Library News

New Books in the Library

New Books Winter 2019

Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration

We all experience moments when we struggle to understand the state of the world, when we feel powerless and--in some cases--even hopeless. The teens of today are the caretakers of tomorrow, and yet it's difficult for many to find joy or comfort in such a turbulent society. But in trying times, words are power.

Some of today's most influential young adult authors come together in this highly personal collection of essays and original stories that offer moments of light in the darkness, and show that hope is a decision we all can make.

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America

Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

Black is...sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough.

Parkland Speaks Edited by Sarah Lerner

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share their emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today. This revealing and unfiltered look at teens living in the wake of tragedy is a poignant representation of grief, anger, determination, healing and hope.

This intimate collection includes poetry, eyewitness accounts, letters, speeches, journal entries, drawings, and photographs from the events of February 14 and its aftermath. Full of heartbreaking loss, a rally cry for change, and hope for a safe future, these artistic places will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives and the importance of valuing and protecting the ones you love.

Why Art? By Eleanor Davis

What is “Art”? It’s widely accepted that art serves an important function in society. But the concept falls under such an absurdly large umbrella and can manifest in so many different ways. Art can be self indulgent, goofy, serious, altruistic, evil, or expressive, or any number of other things. But how can it truly make lasting, positive change? In Why Art?, acclaimed graphic novelist Eleanor Davis (How To Be Happy) unpacks some of these concepts in ways both critical and positive, in an attempt to illuminate the highest possible potential an artwork might hope to achieve. A work of art unto itself, Davis leavens her exploration with a sense of humor and a thirst for challenging preconceptions of art worth of Magritte, instantly drawing the reader in as a willing accomplice in her quest.

Sabrina By Drnaso, Nick

Conspiracy theories, breakdown, murder: Everything’s gonna be all right―until it isn’t

When Sabrina disappears, an airman in the U.S. Air Force is drawn into a web of suppositions, wild theories, and outright lies. He reports to work every night in a bare, sterile fortress that serves as no protection from a situation that threatens the sanity of Teddy, his childhood friend and the boyfriend of the missing woman. Sabrina’s grieving sister, Sandra, struggles to fill her days as she waits in purgatory. After a videotape surfaces, we see devastation through a cinematic lens, as true tragedy is distorted when fringe thinkers and conspiracy theorists begin to interpret events to fit their own narratives.

The follow-up to Nick Drnaso’s Beverly, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Sabrina depicts a modern world devoid of personal interaction and responsibility, where relationships are stripped of intimacy through glowing computer screens. Presenting an indictment of our modern state, Drnaso contemplates the dangers of a fake-news climate. Timely and articulate, Sabrina leaves you gutted, searching for meaning in the aftermath of disaster.

Dry By Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

Bird Box By Josh Malerman

Written with the narrative tension of The Road and the exquisite terror of classic Stephen King, Bird Box is a propulsive, edge-of-your-seat horror thriller, set in an apocalyptic near-future world—a masterpiece of suspense from the brilliantly imaginative Josh Malerman.

Something is out there . . .

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century By Dick & James Strawbridge

With step-by-step guidance and techniques, Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century teaches you how to reduce waste, use wind and solar energy to power your home, and grow your own food. Learn how to make practice changes for a simpler, greener, and cleaner life.

This modern manual is perfect for both urban and rural readers, covering eco projects, plant-by-plant and animal-by-animal identification, how to produce little or no waste and to remove our dependence upon fossil fuels, and so much more.

Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century shows you how to make practical changes with a big impact.

Our Magazine Collection

Oxford’s Magazine List

April 2019

Time March 25, 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Bracing for Battle - House Democrats say they don’t plan to impeach the President. But that’s likely to change.
    • Plus: Philip Bobbitt on impeachment and the law
      • David French on why voters should decide
  • The New Slavery - Africans lose their freedom immigrating to Europe
  • Girl, Build Your Brand - This time last year Rachel Hollis was a marketer. Now she’s a guru.

