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Readers' Nook

Readers Nook

by
Diane Lai

If your favorites tend to be from the non-fiction genres, you might enjoy one of the staff picks below.

Rhonda (Library Assistant) recommends:

Wheat Belly (2011) by William Davis, M.D. 

“In this #1 New York Times bestseller, a renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems."

Every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, more than half experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges that preventive cardiologist William Davis calls "wheat bellies." According to Davis, that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter: it's due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.” ~from Publisher Marketing

Deb (Library Director) recommends:

BART: the dramatic history of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (2016) by Michael C. Healy 

After reading this book, I will never take BART for granted again. The effort over decades to bring BART to fruition and the ongoing expansion today are truly a feat of vision and perseverance that has impacted public transit both nationally and internationally.

Craig (Librarian, Collections Manager):

One 'pandemic favorite' that I enjoyed reading is entitled Ninety-nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret (2017) by Craig Brown (print & e-book formats available). Before reading the book, I had heard that she could be quite an enigmatic character, especially given her high-handed manner, how rude and demanding she was, and her colorful life in high society.  At the same time, you have to feel sorry for her life of dashed hopes. Find out how she 'iced out' Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Reading about her misbehavior and, at the same time, her unhappiness was hard-to-put-down.

“We read to know we're not alone.”

― William Nicholson, Shadowlands

If your favorites tend to be from the non-fiction genres, you might enjoy one of the staff picks below.

Rhonda (Library Assistant) recommends:

Wheat Belly (2011) by William Davis, M.D. 

“In this #1 New York Times bestseller, a renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems."

Every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, more than half experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges that preventive cardiologist William Davis calls "wheat bellies." According to Davis, that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter: it's due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.” ~from...

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by
Autumn Stephens

What book(s) can’t you get out of your mind? That’s the question we asked library staff this month. Their responses, ranging from 19th-century classics to a 2019 burial guide,

may inspire you to revisit your own top titles or make the acquaintance of theirs.

Rhonda Hall (Library Assistant):

Passing by Nella Larsen (1929); available as an eAudiobook

This novel about two women living in Harlem in the 1920s is based on the real lives of many mixed-race women in the post-slavery era. It could almost be the story of my grandmother, who could pass as white and move between worlds during segregation. Another memorable book is No Name in the Street by James Baldwin (1972). Baldwin's experiences in the 1950s and ’60s resemble those of my parents as a young couple navigating life during the civil rights movement.

Steven Dunlap (Head of Technical Services):

Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1851); available as an eAudiobook

I started to read this as I was about to turn 40. It took me over a year and a half to finish, because I found some chapters and passages so breathtakingly beautiful that I had to read them several times. When I stumbled into the ER one day, this was the book I had on my person and therefore what I read in the hospital while recovering from surgery. When I told a colleague about my difficulty making my way through the novel while on a morphine drip, he pointed out that Moby Dick is a morphine drip in its way. I can think of no more apt description of the novel and my experience reading it.

Deb Hunt (Library Director):

Everything in its Place: First Loves and Last Tales by Oliver Sacks (2019)

This final volume of essays by the well-known neurologist covers everything from Alzheimer’s disease to a fern-seeking expedition in New York City to touring North America with someone with Tourette’s.

My favorite essays here focus on nature and mental illness. In one, Sacks describes how mental health institutions used to offer valuable work for the mentally ill—farming, milking cows, etc.—so their lives had a purpose and they were not just locked away. And I really like the essay “Why We Need Gardens.” Over the years, my own gardens have kept me sane and provided a safe haven when life felt very stressful.

Reimagining Death: Stories and Practical Wisdom for Home Funerals and Green Burials by Lucinda Herring (2019)

I had been considering cremation, but it is toxic to the environment, so I am looking at alternatives such as a green burial. This is a great follow up to the classic American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford.

Celeste Steward (Library Supervisor):

Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon (1982)

This is the autobiographical account of an unemployed English professor, newly separated from his wife, who travels only on back roads as he embarks on a circular journey around the U.S.

