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Staff Picks/DVD Selections

Cozy Cold Weather Reads - AudioBook Selections

This December, whether you’re hiding out at home from the crowds and the cold, driving to see family, wrapping presents, or baking cookies, it’s likely your hands will be too busy to leaf through books. This month’s audiobook selections of cozy mysteries and Christmas tales will keep you company as you go about your tasks.

The Christmas Train  by David Baldacci

Journalist Tom Langdon, a weary and cash-strapped journalist, is forced to take the train to Los Angeles to be with his girlfriend for Christmas after he is banned from flying. In this funny and uplifting story, through encounters with a ridiculous cast of characters, romance, and an avalanche, Tom will learn what truly makes the holidays special.

Skipping Christmas  by John Grisham

In this book that inspired the Tim Allen movie Christmas with the Kranks, Luther and Nora Krank decide to skip Christmas this year in lieu of a Christmas cruise. Grisham’s hilarious and insightful depiction of holiday chaos and modern A Christmas Carol will delight listeners looking for a light story.

A Christmas Carol  by Charles Dickens

In this classic Christmas story published in 1843, Charles Dickens writes of a miser who learns the true meaning of Christmas when three ghostly visitors open his eyes to his past and foretells a grim future, thereby giving him a chance at redemption.  While you may be familiar with A Christmas Carol, listen to the story in its entirety in this unabridged version performed by veteran narrator Frank Muller who brings each character to life with distinct voices and nuanced delivery.

Eleven Pipers Piping  by C. C. Benison

Father Tom Christmas, a recently widowed vicar, would do almost anything to avoid attending an annual supper at a local hotel. But as chaplain to a traditional Scottish pipe band he must deliver the grace. The revelry carries on in the hotel until its owner-and piper, Will Moir, goes missing-only to be found dead in the hotel's tower apparently from a heart attack. Who would benefit the most from the piper's death? Father Tom investigates

Blood from a Stone  by Donna Leon

On a cold Venetian night shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses to the event are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares before his death. The dead man is one of the many African immigrants purveying goods outside normal shop hours and trading without a work permit. Like everybody involved, Commissario Brunetti wonders why anyone would kill an illegal immigrant.

How the Light Gets In: a Chief Inspector Gamache novel  by Louise Penny

Christmas is approaching, and in Quebec it's a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn't spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him. 

Posted on Dec. 1, 2016 by Sou Phetsomphou

DVD Selections: They Take Place in Space


Want a break from Earth? Need a cosmic perspective? Swing by the 2nd floor DVD Display for titles that will take you out of this world.

Taryn recommends:

Lost in Space
Watch the classic on Hulu and then check out this contemporary spin - fear not, the cardboard sets are gone!

An astronomer (after looking futilely on earth for decades) searches for extraterrestrial intelligent life.

Barbarella, an astronaut, lands on the frozen planet Lythion (wearing very little) and sets out to find the renowned/sex crazed scientist Durand Durand who is unrelated to the English new wave/synthpop band. If you need more cheese in your life this will surely satisfy!

Matt recommends:

Alien, Aliens, The Empire Strikes Back and 2001: A Space Odyssey.


Deb recommends:

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
“Let's face it, we never knew the term "hyperspace" existed until Han Solo put the Millennium Falcon into that mode in Episode IV: A New Hope.”

Diane recommends:

Apollo 13
“Ever since I discovered that one of my husband and my closest friends was on the team at Mission Control in Houston who had to figure out how to safely bring back the Apollo 13 spacecraft and astronauts, I have loved the movie Apollo 13! His stories about that mission were pretty faithfully portrayed in the movie.”

And, the newer Star Trek movies with Chris Pine: Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek: Into the Darkness
“they are always great for a fun Saturday afternoon matinee!”

Lia recommends:

Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home
"After reuniting with Spock, the crew of the Enterprise receives a distress call from Earth, prompting a journey back in time to 1980s San Francisco. Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home combines Star Trek's brand of cerebral science fiction with fish-out-of-water humor.  With a plot that stands out on its own from its predecessors, this is one Star Trek movie that's fun to watch over and over again."

