Print this page

Staff Recommendations


  • On the noodle road : from Beijing to Rome, with love and pasta

    by Lin-Liu, Jen.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    September 3, 2013

    Call Number: 641.6311 L7355

    When humanity moved past being hunter-gatherers and began to cultivate and harvest crops, one of the basic products of these efforts was bread which became a primary food source.  Noodles and dumplings are several steps up on the culinary register, but are based on a similar food product, dough, basically made of flour and water, and enriched with other ingredients if available.  Add sauces, fillings made from grains, vegetables, bits of meat, poultry or fish, seasonings, and these foods have moved way beyond sustenance to pleasure and are often basic to... Read Full Review

  • Fuzzy nation

    by Scalzi, John, 1969-

    August 26, 2013

    Call Number: SF

    What if, on an otherwise ordinary day, something happened on your job that could make you rich beyond your wildest dreams?  And what if, a few days after this event, you encountered an alien life form that may be sentient?  But if it is sentient, you would not be able to successfully collect your recently acquired wealth.    Would you put your efforts behind the discovery of these creatures and the protection of their planet?  Or would you try to hide them and protect your own interests?  These are the questions explored by John Scalzi in Fuzzy Nation... Read Full Review

  • Queen Victoria's book of spells : an anthology of Gaslamp fantasy

    August 19, 2013

    Call Number: SS

    Steampunk, the sub-genre of science fiction set primarily in the 19th century and featuring fantastic, often steam-powered, technologies with a Victorian flare, has been steadily growing in popularity over the last two decades. But what if you are more of a fantasy reader than a sci-fi reader? Well, prolific editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have just the collection for you: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells. Within this book, Datlow and Windling have gathered a marvelous collection of all new Victorian tinged fantasy stories (a new fantasy sub-genre referred to as... Read Full Review

  • Instant : the story of Polaroid

    by Bonanos, Christopher, 1969-

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    August 12, 2013

    Call Number: 338.78 P762Bo

    Instant photography is so much a part of our lives that it is difficult to imagaine a time when it was a novelty.  In the late 1940s the Polaroid Land Camera was commercially available and it printed a photograph in one minute.  Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid, was the Steve Jobs of his day, according to author Christopher Bonanos. He dropped out of Harvard and developed polarized filters for automobiles, sunglasses and 3-D spectacles. His Cambridge-based technology firm invented the first instant camera by the end of World War II. Instant color film was invented by... Read Full Review

  • The wild duck chase : inside the strange and wonderful world of the Federal Duck Stamp contest

    by Smith, Martin J., 1956-

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian

    August 5, 2013

    Call Number: 383.173 S655

    I've always been fond of books that give you a peek into an obscure subculture, and Martin J. Smith's The Wild Duck Chase is a good one.  The world into which Smith takes us is that of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the only art contest run by the federal government.  Unless you are a duck hunter, you're most likely to have heard of the duck stamp from the movie Fargo, which ends with Marge's husband telling her that... Read Full Review

  • Clowning through life, by Eddie Foy and Alvin F. Harlow.

    by Foy, Eddie, 1856-1928.

    Reviewed by: David Kelly, Senior Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department

    July 29, 2013

    Call Number: 812.092 F796

    If Eddie Foy is remembered at all today it is for the film, The Seven Little Foys which was about Foy's late-in-life vaudeville act with his seven children and starred Bob Hope as Foy. However, the Seven Little Foys act was just a part of Foy's long career, which he chronicles in this wonderful autobiography, which he wrote with Alvin Harlow.

    In the book Foy gives us a great look into life in the second half of the 19th century and the pre-vaudeville days of saloons, medicine shows, camp shows and traveling minstrel companies.   Early in life he witnessed... Read Full Review

  • Flagrant conduct : the story of Lawrence v. Texas : how a bedroom arrest decriminalized gay Americans

    by Carpenter, Dale, 1966-

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian

    July 23, 2013

    Call Number: 301.415709764 C295

    The state of gay rights in the United States is changing so rapidly that we forget sometimes how quickly change has come. It was only in 2003, for instance, that the Supreme Court struck down state bans on sodomy in the case of Lawrence v. Texas. Dale Carpenter's book Flagrant Conduct looks at how that case came to the Supreme Court, and how it was won. It's not only a fine piece of journalism, but entertaining reading as well.

    John Lawrence and Tyson Garner were arrested by Houston police in 1998 when they were discovered having sex in the bedroom of Lawrence's... Read Full Review

  • Creamy and crunchy : an informal history of peanut butter, the all-American food

    by Krampner, Jon, 1952-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    July 2, 2013

    Call Number: 641.65659 K89

    Is peanut butter an all-American food? That is one question John Krampner answers in this wonderful history of a food product Americans take for granted. Those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have frequently been associated with, what was once, the less-than sophisticated American palate. Times and tastes have changed,  but for most of us the love affair with this readily available comfort food has not. The plant and the spread have their origins elsewhere and came here on a boat just like other newcomers. Here is what Krampner says, "But for all the importance of peanuts to... Read Full Review

  • The Cassandra project

    by McDevitt, Jack.

    June 24, 2013

    Call Number: SF

    What if Neil Armstrong was not the first human to walk on the moon? What if there had been a secret moon landing that had never been publicized or acknowledged? And all involved who knew the truth had been sworn to secrecy, with some actually taking that truth to the grave? How could this have happened? And, more importantly, why? These are some of the intriguing questions explored in The Cassandra Project, by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick.

    When a reporter asks Jerry Culpepper, NASA’s Director of Public Affairs, about a story in The National Bedrock (a... Read Full Review

  • White bicycles : making music in the 1960s

    by Boyd, Joe, 1942-

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    June 3, 2013

    Call Number: 788.99092 B789

    Joe Boyd is an iconic American music producer and executive who has been involved in the recording industry for five decades. His interest in music production began when he watched the pre-Dick Clark Bandstand on television in Princeton, New Jersey. On his first production gig, Boyd brought the blues artist Lonnie Johnson to Princeton. He subsequently enrolled in Harvard, where he became part of the bohemian folk scene in Cambridge.

    In Cambridge, Boyd became acquainted with folksingers Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Maria D'Amato. He developed a relationship with George Wein,... Read Full Review

  • Red planet blues

    by Sawyer, Robert J.

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian

    June 3, 2013

    Call Number: SF

    Robert J. Sawyer is one of our best science fiction writers, and here he tackles one of the genre's bigger challenges -- the SF/mystery hybrid.

    The potential pitfalls in mixing the two, I think, have to do with reader expectations. SF readers enjoy -- and yes, this is a broad generalization -- the surprise of new gadgets, gizmos, concepts, technology. They'll let an author introduce something new six pages from the end of the book if it makes for an exciting finish. Mystery writers, to make an equally broad generalization, want a fair chance to solve the puzzle, so they... Read Full Review

  • Dirt Candy : a cookbook : flavor-forward food from the upstart New York City vegetarian restaurant

    by Cohen, Amanda.

    May 23, 2013

    Call Number: 641.63 C6775

    Before your mother was trying to get you to eat your vegetables, someone was doing the same to her. All the way back to John Harvey Kellogg’s vegetarian diet that was intended to restore the body’s purity (But what will I eat!? Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, of course) and Sylvester Graham’s sweet and crunchy cure for onanism (the Graham Cracker), American health foods have framed vegetables as bland, better-for-you alternatives to meat – rather than the delicious ends in themselves that they are. Dirt Candy aims to change this.

    Built around recipes from... Read Full Review