New and Notable Non-Fiction from the Library’s Recreational Reading Collection:

(2nd Floor of Library at the base of the stairs)

Rinker Buck The Oregon Trail (Simon & Schuster 2015) McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) F597.B89 2015

Well into middle-age, Rinker Buck found himself divorced, at the edge of bankruptcy, and growing blunt through the twin demons of ennui and alcohol. This was not a state he was accustomed to; instilled by his father with a sense of daring, Buck was no stranger to adventure, having been (with his brother) one half of the youngest duo to fly across the country, a tale documented in his celebrated book, Flight of Passage. On a whim, he found himself in a museum at the head of the Oregon Trail, realizing that even as a fairly serious American history buff, he knew virtually nothing about the pivotal era when 400,000 pioneers made their way West in quests for land, gold, and new lives. On a much bigger whim, Buck decided to travel the 2,000 miles of ruts and superseding highways in a mule-driven wagon on his own “crazyass” quest for a new beginning. The result is a dense-yet-entertaining mix of memoir, history and adventure, as Buck– joined by another brother, Nick, and his “incurably filthy” dog, Olive Oyl–struggle with the mechanical, environmental, and existential challenges posed by such an unusually grueling journey. Buck is an engaging writer, and while the book pushes 500 pages, the story never lags. By the end, you’ll know more about mules than you ever thought you would (just enough, actually), and you’ll have a better perspective on the Trail, its travelers, and the role it played in shaping the modern United States. (And is Rinker Buck not a pioneer-worthy name for an tale such as this?) –Jon Foro — Amazon Best Book of July 2015

By turns frankly hilarious, historically elucidating, emotionally touching, and deeply informative. -Kirkus Reviews

Randall Munroe What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (Houghton Mifflin 2014) McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) Q173.M965 2014

If you’ve ever contemplated questions such as “How close would you have to be to a supernova to get a lethal dose of neutrino radiation?” or “If you suddenly began rising steadily at 1 foot per second, how exactly would you die?” then Randall Munroe’s “What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions” is the book for you. Munroe is the Cambridge-based former NASA roboticist turned celebrity cartoonist behind the uber-popular website xkcd. Since 2012, average folk have been submitting oddball “What If?” queries, usually based on some scientific or science-fiction premise. “What If?” the book is a compilation of these Q&As, around half of which are new, and half are “updated and expanded versions” of his most popular investigations. It’s fun to watch as Munroe tackles each question and examines every possible complication with nerdy and methodical aplomb, his distinctive scribblings providing clever running commentary of peanut-gallery jokes as his train of thought (sometimes) happily derails. The delightfully demented “What If?” is the most fun you can have with math and science, short of becoming your own evil genius. To balance every calculation of Yoda’s telekinetic “[f]orce power” (about 19.2 kilowatts, it turns out) or worst-case astrophysical cataclysm, Munroe explores more heady musings, such as the odds of finding your soul mate, or when Facebook will contain more profiles of the dead than living. When he predicts the effects of a magnitude minus-7 Richter-scale earthquake — “[a] single feather fluttering to the ground” — we feel the tug of Munroe’s playful yet existentially-tinged worldview, and all that geek logic and number-crunching becomes unexpectedly poignant. Review by Ethan Gilsdorf, Boston Globe


New and Notable Books from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection

(2nd Floor of Library at the base of the stairs)

Rebecca Makkai The Hundred Year House (Viking 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3613.A36H85 2014

Charmingly clever and mischievously funny, Makkai follows her enthusiastically praised first novel, The Borrower (2011), with an intriguingly structured tale—each section takes a step back in time—set on a fabled, possibly haunted estate north of Chicago. After the alleged suicide of its beautiful first matriarch, Laurelfield was turned into an artists’ colony in 1906 and thrived until an even more mysterious turn of events led to the property’s return to strictly private use. Now, at the turn of the twentieth century, Zee, a Marxist English professor who grew up in Laurelfield, is living in the coach house with her jobless husband, Doug, who is supposed to be working on a book about a former artists’ colony resident. Not only does Zee’s imperious mother inexplicably stonewall his research, but Zee’s batty stepfather also invites his unemployed son and artist daughter-in-law to live in the coach house. Such close quarters provide the perfect setup for farce and scandal, and Makkai choreographs both in a dazzling plot spiked with secrets and betrayals hilarious and dire. Her offbeat characters and suspenseful story could have added up to a stylish romp. Instead, Makkai offers that and much more as she stealthily investigates the complexities of ambition, sexism, violence, creativity, and love in this diverting yet richly dimensional novel. –Donna Seaman, starred review Booklist

