Category Archives: Books

Staff Picks, part 3

Public Services Librarian Carrie Girton is up next with her list of favorite recently added books. Carrie develops &  manages our collections in anthropology, business, commerce (small business), criminal justice, finance, forensic science and investigation, geography, law, management, marketing, political science, recreation, and sociology.

book cover Braving the Wilderness

“In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.” (Amazon)





book cover for Digital GirlsDigit@al Girls highlights “today’s leading online cultural influencers—the female bloggers, designers, entrepreneurs, and activists—who are shaping what’s hot and what’s not in fashion, beauty, and personal style.” (Amazon)




book cover Knowing the ScoreKnowing the Score: What Sports Can Teach Us about Philosophy (And What Philosophy Can Teach Us about Sports)“ is [Not] a typical ‘philosophy of sport’ book that applies ethics and philosophy to sports. Instead, the author takes the more interesting approach and uses sports to explain philosophical theories.” (Library Journal)




book cover Rebellious BodiesRebellious Bodies: “Celebrity culture today teems with stars who challenge long-held ideas about a ‘normal’ body. Plus-size and older actresses are rebelling against the cultural obsession with slender bodies and youth. Physically disabled actors and actresses are moving beyond the stock roles and stereotypes that once constrained their opportunities. Stars of various races and ethnicities are crafting new narratives about cultural belonging, while transgender performers are challenging our culture’s assumptions about gender and identity.” (book cover)

book cover Fifty InventionsFifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy  “paints an epic picture of change in an intimate way by telling the stories of the tools, people, and ideas that had far-reaching consequences for all of us.” (Amazon)

Staff Picks part 2 – New Books

Library Director Krista McDonald is next up for our list of favorite new books. One of the collection areas that Krista manages and develops is children’s books and these are few of her favorite recent purchases. Krista also handles our collections in education, psychology, social work, visual arts, and women & gender studies, to name a few.

Beauty and the Beast book cover“Beauty and the Beast: a Retellingby H. Chuku Lee, illustrated by Pat Cummings.
“This retelling of Beauty and the Beast ‘draws on the cultural imagery of West Africa.’ I selected this title for highlighting because the author has previously won the Coretta Scott King Award, the book is a multicultural version of a familiar fairy tale, and it also is a good resource for an assignment I have assisted students with which requires them to find alternate versions of fairy tales.”

Jack and the Beanstalk book coverJack and the Beanstalk,” by Nina Crews.
“Another retelling of a fairy tale that works for the assignment. The story is told with multicultural characters photographed in a modern, urban setting.”




Celebrate book series coverCelebrate Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur  by Deborah Heligman, consultant Shira Stern. “This diverse, informative series introduces children to a varied selection of religious and cultural holidays presented from a global perspective.  I had previously selected a number of children’s books for holidays and celebrations that most American children would be familiar with (think Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day) and felt that we needed additional materials describing some that represent global cultures and religions. Each book has a series author as well as an expert consultant to ensure cultural and religious accuracy.”

Another title Krista selected is this Introduction to the Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto and consultant Haiwang Yuan. A reviewer in Booklist said “Vivid, colorful photographs of fireworks, lion dancers, lanterns, and food fill the pages of this introduction to Chinese New Year. The concise but informative narrative notes when the event occurs cites a few of the countries where it is observed and explains the reasons behind the customs and symbols, especially those traditions involving children.

Staff Picks – New Books

This month we’re highlighting some of the new books we’ve purchased. This post features titles selected by Polly Whitaker, Reference Librarian, who manages and develops our collections in literature, poetry, philosophy, religion, life sciences, and mathematics just to name a few.

book cover image Rosalie Lightning

Rosalie Lightning – Graphic memoir about the death of Hart’s young daughter, Rosalie. It depicts the “search for meaning in the aftermath of Rosalie’s death, exploring themes of grief, hopelessness, rebirth, and eventually finding hope again.” (Amazon)


book cover Stockholm NoirStockholm Noir – Anthology of gritty detective and crime stories written by Swedish authors. Publisher’s Weekly said: “Grouped under three headings, the 13 stories in this outstanding entry in Akashic’s noir series capture the gloomy underside of Sweden’s capital, portraying the hopelessness of those trapped in what Larson and Edenborg in their introduction call the city that devours your soul.”

book cover Lightness of body and mindLightness of Body and Mind: a Radical Approach to Weight and Wellness -An accessible approach to well-being and enjoyment of life that focuses on nourishing a healthy mind and spirit, developing good habits and doing more of what you love, rather than strict diets and exercise plans. Author Sarah Hays Coomer is a certified personal trainer, health coach, and nutrition/wellness consultant.


book cover Nowhere Near the LineNowhere Near the Line: Pain and Possibility in Teaching and Writing – In this short work, “Boquet traces the overlaps and intersections of a lifelong education around guns and violence, as a student, a teacher, a feminist, a daughter, a wife, a citizen, and across the dislocations and relocations that are part of a life lived in and around school”–Provided by publisher

Frida, Cane, and something delicious

There are a lot of great new books coming into Rentschler Library. Come check out the titles on our shelves just near the circulation desk. Here are just three of them, but there are many more to check out (literally).

Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1945) is considered one of the greatest women painters of all time. She is best known for her 80 or so self-portraits but author Grimberg, a scholar of Kahlo’s work, explores all of the artist’s documented still lifes, including some that have come to light only recently. This is not one of those enormous art books that doesn’t fit in your back pack!


