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Staff Recommendations


  • The creeping shadow

    by Stroud, Jonathan.

    Reviewed by: Llyr Heller, Librarian, Teen'Scape

    December 6, 2016

    Call Number: x

    Jonathan Stroud's Lockwood & Co. series is terrific with arresting content, covers and titles. Even though written primarily for children (Remember The Harry Potter series was written for kids too.), teens and adults will thrill to each installment. Thus far the series is comprised of The Screaming Staircase, The Whispering Skull, The Hollow Boy and this recent installment, The Creeping Shadow. These are masterful tales of adventure and horror that are perfect for a quiet night in, but leave all the lights on.

    The series is set in England where the country... Read Full Review

  • West of Eden : an American place

    by Stein, Jean,

    Reviewed by: Nicholas Beyelia, Librarian

    November 28, 2016

    Call Number: 979.41 L881Stei

    In West of Eden: an American place, Jean Stein examines five unique stories that have shaped the landscape of Los Angeles history. In her long awaited follow up to Edie, An American Girl, Stein again uses oral history to flesh out the stories of the Dohenys, the Warner family (of Warner Bros. fame), real estate heiress Jane Garland, actress Jennifer Jones, and, finally, Stein’s own illustrious clan.

    While some of the... Read Full Review

  • Homegoing

    by Gyasi, Yaa,

    Reviewed by: Julie Huffman, Librarian, History & Genealogy Department

    November 21, 2016

    Two half sisters in 18th-century Africa have never met, yet their lives, and the lives of their descendants, are deeply enmeshed.  Esi is abducted and taken as a slave to America; Effia "marries" a white slaver who conducts his trade in Cape Coast, Ghana. As time marches towards the present, we are immersed in the experiences of their children and their children's children, alternating between Africa and America. Each descendant's story is worthy of a book in itself, giving this novel the feel of interlinked novellas. The American descendants suffer through slavery, the... Read Full Review

  • Lily and the octopus

    by Rowley, Steven, 1971-

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

    November 6, 2016

    One day, while arguing about cute guys with his dog Lily, Ted Flask notices that Lily has an octopus sitting on her head “like a birthday hat." This is not a nice octopus. This is a mean octopus, full of snark and spite. It is, in fact, a malignant octopus. It is hungry and hurting Lilly.

    What follows this revelation is a pop culture infused examination of love and friendship, not just between a man and his best friend but also the true, pure, and perfect love that exists only between a dog and her special red ball. Ted rushes to save Lily, to defeat the octopus, to comfort... Read Full Review

  • Hex

    by Olde Heuvelt, Thomas,

    October 31, 2016

    Horror, true horror, is difficult to find these days. The genre has been overshadowed by images meant to shock rather than scare. With Hex, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, an established and successful author in Holland, unleashes a classic ghost story, with enough modern twists to keep all readers from having a good night's sleep. In 1664, Katherine van Wyler was accused of being a witch and then killed. Her unfair treatment immediately culminated in her cursing her home town and its residents in the following ways:  If you are born there, you can never leave. If you settle there,... Read Full Review

  • The dollhouse : a novel

    by Davis, Fiona, 1966-

    Reviewed by: Llyr Heller, Librarian, Teen'Scape

    October 18, 2016

    The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis gives readers the stories of two young women coming of age in New York. Alternating between 1952 and 2016, they live in the same building, the once famous Barbizon Hotel for women, and its surrounding neighborhood. This novel joins historical fiction with mystery in a deft and intriguing manner.

    While also creating a life for herself in 2016, Rose Lewin tries to find out what happened to a mysterious woman who lives in her building. Set in 1952, the story is about Darby McLaughlin, Rose’s mysterious neighbor, who always wears a veil. In the past... Read Full Review

  • Addlands : a novel

    by Bullough, Tom,

    Reviewed by: Robert Anderson, Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department

    October 17, 2016

    On the day in 1941 that his nineteen-year-old wife gives birth to a son, middle-aged Welsh farmer Idris Hamer discovers a large, flat stone with unusual lettering on it while plowing one of his fields.  Over the next 70 years, the stone will reappear periodically in the lives of the Hamers, serving as a sort of guardian talisman or tormenting demon in this bleak yet compelling family chronicle. Idris and his wife, Etty, live in Radnorshire, a rural area bordering England where the residents consider themselves neither Welsh nor English, but something altogether different. ... Read Full Review

  • Conspiracy of ravens

    by Bowen, Lila,

    October 11, 2016

    At the end of Wake of Vultures, Nettie Lonesome, the half Native American, half African American, cross-dressing Texas Ranger, who is also The Shadow, took a leap of faith hoping to find some answers. She had just dispatched the Cannibal Owl, and narrowly escaped with her life, then Nettie suddenly walked to the edge of a cliff and jumped. Did she find what she was looking for? Perhaps. She also added to the long list of questions for which... Read Full Review

  • The kingdom of speech

    by Wolfe, Tom.

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    October 3, 2016

    Call Number: 401 W855

    Satirist Tom Wolfe is back with another contrarian broadside against sacred cows. In The Kingdom of Speech, Wolfe takes on two scientific icons, Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky.  In this slim, provocative volume, Wolfe risks the scorn of the scientific establishment by criticizing the self-importance of these legendary figures.

    Wolfe contrasts the patrician Darwin, whose theories were always backed up by other English gentleman scientists, such as Charles Lyell, with the “flycatcher,” Alfred Russell Wallace, a working class naturalist who had... Read Full Review

  • The passions & politics of Ed Edelman an untold story of leadership

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    September 19, 2016

    Call Number: DVD 92 E21Pa

    LAPL Reads is committed to reviewing books, however this week we are recommending a DVDThe passions & politics of Ed Edelman an untold story of leadership. Former Los Angeles City Councilman (nine years) and former Los Angeles County Supervisor (twenty years), Edmund Edelman died last week.  This documentary is not being reviewed because of Mr. Edelman's death. It is being reviewed to bring attention to a civic leader and elected official who was dedicated to serving the public.

    ... Read Full Review

  • Shrill : notes from a loud woman

    by West, Lindy.

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

    September 19, 2016

    Call Number: 071.092 W518

    Lindy West is a champion of feminism and body positivity. She is a joke cracking, fearless media critic who walks into the deepest, dankest pits of online culture and shows more courage, compassion, and humanity to the people she interacts with there, than I do to the people who cut me off in traffic. In her book, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, West faces some of the ugliest aspects in our culture, examines them, makes you laugh and shake your fist, and reminds you to live in the world anyway.

    For example, when the comedian Daniel Tosh caused a... Read Full Review

  • The long way to a small, angry planet

    by Chambers, Becky,

    September 12, 2016

    Call Number: SF

    Space Opera is the subgenre of Speculative Fiction that focuses on daring heroes and their adventures in outer space. Springing from the Science Fiction pulps in the 1930s, moving into novels, and novel series, by authors like E.E. “Doc” Smith, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and David Gerrold, Space Opera moved onto the big screen with Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers and then scattered into comics, comic books, television and graphic novels. For over 70 years, it has been a favorite with readers and viewers alike. Reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky... Read Full Review