Time March 18, 2019

Featured Articles:

  • The Journey North - One migrant family’s perilous trip to the U.S.
  • Man of Faith - The Dalai Lama reflects on a life of exile, tension with China, and his search for joy
  • Varsity Hotshots - High school shooting teams are growing in popularity

Harper’s April 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Like this or Die - The fate of the book review in the age of the algorithm.
  • Destined for Export - The troubled legacy of Guatemalan adoptions.
  • Works of Mercy - The power of pastoral care.
  • More Than a Data Dump - Why Julian Assange deserves First Amendment protection.
  • Nightmares at 20,000 Feet - On the dread of looking down.
  • Shallow Calls to Shallow - On Thomas Merton, fifty years after his death.
  • Down & Out in the Peloponnesus - Christos Ikonomou’s modern tragedies.

The Atlantic April 2019

Featured Articles:

  • It’s Gonna be Huge - The many towers that Trump never built.
  • Will John Bolton Bring on Armageddon … Or Stave it Off? - His critics shuddered when he was appointed national security adviser. But he may be our best hope for saving the world from Donald Trump’s impulses.
  • How Much Immigration is Too Much? - We need to make hard decisions now about what will truly benefit current and future Americans.
  • Witness to the Counterrevolution - An American diplomat looks back on a relationship gone bad.
  • The Fertility Doctor’s Secret - Donald Cline must have thought no one would ever know. Then DNA testing came along.
  • How Al will Rewire Us - For better and for worse, robots will alter humans’ capacity for altruism, love and friendship.
  • Songs of Ice & Fire - Ramin Djawadi’s score of Game of Thrones helped make the show a hit - and made an unlikely star of the composer.
  • Bad Dreams are Good - How your night life prepares you for tomorrow.
  • Why Americans Don’t Cheat on their Taxes - The weirdly hopeful story of how the U.S. came to be a leader in tax compliance.
  • The Art of Leaving Things Out - Amy Hempel has never embraced the term minimalism, but her best stories show how rich spareness can be.
  • Psychiatry’s Incurable Habits - The quest to understand the biology of mental illness has so far failed, but you wouldn’t know it from practitioners’ claims.
  • The Curated Self, Circa 1820 - A literary celebrity with a dark secret, Letitia Elizabeth Landon sought public exposure while remaining an elusive mystery.
  • White Nationalism’s Deep American Roots - Few now remember Madison Grant, who a century ago helped promote the doctrine that whites were in danger of extinction. Today, an excavation of the man and the mission are overdue.

Popular Science Spring 2018

Featured Articles:

  • How We’ll Move
    • A bridge to the future
    • Earth’s quickest critters
    • Our last sips of oil
    • Humankind’s most daring journeys
    • The health effects of extreme sports
    • A brief history of road building
    • The footprints of ancient humans

Discover April 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Meet the T-Rex Family - The iconic predators and their ancestors may have been smarter and more social than we thought.
  • Raising the Steaks - As the global population swells, researchers hunt for more sustainable protein sources. Duckweed, anyone?
  • Boldly Go - Interstellar travel, a sci-fi staple, has long been more “fi” than “sci.” A group of maverick researchers plans to change that.
  • Grin and Bear It - If you think a smile signals joy or contentment universally, well, we’re about to put a frown on your face.
  • Buried in the Past - Do our experiences shape how we imagine history, and even deep time?
  • Teen Angst - A young man’s complaints may be adolescent drama - or signs of a deadly threat.
  • Return of an Icon - It’s been nearly a century since grizzlies were seen in California. Researchers consider the consequences of a potential comeback.
  • When Ignorance is Bliss - Sometimes being in the dark is its own reward.
  • The World is Our Niche - Our species has the exceptional ability to live almost anywhere. Is it why we’re still around?
  • 20 Things you Didn’t Know About Seasons - Thank our wobbly planet for our seasons, which have led to remarkable adaptations in animals ranging from honeybees to lungfish.

