Genna’s April Recommendation

It’s What I Do:  A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario

it's what i do

Genna says:  “Woah, this girl is a rock star!  Addario is an award-winning photojournalist (Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur Fellow) who covered much of the war, conflict, and injustices in Iran, Afghanistan, Haiti, the Congo, and Darfur.  Addario was kidnapped for six days in Libya along with other New York Times photographers.  Even after the incident she still got back into the field.  Addario’s passion for photographing the world is apparent, and her unflinching strength and courage is inspiring.  Her memoir recounts the struggles trying to stay in touch with family while living across the world, her difficult romantic relationships, and the discrimination she faced in other countries being a woman.

This memoir is very well-written and straightforward.  Her story is very inspiring, plus the book itself has photo-quality pages so turning the book is a treat.  Tucked away on some of the pages are her amazing photographs.  A great read!
Fun fact:  Steven Spielberg bought the rights to produce this memoir into a movie and Jennifer Lawrence will play the lead.”
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Dana’s April Recommendation

Destiny of the Republic:  A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

destiny of the republic“Millard (The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey) presents a dual biography of the 20th U.S. President and his assassin. James A. Garfield and Charles Guiteau were both born into hardscrabble Midwestern circumstances. While Garfield made himself into a teacher, Union army general, congressman, and President, Guiteau, who was most likely insane, remained at the margins of life, convinced he was intended for greatness. When he failed to receive a position in Garfield’s administration, he became convinced that God meant him to kill the President. At a railway station in the capital, Guiteau shot Garfield barely four months into his term. Garfield lingered through the summer of 1881, with the country hanging on the news of his condition. In September he died of infection, apparently due to inadequate medical care. Millard gives readers a sense of the political and social life of those times and provides more detail on Guiteau’s life than is given in Ira Rutkow’s James A. Garfield. The format is similar to that in The President and the Assassin, Scott Miller’s book on President McKinley and Leon Czolgosz. VERDICT Recommended for presidential history buffs and students of Gilded Age America.” – Library Journal

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Dark Horse:  The Surprise Election and Political Murder of James A. Garfield by Kenneth Ackerman

The First American:  The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by H. W. Brands

Rebbe:  The Life and Teachings of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History by Joseph Telushkin

Karen’s April Recommendation

Dead Wake:  The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

dead wake

Karen says:  “I would recommend Dead Wake:  The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson.  Wow.  Written with Erik Larson’s usual meticulous attention to detail.  A gripping history lesson, focusing on the Lusitania, the German U-boat that launched the fatal torpedo, top secret Room 40 and the many lives affected by the sinking of the ship.  Riveting to the end.”

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Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage:  The Titanic’s First-Class Passengers and Their World by Hugh Brewster – “This work unabashedly focuses on Titanic’s first-class passengers, the best-known on the ship, whose lives were the most carefully documented.” – Library Journal

Lusitania:  Triumph, Tragedy, and the End of the Edwardian Age by Greg King – “Unlike the fate of the Titanic, sunk three years earlier when it crashed into an iceberg, the deliberate sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat in 1915 has been shrouded in mystery and intrigue that continue even as the 100th anniversary of the tragedy approaches.  Was the British ocean liner carrying munitions that exploded after it was torpedoed?  Was it part of a deliberate plot by the British government to lure the U.S. into WWI?” – Booklist

Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy by Diana Preston – “The destruction of the liner Lusitania in 1915 is two stories rolled into one:  a Titanic-type tale of personal catastrophes and a still murky diplomatic incident of the first order.” – Booklist

Mary Ann’s March Recommendation

Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes:  Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech by Chuck McCutcheon and David Mack

dog whistlesMary Ann says:  “This book explains many current political terms used by those in government and by news pundits.  Each term is illustrated with a quote and/or an incident, most from recent years.  Examples:  wing nut, high-class problem, red meat, Chicago-style politics, slicing the salami, Sister Souljah moment.”

Please note:  this book is not available at River Forest Public Library.  It may be ordered through the SWAN network.

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All the Truth Is Out:  The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai – “The former chief political correspondent for The New York Times Magazine brilliantly revisits the Gary Hart affair and looks at how it changed forever the intersection of American media and politics. In 1987, Gary Hart–articulate, dashing, refreshingly progressive–seemed a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination for president and led George H.W. Bush comfortably in the polls. And then: rumors of marital infidelity, an indelible photo of Hart and a model snapped near a fatefully named yacht (Monkey Business), and it all came crashing down in a blaze of flashbulbs, the birth of 24-hour news cycles, tabloid speculation, and late-night farce.” – Summary from catalog

Dog Whistle Politics:  How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney López – “López (White by Law) examines the intersections of declining economic opportunities and race affiliation as expressed by political parties.” – Library Journal (note:  this book is not available at River Forest Public Library.  It may be ordered through the SWAN network.)

