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Staff Recommendations

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  • Time was

    by McDonald, Ian, 1960-

    June 18, 2018

    Call Number: SF

    Anyone who has spent time in bookstores or libraries has found them: short notes, usually handwritten, tucked away in books to be found by the latest reader of the title. Typically, they are ad-hoc bookmarks, inadvertently left behind by a previous reader. When you find one of these, what do you do? Do you throw the note away, assuming it is trash, or do you place it back in the book? If you choose to put it back, do you read it before you do so? What if you found a note, read it and discovered that it was not arbitrarily left in the book, but quite consciously placed there for someone... Read Full Review

  • The Prince and the Dressmaker

    by Wang, Jen.

    Reviewed by: Andrea Borchert, Librarian, Science, Technology & Patents Department

    June 11, 2018

    Call Number: 740.9999 W246

    Frances is a young, talented, hardworking dressmaker. She wants to make wonderfully glamorous dresses. No one quite gets her art form and design, including her boss and the aristocrats he works for, and neither does the new department store opening up downtown.  At best, they think they can make money off her work. At worst, they are offended and enraged by her work. She loses her job after giving a young woman exactly the dress she wanted. The young woman, Lady Sophia, looks amazing in her new ball gown, and she knows it. But this dress isn’t a typical ball gown:  black with a... Read Full Review

  • No time to spare : thinking about what matters

    by Le Guin, Ursula K., 1929-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    June 4, 2018

    Call Number: 814 L521

    Ursula Le Guin was an inventive writer best known for her novels (fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction), and who also wrote poetry, critical non-fiction, books for children, and numerous essays. She began a blog, from which these selected essays are collected. In so many of these pieces she is dazzling in her clearly stated analyses, because in no way could Le Guin be led astray or beguiled by flattery or easy charm. Having lived fully engaged in the present world provides insight as to how she imagined other worlds that became reflective of this one. She is candid, unabashed,... Read Full Review

  • Witchmark

    by Polk, C. L.

    May 29, 2018

    Dr. Miles Singer is a man with secrets. First, his name isn’t really Miles Singer, it is Sir Christopher Hensley. He is a child from an aristocratic family of magic users who are deeply entrenched in Aeland’s government. While it is true that he is a doctor and a veteran, however he was never meant to be either. He was meant for a life of servitude to his sister, acting as a booster or battery, for her magical power. So he ran away, hiding his magical abilities and noble background, to pursue a life serving as a physician and psychiatrist working with other war veterans in the wards of... Read Full Review

  • Wonder Valley

    by Pochoda, Ivy,

    Reviewed by: Linda Rudell-Betts, Senior Librarian, Social Science, Philosophy and Religion Department

    May 21, 2018

    As a gift from the library universe, my library hold for Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda became available during the December holidays, and I had downtime to spend reading. The book opens with a man running naked through rush hour traffic in downtown Los Angeles, drawing police and television reporters in hot pursuit. I thought, this book has potential to show what we're living with here in LA.

    Multiple characters whose lives are interwoven represent different parts of Southern California society: the seekers in the desert, the destitute on Skid Row, and the self-absorbed from... Read Full Review

  • Natural causes : an epidemic of wellness, the certainty of dying, and killing ourselves to live longer

    by Ehrenreich, Barbara,

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    May 14, 2018

    Call Number: 393 E33

    Barbara Ehrenreich has spent much of her journalistic career as a social gadfly, with her contrarian takes on the “American Dream,” positive thinking, and masculinity. Natural Causes is her most controversial polemic to date. She strongly advocates against unnecessary medical exams, corporate mandated weight loss programs, fitness regimes, extreme diets, mindfulness meditation sessions, and wellness lifestyle gurus. Ehrenreich bemoans the attention paid to healthy choices, which she feels will only postpone the inevitable. Her own background in microbiology, in addition to her... Read Full Review

  • Pride and Prometheus

    by Kessel, John,

    May 7, 2018

    Call Number: SF

    What if Mary Bennett, Elizabeth Bennett’s younger sister from Pride and Prejudice, encountered Victor Frankenstein at a social event in London? What if, upon meeting Victor, the serious and studious Mary became quite taken with the withdrawn, troubled, and also quite brilliant, Frankenstein? What would happen? This is the question entertainingly explored by John Kessel in his new novel Pride and Prometheus.

    Mary Bennett and her younger sister, Kitty, are both beginning to realize that their chances of finding a suitable husband are dwindling rapidly. While Mary... Read Full Review

  • Broad Band: The Untold History of Women Who Made the Internet

    by Evans, Claire Lisa,

    Reviewed by: Andrea Borchert, Librarian, Science, Technology & Patents Department

    April 30, 2018

    Call Number: 510.7809 E924

    Who made the Internet? Popular culture might have you picture a young, white, nerdy man as the architect and designer, the artist and innovator, behind the Internet. Maybe he’s arrogant and standoffish. Maybe he’s shy and brilliant. He probably wears glasses. There are people like him in the story of the Internet, but his story isn't the only one. There are lots of other people who contributed to creating this valuable resource--hundreds of stories behind the making of the Internet. Women also made the Internet, and their stories can help us understand their contributions. It is... Read Full Review

  • The girl on the velvet swing : sex, murder, and madness at the dawn of the twentieth century

    by Baatz, Simon,

    Reviewed by: Nicholas Beyelia, Librarian, History and Genealogy Department

    April 22, 2018

    Call Number: 364.9747 B111

    The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century by Simon Baatz examines the murder of New York’s premier architect of the Gilded Age, Stanford White by Harry Kendall Thaw. Baatz, an Associate Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, examines the events surrounding the murder with a legal historian’s eye, paying particular attention to the trial and its aftermath. Baatz provides a fascinating and provocative analysis of an event that has been largely purged from popular consciousness.

    Today, the name Evelyn... Read Full Review

  • The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America

    by Kendzior, Sarah,

    April 16, 2018

    Call Number: 320.973 T871Ke

    The results of the 2016 presidential election left many stunned. Over the course of the day, and into the evening, political pundits continued to predict Clinton would prevail, even as the Trump campaign gained significant leads and the election ended in a Trump victory. But there was at least one person who was not surprised: Sarah Kendzior, an academic researcher and St. Louis based journalist, could see the writing on the wall that others missed, and became one of the first credited with predicting the outcome. Between 2012 – 2014, Kendzior wrote a series of essays, originally published... Read Full Review

  • The tangled lands

    by Bacigalupi, Paolo,

    April 9, 2018

    Imagine a world where magic is not only real, but it is available to anyone, allowing them to do almost anything. However, when that magic is used, there is a cost. When a spell is cast, regardless of the reason behind it or whether it is for a great or a small thing, someone, somewhere will fall into a deathlike sleep and never awaken. If you knew this, and had lived with the consequences of others’ spells, or had loved ones that had, would you still cast that spell? This is the compelling question explored in The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell.

    ... Read Full Review

  • The book of Emma Reyes

    by Reyes, Emma, 1919-2003,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    March 28, 2018

    Call Number: 759.184 R457

    For all of her adult life, Emma Reyes was known as an artist who painted and sketched, and as storyteller in the world of other artists in Europe and South America. The historian Germán Arciniegas urged her to write down her memoirs, but she begged off, claiming not to have any literary talents. He suggested that she write him letters about her childhood, which eventually became this memoir in epistolary format. Arciniegas showed some of the letters to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who expressed his great enthusiasm to Reyes. She, in turn, felt betrayed by Arciniegas, believing that he... Read Full Review

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