The author coined the term “blue highways” based on old Rand McNally atlases indicating in blue the small, forgotten, and rural roads. What appeals to me most about these roads less traveled is the cast of characters he meets on his journey, including a teenage runaway, a Hopi medical student, an evangelist hitchhiker, a monk, a maple syrup farmer, a boat builder, a Nevada prostitute, and owners of Western saloons and remote country stores.

Heat-Moon’s contemplative and mindful journey helped shape my own philosophy when traveling. In general, I try to explore the routes less traveled for the most inspirational and educational experiences.

What book(s) can’t you get out of your mind? That’s the question we asked library staff this month. Their responses, ranging from 19th-century classics to a 2019 burial guide,

may inspire you to revisit your own top titles or make the acquaintance of theirs.

Rhonda Hall (Library Assistant):

Passing by Nella Larsen (1929); available as an eAudiobook

This novel about two women living in Harlem in the 1920s is based on the real lives of many mixed-race women in the post-slavery era. It could almost be the story of my grandmother, who could pass as white and move between worlds during segregation. Another memorable book is No Name in the Street by James Baldwin (1972). Baldwin's experiences in the 1950s and ’60s resemble those of my parents as a young couple navigating life during the civil rights movement.

Steven Dunlap (Head of Technical Services):

Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1851); available as...

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by
Cherilyn Banson

EBOOKS

FICTION
James Patterson The 20th victim
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Agafya
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Ariadne
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Ward No 6
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov The Grasshopper
Suzanne Collins The ballad of songbirds and snakes
Best Russian Short Stories
Jennifer Weiner Big summer
John Grisham Camino winds
Mikhail Evgrafovich Saltykov The History of a Town
Juan Pablo Villalobos I don't expect anyone to believe me
Stephen King If It bleeds: new fiction
Scott Turow The last trial
JohnSandford Masked prey
Mikhail Zoshchenko Sentimental tales
David Baldacci Walk the wire

NONFICTION
Glennon Doyle Untamed
Linda Tirado Hand to mouth : living in bootstrap America

EBOOKS

FICTION
James Patterson The 20th victim
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Agafya
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Ariadne
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Ward No 6
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov The Grasshopper
Suzanne Collins The ballad of songbirds and snakes
Best Russian Short Stories
Jennifer Weiner Big summer
John Grisham Camino winds
Mikhail Evgrafovich Saltykov The History of a Town
Juan Pablo Villalobos I don't expect anyone to believe me
Stephen King...

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by
Diane Lai

In case you are looking for something good to read during our continuing shelter-at-home order, here are a few more suggestions from our staff:

Autumn (Library Assistant):

Some of my prime pandemic reads:

The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon : the diary of a courtesan in tenth century Japan (2011), a literary memoir of court life by an aristocratic Japanese lady-in-waiting circa 1000 A.D.  Shōnagon uses narrative, poetry (mostly her own), and, famously, her short poem-like lists to describe her esoteric, aesthetically-obsessed world. Dreamy escapist reading.

Susan Orlean’s The Library Book (2018). Who knew that a work of nonfiction about a library closure could be a page-turner? Orlean writes with verve, imagination, and a keen instinct for building suspense about the devastating 1986 fire that shut down the Los Angeles Public Library for seven years—as well as the importance of libraries in American lives, and the people who are passionate about them.

Poems of the day, every day! Poetry Daily, Poetry Foundation, American Life in Poetry, Academy of American Poets…somehow I’ve signed up to receive daily infusions from them all. Mostly, the poems are delicious, even the downbeat ones (lots of pandemic poetry coming out right now, not surprisingly). Plus, most are bite-size—perfect for this mass moment of scattered attention.

