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  • 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

  • Oriana Fallaci : the journalist, the agitator, the legend

    by De Stefano, Cristina, 1967-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    March 21, 2018

    Call Number: 075.092 F194De 2017

    Long before there was Christiane Amanpour, Arwa Damon, Marie Colvin, Christopher Hitchens, and Hunter Thompson’s Gonzo journalism, there was the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. In the 1950s she had broken through the mysogynistic newsrooms in Italy by writing about whatever she was assigned, and with great determination worked her way into reporting serious subjects of her own choosing. Fearless, aggressive and assertive, unrelenting and incapable of being deflected, she fought for and got assignments not available to other female journalists. At the time, "She worked and smoked... Read Full Review

  • Mister Tender's girl

    by Wilson, Carter (Novelist),

    March 12, 2018

    In May, 2014, two twelve-year-old girls, from Waukesha, Wisconsin, lured a classmate into the woods, held her down and stabbed her 19 times with a kitchen knife. Left for dead, the victim was able to drag herself out of the woods and get close to a nearby road, where she was discovered and medical assistance was called. After being apprehended, both of the girls, who committed the stabbing, claimed to have done so to gain the favor of Slender Man, a fictional character about whom they had read online. Now, nearly four years later, Carter Wilson has used what has become known as “the... Read Full Review

  • Bullets into bells : poets & citizens respond to gun violence

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    March 7, 2018

    Call Number: 811.08 B9365

    Through poetry and prose, parents, poets, politicians, social and political activists, and survivors of indiscriminate individual and mass shootings, express their thoughts and feelings about gun violence in the United States. The writing is presented in a call and response format:  first a poem and then a prose commentary.  In the introduction, novelist Colum McCann states why poetry is a good place to begin, "The poems assert the possibility of language rather than bullets to open our veins.” He emphasizes why discussion is invaluable by quoting the Algerian poet and... Read Full Review

  • Mis(h)adra

    by Ata, Iasmin Omar, author, illustrator.

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

    February 28, 2018

    Call Number: 740.9999 A862

    Iasmin Omar Ata uses a striking palette and manga art style to tell the story of an Arab-American college student, Isaac, dealing with epilepsy in Mis(h)adra. Because this is a graphic novel, Ata has a chance to develop a new language of symbols and images to convey the physical experience of a chronic illness. Ata can show not just pain, but the frustrating and exhausting battle with illness, with doctors, and with medications in an evocative and visceral way.

    As Isaac attempts to bargain and placate his relentless illness, strings of beads wind around him, strangling his... Read Full Review

  • The Lovings : an intimate portrait

    by Villet, Grey, photographer.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    February 12, 2018

    Call Number: 770.9964 V748

    In real life as well as novels, plays and movies there are love stories where two people often have to face obstacles, tragedies and are fortunate to reach a relatively happy ending:  Heloise and Abelard, Elizabeth and Robert Browning, Romeo and Juliet, and others. Modern times are not without problematic love stories, usually not for the two people involved, but for others: family, friends, neighbors and governments. So it was for Richard Loving, who was white, and Mildred Jeter, who was black, and lived in Virginia in the 1950s. They had grown up as neighbors, in a... Read Full Review

  • Courage is contagious : and other reasons to be grateful for Michelle Obama

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    February 6, 2018

    Call Number: 808.35 C8585

    This collection of seventeen essays is not intended to be a biography of Michelle Obama, many of which can be found here in LAPL’s catalog, rather this is an appreciation of who she is as a person, who also happened to be First Lady of the United States. The essays are from students and from working professionals in different fields: fashion, literature, arts and entertainment, social and political activists.

    There is a commonality to their perceptions and expectations about... Read Full Review

  • Miriam Hopkins : life and films of a Hollywood rebel

    by Ellenberger, Allan R., 1956-

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

    January 29, 2018

    Call Number: 812.092 H795El

    Allan Ellenberger's biography of Miriam Hopkins is a nuanced and in-depth look at one of the most dazzling and provocative personalities from Hollywood’s Golden Age. The book follows Hopkins’ rise to stardom; her participation in some of Hollywood’s most revolutionary films; the fascinating events and people that marked her personal life as well as her inexplicable disappearance from the public eye. Most astonishing, Ellenberger’s book is probably the first biography ever written on Hopkins.

    Hopkins was a Georgia-born southern belle, raised by a domineering mother, with whom she... Read Full Review

  • Darkest hour : how Churchill brought England back from the brink

    by McCarten, Anthony, 1961-

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    January 22, 2018

    Call Number: 940.532 M123

    Darkest hour is a thrilling companion piece to the movie of the same name. In early May 1940, Winston Churchill was an unlikely figure to be asked to become Prime Minister by King George VI. Derided as a turncoat by his fellow Conservatives for his former membership in the Liberal Party, and pegged as an imperialist by his Labour Party foes, Churchill was a compromise choice to head up a fragile coalition government during wartime. Churchill’s previous failure as a military leader during the First World War was overlooked because he had by far the most wartime experience of any... Read Full Review

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