Staff Recommendations


  • The family Chao : a novel

    by Chang, Lan Samantha

    February 6, 2023

    Somewhere towards the end of Lan Samantha Chang’s third novel, The Family Chao, I kept thinking about the first story in Maxine Hong Kingston’s seminal work The Woman Warrior, where a woman takes her own life by jumping into the family well, just hours after giving birth in a pigsty.  She was Kingston’s aunt back in China, during the Warlord Era in the 1920s, when the country splintered into regions controlled by local leaders,... Read Full Review

  • How to take over the world : practical schemes and scientific solutions for the aspiring ...

    by North, Ryan, 1980-

    January 30, 2023

    Call Number: 500 N866

    In How to Take Over the World, Ryan North, an award winning comics and science writer and computer scientist, provides a primer for those considering supervillainy as a career. He provides step by step instructions, beginning with where to build a secret lair (no matter what you see in movies, television, or comics, do NOT build a lair in an active volcano – North explains why!), potentially villainous schemes to pursue, along with explorations of the existing, or soon to exist, science, including physics, mathematics, biology, history, genetics, along with political... Read Full Review

  • Studio 54

    by Schrager, Ian, 1946-

    January 24, 2023

    Call Number: 793.15 S377 folio

    These days when we think about the 1970s, we’re assaulted with memories of the energy crisis, the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon’s resignation as President of the United States after the Watergate scandal, and, of course, disco. Many of us equate disco with the 1970s, a genre of dance music that emerged from nightlife scenes and subcultures in the United States.  Disco was a kind of reaction to the dominance of rock music in the 1960s, when dance music was stigmatized.  And thus, band names like Earth Wind & Fire, the Bee Gees, ABBA, KC and the Sunshine Band - just to... Read Full Review

  • Jacques Pépin: art of the chicken : a master chef's paintings, stories, and recipes of the humble

    by Pépin, Jacques.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    January 17, 2023

    Call Number: 641.665 P422

    We all know him as a master French chef, sidekick to Julia Child in many cooking television programs, and a TV presenter for his own cooking programs. Among his many accomplishments, which include innumerable cookbooks and magazine articles, he is a prodigious artist.  It is unlikely that the chicken has been portrayed, in one book, in such a vibrant, multifaceted and witty style. In this homage to the chicken and its versatility, Jacques Pépin has created a memoir with recipes, accompanied by his own paintings. Growing up in the French countryside, he learned many... Read Full Review

  • Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution

    by Kuang, R. F.

    Reviewed by: Andrea Borchert, Librarian, Koreatown Media Lab

    January 9, 2023

    Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution is the story of a young man, who is named Robin Swift by the English guardian who refuses to let him use his birth name. Robin was taken from Canton and raised by his guardian, a cold and exacting Oxford Don, specifically for the purpose of obtaining an Oxford education in magic, and using that magic to ensure Britain's power over its colonies in an alternate 1830s England. 

    This book has so many things that are enticing about a dark world, academia, books,... Read Full Review

  • Paperback Jack

    by Estleman, Loren D.

    January 3, 2023

    The year is 1946. WWII has ended and Jacob Heppleman is one of the many veterans returning home from the European conflict. For Jacob, home is New York City. Before the war, he wrote detective, western, and war stories for the pulp magazines. He even published a novel that was released just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into the war.

    Desperate to re-start his writing career, Jacob steals a typewriter from a local pawnshop and begins to write again. He finds that he is simply unable to write the fictionalized version of war after... Read Full Review

  • Gallant

    by Schwab, Victoria

    December 27, 2022

    Call Number: YA

    Olivia Prior has lived at Merilance since she was two years old. While Merilance calls itself a school, the truth is that it is closer to an asylum, a prison. It is a place where girls and young women who are not wanted are sent when they have nowhere else to go. They are supposed to be cared for, but they are not. They are supposed to be educated, but they are not. The children in residence at Merilance are supposed to be prepared for life after they leave the school, but they are not. As terrible as Merilance is, the outside world is worse, and the girls that leave, fleeing... Read Full Review

  • Neom

    by Tidhar, Lavie

    December 20, 2022

    A sprawling metropolis on the edge of the Red Sea that is simultaneously a playground of the wealthy and a struggle for the poor. A woman working multiple jobs to survive because she isn’t rich in a place that isn’t kind to someone without money. A young boy, alone in the world. His only possession may be his ticket off-world and to a better, different life. It could also be the end of everything. A robot, centuries old, in search of a connection to a dangerous past, who enters a shop and asks to buy a single rose. In Neom, award winning author... Read Full Review

  • Wrong Place, Wrong Time

    by McAllister, Gillian

    December 12, 2022

    It is a given that, in most mystery novels, someone dies. The death occurs either before, or shortly after, the novel begins. The bulk of the narrative will explore how or why someone died. In her new novel, Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Gillian McAllister finds a new way to approach the classic mystery:  Can you stop a murder after it has occurred?

    Late in the evening on October 29th, Jen is waiting up for her seventeen-year-old son, Todd, to come home. He is late (possibly, it is the evening of the time change, and at the moment Todd is technically late... Read Full Review

  • Agent Josephine : American beauty, French hero, British spy

    by Lewis, Damien

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    December 5, 2022

    Call Number: 793.324 B167Le

    On November 30, 2021, forty-six years after her death, there was a momentous, somber yet joyous, celebration as Joephine Baker was inducted into the Panthéon in Paris, France. She was the sixth woman and fourth person of color to be honored in this way. Best known as an internationally acclaimed entertainer, Baker was also a “world class spy” at a time when that job was most needed--during World War II. She is buried in Monaco, but soil from the United States, France and Monaco were in the coffin that was draped with the French flag. It was a spectacular ceremony that can be... Read Full Review

  • We had a little real estate problem : the unheralded story of Native Americans in comedy

    by Nesteroff, Kliph

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    November 29, 2022

    Call Number: 817.09 N468-1

    Kliph Nesteroff, known as a comedy historian, covers aspects of the entertainment industry that are not well known, specifically the contributions made by Native Americans to comedy and humor. All of which debunks the stereotypes of Native Americans, who were, and still are, often depicted as sinister, poker-faced, sometimes grim and sullen, and definitely humorless. A part of this historical overview about Native Americans in entertainment precedes the movie industry, going back to the late 1800s, “ … when Native Americans were forced to tour in wild west shows as an alternative... Read Full Review

  • Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond

    November 23, 2022

    Call Number: 811.08 W639

    In her introduction to Wide Awake, editor Suzanne Lummis informs us how she and her publisher came up with the title for this poetry anthology.  They wanted a title that “stands against the notion that the metropolis is densely packed with dreamers who came to participate in The Dream Factory but will be disappointed (de-deluded), and wind up drifting down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”  Lummis is pointing at the reputation of Los Angeles as a city that breathes for dreamers who are drawn to the glitter, fame, and the notion of success in Hollywood that only... Read Full Review