Andrew Lewis Conn O, Africa (Hogarth 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3603.O542O23 2014

The Grand brothers are known for their silent movies. With Micah directing and Izzy behind the camera, their comedies have been pleasing crowds for years, but in 1928, trouble looms. While the advent of talkies threatens the brothers’ livelihood, Micah’s interracial affair and penchant for gambling put them in physical danger, as well. With these perils lurking at home, their producer sends them to the jungles of central Africa to collect never-before-seen footage that he hopes will change the fate of their studio. Ultimately, though, it’s the brothers who will be most changed by their expedition. Stretching from New York to Africa to California, Conn sets the stage for the golden age of Hollywood with carefully placed contemporaneous events, then challenges that milieu with anachronistic behavior and dialogue. The result is a satirical, heartbreaking tale of disillusionment and self-discovery that, with its Jewish filmmakers, desegregated liaisons, and homosexual awakening, takes on the state of prejudice both then and now. History aficionados may quibble about the details, but classic film buffs will be enthralled. –Cortney Ophoff, review Booklist


Recommended Titles from the McNaughton Collection

The McNaughton collection is located adjacent to the recreational reading collection under the library stairs.

Scott McCloud The Sculptor (First Second Books 2015). Here’s a review from the from The New York Times by Stephen Burtmay:

“The Sculptor” is McCloud’s first book in nine years, his first graphic novel since 1998 and his first long, complete story with adult main characters. Easy to follow, replete with expressive faces, snappy transitions, close-ups, cutaways and countless variations on the standard nine-panel grid, “The Sculptor” reflects McCloud’s decades of interest in how to design and draw sequential art.

McCloud’s plot is easy to summarize: It’s the Faust legend. A sculptor named David Smith has washed out of the New York art world. Dealers once called him “the other David Smith,” to distinguish him from the eminence at Storm King; now they don’t call him at all. Penniless and despondent, he encounters the ghost of his granduncle Harry, who asks, “What would you give for your art?” David answers, “My life,” and so it is: The ­Devil-as-Harry offers him the power to shape anything — concrete, steel, flesh — with his bare hands, and “200 days to use it — before you die.”

After this book’s release, earlier this year, there was a heated bidding war for the film rights. Ultimately, Sony gained the rights to adapt it.


Recommended Titles from the Walkover Collection

The Walkover collection is located adjacent to the recreational reading collection under the library stairs.

Elizabeth Strout Olive Kitteridge (Random House 2008 – Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize)

Thirteen linked tales present a heart-wrenching, penetrating portrait of ordinary coastal Mainers living lives of quiet grief intermingled with flashes of human connection. The opening Pharmacy focuses on terse, dry junior high-school teacher Olive Kitteridge and her gregarious pharmacist husband, Henry, both of whom have survived the loss of a psychologically damaged parent, and both of whom suffer painful attractions to co-workers. Their son, Christopher, takes center stage in A Little Burst, which describes his wedding in humorous, somewhat disturbing detail, and in Security, where Olive, in her 70s, visits Christopher and his family in New York. Strout’s fiction showcases her ability to reveal through familiar details—the mother-of-the-groom’s wedding dress, a grandmother’s disapproving observations of how her grandchildren are raised—the seeds of tragedy. Themes of suicide, depression, bad communication, aging and love, run through these stories, none more vivid or touching than Incoming Tide, where Olive chats with former student Kevin Coulson as they watch waitress Patty Howe by the seashore, all three struggling with their own misgivings about life. Like this story, the collection is easy to read and impossible to forget. Its literary craft and emotional power will surprise readers unfamiliar with Strout. (Review from Publisher’s Weekly – Starred Review)

HBO has created a four part miniseries based on Olive Kitteridge. It will air on November 2nd & 3rd.


