New and Notable Books from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection

This section is found on the 2nd Floor of Library, at the base of the stairs.

Smith Henderson, Fourth of July Creek (Ecco 2013) LAW- McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3608.E52737F68 2014

“Dedicated social worker Pete Snow lives in remote, impoverished Tenmile, Montana, in part because he’s hiding out from the fallout of his own fractious divorce and in part because he knows that poverty breeds dysfunctional families, and there are plenty of kids who need his care. When he is summoned to open a file on Benjamin Pearl, a nearly feral 11-year-old boy who is suffering from malnutrition, he comes into contact with the boy’s father, Jeremiah, a paranoid survivalist who mints his own money and is convinced that the end-time is near. Pete soon learns that the FBI is also interested in Jeremiah, targeting him as a homegrown terrorist. Meanwhile, Pete’s own family is in crisis; his teenage daughter has vanished, and his ex-wife can’t do much more than drink and pray. First-novelist Henderson not only displays an uncanny sense of place—he clearly knows rural Montana and its impassable roads, its dank bars, its speed freaks and gas huffers—he also creates an incredibly rich cast of characters, from Pete’s drunken, knuckleheaded friends to the hard-luck waitress who serves him coffee to the disturbed, love-sick survivalist. Dark, gritty, and oh so good.” -Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist starred review.

Heather O’Neill, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night (Farrar Straus & Giroux 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PR9199.4.O64G57 2014

“The girl of the title is Nouschka Tremblay; she and her twin brother, Nicholas, are the 19-year-old children of Étienne Tremblay, a once-famous folksinger and composer who, though his career is now in eclipse, is still celebrated. The twins, high-school dropouts and adrift, are famous, too, their every move reported in the tabloids. Set in Montreal in the 1990s, the story, told by Nouschka, follows her attempts to straighten out her life even as her brother’s becomes ever more erratic. Raised by their elderly grandfather, the twins live together on the edge of poverty, and Nicholas has resorted to petty thievery to support himself. Meanwhile, Nouschka has become a student in night school, hoping to receive her high-school diploma, go on to college, and become a writer. Her plans are interrupted when she falls in love with Raphael, who may be schizophrenic. Complications ensue. O’Neill (Lullabies for Little Criminals, 2006) has written a marvelously intriguing novel of a family in dissolution, each member of which is richly and memorably characterized. A secondary theme involving the Quebec separatist movement evokes the possible separation of the intense bond that has characterized the twins’ lives. The book is beautifully written, particularly rich in simile and metaphor. Compulsively readable, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is a delight for any night.” -Michael Cart Booklist Starred Review

Featured Book from the Recreational Reading Collection

astonish me

The recreational reading (McNaughton) collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library under the staircase.

Maggie Shipstead, Astonish Me (Knopf 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3619.H586A88 2014

Set in the world of ballet, this gripping novel spans three decades, starting in the mid-seventies, when Joan, a young American dancer, helps a Baryshnikov-like star defect from the Soviet Union. A brief relationship ensues, after which she retreats with another man to a life of suburban motherhood. The novel’s frequent chronological shifts feel strained and jarring, but the narrative effectively dramatizes the tensions between family and career, perfectionism and compromise. A young dancer spends her life in front of a mirror, and “without it she is halved, uncertain of her existence.” Shipstead rises to the challenge of evoking the excitement of dance, and her descriptions are all the more powerful for emphasizing the hard work behind the grace. (Review from New Yorker July 21, 2014 Briefly Noted column.)

Recommended Reading from the Walkover Collection: Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

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

Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, (Ecco 2012)  LAW-Walkover Collection (2nd Floor)  PS3606.O844B55 2012  (National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2012)

51Ktw9J6YxL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“Though the shellshocked humor will likely conjure comparisons with Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse Five, the debut novel by Fountain focuses even more on the cross-promotional media monster that America has become than it does on the absurdities of war. The entire novel takes place over a single Thanksgiving Day, when the eight soldiers (with their memories of the two who didn’t make it) find themselves at the promotional center of an all-American extravaganza, a nationally televised Dallas Cowboys football game. Providing the novel with its moral compass is protagonist Billy Lynn, a 19-year-old virgin from small-town Texas who has been inflated into some kind of cross between John Wayne and Audie Murphy for his role in a rescue mission documented by an embedded Fox News camera. In two days, the Pentagon-sponsored “Victory Tour” will end and Bravo will return to the business as usual of war. In the meantime, they are dealing with a producer trying to negotiate a film deal (“Think Rocky meets Platoon”), glad-handing with the corporate elite of Cowboy fandom (and ownership), and suffering collateral damage during a halftime spectacle with Beyoncé. Over the course of this long, alcohol-fueled day, Billy finds himself torn, as he falls in love (and lust) with a devout Christian cheerleader and listens to his sister try to persuade him that he has done his duty and should refuse to go back. As “Americans fight the war daily in their strenuous inner lives,” Billy and his foxhole brethren discover treachery and betrayal beyond anything they’ve experienced on the battlefield. War is hell in this novel of inspired absurdity.” Review from Kirkus Reviews

