By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Mar 01, 2014 at 6:06 AM

It’s time for yet another set of recommendations from, and it seems the long, frosty winter has sent most of the OMC staff scurrying for their bookshelves, as many of the recommendations this week are of a literary variety.

"Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson – It's rare that I read a book for a second time. There are just so many books to read. But recently I reread "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson. The book is now 50 years old, but it is a passionate and literate examination of the dangers and fears facing our planet. Carson had an intense fear over what we were doing to the environment without even knowing it. Her book gave birth to the environmental movement in this country and the world. It is still an eye-opening book to read and the kind of thing that makes you feel smarter after you read it, which is always a good thing. ­– Dave Begel

"The Beatles Are Here! 50 Years After the Band Arrived in America, Writers, Musicians and Other Fans Remember," by Penelope Rowlands (Algonquin) – While this compendium of first-person memories and accounts of the Beatles' arrival in America includes contributions by the likes of Billy Joel and Cyndi Lauper, they're nowhere near the most interesting bits. Instead, look at the cover image, and you'll see the author dead center. Her memories of the day the photo was taken, along with those of others in the photo, are the most compelling stories and the most engaging. After all, these were the kids on the front lines of Beatlemania. How fortunate for us that one of the girls in one of those photos grew up to be a writer and anthologist. – Bobby Tanzilo

"Room" by Emma Donoghue – I had low expectations for this novel, thinking it sounded gimmicky. An adult novel written through the eyes of a 5-year-old boy who's trapped in a room with his kidnapped mother? However, about three pages into the book, I was stunned, hooked and thoroughly impressed with Donoghue's ability to tell such a harrowing story through dead-on kid talk. Plus, "Room" impressively captures a child's mind, particularly how they take the limited information they have and use it to interpret what they don't understand. I could not put this book down. And I am once again humbled as a writer and parent. – Molly Snyder

Skinny ties from ties.comThere are an awful lot of jokey novelty ties on that I would never sling around my neck, but when you select "skinny ties," then sort by popularity, some very cool and very inexpensive selections reveal themselves. The PR folks at asked me to review two selections, so I picked their $16 seersucker stripe light blue tie, which is perfect for summer (if that ever comes), and their $18 tan woodland tie that almost looks slightly distressed and faded – pretty cool and distinctive. Both are nice additions to my tie rack. For these prices, color me impressed. – Andy Tarnoff 

"Blue Is the Warmest Color" – Have you seen all of the Oscar nominees heading into tomorrow night’s ceremony? Well, perhaps check out one of its snubs, "Blue Is the Warmest Color," recently added to Netflix Instant. Even after winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year and leaving France on a wave of buzz – and with more than a touch of controversy – the lesbian drama wasn’t able to crack the Academy’s Best Foreign Film category. It's a snub both surprising and predictable considering the Oscars' fatal allergy to almost anything with edge.

It’s too bad because "Blue Is the Warmest Color" is great, a beautifully raw, captivating and incredibly performed tale about growing up, love and relationships. Yes, the sex scenes are quite explicit – it didn’t get that NC-17 rating for nothing – but they serve their purpose for the story, and the rest of the movie around them. Also, Adele Exarchopoulos  – the lead actress  – is almost impossible to look away from. Unless you’re the Academy, but whatever. I’m totally not bitter about it. Not at all. Nope. – Matt Mueller