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Staff Recommendations

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  • Wonder Valley

    by Pochoda, Ivy,

    Reviewed by: Linda Rudell-Betts, Senior Librarian, Social Science, Philosophy and Religion Department

    May 21, 2018

    As a gift from the library universe, my library hold for Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda became available during the December holidays, and I had downtime to spend reading. The book opens with a man running naked through rush hour traffic in downtown Los Angeles, drawing police and television reporters in hot pursuit. I thought, this book has potential to show what we're living with here in LA.

    Multiple characters whose lives are interwoven represent different parts of Southern California society: the seekers in the desert, the destitute on Skid Row, and the self-absorbed from... Read Full Review

  • Natural causes : an epidemic of wellness, the certainty of dying, and killing ourselves to live longer

    by Ehrenreich, Barbara,

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    May 14, 2018

    Call Number: 393 E33

    Barbara Ehrenreich has spent much of her journalistic career as a social gadfly, with her contrarian takes on the “American Dream,” positive thinking, and masculinity. Natural Causes is her most controversial polemic to date. She strongly advocates against unnecessary medical exams, corporate mandated weight loss programs, fitness regimes, extreme diets, mindfulness meditation sessions, and wellness lifestyle gurus. Ehrenreich bemoans the attention paid to healthy choices, which she feels will only postpone the inevitable. Her own background in microbiology, in addition to her... Read Full Review

  • Pride and Prometheus

    by Kessel, John,

    May 7, 2018

    Call Number: SF

    What if Mary Bennett, Elizabeth Bennett’s younger sister from Pride and Prejudice, encountered Victor Frankenstein at a social event in London? What if, upon meeting Victor, the serious and studious Mary became quite taken with the withdrawn, troubled, and also quite brilliant, Frankenstein? What would happen? This is the question entertainingly explored by John Kessel in his new novel Pride and Prometheus.

    Mary Bennett and her younger sister, Kitty, are both beginning to realize that their chances of finding a suitable husband are dwindling rapidly. While Mary... Read Full Review

  • Broad Band: The Untold History of Women Who Made the Internet

    by Evans, Claire Lisa,

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

    April 30, 2018

    Call Number: 510.7809 E924

    Who made the Internet? Popular culture might have you picture a young, white, nerdy man as the architect and designer, the artist and innovator, behind the Internet. Maybe he’s arrogant and standoffish. Maybe he’s shy and brilliant. He probably wears glasses. There are people like him in the story of the Internet, but his story isn't the only one. There are lots of other people who contributed to creating this valuable resource--hundreds of stories behind the making of the Internet. Women also made the Internet, and their stories can help us understand their contributions. It is... Read Full Review

  • The girl on the velvet swing : sex, murder, and madness at the dawn of the twentieth century

    by Baatz, Simon,

    Reviewed by: Nicholas Beyelia, Librarian, History and Genealogy Department

    April 22, 2018

    Call Number: 364.9747 B111

    The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century by Simon Baatz examines the murder of New York’s premier architect of the Gilded Age, Stanford White by Harry Kendall Thaw. Baatz, an Associate Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, examines the events surrounding the murder with a legal historian’s eye, paying particular attention to the trial and its aftermath. Baatz provides a fascinating and provocative analysis of an event that has been largely purged from popular consciousness.

    Today, the name Evelyn... Read Full Review

  • The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America

    by Kendzior, Sarah,

    April 16, 2018

    Call Number: 320.973 T871Ke

    The results of the 2016 presidential election left many stunned. Over the course of the day, and into the evening, political pundits continued to predict Clinton would prevail, even as the Trump campaign gained significant leads and the election ended in a Trump victory. But there was at least one person who was not surprised: Sarah Kendzior, an academic researcher and St. Louis based journalist, could see the writing on the wall that others missed, and became one of the first credited with predicting the outcome. Between 2012 – 2014, Kendzior wrote a series of essays, originally published... Read Full Review

  • The tangled lands

    by Bacigalupi, Paolo,

    April 9, 2018

    Imagine a world where magic is not only real, but it is available to anyone, allowing them to do almost anything. However, when that magic is used, there is a cost. When a spell is cast, regardless of the reason behind it or whether it is for a great or a small thing, someone, somewhere will fall into a deathlike sleep and never awaken. If you knew this, and had lived with the consequences of others’ spells, or had loved ones that had, would you still cast that spell? This is the compelling question explored in The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell.

    ... Read Full Review

  • The book of Emma Reyes

    by Reyes, Emma, 1919-2003,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    March 28, 2018

    Call Number: 759.184 R457

    For all of her adult life, Emma Reyes was known as an artist who painted and sketched, and as storyteller in the world of other artists in Europe and South America. The historian Germán Arciniegas urged her to write down her memoirs, but she begged off, claiming not to have any literary talents. He suggested that she write him letters about her childhood, which eventually became this memoir in epistolary format. Arciniegas showed some of the letters to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who expressed his great enthusiasm to Reyes. She, in turn, felt betrayed by Arciniegas, believing that he... Read Full Review

  • Oriana Fallaci : the journalist, the agitator, the legend

    by De Stefano, Cristina, 1967-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    March 21, 2018

    Call Number: 075.092 F194De 2017

    Long before there was Christiane Amanpour, Arwa Damon, Marie Colvin, Christopher Hitchens, and Hunter Thompson’s Gonzo journalism, there was the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. In the 1950s she had broken through the mysogynistic newsrooms in Italy by writing about whatever she was assigned, and with great determination worked her way into reporting serious subjects of her own choosing. Fearless, aggressive and assertive, unrelenting and incapable of being deflected, she fought for and got assignments not available to other female journalists. At the time, "She worked and smoked... Read Full Review

  • Mister Tender's girl

    by Wilson, Carter (Novelist),

    March 12, 2018

    In May, 2014, two twelve-year-old girls, from Waukesha, Wisconsin, lured a classmate into the woods, held her down and stabbed her 19 times with a kitchen knife. Left for dead, the victim was able to drag herself out of the woods and get close to a nearby road, where she was discovered and medical assistance was called. After being apprehended, both of the girls, who committed the stabbing, claimed to have done so to gain the favor of Slender Man, a fictional character about whom they had read online. Now, nearly four years later, Carter Wilson has used what has become known as “the... Read Full Review

  • Bullets into bells : poets & citizens respond to gun violence

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    March 7, 2018

    Call Number: 811.08 B9365

    Through poetry and prose, parents, poets, politicians, social and political activists, and survivors of indiscriminate individual and mass shootings, express their thoughts and feelings about gun violence in the United States. The writing is presented in a call and response format:  first a poem and then a prose commentary.  In the introduction, novelist Colum McCann states why poetry is a good place to begin, "The poems assert the possibility of language rather than bullets to open our veins.” He emphasizes why discussion is invaluable by quoting the Algerian poet and... Read Full Review

  • Mis(h)adra

    by Ata, Iasmin Omar, author, illustrator.

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

    February 28, 2018

    Call Number: 740.9999 A862

    Iasmin Omar Ata uses a striking palette and manga art style to tell the story of an Arab-American college student, Isaac, dealing with epilepsy in Mis(h)adra. Because this is a graphic novel, Ata has a chance to develop a new language of symbols and images to convey the physical experience of a chronic illness. Ata can show not just pain, but the frustrating and exhausting battle with illness, with doctors, and with medications in an evocative and visceral way.

    As Isaac attempts to bargain and placate his relentless illness, strings of beads wind around him, strangling his... Read Full Review

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