Favorite Books 2017

Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir (Six Tudor Queens series #2)Weir, Alison
Anything is PossibleStrout, Elizabeth
Art of Fielding, The by Chad HarbachHarbach, Chad
Artemis by Andy WeirWeir, Andy
Assassin’s Fate – Robin HobbHobb, Robin
Blackhouse, The by Peter MayMay, Peter
Blame, Jeff AbbottAbbott, Jeff
Blood Rose Rebellion, by Rosalyn EvesEves, Rosalyn
Book of Phoenix, The by Nnedi OkoraforOkorafor, Nnedi
Burning Bright, Nick PetriePetrie, Nick
Burning Page, The by Genevieve Cogman (“The Invisible Library” #3)Cogman, Genevieve
Case Histories, Kate AtkinsonAtkinson, Kate
Celine, by Peter Heller Heller, Peter
Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer RyanRyan, Jennifer
Chronicles of St. Mary’s series (9 bks+10 short stories) by Jodi TaylorTaylor, Jodi
Circling the Sun by Paula McLainMcLain, Paula
Closed and Common Orbit, A by Becky ChambersChambers, Becky
Come, Sundown, Nora RobertsRoberts, Nora
CommonwealthPatchett, Ann
Commonwealth by Ann PatchettPatchett, Ann
Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, The by Phaedra PatrickPatrick, Phaedra
Dark Matter by Blake CrouchCrouch, Blake
Death in St. Petersburg by Tasha Alexander (Lady Emily Mystery #12)Alexander, Tasha
Dry, The by Jane HarperHarper, Jane
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by  Gail HoneymanHoneyman, Gail
Excellent Lombards, The by Jane HamiltonHamilton, Jane
Fifth House of the Heart, The Ben TrippTripp, Ben
Flame Bearer, The Bernard CornwellCornwell, Bernard
Fools’ River, Timothy HallinanHallinan, Timothy
Gentleman in Moscow, A Amor TowlesTowles, Amor
Gentleman in Moscow, A by Amor TowlesTowles, Amor
Girl in the red coat, The by Kate HamerHamer, Kate
Golden Age, The by Joan LondonLondon, Joan
Hate U Give, The by Angie ThomasThomas, Angie
Hawke’s Prey, Reavis Z. WorthamWortham, Reavis Z.
Heartstone by Elle Katharine WhiteWhite, Elle Katharine
Homegoing by Yaa GyasiGyasi, Yaa
Hypnotist’s love story, The by Liane MoriartyMoriarty, Liane
I always loved you : a story of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas by Robin OliveiraOliveira, Robin
Imagine Me GoneHaslett, Adam
IQ, Joe IdeIde, Joe
keeper of lost things, The by Ruth HoganHogan, Ruth
Kindred, Octavia ButlerButler, Octavia
Last anniversary, The by Liane MoriartyMoriarty, Liane
Light it Up, Nick Petrie Petrie, Nick
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall KellyKelly, Martha Hall
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen RooneyRooney, Kathleen
Little Labors- Rivka GalchenGalchen, Rivka
Little Life, A  Hanya YanagiharaYanagihara, Hanya
Loner- Teddy WayneWayne, Teddy
Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna M. WhiteWhite, Roseanna
Man Called Ove, A by Fredrik BackmanBackman, Fredrik
Medicine Walk, Richard WagameseWagamese, Richard
Midnight Rose, The by Lucinda RileyRiley, Lucinda
Miss You by Kate EberlenEberlen, Kate
Missing, Presumed by Susie SteinerSteiner, Susie
Mr. Rochester by Sarah ShoemakerShoemaker, Sarah
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell Your She’s SorryBackman, Fredrik
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth StroutStrout, Elizabeth
Namesake, The by Jhumpa LahiriLahiri, Jhumpa
News of the WorldJiles, Paulette
Night Circus, The by Erin MorgensternMorgenstern, Erin
Night Film, by Marisha PesslPessl, Marisha
Nix, The by Nathan HillHill, Nathan
Once Upon a Spine – Kate CarlisleCarlisle, Kate
Paris Trout by Pete Dexter.Dexter, Pete
Quiet Until the ThawFuller, Alexandra
Readers of Broken Wheel recommend, The by Katarina BivaldBivald, Katarina
Reason You’re Alive by Matthew QuickQuick, Matthew
Shadowshaper by Daniel José OlderOlder, Daniel José
Sorcery & Cecilia or The Enchanted Chocolate PotWrede, Patricia C. and Caroline Stevermer
Stars Are FireShreve, Anita
Stone Sky, The N.K. JemisinJemisin, N.K.
Submission- Michel HouellebecqHouellebecq, Michel
Temeraire series (9 bks) by Naomi NovikNovik, Naomi
Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen KushnerKushner, Ellen
Uprooted by Naomi NovikNovik, Naomi
Vicious, by V.E. SchwabSchwab, V.E.
Wanderers, The by Meg HowreyHowrey, Meg
Wanderers, The- Meg HowreyHowrey, Meg
