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Staff Recommendations


  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore

    by Sloan, Robin, 1979-

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

    October 11, 2017

    There are people who want you to believe that there is a hot, bright line dividing computers from books. “You have to chose one,” they tell you. You can’t love both the feel and smell of an old hardback and a quick boolean search. You have to chose. It’s media or e-media, and never the twain shall meet. But that’s a false dichotomy. That’s choosing between peanut butter and chocolate, when both are good. Let’s have both and mix them together and see what we come up with.

    Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore is a novel that embraces and celebrates both paper books and technology... Read Full Review

  • The catcher in the rye

    by Salinger, J. D. (Jerome David), 1919-2010.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    September 28, 2017

    Call Number: Ed.c

    Catcher in the rye is one of the most repeatedly banned and controversial coming-of-age books, and as we celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, it is a book worth reading or rereading. The novel has been challenged and/or banned because of profane language and sex, most of which seem tame in comparison to today's books, films and television programs. However the feelings and thoughts of the book's protagonist, Holden Caulfield, have appeal for teens and adults who are questioning their identity and place in... Read Full Review

  • Judy and I : my life with Judy Garland

    by Luft, Sid,

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

    September 11, 2017

    Call Number: 812.092 G233Lu

    This autobiography from Judy Garland’s third husband, Michael Sidney “Sid” Luft was published nearly 12 years after his death. The book details Luft’s childhood, early years prior to meeting Garland, and his life with the legend leading up to her death in 1969. Luft never finished writing this book, having stopped around 1960 when he was excluded from his wife’s life by Judy and her new handlers. The remaining portions of the book were cobbled together by Randy L. Schmidt (with the permission of the Sid Luft Living Trust) using interviews, tape recordings and other resources that Luft left... Read Full Review

  • Front lines

    by Grant, Michael, 1954-

    Reviewed by: Llyr Heller, Librarian, Teen'Scape

    September 5, 2017

    Call Number: YA

    There are some young adult books that have terrific appeal as crossover fiction for adult readers. The new Front Lines series of books are just those kind of books.

    Young adult and children’s author Michael Grant has outdone himself with his new series, Front Lines. In his newest and most masterfully done work, he transports readers to a re-imagined scenario concerning World War II. At a time when young men are going off to fight Nazi Germany, a court decision pulls in both males and females to the draft. These novels, in alternating chapters, take us to the war in various ways,... Read Full Review

  • Get well soon : history's worst plagues and the heroes who fought them

    by Wright, Jennifer Ashley, 1986-

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

    August 30, 2017

    Call Number: 614.409 W951

    A book of the worst plagues in history could be a nightmare-inducing slog through dark times. Everything, from the suffering of victims to the ‘treatments’ they endured, piles on misery. It would take a deft hand to write about the bubonic plague, or smallpox, or leprosy  in a way that neither sinks into despair, nor loses sight of the humanity shared by readers, sufferers, doctors, and the desperate communities trying to outlast the catastrophe.

    Luckily, Jennifer Wright writes with just such a deft hand! She mixes a gruesome medical history with a humorous,... Read Full Review

  • Daring to drive : a Saudi woman's awakening

    by Sharif, Manal, 1979-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    August 23, 2017

    Call Number: 301.412953 S531

    Manal al-Sharif did not plan to be a rebellious leader of a social or political movement, or to be civilly disobedient, and certainly not to bring any type of public notice to herself, but that is just what happened. She said the cause chose her. Raised in a traditional Muslim home in Saudi Arabia, she tried to be an obedient daughter and student, but inwardly questioned rules and regulations that seemed unfair and irrational. As a smart young woman, she attended King Abdulaziz University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science which led to a job with... Read Full Review

  • The road to Jonestown : Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

    by Guinn, Jeff,

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

    August 14, 2017

    Call Number: 289.9P35 G964

    The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn examines the events leading up to the 1978 mass suicide of over 900 Americans living in Guyana. Guinn used FBI reports, interviews and recently declassified government material to reconstruct exactly how a charismatic preacher who originally endorsed egalitarian ideas and civil rights, spiraled into a paranoid despot who led his followers down a path to a tragedy of biblical proportions. Guinn examines a very difficult, grim, aspect of modern history, and the reader is rewarded with a well-researched, up-to-... Read Full Review

  • Quicksand

    by Persson Giolito, Malin, 1969-

    Reviewed by: Robert Anderson, Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department

    August 7, 2017

    A young woman in Massachusetts was recently convicted of manslaughter after she urged her boyfriend, via cellphone, to carry out his suicide plans.  The same deadly combination of social media and criminal behavior is at the center of Swedish writer and lawyer Malin Persson Giolito's recent novel Quicksand, which takes place in the wealthy suburb of Stockholm where the author grew up. The story's narrator is 18-year-old Maria "Maja" Norberg, who has become a national and even international celebrity for the worst of reasons.  Nine months earlier Maja was involved in a... Read Full Review

  • At Balthazar : a tale of the New York brasserie at the center of the world

    by Nadelson, Reggie,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    July 31, 2017

    Call Number: 647.95 B197Na

    Located in Manhattan’s Soho, Balthazar is a Parisian-style brasserie with its own unique features.  Very much like its Parisian counterpart, the eatery is both a neighborhood hangout and place to enjoy a fine meal. Created by a British transplant, Keith McNally, who at the time was an illegal immigrant, but in 2017 the owner, staff and restaurant are legal and thriving.  Balthazar has been in business for twenty years. The decor, service, and most importantly the menu, all have French roots. In the great tradition of European brasseries and bars, regulars feel a strong sense of... Read Full Review

  • Nevertheless : a memoir

    by Baldwin, Alec, 1958-

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    July 20, 2017

    Call Number: 812.092 B181

    Alec Baldwin, an actor renowned for his versatility and pugnaciousness, has written a candid memoir of considerable delicacy and thoughfulness. The product of a large boisterous, Irish Catholic household on Long Island, Baldwin stumbled into his career after dropping out of college and acting in soaps in the 1980s. His role in The Doctors and Knots Landing catapulted him to early stardom, but his life was spinning out of control. His father's death precipitated a dark period of drug and alcohol addiction. After getting clean and sober in the mid-1980s Baldwin... Read Full Review

  • The price of illusion : a memoir

    by Buck, Joan Juliet,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    July 11, 2017

    Call Number: 051.092 B922

    Over many years Joan Juliet Buck contributed excellent reviews and criticism on a variety of subjects (fashion, media, the arts, film and music) to Vogue Magazine. After an ill-fated assignment in 2011 she and her work evaporated from the printed media. It was an interview with the first lady of Syria printed a few weeks before Bashar al-Assad ordered violent attacks against masses of protesters. Buck is not a stupid woman, perhaps guileless in trusting those who had given her the interview assignment. She has detractors who have not spoken in her defense, and... Read Full Review

  • The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

    by Goss, Theodora,

    July 3, 2017

    Call Number: M

    Many classic horror novels, including Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and The Island of Dr. Moreau, have almost no female characters. If there is a woman included, often she is relegated to being a servant or, more often, a victim. She is rarely featured as a protagonist and NEVER a monster. Dr. Theodora Goss, of Boston University, wrote her doctoral dissertation on these missing female voices, and has addressed it directly in a most enjoyable way by writing The Strange Case of the Alchemist’... Read Full Review