Upcoming Interesting Books

Here at Evanston Public Library we never run short of good books. The latest crop is coming in now and there are some true doozies in the mix.  Here’s a brief smattering of some titles that you may not read about in your New York Times Book Review but that remain very interesting just the same:

Golden Delicious

Do you see that tiny quote on the cover? It’s a little difficult to make out so I’ll replicate it here:

“What a crazed, beautiful book” – George Saunders, author of Tenth of December

Mr. Saunders may have been holding a bit back on this title.  As it happens, this is a meta book in the purest sense of the term.  At first it reads like a children’s book, but the ideas go quite a bit deeper.  I’ll let Kirkus summarize the story for me.  Set in the town of Appleseed, where stories grow in the soil, “Main character ____, a melancholy kid, pals around with his pet sentence, ‘I am,’ and someone named Reader. Given the general weirdness—traffic cones run the town, for instance—actual readers can be forgiven for not realizing right away that Reader is, in fact, a reader, and specifically the reader of this book. When Appleseed spirals into a downturn and ____’s mother takes off to join the Mothers, who patrol Appleseed’s perimeter looking for wayward words, the importance of readers/Reader becomes clear.”  If you loved The Phantom Tollbooth but wish it had been written for people over the age of 12, this is for you.

Endgame

This is for all of you out there who have thought to yourselves, “I like Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None but I think it could be hugely improved if you just added a punk band.”  Well your prayers have been answered!  “Harvey Keill, ex-manager of the Ladykillers, arranges a reunion for his notorious punk band on a remote island off the coast of Seattle. But once the band and their eclectic entourage arrive, a dark secret emerges from their past to haunt them as, one by one, the guests begin to fall prey to a mysterious fate.”  And by “mysterious fate” we mean “death”.  So it goes.

Playing Dead

This is so much fun, though perhaps a teensy bit gruesome.  Who hasn’t fantasized, if only vaguely, about what it would take to fake your own death?  Apparently it happens more than you might think.  There are well known cases like the 9/11 fraudsters and a lot of strange stories.  I love this description of the book that says:

“Greenwood tracks down a British man who staged a kayaking accident and then returned to live in his own house while all his neighbors thought he was dead. She takes a call from Michael Jackson (no, he’s not dead—or so her new acquaintances would have her believe), stalks message boards for people plotting pseudocide, and buys her own death certificate in the Philippines. Along the way, she learns that love is a much less common motive than money, and that making your death look like a drowning virtually guarantees that you’ll be caught. (Disappearing while hiking, however, is a way great to go.)”

Leonardo

To be perfectly frank, it sounds like something out of a Dan Brown novel.  A lost Leonardo DaVinci piece of art surfaces thanks to the efforts of an “art explorer”.  And here’s the crazy part.  He found this art (a holy child drawing) in a Christie’s catalog, attributed to Annibale Carracci.  So he bought it.  For $1,700.  The full story’s even more intriguing.

Last One

I sort of love this book for its premise alone.  It’s quite simple.  A woman joins a survival reality show.  She’s doing really well and that’s when she embarks on a solo quest.  Of course, when she encounters the abandoned towns with what she believes are fake corpses strewn about the place, she just powers through.  Bummer the actual apocalypse just happened.  She hasn’t a clue.

Green Metropolis

Honestly? I just like the cover.

Apocrypha

A smart idea for a book.  It’s all the stuff they cut out of the canonical Bible centuries ago. The Midrash, the Apocrypha, Gnostic Gospels, you name it.  Or, as the creators call it, these are the “DVD extras” of the Bible.  How has no one ever thought to do this in a humorous way before?

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Spotlight on Evanston: Agate Publishing

Agate.jpgWhen moving to any new city, you try to get the lay of the land early on.  Where’s the closest grocery?  The local bookstore?  The library branch (or three!).  And since I moved here from NYC I wanted to immediately know precisely which publishers were local.  Because my previous focus was children’s book publishing, I identified outposts of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and National Geographic fairly early on, alongside the small independent publisher Albert Whitman & Co and (naturally) Chicago Review Press.  Adult publishers?  Previously not my bag, baby.  But people change.  People grow.  And after purchasing the adult books for the EPL system I’ve grown curious about where to find folks.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I found a publisher of books right smack dab here in Evanston.  And not just any publisher either.  A bee-autiful publisher!  One that makes books so gorgeous and appealing you’d be crazy not to check ’em out.

