Featured Book from the Recreational Reading Collection

Sasha Abramsky, The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives (Nation Books 2013) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)   HC110.P6A54 2013  (New York Times Notable Book)

“Not since the Great Depression have so many Americans been counted among the poor. Freelance reporter Abramsky explores poverty in America 50 years after Michael Harrington’s groundbreaking book, The Other America. Abramsky offers historical perspective, detailing how poverty as well as social attitudes and public policy regarding poverty have changed. He points to the antitax policies of conservatives that have contributed to growing income inequality in the U.S. and growing concerns most evident in the Occupy movement and protest for the 99 percent versus the 1 percent. From Appalachia to Hawaii, from inner cities to rural areas, from families suffering intergenerational poverty to victims of the recent housing crisis, Abramsky’s portraits of the poor illustrate three striking points: the isolation, diversity—people with no jobs and people with multiple jobs—and resilience of the poor. Drawing on ideas from a broad array of equality advocates, Abramsky offers detailed policies to address poverty, including reform in education, immigration, energy, taxation, criminal justice, housing, Social Security, and Medicaid, as well as analysis of tax and spending policies that could reduce inequities” (Review by Vanessa Bush 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

Jo Baker, Lonbourn: A Novel of Pride and Prejudice Below Stairs  (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)   PR6102.A57L66 2013

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 12.13.32 PM“The servants of the Bennett estate manage their own set of dramas in this vivid re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice. While the marriage prospects of the Bennett girls preoccupy the family upstairs, downstairs the housekeeper Mrs. Hill has her hands full managing the staff that keeps Longbourn running smoothly: the young housemaids, Sarah and Polly; the butler, Mr. Hill; and the mysterious new footman, James Smith, who bears a secret connection to Longbourn. At the heart of the novel is a budding romance between James and orphan-turned-housemaid Sarah, whose dutiful service belies a ferocious need for notice, an insistence that she fully be taken into account. When an expected turn of events separates the young lovers, Sarah must contend with James’s complicated past and the never-ending demands of the Bennetts. Baker (The Mermaid’s Child) offers deeper insight into Austen’s minor characters, painting Mr. Collins in a more sympathetic light while making the fiendish Mr. Wickham even more sinister. The Militia, which only offered opportunities for flirtations in the original, here serves as a reminder of the horrors of the Napoleonic Wars. Baker takes many surprising risks in developing the relationships between the servants and the Bennetts, but the end result steers clear of gimmick and flourishes as a respectful and moving retelling. A must-read for fans of Austen, this literary tribute also stands on its own as a captivating love story”.—Starred Review (Review from Publisher’s Weekly via Amazon)

 


 

Featured Non-Fiction Book from the Recreational Reading Collection

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

2021768591Langdon Cook, The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America, (Ballantine Books, 2013) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)   PR6063.I265C58 2009  

Langdon Cook has got to be the ideal companion to have along on a backwoods-camping trip. The guy can forage and fish, he’s a wizard cook, he’s only a little reckless and, to judge by his new book “The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of Underground America” (Ballantine, 296 pp., $26), he’s terrific company — especially when sharing his passion for mushrooms. Like Susan Orlean in “The Orchid Thief,” Seattle author Cook shines a light on a shady subculture operating at the seam between wilderness and commerce. Like author Michael Pollan, he knows that every bite of food these days has a complex, often unsavory backstory. Like the late Hunter Thompson, he not only goes along for the ride with the shifty characters he’s writing about, but drives the getaway car. After reading “The Mushroom Hunters,” you’ll never look at a portobello the same way.

