Staff Recommends 2010


You'll find many more ideas in the Reader Services Page, the Fiction Booklist Section and among our previous Staff Recommendations.

Book Talk: We Recommend
Recommended by Jacqueline Barillet, Assistant Circulation Supervisor

Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods (599.88 Woods)Bonobo Handshake
Oh? What’s a bonobo? Although they’ve started to become better known due to Sara Gruen’s Ape House, the real scoop on these unusual animals is in this book. They look like small chimpanzees, but are genetically different. They live in a matriarchal society, don’t kill each other, don’t have wars, are very affectionate and cooperate extensively. This book details their lives in a bonobo preserve in Africa, where orphan bonobos are rehabilitated. (Their parents are often killed for meat.) The writer, a young animal researcher, mixes tales of the bonobos with stories of her life with her sometimes difficult husband and the staff of the preserve, making the book an easy read even though it’s nonfiction. The characters (each bonobo is quite a character) and their interactions are both warmly appealing and thought provoking. This is a fun read as well as an interesting commentary on our fellow creatures, who are so like and yet so unlike us and chimpanzees.

Sheen on the Silk by Anne Perry (Fiction)Sheen on the Silk
Anne Perry, the famed author of Victorian mysteries, has branched out to another area of history. Her story begins in late 13th-century Byzantium. A young woman physician leaves her comfortable home in Nicaea to come to Byzantium to prove the innocence of her brother, who has been accused of murder. In order to gain acces to the inner circles of the city, she disguises herself as a eunuch, which is a challenge in itself, and sets herself up as a physician. She then has to deal with emperors, bishops, Jewish herbalists, wealthy families and ship captains to unravel the interwoven plots and intrigues leading up the murder. The resulting gripping tale involves multiple characters with many different loves, jealousies and resentments, and as usual with Perry, you feel yourself there, Amid the intrigue, you also learn the fascinating history of major theological conflicts and power plays of that time which may not be well known to you.

Book Talk: We Recommend
Recommended by Christine Hunnefeld, Collection Development Librarian
Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French Zoo Story(590.73 French)
A behind the scenes look at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa Florida. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas French presents a balanced examination of conservation and captivity issues. The book opens with an investigation into the ethics of flying wild elephants across the ocean to live in zoos to save them from slaughter in their native land because of elephant overcrowding in shrinking habitats.
Zoo Story also closely examines the success and the controversy surrounding Lex Salisbury. Salisbury turned the Lowry Park Zoo around from one of the country’s worst zoos to one of its best, but as French reveals his achievements were at questionable costs to zoo residents and staff.

Book Talk: We Recommend
Recommended by Mary Murphy, Circulation Department

The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones
Maggie McElroy suddenly finds herself a widow when her husband dies while wThe Last Chinese Cheforking for his law firm in China. Her world becomes even more turned upside down when she receives a call telling her that a paternity suit has been filed in Beijing against her husband’s estate. She goes to China to investigate the allegations and her editor asks her to do a profile on Sam Liang, a Chinese-Jewish-American chef, while she is there. Liang is trying to bring back Imperial recipes from his family’s experiences working for the Emperor. He engages in a cooking contest and Maggie finds herself coming back to life as she follows the competition. Author Nicole Mones makes the characters and their tales so engaging that you cannot put this down.

Book Talk: We Recommend
Recommended by Evelyn Berezin, Reference Librarian

It's summer! Lighten up! I've chosen Bill Bryson to help you do just that. Author of nearly two dozen usually rib-tickling books, he shares his versatility in sober works on language and Shakespeare as well.
A Walk in the Woods
If, by some quirk, you missed A Walk In The Woods (917.4 Bryson), treat yourself to his naive attempt to climb the Appalachian Trail with his cranky, couch potato pal, Katz, who heaves himself upwards by inches, randomly flinging the contents of his backpack over the edge. It's a wild romp in the woods.

The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid (B Bryson, B.) iThe life and times of the thunderbolt kid : a memoir s Bryson recalling his growing-up years in the Midwest '50s. It was a time when Dick and Jane peopled the classroom; penny candy actually cost a penny; and Bill's thunderbolt-emblazoned sweater empowered him with x-ray vision and the ability to zap and vaporize annoying people. Reminisce with him and his alter ego, the "thunderbolt kid," and enjoy reawakened memories.

Book Talk: We Recommend
Recommended by Sherry Baker, McAuliffe Branch

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan (362.196994 Corrigan) The Middle Place
At thirty-six, Kelly Corrigan is happily married with young children and a successful writing career. She is living comfortably in that middle place between parenthood and caring for her own parents when both she and her beloved father are diagnosed with cancer. In this inspiring memoir, Corrigan looks back at her childhood and her special relationship with her father, and ahead to a new place with the family she has created.

Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies (B Gillies) Happens Every Day
In this honest and funny memoir, Gilles, an actor on the series Law & Order: SVU, writes of the sudden, disastrous breakup of her seemingly perfect marriage. After moving from New York City to the midwest with her family, Gillies learns that her marriage is over. “Happens every day,” says a friend as Gillies moves through heartbreak and devastation toward redemption and happiness.

Book Talk: We Recommend
Recommended by Rebecca Berkowitz

The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (Fiction)The Gift of Rain
This sweeping historical novel begins in Malaysia just before the Japanese invasion at the outset of World War II. A fascinating mix of Chinese culture, Japanese culture and the final days of the British Empire play out in a microcosm of the cruelty of the war. Love, betrayal, loyalty, courage, excruciating choices and a little mysticism thrown in make for an unforgettable read.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (976.335)Zeitoun
This troubling account of one families’ experience through the ordeal of Hurricane Katrina is told through the eyes of the Zeitoun family. The author evenly describes not only the devastation wrought by the storm but the insult added injury wrought by the failure of the government to fulfill its obligations. This is an unforgettable story that may make you angry or afraid but cannot fail to fill you with admiration for one Muslim immigrant’s total commitment to America.

Book Talk: We Recommend
Recommended by Jane Peck, McAuliffe Branch Librarian

Things I Learned from Knitting … whether I wanted to or not (746.43 Pearl-McPhee)
Free-Range Knitter: the Yarn Harlot Writes Again
(746.43 Pearl-McPhee)
Friday Night Knitting Club
by Kate Jacobs (FIC Jacobs) 
Things I Learned from Knitting

Knitting is all the rage these days. There are knitting clubs, knitting books, and knitathons. If you think knitting is just for grandmothers, think again and try one or all of the following books concerned with knitting.

Things I Learned from Knitting … whether I wanted to or not and Free-Range Knitter: the Yarn Harlot Writes Again are both byFree-Range Knitter author Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. They are lighted-hearted, humorous books filled with knitting wisdom and tales of knitting fiascos, yarn stashes over taking homes and the perpetual battle with moths. Pearl-McPhee discusses her need to always be knitting, a compulsion with specialty yarns, and her deep desire to have her daughters join her in the pleasures of knitting. Delightful essays for when you can’t bring your knitting along.
Friday Night Knitting Club
Kate Jacobs writes about a knitting club that meets in a little yarn shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The group discusses raising children, how best to navigate careers and friendships and explores new relationships. Knitting is the common denominator but life and all its complications are the subject matter. The story and characters continues in Knit Two and Knit the Season, also by Kate Jacobs.








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Updated on 09/01/2015 09:10 AM
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