The best books of the year, as selected by LAPL staff. Perfect for holiday gift-giving!
Almond, a journalist and lifelong Raiders fan, takes issue with the rampant misogyny, racism, and homophobia that is prevalent in his favorite sport. In this polemic, Almond posits that football has become America’s shared culture and epitomizes American machismo. Sadly, many former NFL stars have suffered serious brain injuries as a result of concussions they experienced on the playing field, where violence has more value than self-preservation.
This is a long overdue appreciation and history about a blues guitar great. Based on numerous hours of interviews with family members and musicians, and in-depth research that includes information about Chess Records and other musicians of the day.
This is the last volume about Fermor's great walk, which began in the Hook of Holland, written about in A Time of Gifts, then continued in Between the Woods and the Water. The final part of the trip was long over, but Fermor never completed the last book which was then edited by a friend and world-class adventurer, Colin Thubron, and another friend and author/Fermor biographer, Artemis Cooper. The text is there with Paddy's spirit, and the two writers have done him justice and provided his followers with the final touch. Fermor died in 2011.
French economist Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data about wealth and income inequality from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century showing an increasing concentration of wealth and offering possible global solutions. This huge, data-dense and provocative 700-page book has been a surprise sensational best seller and has been widely covered and discussed in business and popular media.
This hefty collection has selections with Wallace's fiction, non-fiction, teaching materials, and numerous selections have commentaries about Wallace's writing by other fine writers. The Teaching Materials section is useful, inspiring, and hilarious with an introduction from Sally Foster Wallace, David's mother and retired Professor of English.
A well-researched, gripping depiction of the increasing discrepancy between how justice is meted out on the streets of America - harshly, often indiscriminately and erroneously - versus inside the boardrooms of the wealthiest financial institutions - essentially not at all. Taibbi makes no bones about his outrage; his tone is straightforward and informal, but his import is serious. He articulates how harsher penalties for petty crime and the criminalization of poverty itself are correlated and necessary to the mass accumulation of wealth by a tiny percentage of stakeholders at the heads of a shrinking number of corporate conglomerates.
Michael Lewis exposes the darker side of Wall Street by presenting compelling evidence that the stock market is rigged by the extremely sophisticated computer code used in high-frequency trading (HFT). He chronicles the construction of a secret cable network, explains the phenomena of private trading transactions known as dark pools, introduces people in the investment world who uncover questionable HFT practices, and recounts the trial of Sergey Aleynikov, the former Goldman Sachs computer programmer accused by the company of stealing their trade secrets. Fast-paced and well-written, this book provides an important exploration of the inner workings of Wall Street.
Betty Harbreich is well known for her book Secrets of a fashion therapist: what you can learn behind the dressing room door which offers practical fashion advice for every woman, gleaned from her years of experience at Bergdorf Goodman as a personal fashion advisor. Snappy, direct and funny she recounts her life and how she came to be known as the first personal shopper--a name she does not like at all. She is in Bergdorf's every day before the doors open, walking and looking for clothes for her clients, but Harbreich does have her limits and boundaries, "The door of my office is where I draw the line. I'm not part of the package--I don't go home with the pants. . . There is a cutoff period to my involvement, but with me at least one gets an hour or two."
The third in a series about the conservative movement in the United States written by a liberal historian who examines how Ronald Reagan became the champion of the right after Nixon was brought down by Watergate.
A compilation of Keillor's work which has stories, essays, poetry, photographs, selections from The Prairie Home Companion, and never before published pieces.
Misty Copeland overcame the odds of a dysfunctional home, racism, and a late start with ballet lessons to become a star and soloist with American Ballet Theatre. No matter what the odds, obstacles, or pain, in life and in ballet, her autobiography conveys her indomitable spirit and passion for dance.
The name Chanel is iconic and eponymous for a fragrance and a jacket, both created by a woman from a poor, socially undesirable background. Based on new research, this book analyzes the woman and her achievements within the context of the historical periods in which she lived. Heartbroken by a first great love, she became completely absorbed and driven to succeed on her own merits, and nothing, definitely not an ethical code, stood in her way.
