Staff Reading Picks
American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
by Matthew Polly
Growing up a ninety-eight-pound weakling tormented by bullies in the schoolyards of Kansas, young Matthew Polly dreamed of one day journeying to the Shaolin Temple in China to become the toughest fighter in the world, like Caine in his favorite TV series, Kung Fu. Later, much to the dismay of his parents, he dropped out of Princeton, hopped on a plane to China, and set out in search of spiritural enlightenment and ass-kicking power with the legendary sect of monks who invented Zen Buddhism and kungfu.
Lost City Radio
by Daniel Alarcón
"For ten years, Norma has been the voice of consolation for a people broken by violence. She hosts Lost City Radio, the most popular program in their nameless South American country, gripped in the aftermath of war. Every week, the Indians in the mountains and the poor from the barrios listen as she reads the names of those who have gone missing, those whom the furiously expanding city has swallowed. Loved ones are reunited and the lost are found. Each week, she returns to the airwaves while hiding her own personal loss: her husband disappeared at the end of the war." "But the life she has become accustomed to is forever changed when a young boy arrives from the jungle and provides a clue to the fate of her long-missing husband."
"Lost City Radio probes the deepest questions of war and its meaning: from its devastating impact on a society transformed by violence to the emotional scarring each participant, observer, and survivor carries for years after."--BOOK JACKET.Resource Link
In the Country of Men
by Hisham Matar
On a hot day in Tripoli in the summer of 1979, nine-year-old Suleiman spots his father, supposedly away on business, across from the market square and wearing dark glasses, the first portent of grave danger in a previously unsuspected world.
by Amy Stewart
"For over a century hybridizers, geneticists, farmers, and florists around the world have worked to invent, manufacture, and sell flowers that are bigger, brighter, and sturdier than anything nature could provide. Almost any flower, in any color, is for sale at any time of year." "Amy Stewart travels the globe to take us inside this dazzling world. She tracks down scientists intent on developing the first genetically modified blue rose; an eccentric horticultural legend who created the world's most popular lily (the 'Star Gazer'); a breeder of gerberas of every color imaginable; and an Ecuadorean farmer growing exquisite, high-end organic roses that are the floral equivalent of a Tiffany diamond. She sees firstHand how flowers are grown and harvested on farms in Latin America, California, and Holland.
(It isn't always pretty.)"--BOOK JACKET.Resource Link
Mistress of the Art of Death
by Ariana Franklin
In medieval Cambridge, England, four children have been murdered. The crimes are immediately blamed on the town's Jewish community, taken as evidence that Jews sacrifice Christian children in blasphemous ceremonies. To save them from the rioting mob, the king places the Cambridge Jews under his protection and hides them in a castle fortress. King Henry I is no friend of the Jews-or anyone, really-but he is invested in their fate. Without the taxes received from Jewish merchants, his treasuries would go bankrupt. Hoping scientific investigation will exonerate the Jews, Henry calls on his cousin the King of Sicily-whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe-and asks for his finest "master of the art of death," an early version of the medical examiner.