Recommended Reading from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection

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

Amy Poehler Yes Please (Dey Street Books 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PN6165.P64 2014

“In her debut book, comedian Poehler credits her approach to work to Carol Burnett, who was “funny and versatile and up for anything” and “a benevolent captain” on her eponymous variety show. The author’s successful career proves that collaboration, good manners and gratitude are assets in both business and life. She has written a happy, angst-free memoir with stories told without regret or shame; rather, Poehler provides a series of lessons learned about achieving success through ambition and a resolute spirit. She affectionately recounts her perfect-seeming childhood and adolescence, including making lifelong friends, waiting tables, and living and working in the rough, pre-gentrified Greenwich Village. Poehler is especially grateful to her proud, comical parents and shares their wisdom with readers: “Make sure he’s grateful to be with you,” “Ask for what you want” and “Always overtip.” With benevolent humor, she shares “Obligatory Drug Stories, or Lessons I Learned on Mushrooms” (“I’ve tried most drugs but avoided the BIG BAD ONES”) and explores why ambivalence is an important component of success in a chapter titled “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend.” Along with Meredith Walker and Amy Miles, Poehler has created a Web series, “Smart Girls at the Party,” to empower and celebrate women and girls who “chang[e] the world by being themselves.” The author conveys the ethos of this project in pithy statements and reassurances sprinkled throughout the book in large type—e.g., “If It’s Not Funny, You Don’t Have To Laugh” and “Everybody Is Scared Most Of The Time.” This is not a treacly self-help book or spiritual guide but rather motivation from a hilarious and kindhearted champion. A wise and winning—and polite—memoir and manifesto.” Kirkus Reviews

Aziz Ansari Modern Romance (Penguin Press 2015) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PN6231.D3A57 2015

“Long before Ansari was born to his Tamil parents, people got together and married the least offensive prospect in the neighborhood. Sometimes, they looked no further than their own apartment building. Over time, and if they were lucky, they managed to form an enduring bond that grew into something a lot like love. It was crazy by today’s contemporary Western standards, but Ansari’s incredulousness with this anachronistic state of affairs is tempered with such a high level of earnest intelligence and compassion that he immediately establishes himself as a serious investigator. The author has plenty of jokes, for sure, but he also did his homework, teaming up with noted sociologists—including co-author Klinenberg (Sociology/New York Univ.; Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, 2012, etc.)—assembling focus groups, and even comprehensively exploring the idiosyncratic dating cultures of Tokyo, Paris, and Buenos Aires. Ansari also examines real-time text exchanges between singles in the United States. Is there anything more anxiety-inducing than waiting for a potential partner to return a text? Has texting become the last refuge for weak-kneed dopes too afraid to dial a woman directly? Increasingly sophisticated smartphones and dating apps provide today’s singles with options their 20th-century counterparts could never have imagined. However, as Ansari cleverly demonstrates, those marvelous advances create their own unique headaches, as unlimited choices can leave the lovelorn paralyzed. Ansari’s eminently readable book is successful, in part, because it not only lays out the history, evolution, and pitfalls of dating, it also offers sound advice on how to actually win today’s constantly shifting game of love. Often hilarious, consistently informative, and unusually helpful.” Kirkus Reviews.


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.


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 Non-Fiction Books from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection

The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution (Norton & Co 2014) Jonathan Eig LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) RG137.5.E34 2014

Margaret Sanger (1879-1996), a wily, independent feminist and sex educator who kept her own apartment after marrying oil tycoon James Noah Slee in 1922, was a lifelong advocate for giving women the ability to enjoy sex without the worry of pregnancy. Eig opens in 1950 with Sanger, “an old woman who loved sex,” looking to science for a contraceptive that women could control (unlike the condom) and that was extremely effective (unlike the diaphragm). She sought out Gregory Pincus (1903-1967), a former Harvard University biologist denied tenure and pilloried in the press as a “Victor Frankenstein” for his efforts to mate rabbits in a petri dish, experiments that were the forerunners to in vitro fertilization. With starter funding from Sanger, Pincus developed a hormone treatment for rabbits and rats that prevented ovulation, and Sanger enlisted philanthropist and suffragist Katharine McCormick (1875-1967) to fund Pincus’ development of a similar hormone treatment to do the same for women. Gynecologist John Rock (1890-1984), the fourth “crusader,” teamed with Pincus on his research; by the mid-1950s, they developed a working trial of what is now universally known as “the pill.” Throughout the book, Eig displays a readable, contemporary style as he chronicles a similar clash of scientific and social progress as Thomas Maier’s Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Master and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love (2009). A well-paced, page-turning popular history featuring a lively, character-driven blend of scientific discovery and gender politics.” (Review from Kirkus Reviews)

On Immunity: An Inoculation (Greywolf Press 2014) Eula Biss LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) RA638.B57 2014

The fears surrounding vaccines are not late-breaking news, as the author notes in this literate, rangy foray into the history and consequences of vaccination. In the 18th century—and frankly, a little less today—it was understandable to associate vaccination with the work of witches: “The idea…that pus from a sick cow can be scraped into a wound on a person and make that person immune to a deadly disease is almost as hard to believe now as it was in 1796.” Indeed, the idea of poking yourself with a dose of virulent organisms to save yourself from them is not an intuitive leap. Eula Biss tracks the progress of immunization: as metaphor—the protective impulse to make our children invulnerable (Achilles, Oedipus); as theory and science (the author provides a superb explanation of herd immunity: “when enough people are vaccinated with even a relatively ineffective vaccine, viruses have trouble moving from host to host and cease to spread”); as a cash cow for big pharma; and as a class issue—the notion of the innocent and the pure being violated by vaccinations, that “people without good living standards need vaccines, whereas vaccines would only clog up the more refined systems of middle-class and upper-class people.” Biss also administers a thoughtful, withering critique to more recent fears of vaccines—the toxins they carry, from mercury to formaldehyde, and accusations of their role in causing autism. The author keeps the debate lively and surprising, touching on Rachel Carson here and “Dr. Bob” there. She also includes her father’s wise counsel, which accommodates the many sides of the topic but arrives at a clear point of view: Vaccinate. Brightly informative, giving readers a sturdy platform from which to conduct their own research and take personal responsibility. (Review from Kirkus Book Review)