Guardians of the Galaxy
"After stealing an orb for a mysterious buyer, Peter Quill (the legendary StarLord) finds himself running from the law, the assassin Gamora, and bounty hunters Rocket and Groot.  But when they discover the orb could be the key to the destruction of a planet, the four of them put aside their differences to team up and save the galaxy.  Simultaneously funny and touching, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is a visually stunning journey through the multiverse."

Myles recommends:

A Brief History of Time - looks at Steven Hawking's work into the origin and fate of the universe. Colleagues and loved ones recount Hawking's struggles and triumphs through adversity in this documentary directed by Errol Morris (Gates of Heaven, Thin Blue Line), featuring music by Phillip Glass. Check out Hawking’s book by the same title, A Brief History of Time, for further mind bending.

If "camp" is your thing, watch the unnecessary drama unfold as Bellus (a fictional planet) collides with Earth in When Worlds Collide (1951). Only a chosen few will board a spaceship to Zyra, a moon of Bellus, before the disastrous collision. Zyra's set design is worth the watch until the end- if you can laugh (and stomach) your way through the acting.

In Gravity, Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, faces uncharted obstacles while in Earth’s orbit. This science-fi suspense movie soon turns into a tearjerker about motherhood. Don't let the title fool you; incredible special effects make the viewer feel weightless. If you need a good cry, check out Gravity.

Posted on Nov. 21, 2016 by Myles Cooper

Honoring our Veterans - Audiobook Selections

This November 11th marks the 78th Veterans Day since 1938.  November 11, 1918 is regarded as the end of World War I and in 1919 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it Armistice Day and would “be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.” In 1938, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day by President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclamation and commemorates those who served our country.

November’s audiobook selection features not only stories of veterans, but also unsung heroes, the family and friends of veterans and others affected by war.

Deb suggests:

Unbroken : a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand; CD 940.5472 Z26c

Louie Zamperini’s story of survival and resilience and his journey from a juvenile delinquent to Olympic runner to Army hero is set during World War II and is “[a]mbitious and powerful . . . a startling narrative and an inspirational book.”—The New York Times Book Review

Mayflower : a story of courage, community, and war by Nathaniel Philbrick;  CD 973.2 P545c

The romantic story of the Pilgrim settlement of New England is upended in this recounting by Philbrick.  A story of survival, courage, and grim reality, Mayflower will shed light on the true history of America’s first settlers.

Taryn says:

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Welles; CD Fic Wells

This story should definitely be heard rather than read. Originally the "audio" version was directed and narrated by Welles - airing on Halloween. It became famous for allegedly causing mass panic, although the reality of the panic is disputed as the program had relatively few listeners!

Liar, temptress, soldier, spy : four women undercover in the Civil War  by Karen Abbott; CD 973.785 A132

A sizzling narrative about four ladies who defied gender norms and did their duty for home and country.

Further picks:

The cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway; CD Fic Galloway

This novel about war, how precious the insignificant daily rituals can be, and the enduring human spirit is inspired by cellist Vedran Smailovic who played for 22 days in Sarajevo, Bosnia in 1992.

Home: a novel  by Toni Morrison; CD Fic Morrison

Korean War vet Frank Money returns home to 1950s Lotus, Georgia to save his younger sister Cee. Haunted by memories of war and struggling with alcohol dependency, Frank returns with Cee to their hometown to begin their path to healing. Read by the author.


Posted on Nov. 3, 2016 by Sou Phetsomphou

DVD Selections: Women in Comedy

This month’s display pays homage to the funny women of film and television. Take a look back with selections from our collection that highlight women writers and actors who make us giggle. 

Craig says:

The Library holds three comedies in DVD format with Rosalind Russell in a leading role. The films include: Auntie Mame where she plays an exuberant and flamboyant woman who hosts frequent parties with eclectic, bohemian guests ; Gypsy where she plays the stage mother from hell who prods and pushes her daughters into a vaudeville career ; and The Women, a brilliantly written, classic comedy about a happily married woman who lets her catty friends talk her into divorce when her husband strays. The star-studded cast consists entirely of women.

