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Staff Picks/DVD Selections

Family-Friendly Films

Films with an intergenerational appeal are what you’ll find on display on the Second Floor in October. Whether you are curious about animated movies that are popular with adults, documentaries that can be watched by children, or feature films that seem to work for everyone, you’ll find them, and be able to check them out, from our Family-Friendly Films DVD and Blu-ray display. Below are our staff’s recommendations.

A favorite of Mechanics’ Library staff, Ratatouille, is recommended by Deb, Chris, Rhonda, and Myles. Here are what the staff have to say:

Deb says “If you can get past the fact that there is a rat chef cooking in a top notch French restaurant, you can enjoy this fun film. You'll be hungry and smiling by the time it ends.”

Chris says “It’s won a lot of awards, appeals to (and is popular with) both kids and adults, has a lot of really subtle, not obnoxious lessons (there's a whole sub-text about washing your hands before you cook or eat). It touches on several family issues - getting along with family members who are different and learning to accept them, what family means, etc. And it's beautifully animated and has great music.”

Kristin recommends:

The Red Balloon: "A simple, nearly wordless tale, of a young boy and his adventures with a stray balloon on the streets of Paris." A must for any family that loves Paris, it was filmed in 1956 and includes great shots in Paris of the past.

Sing: "A bunch of misfit animals band together to help their koala bear friend save his crumbling theater. With a cast made up of punk rock porcupines, singing pigs, and a gangster gorilla, how can you not watch this movie?"

The Secret Life of Pets: "Do you ever wonder what your pet does when you're not home? Watch this movie and you'll be amazed at the adventures that occur behind your back."

Deb recommends:

Moana: "This fun take on folklore in ancient Polynesia as an epic adventure about a spirited teen who sets sail on a daring mission to save her people. Great music and animation."

The Sound of Music: "Our family knows this is my all time favorite movie. The scenery, the music and the story combine for a great movie (based on a true one) that will have you singing the songs long after the movie has ended. It is also sobering in the changes the Nazis brought to Austria."

Taryn recommends:

All Creatures Great and Small: “My six year old, who wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up, is all over James Herriot's tales of life as a rural vet."

Myles says:

Werner Herzog may not be a director that comes to mind when you hear “family-friendly,” but many of his documentaries are just that. In Encounters of at the End of the World, Herzog follows researchers as they brave Earth’s harshest conditions to further science in a film that is as much about the people who visit Antarctica as is it is about nature and wildlife. In Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Herzog and a small crew document the oldest paintings made by humankind, the Chauvet Cave in Northern France in incredible detail. Herzog narrates blending anthropology and his artistic musings expanding the viewer’s understanding of Aurignacian and Gravettian humans.

Have you ever seen the wild parrots near Telegraph Hill and wondered how they got there? One way to learn more about the flock is to follow director Judy Irving as she investigates their caretaker, Mark Bittner, who introduces us to each bird and their personalities. Learn about San Francisco history, the social life of birds, and humans that maintain friendships with urban wildlife in The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

Posted on Oct. 5, 2017 by Myles Cooper

Thanks for the Memories

Have you ever considered writing your memoirs but don’t how to do so? If so, you must check out the Staff Picks Display in the second floor library. There you will find many books on where to begin and how to craft your memoir. Keep in mind that memoir writing will stir up a lot of emotions and one minute you’ll be laughing and the next you’ll be crying as you relive certain memories. In a way, writing a memoir is like having a second chance at life. It’s a way of reliving the past – but this time around you know the ending. To help inspire you with your writing, fictional memoirs, graphic novels, and biographies are included in the display. Many more biographies can be found in section 92 on floor 2A of the library.


For those who want to write, Taryn recommends:

Naked, Drunk and Writing by Adair Lara

You may remember Adair Lara from her days as SF Chronicle columnist - she's still hilarious and teaching a class in October on the art of memoir.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up by Lee Gutkind

Lee Gutkind is a god of creative non-fiction from essays to memoir.

Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy by Dinty W. Moore

Funny and waggish writing advice from a guy (not) named for beef stew.

Handling the Truth: on the writing of memoir by Beth Kephart

The book to read before you start writing.


