Reviews

Want to know what our librarians and staff are reading? Browse through a variety of reviews added to our catalog from a variety of genres.

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  • Stealing the show : how women are revolutionizing television by Press, Joy,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Sep 8, 2018

    Tagged: Movies & Television

    Stealing the Show is a wonderful sort of historical anthology of TV shows where women figured prominently and how they influenced womens' portrayal in the system and is a welcome and must needed addition to the realm of Womens' Studies. We have come to take for granted that women can and should be seen doing what we Are really doing, not just what men would like to see us as doing (obeying an old fashioned gender stereotype). Even if you are not a TV or Prime time TV enthusiast, you need not fear, you will be able to follow along the narrative, and might even feel inspired to let yourself watch some of the shows mentioned whether you missed the Mary Tyler Moore show, or don't remember what was so maverick about Roseanne (Barr), or you were too busy to connect to Gilmore Girls here is your chance to freshen up your fandom. No research necessary; Joy Press has done all the work for you!

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  • Gut : the inside story of our body's most underrated organ by Enders, Giulia,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Sep 8, 2018

    Tagged: Comics & Graphic Novels Medical

    Awesome dissertation on the human Gut system including very interesting discussion of mouth / stomach / saliva systems not just the lower Gut. Giulia Enders and Jill Enders scientific writings and quirky illustrations will help you appreciate not just the magnitude of the task that processing all that you put into your body amounts to but answer all sorts of questions we are too shy to ask. If there was a way to make Gut health interesting, un-gros, and appropriate for all age and education levels, Mrs. Enders has surely done it. Her science is solid and holds up in an East/West Traditional Chinese Medicine explanation of human biology as well. I think she deserves a Nobel Prize for her contribution to making science a literary event! 

    This is an Adult book but It is certainly a good read for a TEEN as well!

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  • The Netanyahu years by Kaspit, Ben,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Sep 8, 2018

    Tagged: One Book, One Philadelphia Politics History

    While the political figures mentioned, combined with the periodic use of his nickname "Bibi" should keep the reader on their toes this book is everything the jacket professes it to be: "He zeroes in on Netanyahu's love-hate relationship with the Obama administration and America's Jews..." I also enjoyed the pages devoted to his childhood spent split between the two countries and his relationship with his brother, also the very studied father who was removed and stern jewish parenting.

    Essential Judaism 101 Must Be Read add it to your bucket list.

    Review in progress*

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  • Autism : the scientific truth about preventing, diagnosing, and treating autism spectrum disorders-and what parents can do now by Melillo, Robert.
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Sep 8, 2018

    Tagged: Cooking & Nutrition Psychology

    This book is wonderfully science based and concisely covers all the known risk factors, includes a nice chart on autism by state and then moves into a discussion on cognitive styles Right verses Left brained individuals. Chapters 5, and 6 are aimed at discovering the uniqueness of your brains tendancys, a busy adult or parent (could) skip straight to chapters 5/6 and use the book as a sort of self-help guide book however I recommend at least speed reading the book in order to realize how many factors there are that can influence autisim including sun-exposure, or correlate not cause it (TV time). This book is written for the parental audience, so if you are a parent or thinking of becoming one and in your 40s this book is definitely for you!

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  • A kind of mirraculas paradise : a true story about schizophrenia by Allen, Sandra
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Sep 8, 2018

    Tagged: Psychology

    This book is literally a story written by a schizophrenic encased in the vernacular prose of MFA writing program graduate Sandra Allen. Committing to read such a story might be something you don't do for yourself but in solidarity for someone you love to quote the latter part of Sandra's conclusion: "...I don't think he did it for himself. He was living for the next life, not this one. I think he did it because he knew it was wrong, that someday humanity might be deprived of any historical record of the people of Ishmall."

