New and Notable: The Round House

The Round HouseThe Round House by Louise Erdrich
Call Number: Walkover Collection PS3555.R42R68 2012

From the Publisher:

One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

Written with undeniable urgency, and illuminating the harsh realities of contemporary life in a community where Ojibwe and white live uneasily together, The Round House is a brilliant and entertaining novel, a masterpiece of literary fiction. Louise Erdrich embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too-human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today.

Riveting and suspenseful, arguably the most accessible novel to date from the creator of Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace, Erdrich’s The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece of literary fiction—at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture.

Winner of the National Book Award

New and Notable: The Buddha in the Attic

Buddha in AtticThe Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
Call Number: Walkover Collection PS3615.T88B83 2012

From the Publisher:

A gorgeous novel by the celebrated author of When the Emperor Was Divine that tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” nearly a century ago. In eight unforgettable sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces the extraordinary lives of these women, from their arduous journeys by boat, to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; from their experiences raising children who would later reject their culture and language, to the deracinating arrival of war. Once again, Julie Otsuka has written a spellbinding novel about identity and loyalty, and what it means to be an American in uncertain times.

Winner of the PEN/FaulknerAward for Fiction and the National Book Award.

New and Notable: Finding Your Voice in Law School

Finding Your Voice in Law School: Mastering Classroom Cold Calls, Job Interviews, and Other Verbal Challenges / Molly Bishop Shadel
Call Number: KF283.S52 2013

From the Publisher:
Many college graduates aren’t prepared for the new challenges they will face in law school. Intense classroom discussion, mock trials and moot courts, learning the language of law, and impressing potential employers in a range of interview situations—it sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding Your Voice in Law School offers a step-by-step guide to the most difficult tests you will confront as a law student, from making a speech in front of a room full of lawyers to arguing before a judge and jury. Author Molly Shadel, a former Justice Department attorney and Columbia law graduate who now teaches advocacy at the University of Virginia School of Law, also explains how to lay a strong foundation for your professional reputation.
Communicating effectively—with professors, at social gatherings, with supervisors and colleagues at summer jobs, and as a leader of a student organization—can have a lasting impact on your legal career. Building the skills (and attitude) you need to shine among a sea of qualified students has never been more important. Finding Your Voice in Law School shows what it takes to become the lawyer you want to be.

New and Notable: The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Call number: LAW-Walkover Collection (2nd Floor) PR6052.A6657S46 2011

From the publisher:

The Sense of an Ending won the  2011 Man Booker Prize. Acclaimed author Julian Barnes wrote this thought-provoking novel about a man placed at surprisingly unfamiliar cross roads. It focuses on the succeeding choices he makes in light of his alarming dilemma. The book questions, “How do you carry on, contentedly, when events conspire to upset all your vaunted truths? Laced with [the author’s] trademark precision, dexterity and insight, it is the work of one of the world’s most distinguished writers.”

New and Notable: Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
Call Number: LAW-Walkover Collection (2nd Floor) PS3623.A7323S36 2011

Salvage the Bones: A Novel is a vivid portrayal of a poor rural family coping and realizing the far reaching effects of hurricane Katrina. By empathetically imparting twelve significant days before, during, and after this horrific natural event, the author provides a deeper understanding of Katrina’s consequences. Author Jesmyn Ward won the 2011 National book award and 2012 Alex award for this enlightening story.

Recreational Reading Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Review by Reference Librarian Kerry Fitz-Gerald.

I’m so glad I finally picked this up to read. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year, a dark mystery with intelligent and unusual characters, a sophisticated plot line, a seriously dysfunctional family, and a complicated financial tangle. The book was originally titled Men Who Hate Women, and misogyny, in forms both subtle and physically brutal, is a major theme of the book. The opening is perhaps a bit slow, but bear with the set up that takes reporter Mikael Blomkvist from a conviction for libel to the village home of the wealthy Vanger family, hired to discover what happened to a daughter who disappeared 40 years earlier. Through various twists, he comes to be assisted in his search by the bizarre Lisbeth Salander—the girl with the dragon tattoo. The main character of the book is ostensibly Mikael Blomkvist, but it is Lisbeth who completely captures the imagination, at once compelling, twisted, powerless and powerful. She will stick in your mind long after you finish the book, and drive you, as she has done me, to eagerly picking up the sequel, The Girl Who Plays with Fire.

Check it out from the Law Library!

Recreational Reading Review: Going to See the Elephant

This first novel by Rodes Fishburne tells the story of 25 year old Slater Brown, determined to go to San Francisco and become the greatest writer ever. In fact, by his calculation, he is already the best writer in the world, “he just hadn’t gone through the irksome task of writing it down yet.”  It soon dawns on Slater that striving for greatness doesn’t put food on the table, and he, like many starving artists before him, must get a job. This sets in motion a crazy story of newspaper reporting, bus rides, chess masters, and genius inventors determined to control the weather. I confess that I didn’t find Slater to be a particularly enjoyable character, but I did enjoy this exuberant novel. At its heart, I’d call it a romance, but not in the traditional girl-meets-boy style (though that does happen too). Rather, it is a story of romance and passion for San Francisco, for writing, for invention, and for the sheer joy of engagement with the world. Definitely a fine first novel and a writer to watch.

Check it out at the Law Library!

Recreational Reading Review: Finger Lickin’ Fifteen

Janet Evanovich’s latest installment in the adventures of bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is here. Stephanie is on the outs with Morelli (something about peanut butter), Lula witnesses the murder of a star chef and becomes a target herself, and Stephanie is back to wearing Rangeman black as she helps Ranger track a problem with his security business. Like other recent Plum novels, the plots don’t really hang together and you can’t help but wish that Stephanie would somehow mature as a character. But the slapstick goofiness that made the series popular remains and you’ll still find yourself laughing aloud at the sheer absurdity of it all.

Check it out from the law library!

Recreational Reading Review: Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth

Review by Reference Librarian Kerry Fitz-Gerald.

Booker prize winner Barry Unsworth’s most recent novel takes place in a far corner of Mesopotamia in 1914.  The slow pacing, the evocative historical detail and the internal struggles of the female characters (secondary to the rather dramatic plot) make this a book worth reading. Critics have complained that the characters are uneven—true—and that the pacing is too slow—also true—but I’d still recommend the novel for its absorbing snapshot of the Ottoman Empire on the brink of its dissection by European powers.  Seeds of the modern turmoil in Iraq are clear in the conflicts between the British archaeologist hurrying to uncover an Assyrian palace before his excavations are destroyed by a new railway to Baghdad, the American hunting for oil, and the mysterious and powerful Lord Rampling, who manipulates spies and assassins in a bid to keep the assets of the Ottoman Empire firmly in British hands.

Check it out from the law library!