Steven (Librarian, Head of Technical Services) recommends:

Fantasyland: how America went haywire : a 500-year history (2017) by Kurt Andersen

I'm not sure how much I can say this is a pandemic favorite but it does provide an explanation for some of the more bizarre and outlandish behavior we have seen in many people's reactions to the shelter-in-place orders and the inexplicable refusal to accept the advice of scientists and medical professionals. Andersen traces the credulity and the resistance to evidence-based information back to colonial times, when people sailed to North America in search of gold in North America because the Spanish found gold among the Aztecs and Incas -- in Central and South America. You cannot argue with reasoning like that. Given the vast parade of examples in his book, I find it hard to argue with Andersen's central thesis: that believing in whatever nonsense most appeals to you does not come about in recent years as a result of television, or Star Wars or other recent popular culture. Instead, it's baked into the cake as part of the origins of the U.S. 

Enjoy and stay healthy!

In case you are looking for something good to read during our continuing shelter-at-home order, here are a few more suggestions from our staff:

Autumn (Library Assistant):

Some of my prime pandemic reads:

The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon : the diary of a courtesan in tenth century Japan (2011), a literary memoir of court life by an aristocratic Japanese lady-in-waiting circa 1000 A.D.  Shōnagon uses narrative, poetry (mostly her own), and, famously, her short poem-like lists to describe her esoteric, aesthetically-obsessed world. Dreamy escapist reading.

Susan Orlean’s The Library Book (2018). Who knew that a work of nonfiction about a library closure could be a page-turner? Orlean...

Continue reading...
by
Cherilyn Banson

EAUDIOBOOKS

FICTION
Arthur Hailey Airport
Angela ElwellHunt Daughter of Cana
Jennifer Steil Exile music
La Jill Hunt Private property
Briana Cole The Vows We Break
Michel Moore Carl Weber presents kingpins Detroit

NONFICTION
Willie Mays 24: life stories and lessons from the say hey kid
Neen James Attention pays how to drive profitability, productivity, and accountability
Scott Duffy Breakthrough how to harness the aha! moments that spark success
José RHernandez Broken business seven steps to reform good companies gone bad
Bernard Garrette Cracked it! how to solve big problems and sell solutions like top strategy consultants
Manny Khoshbin Driven the never-give-up roadmap to massive success
Daniel Priestley Entrepreneur revolution how to develop your entrepreneurial mindset and start a business that works
David Parmenter Key performance indicators developing, implementing, and using winning kpis, 3rd edition
Amy Jen Su The leader you want to be five essential principles for bringing out your best self--every day
Scott Stein Leadership hacks clever shortcuts to boost your impact and results
Juliana Stancampiano Radical outcomes how to create extraordinary teams that get tangible results
Shashi Upadhyay The revenue acceleration rules supercharge sales and marketing through artificial intelligence, predictive technologies and account-based strategies
William A Adams Scaling leadership building organizational capability and capacity to create outcomes that matter most
Alex L Goldfayn Selling boldly applying the new science of positive psychology to dramatically increase your confidence, happiness, and sales
Dermot Crowley Smart teams how to work better together

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by
Cherilyn Banson

EAUDIOBOOKS

FICTION
Anne Enright Actress
Emma Straub All adults here
Ovidia Yu Aunty lee's delights
Susan Howatch Cashelmara
Thornton Wilder Heaven's my destination
Alka Joshi The henna artist
Luke Jennings Killing eve: die for me
Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence The last room in Manhattan
Patricia Harman The midwife of Hope River
PatriciaHarman Once a midwife
Jessica Ruben Reckoning
Cassandra Clark Murder at whitby abbey

NONFICTION
Barry Sonnenfeld Barry Sonnenfeld, call your mother : memoirs of a neurotic filmmaker
Jennifer Worth Call the midwife: farewell to the east end
Jennifer Worth Call the midwife: shadows of the workhouse
Jennifer Worth The midwife: a memoir of birth, joy, and hard times
Leo Tolstoy War and Peace

EAUDIOBOOKS

FICTION
Anne Enright Actress
Emma Straub All adults here
Ovidia Yu Aunty lee's delights
Susan Howatch Cashelmara
Thornton Wilder Heaven's my destination
Alka Joshi The henna artist
Luke Jennings Killing eve: die for me
Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence The last room in Manhattan
Patricia Harman The midwife of Hope River
PatriciaHarman Once a midwife
Jessica Ruben Reckoning
Cassandra Clark...

