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Staff Recommendations


  • Dreamers and schemers : how an improbable bid for the 1932 Olympics transformed Los Angeles from dusty outpost to global metropolis

    by Siegel, Barry, 1949-

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

    January 21, 2020

    Call Number: 796.321 O53 1932 Si

    This book follows the machinations of Los Angeles real estate mogul William May Garland as he attempts to bring the 1932 Olympic Games to Los Angeles. Barry Siegel, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and UC Irvine Professor, rewards the reader with an enjoyable account of a winsome individual with a dogged determination to bring an international spotlight to a city that was still struggling for recognition.

    William Garland, like most early Angelenos, was a transplant, in this case from Maine. He arrived in Los Angeles around 1890 and became involved with the real estate business... Read Full Review

  • Riot Baby

    by Onyebuchi, Tochi

    January 13, 2020

    Ella has what she refers to as her Thing. It allows her to see things that have not yet happened. As a young girl growing up in Compton, California, this is more of a curse than a blessing. Ella is rarely happy by the future she sees. And, as she grows older, her Thing will allow her to do more than simply see into the future.

    Kev is born in the early hours of the riots that erupted in South Central Los Angeles in the spring of 1992. He and Ella are moved to the East Coast and Harlem by their mother after the riots. Life is hard for people of color in Harlem and Kev is no exception.... Read Full Review

  • Steel Crow Saga

    by Krueger, Paul

    December 30, 2019

    A prince, a soldier, a detective, and a thief. Four very different people, with very different histories and experiences. There are two things that they all share: they have survived the war that just ended, and during that war they have all suffered significant losses. Over the course of a few days, the prince, the soldier, the detective and the thief will learn, in very real, tangible ways that they are more alike than unalike, and it is a lesson that very well may change their world.

    Sergeant Tala, of the army of the Republic of Sanbu, is a warrior. She has fought in the war her... Read Full Review

  • Carrie Fisher : a life on the edge

    by Weller, Sheila,

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    December 23, 2019

    Call Number: 812.092 F533We

    The actress and writer Carrie Fisher spent her entire life in the public eye. The daughter of two entertainment industry icons, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, she grew up in Beverly Hills when it was the epicenter of Hollywood glamour. Her parents’ relationships were frequently tabloid fodder, and she was one of the more popular kids at Beverly Hills High. She later found fame in a galaxy, far, far away as Princess Leia in Star Wars and became an unlikely sex symbol with her “take no prisoners” attitude. Fisher appeared in two critically acclaimed New York-based films in the... Read Full Review

  • The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl

    by Goss, Theodora

    December 16, 2019

    Call Number: M

    In The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss introduced readers to The Athena Club whose members are Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau and Justine Frankenstein. They are the daughters of some of speculative fiction’s maddest scientists. In that novel, The Athena Club assisted with solving a series of murders in Whitechapel. The second novel,... Read Full Review

  • How to raise a reader

    by Paul, Pamela,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    December 9, 2019

    Call Number: 372.4 P324

    Pamela Paul and Maria Russo provide helpful advice and guidance about how parents can raise children to be readers, and how to keep those children reading. They lay out methods, guidelines, book lists and positive motivational techniques for parents to follow. In the introduction they present two different reading situations that children and parents face: 

                                                           ... Read Full Review

  • The Starless Sea

    by Morgenstern, Erin

    December 2, 2019

    In 2011, Erin Morgenstern made an unforgettable impression on readers with her debut novel, The Night Circus, which is about a challenge between two ancient beings. Each selects an apprentice, whom they then raise and train to compete. The arena for the competition is the wondrous Night Circus, where each apprentice creates and enhances the shows and performances using magic. As the competition proceeds, something unexpected happens: the apprentices fall in love, but what neither of them knows is at the end of this challenge, there can be only one survivor.

    The... Read Full Review

  • Midnight chicken : (& other recipes worth living for)

    by Risbridger, Ella,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    November 26, 2019

    Call Number: 641.59 R595

    Even though this book has recipes with good directions, it is not exactly a cookbook.  It is part memoir with an appreciation about having a family made of friends who are reliably there for the good and bad times--no matter what. The book is wholeheartedly a paean to life and the love that makes it jubilant when things are going well, and bearable when things are not going so well.  It is noticeably British; the recipes are written with a mix of metric and centigrade measurements; and there are Britishisms throughout the text which readers will be able to figure... Read Full Review

  • The Girl Who Reads on the Metro

    by Feret-Fleury, Christine

    November 18, 2019

    Juliette lives a quiet life in Paris. She rides the metro every day to her job in a real estate office. She rides the metro home. She spends a quiet evening in her apartment, and then rises to do it all again the next morning. One of the bright spots in her days is observing the other passengers as she rides the metro to and from work. She takes note of what they are reading and constructs elaborate stories about who they are and why they are reading the book they are reading. One morning, Juliette disembarks the train at an earlier station, deciding that she will walk the remainder of her... Read Full Review

  • Anja Niemi in character

    by Niemi, Anja, 1976- photographer, interviewee.

    Reviewed by: Alice S., Librarian, Central Library

    November 12, 2019

    Call Number: 770.9874 N668

    The cover of Anja Niemi’s first monograph, In Character, shows a kimono-wearing woman collapsed against a beautifully painted wall. Both the room and her outfit are sumptuous and elegant, but there’s a sense that there might be something deeply wrong with her. She looks almost propped against the wall, face first, like a piece of furniture. The image is both striking and unnerving and it made me want to read the whole book and learn more about this artist.

    I had not heard of Anja Niemi until I came upon In Character. A Norwegian artist, her work is slightly similar... Read Full Review

  • Today We Go Home

    by Estes, Kelli

    November 4, 2019

    It has only been six years since the US military ended its policy of “no women in units that are tasked with direct combat.” And yet, even though it wasn’t officially sanctioned, women have served and fought, in virtually every conflict in which the US has participated. This has been happening since the founding of our country, when Deborah Samson disguised herself as a man so she could fight against the redcoats in the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War, more than 400 women dressed as men to fight; and 150 years later we are finally beginning to learn about them and their stories. In... Read Full Review

  • Violet

    by Thomas, Scott

    October 28, 2019

    Our past affects us. Significant events, whether pleasant or devastating, can follow us throughout our lives. But what if a tragic event, experienced as a child, affected not only those who directly experienced it, but all of those who lived in the immediate area? What if those effects lasted for decades after the initial event occurred? This is the idea that Scott Thomas explores, both thoughtfully and frighteningly, in his new novel, Violet.

    Kris Barlow is a veterinarian living in Colorado. When her husband is killed in a car accident, Kris decides to pack up her eight-... Read Full Review