What excites Cook is not the very domesticated but the very wild, gnarly, phallic, smelly, hard-to-find but exquisite-to-eat fungi-like hedgehogs, morels, matsutakes, yellowfeet and truffles. Even the chanterelle — “an off-the-shelf French floozy Halloween costume” — is a touch common for Cook’s taste. And so he sets off into the damp fungal wild with a couple of colorful commercial foragers. Doug Carnell, the picker, is an Olympic Peninsula knockabout with a checkered past and an internal atlas of prime mushroom patches from the North Cascades to the Klamath Mountains. Jeremy Faber is a quick-talking, nimble-witted New York Jew who came to Seattle for the skiing and food scene, earned his chops at top-flight local restaurants (Ray’s Boathouse, Serafina, The Herbfarm), and then struck out on his own with a foraged-foods business. “It was one thing to grow a nice tomato or pepper at home,” Cook muses as he contemplates the wild bounty of our region, “quite another to uncover nature’s hidden garden deep within the folds of the misty mountain forests of the Pacific Northwest.” Review by David Laskin excerpted from the Seattle Times

 


 

Featured Book from the Recreational Reading Collection

200px-Mieville_City_2009_UK

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

China Miéville, The City & The City, (Del Rey Ballantine Books, 2009) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)   PR6063.I265C58 2009  

Fantasy author Miéville (Looking for Jake, 2005) puts his own unique spin on the detective story. Inspector Tyador Borlu, a lonely police detective, is assigned to the murder of a young woman found dumped in a park on the edge of Beszel, an old city, decaying and mostly forgotten, situated in an unspecified area on the southeastern fringes of Europe. But Beszel does not exist alone; it shares much of the same physical space with Ul Qoma. Each city retains a distinct culture and style, and the citizenry of both places has elaborate rules and rituals to avoid the dreaded Breach, which separates the two across space and time. This unique setting becomes one of the most important and well-developed characters in the novel, playing a pivotal role in the mystery when Tyador discovers that his murder case is much more complex than a dumped body, requiring “international” cooperation with the Ul Qoman authorities. Eschewing the preliminary world-building techniques of many fantasy books, Miéville dumps the reader straight into Tyador’s world of crosshatching and unseeing, only gradually developing and explaining his one-of-a kind setting. Suggest to readers who enjoyed Michael Chabon’s alternate-history mystery, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007), or to fans of the futuristic urban setting in A. L. Martinez’s Automatic Detective (2008). An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans. –Jessica Moyer


 

The Read Collection

Each year during National Library Week a member of the law school community is asked to choose with a favorite book and explain why the book is meaningful to him or her.  These books form the library’s Read Collection.  The Read Collection is an eclectic mix of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, mysteries and even children’s books.  The Read Collection is located on a bookshelf in front of the reference desk.  See the complete archive of the read collection here.

(more…)


 

Recommended Title from the Walkover Collection

297673Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead Books 2008) [Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for fiction]

“Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the fukú — the ancient curse that has haunted the Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still dreaming of his first kiss, is only its most recent victim – until the fateful summer that he decides to be its last.

With dazzling energy and insight, Junot Díaz immerses us in the uproarious lives of our hero Oscar, his runaway sister Lola, and their ferocious beauty-queen mother Belicia, and in the epic journey from Santo Domingo to Washington Heights to New Jersey’s Bergenline and back again. Rendered with uncommon warmth and humor, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao presents an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and the endless human capacity to persevere – and to risk it all – in the name of love.

“A true literary triumph, this novel confirms Junot Díaz as one of the best and most exciting writers of our time.” Review from goodreads.com.

 


 

Featured Non-Fiction Book from the Recreational Reading Collection

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

9780393241099_198Lucy Lethbridge, Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times (W.W. Norton & Co., 2013) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)   HD8039.D52G7766 2013b  

