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Staff Recommendations


  • On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century

    by Francis, Pope, 1936-

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    May 12, 2014

    Call Number: 261 F818

    In 2010, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) had a series of religious dialogues with a fellow Argentinian, Abraham Skorka, a Conservative Rabbi and biophysicist. The two religious leaders discussed the principle that the role of faith plays in dealing with contemporary issues such as economic inequality, euthanasia, treatment of the elderly, political corruption, abortion and materialism. More controversially, they shared their opposition to gay marriage, their respect for some communists, their agreement that the Catholic Church had a mixed record during the... Read Full Review

  • Gideon Smith and the mechanical girl

    by Barnett, David, 1970 January 11-

    May 5, 2014

    Take some traditional pulp elements (a heroic protagonist, a grand adventure, a hidden treasure awaiting discovery); mix them with some features of a decidedly steampunk variety (airships, fantastical technologies and, of course, Queen Victoria); throw in some horror (mummies and vampires – okay, these could be found in the pulps as well); add a heaping helping of historical figures and alternate history; and for good measure put in some contemporary sensibilities and a strong sense of fun. Mix well and, if you’re lucky, you’ll end up with David Barnett’s new... Read Full Review

  • Clash of civilizations over an elevator in Piazza Vittorio

    by Lakhous, Amara, 1970-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    April 21, 2014

    Murder is the obvious problem, but finding out who did it leads to smaller issues with bigger implications--the loves and hates which immigrants from diverse backgrounds have for each other and their adopted city, Rome.                    

    Who killed Lorenzo Manfredini aka the Gladiator?  Amedeo aka Ahmed Salmi is the key suspect because he has disappeared, which is what perpetrators always do--run away. Don't they?  Not so quick... Read Full Review

  • An unnecessary woman

    by Alameddine, Rabih,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    April 14, 2014

    What is a woman to do? What is this particular woman to do?  For a woman in her time and place (last half of the 20th century in Beirut), Aaliya (meaning the high one and the above), audaciously decided early in her life what to do. When she speaks to us, she is seventy-two-years old, divorced, without a profession or extended education, an avid reader of select books who has taken on the unassigned job of translating some of them, but not from the original language--she is translating from a translation. She lives alone in a family apartment which came to her when she married  A... Read Full Review

  • Shout, sister, shout! : the untold story of rock-and-roll trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe

    by Wald, Gayle, 1965-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    April 1, 2014

    Call Number: 789.14 T367Wa

    Early on Elvis was mightily inspired by Sister Rosetta Tharpe's singing and guitar style, and Eric Clapton, B. B. King, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash are others who have tipped their guitars her way.  Thanks to local jazz radio station KJazz, NPR, and this documentary, a quick clip in the French film Amélie, and this recent biography, there should be wider knowledge and credit for the woman who is known... Read Full Review

  • Cress.

    by Meyer, Marissa.

    March 24, 2014

    Call Number: YA

    When we last left Linh Cinder, the cyborg mechanic who may or may not be the lost Lunar Princess Selene, at the end of Scarlet (the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series), the situation was dire. She had escaped from prison (making the acquaintance of Captain Carswell Thorne in the process), secured a spaceship, The Rampion, and rescued Scarlet Benoit from certain death. On the run and now the most notorious escaped convict on both Earth and... Read Full Review

  • Year zero : a history of 1945

    by Buruma, Ian,

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    March 11, 2014

    Call Number: 909.9 B974

    1945 was the year that radically changed the world, according to Dutch historian Ian Buruma. Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, beginning the Atomic Age. General Douglas MacArthur took charge of the Supreme Command of Allied Powers. At the end of the Second World War, Europe was divided up by forces from the United States and the Soviet Union, precipitating the Cold War. The United Nations was formed to prevent another worldwide catastrophe. The Nuremberg Trials were held to bring Nazi mass murderers to justice for genocide--the first time men had been put on trial... Read Full Review

  • The Martian : a novel

    by Weir, Andy.

    March 3, 2014

    SURVIVAL. It’s an impulse hardwired into us as humans. The idea of separating an individual from his peers and civilization and pitting him against the forces of nature is the launching point for many, many stories, such as Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen,... Read Full Review

  • The improbability principle : why coincidences, miracles, and rare events happen every day

    by Hand, D. J. (David J.), 1950-

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

    February 24, 2014

    Call Number: 519 H236

    On April 23, 1999, Fernando Tatis of the St. Louis Cardinals hit a
    grand slam home run against Chan Ho Park of the Dodgers. That's not an
    overly rare event. However, Tatis didn't hit just one grand slam off
    of Park. He hit TWO. And they were in the same inning. No Major League
    player had ever done this before and no one has done it since. The
    chances of being a witness to such a thing must be so high to make it
    unlikely that anyone would ever see it. And yet it happened.

    David Hand's book The Improbability Principle tries to explain... Read Full Review

  • A star for Mrs. Blake

    by Smith, April, 1949-

    Reviewed by: Janice Batzdorff, Librarian

    February 16, 2014

    When U.S. soldiers died during the First World War, their relatives were given the choice to have the remains shipped home or buried in an American cemetery in Europe. A lobbying movement on behalf of those who selected overseas interment resulted in Congress financing close to 7000 pilgrimages for mothers and wives to visit the graves.

    Inspired by the diary of a young West Point graduate who escorted groups of mothers to France, local writer April Smith has created a well-researched and engaging fictional account of five women who left their homes during the height of the Depression... Read Full Review

  • Under the wire : Marie Colvin's final assignment

    by Conroy, Paul,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    February 10, 2014

    Call Number: 071.092 C727Co

    "Where are all the men?" the editor asked Marie Colvin, who would not abandon hundreds of refugees in war-ravaged East Timor, and answered, "I suppose they just don't make men like they used to." They may not make war journalists, male or female, to match the likes of Marie Colvin who was one of the greats and valued as such by her colleagues. 

    International photographer Paul Conroy recounts the reporting he and Marie Colvin did in 2012 in the Baba Amr section of Homs, Syria which was known for its support of... Read Full Review

  • The crane wife : a novel

    by Ness, Patrick, 1971-

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian

    February 3, 2014

    Patrick Ness, who has been writing marvelous young adult fiction for several years now, has written his first adult novel, The Crane Wife, and it's a lovely book.

    George is a middle-aged divorced man who runs a small printing shop in London. He’s a quiet, pleasant man, the sort you wouldn’t notice if you passed him on the street. That affability is starting to work against him, though; he’s so genially low-key that he doesn’t inspire much passion in anyone (or have much passion about anything), and women rarely get beyond seeing him as a good... Read Full Review