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August 2007 Reviews


This is an overview of the unprecedented climate changes that are occurring throughout the Earth and is an urgently needed book. Journalistic in style, it is interesting, informative, and elucidating and contains just enough science to make sense to a general audience. The author's arguments are strengthened by her personal field experiences and observations in far northern areas throughout the world. This book is important for everyone to read, regardless of one's beliefs about global warming, and will leave the reader wondering why we are not demanding more political action and are letting economic interests dominate climate policies.

Rating: Highly Recommended
Review submitted by: Andrew Tessandori, Cataloging Assistant, Leatherby Libraries


This book was for Agatha Christie's brother-in-law, who wanted her to become more grisly and less of a "tea Party" mystery writer. So she put in more blood, which turned out to be from an animal(well, not all of it). This one was about deceptive appearances, both in the victim's room and in the characters' past and present identities. Holiday fun!

Rating: Recommended
Review submitted by: Isa Lang, Head of Information Services, Law Library


Call Number: PR6005.H66 T3 1983  - 2nd Floor Humanities Library

This is one of her best, a truly creepy setting with all present becoming victims. Someone decided to take justice into his (her?) own hands, punishing people who acted "within the law" but had indeed committed murder. All except one, whose actions turned out to be justified later on. Which one?

Rating: Highly Recommended
Review submitted by: Isa Lang, Head of Information Services, Law Library


Call Number: PS3552.R685434 D3 2003 – 2nd Floor Humanities Library

First things first: as a PhD candidate in Religion, I can tell you that Dan Brown presents as "fact" certain items of religious history which are, at best, minority scholarly opinion -- do not rely on this book for true insight into religious history. However, that being said, it is a well-structured thriller -- throughout the book, Brown keeps no fewer than three plot threads going simultaneously, with the effect of keeping his protagonists continually in peril -- and keeping you continually turning the pages!

Rating: Recommended
Review submitted by: Lorin Geitner, Lawyer/Librarian, Law Library


Call Number: McNaughton Collection (1st Floor)

Janet Fitch, author of the best seller, White Oleander, has another winner in Paint it Black. This story is set in LA and is told through the eyes of Josie Tyrell, a teen runaway, actress, and model who must learn to deal with the suicide death of her artistically talented yet emotionally scarred lover, Michael.

Rating: Highly Recommended
Review submitted by: Cathy Elliot, Business & Finance Technician, Law Library


Call Number: PR6068.O93 H37 1998 – 2nd Floor Humanities Library

The book that began the franchise is well worth reading, and re-reading, for its own sake: Rowling manages, in the slimmest of the Potter books, to provide an effective sketch of her "wizarding world", Harry's backstory and significance, ongoing conflicts, well-delineated descriptions of characters who are so vivid that they stand on their own as worthy literary creations -- and tells an interesting and entertaining story -- all in one volume!

Rating: Highly Recommended
Review submitted by: Lorin Geitner, Lawyer/Librarian, Law Library


Call Number: PR6068 .O93 H42 2005  – 2nd Floor Humanities Library

In the penultimate volume of the Potter series, things looks grim in the wizarding world, with the authorities finally acknowledging the return of Lord Voldemort. In the meantime, Harry learns more about how Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort, under the guidance of Dumbledore. This is one of the darkest books of the series, but, as ever, compulsively readable, as the stakes become higher, and the insight into what makes a human being choose one path or another, becomes more profound.

Rating: Highly Recommended
Review submitted by: Lorin Geitner, Lawyer/Librarian, Law Library


Call Number: E93 .E354 2003 – 2nd Floor Humanities Library

Full of interesting color photographs, this book is an easy to read introduction to issues surrounding American Indian sovereignty, including complex government relations, politics, and legal status. Historical background of these issues is explained, as are some of the ways in which Indians maintain their traditions. A timeline is included at the bottom of each page, which is generally helpful but at the same time distracting.

