Archive | Reviews & Recommendations

Four to Read More: Stories Retold From the Villain’s Perspective

Four to Read More: Stories Retold From the Villain’s Perspective

As we gear up for Halloween, why not try some stories retold from the antagonist’s point of view?

 

 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Before becoming a ruthless monarch, the Queen of Hearts was a no more than a young girl who dreamed of becoming the best baker in the Land of Hearts and marrying the handsome court joker. But her dreams were cut short by the expectations of her mother, the expectations that drove her to pursue romance in secret, and nothing good can ever come from that.

 

 

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
Is the Witch of the West truly as wicked as we think? Maguire’s retelling of the Wizard of Oz sheds light on Elphaba’s rough childhood growing up with alcoholic and endlessly jealous parents. In this version of the story, Elphaba’s hometown is controlled by a totalitarian dictator known as the Wizard of Oz and is one of the only people in her town to advocate against the mistreatment of animals.

 

 

 

Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli
In this unconventional retelling of Snow White, Dolce, a young girl living on an island of dwarves, is seen as a freak and a giant by everyone in her hometown, hated by everyone besides her mother. One day, she escapes her island and travels to a foreign land where she is welcomed and her height is no longer uncommon.  In this new land, she falls in love with a widower and becomes a mirror-maker. However, her love of mirrors soon stirs trouble deep within her soul and she begins to see herself transform into the evil stepmother we know her as today.
 

 

 


Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys cover of The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Do you remember Bertha Mason, the madwoman locked in Rochester’s attic in Jane Eyre? Do you ever wonder what drove her to snarl, walk on all fours, and set Thornfield on fire? Wide Sargasso Sea tells the story of Antoinette Cosway, the young Jamaican girl forced to marry Rochester and confined to the attic of Thornfield for the rest of her life.

By Sophia N. ’19

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September Bay Area Literary and Author Events

September Bay Area Literary and Author Events

Adam Silvera in conversation with Sabaa Tahir
Thursday, September 7, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Alex Bracken and Tamara Ireland Stone 
Friday, September 8, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Inaugural Teen Advisory Board Meeting in Santa Clara
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – 3:00 p.m.
Books Inc.
2712 Augustine Drive
Santa ClaraCA
Salman Rushdie in conversation with Michael Chabon
Monday, September 11, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
Nourse Theatre
275 Hayes St
San FranciscoCA
Laurie Halse Anderson
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
The Craft of Building Other Worlds
Featuring Andy Weir (The Martian); Marie Brennan (A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent); Anne Nesbet (The Wrinkled Crown and The Cabinet of Earths); Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate series; The Finishing School series; The Custard Protocol series); and Scott Reintgen (Nyxia).
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Books Inc.
74 Town & Country Village
Palo AltoCA
Soman Chainani
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Marie Lu
Thursday, September 21, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Scott Reintgen and his YA sci-fi debut, Nyxia
Thursday, September 21, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Books Inc.
74 Town & Country Village
Palo AltoCA
Jessica Cluess with Stephanie Garber
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Stephanie Perkins with Nina LaCour
Saturday, September 30, 2017 – 3:00 p.m.
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025

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Introducing Statista

Introducing Statista

The library has a new database!

Statista is one of the world’s leading online statistics portals, with statistics & studies from 18,000 sources. It provides access to several fields of study including marketing, business, politics, social sciences, law, and finance.

Some points of interest:

  • Fast and comprehensive starting point for research
  • Daily infographics on global issues
  • Insight into the digital economies of 50 countries worldwide
  • Awarded 2012 Best Statistics Portal 2014 by Library Journal

Go check it out on our databases page!

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Remember the Ladies

Remember the Ladies

“…in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors […] If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

-Abigail Adams, March 31, 1776 in a letter to John Adams, her husband

 

In 1987, Congress passed a resolution to declare March as National Women’s History Month. Since we’re the library at a girl’s school, it seems best to celebrate with books! Here’s a few of our favorite new things about women.

Rejected Princesses cover

Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions & Heretics by Jason Porath

Based on the viral tumblr sensation Rejected Princesses, these are the princesses you won’t find in a Disney movie.

Headstrong cover

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science and the World by Rachel Swaby

How many female scientists can you name off the top of your head? Read this and you’ll know at least 52!

Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner? cover

Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? A Story of Women and Economics by Katrine Marçal

A book looking at the ignored labor women do, and how much it actually contributes to making society function.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World cover

Here We Are: 44 Voices Write, Draw and Speak About Feminism for the Real World, edited by Kelly Jensen

Want to know what top minds have to say about the state of feminism today? Read this!

 

Learn more about Women’s History Month here!

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Black History, Black Words, Black Lives

Black History, Black Words, Black Lives

February is Black History Month, which seems like a good time to highlight some of the new materials we have by and about African-Americans and their lived experiences. Eva S. ’18 writes about some of the stuff we’ve gotten recently.

Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, edited by Philip Cushway and Michael Warr

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, editor Philip Cushway and poet Michael Warr created a collection of poems from African-American writers.  This is not just a collection of poetry; beautiful pictures of the poets, photographed by Victoria Smith, as well as carefully chosen images from the Black Panther Party until today provide a glimpse into the African-American experience in a tangible, multifaceted way over time.  Thomas Sayers Ellis’ poem “The Identity Repairman” highlights the changing language surrounding people of color that symbolizes African-American advancement in society.  His poem begins with “AFRICAN: I am rooted./Ask the land./ I am lyric./ Ask the sea.” and ends hauntingly with “AFRICAN-AMERICAN: “Before I was born,/ I absorbed struggle./ Just looking/ at history hurts.”

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images  The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward

Inspired by James Baldwin’s speech The Fire Next Time, Jesmyn Ward has compiled a powerful collection of essays and poems called The Fire This Time, which takes a contemporary look at the racial tensions that have underscored our country’s history for centuries.  In her introduction, Ward asserts that “We cannot talk about black lives mattering or police brutality without reckoning with the very foundation of this country.”  It is with this simple and honest, yet incredibly complex statement that the stories of current black writers unfold to reveal the reality of people of color in a society still dealing with the aftermath of slavery.  However, Ward’s book also gives hope to the reader and to the authors.  She says, “I believe that there is power in words, power in asserting our existence, our experience, our lives, through words.  That sharing our stories confirms our humanity.”

 

The Black Panthers: Portraits from an Unfinished Revolution, edited by Bryan Shih and Yohuru Williams

Despite the efforts of the FBI to silence and demonize the Black Panther Party during their height in the 1960’s, this collection allows the stories of everyday, working-class members of the Party to share their stories of bravery.  Bryan Shih, a photojournalist, illuminates the voices of these members with thoughtful portraits, full of grace.  Yohuru Williams, a historian, enriches the experience with the social context of the time.  Flipping through the collection, the weathered faces of the former members stand out with their clear, strong gazes and unfazed expressions.  Their stories are equally strong and sometimes unbelievably horrifying and difficult.  Throughout the book, however, the sense of justice that these men and women carry with them brings a greater purpose to the book than only their stories.  As Melvin Dickson, a crucial member of the Party and co-founder of the Commemoration Committee for the Black Panther Party, said, “That’s what makes the legacy of the Black Panther Party matter- that we loved beyond ourselves.”

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African American Cinema in the Early 20th Century

African American Cinema in the Early 20th Century

In the period after World War I, up till the 1940s, the genre of “race films” emerged. These were films that starred African American actors, and were funded, written, produced, edited, distributed, and watched by African Americans. This separate industry provided positive, complex roles for black actors instead of the heavily stereotyped roles provided by Hollywood. Additionally, as Jacqueline Stewart, a film professor at the Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 5.33.17 PMUniversity of Chicago, explains, these films addressed key issues within the black community such as “the politics of skin color within the black community, gender differences, class differences, regional differences especially during this period of the Great Migration.” This fascinating genre built a distinct style of narration, and influenced the tradition of black cinema for decades.

Check out “Pioneers of African-American Cinema” from the library, a restored collection of films from this time period. It includes work from important figures such as Oscar Micheaux and Zora Neale Hurston (author of Their Eyes Were Watching God).

Sources:
From Blackface to Blaxploitation: Representations of African Americans in Film at Duke University
Restored ‘Race Films’ Find New Audiences on Code Switch from NPR
Race Film, Wikipedia Article

by Arushi G. ’18

 

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