Introducing Agate Publishing.

Originally Agate was founded in 2002, when Doug Seibold decided to create a company that would speak specifically to business books and titles of interest to African-Americans.  In fact, there’s a lovely Chicago Reader piece on Mr. Seibold and his dream found here.  In time (and due to his success) the company was able to expand.  Now they publish cookbooks, Chicago-centric titles, a large swath of ebooks, and in February 2017 they’ll be debuting a children’s book imprint.

These days they’re churning out some pretty darn attractive books.  Curious about what they look like?  Happily, Evanston Public Library owns quite a few books from Agate.  If you’re interested in checking them out then we would recommend . . . .

Jewish

As Publishers Weekly said of it, “You can say one thing for this collection of modern kosher recipes-it ain’t chopped liver. That fatty, flavorful favorite is replaced with fancy-schmancy fare like Artichoke Confit and Fava Bean Salad. Frankel, owner of Shallots restaurant in Chicago, deserves credit for widening the horizons of kosher cooking, as she incorporates novelties such as venison (Ginger-Marinated Venison Loin with Purple Sticky Rice and Spring Pea Salad) and bison (Bison, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches) . . . Even without a strong hook, though, bubbe would approve, and the two million kosher households in the U.S., as the publisher figures, will likely be grateful for these new recipes.”

Job Search

Both practical, insightful “real world” perspectives with the technical knowledge job seekers need in order to excel at every aspect of the job search are included in this book.  A book for transition.

Grandbaby

Prepare to drool.  50 cakes of all kinds are included in this book, including different versions of Southern classics like pineapple upside-down hummingbird pound cake and `nana pudding tiramisu cake. Family memories and photographs accompany the recipes, which are ranked from easy (“Grandbaby Cakes”) to hard (“Big Mama Cakes”).  Library Journal called this one an “instant classic”.

Behind

As the description from the publisher puts it, “In 1992, Carol Moseley Braun became the first, and to this day only, African-American woman elected to the US Senate. Long before this historic victory, which Barack Obama would later say prefigured his own path to the Senate and presidency, veteran Chicago journalist Jeannie Morris saw an incredible opportunity. Here was a bold and politically courageous candidate, a feminist and sensible progressive with whom Morris quickly identified on a personal level. Morris joined the campaign to write the official story of a brilliant retail politician with a charismatic smile. Morris brings the social and political impact of Moseley Braun’s story — from her meteoric rise to her eventual downfall — into clear focus.”

By the way, if you happen to know someone who would like to be a publishing intern, Agate Publishing does have an internship program.

Come for the Falcons, Stay for the Books

falcon%20banding%2013[1]This Friday at 11 a.m. on the third floor our annual falcon banding and naming ceremony will take place and you’re invited to come watch.

Mary Hennen and Josh Engel from The Field Museum will band falcon chicks hatched at the Evanston Public Library Peregrine Falcon nesting site. The baby falcons (eyases) will also be named at the event which is free and open to the public. Hennen and Engel will take questions from the press and the public. Limited seating is available on a first come, first serve basis.

Falcon T-shirts are now for sale at the Main Library with beautiful original artwork by local Evanston artist Beth Adler, who recently donated a falcon painting to the library where it now hangs on the Library’s third floor.

This is the 13th consecutive year that a pair of Peregrines has nested at the Evanston Public Library.

Once on the Endangered Species list, Peregrine Falcons have made a dramatic recovery. The banding process is a critical tactic in supporting the Peregrine population. The baby falcons will be removed from the nest, brought indoors for banding, blood sampling, and viewing, then returned to the nest. While some bird species are sensitive to human disturbance at the nest, Peregrines are able to handle it. The adults exhibit defensive behaviors such as yelling and flying at the intruders, but they are willing to accept the young when they are returned to the nest.

