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Staff Recommendations


  • The spy and the traitor : the greatest espionage story of the Cold War

    by Macintyre, Ben, 1963-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    April 16, 2019

    Call Number: 351.74 M152-1

    There have been masterfully written entertaining spy novels from Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, John Le Carré, and others. Many works are based on the authors' first-hand experiences working for intelligence agencies, not just their exuberant and fanciful imaginations. However, Ben Macintyre’s well-researched account of the Russian double agent, Oleg Gordievsky, and his American counterpart, Aldrich Ames, provides meticulous details about real spies. Gordievsky is the only known Soviet double agent smuggled out of Russia to Great Britain, and is still alive and in protective custody... Read Full Review

  • He's got rhythm : the life and career of Gene Kelly

    by Brideson, Cynthia,

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    April 9, 2019

    Call Number: 793.324 K29Br

    The legacy of Gene Kelly, the legendary dancer, singer, actor, director and choreographer, is celebrated in this extensive biography by two young film buffs. Kelly emerges as the “Sinatra” (or “Brando”) of dance, an artist whose exacting standards coupled with an athletic, masculine energy produced some of the greatest masterpieces in the history of the film musical, including Singin’ in the Rain,... Read Full Review

  • Record of a Spaceborn Few.

    by Chambers, Becky.

    April 1, 2019

    Call Number: SF

    Becky Chambers has become a name to watch in Science Fiction. She published her first novel, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in 2014 after completing it via a successful Kickstarter campaign, which was later picked up by Harper Voyager and released to a much wider readership and received several notable awards. Chambers’ sophomore effort, A Closed... Read Full Review

  • Lands of lost borders : a journey on the Silk Road

    by Harris, Kate, 1982-

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

    March 26, 2019

    Call Number: 958 H314

    As a child Kate Harris would trace Marco Polo’s path along the Silk Road in books, and dream of exploring Mars. She loved the idea of being outside, in the wilderness, seeing things no one had ever seen. So she decided to become an astronaut to take a shot at exploring Mars. As an adult she realized two important things. The first one was that the science degree she was studying (as part of her quest to become an astronaut) involved less exploration and more time indoors, peering into microscopes. It wasn’t for her. The second thing she realized was that Marco Polo was not the explorer she... Read Full Review

  • Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick

    by O'Meara, Mallory

    March 18, 2019

    Call Number: 812.092 P3135Om

    "Milicent Patrick's final resting place is in every single Creature from the Black Lagoon T-shirt, every Metaluna Mutant toy, every VHS tape of Fantasia, every DVD of The Shape of Water. It's on the desk of every female animator and in the pen of every woman doodling a monster in the margins of her notebook. It's always been there. It's just been hidden, purposely obfuscated."

    From:  The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O'Meara

    The Creature from the Black Lagoon is a name we all know. Released in 1954, it is considered... Read Full Review

  • An absolutely remarkable thing : a novel

    by Green, Hank,

    March 11, 2019

    We’ve all done it. We’ve all seen something extraordinary, glanced at it briefly, and then continued on toward our current destination, wherever that may be. We may be in a hurry, we may not. We may be alone, with someone else, or part of a group. But, regardless of our circumstances, often when we are confronted with something unexpected, even if it is remarkable, we take a glance and then keep moving. In Hank Green’s debut novel, the story opens with a young woman coming across something amazing, and she ALMOST walks by after giving it only a cursory glance. But she chides herself for... Read Full Review

  • Finding Baba Yaga : a short novel in verse

    by Yolen, Jane,

    March 4, 2019

    Call Number: YA

    Jane Yolen has been working as an author for over 50 years. She has published over 300 titles, ranging from children’s books to speculative fiction (both fantasy and science fiction), and to nonfiction. She is also a poet, an instructor of writing and a reviewer of children’s literature.

    Jane Yolen’s books and stories have won numerous awards, including the Caldecott Medal, the Nebula, the Christopher Medal, the World Fantasy Award, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and the Jewish Book Award, to name just a few. In 2009, Yolen was the recipient of the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime... Read Full Review

  • Barracoon : the story of the last "black cargo"

    by Hurston, Zora Neale,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    February 26, 2019

    Call Number: 326.09 H966

    Zora Neale Hurston is well known for her novels, especially for Their eyes were watching God. Her educational background and training were in cultural anthropology, ethnography and folklore.  A prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction, this book would not be published in her lifetime because there were quesions about her methodology, and possible plagiarism. In the foreword, Alice Walker points out that black scholars and intellectuals also had issues with... Read Full Review

  • Sweet Home Cafe cookbook : a celebration of African American cooking

    by Lukas, Albert, 1968-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    February 20, 2019

    Call Number: 641.5973 L9535

    September 24, 2016 was the dedication and opening day for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which included the Sweet Home Cafe.

    This cookbook has the cafe's recipes, which represent the extensive diaspora of African Americans and encompass culinary traditions from Africa, the Caribbean, Native Americans, Europeans, Latinos, plus influences from recent African immigrants.  There is a historical introduction and overview of African American cooking, cooks, eateries, The Green Book, and information about permanent exhibits at the museum... Read Full Review

  • The last Neanderthal : a novel

    by Cameron, Claire, 1973-

    February 11, 2019

    The year is 40,000 BC, give or take a few millennia, and only a handful of Neanderthal families are left on earth. Girl, who has just come of age, is determined to find a mate and start a family at the annual fish run. But with the Neanderthals’ numbers so diminished, everything from hunting bison to breaking a taboo is potentially deadly, and Girl soon finds herself the sole caretaker of her strange adopted brother, Runt, who looks and behaves like no human she’s ever seen.

    Skip forward to modern day France. Rosamund Gale, a paleoarchaeologist, has discovered a... Read Full Review

  • Holy Lands: A Novel

    by Sthers, Amanda, 1978- author, translator.

    February 4, 2019

    Harry Rosenmerck, a successful Jewish Cardiologist, just walked away. He walked away from his family, his career, his life, and everything he knew and loved to start a pig farm in Israel. This sounds like the set-up for a potentially insensitive joke, but it isn’t. Harry is deadly serious, as he explains to Rabbi Moshe Cattan. But Rabbi Cattan isn’t the only person demanding explanations. Monique Rosenmerck, Harry’s recently divorced ex-wife, wants to know why he left and why he won’t install a telephone so they can talk. His son David, a successful playwright, also wants to know why Harry... Read Full Review

  • On a Sunbeam

    by Walden, Tillie

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

    January 28, 2019

    Call Number: 740.9999 W162-2

    On a Sunbeam is a tender and surreal graphic novel about growing up, first love, lost love, friendship, finding your family, and about enormous, flying, space fish. On a Sunbeam manages to be both a science fiction romp about a crew of misfits, and a boarding school drama about first love. Both parts of the story involve flying space fish, and the space fish are gorgeous. Everything about the book is gorgeous: the color palette, the line art, the Gothic architecture, and the riotous starscapes.

    Mia, the main character, is a young woman in... Read Full Review