For those who want to be inspired by another’s memoir, Myles recommends:

Louie, take a look at this! : my time with Huell Howser by Luis Fuerte as told to David Duron
An account of the long running California's Gold television program on California Public Broadcasting from the perspective of the camera operator, Luis Fuerte. I was a fan of the show, but I especially like this book because my grandfather was also camera operator, who worked on CBS shows like Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, and The Young and the Restless. It is interesting to read what one has to say who was not the center of attention but was there for every moment. A must read for every California's Gold fan.


For memoirs in graphic novel format, Erik recommends:

Flying Couch by Amy Kurzweil

Calling Dr. Laura by Nicole J. Georges


For fictional memoirs, Kristin recommends:

Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada

Three generations of Polar bears share their story of growing up in East Germany during the cold war. Quirky literature at its best.


And finally, for those who keep diaries, Kristin recommends:

Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris

Forty years of secrets, gossip, and soap opera plots are recorded in David Sedaris’ diary. His wish is for the reader to read the entries at random, not cover to cover.  It will be much more enjoyable that way. And he’s right, flip though the pages and read what catches your eye and you will not be disappointed.




Posted on Oct. 5, 2017 by Kristin McCarthy

“Wicked” Audiobook Selections

You don’t have to like Halloween to enjoy this selection of audiobooks with a supernatural twist. There were no scarcity of spooky stories to choose from this time around as Mechanics’ Institute members are avid readers of mysteries, thrillers and the like.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire (CD Fic Maguire)

Whatever happened to Dorothy’s arch nemesis, the Wicked Witch of the West? Wicked is about a land where animals talk, the Tin Man is a victim of domestic violence and a little green skinned Elphaba who grows up to become the infamous witch.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (CD Fic Bradbury)

This masterpiece of fiction weaves together dreams and nightmares, childhood memories and fantasies to create a magical tale about two boys, best friends Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade, who come upon evil secrets.

The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (CD Fic Preston)

An FBI agent wrongly imprisoned; his gifted but mad brother about to commit a crime; a young woman on the edge of a breakdown; an ancient Egyptian tomb with a mysterious curse about to be revealed at a New York gala. A Aloysius Pendergast series book.

Stationary Bike by Stephen King (CD Fic King)

A ordinary household object seems to have otherworldly powers for Richard Sifkitz in this thrilling Stephen King  tale.

Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie (CD Fic Christie)

When a 13 year old boasts that she witnessed a murder at a Halloween party, it falls to Hercule Poirot to unmask a murderer in Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery.



Need something to listen to now? Download e-audiobook and start listening immediately!:

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

The first in the popular Southern Vampire Mysteries and Sookie Stackhouse series and the basis for the HBO show True Blood

Tales of terror by Edgar Allan Poe

With The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cast of Amontillado and more.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

A story of time travel and romance; recently made into a hit TV series.


Other audiobooks to check out:

Saint Odd by Dean Koontz (CD Fic Koontz)

The Magician King by Lev Grossman (CD Fic Grossman)

Cell by Stephen King (CD Fic King)

11/22/63 by Stephen King (CD Fic King)

Revival by Stephen King (CD Fic King)

Selected Shorts. Poe! By Edgar Allan Poe (CD Fic Poe)

The Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman (CD Fic Kellerman)

Posted on Oct. 5, 2017 by Sou Phetsomphou

Staff Picks: Do You Believe in Magic?

There’s magic in the air of the Mechanics’ Institute Library. Wizards and witches are casting their spells on the shelves of the Staff Picks Display. There are some enchanting books waiting to be read by you. Inspired by Harry Potter’s 20th Anniversary, the staff recommendations focus on witches, wizards, alchemy and magic. If you haven’t read the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (the first in the series) start there and then check out the rest.

Taryn recommends:

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
A fascinating Arthurian tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
Another vivid Arthurian tale, this one following the magician Merlin's life story.

Magical Mathematics by Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham (793.8 D536)
Behind every good magic trick there's math - get the theory behind the magic!

Heather says:

I absolutely adore V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series – start with A Darker Shade of Magic and read them in order (#2 A Gathering of Shadows; #3 A Conjuring of Light) – this series is compelling, stylish, and takes a refreshingly laissez-faire approach to gender. Its fluidity is part of its unrelenting charm, even as the world(s) crumble around the central quest of the novel. You might (over)simplify it categorically as the love child of Orlando and The Matrix – it’s far more complex than that though, so please don’t (simplify). However you describe it, it’s one of my favorite recent discoveries. Please enjoy!