The Way We Talk Now:  Commentaries on Language and Culture from NPR’s Fresh Air by Geoffrey Nunberg – “Compiling humorous commentaries about language in the United States, Nunberg, a language and computer technology researcher and a consulting linguistics professor at Stanford, here offers essays prepared for National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. Some of the many topics covered are the long-lasting linguistic impact of movies, software that checks grammar, and word histories.” – Library Journal (note:  this book is not available at River Forest Public Library.  It may be ordered through the SWAN network.)

Blaise’s February Recommendation

Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan

glitter and glue

Blaise says:  “A moving memoir about mothers and motherhood.  She will be speaking at a benefit for the LuMind Foundation (supporting Down Syndrome research) on February 28th.  I’ll be there!”

Does this sound interesting?  Click here for a sample!

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Blue Plate Special:  An Autobiography of My Appetites by Kate Christensen – “Novelist Christensen (The Astral, 2011) pegs her tangy memoir of a peripatetic life to the endless quest for sustenance and the nurturing of the self” – Booklist

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – “Didion really did need some magical thinking at the end of 2003: in quick succession, daughter Quintana Roo went into septic shock, husband John Gregory Dunne died of a heart attack, and Quintana Roo, having recovered, suddenly required brain surgery for a hematoma.” – Library Journal

Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe – “In 1982, 20-year-old Nina Stibbe moved to London to work as a nanny to two opinionated and lively young boys. In frequent letters home to her sister, Nina described her trials and triumphs.” – Summary from catalog

Genna’s February Recommendation

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

smoke gets in your eyes

Genna says:  “For fans of Mary Roach’s Stiff or HBO’s Six Feet Under, you might like this title.

You wouldn’t normally think that a book about death and cremation would be an entertaining read, but Smoke Gets in Your Eyes was fascinating! I can see why it made it to the New York Times Bestsellers list.

The author relates her experiences working at a crematory and later going to mortuary school – but she also intertwines the history and customs of death both in our culture and outside of the United States.
 –
She discusses death in a way that feels very accessible, and though there were a few gross-out passages, you will also feel as though you are getting a history lesson. The author’s B.A. in Medieval History served her well in crafting a story that is both engaging and historical.
Doughty’s memoir is very easy to read and highly entertaining. If you aren’t too squeamish, then check it out. She is also a very popular blogger and has a web series called Ask a Mortician.”
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Claudia’s February Recommendation

The Boys in the Boat:  Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

boys in the boatClaudia says:  “Nine young Americans from the University of Washington rowing team won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  This very personal story is set against the backdrop of the Depression and the carefully orchestrated and filmed images of Nazi Berlin.”

Does this sound interesting?  Click here for a sample!

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Saving Italy:  The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis by Robert M. Edsel – “Alongside the Allies’ push north against the Nazis, there was another war fought in WWII Italy, a battle to preserve the country’s rich cultural contribution to Western civilization. With Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic The Last Supper nearly demolished by a bomb, protecting the nation’s art became an urgent task, requiring hundreds of paintings and sculpture to be hidden throughout the country (Michelangelo’s David was entombed in brick). The group assigned to save the art in Italy was made up of 40 American and British ‘Monuments Men.'” – Booklist

Luckiest Man:  The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig – “Lou Gehrig famously announced to the world at his 1938 Yankee Stadium tribute that he was the luckiest man in the world. Not so. He was dying in his late thirties from ALS, a disease that remains incurable to this day. Eig, a senior writer for the Wall Street Journal, interviewed hundreds of people and spent hundreds of research hours inside the archives of baseball’s Hall of Fame, but the touchstone of his research is more than 200 pages of correspondence between Gehrig and the world, mostly regarding the progress of the disease.” – Booklist

Seabiscuit:  An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand – “There have been numerous biographies of famous horses, but this one is the best by open lengths, partly because Hillenbrand expands the scope of her project to include owner Charles Howard, trainer Tom Smith, and jockey Red Pollard, whose boom-and-bust and boom-again careers are fascinating in themselves. But Seabiscuit’s rags-to-riches story is unparalleled in a sport known for its longshots.” – Booklist