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Last Chance Fiction

Ever hear a librarian talk about “weeding”* books and wonder what, exactly, that means? Don’t worry; it’s not as ominous as it might sound. Sometimes, we even find some undiscovered gems – the “heirloom seeds” in this garden analogy.


As I’m working through fiction, I’ll be adding titles to a pop-up display on one side of the 2nd floor staff picks shelf. I’m calling this display “fiction you may have missed”. These books are a few years old; they were reviewed well, have some interesting recommendation blurbs from authors you may know and love, or sound interesting in some way that I thought our members might enjoy. …but no one has checked them out (yet)! Take a look at the display and see if anything strikes your fancy. Examples of what’s on the shelf include:


Irene Sabatini The boy next door

Sabatini brings to life her own recollections of her Zimbabwean childhood in this sweeping story about two people whose lives become inseparable from the turmoil that surrounds them. This is a novel about “what it means to witness, to change, to love, and to remain whole when the world outside is falling apart.” (Hachette)


Saša Stanišić How the soldier repairs the gramophone

A child flees his hometown of Višegrad, Bosnia – a town previously unconscious of racial or religious divides – on the day his magician grandfather dies. Ten years later, he returns to find out what happened to a childhood friend and to recover the lost magic of the life he left behind. Library Journal calls Stanišić, “the voice of a bold young Europe,” lauding this book for its “brilliantly cockeyed prose that borders on the surreal – or maybe the psychedelic.”


Pamela Ryder Correction of drift

The Lindbergh baby’s kidnapping was called the crime of the century at the time when the story occupied every front page. This novel imagines the private lives behind the headlines. Author Christine Schutt says, “The sentences, headlines, and ransom notes accrue to powerful effect until even the [smallest details] seem ominous portents of violence and loss.”


Nisi Shawl Filter house

The stories in this collection leap forward and backward through time and space, weaving together realities like resource depletion, colonization, and racism with the fantastical: dragons, gods, and interstellar travel. High praise from Ursula Le Guin: “…these superbly written stories will weave around you a ring of dark, dark magic.”


Alix Kates Shulman Ménage

Shulman is author of the feminist classic Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen. In this work, she tells the story of a couple who has it all, but for whom “having it all” isn’t enough. They add a third member to their household and, as sometimes happens with triangular relationships, complications arise… Critics call this novel “a bravura performance from one of America’s most renowned feminist writers.”


Paul Scheerbart, John A. Stuart The gray cloth

This 1914 modernist novel on architecture is sometimes called sci-fi, sometimes called "experimental techno-utopianist fiction"; whatever you call it, especially with its supporting images, the book is worth a look. Kenneth Frampton, Columbia’s Ware Professor of Architecture, says, “As close to Baron Munchausen and Gulliver’s Travels as to Jules Verne and the psycho-physics of Gustav Theodor Fechner, Scheerbart’s astral modernity envisages a brightly colored…architecture, at one with a pacified cosmos.”


Scott O'Connor Untouchable

Whitley, a.k.a. The Kid, is an 11-year old social pariah, bullied and bereft. He has not spoken since his mother’s death, preferring to communicate via a series of notebooks, which makes him feel that he lives in a safer world of his own imagining. As that world unravels, The Kid must become the hero he’s been hoping to find. “One of those books you can hardly stand to stuff the bookmark in at the end of the night.” (Scott Phillips)


Michael Shea Assault on sunrise

In this near-future dystopia, the rich are richer, leaving the poor more desperate for survival by any means necessary – even if that means taking on a role as an extra in a genre of blockbuster Hollywood films in which the onscreen deaths are real. Comedian and geek extraordinaire Patton Oswalt says, “Assault on Sunrise features language used as a sly weapon, action that snaps your head in different directions, and a bar raising in the field of science fiction and horror.”


*We weed library materials because hoarding books that no one reads prevents our patrons from learning, growing, and being entertained. In case you want to dig a little deeper, here’s the skinny on how librarians decide what stays and what gets donated to charity:

Mechanics’ Institute Library holds about 130,000 items and we add 300-500 more each month. Since we have a finite amount of shelf space, we have to prioritize the items that our members are actually reading. Of course we won’t get rid of those tried and true masterworks – even though The Murder of Roger Ackroyd hasn’t been checked out in six years, we’re hanging on to all of our Agatha Christie novels, for instance.

Each librarian at Mechanics' Institute Library manages a few different subject collections, and each librarian takes into account the circulation of items in her collection, the particular interests of our members, the depth and breadth of the collection as a whole, and how each item fits into that subject area. She considers whether a title is well-reviewed, a “classic” of the subject matter, and whether the information contained in it is up-to-date. In fiction, I like to keep complete runs of a series as well – I never want you to read up to Q is for Quarry and then find that we’re missing R is for Ricochet!

We consider all of these elements (and more, depending on the subject area) in light of how much space we have on the shelf to showcase what’s available in the stacks. Weeding is an art rather than an exact science, so if you see a librarian in the philosophy section and it looks like he’s poring over Epicurus, he’s not avoiding a tough reference question by hiding in the stacks – he’s probably just deciding whether he’s holding the most accurate translation, or if there’s a better one that just hit the market.