Watch Me Disappear by Janelle BrownBrown, Janelle
Watching Glass Shatter – James J CudneyCudney, James J.
We were the lucky ones by Georgia HunterHunter, Georgia
Widow, The by Fiona BartonBarton, Fiona
Wishin’ & Hopin’ by Wally LambLamb, Wally
With Blood Upon the Sand- Bradley BeaulieuBeaulieu, Bradley
Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan (Lady Trent series #5)Brennan, Maria
World of the Innocent – Nadine C KeelsKeels, Nadine C.
Year is ’42, The by Nella BielskiBielski, Nella
You will know me by Megan AbbottAbbott, Megan
Six of Crows series by Leigh BardugoBardugo, Leigh
Six of Crows  
Crooked Kingdom
Broken Earth series by N.K. JemisinJemisin, N.K.
The Fifth Season
The Obelisk Gate
The Stone Sky
Louise Penny…all of them.Penny, Louise
Autumn- Karl Ove KnausgaardKnausgaard, Karl Ove
Born a Crime by Trevor NoahNoah, Trevor
Broad Strokes: Fifteen Women Who Made Art and Made History (In That Order), by Bridget QuinnQuinn, Bridget
Card Catalog, The: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures The Library of Congress
Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste- Bianca BoskerBosker, Bianca
Crown of Blood by Nicola TallisTallis, Nicola
Game of Queens by Sarah GristwoodGristwood, Sarah
God Is a Verb by David A. CooperCooper, David A.
Good girls revolt, The : how the women of Newsweek sued their bosses and changed the workplace by Lynn PovichPovich, Lynn
How Doctors Think by Jerome GroopmanGroopman, Jerome
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl- Carrie BrownsteinBrownstein, Carrie
Just Mercy by Bryan StevensonStevenson, Bryan
Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War by Lynne OlsonOlson, Lynne
Life of Thomas Johnson, The by Edward S. DelaplaineDelaplaine, S
Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life, by Charles C. CalhounCalhoun, Charles
Moranifesto- Caitlin MoranMoran, Caitlin
Mother of All Questions, The by Rebecca Solnit.Solnit, Rebecca
Norse Mythology- Neil GaimanGaiman, Neil
Photo Ark,The : One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals Joel SartoreSartore, Joel
Rain in Portugal, The, by Billy CollinsCollins, Billy
Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir- Tom HartHart, Tom
Stranger in the woods, The : the extraordinary story of the last true hermit by Michael FinkelFinkey, Michael
Time Traveler’s Guide to Restoration England, The by Ian MortimerMortimer, Ian
Warmth of Other Suns, The by Isabel WilkersonWilkerson, Isabel
Woman who Smashed Codes, The by Jason FagoneFagone, Jason
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, by Kory StamperStamper, Kory
Young and Damned and Fair by Gareth RussellRussell, Gareth
Book Picks – Children/Juvenile/Teen:
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. WhiteWhite, E.B.
Homage to Catalonia, George OrwellOrwell, George
John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien by Caroline McAlisterMcAlister, Caroline
One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (“Three Dark Crowns” #2)Blake, Kendare
Quest for Z, The: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and a Lost City in the Amazon by Greg PizzoliPizzoli, Greg
Ring and the Crown, The: the Extended Edition by Melissa de la CruzCruz, Melissa de la
Shadowcaster by Cinda W. Chima (Shattered Realms series #2)Chima, Cinda W
Star-Crossed by Barbara DeeDee, Barbara
Taking flight : from war orphan to star ballerina by Michaela DePrinceDePrince, Michaela
The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasThomas, Angie
We will not be silent : the White Rose student resistance movement that defied Adolf Hitler by Russell FreedmanFreedman, Russell
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya MenonMenon, Sandhya
Wild Lily by K.M. PeytonPeyton, K.M.
Wish – Barbara O’ConnorO’Connor, Barbara
Wish Granter, The by CJ Redwine (Ravenspire series #2)Redwine, C.J.
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, Sherman AlexieAlexie, Sherman
Graphic Novel:
DaytripperMoon, Fábio and Gabriel Bá
HostageDelisle, Guy
My Favorite Thing is MonstersFerris, Emil
Roller GirlJamieson, Victoria
Rosalie LightningHart, Tom
White Donkey, The: Terminal LanceUriarte, Maximilian

