Note to Shelf: April Edition

Welcome to the April edition of Note to Shelf. As the weather gets nicer we’ll be spending more time outdoors but be sure to make some time to read, listen to and watch our new arrivals.

MoMA will be closed for extensive renovations from June 15th to October 21, 2019. Take some time to enjoy some of its treasures such as Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory or Henri Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy among other iconic works of art.

Here are some of the items our staff has been enjoying.

Abby

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is an enchanting story that has stayed with me long after finishing this wonderfully narrated audiobook. It is the story of a poor young girl named Kya, abandoned by her family on the rural coast of North Carolina who receives her education from the nature that surrounds her and a few community members who give support to the proud young woman.

What could have felt like a clichéd storyline of loss is instead transformed into a story of finding strength beyond what you imagine you are capable of, and the few close friendships that sustain us throughout our lives.

The story and voice of the book are so mesmerizing that the addition of a mystery feels almost unnecessary, but does create some effective tension and allows characters to show their true selves. I felt close to nature while immersed in the story, and that feeling has continued. As I hike along marshy areas and trails observing the nature around me, I often drift back to the book and try to see things through Kya’s extraordinary eyes.

Pat T.

The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams is a powerful memoir that will have you laughing and crying in the same sitting! Julie was born blind to Chinese immigrant parents in war-torn Vietnam. When her family moved to California Julie underwent corrective eye surgery giving her partial sight. Growing up with this impairment made Julie more resourceful and determined than ever to achieve her dreams. After graduating from Harvard Law School and traveling the world solo she settled into work at a NYC law firm where she met her prince, Josh. Together they had a wonderful family life, raising two girls and juggling their legal careers while living in Brooklyn. Everything changed in an instant when Julie was rushed to the hospital, during a family trip to LA, with severe stomach pain only to discover she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 37. With the best medical consultants, Julie and Josh confronted this disease, always with the hope Julie could win this battle. Julie’s memoir is a raw, emotionally honest telling of what it is like to live with cancer, how it affects your family life, relationships and the vacillation of wanting to live for others, yet wanting to just let go of life. As much as this memoir is about death, it is an ode to living each day of your life with an appreciation and mindfulness of the beauty and joy of the ordinariness of everyday life!      

Susie

The movie Mortal Engines, brought to us by the filmmakers of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, is a science fiction lover’s heaven to watch. Set in a dystopian world hundreds of years after the destruction of life as we know it, we are introduced to a mysterious young woman named Hester Shaw. Hester is on a mission to get aboard the moving predator known as “The City of London.” The City of London moves across the land on tank like tracts devouring similar but smaller moving cities all while searching for an artifact of great importance. During her quest, Hester teams up with two outcasts Tom (a City of London outcast) and Anna (a woman with a bounty on her head). Together all three work to fight the City of London and stop them from finding and using the artifact for unscrupulous reasons. What the artifact actually is and what the leader of the City of London wants to do with it keep us guessing right up until its bone-crushing end.

Alan

The Good Shepherd is C. S. Forester’s novel about the U.S. Navy in WWII. Originally published in 1955, it’s been reissued because “it is soon to be a major motion picture … starring Tom Hanks.”

The story spans 48 hours in the life of George Kraus, a destroyer captain escorting a convoy across the North Atlantic in the depths of winter. He is convoy commander, responsible for 37 ships and thousands of lives, all under constant attack by German submarines. He must plan how to deploy and fight, and his 48 hours are a chess game with thousands of lives at stake.

I’ve just reread it, and I think now, as I did the first time, that it’s a remarkable novel, combining the intensity of the sea, loneliness of command, the life and death of war. This time I was entranced by C. S. Forester’s portrayal of a complex man in the midst of intense pressure. I’m glad I picked it up again.

Diane

Interior Designer Nina Campbell's name immediately brings to mind traditional English design. Giles Kime is the author of the newest book on this designer's style. Reading the beautiful book Nina Campbell Interior Decoration: Elegance and Ease you realize that Campbell has taken her traditional and classic sense of English style and created a fresh look to reflect today's lifestyles.

The rooms featured in the book showcase beautiful fabrics and often bold color choices for the walls. These rooms blend effortlessly with both traditional and contemporary furniture. Carefully inspecting the photographs makes me realize there are some very unique lighting choices and always interesting boxes, vases, and objects throughout each space. Every detail, even the smallest ones, bring together a perfectly curated atmosphere. 

I find this book of Nina Campbell's style a timeless reference. She has managed to transition from what we know as traditional English Style to what her clients look for in 21st Century living.

This investigative reporting of a Silicon Valley startup by John Carreyrou from The Wall Street Journal is riveting and shocking! Bad Blood is the fascinating story of the young, self-made billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, who ruthlessly used her position and influence to sell a medical technical breakthrough that was a sham. Carreyrou captures Holmes’ self-centered ambition to fascinate and seduce venture capitalists and scientists into believing that her company Theranos was ethical and successful. With a lack of scruples, Holme’s impressed and enticed prestigious sponsors including Henry Kissinger, Rupert Murdoch, and George Schultz. As the founder and CEO of Theranos, Elizabeth Homes was considered the next tech genius, in the same vein as Steve Jobs. Carreyrou relentlessly searched for the truth and in so doing, he discovered how the young entrepreneur and her partner Sunny Balwani aggressively silenced all their critics and continued their cover-up! This story that highlights corporate fraud and lies is fascinating detective journalism giving sensational insights into a world of entitlement and personal greed. A story that is unbelievable yet true! --Colleen

Elisabeth

Note to Shelf for Young Readers

Identical twins Iris and Lark have spent their lives intertwined, as close as two humans can be. Together, they are a perfect whole. But at the beginning of Anne Ursu’s new book The Lost Girl, the well-meaning adults in their lives force the twins apart. Now in separate classes at school and separate after-school activities, Lark and Iris feel like the world is ending. But is the world actually ending? Huge crows fill the town and Iris swears they’re following her around. A mysterious new store proclaims, “We Are Here. Where Are You?” and its creepy proprietor is obsessed with matched sets. With priceless artifacts going missing and sinister nightmares plaguing both sisters, Iris must determine if losing her sister is making her lose her mind – or if something wicked has come to town. Ursu makes big statements about the limitations society places on girls, which lend heft to the book often missing from titles for this age group. Readers will fall in love with Iris and Lark – and root for their triumph.

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