Posted on Mar. 23, 2016 by Heather Terrell

Check Out the Annual Report

The Mechanics’ Institute’s 2019 Annual Report is now available online, at

  • Learn more about what we’ve been working on in the past year and what’s ahead in plans for next year.
  • Find a summary of the annual financial audit, performed each year by an outside firm to ensure that our fiscal policy, procedure, and recordkeeping is sound.
  • See images from a selection of the past year’s events.
  • Peruse the list of donors and volunteers who have contributed to our library, chess club, and programming throughout the year.
  • Get a reminder about our year-end member events – the bi-annual member meeting and the annual member holiday gathering.

Digital copies of the report will be emailed to members. Print copies of the report will be on hand soon; pick yours up in the library beginning November 25th.

Posted on Nov. 8, 2019 by Heather Terrell

Discounted Tickets for Mechanics’ Institute Members: If I Were You

Periodic discounts on cultural events produced by community organizations and institutional partners are just one more perk of your Mechanics' Institute membership. August 1-6, Merola Opera Program presents the world premiere of If I Were You by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer, opening at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Mechanics' Institute members may use the promo code MEROLA10 for 10% off tickets. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

In this opera in two acts, Fabian Hart, an aspiring writer, yearns for adventure. Brittomara, a shape-shifting devil, offers Fabian supernatural power that allows his increasingly lost soul to transfer from person to person in search of a better identity, leaving a trail of human wreckage and hollow shells. Gene Scheer's libretto updates the setting of If I Were You, based on the novel Si j’étais vous by Julien Green, to the present day. It is a Faustian/Jekyll & Hyde story with an element of magical realism which is new ground for Heggie and Scheer. The story begins with the hero, Fabian, nearly dying in a car crash. The devil, in the guise of a beautiful, seductive woman, offers him the power to breathe his soul into another person so that he can live their life instead of his own. He can live forever this way, if he chooses, moving from body to body. As the shy Fabian becomes a wealthy older man, a young handsome brute, and eventually a young woman, the opera will deal with issues of age, power, sexual politics, and gender identity that are both timeless and very much part of the contemporary zeitgeist. (read more at

Take advantage of this opportunity to see what promises to be an engaging production, with promo code MEROLA10 for 10% off tickets at


Posted on Jun. 18, 2019 by Heather Terrell

New Titles List for the Week of December 3


Historical Fiction
Louis Guilloux Blood dark

Mystery, Suspense, Espionage & Intrigue
Kate Atkinson Transcription
Lee Child Past tense: a Jack Reacher novel

Comic Books, Graphic Novels & Comic Strips
Anthony Bourdain & Joel Rose Anthony Bourdain's hungry ghosts 741.5 B768
Youssef Daoudi Monk!: Thelonious, Pannonica, and the friendship behind a musical revolution 741.5 D211
Mark Russell Exit stage left: the Snagglepuss chronicles 741.5 R9611

Arts, Architecture & Crafts
Kate Atherley The knitter's dictionary: knitting know-how from a to z 746.432 A868 At43k
Tom Hart The art of the graphic memoir: tell your story, change your life 741.5 H3251
Mark Lamster The man in the glass house: Philip Johnson, architect of the modern century 720.92 J68L

Biography & Genealogy
Lindsey Hilsum In extremis: the life and death of the war correspondent Marie Colvin 92 C7272h

Business & Economics
Andrew L. Berkin & Larry E. Swedroe Your complete guide to factor-based investing: the way smart money invests today 332.6 B5129
Jen Sincero You are a badass at making money: master the mindset of wealth 332.024 S615

Vincent Moret My first opening repertoire for black: a ready-to-go package for ambitious beginners 794.122 M817my
Vincent Moret My first opening repertoire for white: a ready-to-go package for ambitious beginners 794.122 M817m
Igor Nemtsev The Elshad system 794.122 N436
Peter Romanovsky Chess middlegame combinations 794.123 R75c
Alfonso Romero and Oscar de Prado The agile London System: a solid but dynamic chess opening choice for white 794.122 R75a

Food & Drink
François-Régis Gaudry Let's eat France 641.5944 G267
Steven Rinella The MeatEater fish & game cookbook: recipes and techniques for every hunter and angler 641.6 R579

Winston Groom The allies: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the unlikely alliance that won World War II 940.53 G8765
Mark Kurlansky Milk!: a 10,000-year food fracas 637 K9687
Kate Williams The betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots: Elizbeth I and her greatest rival 942.05 W7211

Performing Arts & Music
Karina Longworth Seduction: sex, lies, and stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood 794.34 L859

Politics & Government
James T. Kloppenberg Toward democracy: the struggle for self-rule in European and American thought 321.8 K663

Social Sciences & Current Events
Snigdha Poonam Dreamers: how young Indians are changing the world 305.242 P8229

Posted on Dec. 7, 2018 by Heather Terrell

Annual Members Gathering: Limited Library Services

Each year at the winter holidays, Mechanics' Institute throws a holiday bash of spectacular proportions, including food, beverages, music, and more! It's a chance for members to gather together and get to know one another while they nibble and imbibe. If you haven't yet registered, you may do so on our website, or by calling the reference desk between 10am and 3pm at 415-393-0102.