    A schizophrenic could be able to read and finish this book and identify with some of the life, struggle, and hobbies in it. For the un-affected person it is a rough read, as you're constantly asking yourself "Who are these people? Why are they important?" as the narrative doesn't build in a nice gentle soothing flowing way. Sandra's thought-pieces are interspersed throughout the story written by her uncle so one could actually skip one or the other sections and get through the book. This might be the first and only "Schizophrenia Friendly" novel ever to be created. It reminds me of childrens' stories where you can choose up to 26 different endings. I look forward to reading Mrs. Allens' next novel as I am sure the topic and formatting will be more user friendly and perhaps contain a broader appeal. However the point of writing is not to create a blockbuster success but to diversify litterature. Herman Hess would be proud of this novel and I think 21st Century society should be able to embrace it as well.

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  • Moody bitches : the truth about the drugs you're taking, the sleep you're missing, the sex you're not having, and what's really making you crazy by Holland, Julie,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Sep 2, 2018

    Tagged: Health & Fitness Medical Psychology Self-Help

    Dr. Judy Holland has done an excellent job focusing on the Nature of female moodswings and chemical and hormone interactions when we engage in a variety of sexual behaviors. Partly stemming from many of her cases and daily practice in Manhattan with career moms/career wives, it also dispels myths on how humans and penguins are painted in a romanticized way as examples of monogamous species which in fact we are not. On page 85 she digresses into explaining the fact: "We are part of the same family, the great apes containing gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans." If considering how human sex is more similar to bonobos sex compared and not similar to chimpansees sex makes you un-comfortable, then this is not the book for you. Other uncomfortable but important scientific truths are stated regarding birth-control usage and females and SSRI side effects. Dr. Holland affirms what women have long known: we are a generation of guinea pigs being over-medicated compared to the male species but it's not too late to be 100% educated on best practices for self care. A must read for any women who has taken hormones, SSRIs, future doctors, psychiatrists, moms, basically ...everyone.

    Tags: #womens studies #womens' health #LGBT health

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  • Reasons to stay alive by Haig, Matt,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Sep 2, 2018

    Tagged: Biography & Autobiography Psychology

    Wonderfully dry British wit on Depression. This book might bring you down if you are having a particularly good day, however its short chapters, floral swirly pattern descriptions of the many manifestations of depression and anxiety paired together will stand you in good stead for the next time you are feeling particularly low you will be better educated on how to cope. This is a necessary read in a culture where Men are more likely to suicide when depressed than women and our dependence on technology and obsession with cultivating our digital image can be contrary to just existing happily. I particularly enjoyed the section where he described a funny arguement which happened between him and his wife while they were in Ibiza. I feel Mr. Haig's writing style and comedic flare could best be shared with the world via a weekly column in a major newsprint publication. I wish him all the success in the world with his future projects. This book touches on the fact that when we are doing the best in life, it's easiest to rickochet emotionally and remain skeptical of our own accomplishment, we are attacked by feelings of negation and un-worthiness. This book will encourage many a discouraged person mid-career , mid-relationship, mid-anything to not give up the good fight and achieve that elusive plateau of contentedness which awaits us all.

    Tags #Body symmetry , #generalized Anxiety Disorder #psychology #career changes #psychosis #statistics on depression #medication

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  • I am Big Bird : the Caroll Spinney story
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Sep 2, 2018

    Tagged: Art Biography & Autobiography Movies & Television

    This is the very touching, behind the scenes rare footage of the making of Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch both played by Carol Spinney. Wonderful showing of the pupetter culture in New York in the 1970s and playful attitudes which enables kids of a young age to identify with 2versital characters. Great film for any artist determined to make a difference in any field despite personal, emotional and other set-backs. This film is best understood if you have watched the only other full length movie devoted to his character Follow That Bird. This film will leave you hearted by the amount of human connection, sweat and creativity it took to make puppetry Legitimate for Film far into the future.

    I was particularly touched by seeing Caroll cut up his lines and collage them into his costume, practicing holding his arm in the air above his head and of course the shots of him re-uniting with Xiao Fu a character he had worked with in China and then lost contact with for many years. I would buy this film, it deserves a Rare Footage label.

