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As 2017 comes to a close, I've been getting a lot of reading inspiration from "best of" book lists. My favorites this year feature some action-packed debuts, new volumes from favorite series, and a couple of thought-provoking non-fiction reads:

10. Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf. In this modern thriller, a deaf woman (with the help of her adorable hearing dog, Stitch) tries to solve the murder of her best friend, a...

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What is art house cinema? Picture a small, independent theater. In your mind’s eye, you’re probably not imagining the latest action movie or Summer blockbuster on the marquee. Instead, you may envision foreign, independent, or art films not intended for the mass-market. Many films that started out in art houses are now found in the collection at Mechanics’ Institute. Below are staff recommendations from the 2nd Floor DVD and Blu-ray display.

Heather says:

I’m still pining for...

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BOOKS

FICTION
Craig Cliff The mannequin makers
Patrick Modiano After the circus
Mihail Sebastian For two thousand years

Historical Fiction
Alyssa Cole An extraordinary union...

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In case you haven’t been up to the fourth...

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BOOKS

FICTION
Sybille Bedford A legacy
Felicity Hayes-McCoy The library at the edge of the world
László Krasznahorkai The world goes on
Cree LeFavour Lights on, rats out
Pascal Mercier...

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When cold weather sets in, we're compelled to bundle up in warm blankets with a hot drink and a good story.  The wintry tales in this month's audiobook selections will leave your hands free to decorate the Christmas tree, sip hot chocolate or bake gingerbread people.

Mike Cunningham The Snow Queen

David Guterson Snow Falling on Cedars also available...

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BOOKS

FICTION
Sara Baume Spill simmer falter wither

Mystery, Suspense, Espionage & Intrigue
Casey Barrett Under water
Harry Dolan The man in the crooked hat
Maureen Jennings ...

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Winter is coming.

Well, a little.

Here in San Francisco we don't get the dramatic winters of up north or back east, but around this time of year I start wearing my heavy jacket, reaching for my wool socks, and putting on a hat before I walk home at night. In the publishing world, holiday-themed books start showing up around this time of year – including all those fun holiday mystery novels. In the spirit of the season, this month at the Mechanics' Institute we're featuring boo...

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Although most people probably don’t think of comics as a particularly experimental art form, I believe that it is one of the best mediums for the unusual, the surreal, the existential, or the absurd. Comics' unique combination of visuals and text lends itself well for a wide range of stylistic and storytelling possibilities, and has much more to offer than superheroes or pugnacious lasagna-loving-cats. There's a whole world out there of comic artists/authors trying new things and pushing the...

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