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National Library Week Book Picks and Drawing for a $50 Gift Card

April 01, 2021 - 12:00am to April 12, 2021 - 12:00am

To help celebrate National Library Week 2021, University Library employees are sharing some of their favorite books! Find out who does what at the Library and check out our book picks below. All of the books in this virtual display can be found through Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) and LA County Libraries. Don't have a LAPL Card? Learn how to do e-Card Registration for Los Angeles Residents. Need info for a LA County Library Card? Find out about LA County Library cards.

National Library Week Drawing

We’d like to hear from you too! Tell us about your favorite book and you will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a $50 gift card from Books, Inc., the West's oldest independent bookseller. Enter the drawing** here:


Hench: A Novel

Laura Wimberley

Recommended by Laura Wimberley, Assessment Librarian, Research, Instruction, & Outreach Services. Laura is a three day Jeopardy! Champion.

I answer student research questions and lead class sessions on how to critically gather information, as well as conduct studies on the Library's impact on student success. I work most closely with the departments of Geography, Political Science, and Recreation & Tourism Management. When I can spare a moment from my six year old daughter, I practice yoga and read tarot cards.

Hench (Goodreads description):

Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking beneath the surface of the world isn’t glamorous. But is it really worse than working for an oil conglomerate or an insurance company? In this economy? As a temp, she’s just a cog in the machine. But when she finally gets a promising assignment, everything goes very wrong, and an encounter with the so-called “hero” leaves her badly injured. And, to her horror, compared to the other bodies strewn about, she’s the lucky one.

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Where the Crawdads Sing

Michelle Newell

Recommended by Michelle Newell, Accounts Payable Specialist, Finance & Personnel

I review invoices related to all books, subscriptions, DVDs, electronic items, etc. that are purchased for the library. Other than reading my other hobbies include hiking and running. I've summitted Mt. Whitney several times solo and have completed a 100k (64mi) race. Happy reading, hiking, and running!

Where the Crawdads Sing(GoodReads description):

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her. But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens.

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The Three Body Problem

Andrew Weiss

Recommended by Andrew Weiss, Andrew Weiss, Digital Services Librarian, Collection Access and Management Services (CAMS)

I assist students and faculty with scholarly publishing, open access, copyright, and the ScholarWorks database. I love writing—both creative and nonfiction—and distance swimming.

The Three Body Problem (GoodReads description):

Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

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Two Kinds of Truth

Mark Stover

Recommended by Mark Stover, Dean, University Library

I enjoy playing chess and watching classic film noir movies.

Two Kinds of Truth (GoodReads description):

Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town's 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of pill mills and prescription drug abuse.

Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch's LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren't keen to protect his reputation. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison.

The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.

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The Golem and the Jinni

Becky Spiro

Recommended by Becky Spiro, Music & Media Cataloger, CAMS

The Golem and the Jinni (GoodReads description):

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker's debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

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The Library Book

Jamie Johnson

Recommended by Jamie Johnson Research & Instruction Librarian, RIOS

I am the U100 Library Coordinator and Liaison for Environmental and Occupational Health. Although I love books, I rarely can find the opportunity to sit down and read. Thank goodness for audiobooks so I can keep up with the latest best sellers. Bonus, autobiographies or memoirs are often read by the author!

The Library Book (GoodReads description):

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

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The Red Rising

Amy Rudberg

Recommended by Amy Rudberg, Cataloging & Metadata Specialist, Collection Access and Management Services (CAMS)

I catalog serial publications, Government Documents, and Special Collections books and other resources, making them discoverable in the library's OneSearch catalog. I love reading science fiction and fantasy books, creative writing, and collecting masquerade masks.

The Red Rising(GoodReads description):

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

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The Book of Delights

The Book of Delights

Recommended by Nicole Shibata, Metadata Librarian, Collection Access and Management Services (CAMS)

In a nutshell, I make sure the library’s digital collections are described so that they are discoverable and accessible. I am also the library liaison to the Art department. I cycle through hobbies constantly, but during the pandemic I've sought refuge in baking (and eating!), knitting, and of course, reading.

The Book of Delights (GoodReads description):

Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights is a genre-defying book of essays—some as short as a paragraph; some as long as five pages—that record the small joys that occurred in one year, from birthday to birthday, and that we often overlook in our busy lives. His is a meditation on delight that takes a clear-eyed view of the complexities, even the terrors, in his life, including living in America as a black man; the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture; the loss of those he loves. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: the way Botan Rice Candy wrappers melt in your mouth, the volunteer crossing guard with a pronounced tremor whom he imagines as a kind of boat-woman escorting pedestrians across the River Styx, a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, pickup basketball games, the silent nod of acknowledgment between black people. And more than any other subject, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world—his garden, the flowers in the sidewalk, the birds, the bees, the mushrooms, the trees.

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Susanna Eng-Ziskin

Recommended by Susanna Eng-Ziskin, Department Chair, Research, Instruction and Outreach Services (RIOS)

I help students with their research, through reference services instruction sessions. I am also the director of the CSUN Common Read Program. I love to read and hang out with my cats.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (GoodReads description):

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

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Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live

Chris Bulock

Recommended by Chris Bulock. Chair, Collection Access and Management Services (CAMS)

I coordinate many of the library's activities that relate to our collections, from print books to electronic journal articles. I'm a gardener and especially hoping to get a good crop of hot peppers this year.

Never Home Alone (GoodReads description):

Even when the floors are sparkling clean and the house seems silent, our domestic domain is wild beyond imagination. In Never Home Alone, biologist Rob Dunn introduces us to the nearly 200,000 species living with us in our own homes, from the Egyptian meal moths in our cupboards and camel crickets in our basements to the lactobacillus lounging on our kitchen counters. You are not alone. Yet, as we obsess over sterilizing our homes and separating our spaces from nature, we are unwittingly cultivating an entirely new playground for evolution. These changes are reshaping the organisms that live with us -- prompting some to become more dangerous, while undermining those species that benefit our bodies or help us keep more threatening organisms at bay. No one who reads this engrossing, revelatory book will look at their homes in the same way again.

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Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents

Marcia Henry

Recommended by Marcia Henry, Librarian, Research, Instruction and Outreach Services (RIOS)

I am the librarian liaison to several allied health departments, and a reference librarian. I was a Peace Corps volunteer (many years ago) in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malysia. I love keeping up with my friends and students on Facebook.

Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents (Penguin Random House description):

Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.

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