Recommended Books Currently on Display
The machines started popping up around the world. The offer was tempting: with a simple blood test, anyone could know how he or she would die. But the machines didn't give dates or specific circumstances - just a single word or phrase. DROWNED, CANCER, OLD AGE, CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN. And though the predictions were always accurate, they were also frustratingly vague. OLD AGE, it turned out, could mean either dying of natural causes, or being shot by an elderly, bedridden man in a botched home invasion. The machines held on to that old-world sense of irony about death: you can know how it's going to happen, but you'll still be surprised when it does. This fascinating anthology - sinister, witty, and existential - collects the best of the thousands of story submissions the editors received in the wake of the success of the first volume - and exceeds that book in every way. -back cover
Two superstar authors pair up and really deliver the goods, dishing up a terrific high-energy tale of teen love, lust, intrigue, anger, pain, and friendship threaded with generous measures of comedy and savvy counsel. Though the ensemble cast revolves around Tiny Cooper, “the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large,” the central characters are the two titular narrators, who share a name (but don’t meet until partway through) and trade off alternate chapters. One Will has been Tiny’s satellite for years but is starting to chafe at the role—especially after Tiny forcibly sets him up with Jane, an infuriatingly perfect match. The other, whose clinical depression is brilliantly signaled by an all-lowercase narrative and so intensely conveyed that his early entries are hard to read, sees at least a glimmer of light fall on his self-image after a chance meeting with Tiny sparks a wild mutual infatuation. The performance of an autobiographical high-school musical that Tiny writes, directs, and stars in makes a rousing and suitably theatrical finale for a tale populated with young people engaged in figuring out what’s important and shot through with strong feelings, smart-mouthed dialogue, and uncommon insight. -Booklist
In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility. As Jonas approaches the 'Ceremony of Twelve,' he wonders what his adult 'Assignment' will be. Father, a 'Nurturer,' cares for 'newchildren'; Mother works in the 'Department of Justice'; but Jonas's admitted talents suggest no particular calling. In the event, he is named 'Receiver,' to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community's memories--painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder ('The Giver') now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas. The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as 'release' is revealed to be murder. Horrified, Jonas plots escape to 'Elsewhere,' a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love. Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing. Wrought with admirable skill--the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel. -Kirkus Reviews
Ferociously detailed, gratifyingly mind-expanding, and daringly complex and unhurried, New Yorker writer Franzen's third and best-yet novel aligns the spectacular dysfunctions of one Midwest family with the explosive malfunctions of society-at-large. Alfred's simple values were in perfect accord with the iron orderliness of the railroad he so zealously served, but he is now discovering the miseries and entropy of Parkinson's disease. His wife, Enid, who has filled every cupboard and closet in their seemingly perfect house with riotous clutter in an unconscious response to her hunger for deeper experience, refuses to accept the severity of Alfred's affliction. Gary, the most uptight and bossiest of their unmoored adult offspring, is so undermined by his ruthlessly strategic wife that he barely avoids a nervous breakdown. Chip loses a plum academic job after being seduced and betrayed by a student, then nearly loses his life in Lithuania after perpetuating some profoundly cynical Internet fraud. And Denise detonates her career as a trendy chef by having an affair with her boss' wife. Heir in scope and spirit to the great nineteenth-century novelists, Franzen is also kin to Stanley Elkin with his caustic humor, satiric imagination, and free-flowing empathy as he mocks the absurdity and brutality of consumer culture. At once miniaturistic and panoramic, Franzen's prodigious comedic saga renders family life on an epic scale and captures the decadence of the dot-com era. Each cleverly choreographed fiasco stands as a correction to the delusions that precipitated it, and each step back from the brink of catastrophe becomes a move toward hope, integrity, and love. -Donna Seaman, Booklist
"History is fiction," Robespierre observes at one point during British writer Mantel's monumental fictive account of the French Revolution, her first work to appear in this country. In her hands, it is a spellbinding read. Mantel recounts the events between the fall of the ancient regime and the peak of the Terror as seen through the eyes of the three protagonists--Robespierre, Danton and Desmoulins--and a huge cast of supporting characters (including brief appearances by the scrofulous Marat). The three revolutionaries, longtime acquaintances, spend their days scheming and fighting for a corruption-free French Republic, but their definitions of "corrupt" are as different as the men themselves. Robespierre is the fulcrum. Rigidly puritanical, he is able to strike terror into the most stalwart of hearts, and his implacable progress towards his goal makes him the most formidable figure of the age. As the lusty, likable and ultimately more democratic Danton observes, it is impossible to hurt anyone who enjoys nothing. The feckless, charming Camille Desmoulins, loved by all but respected by few, dances between the two, writing incendiary articles to keep the flames of revolt alive. Mantel makes use of diaries, letters, transcripts and her own creative imagination to create vivid portraits of the three men, their families, friends and the character of their everyday lives. Her gift is such that we hang on to every word, following bewildering arguments and Byzantine subplots with eager anticipation. This is historical fiction of the first order. -Publishers Weekly
Agatha Christie's genius for detective fiction is unparalleled. Her worldwide popularity is phenomenal, her characters engaging, her plots spellbinding. No one knows the human heart--or the dark passions that can stop it--better than Agatha Christie. She is truly the one and only Queen of Crime.
Miss Marple--Agatha Christie's immortal spinster sleuth with the razor-sharp mind and an intuitive understanding of criminal behavior--encounters a compelling murder mystery in the sleepy little village of St. Mary Mead, where under the seemingly peaceful exterior of an English country village lurks intrigue, guilt, deception and death.
