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Season's Readings 2017

The 2017 ALB Library’s Seasons Readings, now in its 9th year, answers the second most frequent question* posed to librarians and staff: “What are you reading?”

We’re not satisfied giving you one answer, and we’re not satisfied giving you one present. Isn’t the point of a holiday stocking to stuff it with lots of treats? Unwrap this list and go wild. We’ve gathered thoughts about books we’ve read, films/television series and DVDs we’ve watched, magazines and serials we’ve found, music we’ve heard, and websites we’ve been visiting …all in the spirit of holiday sharing. It’s Season’s Readings Time!

*Drawing for some Tim Hortons with the first correct answer pulled from the festive box near the Service Desk. Drawing will be December 15th.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

PN1992.77 Miss Fishers DVD

Reviewed by Lisa Sullivan, Collection Services / Instruction Librarian, Head of Curriculum Center

Based on the Phryne Fisher mystery series of books by Kerry Greenwood. This is a great series for anyone who loves BBC mysteries. Phryne Fisher is a very glamorous and modern private detective in 1920’s Melbourne. The costumes, props and settings are wonderful and so very art deco. The series is only 3 seasons long, which is too short in my opinion. However, there is talk of a movie in the works.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

Fredrik Blackman

PT9877.12.A32 M5613 2015

Reviewed by Lori Miller, Library Associate, Collection Services

What at first feels like a simple story slowly grows and morphs into a complex, nuanced tale about good and evil, and the fuzzy boundaries twixt the two; the complicated ties that bind family, whether biological or adopted; and the power possessed by ordinary people who dare to dream.

The Dead (from Dubliners)

James Joyce

PR6019.O9 D8 2014


The Dead

DVD – John Huston, Director

PR6019.O9 D43 2009 DVD

Reviewed by Kathleen DeLaney, Archivist and Special Collection/Reference Librarian

If you need a gentle reminder of the constancy, hope and memories of Christmastime, read The Dead, the final entry in James Joyce’s short story collection, Dubliners.

It was always a great affair, the Misses Morkan’s annual dance. I read, The Dead, to envelope myself in language that drops me squarely among the festivities of a holiday party where attendees, food, drink and specialty performance --song, musical interludes, poetry recitations, and, yes, arguments –play starring roles. The same words ...It was always a great affair…impose a bittersweet cadence on the story as a reminder that these annual parties are in the past. It will always be the same, yet each time it’s different. I know the end of this one well. So, I read on.

I go to the Misses Morkan’s annual dance for polite conversations wafting through each room as the party progresses to dinner –one that awakes my senses. I hear the sherry glasses clink, taste ham and floury potatoes, cringe as knives scrape across the china, nibble on the blancmange and fruits, and feel the heaving moans of overindulgent guests. Moods shift. Reflective interior monologues consider past parties and options. The party wanes, memories intensify with melancholy. The party’s over. And once again, the Misses Morkan, their guests and I will fade away into our own memories of past Christmases that will settle like the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight.

The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline

Dale Bredesen.

Reviewed by Joel A. Cohen, Ph. D., Reference Librarian and retired Associate Vice President for Library and Information Services

You may remember (and if you do, you may not need this book!) that on the evening news and health news circuit a few years ago, neurologist Dr. Dale Bredesen made startling news about a pilot study he had conducted with ten advanced Alzheimer’s patients. He claimed unprecedented success, with improvements in all ten patients. (See “Reversal of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease” for his published article on the research.). Of course, this article raised many eyebrows, with debunkers at the ready. Dr. Bredesen is no research lightweight. A search of PubMed shows him authoring scores of peer-reviewed research articles. On the “People’s Pharmacy,” he promised a follow-up book, and we now have it. Dr. Bredesen’s approach rejects the conventional research strategy to date. For example, he regards the signature amyloid plaques as a defense mechanism for the brain, rather than a principal cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Drugs designed to reduce this plaque as a sole strategy are doomed to failure. You can’t argue with one of his points; there is no standard therapy for Alzheimer’s that has made much of a difference. My Dad was on Aricept, for example, and I think the side effects far outweighed any delayed onset of additional symptoms- the therapeutic goal for Aricept, not cure.

Dr. Bredesen regarded this initial study as pilot, but the NIH rejected his application for a large clinical trial. He reports that his novel approach of individually evaluating each patient and prescribing a custom, multimodal therapy based on blood chemistry, genetic testing, and brain scans was outside the scope of NIH funding. It probably didn’t help that much of Dr. Bredesen’s approach called for lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, and meditation as well as an herbal supplement regimen. Does this sound like a recipe for rejection by traditional Western Medicine or what? Nevertheless, the book reports that hundreds of patients have now been successfully treated.

Whether you view the book as a skeptic or someone trying to desperately deal with their senior moments or both, this is a really interesting book. Even as someone with a reasonable science background, I occasionally found the book is a little difficult to digest, but mostly it is very accessible, and I highly recommend it.

How do dinosaurs go to school?

Jane Yolen ; illustrated by Mark Teague.

CURRIC PZ8.3.Y76 Hmc 2007

Reviewed by Jeff Proehl, Systems Librarian

Having read almost exclusively children's dinosaur books this year, this series is fun and holds up to multiple readings. The illustrations are great, the rhymes are humorous, and the topics of many books in the series are relevant to little kids and their parents.