As is customary, we will close the 2 and 2A mezzanine levels of the library to prepare for and host the event on Thursday, December 13th. Between 2pm and 9pm, please pick up holds, book group books, and membership cards at the 3rd floor circulation desk. If you need materials from the 2nd floor or from the 2A mezzanine (that's fiction and short stories, graphic novels, DVDs, audiobooks, large print, and nonfiction call numbers 800-999), please plan in advance: get to the library before 2pm or place a hold on the item before 9am on December 13th so we have time to retrieve it for you before the party preparations begin!

What better place to celebrate what the MI is and does than hosting a blowout party in the library! I hope to see you there.

Posted on Dec. 7, 2018 by Heather Terrell

New Titles List for the Week of November 26


Dror Burstein Muck
Marina & Sergey Dyachenko Vita nostra
Patrick Lohier Radiant night

Historical Fiction
Carrie Callaghan A light of her own
Kevin McCarthy Wolves of Eden

Mystery, Suspense, Espionage & Intrigue
Ken Bruen In the galway silence: a Jack Taylor novel
Roberto Saviano The piranhas: the boy bosses of Naples

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Stevan Allred The alehouse at the end of the world
V E Schwab Vengeful

Comic Books, Graphic Novels & Comic Strips
Carolyn Nowak Girl Town 741.5 N946
Pornsak Pichetshote Infidel 741.5 P592
Paco Roca Twists of fate 741.5 R669

* * * * *


Arts, Architecture & Crafts
Colin Jones Versailles 725.17 J762

Biography & Genealogy
Anna Beer Patriot or traitor: the life & death of Sir Walter Ralegh 92 R163b
Michelle Obama Becoming 92 O121b

Books, Reading, Publishing, Journalism, Library & Information Science
Maryanne Wolf Reader, come home: the reading brain in a digital world 612.82 W85r

Food & Drink
Elaine Khosrova Butter: a rich history 641.372 K458

Health & Medicine
Alice Robb Why we dream: the transformative power of our nightly journey 612.821 R631
Stephanie Tourles Stephanie Tourles's essential oils: a beginner's guide 615.321 T727

Bruce Ware Allen Tiber: eternal river of Rome 945.63 A4251
H W Brands Heirs of the founders: the epic rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun & Daniel Webster, the second generation of American giants 973.5 B8198
Ariel Burger Witness: lessons from Elie Wiesel's classroom 940.5318 B9544
Eric Rauchway Winter war: Hoover, Roosevelt & the first clash over the New Deal 973.917 R241

Literature & Writing
Ursula K Le Guin So far so good: final poems: 2014-2018 811.6 L52

Natural Sciences & Mathematics
Christopher Dewdney 18 miles: the epic drama of our atmosphere & its weather 551.5 D515
Rob Dunn Never home alone: from microbes to millipedes, camel crickets & honeybees, the natural history of where we live 570.2 D923

Philosophy, Psychology & Religion
Kathryn Gillespie The cow with ear tag #1389 179.3 G4781
Hal Gregersen Questions are the answer: a breakthrough approach to your most vexing problems at work & in life 153.4 G818
David R Hawkins, M D , Ph D Power vs force: the hidden determinants of human behavior 155.2 H3931

Politics & Government
Martin Moore Democracy hacked: political turmoil & information warfare in the digital age 321.8 M8211
Andrew Reynolds The children of Harvey Milk: how LGBTQ politicians changed the world 323.32 R462

Social Sciences & Current Events
Matthieu Auzanneau Oil, power & war: a dark history 338.2728 A944
Barry J Balleck Modern American extremism & domestic terrorism: an encyclopedia of extremists & extremist groups 303.48 B191
Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean & Jesse H Choper We the people: a progressive reading of the constitution for the twenty-first century 342.73 C517w
David Montero Kickback: exposing the global corporate bribery network 364.132 M778
Camille Paglia Provocations: collected essays 306.4 P13p
Alex Rosenblat Uberland: how algorithms are rewriting the rules of work 388.4 R813
Reihan Salam Melting pot or civil war?: a son of immigrants makes the case against open borders 325.73 S1596
Louise I Shelley Dark commerce: how a new illicit economy is threatening our future 330.135 S545
The Oxford dictionary of nursery rhymes 398.8 O61o
What future 2018: the year's best writing on what's next for people, technology & the planet 303.49 W556
Tony Wood Russia without Putin: money, power & the myths of the new Cold War 947.086 W8732
Tim Wu The curse of bigness: antitrust in the new gilded age 338.8 W9591
Wesley Yang The souls of yellow folk: essays 306.4 Y221

Travel & Geography
John Keahey Sicilian splendors: discovering the secret places that speak to the heart 914.58 K241
New Orleans 917.63 L847
Spain 914.6 L847
Washington, DC 917.53 L847

* * * * *

Georgia Clark The bucket list
Paulo Coelho Hippie
Andre Dubus III Gone so long
Esi Edugyan Washington Black
Tana French The Witch Elm
Claire Fuller Bitter orange
David Graeber Bullshit jobs
Khaled Hosseini Sea prayer
Kevin Kwan China rich girlfriend
Kate Morton The clockmaker's daughter
Walter Mosley John Woman
Haruki Murakami Killing commendatore
Liz Nugent Lying in wait
Joe Mungo Reed We begin our ascent

Posted on Dec. 4, 2018 by Heather Terrell

New Titles List for the Week of November 19


Melanie Hobson Summer cannibals
Marci Vogel Death & other holidays
Tamsen Wolff Juno's swans
Yu Hua The April 3rd incident: stories

