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Staff Recommendations


  • The dollhouse : a novel

    by Davis, Fiona, 1966- author.

    Reviewed by: Llyr Heller, Librarian, History & Genealogy Department

    October 18, 2016

    The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis gives readers the stories of two young women coming of age in New York. Alternating between 1952 and 2016, they live in the same building, the once famous Barbizon Hotel for women, and its surrounding neighborhood. This novel joins historical fiction with mystery in a deft and intriguing manner.

    While also creating a life for herself in 2016, Rose Lewin tries to find out what happened to a mysterious woman who lives in her building. Set in 1952, the story is about Darby McLaughlin, Rose’s mysterious neighbor, who always wears a veil. In the past... Read Full Review

  • Addlands : a novel

    by Bullough, Tom, author.

    Reviewed by: Robert Anderson, Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department

    October 17, 2016

    On the day in 1941 that his nineteen-year-old wife gives birth to a son, middle-aged Welsh farmer Idris Hamer discovers a large, flat stone with unusual lettering on it while plowing one of his fields.  Over the next 70 years, the stone will reappear periodically in the lives of the Hamers, serving as a sort of guardian talisman or tormenting demon in this bleak yet compelling family chronicle. Idris and his wife, Etty, live in Radnorshire, a rural area bordering England where the residents consider themselves neither Welsh nor English, but something altogether different. ... Read Full Review

  • Conspiracy of ravens

    by Bowen, Lila, author.

    October 11, 2016

    At the end of Wake of Vultures, Nettie Lonesome, the half Native American, half African American, cross-dressing Texas Ranger, who is also The Shadow, took a leap of faith hoping to find some answers. She had just dispatched the Cannibal Owl, and narrowly escaped with her life, then Nettie suddenly walked to the edge of a cliff and jumped. Did she find what she was looking for? Perhaps. She also added to the long list of questions for which... Read Full Review

  • The kingdom of speech

    by Wolfe, Tom.

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    October 3, 2016

    Call Number: 401 W855

    Satirist Tom Wolfe is back with another contrarian broadside against sacred cows. In The Kingdom of Speech, Wolfe takes on two scientific icons, Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky.  In this slim, provocative volume, Wolfe risks the scorn of the scientific establishment by criticizing the self-importance of these legendary figures.

    Wolfe contrasts the patrician Darwin, whose theories were always backed up by other English gentleman scientists, such as Charles Lyell, with the “flycatcher,” Alfred Russell Wallace, a working class naturalist who had... Read Full Review

  • The passions & politics of Ed Edelman an untold story of leadership

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    September 19, 2016

    Call Number: DVD 92 E21Pa

    LAPL Reads is committed to reviewing books, however this week we are recommending a DVDThe passions & politics of Ed Edelman an untold story of leadership. Former Los Angeles City Councilman (nine years) and former Los Angeles County Supervisor (twenty years), Edmund Edelman died last week.  This documentary is not being reviewed because of Mr. Edelman's death. It is being reviewed to bring attention to a civic leader and elected official who was dedicated to serving the public.

    ... Read Full Review

  • Shrill : notes from a loud woman

    by West, Lindy.

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

    September 19, 2016

    Call Number: 071.092 W518

    Lindy West is a champion of feminism and body positivity. She is a joke cracking, fearless media critic who walks into the deepest, dankest pits of online culture and shows more courage, compassion, and humanity to the people she interacts with there, than I do to the people who cut me off in traffic. In her book, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, West faces some of the ugliest aspects in our culture, examines them, makes you laugh and shake your fist, and reminds you to live in the world anyway.

    For example, when the comedian Daniel Tosh caused a... Read Full Review

  • The long way to a small, angry planet

    by Chambers, Becky, author.

    September 12, 2016

    Call Number: SF

    Space Opera is the subgenre of Speculative Fiction that focuses on daring heroes and their adventures in outer space. Springing from the Science Fiction pulps in the 1930s, moving into novels, and novel series, by authors like E.E. “Doc” Smith, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and David Gerrold, Space Opera moved onto the big screen with Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers and then scattered into comics, comic books, television and graphic novels. For over 70 years, it has been a favorite with readers and viewers alike. Reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky... Read Full Review

  • Twain's end

    by Cullen, Lynn.

    Reviewed by: Robert Anderson, Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department

    August 29, 2016

    In 1908, a couple of years before his death, Samuel Clemens, known around the world as novelist and humorist Mark Twain, decided to leave New York City and have a new home (eventually called Stormfield) built for him near the little town of Redding, Connecticut.  He left most of the details of consulting with the architect and overseeing the construction to Isabel Lyon, who had been his secretary for six years.  Isabel was given a cottage on the property for herself and her mother, and a room at Stormfield--right next to the master bedroom. Not long after moving to Connecticut... Read Full Review

  • Stiletto : a novel

    by O'Malley, Daniel, author.

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

    August 22, 2016

    Stiletto is the second book in the Rook series by Daniel O’Malley, and you should read both of them because they are awesome. The series tells the story of the Checquy, a secret agency within the British government that deals with strange happenings and unusual people.

    When there's trouble who do you ask? Is one of the children in the neighborhood school spontaneously teleporting back to the hospital where he was born? Get the Checquy. Have fast growing crystals suddenly enveloped a house, entombing the family inside? Call the Checquy. Has some monstrous... Read Full Review

  • Rise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the Moon to Mars

    by Holt, Nathalia, 1980- author.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    August 15, 2016

    Call Number: 629.40973 H758

    When Natalia Holt, scientific researcher and writer, and her husband were searching for a name for their baby daughter, they googled the name Eleanor Frances. Among the names, she became intrigued with Eleanor Francis Helin, a scientist who had worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for over three decades, starting in the 1960s. Who was this woman and were there other women working at NASA during this time? Two births emerged:  baby daughter Eleanor, and a research project about the women behind the rocket science that sent Americans into space.

    Today... Read Full Review

  • The ballad of Black Tom

    by LaValle, Victor D., 1972- author.

    August 1, 2016

    In recent years, the writings of H.P. Lovecraft have become increasingly problematic. His personal views regarding race and class permeate his writing, resulting in works that are challenging at best and nearly impossible to enjoy for contemporary readers. While the subject of Lovecraft’s views on race have been the focus of many debates and disagreements, between fans and scholars, Victor Lavalle, an award winning author and instructor at Columbia University, started reading Lovecraft around the age of eleven. As he grew older, he began to recognize Lovecraft’s rampant racism, which left him... Read Full Review

  • A burglar's guide to the city

    by Manaugh, Geoff, author.

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

    July 25, 2016

    Call Number: 364 M267

    I cross the street at the crosswalk. I use the entrance and exit doors as marked, even when they take me a long way around. Sometimes, I wait forlornly on deserted street corners for the sign to indicate that it is finally all right to “WALK”. So, like Geoff Manaugh, author of A burglar's guide to the city, I was thrilled to learn that there were other ways to understand and move through urban spaces. This is not an instruction manual or safety guide. It doesn’t teach you to be a burglar. Instead the book explores the ways that burglars, thieves, and assorted miscreants see and... Read Full Review