Taryn recommends:

Broadcast News - Maybe, actually a drama but it features Holly Hunter who has proved herself to be an actress of almost unparalleled range. Her career has had her play characters that are funny, feisty and even mute!

A Damsel in Distress - With a screenplay by PG Wodehouse and the hilarious Gracie Allen, it's hard to go wrong with this vintage film.


Myles recommends:

A hilarious BBC series about the fictional sleepy village of Dibley, Oxfordshire  brightened by their first female vicar, played by Dawn French in The Vicar of Dibley.  The show, created after the Church of England’s decision to ordain women, portrays an in-charge, warm hearted, crudely honest vicar. The culture clash results are a comedy of equal parts sweet and silly.

Based on sketch comedy originally created by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, the two outrageous middle aged women, who won’t let anything get in the way of their selfish and hedonistic desires, are seen in sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. I can’t get enough of their unquenchable thirst for ridiculous fashions and the side-splitting role reversals between mother Edina Monsoon (played by Saunders) and daughter Saffron (played by Julia Sawalha).  If you like Ab Fab, be sure to check out the antics Patsy and Edina are up to in their 60s in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie in theatres now.

Posted on Sep. 27, 2016 by Myles Cooper

DVD Selections: Summer Blockbusters

Summer is here! Days are longer and family and friends come together to beat-the-heat in the movie theaters. A Summer film becomes a blockbuster when it reaches such wide appeal that it becomes a must-watch cultural event. Below are a few Summer Blockbuster staff picks. Stop by the second floor display to revisit Summer memories, or catch up on big Hollywood films.

Taryn says "I’m a sucker for all things Marvel, from the Agents of SHIELD and Daredevil TV shows, to basically every Avengers-related film Joss Whedon has orchestrated. I may have a small crush on the Incredible Hulk, whether played by Edward Norton or Mark Ruffalo, but my favorite of the superheroes currently on the Avengers cinematic roster is Captain America. I even own a set of Captain America: Civil War glassware designed by Mondo – if you remember this fact, you’ll win at MI Librarian Trivia Night, for sure! Captain America the Winter Soldier sets up a lot of what’s to come in the Marvel cinematic universe, so even if you think you don’t like Cap’ because he’s just too apple pie, you should check this film out, make a big bowl of popcorn, and enjoy!"

Craig recommends A Summer Place which is based on the novel of the same name, written by Sloan Wilson and in the Library collection. This 1959 romantic drama film is about teenage lovers from different social classes who get back together twenty years later, and must deal with the passionate love affair of their own teenage children by previous marriages. The movie stars Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee as the children. This melodrama caused a stir in the late '50s for its racy look at marital infidelity and forbidden teenage love.

Deb and Myles recommend Jaws. A Steven Spielberg film based on a novel by Peter Benchley, Jaws was the highest grossing film of all time previous to Star Wars. Starring Roy Scheider as a heroic police chief, Richard Dreyfuss as a levelheaded oceanographer, and Robert Shaw as a swashbuckling shark-hunter. Jaws is the tale of a giant great-white that attacks humans off the coast of a small New England town. The score, composed by John Williams, famous for the  “duh nuh” sound on cellos, won an Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score. Was Jaws a thriller or a horror movie? Was Jaws 'man vs. nature' or just another monster movie? Watch again and ask yourself, why is Jaws so scary?

Myles recommends Alien 3Alien was the summer blockbuster that allowed for the lucrative Alien franchise still active today. While Alien 3 did not get the critical acclaim of the original science-fiction thriller, I happen to like it the most. In Alien 3 Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, is an outcast who finds herself trapped in a penal colony battling an alien without the firepower and teamwork of the previous Alien films. It features unforgettable scenes like Weaver shaving her head, and Weaver birthing an alien out of her chest. Look out for Alien: Covenant in theatres in 2017.

Posted on Jul. 28, 2016 by Myles Cooper

Staff Picks: SF Literary Scene

One of the greatest things about living in the San Francisco Bay Area is its literary scene.  There are a number of independent bookstores, used bookstores, public libraries and, of course, the best membership library around, the Mechanics’ Institute.  Also, many wordsmiths call San Francisco and its expanse home.  As a way to honor and thank those authors who do live in the Bay Area, the current Staff Picks display will feature their works. A short list of selected authors can be found on top of the display bookcase. For more titles and authors please see one of our friendly and knowledgeable librarians.