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by
Diane Lai

It has been a long ten weeks since we were ordered to shelter at home and the library was closed.  However, MI staff have spent some of their non-work hours (yes, we have all continued to do library work from home) reading books, watching DVDs and TV, and listening to audiobooks.  Below are some of the staff’s favorites since mid-March:

Celeste, library manager:

Here's what I am listening to:

Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer - Spring always makes me homesick for my native New England roots. I stumbled across this title while ordering e-Audiobooks for MI. Most of what I know of Paul Revere is from grade-school textbooks and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. But as I'm learning from Fischer's excellently researched book, Paul Revere was so much more than a lone rider shouting "The British are coming!" Revere's emotional intelligence, political savvy and geographical knowledge made him a key player in the American Revolution. (MI has this book in paper format only.)

Here's what I just finished reading: 

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate - I had no idea what "Lost Friends" advertisements were until I started reading Wingate's story of how newly freed slaves placed newspaper ads to find their loved ones after the Civil War. These early inquiries must have been like a primitive social media feed, tenuous at best since many slaves could not read. For families separated by slavery, any chance at finding members was better than nothing. Just as she did in the Prayer Box and Before We Were Yours, Wingate's storytelling makes history so incredibly appealing for today's sentiments.

What I'm watching:

I Know This Much is True (HBO miniseries based on Wally Lamb's book by the same title) - An outstanding show starring Mark Ruffalo as twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey. Dominick struggles to take care of his brother who has paranoid schizophrenia while searching for the truth about his family's history. The first episode is streaming for free on the HBO site:  https://www.hbo.com/i-know-this-much-is-true  I would not be surprised if this show wins an Emmy award.

Lisa, library assistant:

What I am reading:

For those  who enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow (perfect quarantine reading), I would recommend Amor Towles’ earlier novel, Rules of Civility.  It explores themes of love, class, friendship and betrayal through one eventful year in the life of a young woman making her own way in 1937 Manhattan.

I also recommend Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, a novel somewhere between a literary mystery and a ghost/fairy tale set in modern-day Poland.  Tokarczuk is a Nobel Prize winning writer who has written a surprise ending worthy of Agatha Christie.

Finally, a book with a San Francisco connection, Less by Andrew Sean Greera offers a deftly funny romantic comedy that grapples with aging, loneliness, and creativity without losing its light touch.

 

Enjoy and stay safe!

It has been a long ten weeks since we were ordered to shelter at home and the library was closed.  However, MI staff have spent some of their non-work hours (yes, we have all continued to do library work from home) reading books, watching DVDs and TV, and listening to audiobooks.  Below are some of the staff’s favorites since mid-March:

Celeste, library manager:

Here's what I am listening to:

Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer - Spring always makes me homesick for my native New England roots. I stumbled across this title while ordering e-Audiobooks for MI. Most of what I know of Paul Revere is from grade-school textbooks and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. But as I'm learning from Fischer's excellently researched book, Paul Revere was so much more than a lone rider...

Continue reading...
by
Cherilyn Banson

EAUDIOBOOKS

FICTION
Ruth Rendell Death notes
Patrick W Carr The end of the magi
Elizabeth Musser The sweetest thing
Sarah Loudin Thomas When silence sings

EAUDIOBOOKS

FICTION
Ruth Rendell Death notes
Patrick W Carr The end of the magi
Elizabeth Musser The sweetest thing
Sarah Loudin Thomas When silence sings

Continue reading...
by
Cherilyn Banson

EBOOKS

FICTION
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov Pale Fire
Christopher Hampton Embers

