Archive for the ‘Recommendations’ category

MRS. EVERYTHING: a novel by Jennifer Weiner

July 18th, 2019

Jo & Bethie Kaufman were born into a world of promise.  Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined.  Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers & dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined.  Jo & Bethie survive traumas & tragedies.  As their lives unfold against the background of free love & Viet Nam, Woodstock & woman’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counter-culture & is up for anything (except for settling down).  Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant.  Neither  woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life she feels authentic or brings her joy.  Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

GPL:  F Weiner

SURVIVAL MATH: Notes on an All-American Family by Mitchell S. Jackson

July 6th, 2019

An electrifying, dazzling written reckoning & essential addition to the national conversation about race & class, Survival Math takes its name from the calculations award-winning author Mitchell S. Jackson made to survive the Portland , Oregon of his youth.  This dynamic book explores gangs & guns, near-death experiences, sex work, masculinity, composite fathers, the concept of “hustle”, & the destructive power of addiction—all framed within the story of Jackson, his family, & his community.

Lauded for its breathtaking pace, its tender portrayals, its stark candor, & its luminous style, Survival Math reveals on every page the searching intellect & originality of its author.  The sum of Survival Math‘s parts is a highly original whole, one that reflects on the exigencies—over generations—that have shaped the lives of so many disenfranchised Americans.

GPL: 92 Jackson


June 21st, 2019

Albert Hicks was handsome & charismatic &  had long been known in the dive bars & gin joints of the Five Points, the most dangerous neighborhood in maritime Manhattan.  For years he operated out of the public eye, rambling from crime to crime, working on the water in ships, sleeping in nickel-a-night flops,drinking in barrooms where rat-baiting & bear-baiting were great entertainments.  His criminal career reached its peak in 1860, when he was hired, under an alias, as a hand on an oyster sloop.  His plan was to rob the ship & flee, disappearing into the teeming streets of lower Manhattan, as he’d done numerous times before. `But the plan went awry; the voyage that was to enrich him instead led to his last desperate flight.

This story of Albert Hicks unfolded in the course of three bloody months in the summer before the Civil War.  There was a massacre, a flight, a manhunt & a trial, all of which kept the nation riveted, & remade Hicks , The Last Pirate of New York, into a celebrated antihero.

Richard Cohen tells the story of this notorious underworld figure: from his  humble origins to the wild, globe-crossing, bacchanalian crime spree that forged his ruthlessness & his reputation, to his ultimate incarnation as a demon who terrorized lower Manhattan, at a time when pirates anchored off 14th Street.


EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE : first loves and last tales

May 25th, 2019

Oliver Sacks examines the many passions of his own life, as a doctor engaged with the central questions of human existence, and as a polymath conversant in all the sciences.  Everything in its Place brings together writings—many never before published—on a rich variety of topics.  Why do humans need gardens?  How, and when, does a physician tell his patient she has Alzheimer’s?  What is social media doing to our brains?

In several of the compassionate case histories included here, Sacks considers the enigmas of depression, psychosis, & schizophrenia for the first time & in others he returns to conditions that have long fascinated him:  Tourette’s syndrome, aging, dementia, & hallucinations.  This volume also includes pieces that celebrate Sack’s love of the natural world—and his final meditations on life in the 21st century.  Everything in its Place gives us an intimate portrait of a master writer and thinker at work.


GPL: 92 Sacks

BECOMING-by Michelle Obama

May 11th, 2019

As First Lady of the USA-the first African American to serve in that role-Michelle Obama helped create the most welcoming & inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women & girls in the U.S. & around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier & more active lives.

In her memoir, Becoming, a work of deep reflection & mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her-from her childhood on the south side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood & work, & then her time spent at the world’s most famous address.  With unerring honesty & lively wit, she describes her triumphs & disappointments, both public & private, telling her full story as she has lived it.  Warm, wise & revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul & substance who has steadily defied expectations-& whose story inspires us to do the same.


GPL: 92 Obama