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Staff Recommendations


  • The wild duck chase : inside the strange and wonderful world of the Federal Duck Stamp contest

    by Smith, Martin J., 1956-

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian,

    August 5, 2013


    Call Number: 383.173 S655

    I've always been fond of books that give you a peek into an obscure subculture, and Martin J. Smith's The Wild Duck Chase is a good one.  The world into which Smith takes us is that of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the only art contest run by the federal government.  Unless you are a duck hunter, you're most likely to have heard of the duck stamp from the movie Fargo, which ends with Marge's husband telling her that... Read Full Review

  • Clowning through life, by Eddie Foy and Alvin F. Harlow.

    by Foy, Eddie, 1856-1928.

    Reviewed by: David Kelly, Senior Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department

    July 29, 2013


    Call Number: 812.092 F796

    If Eddie Foy is remembered at all today it is for the film, The Seven Little Foys which was about Foy's late-in-life vaudeville act with his seven children and starred Bob Hope as Foy. However, the Seven Little Foys act was just a part of Foy's long career, which he chronicles in this wonderful autobiography, which he wrote with Alvin Harlow.

    In the book Foy gives us a great look into life in the second half of the 19th century and the pre-vaudeville days of saloons, medicine shows, camp shows and traveling minstrel companies.   Early in life he witnessed... Read Full Review

  • Flagrant conduct : the story of Lawrence v. Texas : how a bedroom arrest decriminalized gay Americans

    by Carpenter, Dale, 1966-

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian,

    July 23, 2013


    Call Number: 301.415709764 C295

    The state of gay rights in the United States is changing so rapidly that we forget sometimes how quickly change has come. It was only in 2003, for instance, that the Supreme Court struck down state bans on sodomy in the case of Lawrence v. Texas. Dale Carpenter's book Flagrant Conduct looks at how that case came to the Supreme Court, and how it was won. It's not only a fine piece of journalism, but entertaining reading as well.

    John Lawrence and Tyson Garner were arrested by Houston police in 1998 when they were discovered having sex in the bedroom of Lawrence's... Read Full Review

  • Creamy and crunchy : an informal history of peanut butter, the all-American food

    by Krampner, Jon, 1952-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    July 2, 2013


    Call Number: 641.65659 K89

    Is peanut butter an all-American food? That is one question John Krampner answers in this wonderful history of a food product Americans take for granted. Those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have frequently been associated with, what was once, the less-than sophisticated American palate. Times and tastes have changed,  but for most of us the love affair with this readily available comfort food has not. The plant and the spread have their origins elsewhere and came here on a boat just like other newcomers. Here is what Krampner says, "But for all the importance of peanuts to... Read Full Review

  • The Cassandra project

    by McDevitt, Jack.

    June 24, 2013


    Call Number: SF

    What if Neil Armstrong was not the first human to walk on the moon? What if there had been a secret moon landing that had never been publicized or acknowledged? And all involved who knew the truth had been sworn to secrecy, with some actually taking that truth to the grave? How could this have happened? And, more importantly, why? These are some of the intriguing questions explored in The Cassandra Project, by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick.

    When a reporter asks Jerry Culpepper, NASA’s Director of Public Affairs, about a story in The National Bedrock (a... Read Full Review

  • Red planet blues

    by Sawyer, Robert J.

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian,

    June 3, 2013


    Call Number: SF

    Robert J. Sawyer is one of our best science fiction writers, and here he tackles one of the genre's bigger challenges -- the SF/mystery hybrid.

    The potential pitfalls in mixing the two, I think, have to do with reader expectations. SF readers enjoy -- and yes, this is a broad generalization -- the surprise of new gadgets, gizmos, concepts, technology. They'll let an author introduce something new six pages from the end of the book if it makes for an exciting finish. Mystery writers, to make an equally broad generalization, want a fair chance to solve the puzzle, so they... Read Full Review

  • White bicycles : making music in the 1960s

    by Boyd, Joe, 1942-

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    June 3, 2013


    Call Number: 788.99092 B789

    Joe Boyd is an iconic American music producer and executive who has been involved in the recording industry for five decades. His interest in music production began when he watched the pre-Dick Clark Bandstand on television in Princeton, New Jersey. On his first production gig, Boyd brought the blues artist Lonnie Johnson to Princeton. He subsequently enrolled in Harvard, where he became part of the bohemian folk scene in Cambridge.

    In Cambridge, Boyd became acquainted with folksingers Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Maria D'Amato. He developed a relationship with George Wein,... Read Full Review

  • Dirt Candy : a cookbook : flavor-forward food from the upstart New York City vegetarian restaurant

    by Cohen, Amanda.

    May 23, 2013


    Call Number: 641.63 C6775

    Before your mother was trying to get you to eat your vegetables, someone was doing the same to her. All the way back to John Harvey Kellogg’s vegetarian diet that was intended to restore the body’s purity (But what will I eat!? Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, of course) and Sylvester Graham’s sweet and crunchy cure for onanism (the Graham Cracker), American health foods have framed vegetables as bland, better-for-you alternatives to meat – rather than the delicious ends in themselves that they are. Dirt Candy aims to change this.

    Built around recipes from... Read Full Review

  • The Jersey sting : a true story of corrupt pols, money-laundering rabbis, black market kidneys, and the informant who brought it all down

    by Sherman, Ted, 1953-

    Reviewed by: Eileen Y., Librarian, InfoNow

    May 21, 2013


    Call Number: 364.38 S553

    In a fascinating true crime tale of financial deception, betrayal, fraud and political corruption The Jersey Sting  recounts a long joint investigation between the then New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office of Chris Christie and the FBI. The linchpin of this investigation was Solomon Dwek, an FBI informant who eventually netted dozens involved in a web of government corruption and money laundering throughout New Jersey. Many New Jersey politicians and rabbis from the New Jersey and New York Hasidic and Sephardic Jewish communities were taken down. Even a kidney transplant... Read Full Review

  • Hard magic

    by Correia, Larry.

    May 13, 2013


    What if Phillip Marlowe or Sam Spade were able to use magic to assist them in solving mysteries? And what if the culprits they were tracking had magic as well? What would a pre-World War II world infused with magic be like? And how would the addition of magic alter the progress of world events? All of these questions are explored in Hard Magic: Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles, by Larry Correia.

    Jake Sullivan is a decorated World War I vet, an ex-con, a private eye and an Active (person with magical abilities). He was released early from the Special Prisoners’ Wing of... Read Full Review

  • Me before you

    by Moyes, Jojo, 1969-

    Reviewed by: Loren Spector, Young Adult Librarian, Felipe de Neve Branch Library

    April 23, 2013


    Will Traynor was once a handsome, young, successful, vivacious man living in London. Now, after a tragic accident, he is a 35-year-old quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair and his parent’s house in a small English town for the rest of his life.

    Louisa (Lou) Clark is a quirky, 26-year-old recently unemployed waitress in a long-term, dead end relationship, living at home with her financially struggling family in the same small English town.

    When Lou, desperate for work to help support her family, interviews for a job as a caregiver she never expects to get the job -... Read Full Review

  • Gods like us : on movie stardom and modern fame

    by Burr, Ty.

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    April 22, 2013


    Call Number: 301.55 B968

    Burr expounds on the nature of stardom from the early silent era to the present day in this provocative and well-researched tome. Iconic movie stars, including Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise are profiled. Burr questions the meaning of stardom in the Internet age, when stardom is often accidentally obtained, the major film studios have limited power, and stars have more currency as "brands" than actors.  While Gods Like Us is not a comprehensive overview of Hollywood history, Burr... Read Full Review