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Morris & McCoy on Books, Summer 2012

Updated: April 1, 2016

From February 2007 through September 2012, two LAPL librarians, Sheryn Morris and Mary McCoy, presented a series of book reviews as part of the Thursdays@Central lunch program.

Chen, Guanzhong.
A novel that has been banned in modern China. This is a dystopian story set in the near future, in China, where there is a booming economy and seemingly public contentment. However, when a past month vanishes from the history of events, few people seem to care or notice, except one successful writer. A key premise of this book challenges the concept of prosperity and material comfort versus freedom of thought and expression in a totalitarian state.

Greenfield, Robert.
Call Number: 788.99 E73Gr
Ahmet Ertegun was a least likely guy to become involved in the world of rock, R&B, and jazz. Born to an affluent Turkish family of diplomats, Ertegun and his brother Nesuhi were passionate about jazz. Ertegun started Atlantic Records and parlayed it into one of the most successful record companies. Elegant and earthy, this man worked and played hard.

Decker, Todd R.
Call Number: 789.14 A852De

This biography of Astaire pays tribute to his talent as a dancing musician. A readable analysis of Astaire's style, technique, perfectionism, and constant quest to improve and change his dancing.

Kastin, David.
Call Number: 781.995 K19

She was an unofficial, unpaid promoter of jazz musicians, in particular Thelonius Monk.  Kathleen Annie Pannonica Rothschild Later Koenigswarter was a decorated WWII hero, a mother and the wife of a diplomat, but left it all for the world of American jazz in the 1950s. Charlie Parker died in her elegant Stanhope Hotel apartment. Other musicians referred to her simply as the Baroness.

Wickenden, Dorothy.
Call Number: 370.92 W893Wi

What happens when two Smith graduates decide to set off in 1916 for, what was then, the wild west of Colorado? Well, adventure, and a good deal more of it than either they or their families could imagine. Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood wrote to their families back in New York, and it is from those letters that Woodruff's granddaughter has created this hearty tale.

Smith, R. J., 1959-
Call Number: 789.14 B8777Sm
As much as Aretha Franklin is The Queen, James Brown is known as The One. That "one" refers to more than his being the one and only, it refers to a certain type of beat/rhythm/philosophy. His roots were in South Carolina, the culture of black slaves and white racism. This new biography delves into the life of a very complex man and musician.

McCoy, Esther.
Call Number: 720.910941 M131
Esther McCoy was one of modern architecture's most important critics and writers. She was the first architectural critic to take Los Angeles architecture seriously. This is a new anthology which includes a variety of her work.

Sin, Ky?ng-suk.
An aging woman goes missing, spurring stories of love and guilt from her family in this South Korean novel.  An interesting choice of voice and a rich level of detail help bring depth to this universal human story. A mother's disappearance in a Seoul subway station elicits reflection on the part of her children, husband and the mother herself. The children and father suddenly realize how they have taken her for granted, and reminisce about the sacrifices made by the mother.

Bernier, Rosamond.
Call Number: 709.2 B528
Coming from a background of privilege and advantage did not stop Rosamond Bernier from working hard and being successful at what she loved doing. She had a passion for art and loved to talk about it, and that's what she did with her sparkling, well-informed lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She knew, socialized and wrote about major twentieth century artists.

Strayed, Cheryl, 1968-
Call Number: 813 S913S

Shattered at age 26 by her mother's death and the end of her marriage, Strayed did something way out of the realm of her experience--she took a solo 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Miller, Jennifer, 1980-
Call Number: M
An elite private school plagued by scandal. A secret society hell-bent on stirring up trouble. And a 14-year-old high school freshman and aspiring journalist determined to get to the bottom of it all. The Year of the Gadfly has the gravity and heft of Donna Tartt's chilling The Secret History without the gloom. It's charming, funny, and for heaven's sake, the main character has Edward R. Murrow for an imaginary friend/life coach.