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Staff Recommendations


  • Other people's houses

    by Segal, Lore Groszmann.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    June 17, 2019

    Call Number: Ed.a

    Even though this book was published more than 50 years ago, Lore Segal's autobiographical novel is a story about refugee children that still resonates today.  When the United Kingdom took in over 10,000 children, mostly Jewish, from Germany, Austria and other east European countries, and placed them in the care of foster families, Segal was part of the Kindertransport.

    Speaking through her narrator, this is the story of a 10-year-old girl who, with other children, was put on a train and transported to England to be safe and secure after Hitler... Read Full Review

  • The Reign of the Kingfisher: A Novel

    by Martinson, T. J.

    June 10, 2019

    The first appearance of Batman was in Detective Comics in the Spring of 1939, making 2019 the character’s 80th anniversary. Batman is a sharp contrast to most “superheroes” in that he possesses no “super” powers. His prowess, whether physical or intellectual, comes from rigorous training and study. He patrols the fictional metropolis of Gotham City, an urban center so rife with criminal proceedings that law enforcement simply cannot stem the tide of illegal activities. While Batman has the tacit endorsement of the local police force, through his unauthorized partnership with Police... Read Full Review

  • We were witches

    by Gore, Ariel, 1970-

    June 3, 2019

    “What does shame require to stay alive?  What is the antidote to shame?”

    When Ariel finds herself pregnant at 18, she gets a crash course in shame. Her grandmother tells her she’s irresponsible and her mother lectures her on the dangers of stretch marks. Her neighbors, finding out she’s on food stamps, write violent messages on her door and threaten to tear up her benefits check. When she tries to get a restraining order against her abusive ex, the court grants him partial custody of their daughter Maia because “children need fathers.” Ad campaigns... Read Full Review

  • The Sentence is Death

    by Horowitz, Anthony

    May 28, 2019

    Call Number: M

    In 2018, readers discovered the first book in Anthony Horowitz’s new mystery series: The Word is Murder. In it, a wealthy woman enters a London funeral parlor in the morning to make her final arrangements. She is found in her home, murdered, six hours later. When disgraced Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne is asked to consult on the case, he approaches television writer Anthony Horowitz with a proposition: shadow him while he solves the mystery, and then write everything up into a novel. Horowitz... Read Full Review

  • Radicalized

    by Doctorow, Cory

    May 20, 2019

    Call Number: SF

    Speculative Fiction has a long history of using the tropes of the genre to comment on our world. Ursula K. Le Guin used The Left Hand of Darkness to examine cultural gender constructs. Using the original Star Trek television series, show creator Gene Roddenberry commented on issues like race relations and the Vietnam War. And in her novel Tooth and Claw, author Jo Walton illustrated the absurdity of Victorian rules of behavior by way of dragons. Sometimes the cultural criticism is playful and fun. Other times, it is subtle and sly, barely noticeable until the author wants... Read Full Review

  • The plotters

    by Kim, On-su, 1972-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    May 15, 2019

    Street orphan Reseng is rescued by nuns, then adopted by Old Raccoon, the owner of a sensational private library. Being in possession of a library, or being a librarian for that matter, is not a measure of respectability, which is the case with Old Raccoon, whose friends are a strange and nefarious group of people.  It is in the Library of Dogs where assassinations are planned. There are syndicates of professionals who organize assassins for hire, and the syndicates are in competition with each other--they are the plotters. From the time he was a child Reseng was ... Read Full Review

  • The Night Tiger

    by Choo, Yangsze

    May 6, 2019

    Ji Lin is a young woman who is working as an apprentice dressmaker by day and secretly working as a “dance instructor” at a dance-hall in the evenings to repay a family debt. Ren is eleven, but tells everyone that he is thirteen. He has lost his entire family, including his twin brother, and is working as a houseboy for an aging English doctor. As the doctor nears death, he makes a final request of Ren that he cannot refuse, even though he has no idea how he will fulfill his promise.

    And then there is the severed finger, mummified and preserved in a glass vial. Ren needs to locate it... Read Full Review

  • Voyage of the sable Venus : and other poems

    by Lewis, Robin Coste,

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    May 1, 2019

    Call Number: 811 L675

    Poetry is the most intense and concentrated form of writing, using words, metre, rhyme and format to express thoughts, feelings and stories that can be fact or fiction.  Robin Coste Lewis, Los Angeles Poet Laureate, has used all of these characteristics of poetry to examine the artistic representation of black female enslavement through the millenniums. Her poetic technique catalogs art work that often extolled and rhapsodized the sexuality of black females. This is a complex work, which compels and shocks by the very nature of the historical artwork that is referenced. Her... Read Full Review

  • Our only world : ten essays

    by Berry, Wendell, 1934-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

    April 22, 2019

    Call Number: 309.73 B534-1

    National Poetry Month is almost over, and today is Earth Day, so there is no better time to consider some of the thoughts and ideas of Wendell Berry.  He is a gifted and prodigious writer of poetry, novels, short stories, and non-fiction. The Los Angeles Public Library's catalog lists numerous works by him (hard copy, audio-visual and e-media), with more of his work to be found in a variety of journals and magazines. His poems are approachable and suggestive; as a cultural critic his work is... Read Full Review

  • 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