Myth Society, Compass Rose Bouquet, She’s Come Home to Steal Her Rainbows


This band is basically responsible for my interest in the Michigan music scene and their debut album is one of the first CDs in the FPL’s local music collection. Seeing them live used to be an almost weekly activity for me, and not only made me familiar with the band’s catalog, but with the many bands they played with over the years. Their blend of Michigan-infused rock and folk smacked me square in the forehead many moons ago at the annual Zombie Dance Party, and though I don’t see them very often anymore, I’m always giddy to hear a track from one of their albums. Favorite track: "Queen of the Barley Fool" on Compass Rose Bouquet.

Honorable mention

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis


I went through a phase where I was only reading 80s writers, and I immediately connected with Ellis and his stark, unflattering look at humanity. While it is indeed impressive to write your first and second novels before you turn 25, the real jewel of his canon is American Psycho. Terrifying, funny and brimming with criticism of society in the 80s and 90s, this book may frustrate the casual reader looking for a “scary” book. There are moments of true gruesomeness, but you’ll also get bizarre music reviews and in-depth descriptions of suits and business cards; all very much a part of Ellis’ critique of consumerism.

Ferndale Patch thanks Head of Circulation Kelly Bennett for contributing to Patch! Check back soon for more ideas from library staff. Are you looking for recommendations on something specific? Email jessica.schrader@patch.com, and we'll pass on your questions to the library.


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