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


 

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.


 

New Walkover collection titles – fiction

Take time in your busy academic schedule for some non-law, thought provoking reading. Each won coveted literary awards. Enjoy!

lilaPS3568.O3125L55 2014

From the publisher:  “Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of [author] Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and Home, Lila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence that is destined to become an American classic.  [It is] … an unforgettable story of girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe, and wonder.”  This book was a 2014 National Book Award finalist and won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award.

 

redeploymentPS3611.L4423A6 2014

From the publisher: “Taking readers to the front lines of the war in Iraq and back, [author Phil Klay’s] Redeployment asks us to understand what happened there and what happened to soldiers who returned. Whether in the combat zone of on the home front, they face life at extremely, where happy stories and easy answers provide no guidance or comfort.” This book won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction and the John Leonard First Book Prize. It was also selected as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book ReviewTimeNewsweekThe Washington Post Book World, and Amazon.


 

New Walkover collection titles – legal mysteries

For a great reading escape, take time to enjoy these thrilling legal mysteries. New to the Walkover collection, each was listed as a #1 New York Times bestseller.

witnessThe fifth witness: a novel by Michael Connelly.
PS3553.O51165F55 2011

From the publisher: “Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. Criminal defense in Los Angeles has virtually dried up, and he has had to expand his business into foreclosure defense. But just when Mickey thinks criminal court is in his rearview mirror one of his new clients is accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home. … Now despite the growing danger, the lawyer is ready to mount the best defense of his career.”

 

By John Grisham:

confessionThe confession: a novel.
PS3557.R5355C66 2011

From the publisher: “He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row. Nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess. But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?”

sycamoreSycamore row: a novel.
PS3557.R5355S93 2014

From the publisher: “Now we return to Ford County as Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial that exposes a tortured history of racial tension:  Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, [Seth] Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County’s most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises many more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?”


 

New Walkover collection titles – fiction

Take time in your busy academic schedule for some non-law, thought provoking reading. Each won coveted literary awards. Enjoy!

FowlerPS3556.O844W4 2013

From the publisher:  “In We Are All Completely beside Ourselves,  author Karen Joy Fowler weaves her most accomplished work to date—a tale of loving but fallible people whose well-intentioned actions lead to heartbreaking consequences.”  This book won the 2014 Pen/Faulkner award for fiction, was a finalist for the 2014 Man Booker prize, listed among the New York Times Review’s 100 Notable Books of 2013, and named by the Christian Science Monitor as one of the top 15 works of fiction in 2013.

 

FlanaganPR9619.3.F525 N37 2015

From the publisher:  “In The Narrow Road to the Deep North, [acclaimed Australian writer] Richard Flanagan displays the gifts that have made him one of the most acclaimed writers of contemporary fiction. Moving deftly from a Japanese POW camp to present-day Australia, from the experiences of Dorrigo Evans and his fellow prisoners to that of the Japanese guards, this savagely beautiful novel tells a story of the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.”  This book won the 2014 Man Booker prize.


 

Recommended Reading from the McNaughton Collection

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

I am Radar (Penguin Press 2015)
Reif Larson
LAW-Walkover Collection (2nd Floor)  PS3612.A773I2 2015

“Set aside for the moment the black baby born to white parents, the avant-­garde puppeteers and the quantum physics that swirl around the whole kit and caboodle. The most interesting facet of Reif Larsen’s 600-plus-page novel, “I Am Radar,” is that it reads like something far more compact than its bulk might suggest. There are maps, diagrams and pictures (e.g., an elephant plummeting from a bridge, a Cambodian prisoner of the Khmer Rouge) that remind one of the visual arrangements in W. G. Sebald’s novels. Then there is a deeply patterned narrative that darts easily from small-bore domestic dramas to sweeping historical catastrophes with just the right fillip of silliness and levity to keep the whole text eminently ­approachable.” Review by Christopher Byrd, NYT Sunday Book Review

Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog (Blue Rider Press 2013)
Delia Ephron
LAW-Walkover Collection (2nd Floor) PS3555.P48S57 2013

“When Ephron’s humorous essay “How to Eat like a Child” appeared in the New York Times Magazine, her first “big success,” she knew she had found her calling. In this new collection of essays, she displays that sharply funny and compassionate voice. The author, who co-wrote the screenplay You’ve Got Mail and the play Love, Loss, and What I Wore with her sister Nora, has written novels for adults and teenagers (The Lion Is In, 2012) and essay collections (Funny Sauce, 1986). Here, her keen observations about family, friends, work and life’s small indignities and deep sorrows leave readers laughing out loud one moment and tearing up the next. In her loving essay “Losing Nora,” she grapples with grief, the complexities of sisterly love and sibling rivalry while paying tribute to her brilliant, fun-loving, tough-minded sister, who died in 2012. “Am I Jewish Enough?” describes the Ephron “sect of writers.” Her parents were Hollywood screenwriters, and all three of her sisters became authors. In their religion, “Laughter was the point, not prayer, and the blessing, ‘That’s a great line, write it down.’ ” In “Why I Can’t Write about My Mother,” Ephron reveals her madcap family’s dark side. Her parents took to alcohol like Nick and Nora Charles, and nights were often filled with “drunken brawls and raging fights.” In this alcoholic haze, her emotionally distant mother became even more elusive. Ephron knows a few things about her—e.g., she abhorred conformity and insisted her daughters would have careers—but she can never break through the surface of this accomplished woman who wore one-liners like armor. A witty and often profound look at human behavior and all its absurdities, contradictions, obsessions and phobias.” Review from Kirkus Reviews


 

Featured Books from the Recreational Reading Collection

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

Funny Girl

Nick Hornby (Riverhead Books 2015)

LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PR6058.O689F86 2015

“No, Nick Hornby’s latest is not a retelling of the story made famous by the old Barbara Streisand movie called Funny Girl – but the allusion to pop culture of the 1960s in this delightful novel is not coincidental. On the surface, this Funny Girl is about a working class English girl who comes of age as a TV star in the days of Carnaby Street, the Beatles, and the musical Hair; what it’s also about is the way the world turned over for everybody but especially actors and writers — in that explosive era. Sophie Straw is the gorgeous girl from Blackpool who, like Lucille Ball (to whom Hornby slyly introduces the starstruck Sophie in a late scene), is originally deemed too pretty to be funny; like Ball, she manages through wit, decency and pratfall to become her nation’s sweetheart. She’s a great character, and readers – like everyone in swinging London – will love her. But if Sophie is the star, the rest of the population here – the hilariously narcissistic lover/co-star, the director who pines for Sophie for years, and, my favorite, the writers who give her her vehicles – are exceptional supporting players. And Hornby, who was a bit of a pop culture wunderkind himself, is wise about the way artists’ (especially writers’) careers morph and change, and what it’s like to define a cultural moment and then watch yourself live past it.”  – Sara Nelson (Review from Amazon.com – Best Book of the Month February 2015)

 


 

New and Notable in the Library’s Recreational Reading Collection

Located on the 2nd Floor of library at the base of the stairs

Ian McEwan The Children Act (Doubleday 2014) available at: LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PR6063.C4C48 2014

Fiona Maye, at 59, has just learned of an awful crack in her marriage when she must rule on the opposing medical and religious interests surrounding a 17-year-old boy who will likely die without blood transfusions. The cancer patient, weeks shy of the age when he could speak for himself, has embraced his parents’ deep faith as Jehovah’s Witnesses and their abhorrence of letting what the Bible deems a pollutant enter his body. The scenes before the bench and at the boy’s hospital bedside are taut and intelligent, like the best courtroom dramas. The ruling produces two intriguing twists that, among other things, suggest a telling allusion to James Joyce’s 17-year-old Michael Furey in “The Dead.” Meanwhile, McEwan (Sweet Tooth, 2012, etc.), in a rich character study that begs for a James Ivory film, shows Fiona reckoning with the doubt, depression and temporary triumphs of the betrayed—like an almost Elizabethan digression on changing the locks of their flat—not to mention guilt at stressing over her career and forgoing children. As Fiona thinks of a case: “All this sorrow had common themes, there was a human sameness to it, but it continued to fascinate her.” Also running through the book is a musical theme, literal and verbal, in which Fiona escapes the legal world and “the subdued drama of her half-life with Jack” to play solo and in duets. McEwan, always a smart, engaging writer, here takes more than one familiar situation and creates at every turn something new and emotionally rewarding in a way he hasn’t done so well since On Chesil Beach (2007). (Review from Kirkus)

