Saturday, July 08, 2006

Read like a librarian!
--what your librarians are reading this month.

Richard Russo
Straight Man
Henry is an English professor, a free thinker, temporary chair of the English dept, a husband whose wife is out of town, a flirt with nearly every female, a son of a boozing, philandering, popular, published English professor father. Henry threatens to kill a goose each day until he gets a final budget approved by the legislature, with tongue firmly in cheek. Funny, ironic, clever look at academia, marriage, authority and middle age. John Updike is comparable.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Anthony Bourdain, 2001.

Bourdain is the executive chef at New York's Les Halles and author of two mysteries. This is Bourdain’s memoir of his years in the restaurant business. Bourdain is as unsparingly acerbic with himself as he is with others, and he exhibits a sincere and profound love of good food. He has attended culinary school, fallen prey to a drug habit and even established a restaurant in Tokyo, discovering along the way that the crazy, dirty, sometimes frightening world of the restaurant kitchen sustains him. He disdains vegetarians, warns against ordering food well done and cautions that restaurant brunches are a crapshoot.

The Devil Wears Prada

Lauren Weisberger

Andrea Sacchs is fresh out of Brown and dreams of being a journalist for the New Yorker. Instead, she ends up working as a personal assistant for Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway magazine (think Vogue). Miranda is without a doubt the most revered and most hated woman in fashion. She sends Andrea on a seemingly endless string of ludicrous tasks and errands, such as getting her two copies of the new Harry Potter book before it hits the shelves. We had a great time laughing and discussing all of these situations in our last book club meeting. The movie wasn't bad either, though not as good as the book.

Reilly, Matthew

Combine one horrific contest from which only one contestant will survive, seven contestants, and seven supernatural "guides," and simmer inside the one and only New York Public Library which has had an immense electromagnetic field around all of its outside walls to prevent anyone else from entering the building while the contest is in progress. Did I mention that only one contestant is a human?.....

Lipstick Jihad

Azadeh Moaveni

An amazing take on the Iranian people (nonfiction). Azadeh was born in the U.S. and raised by an expatriate Iranian mother. She always felt she belonged elsewhere, so as an adult she moved back to Iran, just as the tight hold by the mullahs was being loosened. There she felt like an American, equally out of place. Her descriptions of life, the culture and the people are fascinating.

The tipping point : how little things can make a big difference

Malcolm Gladwell

Interesting ideas about the way ideas catch on. People who are experts in a subject can be the catalyst for new ideas only when their ideas are spread by people who are influential and have lots of contacts (Paul Revere types). Book discusses possible theories as to decrease in crime rate due to "broken windows" theory of crime prevention, the optimal size for an organization or military company-150, and why 7 digits were chosen for phone numbers. Interesting to compare book's ideas to Freakeconomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything by Levitt, Steven D. which proposes a different view of the reason for the crime rate decrease in New York in the 1990s. Both books are available in audio, but, due to writing style, I found it easier to read the book to undersatnd the author's theories.

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