Book cover - Cane by Jean ToomerFirst published in 1923, “Cane” by Jean Toomer’s is an experimental and impressionist work that is part drama, part poetry, part fiction and powerfully evokes black life in the South. Toomer’s purpose was to “embody what he sees as the dying folk spirit of the south by re-creating their feelings through language and rhythm.” (Critical Survey of Poetry, 2nd rev. ed, 2002). This version includes an introduction by noted African American Studies scholars Rudolph Byrd of Emory University, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., of Harvard University.

Father and daughter team Fuller and Reddekopp (a geographer and chef, respectively) trace the links between geography and food all over the world. The book innovatively “combines geography, history, and cooking in a single volume.” (publisher blurb). Learn how to make mulled wine, pommes frites and more. Recipes are spiced up with the history of the main item in each featured recipe along with learning questions at the beginning of each chapter.

Last chapter of Les Misérables appeared today in 1862

front page of French magazine featuring Les MiserablesOn this day (June 30) in 1862, French author Victor Hugo published the last installment of his massive novel Les Misérables. (A story on celebrates the event.) Hugo is also the subject of a Google Doodle today to mark the achievement.

In those days, many novels were “serialized” (published in segments) in various newspapers and magazines so that middle-class readers could better afford to read them.

If you want to read the original 1200+ page version, Rentschler Library has one translation  and the Modern Library edition by a different translator. There is also an abridged version (link to published by Barnes & Noble in 2003. There are also editions available in French and, of course, the movie and musical.

New books for summer

With the end of the fiscal year almost here, our purchasing of new books is complete until after July 1st. Still, there are a lot of great new titles on our display. Links below, either in text or in the book cover image will take you to the library catalog, where you can place a hold on the item.

book cover image Bostons Massacre“In 1770, British soldiers fired into a crowd of people, killing five. Hinderaker  deepens readers’ understanding of the event in a three-pronged approach: explaining the massacre’s historical context, examining the 18th-century documents that create dueling narratives of the event, and highlighting the different moments in history—namely the Kent State shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement—that invoke the massacre’s memory after violent crowd-policing incidents.” from Library Journal review

book cover image Good ChartsWe get a lot of questions at the Information Desk about how to turn data into effective charts. This book can help. From the publisher: ‘Good Charts will help you turn plain, uninspiring charts that merely present information into smart, effective visualizations that powerfully convey ideas.”

book cover Hag seedHag-Seed is 0ne of the latest additions to Hogarth’s collection of Shakespeare plays reimagined by novelists. “Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale) positively frolics in this rambunctiously plotted and detailed enactment of how relevant Shakespeare can be for a talented troupe behind bars. Supremely sagacious, funny, compassionate, and caustic, Atwood presents a reverberating play-within-a-play within a novel.”
from Booklist review


book cover Christopher marlowe“Because there is virtually no firsthand evidence about the beliefs or actions of Christopher Marlowe (1564–93), Riggs (English/Stanford; Ben Jonson, not reviewed) turns to the culture and time that created him. He does so with authority and vigor, recapturing the climate of religious flux and common disaster, not just in England but across Europe, that surrounded Marlowe’s youth.”
from Kirkus review

Notes on the Assemblage – Juan Felipe Herrera

Book cover of Notes on the AssemblageThis last poetry-related blog post of National Poetry Month is about our current United States Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera.  He is the son of migrant farm workers and was educated at UCLA & Stanford. Herrera is a graduate of the prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop and is a performance artist, activist, teacher.

The Poet Laureate’s official title is “Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.” The position “serves as the nation’s official lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.”

Rentschler Library has Herrera’s “Half the World in Light,” and “187 reasons mexicanos can’t cross the border.” Our featured poem by Herrera is “Almost Livin’ Almost Dyin” which was published in his collection “Notes on the Assemblage (jacket cover at left) and was also published on the Poetry Foundation website.

for all the dead

                                                                                           & hear my streets
with ragged beats & the beats
are too beat to live so the graves push out with
hands that cannot touch the makers of light & the
sun flames down through the roofs & the roots that slide
to one side & the whistlin’ fires of the cops & the cops
in the shops do what they gotta do & your body’s
on the fence & your ID’s in the air & the shots
get fired & the gas in the face & the tanks
on your blood & the innocence all around & the
spillin’ & the grillin’ & the grinnin’ & the game of Race
no one wanted & the same every day so U fire &
eat the smoke thru your long bones & the short mace
& the day? This last sweet Swisher day that turns to love
& no one knows how it came or what it is or what it says
or what it was or what for or from what gate
is it open is it locked can U pull it back to your life
filled with bitter juice & demon angel eyes even though
you pray & pray mama says you gotta sing she says
you got wings but from what skies from where could
they rise what are the things the no-things called love
how can its power be fixed or grasped so the beats
keep on blowin’ keep on flyin’ & the moon tracks your bed
where you are alone or maybe dead & the truth
carves you carves you & calls you back still alive
cry cry the candles by the last four trees still soaked
in Michael Brown red and Officer Liu red and
Officer Ramos red and Eric Garner whose
last words were not words they were just breath
askin’ for breath they were just burnin’ like me like
we are all still burnin’ can you hear me
can you can you feel me swaggin’ tall & driving low &
talkin’ fine & hollerin’ from my corner crime & fryin’
against the wall

almost livin’ almost dyin’
almost livin’ almost dyin’