Old Las Vegas

John C Fremont

John C Fremont

Long before the casinos and show business, Las Vegas was an important place in Nevada. It all began when John C. Fremont drew a map during a camping trip in 1844…

In Early Las Vegas by Dr. Karen Miller, take a look at the early years of Las Vegas as depicted in period drawings and photographs. The city takes its Spanish name from a group of springs providing an oasis from the desert.  Each of the six chapters is preceded by an explanatory note about the time period.

In the first chapter, a drawing by one of the settlers shows Las Vegas as it appeared in 1855.  One thing you’ll immediately notice: not much else around besides desert! It would serve as a traveler’s rest stop for many years as the Mormon and Old Spanish Trails ran through the area.  Eventually there was mining and ranches.

Boulder Dam

Boulder Dam 1942

In 1902, Helen J. Stewart, a local ranch pioneer, sold some land which lead Las Vegas to become an important city in the west.  The construction and arrival of the railroad through southern Nevada helped Las Vegas take off in 1905.  Another major development occurred in 1928: President Calvin Coolidge authorized the construction of Boulder (now Hoover) Dam. This major public works project helped Las Vegas through the Great Depression. Although the book ends in the 1930s, you can see how Las Vegas was shaped during its history. Today you can visit a few of the historical landmarks shown in the book.

Other related Nevada titles are available from Arcadia Publishing.

This month, the American Library Assoc. (ALA) Annual Conference returns to Las Vegas for the first time since 1973.

Las Vegas Sign

Las Vegas Sign

For me, this will be my second time visiting Las Vegas.  I first went there as a college student on a family summer vacation.  My dad had been on a business trip in metro Phoenix, AZ beforehand so we flew to Las Vegas after he was done. We stayed at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino which was then a new addition on the famed Strip. We visited Hoover Dam and drove through one of the state parks.  Despite the desert heat, I enjoyed the trip.

Hope to see you in Las Vegas!  Stay cool while you’re out and about.  And don’t forget to have plenty of water and sunscreen!


To PUBLIB readers who attended ALA in 1973, please share your memories in the comments!

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Queen Anne

Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion

Queen AnneAs the last Stuart monarch of England of Scotland, Queen Anne reigned during a dramatic time at home and in continental European history. Although she had a reserved personality, the Queen left her own mark on British history. In a new biography, Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion by Lady Anne Somerset, Anne’s life and the world she lived is told. Originally published in the UK, the book was released here in the US in the fall.

I knew a little bit about Anne from reading Jean Plaidy’s reissued novels about the Stuarts a few years earlier.  When I saw this book, I was curious to read more about her.  The biography is well-written and detailed.  The author drew on unpublished sources as part of her research. I was impressed there was more to Anne then what is usually described about her.  For example, she could make decisions at crucial times. Anne’s inspiration was Queen Elizabeth I, and she liked to emulate the Tudor Queen.

