Debut Author Spotlight: September 2018

Posted on Monday, September 10, 2018 by Katherine

As we head into fall, check out these books by debut authors coming in September. If you would like a longer list of debut titles, please visit our catalog.

 

The 7 1/2 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle book coverThe 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton

Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered at 11:00 p.m. The next day she dies again.

When the Hardcastle family throws a party, the daughter of the house is murdered. Guest Aiden Bishop finds himself stuck in a time loop where every day is the same and every night Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered.

To break out of the loop and set time moving forward again, Aiden must solve her murder and he only has eight days to do it. For each of those eight days he will inhabit the body of a different guest until he unravels the mystery and finds the killer.

 

Intercepted” by Alexa MartinIntercepted book cover

Determined to prove she can make it on her own after dumping her cheating NFL boyfriend after 10 years, Marlee has vowed to never again date an athlete. But she finds her determination wavering with the arrival of the Mustangs’ new quarterback Gavin Pope, with whom she once shared a passionate night. And Gavin plans to convince Marlee he’s nothing like her ex.

As things between Marlee and Gavin heat up, Marlee must also deal with increased media attention and the judgmental football wives, the Lady Mustangs.

 

Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: September 2018”

Literary Links: The Supreme Court

Posted on Sunday, September 9, 2018 by cs

Supreme Court

With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, there has been much debate about the role of the Supreme Court of the United States in shaping American policy and whether the process of appointing new justices has become too politicized. Are these new characteristics of the court or have they always been a part of the equation? The Supreme Court was established in 1789 and first convened in 1790. It had no real home and little prestige during the first 10 years of its existence. Pivotal to the court’s growth of power and status was the appointment of Chief Justice John James Marshall in 1801. During his tenure, the court made several important rulings including Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland. In the decades since, the status and influence of the court has continued to grow.

The history of the court and how it became the influential entity it is today is explored in Richard J. Regan’s “A Constitutional History of the U.S. Supreme Court.” Regan’s factual approach offers a concise overview of the court’s history through biographies of justices and chapters on pivotal cases with highlights of concurring and dissenting opinions. Readers should gain a comprehensive understanding of the court’s history and its role in society.

Joel Richard Paul takes a more intimate approach to the court’s growth with his animated biography on one of the most influential justices, John Marshall. “Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times” provides a comprehensive picture of Marshall’s life. Paul’s focus on Marshall’s career before his appointment to the court sets the foundation for the visionary role he assumed. The author describes Marshall’s life and decisions on the court within the social and cultural context of the time period. Although the book is over 500 pages, it is written in an approachable and straightforward manner.

Also fascinating is the complex and layered process required for a case to actually be heard by the Supreme Court. Richard Kluger’s iconic “Simple JusticeSimple Justice lays out the definitive history of the landmark case, Brown v. the Board of Education. With comprehensive clarity, Kluger illustrates the painstaking process of setting precedents, case by case, to finally culminate in the supreme legal challenge to current law. Kluger covers each step of the process within the psychosocial arena of race and culture that permeated each legal endeavor. Although this is nonfiction, it reads like a novel and has fascinating information about the parties involved with a particular focus on the work of Thurgood Marshall (the first African American Supreme Court Justice), Charles Houston and William Hastie.

For those who question the court’s ability to remain impartial, former assistant U.S. attorney James D. Zirin’s “Supremely Partisan” offers a wealth of information about its history and what he believes is the inherently partisan nature of the court. Zirin argues that the politicization of the court has made it a much sought after tool to turn ideology and personal beliefs into permanent law. It is written for the lay reader and provides a history of the court with many interesting stories about specific cases and court personalities.

Melvin I.Urofsky’s “Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court’s History and the Nation’s Constitutional Dialogue” is a timely presentation focusing on the power of dissent and its role in influencing U.S. domestic policy and constitutional dialogue. It is at once a history of the court and a fascinating look at the personalities of the justices and their dissenting opinions. Urofsky shows the importance of dissenting opinions and their effect as a catalyst in awakening and/or revitalizing social and political ideologies.

Court and the World

Erwin Chemerinsky enters the debate about the need to overhaul the Supreme Court in “The Case Against the Supreme Court.” Chemerinsky provides a scholarly argument against the historical and present day court. He outlines a history of what he perceives as missed opportunities and errors tied to current morality and politics. He argues that judicial decisions are inherently biased based on each justice’s personal and political leanings. He completes this book with suggested changes that would limit the effects of this bias and increase the functionality and objectivity of the court.