The Magicians is the first in a trilogy by Lev Grossman, wherein young Quentin Coldwater attends Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy (in New York, not England). The book attempts to circumvent the comparison to Hogwarts by alluding to a Narnia-esque YA novel that Quentin and his friends are obsessed with, but this is definitely a “Hogwarts College” kind of novel, with a little Chronicles of Narnia thrown in, a hint of A Wrinkle in Time, and a soupcon of His Dark Materials… If that sounds appealing to you, dig in to this series!

Erik recommends:

The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft : eight weird mysteries of powerful women and supernatural skill-- told in words and pictures (741.5 D219)

Lia says:

I LOVE this topic because I read a ton of fantasy books!  Here are some of my favorites featuring witches, wizards, and all that fun stuff:

Uprooted by Naomi Novik - In this Nebula Award winner, a young girl is chosen every 10 years to live with the cold, distant wizard called The Dragon.  Uprooted follows a young girl named Agnieszka, and she's sure that her best friend, Katia, will be chosen by the Dragon.  After all, Katia is the bravest, smartest, most beautiful girl in town.  But when the Dragon comes down from his tower, it's not Katia who he chooses.  In this clever, beautifully written novel Novik plays with traditional fantasy tropes, along with an interesting take on Baba Yaga stories.

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines - Who could resist a book about a magical librarian?  Libriomancer follows the adventures of Isaac Vainio (librarian by day, wizard by night), who creates magic by pulling objects out of books.  In this fast paced urban fantasy, Isaac has to work together with a sword-wielding dryad to find the vampires who've kidnapped Gutenberg (yes, that Gutenberg).  This book is pure fun.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher - Butcher is one of my favorite authors, and I can't get enough of his novels about Harry Dresden, wizard and private investigator.  Working closely with the Chicago P.D., Harry Dresden investigates the oddball cases no one wants to deal with - or believe in.  In this first book of the series, the Chicago P.D. calls him in on a grisly double murder committed with black magic.  Storm Front is a beautiful marriage of urban fantasy and hard-boiled detective novels.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin  - I firmly believe Jemisin is the best fantasy writer alive today.  In The Fifth Season she introduces us to a land called The Stillness, a continent rocked by apocalyptic earthquakes.  The only people who can stop the earthquakes are Orogenes, people born with the ability to control the near daily shakes.  In this Hugo Award winner, Jemisin confronts issues of race, power, and the things people will do to survive. 

Deb recommends:

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (children's)
2017 Newbery Medal Winner
An enchanting book full of magic for those who love classic fairytales.

The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan (children's)
"I love children. Eating them, that is. So begins this funny, nail-biting adventure."

Well Witched by Frances Hardinge (children's)
Ever wonder what happens to all those wishes made with a coin toss into a wishing well? 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (children's)
This classic tale by C.S. Lewis will entice you to read all of the books in The Chronicles of Narnia series.

Kristin recommends:

Alchemy of Herbs –Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal by Rosalee de la Foret (615.321 F718) - Create your own magic in the kitchen and put that extra garlic and ginger you may have on hand at home to good use. This book has easy straight forward recipes that will help cure what ails you.

Posted on Aug. 30, 2017 by Kristin McCarthy

Audio Book Selections: Art & Artists

Did you know that August is National American Artist Appreciation Month?  In the spirit of celebrating art and artists, this month’s audio book selections feature works centered on artists of all kinds, from musical to poetical and works of art.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (CD Fic Tartt)

A bildungsroman focused on Theodore Decker and The Goldfinch, a 1654 painting by Carel Fabritius of a chained goldfinch.

The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro (CD Fic Shapiro)

Artist Claire Roth is asked to forge a Degas painting that was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum over 25 years ago.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (CD Fic Joyce)

In James Joyce’s first novel, Stephen Daedalus transforms into an artist as he grows from boy to man.

Life Studies : stories by Susan Vreeland (CD Fic Vreeland) 

An exploration of the power of art and the people whose lives intertwined with artists such as Monet and Van Gogh.

The Man Called Cash by Steve Turner (CD 780.92 C338tc)

The exclusive authorized biography of Johnny Cash, the iconic music artist whose influence continues in American popular culture today.

Check out the audio book display in the 2nd floor Library!

Posted on Aug. 23, 2017 by Sou Phetsomphou

DVD Selections: Movies That Rock!

