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Staff Picks

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Fall 2020

A collection of library staff recommendations. See what we're reading, and maybe find a new favorite book!

Want to recommend a book? Submissions can be made by filling out the form here.

The Lost and Found Bookshop

This is a feel good novel, it was nice to read at the end of a long day, I enjoyed the characters and the comfort of the lovely Lost and Found Bookshop and the mysteries and stories it had to tell.

Recommended by Margaret W.

There There

There There, by Tommy Orange, is a gripping and fast-paced thriller novel about twelve Native Americans characters from urban Oakland whose stories coalesce around the Big Oakland Powwow. The novel touches upon a variety of themes such as ethnic identity and authenticity, unemployment, alcoholism, violence, and depression.

Recommended by Rodrigo C.

No-No Boy

Returning home after spending two years in a Japanese internment camp and two years in federal prison, for refusing to enlist, Ichiro struggles to find his place and identity in the aftermath of WW II America.

Recommended by Tiffeni F.

How to Do Nothing

A reflective and philosophical book covering a wide range of topics. I found the questions refreshing, and I liked the emphasis on the natural world, including birds.

Recommended by Elizabeth S.

A Wrinkle in Time

Take a break from our troubled world to revisit this childhood classic (about an earlier troubled world) in a new format. Very faithful to the original, will appeal to those who like their stories with a visual element.

Recommended by Enid K.

A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts

A very unique approach to the history of Boston. Each entry is incredibly detailed and offers a fresh, intimate perspective on the lives of Boston's past inhabitants through everyday objects (you may be surprised at how much an archaeologist can deduce from someone's broken tableware!)

Recommended by Nicole K.

The Fire This Time

Great essays on racism in the United States from a number of contemporary authors including Isabel Wilkerson, Kiese Laymon, Claudia Rankine and Garnette Cadogan.

Recommended by Amy H.

The Vanishing Half

Folks fleeing, hiding, questioning their "true" selves. Good read. Lots to think about.

Recommended by Arlene F.

Other Words for Home

Wonderfully written story about a young girl's difficult adjustment to a new life and culture.

Recommended by Catherine G.

Albert Capellani

While by no means an expert, I enjoy learning about the history of the early film industry because there always seems to be something more to discover -- as is the case with French film director Albert Capellani! Leteux's compact biography paints an informative picture of this talented, but ultimately unsung trailblazer of silent film.

Recommended by Nicole K.

Erec

It's an exciting adventure filled with knights and adventures, plus the relationship between the two protagonists is refreshing and playful! Sure, it's old (12th century, to be exact), but that doesn't make it any less compelling or fun to read!

Recommended by Holly-Anne G.

The Warmth of Other Suns

This book traces the migration of three African American and their separate journeys and their families as they navigated lives in Chicago, NY, and Los Angeles from early in the 1900s to our current times. It is very readable. I read this some years ago, but I still sometimes think about the folks I met.

Recommended by Arlene F.

Reading Art: Art for Book Lovers

The book, portraying 280 artworks featuring books and readers from throughout 2,000 years of history, looks at both books in art, as well as their influence on artistic creativity. The volume includes an introductory essay on the history of books in correlation to art history. Those interested in the craft of books will certainly be pleased to see Dewattines the Bookbinder (a portrait of a man holding a book and a tool). Many who have missed visiting museums in recent months will enjoy browsing through the artwork created by famous as well as lesser known artists.

Recommended by Barbara H.

The Storyteller

Surprisingly underrated, this novel by Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa is a fascinating tale about a writer who tries to uncover the mystery of what happened to his friend Saúl Zuratas, a young Jewish-Peruvian man obsessed with the Machiguenga, an Amazonian tribe. Vargas Llosa touches on topics such as colonialism, the exploitation of indigenous tribes and their acculturation, and finding your own identity in the most unexpected places.

Recommended by Gabriela V.

The Eye of the Artist

This is one of my favorite art books in Bapst Library. It explains basic techniques in painting and drawing taught in introductory art classes. When leafing through the book, I often hear the voices of my own instructors when they were explaining concepts such as foreshortening, lost and found edges, perspective, and composition. It seems they might have used this book as a reference source themselves, when they first began their careers as artists and teachers.

Recommended by Laurie M.

Passing

Another good read. Written in 1929 Harlem tells the story of childhood friends women who meet again as adults.

Recommended by Arlene F.

Caste

Tracing Caste throughout history and lands-- the body as a metaphor: CASTE reflects an unchangeable rigidity of BONES; RACE is more fluid and flexible, akin to the SKIN --- mutable changing with social perceptions.

Recommended by Arlene F.

My Grandmother's Hands

Resmaa Menakem, a veteran and social worker with years of experience counseling and working with veterans, police, and other groups, has adapted traditional Black practices for calming the body, such as humming, rocking, and singing, to help people calm their bodies in order to confront racial biases without causing further damage. He says the body--specifically what he calls the "soul nerve" (the vagus nerve) is where our instincts tell us to fight, flee, or freeze in situations of conflict. Calming the body can turn down the volume of interactions that involve race, reducing abusive language and violence. The author cautions readers that the book's value lies in proceeding slowly, and doing all of the dozens of exercises. I found the exercises surprisingly useful and, indeed, calming.

Recommended by Steve R.