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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

Refer Friends and Extend Your Membership

While many are sheltering in place and many Mechanics’ Institute virtual events are free to all during this time, a significant number of members have opted to delay renewing. We miss you!


We love to delight members with our much-utilized library "To-Go" service, virtual classes and author events, chess tournaments, an expanded repertoire of online chess classes, and 24/7 access to databases and electronic materials -- including books, magazines, and movie streaming.


Now you can support Mechanics’ Institute by referring friends and family to join. If someone joins MI as a new member and names you as their referral source on the application, you will receive an additional three months of membership, and can earn up to six months of membership at no cost to you. More reason to tell your family, friends, and acquaintances about the perks of Mechanics' Institute membership!


In the new year, membership staff will send reminders to those who have allowed their memberships to lapse, just in case they missed their renewal notice in 2020. Be on the lookout for more info in your inbox and your mail box!


If you have questions about your membership, please contact us at [email protected] or call 415-393-0105 and we will return your call as soon as we’re able to.


To our members and supporters, thank you!


Posted on Dec. 18, 2020 by Heather Terrell

Your Support Sustains Mechanics' Institute

All of us at Mechanics’ Institute hope that you and your loved ones are doing well. This year has brought challenges to all of us, and the future can feel unpredictable. And yet we have confidence that the Mechanics’ Institute will emerge stronger and nimbler than ever to meet the demands of the 21st century, as a community, with your help.


This year, so many of you have supported MI. You’ve joined us in our celebration of the Centennial of U.S. Women’s Suffrage, a celebration of Toni Morrison and her legacy, and the Chess Blitz Tournament of the Americas, reaching members and guests from around the globe. The generosity of our trustees and other gifts have enabled us to exceed our National Endowment for the Humanities challenge grant for the second year in a row, putting us in a solid position to raise the funds necessary to upgrade our physical building.


We all value the face-to-face interactions in our historic building with modern amenities – a place for writing, discussing ideas, watching films, playing chess, reading, and engaging with authors and thinkers. MI looks forward to the day when it is safe to meet in person again, and we are working on a reopening plan that prioritizes your health and safety. While our library is closed, MI has ensured you can access reading materials through our To Go program, as well as watch films and attend classes, lectures, and chess matches virtually. Many of these programs are reaching diverse new audiences, and we plan to continue virtual offerings even after we can reopen, to create opportunities for members and the public to attend either in-person and virtually. 


We need your help to continue this vital work in San Francisco and beyond. 


As you know, membership dues only cover a fraction of MI operations. If you are in a position to give a donation of any size, we would greatly appreciate your support now. Click here to donate to the Mechanics’ Institute. If you prefer to write a check, please make it payable to Mechanics’ Institute, and mail it to:


Mechanics’ Institute

57 Post Street

San Francisco, CA  94104


In times like these, we are reminded of our interconnection. With your help, we can ensure that we are able to provide the best possible experience and services until we are able to open safely again. Thank you for being part of our community. Your support means so much to us.

Posted on Nov. 10, 2020 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