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The Librarian Is In: October 2018

News Story

This month, the Mortola Library directs us to where we should be headed on the bookshelf.

Brought to us by the Mortola and Birnbaum libraries, The Librarian Is In seeks to answer the age-old question: what should I read next? This month, we have a number of recommendations from the Mortola Library staff.

The Art of Racing in the Rain—Garth Stein
Recommended by: Christina Blenkle, Electronic Resources Coordinator
This is told from the point of view of Enzo who is the family dog nearing the end of his life. There is family drama and a custody battle for the owner’s daughter. It is a book where you know what is going to happen at the end…it is just a matter of how it gets there. An absolutely wonderful heartwarming read. Yes, you will need Kleenex for itbut it is so worth it.

The Postmortal: A Novel—Drew Magary
Recommended by: Steve Feyl, Associate University Librarian, Mortola Library
My favorite genre is post-apocalyptic fiction and this is by far my favorite book of this type (in reality, this is actually pre-apocalyptic fiction.) I know, I know, this is not the most uplifting type of book to be a fan of but peering into the abyss can be fun reading too.

So what happens in a world where you no longer can die from natural causes? Well, the apocalypse of course! This book draws you in fast and keeps you there as it chronicles a world reeling from the impacts of what you would think would be a great thingimmortality. Reality though is that this discovery spirals the world into chaos. The book makes you ponder the meaning of existence and to realize the important role that death plays in bringing meaning to life. Definitely a dark read but well worth it for those who appreciate the genre.

The Marriage of Opposites—Alice Hoffman
Recommended by: Sarah Burns-Feyl, Assistant University Librarian for Instructional Services
I always love a good historical fiction selection. They may take creative license, but I am always intrigued by how they expand on and inform a true story. I sometimes wish I had the imagination to create these alternative story endings or worlds, so thank goodness others have the ability! This novel about Rachel, the mother of painter Camille Pissarro (the “father of impressionism”) is beautiful in both the writing of the story itself and how the settings are described and portrayed. The heat, the colors and the sounds of the island contrasted with the cold, raw, and depressing winter in ParisI felt like I was there, in both locales. The novel includes not just a story of the characters, but covers larger issues of family relationships, religion, race and culturehow they sometimes meld together and how they often collide. At the heart of it all, Rachel defies convention, and her story is captivating.

The Body—Hanif Kureishi
Recommended by: Samuel Kim, Instructional Services Librarian
What would you say if someone offered you the chance start a new life in a new body but with your current mind? Kureishi uses science fiction to bridge the gap in technology in a setting reminiscent of an age before color television following the life of Adam, an elderly British playwright, who has accepted that his end was imminent only to be given such a ridiculous opportunity. The Body recounts Adam’s experiences from an old man fighting off bouts of joint pain and lapses in sanity to the whimsical jubilance of healthy young man. A short read that starts a domino of what-ifs with a focus on the image of the self.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek—Annie Dillard
Recommended by: Jodie Staton, Reference Librarian (PT)
I just happened upon this book and became so absorbed in it that I found everyone around me extra irritating. You have to focus and disconnect but the journey was extraordinary for me, it was just what I needed at that time. I have a feeling it will be a book I revisit again and again since it is packed with lyrical passages that caused me to stop, listen, and reflect.

From the author: "In 1971, I wanted to try my hand at prose. My journals were full of facts that I used to write Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974), a sustained nonfiction narrative about the fields, creeks, woods, and mountains near Roanoke, Virginia. Because I 'named' its chapters, in the style of 19th-century narratives, many reviewers took it for a book of essays. The book attempted to describe the creator, if any, by studying creation, leading one writer to call me (wonderfully) 'one of the foremost horror writers of the 20th Century.'"

Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy—Viktor Frankl
Recommended by: Kirk Pineda, Student Technical Assistant 
Viktor Frankl is a psychiatrist who was captured during the Holocaust. At the time, Frankl's brainchild known today as the theoretical orientation of logotherapy had been lost during his placement in one of the many dire concentration camps. As Frankl recorded his days spent in the camps and wondered how much longer he had to live, Frankl came to a brilliant realization: a new meaning to life. The late psychiatrist who is renowned and revered to this day shares his thoughts in the midst of one of history's darkest moments, lighting the way for readers to recognize that meaning does not just come from the achievement of goals, but the suffering required to achieve them.

Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1950s
Recommended by: Phil Poggiali, Instructional Services Librarian
This anthology collects five novels by some of the masters of mystery and crime fiction. In The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, adapted as the Oscar-nominated film starring Matt Damon, a sociopath murders his wealthy friend and steals the man’s identity. The Real Cool Killers, by Chester Himes, follows two black police detectives as they investigate a murder in Harlem. In David Goodis’s Down There, a slumming concert pianist finds himself on the run after witnessing a crime. The Killer Inside Me is Jim Thompson’s chilling portrait of a psychotic small-town Texas sheriff.

The collection, which also features Pick-Up by Charles Willeford, is available through the Pace Library.

Love Is Letting Go of Fear—Gerald G. Jampolsky
Recommended by: DeSharwn Brown, Assistant Coordinator of Access Services
One of my favorite books is Love Is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald G. Jampolsky. This, I believe, is one of the most underrated self-help books around. I have had the pleasure of using this book two times in my life to help me get over some strong emotional trauma. The first time I encountered this book was after I broke up with my girlfriend well over 20 years ago. Most recently, it has been helping me to deal with the loss of my mother back in January of 2018.  

The premise of this book is simple. It basically teaches you that love is a fluid force in your life that is here to help you. When time seems to be rough or you experience a loss, that you have not really lost love. Love is always around you and there to assist you even when you think that it is not. That when one door seems to close, it’s closing only so that you can open your eyes to the other doors and potentials around you. Most importantly, this book teaches you to love yourself so that you may better love others.

Do you have a book you would like the Pace Library to buy? Please send your book recommendations to Brendan Plann-Curley.