David Leavitt The Two Hotel Francforts (Bloomsbury 2013) available at: LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3562.E2618T86 2013

With his first novel, The Lost Language of Cranes (1986), Leavitt claimed attention as a serious fiction writer, and the publication of his first collection of short stories, Family Dancing (1984), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, alerted readers that he was to be taken as a talented writer in the short form as well. Leavitt’s new novel establishes a brisk pace from page one, corresponding to the jittery atmosphere of the place and time in which it is set: the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, which, in the summer of 1940, is the only neutral port left in Europe. Refugees from the German takeover of most of the continent are gathered in Lisbon awaiting a chance to escape the war’s dangers. Leavitt focuses on two married couples as they pass the tense time until an American ship, the Manhattan, will arrive to carry them and other fortunate ticket-holders to the U.S. With one of the men narrating the novel’s events, recalling them from the distance of several years, we follow the couples as they wait for relief from the dangers closing in and, in the meantime, play their own game of intrigue, not on an international diplomatic level but on a personal and even more confounding level: the two wives having to deal with an affair that quickly ignites between their husbands. The result is a dramatic story that Leavitt weaves with compelling authority and empathy. (Starred Review from Booklist)


 

Recommended Non-Fiction Reading from the Recreational Reading Collection:

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

Rebecca Frankel War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History and Love (Palgrave Macmillan) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) UH100.F83 2014

Under the cover of night, deep in the desert of Afghanistan, a US Army handler led a Special Forces patrol with his military working dog. Without warning an insurgent popped up, his weapon raised. At the handler’s command, the dog charged their attacker. There was the flash of steel, the blur of fur, and the sound of a single shot; the handler watched his dog take a bullet. During the weeks it would take the dog to heal, the handler never left its side. The dog had saved his life. Loyal and courageous, dogs are truly man’s best friend on the battlefield. While the soldiers may not always feel comfortable calling the bond they form love, the emotions involved are strong and complicated.

In War Dogs, Rebecca Frankel offers a riveting mix of on-the-ground reporting, her own hands-on experiences in the military working dog world, and a look at the science of dogs’ special abilities—from their amazing noses and powerful jaws to their enormous sensitivity to the emotions of their human companions. The history of dogs in the US military is long and rich, from the spirit-lifting mascots of the Civil War to the dogs still leading patrols hunting for IEDs today. Frankel not only interviewed handlers who deployed with dogs in wars from Vietnam to Iraq, but top military commanders, K-9 program managers, combat-trained therapists who brought dogs into war zones as part of a preemptive measure to stave off PTSD, and veterinary technicians stationed in Bagram. She makes a passionate case for maintaining a robust war-dog force. In a post-9/11 world rife with terrorist threats, nothing is more effective than a bomb-sniffing dog and his handler. With a compelling cast of humans and animals, this moving book is a must read for all dog lovers—military and otherwise. (From book jacket)

“This is a lovely book but it’s also a surprising book. I opened it looking forward to reading a few good stories about the use of dogs in war. But midway through it, the realization hit me that this is something larger than that, and far deeper: it is a meditation on war and humans. It illuminates conflict from the unexpected angle of the allure of war, and the damage it does to both species.”—Thomas E. Ricks, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.