Historical Fiction
Samantha Harvey The western wind
Judith Merkle Riley In pursuit of the green lion: a Margaret of Ashbury novel
Éric Vuillard The order of the day

Mystery, Suspense, Espionage & Intrigue
John Grisham The reckoning
H B Lyle The red ribbon
Anne Perry Dark tide rising: a William Monk novel
Zoe Sharp Fox hunter

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Shelli Frew Time Sailors
Robert Silverberg Time & time again: sixteen trips in time

Short Stories
Lucia Berlin Evening in paradise: more stories

* * * * *


Arts, Architecture & Crafts
Santiago Calatrava; Cristina Carillo de Albornoz Santiago Calatrava. Drawing, building, reflecting. 720.92 C143
Guillaume de Laubier Sacred spaces: the awe-inspiring architecture of churches & cathedrals 726 L366
Mark Dery Born to be posthumous: the eccentric life & mysterious genius of Edward Gorey 700.92 G66d

Biography & Genealogy
Miranda Seymour In Byron's wake: the turbulent lives of Byron's wife & daughter: Annabella Milbanke & Ada Lovelace 92 B996s
Richard Brookhiser John Marshall: the man who made the Supreme Court 92 M368b
Zachary Leader The life of Saul Bellow: love & strife, 1965-2005 92 B448L
Andrew Roberts Churchill: walking with destiny 92 C5632r

Business & Economics
Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez Your money or your life: 9 steps to transforming your relationship with money & achieving financial independence 332.024 R552

Brin-Jonathan Butler The Grandmaster: Magnus Carlsen & the match that made chess great again 794.1092 C284b
Jaan Ehlvest Grandmaster opening preparation 794.122 E332
Cyrus Lakdawala Caruana: move by move 794.12 C3296La
Jan Markos Under the surface 794.1 M3462
Ivan Sokolov Chess middlegame strategies, Volume 2, Opening meets middlegame 794.1 S683
Robert E Burger The chess of Bobby Fischer 794.1 F52bu
Cyrus Lakdawala First steps: the Colle & London systems 794.122 L192f
Jimmy Liew The Veresov: move by move 794.122 L626
Arthur van de Oudeweetering Train your chess pattern recognition: more key moves & motifs in the middlegame 794.123 23 794.123 O22tr
Peter Romanovsky Soviet middlegame technique 794.123 R75s
Erik Zude & Jörg Hickl Play 1 ... d6 against everything: a compact & ready-to-use black repertoire for club players 794.1 Z836

Food & Drink
Tero Isokauppila Healing mushrooms: a practical & culinary guide to using mushrooms for whole body health 641.658 I71
Kristen Miglore Food52 genius desserts: 100 recipes that will change the way you bake 641.86 F686m
Najmieh Batmanglij Cooking in Iran: regional recipes & kitchen secrets 641.5955 B321

Health & Medicine
Rose George Nine pints: a journey through the money, medicine & mysteries of blood 612.11 G349n
Mark Lukach My lovely wife in the psych ward: a memoir 362.21 L968
Nicolette Perry, PhD & Elaine Perry, PhD Your brain on plants: improve the way you think & feel with safe--and proven--medicinal plants & herbs 615.788 P429

Andrew Delbanco The war before the war: fugitive slaves & the struggle for America's soul from the Revolution to the Civil War 973.711 D344w
Ferdinand Addis The eternal city: a history of Rome 945.63 A24
Guy Cuthbertson Peace at last: a portrait of Armistice Day, 11 November 1918 940.439 C972
Ruth Goodman How to behave badly in Elizabethan England: a guide for knaves, fools, harlots, cuckolds, drunkards, liars, thieves & braggarts 942.05 G653h
Robert Kershaw Landing on the edge of eternity: twenty-four hours at Omaha Beach 940.542 K474
Robert Lyman Under a darkening sky: the American experience in Nazi Europe: 1939-1941 940.53 L989
Tony Spawforth The story of Greece & Rome 938 S73st
Edward J Watts Mortal republic: how Rome fell into tyranny 937.05 W349m

Alan Dershowitz The case against impeaching Trump 342.73 D43c

Literature & Writing
The outlaw bible of American literature 810.8 O946
Companion to Victorian popular fiction 823.9 C738

Natural Sciences & Mathematics
Ross D E MacPhee End of the megafauna: the fate of the world's hugest, fiercest & strangest animals 591.41 M172

Performing Arts & Music
John Cleese Professor at large: the Cornell years 792.092 C62p
Ezra Croft & Jennifer Raiser The art of being Bill: the many faces of awesome 791.43 M981c
David Markey & Jordan Schwartz We got power!: hardcore punk scenes from 1980s Southern California 781.66 M341
Lane Moore How to be alone: if you want to & even if you don't 792.7 M781

Philosophy, Psychology & Religion
Pope Francis God is young: a conversation with Thomas Leoncini 282.092 F818g
Joan Halifax Standing at the edge: finding freedom where fear & courage meet 128.4 H139
Brent Nongbri God's library: the archaeology of the earliest Christian manuscripts 270.1 N731

Social Sciences & Current Events
Lux Alptraum Faking it: the lies women tell about sex--and the truths they reveal 306.7 A75
Martin Rees On the future: prospects for humanity 303.483 R32on
Kirsten Swinth Feminism's forgotten fight: the unfinished struggle for work & family 305.42 S65