Recommended Books from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection

Matthew Pearl, The Last Bookaneer (Penguin Press 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3616.E25L367 2015

An entertaining adventure tale steeped in literary history, it tells of rival book pirates seeking their biggest prize, the last novel of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94). Pearl extrapolates from a scrap of history about the illicit 19th-century trade in books before the international copyright law of 1891 to imagine a busy demimonde of bookaneers (he says in an afterword he found the term used as early as 1837) working in New York and London. He brings in the characters Whiskey Bill and Kitten from his 2009 novel, The Last Dickens, both central to subplots in the present novel. The main plot has the two leading bookaneers, Davenport and Belial, vying for the Stevenson prize by voyaging to Samoa, where the author of Treasure Island has established himself as a sort of philosopher-king. Davenport has a sidekick named Fergins, a former bookseller, who plays Watson to his companion’s Holmes. As usual with Pearl, sleuthing helps drive the story, especially when Davenport uses his keen eye and deductive skills to investigate Kitten’s death after her great coup, finding a Mary Shelley manuscript. Pearl has fun with cannibals, a native beauty, an amorous dwarf, myriad literary references and allusions, and not one but two neat twists as the tale winds down. He also plays with narrative voices, delivering most of the story through Fergins’ memories of it but as told to Clover, a black railway porter befriended by the bookseller and a key figure in the final twist. The narrative device adds another layer of 19th-century literary atmosphere.

Pearl is a smooth writer whose adoption of the ambling pace, digressions, and melodrama of an earlier literary era may not suit today’s instant gratifiers, but he offers many of the charms and unrushed distractions of a favorite old bookstore. (From Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

Nick Harkaway, Tigerman: A Novel (Knopf 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PR6108.A737T54 2014

“It’s amazing being a superhero,” says Lester Ferris as the action winds down at the end of Harkaway’s latest. “It’s totally mad.” Ferris, aka the Sergeant, hasn’t been on Mancreu for long, but he’s lived 10 lifetimes there. Posted to a supposedly quiet patch of earth after long, soul-shattering duty in Afghanistan (“the Americans called it a Total Goatfuck”) and Iraq, he’s found himself on a spit of land out in the Arabian Sea that, thanks to climate change, is in danger of receding under the waves—but until that time is a convenient entrepôt for drug dealers, arms smugglers, pirates, spies, defectors, flimflam artists, multinational corporatists and all the usual suspects, not least of them numerous powers NATO and otherwise: “[V]arious interests,” writes Harkaway, “were making use of the lawless nature of the Mancreu waters for things they might not otherwise be able to do.” Mancreu’s hub is a cafe owned by a fine fellow named Shola, who’s mowed down by gunmen for no apparent reason. The Sergeant, aided—or perhaps not—by shadowy figures flying the stars and stripes and the tricolor, is at a loss until, visited of a night by a tiger, he takes on the superhero guise of the title, suggested to him by a comic-book–loving, lonely teenager helpfully named Robin. The ensuing showdown is full of in-jokes, knowing nods to the headlines and miscreant Belgians, which will please fans of Monty Python if not necessarily the good burghers of Antwerp. The cast of characters is straight out of a Milton Caniff cartoon, with names like Bad Jack, White Raoul and the Witch, but the burdens poor Mancreu has to bear, from land rape and gang war to toxic dumping and international intrigue, are thoroughly modern millstones.

A hoot and a half, and then some: hands down, the best island farce since Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle half a century ago. (from Kirkus Reviews, starred review – Kirkus best fiction of 2014 list.


Lessons in Leadership: Essential Skills for Lawyers

Lessons in Leadership: Essential Skills for Lawyers
Tom Grella
KF300.G74 2013

From the publisher:
Lessons in Leadership: Essential Skills for Lawyers will be required reading for any attorney–from newly hired associates to seasoned managing partners–seeking to develop their leadership skills. Through a series of practical lessons [What is leadership? — Leadership and management as applied to the law firm — Development of personal leadership skills — Trust and autonomy — Leadership in practice: client relations — Day to day leadership — Strategy and planning: casting vision — Succession planning: leaving a legacy for the next generation], veteran law firm leader Tom Grella draws from his own experiences and applies time-tested leadership principles to lawyers and law firms.


The 6Ps of the Big 3 for Job-Seeking JDs : 60+ Ways to Get Hired Using Social Networking

The 6Ps of the Big 3 for Job-Seeking JDs : 60+ Ways to Get Hired Using Social Networking 
Amanda C. Ellis
KF297.E44 2010

A job search campaign, like a political campaign, is comprised of various pieces. One piece that can no longer be ignored in either campaign is social networking. Social networking alone cannot win elections or jobs, but it can contribute significantly when performed correctly. To get hired using the three most popular social networking sites Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (collectively, the Big 3), job-seeking lawyers and law students should incorporate the following six elements (the 6Ps ) into their job search campaign: Professionalism, Profile, Privacy, Performance, Practice, Protocol. [This book] teaches law students and lawyers how to incorporate the 6Ps; outlines over 60 ways to use the Big 3 sites to get hired; and provides over 200 examples of lawyers and law students using the Big 3 sites, including profiles of legal professionals who successfully used social networking to get hired
–from the publisher