Are you ready to take a walk on the wild side? Swing by our  Movies That Rock  DVD and Blu-ray display on the 2nd Floor. Not sure what to check out? Below are some staff recommendations from the display. Turn up your TV and get ready to rock!

Heather recommends:

Spin magazine says it best: "The missing link between punk and riot grrl wasn't a band or even a fleeting subgenre, but an amazing 1982 music-biz satire that was never properly released, seen only on late-night cable, crappy bootlegs, and at art-house revivals." Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains is a feminist sendup of the exploitative, sexist music business via the rise and fall of an all-girl band who embraces the punk ethos: we don't care what you think, and we're gonna do what we want to. Frontwoman Corinne "Third Degree" Burns encapsulates this feminist rebellion from the stage – "I'm perfect, but nobody … gets me because I don't put out." These 80s punk tweens – the actors who play The Stains (Diane Lane, Laura Dern, and Marin Kanter) ranged in age from 13-15 at the time of filming – present a refreshing perspective of the kind of defiant feminism embodied in the riot grrl movement. Some of my favorite musicians during high school – Courtney Love, Tobi Vail from Bikini Kill, Donna A of The Donnas, and virtually every member of L7 – cite this film as influential; members of The Clash and the Sex Pistols appear in supporting roles; this film has a lot of indie cred, but the main reason to watch it is that it's funny, smart, and stylish. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the ride!

Joel recommends:

I’m Not There – For me one of the more memorable and fascinating biographical films ever made, Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan biopic features 6 different actors and actresses playing Dylan and his multiple personas. More than just a gimmick, Todd Haynes assembles these multiple personas to create an intentionally fractured and complex portrayal of the very complicated legend, which somehow feels more true to Dylan and his career than any straightforward portrayal could.

Coffee and CigarettesCoffee and Cigarettes is a collection of short films that Jim Jarmusch made over his career featuring various actors and musicians talking over coffee and cigarettes. Not all of the shorts are winners but it sure is fun to watch these personalities converse over random topics. A few favorites: Tom Waits and Iggy Pop celebrate quitting smoking by smoking a cigarette. Steve Buscemi and Cinqué and Joie Lee (brother and sister of Spike Lee) talk about Elvis’s evil twin. Jack White explains the brilliance of Nikola Tesla to Meg White. RZA and GZA of Wu-Tang warn Bill Murray about the harmful effects of caffeine and tobacco.

Craig recommends:

Hairspray, released in 1988, starring Ricki Lake, and featuring Divine, Mink Stole, Debbie Harry, Jerry Stiller, and Ruth Brown. The film revolves around self-proclaimed "pleasantly plump" teenager Tracy Turnblad, as she pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation. Hairspray is John Waters' second-highest-rated film (behind Multiple Maniacs and is considered 'perhaps John Waters' most accessible film. As such, it's a gently subversive slice of retro hilarity.'  In 2002, the film was adapted into a Broadway musical of the same name, which won Best Musical in 2003. A second film version of Hairspray, an adaptation of the stage musical, was also released in 2007, starring John Travolta, with many changes of scripted items from the original.

Kristin recommends:

The Doors' R-Evolution - Due to Jim Morrison's untimely death The Doors were only around for a short while. This Blu-Ray DVD features rare and seldom seen footage of the band and really showcases their creative style.

Myles recommends:

The Who’s Quadrophenia is a stylish coming of age film, based on The Who’s rock opera by the same name, directed by Franc Roddam. Bleak mid-sixties Brighton becomes the epicenter of two motorbike riding youth subcultures: the mods and rockers who clash in this grey seaside town. Unlike The Who’s previous rock opera adaptation of Tommy, Quadrophenia doesn't look psychedelic. Instead it appears gritty and true to life.

I Am Divine - Divine’s performances in John Water films like Pink Flamingos and Hairspray may overshadow her disco music career. I still hear “You Think You’re a Man” and “I’m So Beautiful” in clubs today. This comprehensive, biographical film takes you through every stage of the cult icon's life, from a young boy named Harris to the Divine we remember today.

Rhonda recommends: Cadillac Records

Posted on Aug. 11, 2017 by Myles Cooper

Audio Book Selections: The American Story

In grade school history lessons, the United States is often described as a melting pot of people, cultures and religions from all around the world. In July, we celebrate the birth of our country and Independence Day.  In the July 4th issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, more than 15,000 people were said to be sworn in to become new U.S. citizens in naturalization ceremonies around the country. Inspired by the snippets of the backgrounds of these people, such as a Pakistani pharmacist and Iranian software engineer, this month’s audiobook selections feature the stories of Americans, past and present. From ordinary people to soldiers, these stories show there is no one American experience and the rich diversity of all of our people.

