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Staff Recommendations


  • All in one basket

    by Devonshire, Deborah Vivien Freeman-Mitford Cavendish, Duchess of, 1920-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    January 28, 2014

    Call Number: 942.51 D511-6

    Deborah Vivien Freeman-Mitford Cavendish, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, is the youngest of the Mitford sisters whose interests and social views were all over the political compass. One sister was a Communist; one sister and her husband were imprisoned during World War II for their fascist views and overtly supporting the Nazis; several other siblings were unofficial supporters of fascist politics; and two others preferred the agrarian life. As a child, the Duchess was tormented and teased by her older sisters who called her Nine because they thought her intellectual development stopped at... Read Full Review

  • The human division

    by Scalzi, John, 1969-

    January 13, 2014

    Call Number: SF

    When we last left the Colonial Union (CU)--the human political/military force in John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series--things were in a bit of a mess. Since there is no way to describe this mess without giving away the ending to the last books in the series (The Last Colony and Zoe’s Tale), mess will simply have to suffice to describe the difficulties facing the CU (some of their own making and some issuing from their rival, The Conclave). In The Human Division, Scalzi takes us back to the Colonial Union to see how it is dealing with these... Read Full Review

  • Midnight in Mexico : a reporter's journey through a country's descent into the darkness

    by Corchado, Alfredo.

    Reviewed by: Eileen Ybarra, Librarian, Digital Content Team

    January 6, 2014

    Call Number: 351.7650972 C793

    This book is an intriguing mix of personal memoir, Mexican drug trade reporting, and a historical overview of Mexico in the late 20th century. This book is also much more than those things too: the author, Alfredo Corchado, navigates his heartache and longing for a Mexico that no longer exists, a place where he was born and where his family decided to leave in order to find a better life in the U.S. when he was just a child.  Interwoven throughout these explorations of U.S. and Mexican identities and histories, there is this alarming fact that kicks off the book: ... Read Full Review

  • The mayor of MacDougal Street : a memoir

    by Van Ronk, Dave.

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    December 31, 2013

    Call Number: 789.14 V275

    The inspiration for the new Coen brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002), was the unofficial leader of the Greenwich Village folk music scene in the late fifties and early sixties. Unlike most of the New York-based performers, Van Ronk was a New York native who grew up in Queens and Brooklyn. He developed a love for jazz and blues at a young age, and frequented the Washington Square Park folk singing sessions. Though he had seen very little of the country until he was in his twenties, Van Ronk became deeply enamored of music from the American heartland.

    ... Read Full Review

  • Stoker's manuscript

    by Prouty, Royce.

    December 23, 2013

    When is a risk too great? Even when the possible rewards are tempting? How do you decide? Who’s council do you seek? And what do you do, if after all the consideration and deliberation, you find that you’ve chosen poorly and the costs are higher than you could have possibly imagined? These are just some of the questions explored in Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty.

    Joseph Barkeley leads a comfortable life after a rocky childhood. He and his brother were orphaned in their native Romania after their father murdered their mother. They were rescued from an... Read Full Review

  • Hellraisers : the life and inebriated times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, and Oliver Reed

    by Sellers, Robert.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    December 16, 2013

    Call Number: 822.09 S467

    When this book was published in 2009, Peter O'Toole was, as noted in the title of the last chapter, "Last Man Standing," and now all four men are gone.  This is about how four handsome, enormously talented men who caroused away their assets with alcohol, drugs, gambling, scores of women, and behavior so outrageous, even compared with today's tell-and-show-all celebrity antics, that at relatively early ages they were shells of what they had been--robust manly men.  Quite frankly and openly they did not... Read Full Review

  • Quintessence

    by Walton, David, 1975-

    December 9, 2013

    What if Magellan was wrong and the world is FLAT? What if the earth really is a flat disc covered by a dome that houses the moon, stars and the sun? And those celestial objects are made of something known as “quintessence.” Quintessence is an alchemist’s dream! It allows for any of a number of transmutations to occur, and may even hold the power to bring the dead back to life. But it is also highly theoretical. Would the possible risks outweigh the potential rewards in pursuing the use of such a substance? How far would you go, and what would you risk, if you really could... Read Full Review

  • Lookaway, lookaway

    by Barnhardt, Wilton.

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian

    December 2, 2013

    Wilton Barnhardt's Lookaway, Lookaway is a marvelous novel, following one family over the course of a decade as scandals unfold, financial fortunes rise and fall, and secrets (old and new) are revealed.

    The Johnstons are one of the most respected families in Charlotte. Duke's a former city councilman; his wife, Jerene, manages the family art collection for the city's museum. Jerene's brother, Gaston, writes a popular series of Civil War romances (though the critics wish he'd kept writing the more respectable, if less commercial, literary fiction with... Read Full Review

  • The burning air

    by Kelly, Erin, 1976-

    Reviewed by: Eileen Ybarra, Librarian, Digital Content Team

    November 25, 2013

    The MacBrides, a well-educated upper class English family, have gathered together for a weekend at their country estate to mourn their matriarch’s untimely and sudden death from cancer. All the MacBride children are grown and have brought along their children, spouses, and assorted significant others for this weekend gathering. The eldest daughter, Sophie, is a thirty something woman recovering from a severe case of post-partum depression and a nearly broken marriage. It is a tense, and sad gathering and even more anxiety is thrown in when Sophie’s brother brings along a new... Read Full Review

  • Dreams and shadows

    by Cargill, C. Robert, 1975-

    November 12, 2013

    Shortly after his birth, Ewan Thatcher is stolen from his crib and replaced by a changeling.  He is taken to the Limestone Kingdom outside of Austin, Texas to be raised by fairies.  The changeling, who was never expected to live beyond the devastation he brought to the Thatcher family, is adopted by a group of nixie sisters living in Lady Bird Lake and named Knocks.  Ewan and Knocks are growing up together in the Limestone Kingdom and are friendly, even though Knocks has always felt inferior to Ewan.

    Colby Stephens is a typical kid growing up just outside of Austin.... Read Full Review

  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

    by Gladwell, Malcolm, 1963-

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    November 4, 2013

    Call Number: 174 G543-1

    Gladwell, a columnist for The New Yorker, has produced another bestseller about success, focusing on the advantages of the disadvantaged.  It is counterintuitive to think that David can triumph over Goliath. The biblical story, in the first book of Samuel, is a classic case of asymmetrical warfare.  David would have no chance of defeating a giant in hand-to-hand combat. The slingshot is his only option to vanquish Goliath.

    Gladwell profiles representative figures who demonstrate how hardships can be turned into strengths.  David Boies, one of America's... Read Full Review

  • Oz reimagined : new tales from the Emerald City and beyond

    October 21, 2013

    Call Number: SS

    Oz. The mere mention of the name can conjure up images of flying monkeys, roads of yellow brick, witches (both good and wicked) and the Emerald City. For well over a century, children and adults alike have cherished L. Frank Baum’s original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its 34 sequels with 13 written by Baum and, after his death, the remaining 21 written by Ruth Plumly Thompson.  Even more people have been introduced to Oz through the... Read Full Review