Rachel Reviews: What Happened – Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Free from the constraints of running, she speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye; the criticism over her voice, age, and appearance; and the double standard confronting women…

Mixed Media: Vincent Van Gogh

Loving Vincent – Nominated for an Academy Award (Animated Feature Film) “On 27th July 1890 a gaunt figure stumbled down a drowsy high street at twilight in the small French country town of Auvers. The man was carrying nothing; his hands clasped to a fresh bullet wound leaking blood from his belly.This was Vincent van…

Today In History Reading List

In our Today In History Reading List feature, we take the events of a particular day in history and try to give you a work of fiction and a work of non-fiction relating to those events. 1788 Sydney Australia Established by Arthur Phillip The British First Fleet under Governor Arthur Phillip arrived at Port Jackson…

THE POST – Jen’s Recommended Reading

Personal History – Katharine Graham “In this bestselling and widely acclaimed memoir, Katharine Graham, the woman who piloted the Washington Post through the scandals of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, tells her story—one that is extraordinary both for the events it encompasses and for the courage, candor, and dignity of its telling. Here is the awkward child…

Jen Recommends

Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon – Jeffrey Kluger “In August 1968, NASA made a bold decision: in just sixteen weeks, the United States would launch humankind’s first flight to the moon. Only the year before, three astronauts had burned to death in their spacecraft, and since then the…

Jen Recommends: Victoria: The Queen

About Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire: “When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would threaten many of Europe’s monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public’s expense, and republican sentiment…

Two of a Kind, the Mary Astor Edition

An out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye glance at a line-up of books focused quickly when one in particular – it’s cover full of two animated faces, the title writ large, a particularly urgent newspaper headline – caught my attention. I thought it was a picture book, and then I read the subtitle. And the summary. And it is decidedly…

Rachel Reviews: Between the World and Me

Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged…

What I’m Reading Now

I met Franz Kafka over the body of a giant insect. It was, years upon years ago, an inauspicious introduction. And first impressions being what they are–misleading, mostly–I veered away from a second encounter, slipping quickly past the K’s (or the PT 2620’s, here) with downcast eyes. Then, well, then my epistolary leanings pitched me…

Jen Reviews: How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century and the Patient Zero of Piracy by Stephen Witt

Jen’s comments: Just read this and loved it.  Fascinating read for anyone who’s ever scoffed at the price of music CDs.  Like the reviewer suggests, I’m really hoping for a movie. BookPage review by Edward Morris “The story of how the Internet brought the imperious music business to its knees has never been told more…

What I’m Reading Now

If only letters – written, sent with a stamp cornered at a crooked angle – were still a thing. As they are sadly not, instead of out of mailboxes, I’ve been pulling off of shelves piles of books crammed with page after page of posthumously published letters, the latest being Anne Sexton’s, as compiled and…

Reading List: In the Heart of the Sea

You’ve already read Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whale Ship Essex, you’re this-close to making plans to see the film (starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Ben Whishaw), and the whole thing has provoked a deeper curiosity about the whaling industry, perhaps, or maybe you’d like to read…

Jim Reviews: Once Upon a Time in Russia – Ben Mezrich

Mezrich’s Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs is a hard book to categorize which in my mind says it’ll will appeal to a wide variety of people. This is a book that could be read as a history of Russia in the 1990s and early 2000s It could be read as true crime literature. It also has the machinations of big business, the intrigues of government and the shadowy feel of espionage. All of this is set against the background of Russia after the collapse of Communism.

Michelle Reviews: Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book – Gerard Jones

There’s no lie in that subtitle: the birth of the comic book (the storytelling, the art, the characters, the industry, all those egos) is the axis on which Men of Tomorrow turns. The thing is, a whole, beaming-bright universe of American history glommed on for the ride. There be decades in these pages, long years that hosted war and prohibition and depression and hope that ebbed and flowed like the tide. And I loved every minute spent on delving into the details.

Reading List: Wolf Hall

If you are like most fans of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall series you’ve been climbing the walls waiting for PBS to release the BBC miniseries (which they’ve been watching in England for months the lucky devils). But there’s a problem you can only watch one episode a week and you’ve already reread Wolf Hall and…

Reading List: Kingsman (Get Your Spy Game On)

So you’ve seen the recently released Kingsman: The Secret Service and have been bitten by the spy craft bug. One: Trust me, you’re not alone. Two: We can help fill the time between now and when you go back to the theater to see the movie again, or between now and when it’s released on DVD, whichver is in keeping with how you roll. The majority of the titles on this list, both fiction and non-fiction, can be found on display in the new book room.