John Branch Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard (Random House 2009) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) GV848.5.B669B73 2014

Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Branch debuts with a biography of hockey player Derek Boogaard (1982-2011), a fierce fighter on the ice who died of an overdose of alcohol and prescription painkillers at the age of 28. “No one ever told Derek that his primary mission in hockey would be to fight,” writes the author. Yet that is what the shy, oversized Saskatchewan native did throughout his career, first for minor teams, then with the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers, where he became the NHL’s most feared fighter. In this engrossing narrative, based on an award-winning Times series, Branch details both Boogaard’s life growing up in rural, hockey-mad Canada, where his size stigmatized him in school, and his years of playing hockey, when size—not talent—brought him success. In a sport where violence attracts crowds, Boogaard’s role as an enforcer was to intimidate opponents and protect his team’s star players, often engaging in game-stopping fights. With spotlights beaming and Rocky theme music blaring, the enforcer and his adversaries would beat on each other with fists and sticks and then spend a few minutes in a penalty box. To alleviate stabbing pain in his back hips and shoulder, Boogaard took increasing amounts of painkillers. In his fourth professional season, he obtained 25 prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone from 10 doctors. Despite efforts at rehabilitation, he persisted in his addiction, becoming increasingly erratic and depressed. An autopsy revealed that Boogaard had suffered a series of concussions as well as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition caused by repeated blows to the head. Boogaard’s death and increasing public awareness of the dangers of concussions have prompted steps to limit fighting in hockey’s junior leagues, but there’s been no action at the professional level, where a culture of “concussion denial” reigns. A sad, tragic story that underscores the high human cost of violent entertainment. —Review from Kirkus Reviews.


 

New and Notable Short Story Collections from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection

New and Notable Short Story Collections from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection (2nd Floor of Library at the base of the stairs)

Lorrie Moore, Bark: Stories (Knopf 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3563.O6225B37 2014

“There’s a reason Lorrie Moore is so beloved by her baby boomer brethren: she’s smart, she’s funny, her eye is even sharper than her tongue. In Bark, her latest collection of stories, all those qualities are well on display. “He had never been involved with the mentally ill before,” she writes of her mid-life anti-hero in the (sort-of) title story, “Debarking.” “[B]ut he now felt more than ever that there should be strong international laws against them being too good looking.” Acerbic? Check. Knowing? Check. Says out loud on the page what we less talented, less observant mere mortals wish we could form so well in thought? Check. Check. Check. The only reason not to read these seven stories is that, perhaps, they’re just too accurate and perceptive about the way we live now–but then, why would you ever want to read stories that were anything else?” -Sara Nelson, Amazon Best Book of the Month review, (March 2014)

George Saunders, Tenth of December: Stories (Random House 2013) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3569.A7897T46 2013 (National Book Award Finalist 2013)

“Saunders, a self-identified disciple of Twain and Vonnegut, is hailed for the topsy-turvy, gouging satire in his three previous, keenly inventive short story collections. In the fourth, he dials the bizarreness down a notch to tune into the fantasies of his beleaguered characters, ambushing readers with waves of intense, unforeseen emotion. Saunders drills down to secret aquifers of anger beneath ordinary family life as he portrays parents anxious to defang their children but also to be better, more loving parents than their own. The title story is an absolute heart-wringer, as a pudgy, misfit boy on an imaginary mission meets up with a dying man on a frozen pond. In “Victory Lap,” a young-teen ballerina is princess-happy until calamity strikes, an emergency that liberates her tyrannized neighbor, Kyle, “the palest kid in all the land.” In “Home,” family friction and financial crises combine with the trauma of a court-martialed Iraq War veteran, to whom foe and ally alike murmur inanely, “Thank you for your service.” Saunders doesn’t neglect his gift for surreal situations. There are the inmates subjected to sadistic neurological drug experiments in “Escape from Spiderhead” and the living lawn ornaments in “The Semplica Girl Diaries.” These are unpredictable, stealthily funny, and complexly affecting stories of ludicrousness, fear, and rescue.”–Donna Seaman, Booklist Starred Review.