Travel & Geography
Lonely planet Barcelona 2019: top sights, authentic experiences 914.672 L847
Carolyn McCarthy Chile & Easter Island 918.3 L847

* * * * *


Juan Felipe Herrera ; illustrated by Lauren Castillo Imagine Child 811.6 H433

* * * * *


Mark Adams Tip of the iceberg: my 3,000-mile journey around wild Alaska, the last great American frontier
Catharine Arnold Pandemic 1918: eyewitness accounts from the greatest medical holocaust in modern history
Kate Atkinson Transcription
Fredrik Backman Us against you
Donald A Barclay Fake news, propaganda & plain old lies: how to find trustworthy information in the digital age
The Best American Food Writing 2018
Jenna Blum The lost family
Laura Smith Borman Iconic San Francisco Dishes, Drinks & Desserts
Julia Boyd Travelers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism: 1919-1945
T C Boyle A Friend of the Earth
Craig Brown Ninety-nine glimpses of Princess Margaret
Dale Brown The Moscow offensive
Phyllis Chesler A Politically Incorrect Feminist: Creating a Movement With Bitches, Lunatics, Dykes, Prodigies, Warriors & Wonder Women
Marcus Tulius Cicero How to Grow Old: Ancient Wisdom for the Second Half of Life
Bill Clinton & James Patterson The president is missing
Jon Cohen Harry's trees
James Conaway Napa at last light: America's eden in an age of calamity
Catherine Coulter Paradox
Anne de Courcy The husband hunters: American heiresses who married into the British aristocracy
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz An indigenous peoples' history of the United States
Ashley Dyer Splinter in the blood
Blake Ellis, Melanie Hicken A deal with the devil: the dark & twisted true story of one of the biggest cons in history
Gillian Flynn Sharp objects a novel
Caz Frear Sweet little lies
Emily Giffin All we ever wanted
Seth Greenland The Hazards of Good Fortune
Yuval Noah Harari 21 lessons for the 21st century
Jim Holt When Einstein walked with Gödel: excursions to the edge of thought
Anthony Horowitz The word is murder
Steven Hyden Twilight of the gods: a journey to the end of classic rock
Debra Jo Immergut The captives
Julia Jackson De Gaulle
Bill Kilday Never lost again: the Google mapping revolution that sparked new industries & augmented our reality
Kevin Kwan Crazy rich Asians
Kevin Kwan Rich people problems
Jaron Lanier Ten arguments for deleting your social media accounts right now
Christina Lauren Josh & Hazel's guide to not dating
Mike Maden Tom Clancy line of sight
Olivier Magny WTF?!: WHAT THE FRENCH
Ann Mah The lost vintage
Peter Mayle My twenty-five years in Provence: reflections on then & now
James A McLaughlin Bearskin
Nicola Moriarty Those other women
Celeste Ng Little fires everywhere
Omarosa Manigault Newman Unhinged: an insider's account of the Trump White House
Tommy Orange There there
James Patterson & Andrew Bourelle Texas Ranger
Frances de Pontes Peebles The air you breathe
Paulette Perhach Welcome to the writer's life: how to design your writing craft, writing business, writing practice & reading practice
Stanley Plumly Elegy landscapes: Constable & Turner & the intimate sublime
Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship With Money & Achieving Financial Independence
Elizabeth Barlow Rogers Saving Central Park: a history & a memoir
Allie Rowbottom Jell-O girls: a family history
Riley Sager The last time I lied
Robert J Sawyer Quantum night
Emelie Schepp Slowly we die
Bill Sevald Fishermen from Heaven
William Shatner with David Fisher Live long and-- what I might have learned along the way
Peng Shepherd The book of M
Gary Shteyngart Lake Success
Daniel Silva The other woman
Benjamin Spall & Michael Xander My morning routine: how successful people start every day inspired
William Stadiem Madame Claude: her secret world of pleasure, privilege & power
Jason Stanley How fascism works: the politics of us & them
Catherine Steadman Something in the water
Paul Tremblay The cabin at the end of the world
Anne Tyler Clock dance
Thrity Umrigar The secrets between us
Nico Walker Cherry
Lauren Weisberger When life gives you lululemons
Kenneth Womack Sound pictures: the life of Beatles producer George Martin: the later years, 1966-2016

Posted on Dec. 4, 2018 by Heather Terrell

Are you "Pudding" me on? Magazines on the Web

You may have flipped through some of the ~300 subscriptions to serial publications (magazines, newsletters, newspapers) held by Mechanics' Institute Library, or perused our collection of eMagazines using your tablet, but there's a whole world of online-only publications out there as well.

One of my personal favorites is The Pudding (as in, "the proof is in the pudding"), a donation-funded for-profit* online magazine that explains the nuances of complex topics using essays that incorporate interactive visualizations. The journalists who run and write this publication function as a collective, using original datasets, primary research, and smart interactivity to deeply explore topics such as subject matter on the podcast This American Life, gender parity in governments around the world, and even the feminist implications of the size of women's pockets.

Some magazines that were once in-print have gone to the online-only model, such as the much-lauded feminist publication Teen Vogue. You can also find some magazine content from your favorite print magazines online, including articles from Film Comment, "The Daily" column and many interviews at The Paris Review, and a limited number of articles per month from The New Yorker before you hit their online-subscriber paywall.

