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Staff Recommendations


  • The madwoman and the Roomba : my year of domestic mayhem

    by Loh, Sandra Tsing

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    March 8, 2021

    Call Number: 810.92 L833-2

    Reading Sandra Tsing Loh leaves me breathless, and in the best possible way, from too much laughing. Reading her is akin to watching Robin Williams when he performed his one-person comedy routines. She has, as he had, that rare ability to come at us like jazz musicians riffing: fast and furious, insightful and poignant, enlightening and maddening. These are no one-liners here, but multi-prong judgments that Loh is very adept at, having written quite a few books that you can find here. Her work is as... Read Full Review

  • The daughters of Kobani : a story of rebellion, courage, and justice

    by Lemmon, Gayle Tzemach

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    March 2, 2021

    Call Number: 956.9 L554

    What began as the Arab Spring in early 2010, spread to country after country, in a region known as the MIddle East. What began in Syria as a minor protest, devolved into a major catastrophic war that has not ended, and has had major effects worldwide.  Caught up in all of this were the Kurds, an ethnic group native to Western Asia, with many of them living in parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The complex intricacies of their cultures, values, religions (groups and sub-groups)and political ideas are delineated as clearly as possible by journalist Lemmon. Theirs is a... Read Full Review

  • The atmosphere of crime, 1957

    by Parks, Gordon, 1912-2006

    Reviewed by: Alice S., Librarian, Art, Music & Recreation Dept.

    February 22, 2021

    Call Number: 770.914 P252-16

    In 1957, Gordon Parks, the first African-American staff photographer at Life magazine (and at that time still the only African-American staff photographer at Life) was sent on assignment to photograph “Crime in the U.S.,” accompanying police officers on their beats and visiting locations such as prisons, hospitals, and morgues in four major U.S. cities (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles).  Over the course of six weeks he took 300 color photographs, although only twelve were eventually published in Life in its September 9, 1957 issue... Read Full Review

  • Parks x Ali

    by Parks, Gordon, 1912-2006.

    Reviewed by: Alice S., Librarian, Art, Music & Recreation Dept.

    February 16, 2021

    Call Number: 770.914 P252-15

    Famed photographer Gordon Parks photographed Muhammad Ali twice, both times for Life magazine.  The first occasion was in 1966 as Ali was being attacked in the press for his anti-war stance (a few months before Parks photographed him, Ali had filed as a conscientious objector to the draft).  The second time was in 1970 as Ali was making his professional comeback after losing his boxing career for three years due to his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War.

    While only several photos were published in Life for each article, Parks took many more,... Read Full Review

  • Soul food love : healthy recipes inspired by one hundred years of cooking in a Black family

    by Randall, Alice, 1959-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    February 8, 2021

    Call Number: 641.5973 R1875

    Mother and daughter writers, Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams, respectively, have written a family history as told through food and cooking.  Caroline Randall Williams has rewritten traditional soul food recipes so that the dishes are healthier, and in some cases even tastier. Their family history is based on "five kitchens and three generations of women who came to weighing more than two hundred pounds, and a fourth generation that absolutely refused ever to weigh two... Read Full Review

  • N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law

    by Armour, Jody David

    February 1, 2021

    Call Number: 343.73 A733-1

    Jody Armour is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California. He studies issues of race and legal decision-making as well as torts and tort reform movements. He also studies and teaches on the intersections of language, the law and ethics. His latest book directly confronts law enforcement and our legal system’s failures and culpabilities in the mass incarceration of people of color.

    In N*gga Theory, which is how he refers to his work in Critical Race Theory and the title of his new book,  Armour systematically identifies... Read Full Review

  • Spritzing to success, with the woman who brought an industry to its senses

    by Green, Annette

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    January 27, 2021

    Call Number: 338.4C8 G795

    Several years ago I first heard about Annette Green because of the eponymous Annette Green Fragrance Archive at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising), which I have not visited, even thought it is only four blocks south of Central Library. For many others she may not be well known outside an industry that she helped jumpstart and flourish, but her influence is felt in many aspects of our lives. A good deal of what happened in her life was by happenstance, and she always... Read Full Review

  • The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne

    by Hart, Elsa

    January 20, 2021

    The year is 1704 and Lady Cecily Kay has returned to London from her husband’s posting as a consul in Smyrna. Upon learning of her imminent return to the British Isles, Cecily sent a letter to Sir Barnaby Mayne, a renowned collector in London with one of the most expansive collections in the country, possibly the world. Cecily is interested in identifying some plant samples she has collected while abroad and Sir Barnaby has agreed to her use of his collection for this purpose.

    The day after her arrival, Sir Barnaby is to conduct a tour of his collection for... Read Full Review

  • Hella

    by Gerrold, David, 1944-

    January 11, 2021

    David Gerrold is speculative fiction royalty. His career spans six decades, over which he has won the Hugo and the Nebula awards. He has written more than 50 novels, worked on numerous television series and created cultural touchstones like tribbles (from Star Trek) and the Sleestak (from The Land of the Lost). His latest novel is an adventure in every sense of the word.

    Hella is Earth-like, but it is NOT Earth. Hella is 9% larger than Earth, but its iron/nickel core is smaller, resulting in only 91% of Earth’s gravity. The atmosphere is more... Read Full Review

  • The Lost Book of Adana Moreau

    by Zapata, Michael

    January 5, 2021

    A pirate, a refugee, two pre-teen boys in love with speculative fiction stories, and two adult men who are friends and are each searching for what seems to be missing in their lives. Over the course of nearly a century, these disparate individuals will orbit the missing manuscript of a celebrated writer who died too young. And that manuscript will reach out to them over time and lead them through unimaginable danger to what they each, ultimately, need.

    Adana Moreau, a young woman orphaned by political unrest, flees the Dominican Republic and finds herself living... Read Full Review

  • The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy's Vanishing Explorers

    by Levesque, Emily

    December 29, 2020

    Call Number: 520 L662

    Halley's Comet is quite possibly the most famous, and infamous, comet currently known. It is a “periodic” comet, coming close enough to the earth for viewing approximately every 75 years. Over the centuries, the appearance of Halley’s Comet has been erroneously blamed for earthquakes, illnesses (including the Black Plague in England), the births of two-headed animals and the assassination of Julius Caesar. The comet was last visible from earth in 1986. Early that year, a toddler named Emily Levesque looked through her older brother’s telescope at Halley’s Comet. It was her first... Read Full Review

  • Life on a string : the Yale Puppeteers and the Turnabout Puppet Theatre

    by Rice, Christina, 1974-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    December 21, 2020

    Call Number: 793.18 R495

    The story of the Turnabout Puppet Theatre, and the three men who created it, is a quintessential LA story. In the 1920s people came west for adventure and opportunity, for year-round good weather, for not being hampered by history, but instead find a place where they could make their own history.  Los Angeles was a city that was starting to grow and prosper, and the setting was mostly hospitable, with affordable personal and professional rental spaces. When the theatre was in its permanent place, a part of fading history was incorporated, with the discarded seats from the Pacific... Read Full Review