Colonel Protheroe, local magistrate and overbearing land-owner is the most detested man in the village. Everyone--even in the vicar--wishes he were dead. And very soon he is--shot in the head in the vicar's own study. Faced with a surfeit of suspects, only the inscrutable Miss Marple can unravel the tangled web of clues that will lead to the unmasking of the killer.
In "The First Rule of Ten," Tenzing Norbu ("Ten" for short) - ex-Buddhist monk and soon-to-be ex-cop - takes on his first case as a private investigator in Los Angeles.
Growing up in a Tibetan monastery, Ten dreamed of becoming a modern=day Sherlock Holmes. So when he was sent to Los Angeles to teach meditation, he joined the LAPD instead. But as the Buddha says, change is inevitable; and ten years later, everything is about to change - big-time - for Ten. One resignation from the police force, two bullet-wounds, three suspicious deaths, and a beautiful woman later, he quickly learns that whenever he breaks his first rule, mayhem follows. -from back cover
In this follow-up to his historical Baroque Cycle trilogy, which fictionalized the early-18th century scientific revolution, Stephenson (Cryptonomicon) conjures a far-future Earth-like planet, Arbre, where scientists, philosophers and mathematicians—a religious order unto themselves—have been cloistered behind concent (convent) walls. Their role is to nurture all knowledge while safeguarding it from the vagaries of the irrational saecular outside world. Among the monastic scholars is 19-year-old Raz, collected into the concent at age eight and now a decenarian, or tenner (someone allowed contact with the world beyond the stronghold walls only once a decade). But millennia-old rules are cataclysmically shattered when extraterrestrial catastrophe looms, and Raz and his teenage companions—engaging in intense intellectual debate one moment, wrestling like rambunctious adolescents the next—are summoned to save the world. Stephenson's expansive storytelling echoes Walter Miller's classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, the space operas of Larry Niven and the cultural meditations Douglas Hofstadter—a heady mix of antecedents that makes for long stretches of dazzling entertainment occasionally interrupted by pages of numbing colloquy. -Publishers Weekly
How many hours are in a day when you don't spend half of them watching television? When is the last time any of us REALLY worked to get something that we wanted? How long has it been since any of us really NEEDED something that we WANTED?
The world we knew is gone.
The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility.
An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled - no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV.
In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living.
Collects issues #1-48
A woman makes love to an Indian dying of snakebite, miraculously restoring him to life and engendering a daughter named Eva"so she will love life." Thus begins Allende's latest novel, a magnificent successor to The House of the Spirits and Of Love & Shadows. Set in a Latin American country, it relates Eva's picaresque adventures. Brought up in the house of an eccentric doctor devoted to mummifying corpses, where her mother is a servant, Eva is left an orphan at six. Her black godmother, or madrina , leases her as a servant to a series of bizarre households of metaphorical significance, the last of which she leaves in grand style upon emptying a government Minister's chamberpot over his head. Interleaved with Eva's story is her account of a certain Rolf Carle, with whom her life will become linkedshe tells of his youth in Nazi Austria and young manhood as a filmmaker in South America. Through a series of improbable and felicitous coincidences, Eva is taken under the wing of such exotic benefactors as a street urchin who becomes a guerrilla leader, a colorful whorehouse Madam, a kindly Turkish merchant and a stunningly beautiful transsexual. Like the author, Eva is a prodigious fabulist, weaving extraordinary tales that change reality at will, making it, as she says, easier to bear. Although the fabulist's art is seen as dangerously escapist, Allende's wonderful novel, crammed with the strange and fantastical, the sensuous and the erotic, also speaks powerfully in the cause of freedom. -Publishers Weekly
Constellation is the first extended exploration of the relationship between Walter Benjamin, the Weimar-era revolutionary cultural critic, and the radical philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The affinity between these noncontemporaneous thinkers serves as a limit case manifesting the precariousness and potentials of cultural transmission in a disillusioned present. In five chapters, Constellation presents the changing figure of Nietzsche as Benjamin encountered him: an inspiration to his student activism, an authority for his skeptical philology, a manifestation of his philosophical nihilism, a companion in his political exile, and ultimately a subversive collaborator in his efforts to think beyond the hopeless temporality--new and always the same--of the present moment in history. By excavating this neglected relationship philologically and elaborating its philosophical implications in the surviving texts of both men, Constellation produces new and compelling readings of their works and through them triangulates a theoretical limit in the present, a fractured "now-time" suspended between madness and suicide, from which the collective future regains a measure of consequential and transformative vitality. -From book jacket
"Contrary to Plato and Einstein, theoretical physicist Smolin (The Trouble with Physics) asserts that ‘not only is time real, but nothing we know or experience gets closer to the heart of nature than the reality of time.’ Though time has always been a quantity to measure, the author explains that in the 17th century, scientists began wondering whether ‘the world is in essence mathematical or it lives in time.’ Newton’s laws of motion made time irrelevant, and ‘Einstein’s two theories of relativity are, at their most basic, theories of time—or, better, timelessness.’ Galileo and Descartes, on the other hand, insisted that time should be regarded as another dimension, and in 1909, mathematician Hermann Minkowski developed the theory of ‘spacetime,’ a feature of the universe shaped by gravity. Smolin asserts that current-day cosmology has hit a wall because physicists refuse to understand that physical laws must ‘evolve in a real time.’ Changing that perspective, he says, will revolutionize everything from string theory to the stock market. Although the distinctions in point of view aren’t always clear, Smolin makes an energetic case for a paradigm shift that could produce mind-boggling changes in the way we experience our world."
Recommended Reading Guide
Recommended Book Display Location
The Recommended Book Display is located on the main floor of the library. Find it on the freestanding shelves across from the checkout desk, near the Popular Literature (poplit) section.
We will do our best to put recommended books on the display as soon as possible; please be aware that we may have to order or replace your selection.