If you'd like to find high-quality information on the web, an online magazine is often a reliable source. One way to seek out reputable online publications is to check awards sites like Information is Beautiful, navigating to their winners or notable mentions; you can also check the Futures of Media Peabody Awards for digital storytelling. Pay attention to publications cited in your favorite podcasts or print sources of news. And always use the basic principles of information literacy to evaluate an article:

  • What does the URL or domain name reveal about the source of the information?
  • How is the author qualified to present this topic? Do they maintain organizational affiliations that might unduly influence the content of the piece?
  • Should the information be classified as fact, opinion, or propaganda?
  • Is the article's point of view objective, using bias-free language, and are the sources for factual information clearly listed or explained? Can strongly-worded assertions or quotations be verified by independent means?

If you find a source but aren't sure about its reliability, ask a librarian to help you understand how to evaluate a website for veracity.

And, in honor of Hamilton's imminent return to San Francisco in February 2019, please enjoy one more of my favorite pieces from The Pudding: An Interactive Visualization of Every Line in Hamilton, by Shirley Wu.


*The Pudding's content is free and open to all, and their work is funded by donors, partners, and a select group of advertisers.

Image by Shirley Wu for The Pudding.

Posted on Oct. 13, 2018 by Heather Terrell

New Titles for the Week of April 16


Therese Bohman Eventide
Christina Lauren Love & other words
Kopano Matlwa Evening primrose
Alexander McCall Smith The good pilot Peter Woodhouse
Madeline Miller Circe
Elle Nash Animals eat each other
Eliza Robertson Demi-gods
Adrienne Sharp The magnificent Esme Wells
Daniela Tully Hotel on shadow lake
Michele Young-Stone Lost in the beehive

Mystery, Suspense, Espionage & Intrigue
Jeffery Deaver The cutting edge: a Lincoln Rhyme novel Fic Deaver
David Downing Dark clouds shining Fic Downing
Mariah Fredericks A death of no importance Fic Fredericks
K.J. Howe Skyjack: a Thea Paris novel Fic Howe
Ausma Zehanat Khan Among the ruins Fic Khan
M.L. Longworth The secrets of the Bastide Blanche Fic Longworth
Jo Nesbø Macbeth Fic Nesbø
Anne Perry Twenty-one days: a Daniel Pitt novel Fic Perry
Stuart Woods Shoot first: (think later) Fic Woods

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Josh Malerman Unbury Carol

Short Stories
Jez Burrows Dictionary stories: short fictions & other findings
YZ Chin Though I get home

Comic Books, Graphic Novels & Comic Strips
Ed Piskor X-Men: grand design. 1 741.5 P677

* * * * *

Applied Sciences
Nancy Bubel The new seed-starters handbook 635.04 B917
Chilton's BMW: BMW, 1970-88 repair manual 629.28 C53b
Chilton's repair & tune-up guide, Volkswagen 1970 to 1981: Beetle, Super Beetle 1970-80, Karmann Ghia 1970-74, Transporter 1970-79, Vanagon 1980-81, Fastback, Squareback 1970-74, 411 1971-72, 412 1973-74 629.28 C53r
Clayton E. Cramer Lock, stock & barrel: the origins of American gun culture 683.4 C889
Robert Kurson Rocket men: the daring odyssey of Apollo 8 & the astronauts who made man's first journey to the Moon 629.454 K969
Edward Ashford Lee Plato & the nerd: the creative partnership of humans & technology 601 L477
Vanessa Murray Made to last: a compendium of artisans, trades & projects 680 M981

Arts, Architecture & Crafts
Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell & Gloria Nicol Pebble mosaics: 25 original step-by-step projects for the home & garden 738.5 S358
Leslie Williamson Interior portraits: at home with cultural pioneers & creative mavericks: a California design pilgrimage 747.0979 W729

Biography & Genealogy
Leonie Frieda Francis I: the maker of modern France 92 F8181f
The luck of friendship: the letters of Tennessee Williams & James Laughlin 92 W7265Lu

Books, Reading, Publishing, Journalism, Library & Information Science
Nicole Hennig Keeping up with emerging technologies: best practices for information professionals 025 H516k

Business & Economics
Dev Aujla 50 ways to get a job: an unconventional guide to finding work on your terms 650.14 A923
Sally Helgesen How women rise: break the 12 habits holding you back from your next raise, promotion, or job 650.1 H474h
Tom Peters The excellence dividend: meeting the tech tide with work that wows & jobs that last 658.4 P481
Jon Taffer Don't bullsh*t yourself!: crush the excuses that are holding you back 650.1 T124
Ellen R. Wald Saudi, Inc.: the Arabian kingdom's pursuit of profit & power 337.766 W157
Edward Yardeni Predicting the markets: a professional autobiography 330.092 Y27
Jeanne Yocum The self-employment survival guide: proven strategies to succeed as your own boss 658.041 Y542

Andrew Martin The ABC of the modern Slav 794.122 M379ab
Andrew Martin The Trompowsky: the easy way 794.122 M379t
Alejandro Ramirez Attacking with the Benkö Gambit 794.122 R173
Alexei Shirov My best games with black 794.122 S558m
Sergei Tiviakov How to combat rare lines as Black 794.122 T623
Alexei Shirov My best games in the Slav & Semi-Slav 794.122 S558sl

