HPB Staff Picks: Best Books of 2016

With so many amazing books published each year, it’s easy to overlook some of the notable must-reads. We’ve put together a list of our favorite fiction and nonfiction of 2016 — including intriguing mysteries, imaginative tales, biographies and culture studies. There’s just enough time to check another book off your 2016 reading list, so choose a title and start reading!

gentlemaninmoscow
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Reviewed by HPB Staff Member: Kristen B.

Truly a Gentleman
The year is 1922. Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to live out the rest of his life under house arrest in a hotel in Moscow. Throughout the novel, we see different snippets of the Count’s life as he lives out his sentence. It is the story of a true gentleman. So often we read stories about heroes or really messed up people that do really messed up things. A Gentleman in Moscow is just about a regular guy doing regular things, holding to his principles and always treating others with respect. It was so refreshing. Continue reading

Fiction Review: The Third Gate

These days it seems you can’t walk into a bookstore without seeing a book that was authored or co-authored by Lincoln Child. His newest, The Third Gate, was released today and the publisher, Doubleday, was kind of enough to send over a copy in exchange for an honest review.

After a terrible car accident, Jennifer Rush was dead for 14 minutes before she made a miraculous recovery and came back to life. After her near death experience, she became psychic… to the next level. She knew what you were going to do before you even did. She also started making crossovers and channeling the dead. After Porter Stone, a very rich and famous man, discovered her talents, he decided that he wanted her to help him figure out exactly where the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, Narmer, was buried with many treasures in The Sudd, a vast swamp in Africa. Unfortunately, all didn’t go as planned and inexplicable strange accidents, such as electrocutions and power surges, began occurring. So, Stone also hired Jeremy Logan, a history professor by day and an enigmalogist by night, to help ease the minds of the other workers and figure out what exactly is happening. Logan has worked all over the world discovering explaining strange phenomena, but this case this has him stumped. Nothing seems to add up and Logan is determined to figure out why before it’s too late.

Child’s newest work is an interesting cross between science fiction and thriller. And although there’s not a ton of action in this book, it has just enough intrigue to keep one reading late into the night.

What paranormal/sci-fi thrillers would you recommend? 

— Kristen B.  

June’s New Releases on DVD & Blu-Ray

I know the summer movie season has officially kicked off, but I didn’t want you to forget about some of the great titles hitting the stores this month.

The Color of Money (June 5 release) This is the 1986 sequel to the 1961 film about pool sharks, The Hustler, starring Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman. Newman reprises his role as “Fast” Eddie Felson, still believing a dollar won is better than a dollar earned. This time he takes flamboyant Vincent, played by Tom Cruise, under his wing to teach him how to be a hustler. Directed by legendary director Martin Scorsese, this movie finally won Newman his elusive Best Actor Oscar and his performance is worthy of it. This film is in great need of a new transfer, as the DVD version of this movie was not even widescreen enhanced.  This is an easy choice for an upgrade. Also look for A Perfect World, Ransom, Scent of a Woman, Erin Brockovich and John Carter on June 5.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (June 12 release) A very exciting film to finally make it to Blu-Ray, Game of Shadows (2011) reunites Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in this action-packed follow up to Sherlock Holmes (2009). This movie really takes the Holmes/Watson relationship to another level, and along with a clever plot and the Downey Jr. humor we are all growing to love, this is a film everyone will enjoy. Also look for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance on June 12.

Empire of the Sun (June 19 release) When you think Steven Spielberg you think Jurassic Park, The Indiana Jones movies, Jaws and Schindler’s List. Yes, all great films, but I think this 1987 film has been grossly underrated. After watching it I hope you agree. The movie is about Jim, a boy whose privileged life is turned upside down during the Japanese invasion of Shanghai. Jim is played by none-other than Batman himself, Christian Bale. Also cast in the movie are John Malkovich and Ben Stiller, who were both pretty much unknown at the time. I encourage you to see this film at least once in your life.  Also look for Big Miracle and Evita on June 19.

The Artist (June 26 release) Finally the Best Picture winner from 2011 gets released. One of only two silent movies to win Best Picture, the other being Wings back in 1927. Shot in glorious black and white, this film is a true movie experience. It is about a silent film actor who is getting left behind as sound is coming to movies and the “Talkies” are born. Jean Dujardin gives the performance of his career, as it brought him the Best Actor Oscar last year. A must see for sure! Also look for Wrath of the Titans, 21 Jump Street, Mirror Mirror and the Criterion release of Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps on June 26.

Enjoy the movies!

Jim