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  • Heaven and Earth by Washington, Kamasi,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Aug 21, 2018

    Tagged: Music

    Great contemporary Jazz Artist. This album has an expansive "big band" or "Jazz orchestra" feel. Perhaps Mr. Washington should be composing musical scores for films. Disc one and Disc two have a just different enough feel. They go well together back to back great start to the morning. Futuristic Jazz is here!

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  • The Battle of Algiers
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Aug 21, 2018

    Tagged: Movies & Television History

    In French and English a great historical film on the War in Algeria.

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  • I hate you--don't leave me : understanding the borderline personality by Kreisman, Jerold J.
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Aug 21, 2018

    Tagged: Psychology

    Borderline figures prominently in society but it's components are no longer nefarious thanks to the accurate coverage of symptoms and diagrams displaying how BPD fits in among other disorders. This book stands a decent chance of explaining to the bystander or family what specific mind-frames a Borderline channels on a day to day basis. Numbness and other hard to explain feelings are broken down in their specificity. Those who believe this is not a "real" disorder will be forced to conclude that it is a real and quantifiable thing best treated with medicine and therapy and taken seriously. Indeed reading this book could be a pivotal part of the therapy/outpatient journey.

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  • Hideous kinky
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Aug 21, 2018

    Tagged: Art Movies & Television Performing Arts

    This is the lesser known Kate Winslet film you have been waiting for. Mel Gibson did the makeup and costumes and she is beautifully cast alongside her 2 diametrically opposite daughters as she escapes Britian for Marakesh as a single mother and tries to provide for her daughters while on a sort of spiritual quest to find peace. Along the way she finds that no relationship is without some amount of complication. The scenes of normal life and the market and the desert are to die for. Mild nudity. Great snapshot of family interactions and play before technology zapped us all of our ability to cheer one another with 1000small natural pleasures. Great Family Film.

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  • The sociopath next door : the ruthless versus the rest of us by Stout, Martha,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 31, 2018

    Tagged: Psychology Science

    Review coming soon*

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  • Lab girl by Jahren, Hope.
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 31, 2018

    Tagged: Science

    Review coming soon*

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  • Apple of my eye
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 31, 2018

    Tagged: Teens

    This "Gentle story about teen's adjustment to life-changing event" is one of a kind in it's genre for TEENS dealing with disabilities. In what looks to be a totally plausible story the heroine gets a baby minature horse to help as her companion as she deals with sudden onset blindness. If you or someone you know is a TEEN dealing with Cancer or something else serious they also might enjoy books by TEEN author John Green. The only other film this reminds me of came out in the 1980s and is called Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken. Also about a blind woman who continues the sport of professional Diving with her horse.

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  • My cat Yugoslavia by Statovci, Pajtim,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 31, 2018

    Tagged: Biography & Autobiography Fiction LGBTQ Literature

    Which of a society’s members are extended the privilege of hoping and dreaming? This question lies at the heart of the Kosovo-born Finnish writer Pajtim Statovci’s internationally acclaimed debut, “My Cat Yugoslavia,” a strange, haunting and utterly original exploration of displacement and desire.

    Statovci interweaves the stories of Emine, a young Kosovan bride, and her son, Bekim, whom the aftershocks of exile continue to roil three decades after her fateful wedding to his father. Bekim is a studious gay loner isolated by anxiety, sexuality and the struggle of having grown up a refugee in Finland. Despite a childhood history with ophidiophobic nightmares, he buys a boa constrictor and sets it loose in his apartment. The snake takes up residence under his sofa, driving away his few human visitors, and quickly adopts strangely companionable behaviors more befitting a dog than a reptile.

    An urgent longing for love belies Bekim’s inscrutability. I won't tell you how it ends only that themes include Identity, LBGT, immigration and eccentrism. Adult/College level* for language.

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  • How to teach relativity to your dog by Orzel, Chad.
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 31, 2018

    Tagged: Humor Science

    Review coming soon*

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  • Weapons of mass destruction by Davis, Mary Byrd.
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 31, 2018

    Tagged: Science

    Review coming soon*

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  • Nabokov's butterflies : unpublished and uncollected writings by Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 31, 2018

    Tagged: Literature Poetry

    Review coming soon*

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