Finally, in “The Court and the World,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer emphasizes the need for an increased understanding of foreign law in our legal system. In a world made smaller and more connected by technology, as well as political and economic relationships, Breyer points out that the Supreme Court rulings are increasingly impacted by foreign law. The number of cases with foreign and international connections will continue to grow and our laws and Supreme Court justices must adapt.

 

Image credit: dog97209The Supreme Court of the United States Washington DC via Flickr (license)

These Books go to Eleven: Recommended Readings on Rock and Pop Music

Posted on Friday, June 8, 2018 by Eric

Stealing All the Transmissions book cover
“Stealing All Transmissions:  A Secret History of the Clash”

Music elicits a visceral reaction, especially music that falls under the broad umbrella of pop and rock. It’s loud and raucous, meant to get you out of your seat and to irritate your parents. Whether it’s the beat, the melody or some sick guitar shredding, something flips our normal mode of operation as our intellect and ego become subservient to our ID. So it’s understandable if the idea of quietly reading a book about this music seems too tame. But books about our pop and rock icons can be as thrilling as they are interesting. They provide a window into the craft of the music, but also the cultural moment it was created in. With decades of quality writing on pop music, a comprehensive list of the best this genre has to offer would be insurmountable. Instead, and in the creative spirit of music itself, I offer you a highly subjective list of recommendations of books that I’ve either read and loved or that linger tantalizingly on my “To Be Read” shelf.

Music fans can develop strong feelings about their favorite bands, and music collectors can get downright obsessive. “Do Not Sell at Any Price” explores the subculture of 78 rpm record collecting. Amanda Petrusich’s book evokes the thrill of the hunt for these collectors while also broadening the discussion to cultural appropriation and the romanticization of history. Continue reading “These Books go to Eleven: Recommended Readings on Rock and Pop Music”

Nonfiction Roundup: April 2018

Posted on Monday, April 2, 2018 by Kirk

Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released in April. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.

TOP PICKS

Rocket Men book cover

The Apollo 8 mission is the subject of “Rocket Men” by Robert Kurson. Less well known than the later Apollos 11 and 13, this 1968 voyage into space marked the first time mankind orbited the moon. Set against the backdrop of a country in turmoil and a tense race against the USSR, Kurson tells the riveting story of Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, three astronauts who dared to go where no one had gone before. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: April 2018”

Best Books Read in 2017, Part 1

Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 by Kat

The year is almost over, and the staff here at the library want to share their favorite book of 2017 with you! These books might not have been published this year, but they all were enjoyed during it. Without further ado, here’s the first batch of the best books read in 2017 by your DBRL staff:

A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman

Man Called Ove book cover“Ove is a grumpy neighbor who still has a warm heart. ‘A Man called Ove’ will make you laugh and cry. It reminds us how caught up we can get in our daily routines, and how unwilling we are to change; but sometimes, someone comes along and change is okay.”
~Sheryl Bucklew

“At first I thought it was going to be depressing, but it quickly took a comedic and touching turn as Ove learns to keep on living without his wife.”
~Mitzi Continue reading “Best Books Read in 2017, Part 1”

Know Your Dystopias: Fahrenheit 451

Posted on Friday, September 29, 2017 by Eric

Dystopias are everywhere (at least in the world of books). A spike in sales of classic dystopian literature and an increase in contemporary dystopian stories mirror how we turn to these stories at times of uncertainty. These visions of society reflect the fears and concerns of the times they were written (as well as the fears and concerns of their authors).

Literally, a dystopian society is the opposite of the ideal society, or, a utopia. So, we are discussing less than ideal societies here. Much less. Consider “Know Your Dystopias” your tour of places you would not want to visit in the real world.

In recognition of Banned Books Week we will start with Ray Bradbury’s book-burning dystopia in “Fahrenheit 451.” Named for the temperature at which paper burns, the novel is set in an upside-down world where the job of firemen is starting fires to destroy books. All books are illegal and the populace is entertained (not informed) by wall-sized television screens, preferably on each wall of the parlor, if one can afford it. A threat of war looms, but despite reminders in the form of jets periodically screaming overhead the population seems sanguine about it. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: Fahrenheit 451”