Recommended Reading from the Walkover Collection: 2666, Roberto Bolaño


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

2666 by Roberto Bolaño
PQ8093.12.O38A12213 2008

“The American mirror, said the voice, the sad American mirror of wealth and poverty and constant useless metamorphosis, the mirror that sails and whose sails are pain.” From 1993 to 2003 there have been over 1000 unsolved murders of young women in the Mexico-US border city Juárez, this is the backdrop of Roberto Bolaño’s enormous, 900 page novel 2666. 2666 is far from your typical detective novel. For one, despite the many murders, no one seems to care. In fact, the murders are not substantively discussed until the second half of the novel. Bolaño divides the novel into five parts and each vary greatly in tone and point-of-view. Word of caution: getting adjusted to Bolaño’s writing style takes time, but is well worth it. If you’re in the mood for a mind-blowing novel that you can spend months studying, then 2666 is a must read. – Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

Recommended Reading from the Walkover Collection: The Lazarus Project

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

Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project (Riverhead Books 2009)
LAW-Walkover Collection (2nd Floor)   PS3608.E48L39 2009 (National Book Award Finalist 2008)

“MacArthur genius Hemon in his third book (after Nowhere Man) intelligently unpacks 100 years’ worth of immigrant disillusion, displacement and desperation. As fears of the anarchist movement roil 1908 Chicago, the chief of police guns down Lazarus Averbuch, an eastern European immigrant Jew who showed up at the chief’s doorstep to deliver a note. Almost a century later, Bosnian-American writer Vladimir Brik secures a coveted grant and begins working on a book about Lazarus; his research takes him and fellow Bosnian Rora, a fast-talking photographer whose photos appear throughout the novel, on a twisted tour of eastern Europe (there are brothel-hotels, bouts of violence, gallons of coffee and many fabulist stories from Rora) that ends up being more a journey into their own pasts than a fact-finding mission. Sharing equal narrative duty is the story of Olga Averbuch, Lazarus’s sister, who, hounded by the police and the press (the Tribune reporter is especially vile), is faced with another shock: the disappearance of her brother’s body from his potter’s grave. (His name, after all, was Lazarus.) Hemon’s workmanlike prose underscores his piercing wit, and between the murders that bookend the novel, there’s pathos and outrage enough to chip away at even the hardest of hearts.” (Review from Publisher’s Weekly)

Featured Book from the Recreational Reading Collection: The Luminaries

books-1The recreational reading (McNaughton) collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library under the staircase

Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries, (Little Brown & Co. 2013)  LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)  PR9639.4.C39L86 2013 (Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize)

“When Walter Moody arrives on a “wild shard of the Coast”—that of the then-remote South Island—in late January 1866, he discovers that strange doings are afoot: A local worthy has disappeared, a local belle de nuit has tried to do herself in, the town drunk turns out to possess a fortune against all odds, and the whole town is mumbling, murmuring and whispering.  Indeed, when Moody walks into his hotel on that—yes, dark and stormy—night, he interrupts a gathering of 12 local men who are trying to get to the bottom of the matter. Moody, as it turns out, is trained as a lawyer—“By training only,” he demurs, “I have not yet been called to the Bar”—but, like everyone else, has been lured to the wild by the promise of gold. It is gold in all its glory that fuels this tale, though other goods figure, too, some smuggled in by the very phantom bark that has deposited Moody on the island. Catton’s long opening, in which the narrative point of view ping-pongs among these 13 players and more, sets the stage for a chronologically challenging tale in which mystery piles atop mystery. Catton writes assuredly and with just the right level of flourish: “He was thinking of Sook Yongsheng, lying cold on the floor inside—his chin and throat smeared with boot-black, his eyebrows thickened, like a clown.” She blends elements of Victorian adventure tale, ghost story, detective procedural à la The Moonstone and shaggy dog tale to produce a postmodern tale to do Thomas Pynchon or Julio Cortázar proud; there are even echoes of Calvino in the author’s interesting use of both astronomy and astrology. There’s a lovely payoff after the miles of twists and turns. It’s work getting there but work of a thoroughly pleasant kind.”  Review from Kirkus Reviews

Featured Book from the Recreational Reading Collection

Alan S. Blinder, After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response and the Work Ahead (Penguin Press 2013) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)   HB3717 2008.B55 2013

