This is our annual collection of Library Seasons Readings staff book recommendations
Kristine Kasbohm - Director of Library
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder - PL858.G37 H3513 2009
This beautifully written, short novel is far more complex than it first appears. It is the story of a math professor who is forced to give up the work he loves when a brain injury leaves him with only eighty minutes of short-term memory. A woman with a ten-year-old son is hired to care for him. Although they are introduced to each other anew every day (sometimes more than once a day), the three form a bond over math and baseball. The story becomes a great reminder to be fully present and live in the moment.
Rosalie Serba - Collection Services Coordinator
Bird Minds: Cognition and Behaviour of Australian Native Birds by Gisela Kaplan - QL698.3 K37 2015
My love of animals goes beyond your typical pet. As an owner of these beautiful and complex creatures, I like to keep well informed and read any new information about parrots. “Bird Minds” provides a fresh view of the behavior of Australian native birds. It focuses on their specific abilities, examining why they have had to find mostly cognitive ways of adapting to difficult conditions. The demands of the environment have led to the development of cognitive complicated processes that are unique, including complex behaviors such as grieving, deception, problem solving and the use of tools. Many Australian birds cooperate and defend each other, and exceptional ones go fishing by throwing breadcrumbs in the water, extract poisonous parts from prey and use tools to open food. Understanding avian cognition and behavior in the wild can help me create a more enriching life in captivity.
Lisa Sullivan - Reference Librarian / Head of Curriculum Center
Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek, M.D., and T. J. Mitchell - RA1025.M45 A3 2014
An interesting and at times disturbing book about the different cases a NYC medical examiner handled during her first 2 years on the job. It shows the world of forensic pathology as it really is, not how it appears on television; and includes fascinating accounts of routine autopsies, dealings with surviving relatives and the castastrophe of September 11th. A Vivid and riveting read for any forensic junkie.
Jessie Blum - Reference Librarian and Instructional Services
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - PS3604.O34 A77 2014
A heart breaking tale set in France and Germany during WWII. “All the light” is the story of 16 year old Marie-Laure who is forced to evacuate her home in Paris and Werner whose talent with fixing radios leads him a place at the academy for the Hitler Youth. Both young characters are caught up in the war in ways that are out of their control. Doerr’s story is beautiful and moving.
Barbara Boehnke - Associate Library Director
My Secret Places: One Man's Love Affair With Nature in the City by Leonard Dubkin - QH105.I3 D8
Ever since childhood I have searched for secret places in the city. Recently I learned about a companion who shared in this quest. Leonard Dubkin searched for, found and wrote about wildlife in Chicago. As a child he rode the buses to the edge of the city, observed snakes, birds, insects and plants. When he returned to his neighborhood he wrote about his discoveries using a typewriter in Hull House, which Jane Addams was kind enough to allow him to use. As an adult his young daughter taught him to find nature in a patch of grass in front of their apartment building. He concludes by noting the disappearance of many of his secret places, but asserts there remain secret places still where "one can discover oneself reborn in nature."
George Emery - Library Digital Services and Project Manager
Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violance by Bryan Burrough - HN90.R3 B79 2015
This is a fascinating account of the armed radical underground movement that carried out bombings, kidnappings, bank robberies and murders from the late Sixties to the mid-Eighties with the intent of bringing down the government. These waves of domestic terrorism gripped America at the time and it is hard to believe that in these current days of political hysteria and fear of terrorism that people have forgotten that there were over 1,900 bombings in America just in 1972 alone. Another interesting aspect of this book is the story of how the FBI abused the rights and privacy of all Americans in their attempts to find the revolutionaries which of course is something still very relevant today. The book has been exhaustively researched, includes insightful interviews and often reads like a novel.
Matt Kochan - Public Service Supervisor
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen - BF637.R5 A45 2001
If you are a person who has struggled with maintaining any organization, this book is for you. Everyone has experienced times when everything seemed effortless, and progress limitless. David Allen has captured ways for you to achieve that wonderful state of mind and consciousness more often. I have just started the system and am seeing the benefits already. While the process will not become second nature overnight, it seems promising for me.
Kathleen DeLaney - Archivist & Special Collections Librarian
What We Found There: Poets Respond to the Treasures of The National Museum of Ireland by Theo Dorgan, Editor
It’s very hard to write a good, pithy description to place alongside an object in an exhibit case. Does anyone read them? These days we’re used to the lemming-like, techno- filled tours in galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Why go to them anyway? They do have a point, and this lovely, slim volume of poetry lets you know why. What I liked…a lot…about this book…is its simplicity. Using a clever trope for discovery, editor/poet Theo Dorgan invites forty-four Irish poets to take a trip to their National Museum, chose an object, and write about what they found. Not saw, but what they found there. Big difference. Each poet chooses something from the ordinary, utilitarian, rich detritus of human life. The mystery (reliquary), the obvious (chairs), the poignant ( “in order of placement a gun, a tunic button, fountain pen” all once owned by Michael Collins hero or traitor---, depending on your politics). The poet focuses on the familiar with musings or a quirky observation. Just one person’s found treasure. are what those poets found there, too. Doesn’t matter what culture, heritage, race or creed you ascribe to. Exhibits connect us to who we are as humans. It’s worth tagging along on this tour.
Joel Cohen - Reference Librarian
The Martian by Andy Weir - Leisure Reading
Math, science, adventure? A geek can hardly go wrong! The story starts with an emergency evacuation of a Mars mission, but a crew member is left for dead. It turns out he wasn’t. If you are only interested in the adventure story part, see the excellent movie with Matt Damon. But if you want to see the calculations and science that were necessary to prolong the life of a survivor until rescue was possible, read the book. Math and science can be fun!