Staff Picks: January 2018

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

I read this book as part of the background research for my 505 final project. It is a story of one that represents 5 millions Syrian  bookrefugees, documenting their perilous journey to reach Europe. Written by the Chief Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), this book will deepen your understanding on the crisis, taking you into the context through captivating illustrations and powerful storytelling. I know the subject seems a bit depressing especially in this time, but the writer ultimately brings in a sense of compassion and hope. You can also watch a brief introduction of the story by the author on TED Talks.

– Fred Ji, Director of Outreach 

Phantom Thread 

Oof. 2017 was a wealth of riches in terms of stunning filmmaking, but one of the last films of the year was also one of its best. Paul Thomas Anderson’s most recent film (and allegedly, Daniel Day-Lewis’s last) is one of his best, and everything that made his past work so powerful is on full-display here: startlingly beautiful cinematography, razor sharp performances, Jonny Greenwood’s pitch perfect score, ASMR-inducing sound design. As for the story itself: the less said up front, the better. I can’t wait to see it again.

– Ellen Kaufman, Managing Editor 

The End of the F*****G World

Do you have a dark sense of humor? Do you enjoy British television? If you answered “yes,” to both questions, then do I have the perfect show for you! Meet James who is pretty sure he’s a psychopath. James has decided that he would like to kill someone. Enter stage right Alyssa who decided upon a cursory glance that James will be her boyfriend. Alyssa persuades James to runaway with her and the two obviously run into some serious mishaps. Check out this wonderfully quirky show (that you can binge watch in a day without feeling guilty) and experience it’s hilarity and characters who at once are both lovable and unloveable!

– Katherine Grygo, Assistant Director of Web & Blog Services 

Movie Pass 

moviepassA year and half of graduate school can put you in a rather particular socioeconomic situation. So when my little sister handed me an unlimited, 3-month pass to the movies for Christmas, I had no idea how much fun it would be. I quickly found Movie Pass to be an easy excuse to take a break and go, well, wherever the movies might take me. Having it has reminded me why I love film and given me an enjoyable alternative to being the only person at dinner ordering “just a glass water, please”. Still, this recommendation shouldn’t come without a warning, cause, as my fellow film-lover Joe Potischman would say, “Any movie could be a Movie Pass movie”.

– Rebecca Tantillo, Editor-In-Chief 

Settlers of Catan

Take a break from the black boxes of your life and settle Catan! Two to three of your friends can join you in collecting resources, building settlements, and racing each other to reach 10 points for the win. Once you master the original Settlers of Catan, you can explore expansion packs that allow you to sail into the sea, deliver spices, earn commodities, and more!

– Alexa DeJesus, Assistant Editor-In-Chief 

“Dear David” 

A few days ago, I was on Twitter, which I primarily use to follow Roxane Gay and to find out where Dangerously Delicious Pies is going to be parked for the day, when I found a third reason: the haunting of Adam Ellis.

Ellis, or @moby_dickhead, as he charmingly refers to himself, says he is being haunted by the ghost of a small boy named David, who usually arrives at midnight davidto terrorize him. As someone who spends most of her time in Adobe Creative Suite, there are countless digital ways that I can imagine he has manipulated his “evidence,” not to mention the simple physical ways of making objects move for a camera. This, however, did not stop me from yelping when I saw his rocking chair move on his cat cam or from grabbing my husband’s arm when I saw the series of photos where David approaches Ellis while he is sleeping.

What I like so much about “Dear David” is that by choosing to tell his story 280 characters at a time, Ellis has found a way to turn Twitter into a campfire for nearly a million followers.

– Holly Koch, Director of Multimedia 


At last one of the most groundbreaking television dramas is available for streaming, all 15 seasons and 331 episodes of it. (I can finally stop my investigation into why it was taking so long.) First premiering in 1994, ER’s pilot episode is still a thing to behold with gorgeous shots that throw you into the action and an intriguing group of doctors who feel like real people going to work at the world’s most stressful job. I’d talk about the original cast, but I really don’t have time to do justice to Anthony Edwards, Eriq La Salle, Sherry Stringfield, Julianna Margulies, Noah Wyle and yes, young George Clooney.

There are a lot of fun new medical dramas this year, but take a moment to check out the one that set the bar for hospital dramas. Sure the show turned into a parody of itself as it went along (331 episodes is a lot of emergencies), but when it was good, it was breathtaking.

Side note: 14 years later and I still have a crush on Dr. Mark Greene.

– Katie Hartzell, Assistant Managing Editor


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