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Staff Recommendations


  • Code name Verity

    by Wein, Elizabeth.

    Reviewed by: Loren Spector, Young Adult Librarian, Felipe de Neve Branch Library

    February 2, 2013

    Call Number: YA

    In October 1943, two British girls, a pilot and a spy, crash their plane in Nazi-occupied France. The spy is captured and imprisoned by the Germans. She is forced to give up her secrets and reveal her mission in writing or face torture like the other captives in the prison. What she really writes, though, is the story of her friend Maddie, the pilot of the crashed plane, whom she assumes is dead.

    But once the narrator details her experience with the British military and her current situation being imprisoned with the Germans, the reader’s world is turned upside down.

    ... Read Full Review

  • The rook : a novel

    by O'Malley, Daniel.

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian

    January 20, 2013

    We open with a woman waking up in a London park. She is surrounded by dead bodies, and cannot remember who she is or how she got there. Fortunately, in her coat pocket she finds a letter from her pre-amnesia self, which answers some of her questions. She is, the letter explains, Myfanwy Thomas, and she is a Rook, a high-ranking official in the Chequy, the spy organization tasked with protecting Britain from supernatural threats. And someone in the Chequy is trying to kill her.

    From that premise, O'Malley spins a delightful comic-thriller that reads like a Douglas Adams'... Read Full Review

  • Just my type : a book about fonts

    by Garfield, Simon.

    Reviewed by: Vi Ha, Young Adult Librarian, Teen'Scape

    January 10, 2013

    Call Number: 085.2409 G231

    In our modern world, some thought should be applied to the method in which we interact and communicate with written language. Should text and the font used on the computer, in books, on street signage, on products be beautiful, functional, provide clarity or be invisible? When reading a book, should we notice what font is being used? How much identification of a corporation’s brand is tied in with the characteristics of their font choice? Is the Paris Metro the same if it does not employ the swoopy Art Nouveau signage or should the aim be for the consistency of the New York subway... Read Full Review

  • The big book of hacks : 264 amazing DIY tech projects

    Reviewed by: Vi Ha, Young Adult Librarian, Teen'Scape

    December 31, 2012

    Call Number: 621.381 B5925

    Much can be written about the popularity and permeation of DIY (do-it-yourself) culture into our everyday lives. The emphasis on self-sufficiency and learning to do things without paying someone, or relying on an expert, has encouraged many to become modern-day homemakers and handypersons by learning to knit, install drywall, bake bread and start a vegetable garden. The library, if anything, is an incubator for DIY with its multitude of programs and books that encourage self education.

    A subset of this DIY culture is the Maker Movement that takes the DIY ethic and employs engineering... Read Full Review

  • Empress of fashion : a life of Diana Vreeland

    by Stuart, Amanda Mackenzie.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    December 18, 2012

    Call Number: 746.52 V979St

    She was not a pretty child, but it was stingingly cruel for Diana Dalziel’s mother to tell the young girl that she was ugly. The mother and sister were beauties, and the contrast with young Diana was even more obvious. After a miserable childhood, the teenaged Diana, or De-e-e-e-ahna as she said it was to be pronounced, took charge of her own life and created The Girl. After that there was no stopping this jolie laide who went on to become Diana Vreeland, a major power broker behind twentieth century fashion as fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, editor in chief at ... Read Full Review

  • How to cook everything : the basics : all you need to make great food

    by Bittman, Mark.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    December 7, 2012

    Call Number: 641.5 B624-1 2012

    It is one of the worst comments made about someone who is a rotten cook: “They don’t even know how to boil water!” Well, if you have never done it, or if you have never seen what it looks like--boiling water--then one of the most basic techniques in food preparation can produce a bad, if not inedible, meal. And, if the inexperienced cook mistakes simmering water for boiling, and puts in pasta or rice, the end product will be a globby mess of starch.

    For over twenty years Mark Bittman has been nudging, pushing and cajoling people to do their own cooking and has been... Read Full Review

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    The man who changed the way we eat : Craig Claiborne and the American food renaissance

    by McNamee, Thomas, 1947-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    December 3, 2012

    Call Number: 641.092 C585Mc

    Craig Claiborne’s name is not readily, if at all, familiar to foodies or anyone else these days. But he is one of the great godparents of today’s food world. In the late 1950’s he changed and molded our modern ideas and attitudes about food, eating, entertaining and dining out. He found his passion in food and wrote about it, and broke major barriers to do so. Prior to Claiborne’s position as food editor at The New York Times, articles about food, homey little recipes, and maybe a nod or two to a well-known restaurant were part of the “women’s... Read Full Review

  • Civic virtue : the impact of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Watts Towers Arts Center

    Reviewed by: Vi Ha, Young Adult Librarian, Teen'Scape

    November 30, 2012

    Call Number: 709.794 C5825

    During the past two years, Southern California cultural institutions joined together to celebrate the Los Angeles art scene from 1945-1980. Pacific Standard Time, the unprecedented undertaking funded by The Getty, celebrated the multiplicity of artists and works created during this fertile period; the exhibits covered by more than 60 cultural institutions included such topics as ceramics, racial identity, feminism, photography, local history, design and architecture.

    The exhibitions are long gone now, but quite a study can be achieved through the museum catalogs that have come out of... Read Full Review

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    The ghost brigades

    by Scalzi, John

    November 28, 2012

    Call Number: SF

    What if you knew, from almost the moment you were conscious, the exact and precise reason for your existence? Would it be helpful or would it be a limitation? And how would free will--the ability to choose--be manifested in this circumstance? These are some of the questions explored in The Ghost Brigades, by John Scalzi.

    In Old Man's War, Scalzi created and explored the Colonial Union and the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF), which recruits aging humans from... Read Full Review

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    Tell the wolves I'm home : a novel

    by Brunt, Carol Rifka

    Reviewed by: Mary McCoy, Senior Librarian, Teen'Scape

    November 26, 2012

    Call Number: F

    June Elbus is fourteen the year her life changes forever. It’s the winter of 1987, and in just a few short weeks, the FDA will approve AZT for AIDS patients; however, it doesn’t come soon enough for her beloved uncle and godfather, Finn, a well-known but reclusive artist.

    Finn means everything to June, and he's the only person in her family who seems to understand her. He takes her to Renaissance Faires and Merchant Ivory films, while her accountant parents leave dinner simmering in the crockpot, and June and her sister, Greta, become tax season orphans. Finn... Read Full Review

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    Shadow and bone

    by Bardugo, Leigh

    November 19, 2012

    Call Number: YA

    What if you believed yourself to be completely and utterly ordinary, and you were afraid that this lack of “specialness” was going to cost you your best friend, who is charismatic and talented? And then, in a single moment, you became someone unique, valued, and even perceived as a threat. In the process, you are sent to live in a palace and presented to the king, but you also have been separated from your friend and now may never see him again. Can this be real or is everyone mistaken? How can you possibly be the person who will save your kingdom? And is it worth it if you... Read Full Review

  • Blue sky metropolis : the aerospace century in Southern California

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    November 5, 2012

    Call Number: 338.4A17 B6585

    The aerospace industry, more than the entertainment industry, created a monumental population growth within a short period of time and changed the Southern California region in unimagined and unthought of ways which still have repercussions today. This unique collection of essays examines various aspects of the growth of that industry. The contributors are from different disciplines and therefore provide a spirited discussion in several subject areas: the human element, the work, the culture, the communities and the geography. This is not intended to be a complete history of the aerospace... Read Full Review