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Staff Recommendations


  • Shadow box

    by Plimpton, George.

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    July 3, 2016

    Call Number: 796.33 P728

    From “A Poem on the Annihilation of Ernie Terrell” by Muhammad Ali and Marianne Moore              " . . .He is claiming to be the real heavyweight champBut when the fight starts he will look like a trampHe has been talking too much about me and making me soreAfter I am through with him he will not be able to challenge Mrs. Moore." (Click... Read Full Review

  • The water knife

    by Bacigalupi, Paolo.

    June 27, 2016

    California has been in a state of drought for approximately six consecutive years. The drought has also affected other states: Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas. Therefore it is hard to imagine a more timely novel than The water knife by Paolo Bacigalupi. In this novel the fluctuations of water have wreaked havoc on the eastern seaboard: New York and Miami have disappeared under the waves as ocean levels rise. In the southwest, the lack of water is destroying cities just as thorougly, and water has become one of the most valuable commodities in the area. The... Read Full Review

  • Lab girl

    by Jahren, Hope, author.

    Reviewed by: Bob Timmermann, Senior Librarian, Science, Technology & Patents Dept.

    June 20, 2016

    Call Number: 570.92 J25

    The title of Hope Jahren's book, Lab Girl, does not immediately tell you what this book is about. Instead you get an idea that it has something to do with science, and probably women, but there is so much more to this book.

    Jahren's memoir details her life as the child of a father who was a longtime, community college science professor in Minnesota. Her mother also wished to pursue a career in science, but, as for many women of her time, circumstances just didn’t make it possible to be a wife and a professional scientist. This led Jahren to pursue a... Read Full Review

  • The Sherlockian

    by Moore, Graham, 1981-

    June 13, 2016

    Call Number: M

    In 1893 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes in the story, "The Final Problem." Doyle wanted to pursue writing historical novels and thought this story would be the end of Sherlock Holmes. But it wasn’t. The public wanted more stories of Holmes and his intrepid assistant, Dr. Watson, and the outcry was immediate and sustained. Even Queen Victoria is rumored to have pressured Doyle. He held out for eight years, and finally relented with the release of The Hound of the Baskervilles. While published in 1901, the novel was set prior to Holmes' death. But the public still was... Read Full Review

  • Grunt : the curious science of humans at war

    by Roach, Mary.

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

    June 7, 2016

    Call Number: 355.0973 R628

    Having read Mary Roach's other books, all I wanted to write about this recent book is a two-sentence review: Mary Roach has a new book! Go read it!!. But several things were pointed out to me: I was abusing the exclamation mark, and not everyone has read Mary Roach.

    Mary Roach is a science writer. She wrote Gulp (about digestion), ... Read Full Review

  • Soup for Syria : recipes to celebrate our shared humanity

    by Massaad, Barbara Abdeni, compiler, photographer.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    May 23, 2016

    Call Number: 641.71 M414

    This book evolved out of trips made by writer and photographer Barbara Abdeni Massaad to Syrian refugee camps forty-five minutes from her apartment in the Bekka Valley, Lebanon. At least once a week, during the winter of 2014-2015, she put food in the trunk of her car for numerous refugee camps in Lebanon. There were many who shared her dismay and concern for 3.8 million people who have been displaced throughout the region and live in temporary camps, in need of food and shelter. She enlisted the help of world food writers, chefs and others who love to cook. Everyone... Read Full Review

  • Every heart a doorway

    by McGuire, Seanan.

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

    May 16, 2016

    When you were a kid did you ever wish that you could find a magic door that would whisk you away to somewhere stranger and better than your ordinary life? The kind of place where, against all odds, you fit in and made a difference? The kind of place where you had a chance at a new and wonderful life? It happens to children in fantasy novels all the time. They get new worlds full of adventure, and magic, and friendship. Then they have to come back here. As a reader, it is a let down. But imagine how it feels for the child, going to all the effort of building a new life and then losing it... Read Full Review

  • Los Angeles Central Library : a history of its art and architecture

    by Gee, Stephen, author.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    May 4, 2016

    Call Number: 027.47949 L881Ge

    Last Friday, April 29, 2016 was the 30th anniversary of the fire at Central Library. The remembrance of that day, and its significance in the history of the library, was admirably covered by the Library Docents, and by Christina Rice, Senior Librarian, Photo Collection.  Last week also marked the arrival of a significant new book about the Central... Read Full Review

  • In the country of last things

    by Auster, Paul, 1947-

    April 21, 2016

    Dystopian fiction, ranging from George Orwell’s classic 1984 to the modern day phenomenon of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series, typically conjures up images of oppressive regimes subverting the spirit of the common people in pursuit of some greater, yet ultimately insidious purpose. A meager resistance force struggles to overthrow this regime and restore peace, freedom, and love to these rigid, heartless worlds. Sometimes the resistance gets to wear fashionable neoprene bodysuits in wildly successful movie franchises. Sometimes things are much bleaker, and monochrome... Read Full Review

  • Wake of vultures

    by Bowen, Lila.

    April 13, 2016

    Nettie Lonesome is an unlikely hero. She’s half Native American, and half African American with no idea of her past or her people. She dresses and acts like a boy to avoid the hellish treatment she sees perpetrated on women, young and old, in the tiny town of Gloomy Bluebird in the Durango territory. While she bristles at the label of slave, that is exactly how Mam and Papp treat her, and she dreams of someday working as a hired hand, breaking and taming horses, on a ranch far away. The stranger that wandered onto the farm in the middle of the night seemed normal enough. And he seemed to... Read Full Review

  • These vicious masks

    by Shanker, Tarun.

    April 1, 2016

    Call Number: YA

    According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the term “superhero” dates back to at least 1917, and there are many characters from folklore, like Robin Hood, The Scarlet Pimpernel or Dr. Syn, The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh that predate the term. Like Batman, these heroes have no extraordinary powers. Instead, they rely upon their skill, cunning, training, the wearing of distinctive clothing, generally a costume that includes a mask and a cape, and, of course, having a secret identity to protect themselves and their loved ones. The idea of a super-powered superhero came to the fore in the... Read Full Review

  • Consider the fork : a history of how we cook and eat

    by Wilson, Bee.

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

    March 29, 2016

    Call Number: 643.309 W746

    In the library we have vegetarian cookbooks and barbecue cookbooks. We have French cookbooks and microwave cookbooks. We have cookbooks by famous chefs and famous musicians. Almost anything you’ve ever wanted to serve at a meal, we have cookbooks that will help you make those foods. But why do we cook the way we do? What influences the way you make a breakfast slice of toast or cup of coffee?

    Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork, has the answer. It isn’t simply ingredients or culture that shapes food choices. She tells us that the way we cook, the technology we... Read Full Review