Titles suggested by staff members  include:

Heather’s pick,

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
This genre-bending tale will make you laugh, will make you marvel, and will make you think. It starts off as a fantasy novel with young protagonists (think, Lev Grossman's Magicians series without the excessive exposition), but it then shifts sharply -- here's the bending of genre I mentioned -- into the characters' future, in which a billionaire is plotting to send 10% of Earth's inhabitants to space...

...but I don't want to give away too much of the plot! Trust me, this book is not your run of the mill [insert-genre-here] story -- it's wry, it's complex and original, with great dialogue and a charming cast of characters. One reviewer compared the book to something William Gibson might write, but I enjoyed this more than anything I've read by Gibson. Check it out, and you may come away with another favorite author. Charlie Jane Anders is definitely a mainstay on my must-read list!

Taryn’s picks,

As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel by Rudy Rucker
Rudy Rucker is a writer/mathematician who is a computer scientist and master of science-fiction who received the Philip K. Dick Award twice. What's he doing writing an historical novel? You'll just have to find out!

Mary : a novel by Janis Cooke Newman
A juicy portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln - a woman hungry for love, shopping, and a little understanding. Very much "fictionalized" but still fun!

Richard Brautigan's Trout fishing in America, The pill versus the Springhill mine disaster, and In watermelon sugar
Mind blowing - try it!

Erik picks two works by Gene Luen Yang. A graphic novelist from Oakland: Boxers and Saints.

Kristin’s pick, Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond. A foggy beach, a lost child, life changing in an instant, all are major factors in this enthralling story from Michelle Richmond.

Sou’s pick is Epitaph for a Peach by David Mas Masumoto. She loved every page of this book!

Posted on May. 23, 2016 by Kristin McCarthy

DVD Selections: Heads of State

With the US presidential election nearing, what better time to showcase titles in our collection that highlight the stories surrounding world leaders from history and the present day? Stop by the DVD display on the 2nd floor to check out selections ranging from made-for-television political thrillers, documentaries, dramatic retellings of hoary kings and queens, fiction based on current affairs and even some comedies.

Heather recommends: The Roosevelts (PBS)

In the trademark Ken Burns style -- 14 hours! -- we follow the interwoven history of the Roosevelts: Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor. These three changed how we view government's role, both at home and abroad -- from Teddy's creation of the National Parks, to Franklin's New Deal programs and Eleanor's tireless work in support of civil rights at home and human rights abroad. This is a fascinating look at their lives. This documentary will give you hope that politics can go hand in hand with a focus on upholding constitutional rights for the people/by the people and a pragmatic, cooperative approach to solving our collective problems.

Heather and Taryn both recommend:  House of Cards (BBC)

“Before the anti-heroic power-couple portrayed by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, BAFTA-winning Ian Richardson portrayed Francis Urquhart in this BBC trilogy adapting the Michael Dobbs thriller. You'll recognize the plot from Fincher's adaptation for Netflix, but the BBC version is set after Margaret Thatcher's resignation, with the ruling Conservative Party in Great Britain on the verge of electing a new leader. Backstabbing, manipulation of the press, murder -- it's a dystopian West Wing that'll make you question the motives of every politico, as well as the many hands moving from deep pockets into the politics game.” - Heather

“Set in Britain, the original "House of Cards" features the wiles of the terrifying Prime Minister played by the truly scary Ian Richardson.” – Taryn

Taryn also recommends: The King's Speech

Colin Firth is brilliant!

Myles recommends: Elizabeth

This film is a pictorially lush and modern retelling of the early reign of Queen Elizabeth I starring Cate Blanchett. The daughter of King Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn, Elizabeth, who was imprisoned for allegedly plotting to kill Mary, is crowned Queen of England at 23 after Bloody Mary’s death. Elizabeth fights against the patriarchy and announces herself the “Virgin Queen”. Written by Michael Hirst and directed by Shekhar Kapur, in 1998 it won the BAFTA Award for Best British Film.