Lethbridge explores the culture of 20th-century British domestic service workers, the families that employed them, and the practice’s sudden collapse after WWII. She discusses the implications of the upstairs vs. downstairs arrangement in which servants were expected to be “invisible and inaudible,” and bizarre customs dictating everything from calling cards to the ironing of newspapers and shoelaces. Lethbridge also outlines the specific nature of many positions, including the footmen, regarded as effeminate “embodiments of mincing servitude”; butlers, among whom the Astors’ Edwin Lee is most famous; lady’s maids; chauffeurs; and charwomen. In a moment of historical reenactment, she relives Alice Osbourne’s experience as a nursery governess and housekeeper through her diaries, and journalist Elizabeth Banks’s account of going into service undercover. Service work in the British colonies, where employers were desperate to maintain the rituals of home, receives attention, as do the trials of refugees adapting to the British service lifestyle. By WWI many houses either closed or used “women in the traditional manservant roles” as domestic workers left for factories. Though many returned to service after the war, political and social changes following WWII dealt the final blow. Lethbridge comprehensively details an old convention that continues to fascinate the public. (Review from Publisher’s Weekly)


 

Featured Book from the Recreational Reading Collection

The recreational reading (McNaughton) collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library under the staircase. Jonathan-franzen-freedomJonathan Franzen, Freedom (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor)   PS3556.R352F74 2010 Patty, a Westchester County high-school basketball star, should have been a golden girl. Instead, her ambitious parents betray her, doing her grievous psychic harm. Hardworking Minnesotan Walter wants to be Patty’s hero, and she tries to be a stellar wife and a supermom to Joey and Jessica, their alarmingly self-possessed children, but all goes poisonously wrong. Patty longs for Richard, Walter’s savagely sexy musician friend. Walter’s environmental convictions turn perverse once he gets involved in a diabolical scheme that ties protection of the imperiled cerulean warbler to mountaintop-removal coal mining in West Virginia. Richard is traumatized by both obscurity and fame. Joey runs amok in his erotic attachment to the intense girl-next-door and in a corrupt entrepreneurial venture connected to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The intricacies of sexual desire, marriage, and ethnic and family inheritance as well as competition and envy, beauty and greed, nature and art versus profit and status, truth and lies—all are perceptively, generously, and boldly dramatized in Franzen’s first novel since the National Book Award–winning The Corrections (2001). Passionately imagined, psychologically exacting, and shrewdly satirical, Franzen’s spiraling epic exposes the toxic ironies embedded in American middle-class life and reveals just how destructive our muddled notions of entitlement and freedom are and how obliviously we squander life and love. –Donna Seaman (Review from Booklist)


 

Recommended Title from the Walkover Collection

Jennifer Egan, A Visit From the Goon Squad (Anchor Books 2011) [Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for fiction]

egan-007“The title of Jennifer Egan’s novel may make it sound more like an episode of Scooby-Doo than an exceptional rendering of contemporary America, but don’t be fooled. Egan has said that the novel was inspired by two sources: Proust’s À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, and HBO’s The Sopranos. That shouldn’t make sense but it does: Goon Squad is a book about memory and kinship, time and narrative, continuity and disconnection, in which relationships shift and recombine kaleidoscopically.  (more…)


 

Pegeen Mulhern: “Swallows and Amazons” by Arthur Ransome

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. PZ7.R175 Sw6 1985

From Pegeen Mulhern, Reference Librarian: “I spent many days of my childhood ‘sailing away’ to exotic ports with my brothers on our family picnic table, rigged with a broom for a mast and an old sheet for a sail.

For me, Swallows and Amazons provided the most essential element of children’s literature: something that kids can relate to and then muchmore.

This book brings alive the exploring, camping and sailing adventures of children from two families in the Lake District of England. The four Walker children, the Swallows, set off in their sailing dingy (the Swallow) to camp on a nearby island. They are soon interrupted by an attack by the Blackett sisters, self-styled pirates, the Amazons. The Swallows and the Amazons soon form an alliance and continue their adventures and feats of piracy together.

Although the book ends with a great storm on the lake, after which the Swallows and Amazons have to return to life ashore, the good news is that there are 11 more books in the series written by Arthur Ransome. This is truly a series that kids of all ages can savor and enjoy over and over again.”

Click here to see more faculty and staff picks for Children’s Book Week

Learn about Children’s Book Week and this week’s posts