The Children’s Book Week Collection

The Phantom Tollbooth (Yearling 2005)
Norton Juster
LAW-Faculty Read Collection PS3560.U858P43 2005

From Professor Julie Shapiro: “The combination of story and word-play in The Phantom Tollbooth was (and is) irresistible to me. On the surface, it is the story of Milo’s adventures with his entertaining creatures along the way. As a child I read it over and over, getting a few more of the jokes each time. It’s still the case that each time I read it something I didn’t notice (or had forgotten) strikes me. And finally, it is a moral tale—only the return of Rhyme and Reason can bring harmony to the world.”

Pippi Longstocking (Puffin 1997)
Astrid Lindgren
LAW-Faculty Read Collection PZ7.L6585Pi 1997
From Kristin Cheney, Professor Emerita: “Pippi Longstocking has been described by some as a feminist role model for young girls, and when I was a little girl reading Astrid Lindgren’s stories, I may well have subliminally absorbed that message. However, what I really remember was this incredibly fearless, adventuresome girl with gorgeous (at least in my mind) red hair who was not only super strong and rich, but had a monkey for a friend. I wanted to be just like her and in some ways still do. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a sack full of gold pieces?”

Sink It, Rusty (Little, Brown 1963)
Matt Christopher
LAW-Faculty Read Collection PZ7.C458Si 1963
From Kelly Kunsch, Reference Librarian: “I’ve always loved sports and when I was growing up, the only sport stories written for kids were by Matt Christopher. The formula for his books was always the same: kid with problem struggles to make the team but ultimately is the hero in the biggest game of the season. In Sink It Rusty, Rusty limped because of childhood polio (a common disease years ago). As a sign of the times, the book was revised in 1995 and called Shoot for the Hoop (the protagonist this time being afflicted with diabetes…). Having books on subjects of interest encouraged kids like me to read more. As for life imitating art, I was cut from my high school basketball team for being too short. I obviously should have loaned the coach a copy of Sink It Rusty.”


The Children’s Book Week Collection

Every year in May Children’s Book Week is celebrated to promote child literacy as well as the best in children’s literature. A few years ago several faculty and staff chose their favorite children’s books and described why these books were meaningful to them. This collection is located on the bottom shelf of the Recreational Reading collection at the bottom of the stairs on the 2nd floor of the library. There are also a few located in the Faculty Read collection in front of the reference desk.

If you happen to bring a child to the library, please be sure to let them explore this collection. The books from the Children’s Book Week collection are available for checkout.


Recommended Reading from the Walkover Collection

The Walkover collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library under the staircase.

The Buddha in the Attic (Knopf 2011)
Julia Otsuka
LAW-Walkover Collection (2nd Floor) PS3615.T88B83 2012

“Otsuka, whose first novel (When the Emperor Was Divine, 2003) focused on one specific Japanese-American family’s plight during and after internment, takes the broad view in this novella-length consideration of Japanese mail-order brides making a life for themselves in America in the decades before World War II. There are no central characters. A first-person-plural chorus narrates the women’s experiences from their departure from Japan until they are removed from their homes and shipped to the camps, at which point the narration is taken over by clueless whites. Rather than following an individual story, Otsuka lists experience after experience, piling name upon name. Voyaging across the Pacific to California, the women’s emotions range from fear to excitement, but most, even those leaving behind secret lovers, are hopeful. Reality sets in when they meet their husbands, who are seldom the men they seemed from their letters and photographs. And the men’s reactions to their new wives vary as much as the women’s. Some are loving, some abusive. For all their differences, whether farm workers, laundrymen, gardeners or struggling entrepreneurs, they share a common outsider status. Soon the majority of women who stay married—some die or run off or are abandoned—are working alongside their husbands. They begin to have babies and find themselves raising children who speak English and consider themselves American. And the women have become entrenched; some even have relationships with the whites around them; many are financially comfortable. But with the arrival of the war against Japan come rumors. Japanese and white Americans look at each other differently. Loyalty is questioned. Anti-Japanese laws are passed. And the Japanese themselves no longer know whom to trust as more and more of them disappear each day. Once they are truly gone, off to the camps, the whites feel a mix of guilt and relief, then begin to forget the Japanese who had been their neighbors. A lovely prose poem that gives a bitter history lesson.” Review from Kirkus Reviews