Food & Drink
Colu Henry Back pocket pasta: cook inspired dinners on the fly 641.822 H521
Bronwen Percival, Francis Percival Reinventing the wheel: milk, microbes & the fight for real cheese 637.3 P429
Dhan Tamang Coffee art: creative coffee designs for the home barista 641.877 T153

Health & Medicine
Yunte Huang Inseparable: the original Siamese twins & their rendezvous with American history 616.043 H874
Catherine Price How to break up with your phone 616.8584 P945

Clara Beaudoux The Madeleine project: uncovering a Parisian Life 944.36 B373
Rebecca Erbelding Rescue Board: the untold story of America's efforts to save the Jews of Europe 940.53 E657
Cathy Gere Tomb of Agamemnon 938.8 G367
Fawaz A. Gerges Making the Arab world: Nasser, Qutb & the clash that shaped the Middle East 956.04 G367
Nancy Goldstone Daughters of the Winter Queen: four remarkable sisters, the crown of Bohemia & the enduring legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots 943.7 G624
Adrian Goldsworthy Hadrian's Wall 936.2 G624
Peter Hayes Why?: explaining the Holocaust 940.53 H417
Rosemary Hill Stonehenge 936.2 H645
Carl Hoffman The last wild men of Borneo: a true story of death & treasure 915.98 H699
Penny Junor The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles & the love affair that rocked the crown 941.085 J956
Daniel Kurtz-Phelan The China mission: George Marshall's unfinished war, 1945/1947 951.04 K969
Jörn Leonhard Pandora's Box: a history of the First World War 940.3 L584
Manuel Pastor State of resistance: what California's dizzying descent & remarkable resurgence mean for America's future 979.405 P293
Charles Rist Season of infamy: a diary of war & occupation, 1939-1945 940.5344 R597
James C. Scott Against the grain: a deep history of the earliest states 630.9 S425
Voices from the Rust Belt 977 T865

Home & Family Management
Luke Barr Ritz & Escoffier: the hotelier, the chef & the rise of the leisure class 647.94 B268
The complete outdoor builder: from arbors to walkways: 150 DIY projects 690.89 C737
Jan Johnsen The spirit of stone: 101 practical & creative stonescaping ideas for your garden 717 J659
Chris Peterson Bathroom ideas you can use: the latest design styles, fixtures, surfaces & remodeling tips 643.5 P485

David Hitchcock Patent searching made easy: how to do patent searches online & in the library 608.721 H674
Julia Nissley How to probate an estate in California: a step-by-step guide 346.052 N726

Literature & Writing
Jonathan Basile Tar for mortar: the Library of Babel & the dream of totality 863 B311
Michelle Dean Sharp: the women who made an art of having an opinion 810.9 D281
Nicole Evelina The once & future queen: Guinevere in Arthurian legend 809.93 E931
Thomas C. Foster How to read poetry like a professor: a quippy & sonorous guide to verse 808.1 F754
Anatole France himself; a Boswellian record by his secretary, Jean Jacques Brousson 843.9 F815
Jane Friedman The business of being a writer 808.02 F911
Lorrie Moore See what can be done: essays, criticism & commentary 801.95 M821
Robert the devil: the first modern English translation of Robert le diable, an anonymous French romance of the thirteenth century 841 R639

Natural Sciences & Mathematics
Jon Butterworth Atom land: a guided tour through the strange (and impossibly small) world of particle physics 539.72 B988
Heather Swan Where honeybees thrive: stories from the field 638.1 S972

Performing Arts & Music
Dylan on Dylan: interviews & encounters 782.421 D99d
Bill Kopp Reinventing Pink Floyd: from Syd Barrett to the Dark side of the Moon 780.92 P655k

Philosophy, Psychology & Religion
Kathie Lee Gifford The rock, the road & the rabbi: my journey into the heart of scriptural faith & the land where it all began 248.3 G458
Sally Kohn The opposite of hate: a field guide to repairing our humanity 152.4 K795
Mark Lipton Mean men: the perversion of America's self-made man 158.1 L767
Maria Shriver I've been thinking ...: reflections, prayers & meditations for a meaningful life 248.4 S561
William Stixrud The self-driven child: the science & sense of giving your kids more control over their lives 155.413 S862

Politics & Government
Madeleine Albright Fascism: a warning 320.533 A342
Wendy Brown Undoing the demos: neoliberalism's stealth revolution 320.51 B877
David Cronin Balfour's shadow: a century of British support for Zionism & Israel 327.41 C947
Robert Kuttner Can democracy survive global capitalism? 320.9 K975
Peter Schweizer Secret empires: how the American political class hides corruption & enriches family & friends 320.973 S413
Timothy Snyder The road to unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America 320.53 S675