And The Last Emperor

Think that Princess Charlotte and Prince George are cute? Watch the story of Puyi, the last Emperor of China, who takes the throne at only 3 years old! Breathtaking shots within the Forbidden City, this biographical film follows the life of Puyi through times of political upheaval. Non-linear storytelling make for an artful contrast between Soviet imprisonment and the life of a young emperor. The international hit, directed by Italian Bernardo Bertolucci, won nine Academy Awards including Best Picture.  

Posted on Apr. 27, 2016 by Myles Cooper

DVD Selections: Sundance Film Festival Winners

The annual Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City, Ogden and Salt Lake City, Utah. The Sundance Institute was founded by Robert Redford to “foster independence, risk-taking, and new voices in American film.” Sundance provides grants, mentorship and an audience for emerging film-makers. This month, the founder is celebrated along with award winning films from the festival. Take a break from big budget Hollywood, and visit our DVD Display on the 2nd floor.

Deb recommends Three Days of the Condor.

This suspense film is about a bookish researcher (codename Condor) in an agency fronting for the CIA (unknown to him). He is caught up in a story of intrigue when he returns from lunch and finds all his coworkers murdered. Condor goes on the run to try to figure out what happened.  A real nail biter.

Heather recommends: WhiplashFruitvale StationWinter's BoneThe September Issue and Brick.

Brick is one of those films I can't get out of my head even though I only saw it once in the theater, almost a decade ago. It's a hard-boiled detective film set in a suburban high school with fantastic acting performances (vintage Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and a perfectly rendered mood -- it's the best kind of noir, with fast-talking dames, corruption, and plenty of witty repartee surrounding the murder at its center. This film won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Festival. Worth a watch, especially for fans of Dashiell Hammett.

Taryn recommends:  Run, Lola, Run - A breathless but stunning take on time and space. It will leave you gasping!

And The Station Agent - The amazing Peter Dinklage stars in this heartwarming story of friendship.

Kevin recommends Quinceañera and Sex, Lies and Videotape.

Myles recommends: Capturing the Friedmans – Using home movies and interviews, this documentary profiles a family entangled in a child sexual abuse trial. What makes this film so unique is how much video footage the brothers captured before and during the trial. It is hard not to look away when this seemingly normal family starts to unravel.  A winner of Grand Jury Prize Documentary in 2003, this is a must see for fans of either documentary filmmaking or true crime.  

And Paris is Burning – An inspiring and heartbreaking look back at early days of competitive New York City ball culture. This film was shot throughout the 1980s and won Grand Jury Prize Documentary in 1991. It is worth the watch just to see performances by the late godfather of vogue, Willi Ninja.

Posted on Jan. 13, 2016 by Myles Cooper

DVD Selections: Mystery


As days become shorter, opportunities to cozy up at home with selections from our DVD collection become enticing. Retreat with mystery selections including crime, caper, suspense, whodunits and more. Below are a few staff picks from our wide assortment of Mystery Fiction. Visit the 2nd Floor DVD display and enjoy at home.

Myles recommends Poirot - An eccentric Belgian policeman turned famous London private detective, Hercule Poirot, solves crime puzzles with self assurance and subtle humor. This series, based on Agatha Christie’s crime novels and short stories, starring David Suchet, wraps each mystery into neat and tidy episodes with interesting solutions. Watch consecutively or out of order, enjoy this cozy series with period Art Deco costumes and sets.

Heather recommends Vertigo – “I recently saw Vertigo for the first time at the Castro Theater. Eminently creepy from beginning to end, deceptions wrapped in deceptions, not a single character of pristine morals in the cast -- this film keeps you guessing until almost the very end. Afterward, my viewing partner and I spent *literal hours* discussing the intricacies of story, visual language, and camera work in this film. Hitchock is always a masterful filmmaker, but Vertigo may just be his master work.”

Taryn recommends Match Point - Loosely based on the novel American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, watch what happens when a man on the make will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Also, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold - Richard Burton and John LeCarre, what's not to like? And, High and Low – “Another Kurosawa and Mifune masterpiece!”.