Rating: Recommended
Review submitted by:Andrew Tessandori, Cataloging Assistant, Leatherby Libraries


Call Number: PS3537.T3234 C2 1946 – 2nd Floor Humanities Library

A lesser book by a great writer, but more charming, powerful and effective than works by lesser artists, trying their best. Cannery Row is not really a novel, because it lack one coherent plotline. Rather, it reads as a collection of short stories and profiles, describing colorful characters who lived in Monterey, during the Depression. It builds a cumulative picture of a time, of characters, and a community long gone -- but preserved vividly in Steinbeck’s humane account of endearingly flawed personalities.

Rating: Recommended
Review submitted by: Lorin Geitner, Lawyer/Librarian, Law Library


Call Number: QC981.8.G56 K65 2007 – 3rd Floor Science & Technology Library

In this collection of writings by New Yorker staff writer Kolbert, readers will travel with her to unique and interesting places around the world to investigate the impact of climate change. I agree with Andrew Tessandori’s earlier review when he states: “This book is important for everyone to read…”. One of the most poignant moments is when Kolbert climbs back up to a ridge to take a second look at a glacier that will probably no longer be visible from the ridge in ten years (p. 66). I was surprised to get to the end, however, and never come across a mention of the significant impact a meat-based diet has on global warming. Still, I highly recommend this book, especially to those who are skeptical.

Rating :Highly Recommended
Review submitted by: Stacy Russo, Instruction Librarian, Leatherby Libraries


Call Number: PS3048 .A1 1942 – 2nd Floor Humanities Library

I read Walden hoping that I would like it more this time around than I did in college. I still find many of the sentences in the first chapter Economy nearly unreadable, but I have to confess to giggling at his “There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.” Throughout the book I found myself thinking what a nut, even though I often agreed with his attitudes (I, too, would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion). The chapter Reading is worth reading carefully.

Rating: Recommended
Review submitted by: Nancy Stenerson Gonzales, Cataloger, Leatherby Libraries


Call Number: McNaughton Collection (1st Floor)

Here's a quick, good read for summer readers looking to boost their numbers at the last minute! I read Gran's debut--Come Closer--a few years ago and, while I enjoyed it for its economical prose, I found it amateur - ish and a little unoriginal. Dope doesn't have these problems and the prose remains tight and the story -- about an ex-junkie turned detective in 1950's New York -- well-developed and compelling. Her characterization got me thinking about self-knowledge and its situating role in social interaction.

Rating: Recommended
Review submitted by: Chris Rynd, Development Writer, University Advancement


Call Number: SF613.M53 A36 1985 - 3rd Floor Science & Technology Library

This book compiles the engaging memoirs of Robert M. Miller, a Southern California veterinarian. Published in 1985, there are a few passages that demonstrate significant changes over the past twenty years, including the questionable use of animals for entertainment purposes. It is also interesting to note how women veterinarians were far and few between, but there were plenty of veterinarian’s wives who handled the day-to-day functioning of the practices. Some of Miller’s stories are sad and difficult to read, as can be imagined, but many are uplifting. There are also poignant moments where Miller experiences a shift in his consciousness toward his treatment of animals.

Rating: Highly Recommended
Review submitted by: Stacy Russo, Instruction Librarian, Leatherby Libraries


Call Number: F862.L53 1988 – 2nd Floor Humanities Library

As a pictorial work and essay, this book highlights each of California's 21 Franciscan missions. A brief general history is given, and how that history occurred (including restoration and preservation efforts) is described for each individual mission. This book's weaknesses are that the map seems oversimplified, no bibliographic references are included, no outlines or timelines are given, and the cultural background (e.g., Catholicism, American Indian society) could have been more in depth. Overall, however, this a good introduction to the history and architecture of the California missions, has many beautiful color photographs, and also includes practical information for visiting the missions.

Rating: Recommended
Review submitted by: Andrew Tessandori, Cataloging Assistant, Leatherby Libraries


Call Number: McNaughton Collection (1st Floor)

The story follows Fi and the camel bookmobile on their long journey to spread literacy in Kenya. The ending was a bit unexpected, but overall it was a relatively enjoyable read.