The EPL falcons can be viewed live at epl.org/falconcam. There is also a Yahoo group for Evanston Peregrine Falcon Watch. More information about the Chicago Peregrine Falcon program can be found at fieldmuseum.org/explore/illinois-peregrines.

Can’t come but like to read?  Then check out some of these great peregrine falcon-related resources:

 

For the Adults

On the Wing: To the Edge of the Earth With the Peregrine Falcon

 On the Wing

Where do Nona and Squawker go when they aren’t in Evanston?  “Alan Tennant, a passionate observer of nature, recounts his all-out effort to radio-track the transcontinental migration of the peregrine falcon–an investigation no one before him had ever taken to such lengths.” Place the book on reserve here.

Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City

Urban Nature

Daniel Tobin’s poem is to the peregrine falcons of NYC but that won’t make you enjoy this collection any less.  Be sure to place your copy on reserve here.

Peregrine by William Bayer

Peregrine

Considering the fact that peregrine falcons are bloodthirsty killers (raptors tend to be) perhaps it just makes sense to put them in a murder mystery.  Even better, the killer in this book “terrorizes New York with a lethal peregrine falcon.”  The quickie description reads, “Circling high over Rockefeller Center is a peregrine falcon, the most awesome of the flying predators. She awaits a signal from her falconer. It is given: the bird attacks, plummeting from the sky at nearly 200 miles an hour, striking a young woman and killing her instantly. So begins Peregrine, a chilling tale of obsession.”  Place the book on reserve here.

Return of the Peregrine : A North American Saga of Tenacity and Teamwork by editors Tom J. Cade and William Burnham

Return Peregrine

One review of this book began by saying, “There are few success stories in the recovery of endangered species, and the return of the peregrine falcon to North American skies is one of the best.” In this book you will find the most comprehensive history of the massive efforts to save our falcons.  A beautiful coffee table book, be sure to place your copy on reserve here.

The Rites of Autumn : A Falconer’s Journey Across the American West by Dan O’Brien
Rites of Autumn
Just the story of a man, his two dogs, and his young peregrine falcon.  A true story, no less.  This is one for you outdoorsy types. Place your copy on reserve here.

For the Kids

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin

Skydiver

Turns out, it was DDT that was significantly responsible for the downturn in the number of peregrine falcons in the wild.  This book chronicles how most of the eggs laid by falcons in the past were lost. This book covers the story of how scientists brought the birds back from near extinction.  Reserve a copy here.

Peregrine Falcon: Dive, Dive, Dive! by Natalie Lunis

PeregrineFalcon

Learn about where the peregrine falcon lives, how it hunts, and the special ways its body helps it reach its record-breaking speeds. Place it on reserve here.

Frightful’s Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Frightful's Mountain

From the author of Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain comes a book series where the heroine is a falcon!  Place a reserve on the book here. And once you’re done reading this you can follow up with the sequels Frightful’s Daughter and Frightful’s Daughter meets the Baron Weasel.

The Falcon’s Feathers by Ron Roy

Falcon's Feathers

This is part of the early chapter series A-Z Mysteries.  The premise? “Josh and his two friends look for the person who stole a peregrine falcon from its nest.”  I find this plot particularly terrifying.  I mean, have you seen the claws on those babies?  Place a copy on reserve here.

What’s Faster Than a Speeding Cheetah? by Robert E.Wells

Cheetah

You get three guesses and the first two don’t count.  Put the book on reserve here.

Falcons Nest on Skyscrapers by Priscilla Belz Jenkins

Falcons

Or libraries for that matter. Put the book on reserve here.

For the Teens

Wildwing by Emily Whitman

Wildwing

And what falcon booklist could be complete without a little falconry on the side?  In this time traveling tale, a girl is sent back to 13th-century England where she is mistaken for a Lady engaged to a local lord.  Naturally she falls in love with a falconer’s son instead.  Consider it Outlander for teens. Place it on reserve here.

Spotlight on Evanston: The Collage Cafe

CollageCafe1There are distinct advantages to belonging to the Evanston Mamas Facebook group.  As a still relatively new transplant (almost a year in!) I continue to explore this wild, untamed wilderness you call “Evanston”.  To aid me in my research I call upon folks who know the ins, the outs, and in the in-betweens.  I suspect this is what led to my discovery of The Collage Cafe and my inclination to share this discovery with others.

