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Ferndale Library Staff Recommends: Milo's Picks

Another round of personal picks presented for your consideration of recreational/enlightening engagement by the staff at the Ferndale Library.

We hope you've been enjoying this special series; I kicked things off and now the wheel's spun full circle throughout the staff here, back to myself.

The Ferndale Public Library was my first and only after-school job during my teenage years as a Ferndale High School student. I went away to college (MSU) and got a degree (Bachelor's in Journalism) and returned to the area (couldn't stay away) to start a whimsical and mostly-exciting freelancing career writing for various magazines covering Detroit's music scene. But my writing needed the supplement of a "day job" and thankfully my old boss was still working here when I came knocking on the library's door in 2010.

And here I am.

Looking for something to read?

I should get the obvious (if you know me) out of the way first:

Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson - The ultimate of lost-weekends, brought to life in the most vivid of narrative voices, exciting insanities hammered out with perfect pitch. A smack to your forehead that leaves you laughing in a state of speechless disorientation. A freaky, chemically-addled frolic through our capital of casinos ostensibly engaged in the name of sports journalism but otherwise utilized as a chance for an essentially suicidal slide through hallucinatory fun-houses in the last (and darkest) days of the then-fizzling flower-power movement (1971).  

Galore - Michael Crummey

This was just one of those magical discoveries; a book I picked up on pure whimsicality, (perhaps allured by its cover) and wound up becoming mesmerized by it's icy, otherworldly spell. Early settlers up on the cold, unforgiving coast of Newfoundland (circa early 1800's) have their lives rattled and reshaped by the astounding arrival of a man upon their shores stepping out of the belly of a beached whale. I want to avoid cliches, but Crummey's voice "transported" me to that time, perhaps it was his balance of poeticism and gruffness, sweet and sour and succinct. 

This book is my go-to response for whenever I'm asked to provide recommendations. It spans a century of time and follows three generations of two different families - so fans of those types of epics (The Kingswood Bible -so I've been told, or, perhaps The Story of Edgar Sawtelle) will dig Galore! 

It's also credited as the book that finally opened me up to reading Moby Dick. 

So rich, so refreshing. 

Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury 

I'd read Bradbury before (The Illustrated Man, The Halloween Tree) but I'd never gotten around to reading his most famous (or at least top 2 or 3) works, the dystopian tale of a society performing controlled burns on all forms of  literature. It strikes eerie chords in me, now, seeing the malevolent influence of technological advancements as we sleep-walk from sidewalk to sidewalk, oblivious often to anything else except the smartphone cradled in our palms. To me, he was a poet who perfectly captured the supernatural evocations wrought from the wood-smoke-swathed hazy-day-dreamy dazes of Autumn. Such color. Such a voice. So vivid and yet so impressionistic and surreal at the same time.

"The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine percent of them is in a book."

Bradbury would often insist that Fahrenheit was not a commentary on government censorship but actually more a warning against the destructive creep of technological advancement upon our reverence for literature, beyond that, even, our overall literacy, as a society.

Moonrise Kingdom - Dir. Wes Anderson

This is probably another all-too-obvious answer for me, since I'm a kool-aid drunkard for the cult of quirk cultivated by Mr. Anderson. (Royal Tenenbaums still ranks in my top ten films of all time). Say what you will, obtuse, dry, or abstract, I still marvel at his blend of the silly to the sophisticated; not to mention his consistently accomplishing to create his own world (and sometimes his own parallel dimension) with each film (adorned with dazzling use of color and costumes). 

And oh those long-panning shots nodding to his French New Wave and Italian neo-realist heroes; many of his films feel like you're sitting in on an advanced film theory course. 

It'll be interesting to see how Bruce Willis fits into the Anderson aesthetic. The trailer's attached up at the right, if you wanna sample. Also attached - a clip from the 1939 film Rules of the Game -directed by Jean Renoir - something fellow Wes Andersons might also enjoy, considering the influence the former had upon the latter...

...Let me also take this opportunity to declare my undying admiration for Bill Murray. I think I've seen Ghostbusters enough times to recite the entire screenplay verbatim - perhaps that would make for a glorious and embarrassing one-man show, something like Shakespeare in the park - only with backpacks and dustbusters to replicate proton packs.

Another thing I adore is Anderson's preternatural ability to sync up the perfect song (i.e. soundtrack) with the perfect visual (often to drama-boosting slow-motion shots). It may be that my appreciation for his work is actually more musically-motivated than I give credit to (I'd recommend the soundtrack to just about any one of his films).

FPL's fine local music collection - 

Give it up for Circulation Director Kelly Bennett for spearheading this cultivation of local music recordings a few years ago - securing an ever-growing collection (from generous songwriters and engineers who have donated CD-versions of their works) that's reached about 300 albums' worth of Michigan-made music. 

Might I recommend:
Lightning Love - November Birthday
Listen: "Everyone I Know"

The Anonymous - Why Am I Grinding My Teeth?
Listen: "...I Do My Other thing"

The High Strung - Get The Guests
Listen: "Maybe You're Coming Down With It" 

Zoos of Berlin - Taxis
Listen: "Electrical Way"

Bars of Gold - "Of Gold"
Listen: "The Hustle"

Ferndale Patch thanks Jeff Milo, circulation specialist at the Ferndale Public Library, for these recommendations! 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.

Margaret Rayburn June 14, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Thanks, Jeff! Good recommendations. You're a fantastic writer! I love your colorful, 'Tom Wolfe' feel. So, when are we going to be reading a book authored by you?!

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