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Staff Recommendations


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    The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own making

    by Valente, Catherynne M.

    Reviewed by: Christa Deitrick, Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department

    January 2, 2012


    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making may very well delight, successfully melding all sorts of creatures and conventions culled from fairy tales and folklore. Author Catherynne M. Valente, best known for adult fiction, has blown the lid off her usual style with this book, which was initially written in installments online and went on to win a Nebula Award in 2010. It strongly brings to mind the brilliantly dotty, all-ages appeal... Read Full Review

  • How to save a life

    by Zarr, Sara.

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

    December 26, 2011


    Call Number: YA

    Recently named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2011, How To Save a Life is a young adult novel that invites - and deserves - a wide readership. Whether you’re a teen or an adult, you’ll find a lot to like in this insightful, big-hearted novel about a grieving family struggling to move forward and a pregnant teenager who makes a desperate gamble.

    Since 17-year-old Jill’s father died the previous year, she... Read Full Review

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    A first-rate madness : uncovering the links between leadership and mental illness

    by Ghaemi, S. Nassir.

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

    December 19, 2011


    Call Number: 616.895 G411

    When you look at the problems that face world leaders, especially in times of crisis, you might think, "You have to be crazy to want to do that job." To psychiatrist Nassir Ghaemi, being "crazy", or, more precisely, having some form of mental illness may be just what is needed for some leaders to be able to accomplish great things during times of great need.

    Ghaemi examines, in varying detail, the lives of world leaders whom he believes had some form of mental illness in their lives: Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, William T. Sherman, Martin... Read Full Review

  • Anatomy of a disappearance : a novel

    by Matar, Hisham, 1970-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    December 12, 2011


    In this heartbreaking and haunting coming-of-age tale, an adolescent boy suffers the loss of both parents. Through a series of reflections and encounters that are seamlessly woven into a plot filled with the intrigue of a John Le Carre novel, family secrets are revealed that bit by bit clarify childhood misperceptions and longings for familial intimacy. Anatomy is aptly used in the title, since this is his dissection and examination of events surrounding the mysterious disappearance of his diplomat father, all of which does nothing to lessen or assuage the sense of loss.

    Nuri’s... Read Full Review

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    The map of time : a novel

    by Palma, Felix J.

    Reviewed by: Daryl M., Librarian, Central Library

    December 5, 2011


    Call Number: F

    What if someone published a novel that changed the way an entire culture thought about a concept? How would that new way of thinking affect people and the way they live their lives? And how might the long-term ramifications of those changes manifest themselves? This intriguing idea is explored in Felix Palma'a novel The Map of Time.

    This tale is set in the late 1800's during the scientific revolution that swept Victorian London--and the rest of the world--with the promise that science could, and would, open new doorways for humanity and solve all of our problems.... Read Full Review

  • Before I go to sleep : a novel

    by Watson, S. J.

    Reviewed by: Christa Deitrick, Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department

    November 28, 2011


    Call Number: F

    In this gripping psychological thriller, British author S.J. Watson explores the relationship between memory, identity and trust. The results are terrific - and terrifying.

    When Christine Lucas wakes up each morning, she doesn't know where she is and doesn't recognize the man beside her - her husband, Ben. Christine is 47, but her memory mysteriously stalled out somewhere in her mid-twenties. The faithful Ben fills in the gaps, reminding her every day about their happy life together even though Christine will forget it all when she goes to sleep. Christine is secretly meeting... Read Full Review

  • Ready player one

    by Cline, Ernest.

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

    November 21, 2011


    Ernest Cline sets some sort of land speed record in establishing the premise of his debut novel, Ready Player One. In less than ten pages, the reader will learn that:

    1. It’s 2044, and the planet has been more or less done in by its own excesses, humanity reduced to poverty, pestilence, and war.

    2. The sole bright spot in this world is OASIS, a fully interactive multiverse, where people work, go to school, meet with friends, go on vacation, and generally spend as much time as possible, because, well... see #1.

    3. OASIS was created by James Halliday, an eccentric... Read Full Review

  • The magician king : a novel

    by Grossman, Lev.

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

    November 14, 2011


    With 2009's The Magicians, Lev Grossman introduced readers to the dazzlingly imaginative wizarding world of Brakebills Academy, its angsty, college-aged students, and a premise that asked, "What if finding out you could do magic didn't fix anything that was wrong with your life? What if it made it worse?" More like the books of Bret Easton Ellis than J.K. Rowling, it's an amazing feat of storytelling that simultaneously manages to be the most magically... Read Full Review

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    Distant corners : American soccer's history of missed opportunities and lost causes

    by Wangerin, David

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

    November 7, 2011


    Call Number: 796.27209 W246

    Trying to find information on the history of soccer in the United States is not an easy task. Even though the sport has been played here since the 19th century, its past has been poorly documented. However, David Wangerin (who was born in the U.S., but now lives in Scotland) does a remarkable job of piecing together the fragmented history of the world's most popular sport in the world's richest nation.

    Wangerin introduces us to the archive of Tom Cahill, who helped to start what is now known as the United States Soccer Federation in 1912. Prior to that, the only governing... Read Full Review

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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