As Queen, Anne attended council meetings regularly. She was able to work well with Parliament which hadn’t been easy for her Stuart predecessors.  The Whigs and Tories were active during Anne’s reign, beginning the two party system.  In 1707, Scotland and England became fully united under one crown.

On the European continent, the Queen was involved in the War of Spanish Succession. During this time period, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, became famous for his military achievements.  Some early American colonial history is mentioned as well.

For many years, Anne was close friends with John’s wife Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough who held important posts in the Queen’s household.  Their relationship deteriorated because of political differences and petty arguments. Of interest to longtime “Masterpiece Theater” viewers, the Churchills were the subject of the historical drama “The First Churchills” in the 1971-72 inaugural season on PBS.

Charles Boit, Queen Anne and Prince George Anne’s husband was Prince George of Denmark (1653-1708) with whom she had a loving marriage.  He had a nominal role during her reign. Unfortunately none of their children survived to adulthood.  When the Prince died, she mourned him deeply.

There is more to Anne’s story so I’ll leave it to readers to find out!

Of interest to those live or work in Maryland, Anne and George have places named in their honor.

Queen Anne was awarded the 2013 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography in the UK.


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Interview Questions

What do you think is the best question you ever asked when you were interviewing applicants for a position?

What haven’t we asked you?

Tell me about the best boss you have ever had. Tell me about the worst boss you have ever had.

Tell me about a team or group project you have worked on and how you contributed to it.

Describe your most difficult work experience.

Think back to a time when…

Have you ever been faced with a situation where…What did you do?

Why do you want this job?

Tell me about the first job you ever had.

What do you like best about your current position?

What do you like least about it?

What’s your astrological sign? (shows how the candidate deals with the unpredictable question/customer)

If an alien landed his spaceship in your back yard and asked you to get in and fly away with him, would you?

If a teenager wanted to check out ’50 Shades of Grey’ what would you do?

Describe one of your best job related experiences.

Describe one of your worst job experiences.

What will your references say about you?

What are your favorite resources for staying current professionally?” (or … for staying current with local and national news?” depending on the position)

Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual

DEATH STAR Owner’s Technical Manual

128 pages
Published on 7th November 2013
ISBN: 9780857333728

Uncover the secrets of the Empire’s Ultimate Weapon

It has been 36 years since the first Star Wars film was released and the public got its first glimpse of the iconic  Death Star – the evil Empire’s technological terror. Now you can find out how the battle station worked, from its superlaser all the way down to its tractor beams, thanks to Star Wars: Death Star: Owner’s Workshop Manual, a new nuts-and-blaster-bolts Haynes manual out later this year.

Conceived as the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the station was heavily shielded, defended by TIE starfighters and laser cannons, and was invested with firepower greater than half of the Imperial fleet’s.

The Empire’s leaders had every reason to believe that their technological terror would induce fear across the galaxy. But the Death Star had one flaw.

This Haynes Manual  traces the origins of the Death Star, from concept to a top-secret project that began before the foundation of the Empire, which drew design inspiration from the Trade Federation’s spherical warships.

In this manual, the Death Star’s on-board systems and controls are explained in detail, and are illustrated with an astonishing range of computer-generated artwork, floor plans, cutaways, and exploded diagrams, all newly created by artists Chris Reiffand Chris Trevas – the same creative team behind the Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual. Text is by their Falcon colleague Ryder Windham, author of more than fifty Star Wars books.

Covering history, development and prototyping, superstructure, energy and propulsion, weapons and defensive systems, hangar bays, security, service and technical sectors, crew facilities, and with information about the Death Star II and its planetary shield generator, this is the most thorough technical guide to the Death Star available.

This Haynes Manual is fully authorized and approved by Lucasfilm.


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DC During Shutdown – Part 2

DC – Epilogue

US Capitol DomeThe shutdown entered its third week.  On October 15th, DC city government opened as usual, and paychecks for city employees went out as scheduled. Frustration about congressional inaction continued.  How long would this go?