American Pastoral  by Philip Roth (CD Fic Roth)

Seymour ‘Swede’ Levov, a Jewish American businessman, and his perfect American middle class life is turned upside down in the political and social turmoil of Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency and the 1960s. A Pulitzer Prize winner and made into film in late 2016.

Freedom  by Jonathan Franzen (CD Fic Franzen)

The idyllic lives of civic-minded environmentalists Patty and Walter Berglund of St. Paul, Minnesota come into question when their son moves in with aggressive Republican neighbors, green lawyer Walter takes a job in the coal industry, and go-getter Patty becomes increasingly unstable and enraged. A window into American life and family dynamics in the 1980s to early 2000s.

The Red Badge of Courage  by Stephen Crane (CD Fic Crane)

A classic novel set during the American Civil War about Henry Fleming, a Union Army soldier who runs from battle and his subsequent shame and desire to redeem himself.

Also available as an e-audiobook.

Brooklyn  by Colm Tóibín (CD Fic Tóibín)

Eilis Lacey finds herself reluctantly starting a new life in 1950s Brooklyn after she is given the chance to emigrate from Enniscorthy, Ireland by her family priest but later finds herself called back to Ireland due to a family tragedy. Made into a feature film in 2015.

On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry (CD Fic Barry)

Through journal entries, 89-year-old Lilly Bere narrates her story of fleeing from Ireland with her son to start a new life in America. She lives through the losses of loved ones, the civil rights movement, the Kennedy assastination, and the Vietnam war to the Gulf War while holding onto hope. Third in Sebastian Barry’s novels of the Dunne family.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (CD Fic Whitehead)

The story opens with the capture of Ajarry, grandmother to Cora, and follows Cora from her life on a Georgia plantation to her escape through the Underground Railroad. In her pre-Civil War journey from South to North, she must outrun Ridgeway, a slave catcher, and encounters cruelty from whites, other slaves and freedmen. Winner of the 2016 National Book Award and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (CD Fic Saunders)

Inspired by the story of President Lincoln and his grief over the death of his son Willie, George Saunders takes artistic license to craft a story about the after-life of Willie Lincoln and his experience in the Bardo, the Tibetan name for the state of existence between death and the next life.

Posted on Jul. 18, 2017 by Sou Phetsomphou

DVD Selections: On Broadway


Does the price of Hamilton tickets give you sticker shock? Mechanics’ holds a collection of film adaptations of plays and musicals that members can check out for free. Stop by the DVD and Blu-ray display on the 2nd Floor, and enjoy these titles from the comfort of your home.

Heather says:

It seems like a natural progression when plays are translated into films, allowing everyone to enjoy the biggest hits on Broadway with a ten dollar ticket and a bucket of popcorn. (I hear rumors of a Hamilton adaptation!). But lately, it seems like there's a trend in the opposite direction – from the big screen to the stage. It's always interesting to see plays that were adapted from film, especially if you compare and contrast with the film version, either before or after seeing it onstage. My SHN subscription this season included Finding Neverland, and next season I'll be seeing Waitress and School of Rock. Looking East to Broadway, there's also Mean GirlsA Bronx TaleGroundhog Day, and Amelie.

Myles’ recommends:

Torch Song Trilogy – Harvey Fierstein plays a famous drag queen who deals with loss, a turbulent relationship with his mother, finding love and raising an adopted teenager. This film version is a condensed two-hour version of Fierstein’s four-hour play, which won two Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Actor in Play.  If you’re in the mood to cry one minute, and laugh the next, check out this classic LGBT drama.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf – Edward Albee recently passed away in 2016, leaving behind a career that spanned over fifty years. I’ll never forget sitting behind him during a performance of The Lady from Dubuque. Albee’s best known play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, was adapted for the silver screen in 1966 with an all-star cast featuring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis. The library also holds Albee’s A Delicate Balance.

Uncommon Women and Others - This screen adaptation of the Off-Broadway play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award Winning feminist playwright Wendy Wasserstein, was funded through PBS and stars Meryl Streep, Swoosie Kurtz, and Jill Eikenberry. The play examines three former classmates as they rehash their college years over lunch.

