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Staff Recommendations


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    The telling

    by Le Guin, Ursula K.

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

    October 31, 2011


    Call Number: SF

    Sutty, a traveler from Earth, comes to the planet Aka to study its culture and people. However, she arrives in a place very different from what she expects. Instead of a world with an ancient culture and language she finds a planet rushing towards modernization - and in the process losing many of the things that made it unique, the very things she came to study. Everywhere she goes, this state mandated progress is overseen by government agents, frightening censors, and police.

    This hits close to home for Sutty (so to speak) because she herself is a refugee from an Earth ruled by an... Read Full Review

  • The long goodbye : [a memoir]

    by O'Rourke, Meghan.

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

    October 24, 2011


    Call Number: 811 O742O

    Meghan O'Rourke, who has been published mostly as poet, has penned a memoir of her mother's death and her own grieving process that is simply remarkable. She has managed to take one of the most personal and painful moments in anyone's life and turn it into a wonderfully written examination of life, death, and all that comes with it.

    O'Rourke's mother died of colorectal cancer at age 55 on Christmas Day in 2008. It was not easy on O'Rourke or the rest of her family. But, was the pain she felt different than what others go through? As it turns out, it was not.... Read Full Review

  • Just kids

    by Smith, Patti.

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

    October 17, 2011


    Call Number: 789.14 S656-1

    Patti Smith, punk, poet, artist and muse, describes her coming of age in the 1960s in this award-winning memoir. The book describes her hungry childhood and adult life, as well as the time she spent struggling and meeting the instrumental people of her life. Her relationship, first as lovers and later as friends, with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is described tenderly. In addition she dishes about the scene surrounding the Chelsea Hotel and Max's Kansas City, and the vitality and changing mores of New York City during the 1960s and 1970s.

    Smith includes a charming... Read Full Review

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    The red market : on the trail of the world's organ brokers, bone thieves, blood farmers, and child traffickers

    by Carney, Scott M.

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

    October 10, 2011


    Call Number: 364.15 C289

    In this harrowing, eye-opening account, investigative journalist Scott Carney goes inside the multi-billion dollar industry of human bodies, and studies the international market for organs, bones, genetic material, and even live human beings. As readers learn about murky international regulation, and the desperation that drives prospective buyers and sellers into a shady, and often dangerous underworld, they will discover that with these ethically complex issues, there are no easy answers.

    Carney looks at the refugee village of Tsunami Nagar, largely populated by survivors of the... Read Full Review

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    Blood, bones, & butter : the inadvertent education of a reluctant chef

    by Hamilton, Gabrielle

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    October 3, 2011


    Call Number: 641.092 H218

    If you have ever toyed with the idea of being a chef or a cook, or have had the urge to own a restaurant, especially after watching one of those ubiquitous competition-style tv shows, you might want to think about the reality of a life in food beyond a few hours of a contrived reality. Better yet read this autobiography of a chef and restaurant owner who got into this line of work without a plan or formal training.

    This is an autobiography about family and food written with a passionate intensity for life and work by Gabrielle Hamilton: cook, reluctant chef/restaurant owner of Prune... Read Full Review

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    Starman : the truth behind the legend of Yuri Gagarin

    by Doran, Jamie

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

    September 27, 2011


    Call Number: 629.177092 G132Do 2011

    The early days of space exploration are fascinating. The book and the film version of The Right Stuff provide very personal insights into the lives and the activities of the U. S. Space program which, with rare exception, was very open. By contrast, the early days of the Soviet space program have always remained mysterious and opaque. Their great early strides were shrouded by state secrecy mixed in with propaganda. New research on the past history of the program presents some unique views into what was once... Read Full Review

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    Finding Chandra : a true Washington murder mystery

    by Higham, Scott

    Reviewed by: Eileen Y., Librarian, InfoNow

    September 26, 2011


    Call Number: 364.9753 H638

    What makes this book especially compelling is that the authors provide complex portrayals of the many people involved in the case - not only the victim Chandra Levy, but also her family, the various lawyers, FBI and D.C. Police investigators assigned to her case, and former congressman Gary Condit, who was the main focus of the initial investigation. This book also reveals the numerous mistakes made during the original murder investigation.

    The authors, who are also reporters for the Washington Post, describe personalities, psychological motivations, and a chain of a events... Read Full Review

  • The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks

    by Skloot, Rebecca, 1972-

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

    September 19, 2011


    Call Number: 610.71 S628

    So much medical research today depends upon laboratory-grown human cells which allow researchers to perform repeatable controlled experiments that mimic the human body. During the first half of the 20th century, medical researchers raced to discover and successfully culture these "immortal cells" - cells that duplicate themselves perfectly, continually, and efficiently.

    The first successful immortal cells, HeLa cells, were taken in 1951 from Henrietta Lacks, a poor African American woman with cervical cancer. These miraculously duplicating HeLa cells, were instrumental in... Read Full Review

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    Interviews with history and conversations with power

    by Fallaci, Oriana

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    September 12, 2011


    Call Number: 920 F194-2

    The temptation must have been great indeed to refuse an interview with Oriana Fallaci, journalist, war correspondent and novelist. There were those who claimed they never gave interviews, but consented to her request, all with prior knowledge of her work. Henry Kissinger called his interview, "the most disastrous conversation I ever had with the press." And this from the former Secretary of State who had negotiated with his political counterparts from the world's toughest neighborhoods. Maybe the challenge itself, to prevail over this particular journalist, was enough for... Read Full Review

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    The love of my youth : a novel

    by Gordon, Mary

    Reviewed by: Jane Dobija, Senior Librarian, Sunland - Tujunga

    September 6, 2011


    Call Number: F

    Mary Gordon has been trailing the women of her generation with novels since 1978, when Final Payments appeared with a protagonist who felt miserable in her sex's traditional role of selfless caretaker. Thirty years later, Gordon's women are still negotiating an equitable place in society, but the character she uses to illustrate this dilemma in her latest novel, The Love of My Youth, has ridden out her own version of the storms of Final Payments, and she's come out of it all, if not unscathed, then... Read Full Review

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    Vietnamerica : a family's journey

    by Tran, G. B.

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

    September 5, 2011


    Call Number: 301.4509597 T772

    "You should ask them about it sometime. There's a lot about your parents you don't know. And they won't be alive forever to answer your questions."

    On April 25, 1975, GB Tran's family fled Vietnam, just days before Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese Army. A year later, he was born in South Carolina, and grew up a junk food-eating, video game-playing American kid with little interest in his family's history. However, when his last two surviving grandparents die within a few months of each other, Tran goes to Vietnam with his parents, and meets... Read Full Review

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    My thoughts be bloody : the bitter rivalry between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth that led to an American Tragedy

    by Titone, Nora.

    Reviewed by: John Frank, Senior Librarian, Will & Ariel Durant

    September 2, 2011


    Call Number: 812.092 B725Ti

    The uniquely American melodramatic saga of the theatrical Booth family has been told before, but historian Nora Titone focuses on the rivalry between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth as the catalyst for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

    Raised on an isolated farm in the wilds of Maryland, John Wilkes grew up with a steady diet of the blood and thunder melodramas of the time, while his older brother Edwin saw more of the world, toiling as dresser and keeper to his father, the celebrated, troubled actor Junius Brutus Booth. Both of Booth's sons would follow in his footsteps. Edwin,... Read Full Review