On October 16th, Mayor Vincent Gray and his peers in Maryland and Virginia held a press conference at the John A. Wilson Building (our City Hall)  in downtown DC. Each of them explained how the shutdown impacted their respective jurisdictions and called on Congress to act. It will be some time before the final tally on the economy both here in the DC area and the country at large.

At last, the uncertainty ended after 16 days. Congress voted to end the shutdown and reopen the government, DC’s budget was included. Permanent budget autonomy, however, hasn’t been granted.  Mayor Gray has expressed disappointment about the matter.

It’s over–’nuff said!  I’ll leave the media commentators and editorial writers to it…


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DC During Shutdown – Part 1

US Capitol DomeFor the first time since 1996, the federal government shuttered October 1st.  When that has happened in the past, D.C. city government closed down too. Why?  Because the city receives direct funding from the federal government, it is treated as if it is a federal agency.

This time, Mayor Vincent Gray announced he would use the city’s contingency reserve funds to keep the city government in full operation, good for 2 weeks, granting an exemption from the federal shutdown. In the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, this option wasn’t available.  (Both times, DC city employees were able to return to work after a few days)

As the days wore on, the Mayor became worried as the fund became low.  On October 9th, while Senator Harry Reid was winding up an afternoon press conference, Gray went to speak with him on the Capitol steps after doing his own press conference not far off. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton was also present.*  Their conversation was on candid camera for the local evening news.  At the White House later that day, she spoke with President Obama about DC’s budget.  As of this writing, nothing has yet to materialize.

For this blog post, these are my observations of the shutdown on the city.  With local and national media outlets covering the shutdown, I’ll leave it to them.  The “Washington Post” started a live blog for shutdown updates.

October 1st

On Tuesday morning, we opened with extended hours system-wide.  Phone calls come from patrons asking if we are open.  (Yes, until 9 pm!)  When I arrive for the evening shift, there are few patrons.  As the day continues, more arrive.  An evening yoga class bustles in.  As the week progresses, more people are taking advantage of our new hours.  For example, there’s an increase in room reservation requests for this month into the next.

The morning commute

On Monday morning (9/30) driving down I-270 is slow going. The traffic reports on WTOP take a few minutes to call since many major roadways in MD, VA, and DC are experiencing heavy volume and problems.  Once I’m in the access ramp to Shady Grove Metro station, I quickly pick up speed at last. On Wednesday morning, it appears to be no worse than usual.  In some stretches, I’m driving slow, others are at speed. I don’t have far to drive to locate a parking space in the Shady Grove Metro station garage.  Usually I’m on the 3rd or 4th level.  On the platform, the half the volume of the commuting crowd is waiting.  As a new week begins, traffic still is heavy in spots.  Because I leave home early on Friday (10/11), I miss the trucker protest convoy on the Beltway later that morning.

Cleveland Park/Woodley Park

On Connecticut Ave in the mornings, there’s a steady volume of traffic through the Cleveland Park area heading for downtown. (Not so much outbound)  It doesn’t appear to have been much of a change. People are still out and about during the daytime. While walking to the Woodley Park Starbucks location on Friday morning (10/4) I see the gates at the National Zoo are closed with large signs posted.  There are several Zoo police officers on duty and restricted admission to the parking lot next to the main entrance.  When I drive by on my way to Saturday evening Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Church on Oct. 12th, there’s light foot traffic in that area.  Some people are sitting outside the Starbucks and other eateries.

Penn Quarter/Chinatown

DC Public Library Book PlateOctober 7th: I have a mandatory training at MLK Library that morning. As I come off the Metro at Metro Center station, I observe there are half the number of people transferring to the Blue and Orange lines downstairs or leaving the station.  Outside on the street, it’s lighter foot traffic.  Later, as I walk to Lawson’s for lunch, I see fewer food trucks parked along 12th & G St. by Macy’s (formerly Hecht’s).  Business hasn’t been great for them.

Closing note–Oct.13th: The “Post” reports that city has enough to pay city employees on October 15th.  If nothing is done, no guarantee about the next paycheck.

* Note: As a non-voting representative for DC, Delegate Norton is only allowed to speak on the House floor.  She can vote in committees which she’s a member.


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