Jim Reviews: The Man Who Was George Smiley – Michael Jago

Recently there has been a resurgence in interest in the character of George Smiley with the reboot of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Although Gary Oldman does a credible George Smiley for me he’ll always look like Alec Guinness from the BBC Mini-Series that follows the John le Carre novel very closely. I was thrilled to see Michael Jago’s The Man Who Was George Smiley: The Life of John Bingham

What I’m Reading Now

The name William Marshal was not wholly unknown to me going into Asbridge’s The Greatest Knight, but the details of Marshal’s life, those were very sketchy indeed. I’ve only just started the second section of the biography, which opens in 1166, shortly after Marshal had been knighted, but prior to that my notes on his…

What I’m Reading Now

Two weeks ago I was also discussing What I’m Reading Now, with that list capped off by Meg Wolitzer’s Belzhar, a young adult novel that tangentially relies on the life and works of Sylvia Plath to support a small handful of the story’s themes. I’ve read Plath’s The Bell Jar, Ariel, and assorted brief articles…

An Ottoman Reading List

Because you know you have always wanted one. Ok maybe not but if you are into either European, African or Middle Eastern history you should really check them out. They started out as a tribe of Turkish horsemen wandering around in Anatolia. While still basically a nomadic horde (although they were early adopters of artillery)…

Staff Review: Sous Chef – Michael Gibney

I’ve been reading a lot of history lately so I decided to take a break and indulge one of my other interests: cooking. Part of the reason Sous Chef: 24 Hours On The Line caught my eye (besides being bright red and having a knife on the cover) was that it is different from your average book on the world of fine dining.

Reading List: Outlander

“Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited…

Jen Recommends (III)

Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen “A pinch of marigold for affection, a dash of snapdragon to repel evil, finish with rose petals to encourage love, then let nature take its course. It may be the recipe for Claire Waverley’s successful catering business, but when it comes to working its magic on her own love…

Reading List: The Many Styles of BUNRAKU

A mysterious drifter and an ardent Japanese warrior both arrive in a town terrorized by criminals. Guided by The Bartender at the Horseless Horseman Saloon, the two join forces to bring down the corrupt reign of Nicola and his lady Alexandra. Remember Ethan Chandler (from this post on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful)? Well. Josh Hartnett plays…

The Great Pearl Heist ~ Molly Caldwell Crosby

On the eve of World War I a string of pink pearls worth a small fortune disappears somewhere between Paris and London. Molly Caldwell Crosby’s The Great Pearl Heist is the story of those pearls, the men and women who stole them and the Scotland Yard detectives tasked to get them back. I was attracted…

The Quest ~ Daniel Yergin

An exhaustive explanation of the history of consumable energy in the industrialized world, from animal oils to petrochemicals to nuclear power to renewables (solar, wind etc.). Daniel Yergin somehow manages to cram an improbable amount of information into a considerable amount of pages (804 in all!). “The Quest” delivers an illuminating (and, often, surprisingly entertaining)…

BookPage Interviews Alice Ozma

Alice Ozma is the author of The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared. Publisher’s Summary: “When Alice Ozma was in 4th grade, she and her father decided to see if he could read aloud to her for 100 consecutive nights. On the hundreth night, they shared pancakes to celebrate, but it soon…

Excerpt from Simon Pegg's NERD DO WELL

Publisher’s Summary: “The unique life story of one of the most talented and inventive comedians, star of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Star Trek. Zombies in North London, death cults in the West Country, the engineering deck of the Enterprise: actor, comedian, writer and self-proclaimed supergeek Simon Pegg has been ploughing some bizarre…

(Sort of a) Book Trailer: "Experience Paris with David McCullough"

Publisher’s Summary: “The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work. After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked…

Biography Booklist: Remembering Elizabeth Taylor (1932 – 2011)

“Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, a two-time Oscar winner and Hollywood beauty whose screen success was sometimes overshadowed by her tumultuous personal life, died on Wednesday at age 79.” [via Los Angeles Times] The library owns several biographies on Elizabeth Taylor, including: (linked to the catalog) Elizabeth by J. Randy Taraborrelli “A portrait of Oscar award-winning…