Staff Choices

Posted by jlasky on 04/04/19
cover image
On April 29, 1986 the Los Angeles Public Library burned down. It burned for 7 hours. We don’t know or remember much about it because it was underreported due to an incident called Chernobyl taking over the news cycle. In her exquisite writing style, Susan Orlean takes on the research of this fire, as well as the history of libraries throughout time.

Orlean learns about the fire when she takes her child to visit the LAPL. This, as well as fond memories of attending her child hood library in Ohio with her Mother, sparks her curiosity to dig deeper. A man named Harry Peak, a small time actor wannabe was the only suspect, but the cause of the fire, possible arson, is still unsolved. Orlean turns into investigative reporter as she pours through city and library files as well as shadowing Los Angeles librarians as she tries to finds answers. What she does find is the extent of books, manuscripts, maps, menus, ephemera and more that the LAPL carries, which unfolds the history of Los Angeles and it’s astounding library.

In what becomes a love story to libraries, The Library Book tells a story. A story of a fire, a story of Los Angeles, a story of the impact and importance of libraries on their communities. With many colorful characters, facts, research and interesting chapter layouts from the Dewey Decimal System, Susan Orlean delivers a non-fiction book that reads like a fiction. The friend who handed it to me and said “just read it” was right. I couldn’t put it down. I hope you relish it as well.
Posted by jonf on 03/25/19
cover image
The second August Snow mystery is a timely thriller that deals with the difficult times for illegal immigrants in America,  The story is set in the Mexicantown neighborhood in Detroit. August Snow is an ex-cop who has sued the city and collected millions, which he has used to help rehab Mexicantown homes and assist his neighbors. The area is being targeted by ICE and local cops, rousting illegal immigrants and spreading fear and anger. The trouble escalates when two teenage girls, who are illegals are found murdered.
Snow and his friends Tomas and Elena help tie the harassment and the murders to each other. They find that a group of rogue ICE agents and neo-nazis are engaged in human trafficking and murder. This a well written and thrilling mystery by Stephen Mack Jones, I look forward to more August Snow books.
Posted by Alisa S on 03/24/19
cover image
Imagine taking a DNA test as a lark, only to have the results shatter the very foundation of your identity. This is what happened to author Dani Shapiro, who movingly tells of this seismic event in her latest book, 
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love. Shapiro was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, the only child of an adoring father and a difficult mother. After she receives some shocking results from her mail away DNA test, she begins to uncover long held family secrets that force her to question the core of her being.  With both her parents long dead, she must become a genealogical sleuth as she pieces together her past.
As DNA kits are becoming more affordable and accessible to the public, many people are receiving surprising details about their heritages. This makes Inheritance an extremely timely book to read now. It is  beautifully written, though at times feels a bit indulgent as Shapiro comes to grips with her discovery.
Posted by SherriT on 03/12/19
cover image
Told in the style of an oral history, Daisy Jones & the Six chronicles the tumultuous relationships behind the music of a famed '70s rock band. Real-life drama, fame and fortune, tabloid gossip, drugs and addiction - everything you want in a music biography, this book has them in spades. Inspired by VH1’s Behind the Music series, Taylor Jenkins Reid shares the band’s untold fictional story in a way that makes it feel like nonfiction.

Daisy Jones & the Six gives you a backstage view of the epic rise, and agonizing fall, of one beloved rock band.