Sarah recommends Rear Window, Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice and the “awesome” Wild at Heart.

Posted on Oct. 20, 2015 by Myles Cooper

Staff Picks: Artists & Architects


As the Fall Arts Season begins in the Bay Area, the staff at the Mechanics' Institute shares with its members their favorite books on Artists and Architects. If you can’t make it out to your favorite museum this fall or are looking to learn more about your favorite artists, check out the September Staff Picks display.

Kevin recommends The Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art (704.042 G935)

The Guerilla Girls are a group of artist activists who rethink art history from a feminist perspective. They present their message with intelligence, wit, and guerrilla masks!

Craig recommends The Andy Warhol Diaries edited by Pat Hackett (92 W275)

Published in the late 1980s just after Warhol’s unexpected death, this hefty work is over 800 pages long. It’s a fascinating look inside the head of the somewhat mysterious personality. This book is a veritable who’s who (and where) of the 1980s. For example, Warhol comments on Bianca and Mick Jagger’s ugly split, Truman Capote’s passing, crushes on rock stars, celebrity parties, and catty remarks about friends and foes, all observed and written about with Warhol’s trademark deadpan charm.


Heather recommends Shocking Paris: Soutine, Chagall and the Outsiders of Montparnasse by Stanley Meisler (759.4 M515)

You may know something about the School of Paris, a group of painters and sculptors-including greats such as Modigliani and Chagall-who emigrated between the two World Wars and dominated the Montparnasse art scene. But have you heard of Chaim Soutine? Many School of Paris painters considered him to be their most talented contemporary. Soutine was intense, the archetypal tortured artist, and this shows in his demented landscapes, which first captured my attention during a visit to Musee de L’Orangerie in Paris. This book explores the short, tumultuous life of one of the most quietly influential artists of the Twentieth Century. You can see one of his paintings closer to home at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (The Russian, Portrait of Woman), or ask a librarian to help you find images of my favorite landscapes, “Arbre Couche”, online.

Taryn recommends Julia Morgan: Architect of Beauty by Mark A. Wilson (720.92 M84w)

In this gorgeously illustrated book you’ll learn so much about the talented lady who recently won AIA’s Gold Medal for excellence.

and Bernard Maybeck: Architect of Elegance by Mark A. Wilson (720.92 M46wi)

This author, who is a regular speaker at The Mechanics’ Institute hits a home run with this beautiful volume.

and Enamored with Place: As Woman and As Architect by Wendy Bertrand (720.92 B551)

Written by a Mechanics Institute member, this is a good read, memoir, travel, architecture and interesting relationships all in one book!

Diane recommends, for the fiction readers, Loving Frank by Nancy Horan and The Women by T.C. Boyle.

Frank Lloyd Wright was an architect of renown, who built houses of enduring beauty and style –many of which I have toured and loved. However, he was also a man who was selfish, egotistical, and a womanizer. The novels, Loving Frank and The Women explore Wright’s fascinating personal life through the women who loved him.

and Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

Louis Comfort Tiffany designed and created beautiful stained glass creations (windows, lamps, etc.) that were first featured at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Unknown until the late 20th Century, Clara Driscoll was the actual designer behind many of the iconic Tiffany lampshade designs including the Daffodil and Dragonfly designs. Clara and Mr.Tiffany relates Clara’s story and her relationship with Mr. Tiffany in the early 1900’s as a valuable, but dispensable (because she was a woman), artist in the Tiffany workshop.

Kristin also recommends for the fiction readers The Great Man by Kate Christensen

This book focuses on the mostly female survivors of a fictional New York painter whose art and life were built around dominating women. In different ways, all of these women come to terms with what the painter turned their lives into. It’s a bittersweet read.

and The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

An unusual and interesting historical novel based on the creation of what is considered to be one of the finest medieval tapestries of the same name (Lady and the Unicorn). Tracy Chevalier gives her readers a sense of place and insight into the complex world of tapestry weaving.

Posted on Sep. 14, 2015 by Kristin McCarthy