Top Staff Picks - July 2021

Non-Fiction Picks

The better brain: how nutrition will help you overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD and stress by Julia J. Rucklidge

A book about the surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in our mental health, and how diet and micronutrients can be used to help treat and prevent anxiety, depression, ADHD and other mental health disorders.  The Better Brain is the first book that will tell you both how and why nutrients can be useful to treat mental-health issues.  Scientists have discovered many symptoms of anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD and more are caused by suboptimal nutrition.  Leading scientists Bonnie Kaplan and Julia Rucklidge have dedicated their careers to researching the role that diet and nutrition play in our mental health.  Together they have published several hundred peer-reviewed studies - those from the last two decades reveal the healing power of nutrients and the surprising role they play in brain health.  In this paradigm-shifting book, Kaplan and Rucklidge share their ground-breaking research for the first time and explain how to feed your brain to stabilize your mood, stave off depression and make yourself more resilient to daily stress. It explains why a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil is healthiest for your brain, and why some people benefit from supplementary minerals and vitamins added to such a diet.  Including a nutritional plan and 30 delicious, mood-boosting recipes, this book will be a complete guide to a healthier and happier brain.


How Stella learned to talk : the groundbreaking story of the world's first talking dog by Christina Hunger

As a speech therapist, Christina Hunger helped people of all ages learn ways to improve their communication.  When she brought her puppy Stella home in early 2018, she couldn't help but notice all of the similarities between her communication skills and those of toddlers right before they begin saying words.  Inspired by her passion for using technology and other adaptive equipment to help people communicate when speaking is difficult, as well as her desire for Stella to be understood, Christina decided to see what would happen if she provided Stella with a way to say the words she was hearing and understanding. Stella, now two years old, has a bank of more than 30 words, programmed onto paw-sized buttons affixed to plywood.  Using this easy, affordable technology, Stella first learned simple words like outside, water and walk.  But that was just the beginning: Stella has taught Christina that her emotions and desires are far more complex than feed me.  In How Stella Learned to Talk, Christina tells the story of Stella's journey from her first experiments with single words all the way to complex and unique phrases, progressing far beyond what she ever thought possible, becoming a worldwide sensation in the process.  Broken down into simple stages and actionable steps, How Stella Learned to Talk is an incredible true story and a surprisingly simple guide.  Filled with the conversations that Stella and Christina have had, and explained with the attention to developmental detail that only a speech pathologist could bring to this project, How Stella Learned to Talk is a must-read for dog-lovers everywhere.


DVD Pick

Secret impressionists directed by Daniele Pini

50 unseen masterpieces unveiled for the first time: Manet, Caillebotte, Renoir, Monet, Cézanne, Signac, Sisley and Berthe Morisot. A cinematic journey to discover the art revolution caused by the Impressionist movement through these paintings that have been on display in Rome at Palazzo Bonaparte. How did the Impressionists view the world? How was their work received? How did they go from being rejected by critics and the public to becoming, in just a few short years, some of the best loved works of art in the world?  This film illuminates the Impressionist movement and uncovers hidden gems that have lived on long after their artist’s death.


Childrens' Pick

Gone to the woods : a true story of growing up in the wild by Gary Paulsen 

Gary Paulsen is known for his high-stakes wilderness survival stories.  Now, read about his childhood in this stirring children’s non-fiction book.  At the age of five, he escaped from a shocking Chicago upbringing to a North Woods homestead, finding a powerful respect for nature that would stay with him throughout his life. At the age of thirteen a librarian handed him his first book, and there he found a lasting love of reading. As a teenager he desperately enlisted in the Army, and there amazingly discovered his true calling as a storyteller. A moving and enthralling story of Gary Paulsen's childhood, of grit and growing up.


Fiction Picks

Common ground by Naomi Ishiguro

In this novel, thirteen year old Stan tries to fit in at a new school after his father’s death. He encounters a traveller, the confident and clever Charlie, on a patch of common land. There their friendship develops despite their differences.  They soon part ways and their paths crossed again as adults. Stan is doing well through higher education, whist Charlie, with no qualifications, is struggling with his career, marriage and alcoholism. It is now Stan’s turn to hep Charlie find his way again.  This is a beautiful and bittersweet coming of age story. It is also a tale about friendship and the prejudice faced by minorities in modern day society.


Lonely castle in the mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura

In a tranquil neighbourhood of Tokyo, seven teenagers wake to find the mirrors in their bedrooms are shining. At a single touch, they are pulled from their lonely lives into to a wondrous castle filled with winding stairways, watchful portraits and twinkling chandeliers. In this new sanctuary, they are confronted with a set of clues leading to a hidden room where one of them will be granted a wish. But there's a catch -- if they don't leave by five o'clock, they will die. As time passes, a devastating truth emerges -- only those brave enough to share their stories will be saved. At the heart of this tender, playful tale is a powerful message about the importance of reaching out, confronting anxiety and embracing human connection.