Before we begin, we need to make one thing very clear.

The Collage Cafe is for Grown-Ups.

Get it? Got it? Good.

The place describes itself as “part unique gift boutique, part playshop/workshop/event space and all fun“.  What does that mean?  Well, if you’re in the market for an original gift, this is a good place to visit.

CollageCafe2The cool part is that it also has these fun little events on the side.  For example, on Wednesdays you can take part in Casual Craftmaking.  Every Wednesday (weather permitting) for any 2 hours between 1-5pm you can work on a project they have going on (vision boards, greeting cards, painted/collage stones, etc.) or bring in your own.  Into crafty stuff but prefer to do it under the influence of alcohol?  Coloring & Cocktails is the 4th Friday of every month between 6-8.  Color, mingle, drink, and nosh.

Be sure to follow their blog here.

The Collage Cafe doesn’t offer a booklist of recommended titles online, but we sure as heck do.  Feed your creative impulses with some of these recent releases:

Cross-Stitch to Calm : Stitch and De-Stress with 40 Simple Patterns by Leah Lintz

CrossStitch

A review in Library Journal for this title said of it, “This collection is ideal for beginners looking for no-fuss patterns that don’t require a rainbow of floss colors, or for experienced cross-stitchers seeking a quick, easy-to-finish, small project.”

Supercraft: Easy Projects for Every Weekend by Sophie Pester

Supercraft

52 projects, one for each week of the year, intended to encourage experimentation with new techniques and materials and to take advantage of what each season has to offer. Numerous techniques are covered, including paper craft, painting, crochet, embroidery, weaving, origami, and sewing, making this a veritable buffet of ideas.

Street Craft : Guerrilla gardening, yarnbombing, light graffiti, street sculpture, and more by Riikka Kuittinen

Street Craft

Just in case you’ve an inclination to go Banksy on us. A collection of uncommissioned, site-specific works employing a range of art and craft techniques, including weaving, crocheting, sculpting, painting, gardening, light installation, and more.

Paper Craft by Gemma Fletcher

Paper Craft

50 projects including card making, gift wrapping, scrapbooking, and beautiful paper flowers.  Also includes greeting cards, boxes and desk sets, jewelry and pleated paper blinds.

What Would Jesus Craft? : 30 simple projects for making a blessed home by Ross MacDonald

What Would Jesus Craft

Not a real craft book.  I repeat – not a real craft book.  What this actually is, is a hilarious send-up of the craft book form.  If you’re easily offended, do not check it out.  But if you like a good chuckle, this one’s for you.

C.R.A.F.T. : Creating really awesome free things : 100 seriously fun, super-easy projects for kids by Jamie Dorobek

Craft

I am the mother of a crafty child.  This can be a problem since I am not a naturally crafty person myself.  That is why I am grateful for this book.  Parents and caregivers (like myself) looking for rainy-day projects can find a wealth of ideas in this collection-and they won’t have to make a run to the craft store for supplies.

Enjoy!

 

Oh, the Humanity: On This Date in History

On this date in history in 1937, the German passenger airship The Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey. Of the 97 people on board (36 passengers and 61 crewmen), there were 35 fatalities (13 passengers and 22 crewmen). One worker on the ground was also killed, making a total of 36 fatalities.

Not too long ago I was enjoying a recent New Yorker article entitled Helium Dreams in which reporter Jeanne Marie Laskas took note of a new generation of airships that are currently in the process of being created. While the Hindenburg disaster certainly put a crimp in any plans for airship expansion (and I was a bit disappointed to hear that the top of the Empire State Building wasn’t actually supposed to be an airship docking station as I’d so often heard).  Indeed, you could be forgiven for thinking airships were effectively a thing of the past.  Years ago my husband and I got readings from an old phrenology machine that would tell you by the bumps on your head what your ideal occupation might be.  For my husband: Zepplin attendant.  So there you go.

