June

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Finally warm weather is here. Take a book to the beach and enjoy!

Jacob – Circulation

booksMedium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain, Adult Nonfiction 641.5 Bou

This book is a follow up to Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential and once again Bourdain delights. He uses his sharp wit and new-found stardom to critique the most recent food trends and high profile chefs. When not critiquing, he shares stories that are humorous and insightful from his own experiences as a chef. This book is a quick read and quite entertaining.

Sue – Circulation

9545064The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon, Fiction Simon

A beautiful, heart-rending story of a mentally disabled young woman and a deaf mute man, both of whom lived at a state-run institution in which the residents were mistreated. In 1968, the pair runs away from the institution and ends up on the doorstep of 70-year-old Martha, a lonely widow. The young woman, Lynnie, has just given birth to a daughter. That same night, the authorities come to Martha’s house and take Lynnie away. The man, Homan, manages to run away and the baby remains undetected. Lynnie asks Martha to keep the baby safe, and so begins a 40 year odyssey for Martha, the baby, Lynnie, and Homan. How their lives unfold over the decades makes for a compelling and absorbing read. The author’s sister is mentally disabled and though this story is fiction, Rachel Simon did research the history of such institutions as the one Lynnie and Homan were confined in, so the book’s portrayal of these institutions and the changes over the decades is historically accurate.

17834834Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson, New Fiction Balson

A compelling and deeply moving novel that combines elements of historical fiction with legal drama. It tells of the experiences of a Jewish family named Solomon in Poland during the Holocaust and the betrayal of that family by a German youth who was taken in and raised as a part of that family. The story opens in 2004 with 83-year-old Ben Solomon publicly accusing famous Chicago millionaire and philanthropist Elliot Rosenzweig of actually being an SS officer named Otto Piatek. Rosenzweig of course denies the accusation, but Ben is certain that Rosenzweig is actually Otto Piatek. He engages a lawyer named Catherine to bring a civil suit against Rosenzweig. In preparation for the lawsuit, Ben tells his story to Catherine over time so that the entire story of what happened to Ben and his family is told over the course of the novel. We learn that Otto was a 12-year-old boy with a German mother and Polish father who was left in the care of the Solomon family in the 1920s when the unemployed father could not care for him after the mother returned to Germany. So Otto and Ben grew up as brothers. The story of Otto’s transformation into a loyal Nazi and his betrayal of his foster family is chilling. The question of whether Rosenzweig is or is not Otto is revealed near the end of the novel. A powerful story about love and evil that will grip you until the final page.

 

FrenchLeaveFrench Leave by P.G. Wodehouse, New Fiction Wodehouse

This is a stand-alone Wodehouse novel written in the 1950s, not part of the Bertie-Jeeves, Blandings, or other Wodehouse well-known series, but just as funny as his better known novels. It is set primarily in the French Rivera and involves three sisters who run a chicken farm in Long Island and inherit some money. They decide to spend the money on an opulent vacation, where the two youngest sisters take turns pretending to be rich in order to find a wealthy man to marry. The daughter named Terry meets an elderly marquis, fallen on hard times and looking for a rich wife for his son, Jeff. Thinking Terry is rich, he wants to set them up. Being a Wodehouse novel, of course all kinds of humorous complications and misunderstandings ensue until all is worked out in the end.

Mary – Youth Services

17999159Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, New YA Graphic Novel: BROSH

Based off the blog of the same title, “Hyperbole and a Half” recounts the hilarious, touching, and odd happenings in the life of self-proclaimed shut-in, Allie Brosh. Using childlike paint illustrations to describe her adult life, and childhood, Hyperbole and a Half humorously approaches topics such as the almighty love of cake, her dog’s bizarre behaviors, and most notably, her own struggle with depression. Don’t let the illustrations fool you. There is a great brevity, and wit, and pathos behind the wonderful scribbles of Allie Brosh.

11343Women in Art: Figures of Influence  by Reed Krakoff, New Adult Nonfiction 704. 042 Kra

Women in Art is a love-letter to modern women artists, art collectors, and curators. With large photographs, and wonderful interviews laced throughout, Women in Art is a physically beautiful book, well-designed; and a museum in and of itself. More importantly, however, this collection does not spread the giant misnomer: “Look, here are women! They do art, too!” But rather, Women in Art serves as a well-deserved collection of the personal portraits of women who are established and upcoming in the art world. The photographer who collected these women’s stories, and photographed their art, was reverent, and open-minded in the documentation of his subjects. This art book is a must-see for any person interested in entering, and impacting the art world. In short: brilliant.

Her2013PosterHer
, Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Scarlett Johansson, DVD Her
Taking place years in our immediate future, Her is the story of Theodore, an introverted man who works for a company whose main job is to write love-letters, or intimate messages for clients. This industry serves two types of people: 1). Individuals who would like intimacy in their lives, but do not have it. OR 2). Individuals who are too busy to send their loved ones personal, intimate messages, gifts, and gestures. Down on his luck and feeling lonely himself, Theodore purchases a computer operating system that uses artificial intelligence, which mirrors and develops just as a human being may. What Theodore does not foresee is the bond he forms with this artificially intelligent voice as she develops to learn about Theodore’s life, and emotionally support him. Her is such a funny, strange, and sometimes unsettling portrait of the way us human beings treat one another, and how we scar each other – especially those we are physically and emotionally intimate with – and how that effects our drive to isolate in a dawning age of technology.
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