Since there is no narrator in this story, you are hearing everything from the characters themselves and that gives it a sense of authenticity.  The fact that I wanted this to be a real band and even Googled them says a lot about the charisma of these characters and the rich, vivid detail. I devoured this book in 2 days!  I was thrilled to learn that Reece Witherspoon is producing a TV miniseries based on the book that is set to consist of thirteen episodes and will air on Amazon Video. For those of you who loved the recent movies A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody read this book immediately!
Posted by LucyS on 03/06/19
cover image
The Radium Girls is a tragic and true story that unfolded for decades. In the early 1900's radium was touted as a curative and elixirs were sold over the counter to those who could afford it. Another lucrative business developed when a scientist created a radium paint formula used extensively for glow-in-the-dark watch and aircraft dials. The young women hired to paint these dials were instructed to use the unusual technique of lip-pointing to paint the watch dials causing them to ingest this toxic ingredient. Once the companies learned of the harmful effects, little to nothing was done to protect its female workers. This began the next chapter as the women banded together to battle their former employers in court to fight for worker rights and against injustice and corporate greed.
In her research, author Kate Moore walked the same streets as the women to inhabit their lives and to better portray a sense of who these women were. She delved deep into library and newspaper archives to bring us a book that humanized these workers. We learn their names and something of their daily routine; how, despite their suffering and subjugation to corporate and legal battles, their character persevered.
Join us on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 from 7:30 to 8:30 pm at the historic Banta House located on the Historical Museum grounds at 514 North Vail at Euclid, just across the street from the library for light refreshments and the first Paging Through History Book Discussion of The Radium Girls.
Posted by NealP on 03/05/19
cover image
Nico Walker’s debut novel Cherry is a raw and devastating account of war, addiction, and love.  His writing is bleak, insightful, explicit, and unsettling. 
The novel follows an unnamed narrator who goes to college, falls in love, drops out of college, and joins the army.  As a medic in Iraq, he sees the effects of the war on both the civilian and soldier populations where he witnesses many of his friends die.  When he returns home, his PTSD is so profound he turns to heroin to escape his pain.  Eventually, he begins robbing banks to feed his and his wife’s addiction.   
Walker is currently in prison for bank robbery related to his own heroin addiction.  He wrote Cherry while serving his time and has used money made from the publication of the book to pay back the money he stole.   Cherry is a challenging novel in terms of language and subject matter.  Nevertheless, it is a timely book as war-related PTSD and the opioid crisis continue to haunt headlines.
Posted by Alisa S on 02/23/19
cover image
Calling all Jane Austen Fans! The new novel Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal is a lively retelling of Pride and Prejudice, set in modern day Pakistan. Alys Binat and her older sister, Jena, are schoolteachers living in genteel poverty with their ineffectual father, overbearing mother, and three younger sisters. It is their mother’s soul desire in life to see her daughters well married, especially the eldest, who she believes  have crossed into old maid territory. When two wealthy ,eligible bachelors and their entourage arrive in their small town, the plot is set into action.
While the storyline of Unmarriageable very closely follows that of the beloved classic,  Alys’s strong identity as a feminist (in a patriarchal society) and the exotic backdrop of Pakistan make this most recent retelling fresh and fun.
Posted by SherriT on 02/22/19
cover image
Kimmery Martin’s debut novel The Queen of Hearts is an entertaining medical suspense drama revolving around best friends and fellow doctors, Emma and Zadie. Zadie and Emma became friends during medical school and built a strong friendship. Both women are happily married with children. Emma is a successful trauma surgeon and Zadie is a pediatric cardiologist. There is a secret that each of them are keeping about Dr. X. During their third year of medical school, something happened that changed everything. Dr. X’s returning presence threatens to destroy their longstanding friendship.

The story travels from the present to the past in revolving POVs exploring medical school, motherhood, the pressures of being a surgeon, first love and, ultimately, the very core of Zadie and Emma's beautiful and complicated friendship.

The Queen of Hearts opens up a fascinating world and makes it both accessible and exhilarating. The author’s writing style is so warm, friendly, and funny, yet I did find at times that the medical jargon could be too much.

If you are a fan of the TV drama Grey’s Anatomy or Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies this book is a must read.
Posted by bpardue on 02/12/19
cover image
Into the early 1990s, it was hard to believe that England was the land where soccer (football!) was invented. The top English teams were run by old-boy owners at a loss, games were played in decrepit stadiums in squalid conditions, and you couldn't even watch a game live on TV. All that changed in 1992, when a handful of owners got the bright idea that soccer could actually be a profitable game, and that a top-flight league could provide attractive, family-friendly and TV-ready entertainment--as with America's NFL. Soon, a new "Premier League" was hastily assembled, based on a handful of bylaws, and the ball was set rolling for a bright new future. Then a new TV contract was worked out, and the cash really started flowing. Of course, once the league started making money, new investors took interest, especially from abroad--wealthy Americans, Russian oil barons and an Abu Dhabi royal family member, among others. With hyper-wealthy owners and no spending cap, player salaries skyrocketed, and soon Premier League teams were plucking the finest players and coaches from around the world. "The Club" is slight on soccer details and tactics, but provides a fascinating inside look at the Premier League's growth from a neglected property to one of the world's most powerful and disruptive sports/entertainment juggernauts. A quick read with plenty of colorful characters, the book will appeal to even non-soccer fans.
Posted by jlasky on 02/08/19
cover image
With incredible detail, Michael Ondaatje carefully lays out the mysterious story of the childhood of Agnes and Nathaniel. In post WWII London, the adolescents are left by their parents, in the hands of eccentric and possibly nefarious family friends, who take the children on covert nighttime river excursions into the underbelly of post war society.

It is not until a decade later that Nathaniel begins to unravel his mother's secret life during the war, as well as the lives of the characters that spent time at the family home during that time.

Warlight comes from a term used during London blackouts for the dimmed lights of essential vehicles, which plays right into the dark  atmosphere Ondaatje creates. A haunting character-driven novel that offers an unusual view of the many underworlds at work during war.
Want recommendations on what to read next? Complete this Book Me form and we will provide a list of recommended books for you to try.
Browse our collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks and learn how to use them with your eReader, tablet, or computer.

Additional Resources

If your status is Confirmed Registration, your spot for the event is confirmed.

If registration for this event is full, you will be placed on a waiting list. Wait listed registrants are moved to the confirmed registration list (in the order of registration) when cancelations are received. You will receive an email notification if you are moved from the wait list to the confirmed registration list.

6.012 Patron-Generated Content

The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy