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Staff Recommendations


  • A year in the life of Downton Abbey

    by Fellowes, Jessica, author.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    December 2, 2014


    Call Number: 809.2954 D751Fe-2

    Downton Abbey enthusiasts will be more than a bit chuffed over the latest book on their favorite PBS television series. They probably will cheer with joy! Not that avid fans need any enticement, but the book is a stunning prelude to next year’s season. In addition there will be another season after that, which will start production next year.  This book is set in post-World War I England. Jessica Fellowes interweaves the story of the upstairs and downstairs characters and daily life at the... Read Full Review

  • The windup girl

    by Bacigalupi, Paolo.

    November 25, 2014


    Call Number: SF

    Imagine our world in the 23rd century. What will it be like? Will something like Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the 23rd century, as seen in Star Trek, be the reality? Will mankind learn to embrace diversity and no longer judge others based on appearance? Will we create/discover solutions to our energy problems and find ways to feed the millions of people starving on our planet? Will humanity become less concerned with wealth and acquisition, more interested in bettering ourselves and our neighbors? Or will humanity remain essentially unchanged? Will we continue to be bigoted... Read Full Review

  • Hip hop family tree. Ed Piskor. 1, 1970s-1981

    by Piskor, Ed, author.

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

    November 18, 2014


    Call Number: 740.9999 P677-1

    Hip Hop Family Tree, Volume 1 sinuously traces and chronicles the cultural revolution of hip hop in New York starting in the mid-1970s. This large format comic strip compiles vignettes that cover the inception of this major American musical form (since rock ‘n roll) and the equally important cultural scene with block parties in the Bronx, the relationship between artists and record stores, radio airplay, showmanship and ever larger speakers. In spite of the large cast of characters, there is a clear story arc that traces ingenuity, commercial interests and tenacity... Read Full Review

  • The Sultan of Byzantium

    by Altun, Selçuk, 1950-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    November 10, 2014


    Halâs is a professor, book collector, poetry lover, inquisitive reader of history, with a well-ordered but lackluster life.  All of this changes when he is approached by several men from the mysterious Nomo organization who offer him a challenge that will verify if he is the heir apparent to the ancient Byzantine Empire. Initially dismissive, his interest grows as he seeks to unravel the answers to a set of questions. Each individual answer has a clue that leads to the next question, with the story taking on a whirlwind pace and tour through districts in Istanbul, cities and regions... Read Full Review

  • Clariel

    by Nix, Garth.

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

    November 2, 2014


    Call Number: YA

    In this action-packed epic fantasy, Clariel, displaying the typical disgruntled behavior of a young person, bristles at her family’s move to the city of Belisaere. Back in the Great Forest that surrounded bucolic Estwael, Clariel has carved a solitary life perfect for her needs; she has learned hunting, studied plant lore from her Aunt and planned to become a Borderer, someone who patrolled the forests of the kingdom. Her mother Jaciel, a goldsmith of great renown and talent, moved the family to Belisaere to accept the invitation to join the High Guild of Goldsmiths in the... Read Full Review

  • His own man

    by Ribeiro, Edgard Telles.

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

    October 27, 2014


    Brazil is currently in the news because of its presidential election, featuring three major candidates representing various points on the political spectrum.  But, as novelist Edgard Telles Ribeiro reminds us in this mesmerizing tale of unbridled ambition and of idealism and friendship betrayed, Brazilian politics looked very different half a century ago.  In 1964, a military coup deposed the left-leaning government and received immediate recognition and support from the United States.  At the height of the Cold War, the U.S. was nervous about other countries in the Americas... Read Full Review

  • The magician's land : a novel

    by Grossman, Lev.

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

    October 20, 2014


    In the third book of the Magician’s series, Quentin Clearwater must find a way to survive being cast out of Fillory, the magical land he once ruled. Stuck in our world he revisits the haunts of his childhood. He returns to his parents’ house and to his school. He gets to experience that disquieting adult moment of meeting parents and teachers again and seeing them, maybe for the first time, as human beings in their own right.  He gets a job and even though it is a job teaching at a hidden magic school, it still counts as a real job and evidence of his growing... Read Full Review

  • Mexican American baseball in Los Angeles

    by Balderrama, Francisco E.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    October 12, 2014


    Call Number: 796.231 B176

    In 2004 at California State University, Los Angeles, an exhibit was organized by Terry Cannon, Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary and Cesar Caballero, Associate Library Dean at California State Library, Los Angeles.  The purpose was to educate students on the history of Latino baseball in Los Angeles, and its importance to the greater community.  Students, faculty, and the community responded with great enthusiasm.  Former players came forward with oral histories and ... Read Full Review

  • Lock in

    by Scalzi, John, 1969-

    October 6, 2014


    Call Number: SF

    Imagine, in the very near future, our world being hit with a medical pandemic unlike anything we’ve experienced in recent history. This influenza-like disease would spread through the world’s population disguised as a common flu. While the overall death toll from the disease would be over 400 million, most would come through unscathed. About four percent of sufferers would be affected with a second stage of meningitis-like inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Those affected by this stage of the disease would experience one of these possible outcomes: 1) death; 2)... Read Full Review

  • Seconds : a graphic novel

    by O'Malley, Bryan Lee, author, illustrator.

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

    September 29, 2014


    Call Number: 740.9999 O54-1

    Seconds is a stand-alone graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley, who is best known for his series, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Scott PilgrimScott Pilgrim's precious little life, ... Read Full Review

  • My Mexico : a culinary odyssey with recipes

    by Kennedy, Diana.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    September 24, 2014


    Call Number: 641.5972 K35-4 2013

    Yes, I do read cookbooks, but not always sequentially the way fiction and other non-fiction books are read.  Sometimes when reading them I skip around looking for an author’s take on a particular type of recipe or ingredient. Well-written cookbooks provide a history and insight into the world, and this particular one can be read by anyone besides those who like to cook.  Diana Kennedy is the doyenne and world renowned authority for the foods and recipes of Mexico. A highly unlikely expert with no formal training as a cook, British by birth... Read Full Review

  • The tale of the dueling neurosurgeons : the history of the human brain as revealed by true stories of trauma, madness, and recovery

    by Kean, Sam, author.

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

    September 14, 2014


    Call Number: 612.82 K24

    The study of the human brain is a history of people who somehow walk away from terrible accidents and illnesses, but don’t manage to walk away unmarked. There are the  difficulties of Phineas Gage (who survived a railway spike through the head), or conjoined twins Tatiana and Krista Hogan (Their brains are joined and they go through life sensing each other’s pain, tasting each other’s food where one sister hates ketchup... Read Full Review