NONFICTION
David Dean Barrett 140 days to Hiroshima : the story of Japan's last chance to avert Armageddon
Frank B Wilderson Afropessimism
Sharon Moalem The better half : on the genetic superiority of women
The card catalog : books, cards, and literary treasures
Madison Smartt Bell Child of light : a biography of Robert Stone
Shaun Bythell Confessions of a Bookseller
Michael Lewrick The design thinking playbook : mindful digital transformation of teams, products, services, businesses and ecosystems
Götz Aly Europe against the Jews : 1880-1945
Colton Underwood The first time : finding myself and looking for love on reality TV
Janice Kaplan The genius of women : from overlooked to changing the world
Bart D Ehrman Heaven and hell : a history of the afterlife
Patrick Alexander Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time : A Reader's Guide to the Remembrance of Things Past
Julie L Hall The Narcissist in Your Life : Recognizing the Patterns and Learning to Break Free
Martha Stout Outsmarting the sociopath next door : how to protect yourself against a ruthless manipulator
Bradley J Edwards Relentless pursuit : my fight for the victims of Jeffrey Epstein
Jon Mooallem This is Chance! : the shaking of an all-American city, a voice that held it together
Claudio Saunt Unworthy republic : the dispossession of Native Americans and the road to Indian territory
Blake Gopnik Warhol
Sonia Purnell A woman of no importance : the untold story of the American spy who helped win WWII
Valerie Hansen The year 1000 : when globalization began
Neal D Barnard Your body in balance : the new science of food, hormones, and health

Continue reading...
by
Diane Lai

As we all shelter at home during the pandemic, we are finding numerous ways to entertain ourselves whether it is by reading, watching DVDs, or listening to audiobooks. I know that I am reading about 3 books per week besides doing jigsaw puzzles, cooking, binge-watching baking shows, and cleaning out closets!

So far, my favorite book has been the new fantasy novel by Sarah J. Maas, House of Earth and Blood, the first book of her Crescent City trilogy.  In a world governed by archangels, shifters, and witches, the heroine is a half-Fae, half-human twenty-something-year-old dismissed as a half-breed wannabe until the murder of her best friend forces her into a partnership with a Fallen angel to discover the identity of the killer. The novel is an intense and complicated story about friendship, loss, power, freedom and love.

Another wonderful book, that is particularly relevant, is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles . In the years following the Bolshevik Revolution and the Russian Civil War, when the nobility was fleeing the country and Lenin was in power, Count Alexander Rostov was sentenced to a permanent house arrest (the ultimate shelter-in-place order!) for a minor infraction in the grand hotel Metropol near the Kremlin where he was living in a suite.  After his arrest, he is moved to new accommodations in the attic of the hotel to reflect his reduced circumstances.  The story follows Rostov through his 30 years of confinement within the hotel’s walls and the amazing life he created from the relationships he formed with a multitude of characters.

What have been your favorite books, DVDs, or audiobooks during your stay at home?  Send me an email to Diane Lai at [email protected] with your recommendations, and I may include your review in a future blog or in a display of Member Pandemic Picks when the library re-opens.  (I reserve the right to edit the review/recommendation as necessary.)

As we all shelter at home during the pandemic, we are finding numerous ways to entertain ourselves whether it is by reading, watching DVDs, or listening to audiobooks. I know that I am reading about 3 books per week besides doing jigsaw puzzles, cooking, binge-watching baking shows, and cleaning out closets!

So far, my favorite book has been the new fantasy novel by Sarah J. Maas, House of Earth and Blood, the first book of her Crescent City trilogy.  In a world governed by archangels, shifters, and witches, the heroine is a half-Fae, half-human twenty-something-year-old dismissed as a half-breed wannabe until the murder of her best friend forces her into a partnership with a Fallen angel to discover the identity of the killer. The novel is an intense and complicated story about friendship, loss, power, freedom and love.

Another wonderful book, that is particularly relevant, is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles . In the years following the Bolshevik Revolution and the Russian Civil War, when the nobility was fleeing the country and Lenin was in power, Count Alexander Rostov was sentenced to a permanent...

Continue reading...