Yet airships may be making a comeback and they’ve always remained a part of our collective imagination.  To remember the Hindenburg properly, here’s a little reading list of all things airship.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Airborn

Authors that love airships really love airship.  And Kenneth Oppel is one of the best.  Set in a world where airships never went away, it will forever be associated in my mind with the smell of tangerines (in this world a helium-like gas smells like tangerines when it escapes).  The plot has a good description too: “Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth’s surface.”  Place your copy on reserve here.

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

Flight of Dreams

Truth be told, I’m a little surprised this idea didn’t come to someone sooner.  “Let’s do a story like The Titanic . . . on The Hindenburg!”  Which on paper just sounds terrible.  Yet as it happens, Lawhon crafts a rather loving homage to the great ship.  As Kirkus put it in their review of the book, “As the disaster inches closer with every chapter—each begins with a countdown in days, hours, and minutes—Lawhon evokes the airborne luxury of the ship—the meals, the cocktails, the smoking room, and the service—in such detail that you end up feeling a little sad that the stately flight of the Hindenberg marked the end of passenger travel by airship forever. A clever, dramatic presentation of a tragic historical event. Suspenseful and fun.”  Place your copy on reserve here.

Monsters : The Hindenburg disaster and the birth of pathological technology

by Ed Regis

Monsters

In hindsight, it’s a little weird that airships full of highly flammable gas were ever thought of as a great idea.  Talk about a disaster waiting to happen!  In this book author Ed Regis explores the question of how a technology now so completely invalidated (and so fundamentally unsafe) ever managed to reach the high-risk level of development that it did. Through the story of the zeppelin’s development, Regis examines the perils of what he calls “pathological technologies”–inventions whose sizeable risks are routinely minimized as a result of their almost mythical allure.  Place your copy on reserve here.

We interrupt this broadcast : the events that stopped our lives– : from the Hindenburg explosion to the attacks of September 11 by Joe Garner

We Interrupt

A fair litany of disasters. Recounts the details of forty-three significant events of the twentieth century, each with from-the-scene photographs; and features two compact discs that contain over two hours of audio from the events as they were broadcast live. Place your copy on reserve here.

Pulitzer Prize Winners

They’re here! They’re here!  Not many books on the old list, but what there is, we have.  Check out what the 2016 Pulitzer Prizes are going to these days:

Fiction
“The Sympathizer,” by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Sympathizer

Reserve your copy here.

History
“Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America,” by T.J. Stiles

Custer's Trials

Reserve your copy here.

Biography
“Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life,” by William Finnegan

Barbarian

Reserve your copy here.

General Nonfiction

“Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS,” by Joby Warrick

Black Flags

Reserve your copy here.

Music
“In for a Penny, In for a Pound,” by Henry Threadgill

In for a Penny

Reserve your copy here.

And as a special additional note,

Drama
“Hamilton,” book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Hamilton (2)

Be sure to listen to the soundtrack on Hoopla for free and then to read the book it was based on.  After that, reserve a copy of the brand new Hamilton, the Revolution, out just last week for true Hamilton die-hards.

For the complete listing of the Pulitzer Prize winners, go here!

Return of the Falcons: A Reading List for Bird Brains

200706081008As you well and truly know (and as I reported at the beginning of this blog lo these many months ago) Evanston Public Library plays host to nesting peregrine falcons every single year.  Well this year they’re back, baby!  Nona and Squawker have set up shop on one of the columns outside the library where so far they’ve been seen sitting on up to three eggs (it might be four as of this post).  My days are now filled with the sight of them nesting and occasionally flying in with a big fat pigeon for dinner.  [FYI: They tend to eat them not in the nest but either across the street from the library or in the eaves of the columns.]

Now aside from being the fastest animals on earth (and this is true), peregrine falcons are just generally fascinating.  But how much do you really know about them?  Announcing the official Peregrine Falcon Reading List!  With each and every one of these books now available here at Evanston Public Library:

For the Adults

On the Wing: To the Edge of the Earth With the Peregrine Falcon

 On the Wing

Where do Nona and Squawker go when they aren’t in Evanston?  “Alan Tennant, a passionate observer of nature, recounts his all-out effort to radio-track the transcontinental migration of the peregrine falcon–an investigation no one before him had ever taken to such lengths.” Place the book on reserve here.

Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City

Urban Nature

Daniel Tobin’s poem is to the peregrine falcons of NYC but that won’t make you enjoy this collection any less.  Be sure to place your copy on reserve here.

Peregrine by William Bayer

Peregrine

Considering the fact that peregrine falcons are bloodthirsty killers (raptors tend to be) perhaps it just makes sense to put them in a murder mystery.  Even better, the killer in this book “terrorizes New York with a lethal peregrine falcon.”  The quickie description reads, “Circling high over Rockefeller Center is a peregrine falcon, the most awesome of the flying predators. She awaits a signal from her falconer. It is given: the bird attacks, plummeting from the sky at nearly 200 miles an hour, striking a young woman and killing her instantly. So begins Peregrine, a chilling tale of obsession.”  Place the book on reserve here.

Return of the Peregrine : A North American Saga of Tenacity and Teamwork by editors Tom J. Cade and William Burnham

Return Peregrine

One review of this book began by saying, “There are few success stories in the recovery of endangered species, and the return of the peregrine falcon to North American skies is one of the best.” In this book you will find the most comprehensive history of the massive efforts to save our falcons.  A beautiful coffee table book, be sure to place your copy on reserve here.

The Rites of Autumn : A Falconer’s Journey Across the American West by Dan O’Brien
Rites of Autumn
Just the story of a man, his two dogs, and his young peregrine falcon.  A true story, no less.  This is one for you outdoorsy types. Place your copy on reserve here.

For the Kids

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin

Skydiver

Turns out, it was DDT that was significantly responsible for the downturn in the number of peregrine falcons in the wild.  This book chronicles how most of the eggs laid by falcons in the past were lost. This book covers the story of how scientists brought the birds back from near extinction.  Reserve a copy here.

Peregrine Falcon: Dive, Dive, Dive! by Natalie Lunis

PeregrineFalcon

Learn about where the peregrine falcon lives, how it hunts, and the special ways its body helps it reach its record-breaking speeds. Place it on reserve here.

Frightful’s Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Frightful's Mountain

From the author of Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain comes a book series where the heroine is a falcon!  Place a reserve on the book here. And once you’re done reading this you can follow up with the sequels Frightful’s Daughter and Frightful’s Daughter meets the Baron Weasel.

The Falcon’s Feathers by Ron Roy

Falcon's Feathers

This is part of the early chapter series A-Z Mysteries.  The premise? “Josh and his two friends look for the person who stole a peregrine falcon from its nest.”  I find this plot particularly terrifying.  I mean, have you seen the claws on those babies?  Place a copy on reserve here.

What’s Faster Than a Speeding Cheetah? by Robert E.Wells

Cheetah

You get three guesses and the first two don’t count.  Put the book on reserve here.

Falcons Nest on Skyscrapers by Priscilla Belz Jenkins

Falcons

Or libraries for that matter. Put the book on reserve here.

For the Teens

Wildwing by Emily Whitman

Wildwing

And what falcon booklist could be complete without a little falconry on the side?  In this time traveling tale, a girl is sent back to 13th-century England where she is mistaken for a Lady engaged to a local lord.  Naturally she falls in love with a falconer’s son instead.  Consider it Outlander for teens. Place it on reserve here.

American Crime Story: O.J. and the Literary Aftermath

I was weeding the fiction the other day and I was in the “D” section.  Nothing much to report there.  A lot of authors that used to be hot but that aren’t really read much anymore.  And as I was looking through the books, I pulled out one with a familiar name attached.  “Christopher Darden”.  I confess I had to look at his author photo to see if it was really him, but lo and behold it was.  A former prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial, Darden’s star has recently risen with the popularity of the television mini-series American Crime Story.  If you’re anything like me you’ve been watching it with the strangest sense of deja vu.  It’s one of those rare 1990s historical dramas that somehow manages to capture the time period perfectly.

This discovery of a Darden novel piqued my curiosity.  Did any of the other players in the O.J.case have books of their own?  Lord howdy, yes they did!  Here then is a list of each participant and the books associated with them.

Run of His Life

This is the book that American Crime Story is based on.  So just in case you doubt whether or not a convenience store clerk really did make comments to Marcia Clark when she was purchasing Tampax, now you have your answer.  Put your own copy on hold here (but be prepared for a little wait – it’s popular!).

