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Staff Recommendations


  • Quackery : a brief history of the worst ways to cure everything

    by Kang, Lydia,

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

    August 20, 2018

    Call Number: 614.26 K163

    The history of medicine is not pretty. However, if you are in the right mood and frame of mind, it can be pretty funny. Over the years people have tried some wild things to make themselves feel better, and Quackery: a brief history of the worst ways to cure everything grants us a closer look at some of those treatments and times, from ancient Greece through the age of disco. This whirlwind tour of medical history includes tapeworm diets, mercury treatments for syphilis, electric brushes for baldness, the starvation diet of ... Read Full Review

  • Meet Me at the Museum

    by Youngson, Anne.

    August 13, 2018

    A woman, who has worked on a farm in Bury St. Edmunds, England for her entire adult life, has dreamed for decades of visiting the Silkeborg Museum in Denmark with her best friend to see The Tollund Man, a naturally preserved mummy discovered in a peat bog. When her friend dies, she sends a grief and regret-filled letter to the museum, which is answered, cautiously, and a bit clumsily, by one of the museum’s curators. Over the course of the following year, the two develop a regular correspondence through which they forge a connection and friendship upon which both will come to rely.

    ... Read Full Review

  • Identical strangers : a memoir of twins separated and reunited

    by Schein, Elyse, 1968-

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    August 6, 2018

    Call Number: 392.3 S319

    Identical twins have been a source of endless fascination for millennia. Two people who seem to share a mind, with the exact same DNA, can occupy different bodies. Many twins have such an intimate bond that they seem to read other’s thoughts and communicate in a special language. Their bond is much stronger than other siblings, having spent nine months together before birth. As identical twins age, they tend to have similar IQs, heights, and tastes. However, they may develop different skin conditions and allergies as a response to variable environmental factors. In rare cases, identical... Read Full Review

  • The Word is Murder: A Novel

    by Horowitz, Anthony, 1955-

    Reviewed by: Llyr Heller, Librarian, Teen'Scape

    July 30, 2018

    Call Number: M

    Anthony Horowitz is a multi-talented, prolific and clever writer, with numerous television series to his credit, many seen on public television; even more book series, (Alex Rider and The Diamond Brothers, to name two); and has become part of the James Bond franchise, writing new 007 novels. However, he has done something rather smashing, by embedding himself, as Anthony Horowitz the writer, into this recent murder mystery.

    A woman plans her own funeral, but is murdered shortly afterwards. The consulting ex-detective on the... Read Full Review

  • Deep Roots

    by Emrys, Ruthanna.

    July 23, 2018

    In recent years H.P. Lovecraft and his works have become increasingly problematic. His personal views on race permeate his stories resulting in fiction that is, at best, challenging to enjoy for many readers. As a result, there currently tend to be three approaches regarding Lovecraft’s fiction: those who love it, those who hate it, and those who choose simply not to read it. But there is now a fourth group of readers that is developing: those that are fascinated with the works of authors like Ruthanna Emrys, who use Lovecraft’s mythos as jumping-off points to create incredibly thoughtful... Read Full Review

  • The mirage factory : illusion, imagination, and the invention of Los Angeles

    by Krist, Gary,

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

    July 15, 2018

    Call Number: 979.41 L881Kri

    The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination and the Invention of Los Angeles examines three historical figures who forged the development of Los Angeles as a metropolitan epicenter between 1900 and 1930. Krist, a journalist for the New York Times and Esquire, argues that three “visionaries” from L.A.’s storied past (city engineer William Mulholland, film director D.W. Griffith and evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson) ultimately ignited the technological, artististic and spiritual zeitgeist that became the foundation of this modern city.

    The book pursues a... Read Full Review

  • Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

    by Harkup, Kathryn,

    July 9, 2018

    Call Number: 823 S545Har

    2018 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein: Or The Modern Prometheus. In the intervening two centuries, Shelley’s novel, originally published anonymously, has become her most famous and well-known work and an international icon. The name Frankenstein has become shorthand for both mad scientists running amok and their monstrous creations (which also tend to run amok!). So, it is fitting that during this bicentennial year, Dr. Kathryn Harkup, a UK based scientist and writer, would investigate the woman behind the novel and the... Read Full Review

  • How to drive : real world instruction and advice from Hollywood's top driver

    by Collins, Ben, 1975-

    Reviewed by: Michael C.B., Librarian, West Valley Area

    July 1, 2018

    Call Number: 629.2136 C7125

    Millions of cars operate on thousands of miles of public roads that are maintained in the city of Los Angeles. Unfortunately books about driving are not as appealing to publishers as are diet and exercise books. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) updates and distributes a small handbook for drivers. However there is a dearth of new and updated books about driving, which might soon be populated by books on self-driving cars. Enter Ben Collins, professional racing car driver for Top Gear, NASCAR, and the James Bond movies. This is how Collins waxes poetic... Read Full Review

  • Ritz & Escoffier : the hotelier, the chef, and the rise of the leisure class

    by Barr, Luke,

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

    June 25, 2018

    Call Number: 647.94 R615Ba

    There is something wonderfully gossipy about Ritz & Escoffier:  the hotelier, the chef, and the rise of the leisure class. In tracing the rise of the luxurious Savoy Hotel, under the leadership of César Ritz and Auguste Escoffier, Luke Barr grants readers a glimpse into some of the biggest scandals of the Belle Époque, letting us get up close and personal with the celebrities involved. Barr also provides luscious descriptions of extravagant parties held at the hotel. These parties are filled with glitterati living the highlife. But they are also rife with... Read Full Review

  • Time was

    by McDonald, Ian, 1960-

    June 18, 2018

    Call Number: SF

    Anyone who has spent time in bookstores or libraries has found them: short notes, usually handwritten, tucked away in books to be found by the latest reader of the title. Typically, they are ad-hoc bookmarks, inadvertently left behind by a previous reader. When you find one of these, what do you do? Do you throw the note away, assuming it is trash, or do you place it back in the book? If you choose to put it back, do you read it before you do so? What if you found a note, read it and discovered that it was not arbitrarily left in the book, but quite consciously placed there for someone... Read Full Review

  • The Prince and the Dressmaker

    by Wang, Jen.

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

    June 11, 2018

    Call Number: 740.9999 W246

    Frances is a young, talented, hardworking dressmaker. She wants to make wonderfully glamorous dresses. No one quite gets her art form and design, including her boss and the aristocrats he works for, and neither does the new department store opening up downtown.  At best, they think they can make money off her work. At worst, they are offended and enraged by her work. She loses her job after giving a young woman exactly the dress she wanted. The young woman, Lady Sophia, looks amazing in her new ball gown, and she knows it. But this dress isn’t a typical ball gown:  black with a... Read Full Review

  • No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters

    by Le Guin, Ursula K., 1929-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    June 4, 2018

    Call Number: 814 L521

    Ursula Le Guin was an inventive writer best known for her novels (fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction), and who also wrote poetry, critical non-fiction, books for children, and numerous essays. She began a blog, from which these selected essays are collected. In so many of these pieces she is dazzling in her clearly stated analyses, because in no way could Le Guin be led astray or beguiled by flattery or easy charm. Having lived fully engaged in the present world provides insight as to how she imagined other worlds that became reflective of this one. She is candid, unabashed,... Read Full Review