“Chris Picks” March: Can you guess the theme?

Here are this month’s great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders! Click on a title to place a hold. To find previous Chris Picks just click on the “what to read” link at the bottom of this page or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our home page.


American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the Whitehouse
Jon Meacham

I love history books and biographies. Jon Meacham has written several biographies I have enjoyed. This one about Andrew Jackson’s time in the White House is enlightening. Upon reading the book, I discovered that Jackson was the founder of the modern Democratic party and the presidency as we know it today. He was a man of contradictions who continued to be the best man he could be.

Born Free, A Lioness of Two Worlds
Joy Adamson

We of a certain age are familiar with Born Free from the repeated viewings of the TV movie in the 1970s. Joy Adamson rescued Elsa, the lioness, as an orphan and raised the cub until Joy realized she must set Elsa free. A deeply emotional book that still tugs at my heart even after so many years.

The Lion in the Living Room: How Cats Tamed Us
Abigail Tucker

Having cats and dogs growing up, each at separate times, I have become a “cat” person. While everyone may not see it, I have considered the cat to be the introvert’s pet of choice. Being introverted myself, I clearly see the similarities.

Abigail Tucker, the author of The Lion in the Living Room, attempts to discover the fascination with cats, who, according to the author, “offer no practical benefits to humans.” If that is the case, then why have cats become so popular? I think that is the question Ms. Tucker attempts to answer. I enjoyed reading this book.

She’s Come Undone
Wally Lamb

One of the reasons this book appealed to me is that Wally Lamb, a man, wrote a female protagonist so clearly that the book may as well have been written by a woman. As a writer, I have typically written from a woman’s point of view. Most of my early fiction has women as the protagonists of my stories. So, when I came across She’s Come Undone, naturally, I was intrigued. I found myself in awe of Mr. Lamb’s ability to understand the woman he created. This is a must-read. The other book he wrote that I read a couple of times is: Couldn’t Keep it to Myself: Testimonies From our Imprisoned Sisters.

The Silence of the Lambs
Thomas Harris

Everyone knows Hannibal Lecter from the movie Silence of the Lambs. It’s one of the few times in literary history where the movie and the book are on equal footing. Both take a disturbing look at the hunt for a serial killer on the loose and Hannibal Lecter agrees to help FBI recruit Clarice Starling track down the killer before he strikes again.

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