By Christopher Darden

In Contempt

If anything has come out of American Crime Story it’s an overwhelming sympathy for Christopher Darden.  Yet long after the trial the man was all but forgotten.  In 2014 when ABC News did a Where Are They Now? piece, Darden was left out of the roster entirely.  Darden has written both fiction and non-fiction since the Simpson verdict.  Really, each person involved in the trial seems to have written at least one book on their experiences.  Darden’s is best described this way: “Presents an unflinching look at what really took place behind the scenes of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, from the starstruck judge who let celebrities into his chambers and a dysfunctional jury, to the intimate relationship between Darden and Marcia Clark.”  Put the book on hold here.

Lawless

I don’t know if I can necessarily forgive Entertainment Weekly for the cover blurb, “A literary dream team” but maybe that’s just me.  Darden actually co-wrote a fair number of thrillers.  This one is described as, “A young attorney at one of the West Coast’s leading, predominantly African-American law firms, Mercer Early is handed the seemingly routine case of an L.A. cop accused of shooting and killing his wife, a case complicated by two more police officers who kill their spouses, prompting an investigation that draws Mercer into a dangerous conspiracy.” Put the book on hold here.

By Marcia Clark

Without a Doubt

Rarely has a prosecutor received more intensive scrutiny than Ms. Clark experienced in the midst of the O.J. trial.  After sitting dormant on our library shelves for years, Ms. Clark’s memoir about her experiences during the trial take you there.  By the way, most of the books I’m mentioning today are long out-of-print.  You would have thought the publishers would have reprinted them with the success of the television show, but no.  That’s why we need libraries, kids!  Okay, diatribe over.  You can put the book on hold here.

Competition

Unlike Darden, Clark dove into the thriller genre headfirst and kept on producing.  This is just one of her many titles.  Feel free to place The Competition on hold here and also consider placing on hold Guilt by Association, Guilt by Degrees, and Killer Ambition.

By Johnnie Cochran

Journey

If American Crime Story has done anything for us it’s lent a kind of fascination about the key players.  Cochran was a name well known to me but I hadn’t really thought much about his life before the series came out.  As it happens we have two different Cochran biographies in the EPL system.  You can place Journey to Justice on hold here.

Lawyer's Life

And you can place A Lawyer’s Life on hold here.

By F. Lee Bailey

Jacket

Part of what I’ve enjoyed about American Crime Story is the plethora of 1990s actors on display.  From John Travolta to David Schwimmer to Nathan Lane it’s like I’m back in the era of Battlefield Earth, Friends, and The Lion King.  Speaking of Lane, he’s been stealing the show as F. Lee Bailey.  Mr. Bailey’s own book hadn’t circulated in our system in a while but thanks to the show he’s back on top.  Place a copy on reserve here.

By Robert Shapiro

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Back in the day the Library Journal review of Shapiro’s book said of it, “His excellent book . . . penetrates the innermost workings of the defense team.”  Place your copy on reserve here.

By Alan Dershowitz

Reasonable

Say what you will about Dershowitz, the man is prolific. Sometimes I feel like he publishes a book a year.  Reasonable Doubts was the only title he wrote about the O.J. case, so it may be worth looking at.  You can place a reserve here.

Taking

Consider this one if you want to hear him talk about his life and cases.  Place a reserve here.

And no, sorry. Robert Kardashian didn’t pen any books that you can read.  Though, if you really want to, you could place a hold on Faye Resnick’s really, truly, awful Nicole Brown Simpson bio here.

Hamilton is Coming! Be Prepared! Read!

MusicalHow much Hamil do we need in the Chicago area?

A Hamil-TON!

Bad joke, bad joke.  You’ll forgive me.  I get a little excited sometimes.  And now we know that the musical Hamilton is slated to arrive in Chicago in September.  Of course, if you’re a fan now then you’re going to need something to read while you wait for the next six months.  You can listen to the entire cast recording of the smash hit Broadway show on Hoopla for free, of course, but your brain needs more.