Mollie Moran describes the human side of working “downstairs” in a 1930s mansion house in London’s Knightsbridge and a Tudor manor in Norfolk. Mollie became a scullery maid at age 14, scrubbing floors and steps and polishing doorknobs, promoting to kitchen maid; at age 20 cooking for the Earl of Leicester’s niece. Leading the life of an independent young woman in London, Moran describes running into Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII before his abdication in 1936, seeing the future Queen Elizabeth II at the age of ten playing outside with her sister, as well as the entertainments single women with little money could enjoy in London. Moran also describes how World War II changed the lives of those living “upstairs” even more than those living “downstairs."
He comes from several generations of military men, and as a soldier honors but does not glorify various types of war service. In this autobiography, Turner, a veteran of our most recent wars, suffering the effects of PTSD, sees the enemy, and himself through the enemy's eyes, and even through the imagined vision of a greviously injured cook. This book and Redeployment by Phil Klay, listed on the Best of 2014: Fiction, speak of the pain and truth of war.
Another wonderful book from Ottolenghi, who brought us Plenty : vibrant vegetable recipes from London's Ottolenghi, and an LAPL 2012 Best Non-Fiction pick, Jerusalem : a cookbook. He and his staff surpass themselves with more tasty vegetarian dishes with different and unusual flavors.
Afar Nafisi once again brings her perception, knowledge, insight, and memories to the importance of fiction. This time it is about three American novels which she states show the unique attributes of the United States. The introductory essay is an appreciation and examination of the special aspects of fiction, American freedom of speech (in all media), and the importance of reading all types of books. The vitality, joy, and understanding expressed in this introduction should be widely read.
More than a companion to Ken Burns' recent PBS documentary about three pivotal members of the Roosevelt family, this volume brings fresh research and analysis to the personal and the political lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor. In their early lives each was an unlikely contender for any type of public notice, let alone the acclaim and controversy which would mark them as oustanding figures in United States history.
The enigmatic Kim Philby was a master spy, a British double agent who for years got away with fooling his colleagues in Great Britain and the United States as he passed information to the Soviet Union. He courted and maintained friendships from early on, then used and abused them, fooling wives, lovers, friends, and most egregiously colleagues in the West. A committed Communist who never veered from his beliefs much like a hunting dog, faithful to the hunt and his master.
A history of the strange cases that progressed our understanding of the human brain which is mapped, in part, through the study of traumatic brain injury. With people who range from kings to presidential assassins, and the catalysts from unbelievable accidents to strange diseases, each is presented with a detailed and humanizing view. This book examines not only a careful history of this mapping, but also the human cost for the people dealing with these injuries.
A big read, over 700 pages, which fly by in this freshly researched biography of one of our great playwrights. Williams led a life that was troubled, from his early years and continued until his death. Despite all of his anguish, fears, and self-doubt, he produced some of the most beautiful and illuminating plays which are hallmarks and classics of the modern American theatre.
The co-creator of Twitter tells his life story and gives many ideas on how to develop one's own creativity.
There was a time when radio ruled new rock and pop music, and Los Angeles had dueling DJs and stations. Filled with a who's who of the rock and pop scene, lots of photographs, Kubernik gives us nostalgia and history.
For anyone who thinks the struggle for women’s rights and freedom, domestically or internationally, has been won, then read this book. In Afghanistan there is a secret tradition of disguising young girls as boys so they may be educated and have a fleeting sense of freedom.
Jo Walton loves science fiction and fantasy and has read a great deal of it. Here, she shares everything she loves about these books. If she’s writing about a book you recognize, it’s like talking to a friend. If she’s writing about something you haven’t read, it’s your lucky day. You now have a chance to discover a new favorite!
The perfect gift for Downtown Abbey fans with authentic recipes, behind-the-scenes information about the actors and many of the people who produce the program. There are color photographs on every page.