Bobbie recommends:

Bullets over Broadway,  Rent,   Billy ElliotCabaretHairspray (2007),   Moulin Rouge (1952), and   Black Swan.

Posted on Jun. 12, 2017 by Myles Cooper

Audio Book Selections: Asian Pacific Heritage Month

In celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, this May’s audio book selections feature works by authors with roots from countries all over Asia.

Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch by Dai Sijie (CD Fic Dai)

Dai Sijie, a Chinese-French author, tells the tale of inept psychology scholar Mr. Muo who returns to China after studying in France for 11 years to search for his lost sweetheart. Originally titled Le Complexe de Di, a play on the "le complexe d'Oedipe" or the complex of Oedipus, this novel was translated from French and is the second novel written by Sijie after Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami (CD Fic Murakami)

Bestselling Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s 13th book follows Tsukuru Tazaki as he searches for his best friends from high school and the answer to why they suddenly cut ties with him 16 years ago. 

Sea of poppies by Amitav Ghosh (CD Fic Ghosh)

Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh takes us aboard the ship Ibis which transports a penniless Raja, a widowed tribeswoman, a mulatto American man and a French orphan from the Ganges to Canton in this nineteenth century saga set during the time of the Opium Wars.

Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie (CD Fic Rushdie)

British Indian Salman Rushdie sets his novel against the backdrop of the political unrest of the beautiful Kashmir region, bordering Pakistan and India, and the people whose lives are affected by the unrest.  The story of Shalimar, once known as Shalimar the clown, and simple Kashmiri villager turned assassin, Maximillian, American ambassador to India and lover of Shalimar’s fiancé, Boonyi, and his illegitimate daughter, India, spans decades and continents.

The kite runner by Khaled Hosseini (CD Fic Hosseini) 

The Kite Runner, Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini’s first novel, spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list and follows Amir and Hassan from their childhood as friends in Kabul, Afghanistan to twenty six years later. Though they eventually go separate ways, their lives remain entangled and meet again in this tale of redemption and the relationship between fathers and sons.

Never let me go: a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (CD Fic Ishiguro) 

In Never Let Me Go, Japanese British author Kazuo Ishiguro writes of a school in England named Hailsham with special students. This dystopian science fiction novel is a parable of morality and man’s greed for immortality.


Posted on May. 17, 2017 by Sou Phetsomphou

Audio Book Selections: National Poetry Month

This month, National Poetry Month, we celebrate poets and their work. Some might say that this craft is more difficult than longer forms of writing, such as novels and essays, because poetry usually has a shorter format and cadence.  The audio book selections for this month, which are displayed in the 2nd floor Library, feature well known poets whose work is music to the ears.

The Voices of Love   (CD 808.81 V889)

This collection of poems about love and the range of emotions it inspires--longing, despair, joy—are performed by ten actors and include timeless works from poets such as Robert Burns, John Keats and E.E. Cummings.

From Shakespeare with Love   (CD 821.3 S527)

The Bard of Avon, as Shakespeare was often styled, was the author of some of the most well known love poetry ever written. This collection includes 80 of his best sonnets and is performed by top actors, with David Tennant (of British TV series Doctor Who) leading.

A  Midsummer Night’s Dream   (CD 822 S521mia)

One of Shakespeare’s lighter plays, this lively comedy about four lovers’ romp in a midsummer wood and the ensuing chaos brought by meddling fairies is brought to life in this fully dramatized performance. “The course of true love never did run smooth.”

Poetry for the Beat Generation   (CD 818 K39 v.1)

Jack Kerouac performs to Steve Allen’s piano accompaniment in this album originally released in 1959.

The Voice of the Poet: Adrienne Rich   (CD 811 R498c)

Adrienne Rich’s work was first published in the 1950’s but the subject matter--politics, identity, feminism—remains relevant to this day. Read by Adrienne Rich herself and accompanied with a text.

The Voice of the Poet: Langston Hughes   (CD 811 H889vc)

Langston Hughes’ work spanned a wide range, from fiction to plays to essays, but his poetry is what he is most well known for.  Read by Langston Hughes himself and accompanied with a text.

The Caedmon poetry collection   (CD 808.81 C12)

Featuring 35 authors, this collection of poems are read by the authors themselves with rare recordings by William Butler Yeats.

Posted on Apr. 17, 2017 by Sou Phetsomphou