Make April/May 2019


  • Construct Maslow CNC - Build the unique, upright CNC router that cuts full 4’x8’ sheets but takes little floor space.
  • Build a Rescue Box - Help save lives at your beach or swimming hole - make a tamper-proof box for throwable “Rescue Sticks.”
  • Electronics Fun & Fundamentals: Jumping Mystery Box - Use simple sensors to detect 3D motion and trigger movements and sounds, no processor necessary.
  • Amateur Scientist: Ionizing Radiation - Measure the background radiation in your environment with a Geiger counter.
  • Sun-Fueled Fun - Solar panels + bilge pump = nonstop running water for boats, castles, and water fights.
  • Scrappy Circuits - Hack dollar-store tea lights to make affordable electronics modules for learning.
  • Garden Gizmos - 3D-print these gadgets to upgrade your green space.
  • Reproducible Ring - How one maker designed a custom 3D printed, robot-themed engagement ring.
  • Sound Blink - A unique DIY portable speaker and LED light show.

Image result for wired magazine april 2019 coverWired April 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Crispr Research is Booming - Researchers are ready to unleash cut-and-paste gene editing on the world. But is the world ready?
  • The Other Side of Indifference - Americans have reached peak indifference on climate change. Time to do something about it.
  • Efficiency is Beautiful - For coders, lack of friction is an an aesthetic joy, an emotional high, the ideal existential state. It’s what drives them - and what shapes our world.
  • My Life as a Reddit Moderator - The punishing ecstasy of being a Reddit moderator.
  • A Pox on Us All - Synthetic biology is making it easier than ever to produce life-saving vaccines - and life-taking viruses that humanity is not prepared to fight.
  • The Darwin Treatment - Most advanced-state cancers mutate, resisting drugs meant to kill them. Now doctors are trying to harness the principles of evolution-and thwart that lethal adaption.
  • Strands of Evidence - Two decades ago, a new form of genetic testing helped send a man to prison. His case shows what happens when juries grapple with perplexing science.
  • Press 1 to Hear More - An investigator set out to discover the source of one scammy robocall. Turns out, his target made them by the millions.

National Geographic April 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Double Vision - Eight seconds is all it takes to create astounding images that capture the energy of the world’s most vibrant cities from more than on angle.
  • To Live Together We Must Make Compromises - Urban life inevitably involves trade-offs. We may reap huge benefits in return for suffering enormous disadvantages when we choose between issues such as individual freedom and community interests, and between social ties an anonymity.
  • Cities of the Future - What should cities be like in 2050 when an estimated 6.7 billion people live in them? We asked the architectural and city planning firm SOM to image those urban centers; the group created a vision based on 10 principles. Among them: putting ecology first; building an economy that supports the best use of resources; and promoting culture and livability.
  • Walking Tokyo - Tokyo is the world’s most populous metropolis. It’s also one of the wealthiest, safest, cleanest, and most creative - despite being partly destroyed and rebooted twice in the past hundred years. The best way to understand this modern megacity is on foot.
  • Rethinking Communities - What if cities could be built to benefit the environment, residents’ fitness, and social connection? City planners foresee dense, walkable, mixed-use communities linked by transit systems, curbing reliance on cars and helping clear the air.
  • A City Rises - Can Africa’s largest refugee settlement grow into an urban hub?
  • In Our Shadow - Wherever there are people there are rats, thriving in our trash.
  • Borneo’s Vast Underworld - Malaysia’s mulu caves boast chambers that are millions of years old.
  • Treehoppers - These mini-monsters are masters of disguise.
  • Rituals of Rebellion - The America’s carnivals honor revelers’ roots.

Smithsonian April 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Dinner with the Emperor - Journey to St. Helena, the tiny island where Napoleon spent his final years, to sample the splendid desolation of his exile under a scornful British governor.
  • America’s Second Revolution - The persistence of women who fought to secure the vote is the subject of a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery on the 100th anniversary of suffrage.
  • Haunted by History - On the Left Bank of Paris, a grand hotel that once housed Nazi spies and, later, concentration camp survivors, reopens following an extravagant restoration.
  • Time in a Bottle - Our thirsty correspondent visits Lost Spirits Distillery, where booze detectives wield high-tech instruments to replicate the taste of precious whiskeys and rums going back to the era of Paul Revere.