Social Sciences & Current Events
Kathleen Belew Bring the war home: the white power movement & paramilitary America 320.56 B428
Chinese myths 398.2 J124
Barbara Ehrenreich Natural causes: an epidemic of wellness, the certainty of dying & killing ourselves to live longer 306.9 E334
Andrew Hogan Hunting El Chapo: the inside story of the American lawman who captured the world's most-wanted drug lord 364.177 H714
Heather E. Hudson Connecting Alaskans: telecommunications in Alaska from telegraph to broadband 384 H885
Ken Ilgunas This land is our land: how we lost the right to roam & how to take it back 333.33 B111
Carlos Magdalena The plant messiah: adventures in search of the world's rarest species 333.95 M189
Priya Satia Empire of guns: the violent making of the Industrial Revolution 338.4768 S253
Harold Schechter Hell's princess: the mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men 364.152 S314
James J. SextoN If you're in my office, it's already too late: a divorce lawyer's guide to staying together 306.89 S518
James Walvin Sugar: the world corrupted, from slavery to obesity 381.456 W241
Andrew Yang The war on normal people: the truth about America's disappearing jobs & why universal basic income is our future 362.5 Y221

Travel & Geography
Edward Brooke-Hitching The phantom atlas: the greatest myths, lies & blunders on maps 912.09 B872

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Tayari Jones An American marriage Large Print Jones
Jo Nesbø Macbeth Large Print Nesbø
Tom Rachman The Italian teacher Large Print Rachman

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Elizabeth George The punishment she deserves

Posted on Apr. 20, 2018 by Heather Terrell

New Titles for the Week of April 9


Luke Allnutt We own the sky
Liam Callanan Paris by the book
Damian Dibben Tomorrow
Jonathan Evison Lawn boy
Denis Johnson Angels
Liu Zhenyun Someone to talk to
Michael David Lukas The last watchman of Old Cairo
Christine Mangan Tangerine
Tom McAllister How to be safe
Gerald Murnane Border districts: a fiction
Jon Pineda Let's no one get hurt
Richard Powers The overstory
Meg Wolitzer The female persuasion

Mystery, Suspense, Espionage & Intrigue
Karin Brynard Weeping waters
Steve Burrows A siege of bitterns: a birder murder mystery
Ruth Downie Memento mori: a crime novel of the Roman empire
Martha Grimes The knowledge: a Richard Jury mystery
C.S. Harris Why kill the innocent
Sophie Hénaff The awkward squad
Cara Hunter Close to home
Philip Kerr Greeks bearing gifts
Catherine McKenzie The good liar
Anne Meredith Portrait of a murderer: a Christmas crime story
Derek B. Miller American by day
Abir Mukherjee A necessary evil
Peter Robinson Sleeping in the ground
Fred Vargas A climate of fear

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Kevin Hearne Scourged
Justina Ireland Dread nation: rise up

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Applied Sciences
Steve Ettlinger & Phil Schmidt The all new illustrated guide to everything sold in hardware stores 683 E854
Making books: a guide to creating handcrafted books 686.3 M235
Liz McQuerry Natural soap at home: how to make felted soap, wine soap, fruit soap, goat's milk soap & much more 668.12 M173
Julia Shanks The farmer's office: tools, tips & templates to successfully manage a growing farm business 630 S528

Arts, Architecture & Crafts
Irving Penn: centennial 770.92 P41c
Chris Peterson Kitchen ideas you can use: the latest styles, appliances, features & tips for renovating your kitchen 747.79 P485
Tom Pich Folk masters: a portrait of America 770.92 P592
Vogue knitting: the ultimate knitting book 746.43 V888
World War I & American art 709.73 W927

Biography & Genealogy
Michael Broers Napoleon: the spirit of the age: 1805-1810 92 N216bro
Henri Cole Orphic Paris 92 C6891

Food & Drink
Jacques Pépin Poulets & légumes: my favorite chicken & vegetable recipes 641.665 P894

Health & Medicine
Stephanie Gerber Essential glow 615.321 G362

Bending adversity: Japan & the art of survival 952.05 P641
Richard Breitman, Allan J. Lichtman FDR & the Jews 973.917 B835
George C. Daughan Lexington & Concord: the battle heard round the world 973.331 D238
Benjamin Carter Hett The death of democracy: Hitler's rise to power & the downfall of the Weimar Republic 943.086 H591

Home & Family Management
Sally Coulthard Gardenalia: creating the stylish garden 717 C855
Decks: plan, design, build: 30 projects to plan, desgin & build 690.893 D295
Susan Morrison The less is more garden: big ideas for designing your small yard 712 M878

Literature & Writing
Ursula K. Le Guin: conversations on writing 813.54 L521
Ada Limón Bright dead things: poems 811.6 L734
Tracy K. Smith Wade in the water: poems 811 S662w

Natural Sciences & Mathematics
The book of seeds: a life-size guide to six hundred species from around the world 631.5 S642
Menno Schilthuizen Darwin comes to town: how the urban jungle drives evolution 577.56 S334

Performing Arts & Music
Michael Benson Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke & the making of a masterpiece 791.437 B474

Philosophy, Psychology & Religion
Matthew Bowman Christian: the politics of a word in America 261.7 B787
Tim Harford Messy: the power of disorder to transform our lives 153.35 H278
Abolghassem Khamneipur Zarathustra: myth, message, history 295 K452

Politics & Government
Michael Isikoff & David Corn Russian roulette: the inside story of Putin's war on America & the election of Donald Trump 324.973 I81

Social Sciences & Current Events
Kate Germano Fight like a girl: the truth behind how female Marines are trained 359.96 G373
Ashley Mardell The ABC's of LGBT+ 306.76 M322

Travel & Geography
Michigan's Upper Peninsula 917.74 M818u

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Mohsin Hamid Exit west

Posted on Apr. 18, 2018 by Heather Terrell