Rating: Somewhat Recommended
Review submitted by: Wendy Yoshioka, Circulation Assistant, Leatherby Libraries


Call Number: PR6045.O72 M7 1925 - 2nd Floor Humanities Library

Mrs. Dalloway presents us with a picture of a day in the lives of several Londoners, most specifically Clarissa Dalloway whose life is remarkably intertwined not only with people she has known since childhood, but also with people she has never met. As I read I felt as if I was on a merry-go-round or a ferris wheel seeing a slightly changing picture with each revolution. I know it was real literature because some paragraphs were three pages long and there are no chapter breaks in a nearly 300-page book, but it pulled me in as much as any popular fiction would. Have no fear of Virginia Woolf.

Rating: Highly Recommended
Review submitted by: Nancy Stenerson Gonzales, Cataloger, Leatherby Libraries


Call Number: PS3563.O519 L67 1999 - 2nd Floor Humanities Library

After reading and enjoying her latest novel "The Last Chinese Chef," I decided to pick up another Lisa Mones novel. Although the plot itself was not as exciting as "The Last Chinese Chef," the writing is still impeccable. I highly recommend ANY novel written by Ms. Mones.

Rating: Highly Recommended
Review submitted by: Wendy Yoshioka, Circulation Assistant, Leatherby Libraries


Call Number: DS558.92 .P547 2005 - 2nd Floor Humanities Library

Tales of intense training, missions behind enemy lines in Viet Nam, classified operations still wrapped in mystery. This is the story of John Plaster and his journey through the often murky underworld of Special Forces soldiers. The Special Operations Group, often referred to as the Studies and Operations Group (SOG), spent days and weeks behind enemy lines and ran reconnaissance, conducted kidnappings, set ambushes, and completed “black operations” along the Ho Chi Minh trail to interdict the flow of military supplies moving from North Viet Nam down to the besieged South. It was a bit slow in the middle of the book due to the fact that so many of the missions were similar in scope, but it did give the reader a deeper understanding of the type of commitment these men had for their country, their unit, and for their fellow brothers-in-arms.

Rating: Recommended
Review submitted by: Kevin Ross, Associate Dean, Leatherby Libraries


Call Number: PR6005.H66M86 – 2nd Floor Humanities Library

It's the end of the summer and I should stop reading Agatha Christie (summer fun) but can I? This story was the prime example of the "unsolvable murder" with the most sympathetic character as the most surprising one. The other message from this book was that EVERYONE has something to hide (like it?)! Keep reading, everyone!!!!

Rating: Recommended
Review submitted by: Isa Lang, Head of Information Services, Law Library


Call Number: PS3561.I483 Z475 - 2nd Floor Humanities Library

King offers, in an entertaining memoir-style book, insight into events in his life that formed (and transformed) his writing style. His advice is a little "do as I as say and not as I do;" so, beginning writers should take his advice with a grain of salt. He rails against the use of adverbs (though his works are peppered quite well with them) and suggests that plotting is over-rating and stunts the flow of action. High praise is given to Hemingway for his economy of words and King seems quite taken with J.K. Rowling, even though she uses quite a few adverbs and, in fact, has quite detailed plot outlines for each part of her series.

Rating: Recommended
Review submitted by: Jessica Cioffi, Holocaust Education Coordinator, Rodgers Center


Call Number: BR325 .B26 1950 – 2nd Floor Humanities Library

I was expecting a rather dry exposition on the life of Martin Luther, but this is quite a lively rendering of the famous reformer. As it seems so often with "great" people, Luther was a complicated man, and not always right. Bainton does a good job of acknowledging Luther's warts while still painting a sympathetic picture of him. This is most certainly true!

Rating: Highly Recommended
Review submitted by: Nancy Stenerson Gonzales, Cataloger, Leatherby Libraries


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