Mother Earth News April/May 2019

Featured Articles:

  • How to Build a Raised Garden Bed - Use these step-by-step instructions to construct an attractive garden box with an attached bench.
  • Pure & Simple Kitchen Craft - Create a cheese board with character and a classic stirrer.
  • Bugs on the Move - Join the Big Bug Hunt and make sure you’re prepared when your invertebrate foes come to town.
  • Identify Medicinal Trees in Your Backyard - Look up to find healing remedies in the canopy overhead.
  • Homestead Hacks: Quite the Coop - Two readers’ custom coop, built for far less than a pre-made model.

Art News Spring 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Current Affairs - To save the ailing oceans, TBA21-Academy turns to art and science.
  • Take Me Apart - Wu Tsang’s art questions everything we think we know about identity.
  • Out Side In - In his arresting work, Lyle Ashton Harris looks to the past for new ways forward.
  • Serious Play - Nayland Blake’s gifts from the Department of Transformation.
  • Stonewall at 50: A Roundtable

Independent School Spring 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Innovating From the Other Side - Unleashing the power of demand-side thinking with NAIS Strategy Lab.
  • The Whole Works - Seeing school as more than the sum of its part.
  • All That Remains - Could honoring the past be key to embracing the future?
  • Growth Start - The seven principles of Living Curriculum.
  • Room for More - An exploration of classroom space.
  • Going Beyond - When waiting for buy-in can be a roadblock.
  • Reading Room - Books about women who were ahead of their time.
  • The Conversation - Embracing change in the college process.

Book Trailers

What's Mrs. Gilman reading?

Fall 2018

Little Fire Everywhere By Celeste Ng

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

Spring 2018

Before We Were Yours Lisa Wingate

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge--until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents--but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility's cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals--in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country--Lisa Wingate's riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

February 2018

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

October/November 2017

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

September 2017

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

May 2017

I am currently reading Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

April 2017

I am currently reading The Shack By William P. Young

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

March 2017

I am currently reading The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman

A true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands.

After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these "guests," and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became "The House Under a Crazy Star." Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story―sharing Antonina's life as "the zookeeper's wife," while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism.

February 2017

I am currently reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

January 2017

I am currently reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

December 2016

I am currently reading Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal

What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future―all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.

November 2016

I am currently reading Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Playing on every teen’s passionate desire to look as good as everybody else, Scott Westerfeld (Midnighters) projects a future world in which a compulsory operation at sixteen wipes out physical differences and makes everyone pretty by conforming to an ideal standard of beauty. The "New Pretties" are then free to play and party, while the younger "Uglies" look on enviously and spend the time before their own transformations in plotting mischievous tricks against their elders. Tally Youngblood is one of the most daring of the Uglies, and her imaginative tricks have gotten her in trouble with the menacing department of Special Circumstances. She has yearned to be pretty, but since her best friend Shay ran away to the rumored rebel settlement of recalcitrant Uglies called The Smoke, Tally has been troubled. The authorities give her an impossible choice: either she follows Shay’s cryptic directions to The Smoke with the purpose of betraying the rebels, or she will never be allowed to become pretty. Hoping to rescue Shay, Tally sets off on the dangerous journey as a spy. But after finally reaching The Smoke she has a change of heart when her new lover David reveals to her the sinister secret behind becoming pretty. The fast-moving story is enlivened by many action sequences in the style of videogames, using intriguing inventions like hoverboards that use the rider’s skateboard skills to skim through the air, and bungee jackets that make wild downward plunges survivable -- and fun. Behind all the commotion is the disturbing vision of our own society -- the Rusties -- visible only in rusting ruins after a virus destroyed all petroleum. Teens will be entranced, and the cliffhanger ending will leave them gasping for the sequel. (Ages 12 and up) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

October 2016

I am currently reading Relativity by Antonia Hayes

“Twelve-year-old Ethan Forsythe, an exceptionally talented boy obsessed with physics and astronomy, has been raised alone by his mother in Sydney, Australia. Claire, a former professional ballerina, has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he’s becoming increasingly curious about his father’s absence in his life. Claire is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son—and of her own feelings. But when Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event that occurred during his infancy, her tightly-held world is split open.

Thousands of miles away on the western coast of Australia, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart, but an unexpected call forces him to confront his past and return home. When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that—like gravity—pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.”

September 2016

I am currently reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

"Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge."