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SDPL Recommended Books

Staff Picks 2018

San Diego Public Library staff write short book reviews of their favorite titles for the San Diego Union Tribune, which are published every other Sunday. These are a selection of the titles we've recommended. Checkout information may be found in the library catalog under Staff Picks

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny ColganReviewed by Julie K. Wong
Library Assistant, Carmel Valley Branch Library
San Diego Union-Tribune, March 4, 2018
A charming novel with Nina, a librarian, who purchases a van to open a traveling bookstore, in which she goes each day to sell books at food markets in the countryside of Scotland. Her friend, Surinder, encourages Nina to pursue romance as if she was looking to find a good book for her customers. Nina is the bookmatcher for her customers as she tries to find the best book that would fit their interests. Nina finds it easier to suggest books for customers than matching up herself for the prospect of romance. Nina provides kindness to everyone she meets. Now it is Nina’s turn to look for love beyond books.

 The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna and Michael J. CaseyReviewed by Virginia C. Hire Damrauer
Information Systems Technician, San Diego Central Library
San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 18, 2018
With themes of trust, freedom and privacy, the authors share stories from people in the digital money community. Within these pages, you will meet technology innovators who hope to change the world, entrepreneurs, employees who are paid only in digital money, miners, firm doubters and true believers. Within and around these real-life examples, the authors illuminate the benefits and drawbacks of modern efforts to provide a worldwide form of digital money.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul KalanithiReviewed by Alice Yao
Librarian II, San Diego Central Library
San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 4, 2018
How does breath become air? Paul, a neurosurgeon, answers with his personal and medical point of view. He didn’t believe that anything, especially health, could go wrong since he was at the height of his career, but everything was threatened by a devastating diagnosis. With poignant perspectives, this story can move your heart.

The Word Exchange: A Novel by Alena GraedonReviewed by Phil Gunderson
Integrated Library System Coordinator, San Diego Central Library
San Diego Union-Tribune, Jan. 21, 2018
Graedon envisions a near-future dystopia in which people have become so dependent on personal digital devices (called Memes) that they pay to use an online “word exchange” to access the meanings of even common words. This is great for Synchronic, the corporation that owns the Word Exchange and has a near-monopoly on the English dictionary. The last holdout is the North American Dictionary of the English Language, whose chief lexicographer Douglas Johnson has gone missing. As Douglas’ daughter Anana begins investigating his disappearance, the social fabric starts to unravel as “word flu,” a highly contagious virus capable of leaping from Meme to brain, spreads through the population, causing aphasia in its victims and sometimes even death. The clues to both her father’s disappearance and the rise of word flu point in the same direction: Synchronic. A thrilling extrapolation from Socrates’ original misgivings about writing’s effects on memory.

Book cover for "The Boy Who Loved Too Much:  A True Story of Pathological Friendliness” by Jennifer Latson Reviewed by Kristina Garcia
Librarian II, San Diego Central Library
San Diego Union-Tribune, Jan. 7, 2018
Jennifer Latson, a journalist, spent three years with Gayle and Eli D'Angelo in order to accurately tell their story of living with the effects of the genetic disorder Williams Syndrome. Williams Syndrome affects learning, socialization, and physical development in very specific ways, but is not as well-known as other disorders such as autism. This highly informative yet readable book sharply illustrates Eli's unmodulated love of others and how his gregarious personality is both a joy and a burden to his mother as she tries to guide him to a fulfilling, happy, and safe adulthood. This book provides an engaging narrative that weaves themes of medical science with social science and keeps you rooting for Gayle and Eli all the way.
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