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  • LACMA so far : portrait of a museum in the making

    by Muchnic, Suzanne,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    December 4, 2017

    Call Number: 708.1 L8817Mu

    The county and city of Los Angeles have rapidly grown into a major domestic and global region, internationaly diverse and fearlessly innovative in social, political and economic areas. All of this did not happen without bumps and mishaps, which are interesting and add to the colorful past and recent history of an area that has legends and myths surrounding it. LACMA, aka The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, represents all of that in microcosm. The idea for the present art museum began in 1913, and was to be part of the The Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art, in Exposition Park... Read Full Review

  • Miss D & me : life with the invincible Bette Davis

    by Sermak, Kathryn,

    Reviewed by: Nicholas Beyelia, Librarian

    November 27, 2017

    Call Number: 812.092 D261Se

    This is a memoir written by Bette Davis’ former assistant, Kathryn Sermak, who spent nearly a decade working for Davis and developed an unlikely friendship with the screen legend. It took Sermak nearly thirty years to write this book and it stands as a tribute to Davis’ bravery and resilience.

    In 1979 Sermak was a recent college graduate living with her strict parents in San Bernardino. College had given her a taste of independence and she was doing her best to avoid graduate school. She fell into a job that utilized the foreign language skills she had mastered... Read Full Review

  • March 1917 : on the brink of war and revolution

    by Englund, Will,

    Reviewed by: Nicholas Beyelia, Librarian

    October 30, 2017

    Call Number: 940.373 E58

    March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution by Will Englund examines international social and political conflicts leading up to the titular date. Englund, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist at the Washington Post, surveys how a cast of historical figures traversed through the upheaval leading up to March 1917, placing emphasis on the United States’ entry into World War I, and on the Russian Revolution.

    Drawing upon a wealth of primary and secondary resources, Englund reveals how notable personalities including writer H.L. Mencken, Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin... Read Full Review

  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore

    by Sloan, Robin, 1979-

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

    October 11, 2017

    There are people who want you to believe that there is a hot, bright line dividing computers from books. “You have to chose one,” they tell you. You can’t love both the feel and smell of an old hardback and a quick boolean search. You have to chose. It’s media or e-media, and never the twain shall meet. But that’s a false dichotomy. That’s choosing between peanut butter and chocolate, when both are good. Let’s have both and mix them together and see what we come up with.

    Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore is a novel that embraces and celebrates both paper books and technology... Read Full Review

  • The catcher in the rye

    by Salinger, J. D. (Jerome David), 1919-2010.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    September 28, 2017

    Call Number: Ed.c

    Catcher in the rye is one of the most repeatedly banned and controversial coming-of-age books, and as we celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, it is a book worth reading or rereading. The novel has been challenged and/or banned because of profane language and sex, most of which seem tame in comparison to today's books, films and television programs. However the feelings and thoughts of the book's protagonist, Holden Caulfield, have appeal for teens and adults who are questioning their identity and place in... Read Full Review

  • Judy and I : my life with Judy Garland

    by Luft, Sid,

    Reviewed by: Nicholas Beyelia, Librarian

    September 11, 2017

    Call Number: 812.092 G233Lu

    This autobiography from Judy Garland’s third husband, Michael Sidney “Sid” Luft was published nearly 12 years after his death. The book details Luft’s childhood, early years prior to meeting Garland, and his life with the legend leading up to her death in 1969. Luft never finished writing this book, having stopped around 1960 when he was excluded from his wife’s life by Judy and her new handlers. The remaining portions of the book were cobbled together by Randy L. Schmidt (with the permission of the Sid Luft Living Trust) using interviews, tape recordings and other resources that Luft left... Read Full Review

  • Front lines

    by Grant, Michael, 1954-

    Reviewed by: Llyr Heller, Librarian, Teen'Scape

    September 5, 2017

    Call Number: YA

    There are some young adult books that have terrific appeal as crossover fiction for adult readers. The new Front Lines series of books are just those kind of books.

    Young adult and children’s author Michael Grant has outdone himself with his new series, Front Lines. In his newest and most masterfully done work, he transports readers to a re-imagined scenario concerning World War II. At a time when young men are going off to fight Nazi Germany, a court decision pulls in both males and females to the draft. These novels, in alternating chapters, take us to the war in various ways,... Read Full Review

  • Get well soon : history's worst plagues and the heroes who fought them

    by Wright, Jennifer Ashley, 1986-

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

    August 30, 2017

    Call Number: 614.409 W951

    A book of the worst plagues in history could be a nightmare-inducing slog through dark times. Everything, from the suffering of victims to the ‘treatments’ they endured, piles on misery. It would take a deft hand to write about the bubonic plague, or smallpox, or leprosy  in a way that neither sinks into despair, nor loses sight of the humanity shared by readers, sufferers, doctors, and the desperate communities trying to outlast the catastrophe.

    Luckily, Jennifer Wright writes with just such a deft hand! She mixes a gruesome medical history with a humorous,... Read Full Review

  • Daring to drive : a Saudi woman's awakening

    by Sharif, Manal, 1979-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    August 23, 2017

    Call Number: 301.412953 S531

    Manal al-Sharif did not plan to be a rebellious leader of a social or political movement, or to be civilly disobedient, and certainly not to bring any type of public notice to herself, but that is just what happened. She said the cause chose her. Raised in a traditional Muslim home in Saudi Arabia, she tried to be an obedient daughter and student, but inwardly questioned rules and regulations that seemed unfair and irrational. As a smart young woman, she attended King Abdulaziz University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science which led to a job with... Read Full Review

  • The road to Jonestown : Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

    by Guinn, Jeff,

    Reviewed by: Nicholas Beyelia, Librarian

    August 14, 2017

    Call Number: 289.9P35 G964

    The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn examines the events leading up to the 1978 mass suicide of over 900 Americans living in Guyana. Guinn used FBI reports, interviews and recently declassified government material to reconstruct exactly how a charismatic preacher who originally endorsed egalitarian ideas and civil rights, spiraled into a paranoid despot who led his followers down a path to a tragedy of biblical proportions. Guinn examines a very difficult, grim, aspect of modern history, and the reader is rewarded with a well-researched, up-to-... Read Full Review

  • Quicksand

    by Persson Giolito, Malin, 1969-

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

    August 7, 2017

    A young woman in Massachusetts was recently convicted of manslaughter after she urged her boyfriend, via cellphone, to carry out his suicide plans.  The same deadly combination of social media and criminal behavior is at the center of Swedish writer and lawyer Malin Persson Giolito's recent novel Quicksand, which takes place in the wealthy suburb of Stockholm where the author grew up. The story's narrator is 18-year-old Maria "Maja" Norberg, who has become a national and even international celebrity for the worst of reasons.  Nine months earlier Maja was involved in a... Read Full Review

  • At Balthazar : a tale of the New York brasserie at the center of the world

    by Nadelson, Reggie,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    July 31, 2017

    Call Number: 647.95 B197Na

    Located in Manhattan’s Soho, Balthazar is a Parisian-style brasserie with its own unique features.  Very much like its Parisian counterpart, the eatery is both a neighborhood hangout and place to enjoy a fine meal. Created by a British transplant, Keith McNally, who at the time was an illegal immigrant, but in 2017 the owner, staff and restaurant are legal and thriving.  Balthazar has been in business for twenty years. The decor, service, and most importantly the menu, all have French roots. In the great tradition of European brasseries and bars, regulars feel a strong sense of... Read Full Review

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