“An experienced economist explains the global financial crisis that began in 2008 and continues. Blinder (Economics and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) has accumulated real-world experience in the political realm of finance as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve board of governors and on President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. Noting that numerous books have already chronicled the origins and impacts of the crisis, Blinder suggests that his is unique for a few reasons: It is the most comprehensive so far, is less of a whodunit and more of a “why did they do it,” emphasizes public policymaking over arcane financial dealings and looks to the future. After explaining the genesis of the crisis, Blinder analyzes the responses by policymakers. In the United States, the policymaking yielded a paradox: financial markets left to police themselves after ill-advised, ideologically based government deregulation needed previously unwelcome intervention to avert complete calamity. But then public opinion seemed to view the federal government as villainous. Blinder does not portray government decision-makers as heroic, but he demonstrates that without their energetic intervention, far more institutions would have collapsed, more homes would have been foreclosed on, and more jobs would have been eliminated. Throughout the book, the author explains nuances unexamined or underexamined in the large number of previous books appearing since 2008. A clearheaded analysis with a final section suggesting that lessons learned from the crisis are already being ignored.” (Review from Kirkus Book Review)

Featured Book from the Walkover Collection

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

booksLouise Erdrich, The Round House  (Harper Collins, 2012) LAW-Walkover Collection (2nd Floor)   PS3555.R42R68 2012   (Winner of the National Book Award 2012)

In her intensely involving fourteenth novel, Erdrich writes with brio in the voice of a man reliving the fateful summer of his thirteenth year. The son of a tribal judge, Bazil, and a tribal enrollment specialist, Geraldine, Joe Coutts is an attentively loved and lucky boy—until his mother is brutally beaten and raped. Erdrich’s profound intimacy with her characters electrifies this stunning and devastating tale of hate crimes and vengeance, her latest immersion in the Ojibwe and white community she has been writing about for more than two decades. As Joe and his father try to help Geraldine heal and figure out who attacked her and why, Erdrich dissects the harsh realities of an imperiled yet vital culture and unjust laws reaching back to a tragedy in her earlier novel The Plague of Doves (2008). But it is Joe’s awakening to the complexities and traumas of adult life that makes this such a beautifully warm and wise novel.Through Joe’s hilarious and unnerving encounters with his ex-stripper aunt, bawdy grandmothers, and a marine turned Catholic priest; Joe’s dangerous escapades with his loyal friends; and the spellbinding stories told by his grandfather, Mooshum, a favorite recurring character, Erdrich covers a vast spectrum of history, cruel loss, and bracing realizations. A preeminent tale in an essential American saga. (Review from Booklist)

Featured Book from the Recreational Reading Collection

The recreational reading (McNaughton) collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library under the staircase

Dave Eggers, The Circle (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)   PS3605.G48C57 2013

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 12.18.47 PM“Most of us imagine totalitarianism as something imposed upon us—but what if we’re complicit in our own oppression? That’s the scenario in Eggers’ ambitious, terrifying, and eerily plausible new novel. When Mae gets a job at the Circle, a Bay Area tech company that’s cornered the world market on social media and e-commerce, she’s elated, and not just because of the platinum health-care package. The gleaming campus is a wonder, and it seems as though there isn’t anything the company can’t do (and won’t try). But she soon learns that participation in social media is mandatory, not voluntary, and that could soon apply to the general population as well. For a monopoly, it’s a short step from sharing to surveillance, to a world without privacy. This isn’t a perfect book—the good guys lecture true-believer Mae, and a key metaphor is laboriously explained—but it’s brave and important and will draw comparisons to Brave New World and 1984. Eggers brilliantly depicts the Internet binges, torrents of information, and endless loops of feedback that increasingly characterize modern life. But perhaps most chilling of all is his notion that our ultimate undoing could be something so petty as our desperate desire for affirmation.” Starred Review (Review by Keir Graff from Booklist via Amazon)


Featured Book from the Walkover Collection

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

Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule  (McPherson & Co, 2010) LAW-Walkover Collection (2nd Floor)   PS3557.O668L67 2010   (Winner of the National Book Award 2010)

9505561Firmly rooted in the smells and sounds of a particular place, the language of the racetrack, like Yiddish, is rich in the ironies and heartbreak of daily living. Gordon knows that language and brings it to vivid life in this moving and lyrical tone poem about the inhabitants of the “backside” at a no-account West Virginia racetrack called Indian Mound Downs. The equilibrium of life for the grooms, trainers, small-time owners, and even the horses that populate the backside’s shed rows is disrupted by the arrival of a frizzy-haired girl and her peculiar boyfriend, who plans to run his aging horse at the track. Nothing odd about that, particularly, but with the girl’s arrival, Medicine Ed, a 73-year-old groom who has spent his entire life as a “racetracker,” has a “funny, goofered feeling about the way things was going.” Ed, who earned his moniker making “goofer juice,” which has startling effects when rubbed on a horse about to run, is rarely wrong about such things. As the inevitable plays itself out over a novel structured around four horses (including the titular Lord of Misrule) running in four races, we come to feel not only the idiosyncratic camaraderie shared by the backside inhabitants but also the special rhythm of life lived near the “fly-loud” barn. This is not the world of Seabiscuit or Secretariat, where the right horse winning the right race makes everything good; this is a goofered world ruled by misrule. But sometimes, as Gordon tells it, the smell of pine tar and horse manure can function like a “devil’s tonic.” Words can do that, too, as this nearly word-perfect novel makes abundantly clear. –Bill Ott (Review from Booklist)