Recently the site Bookriot published the article “What to Read Now That You’ve Heard Hamilton“.  In the piece author Jesse Doogan outlined all the books you should get under your belt if you want to know more about your favorite cast of characters.  And good news, happy citizens.  Evanston Public Library owns them too.  Here’s the list:

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Hamilton

The book that the show is actually based on (note the teeny tiny Hamilton music icon on the cover).  I’ve had to buy multiple copies of this one because folks are just clamoring for it.  Stand in line to get your copy here.

Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr by Nancy Isenberg

Fallen

Doogan mentions two Burr bios that are worth looking at.  Isenberg’s bio is mentioned as being distinctly “pro-Burr”.  Reserve your copy here.

The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr by H.W. Brands

Heartbreak

This one focuses far more on Burr’s relationship with his daughter.  Reserve your copy here.

Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation by Cokie Roberts

Ladies

Good luck finding information out there on the Schuyler sisters.  Thought I’ve no doubt someones’s working on it right now, there isn’t exactly a biography of Angelica, Eliza, and poor almost forgotten Peggy.  They do pop up in this Cokie Roberts book, though.  Reserve your copy here.

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

Lafayette

Pairing Vowell with Hamilton seems pretty inspired.  And Lafayette deserves a little focus, that’s for sure.  While I might have wished that Doogan had pulled something on Hercules Mulligan (seriously, who was that guy?) I think this will definitely do in the meantime.  Reserve your copy here.

Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek

Master

Oh, Jefferson.  A pretty pickle of a founder, that’s for sure.  Doogan thought it neat to include two very different biographies of the man.  Biographies that disagree vehemently with one another.  You’re sure to get two different views of him if you read these.  You can place your copy of the first one here.

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed

Hemingses

Place your copy on the second one here.

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

Washington

Finally, you’ve a lot of Washington biographies to choose from if you want to know more about the General.  Chernow’s biography of Hamilton could be credited as starting the musical in the first place.  Seems fitting that we end here today with his bio of Washington as well.  Reserve your copy here.

Remembering the Negro Leagues

Former NL PlayerThe other day I was looking at the city’s website and ran across this fascinating article: Former Negro League Player Ray Knox Receives Key to the City.

Turns out, we’ve had an honest-to-goodness Negro League baseball player here in Evanston for decades and yet only a few of us knew about him.  As the piece explains, “The Negro Leagues were formed in 1920 in response to Jim Crow laws that banned black players from competing with white teams. This league slowly faded after Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945.”

Mr. Knox is also one of the few dozen Negro League players still alive today.  In celebration, here are some books that honor the Negro Leagues in the best possible way.  Put a couple on hold today:

ChicagoAmerican

We begin with some hometown pride. The description of the book reads, “In 1886, a semi-pro team known as the Union Baseball Club was founded in Chicago. Made up of black players under the leadership of Frank Leland, this team worked its way to the top of Chicago’s semi-pro city league, an organization which otherwise included only white teams . . . Covering the years 1870-1953, this heavily researched history includes a detailed account of one of the Negro Leagues’ most legendary teams. A comprehensive biographical dictionary and detailed game log are included.”  Place the book on hold here.

Black Baseball

A cohesive history of Chicago’s long relationship with black baseball.  If you’ve never heard of the West Baden Sprudels or the Zulu Cannibal Giants, now you can correct a great wrong.  Place the book on hold here.

Chicago Baseball

A broader overview of baseball in Chicago as a whole, historically.  Contains information on everything from The Negro Leagues to the major leagues, to the little leagues.  Fairly comprehensive.  Place the book on hold here.

We Are Ship

Though ostensibly written with a younger audience in mind, Kadir Nelson’s paean to Negro Leagues baseball is without a doubt the most beautiful book you’re likely to encounter on the subject.  With infinite care Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through the decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947.  The oil paintings alone are worth the price of admission.  Place the book on hold here.

Curveball

She was called “the female Jackie Robinson” and in this crazycool memoir you’ll learn how one young woman went from ragtag teams barnstorming across the Dakotas to playing in front of large crowds at Yankee Stadium itself.  When she was 32 she laid claim to the second base position recently ceded by Hank Aaron, who had moved on to the majors.  And that’s just the beginning . . . .  Place the book on hold here.