Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Library Showcase: Genetics, Medical Ethics, and more!

HeLa cells (Pixabay.com)

This semester we are launching PVCC’s second annual One Book Project! On Club Day (next Tuesday) free copies of this year’s book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, will be available at the One Book table while supplies last! The book tells the true story of an African American woman from Virginia who lost her life to cancer in 1951 but gained immortality through a perpetuating cell line that revolutionized medical research. 

Henrietta’s story explores many topics, including medical ethics, the study of genetics, cancer, the discrimination of the Jim Crow era, and the persistence of socio-economic inequalities. You can learn about these issues and more in the latest library showcase (now in its new location in the Library Teaching Room!) Here are a few highlights from the display:

The disease that took Henrietta’s life has plagued humanity for thousands of years. The history of cancer from ancient days to modern times is traced in this fantastic, Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

If reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has stirred your interest in science, try The Cell: A Very Short Introduction by Terence Allen & Graham Cowling or Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction by Tony Hope for a quick information fix on these topics!

Many of Henrietta’s struggles reflect the injustices of the Jim Crow Era that impacted millions of African Americans. Read more of their stories in Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South edited by William H. Chafe, Raymond Gavins, and Robert Korstad.

Cells are the building blocks of life, but, for most of us, our cells aren’t a topic to which we give much thought. In The Language of Cells: Life as Seen Under the Microscope, Spencer Nadler describes the enormous impact that these microscopic parts can have on our human lives. 

Joycelyn Elders is very familiar with the discrimination that has plagued medical care in the United States. The great-granddaughter of slaves, she attended medical school in Arkansas and went on to become the Surgeon General of the United States. Her inspirational story is recorded in Joycelyn Elders, M.D. by Jocelyn Elders and David Chanoff.

The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA by Mark Schultz, Zander Cannon, and Kevin Cannon is a graphic novel that offers a fun and unique way to learn about genetics!

Curious about other revolutionary medical discoveries? The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons, 250 Milestones in the History of Medicine by Clifford A. Pickover covers the invention of eyeglasses, the first organ transplants, and other fascinating moments in scientific history—including the discovery of Henrietta's HeLa cells (see page 386).

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New Books Are In

The summer semester is over, and our two week grace period until the fall has begun. What are your plans? We hope they include dropping by the library to visit. We've got quite a few new books, and a whole list of recommendations.

Take a trip around the globe with our latest fiction. The City of Devi by Manil Suri explores the tumultuous streets of Mumbai through Sarita and Jaz, strangers searching a city in turmoil for the lovers they have lost. The Seventh Day by Yu Hua traverses contemporary China through the eyes of Yang Fei, a man who spends his first seven days in the afterworld revisiting his old life and the people he loved.

NoViolet Bulawayo examines the "sacrifices and mixed rewards of assimilating" in We Need New Names, a story that begins with ten-year-old Darling, an adventurous girl who leaves Zimbabwe for suburban America, only to discover that the American Dream is no closer, or easier, to grasp. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explores similar themes, following the lovers Ifemelu and Obinze through Nigeria, London, and the United States as they seek to build lives outside of their homeland.

Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee chronicles a woman's transformation from widow in a small Indian village to the wife of a middle-aged Iowa banker. And in The Age of Shiva by Manil Suri, seventeen-year-old Meera's rebellion against her confined life takes her across the landscape of newly independent India. How I Became A Nun by César Aira paints a darkly humorous portrait of modern Argentina, where a six-year-old child's adventures "[begin] with cyanide poisoning and ends in strawberry ice cream."

We also have a few nonfiction recommendations for you. Check out Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution by Laurie Penny, a discussion of modern feminism that doesn't pull its punches. The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley explores the history of why we are fascinated by murder. Sarah Ruhl gives us a unique collection of essays in 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write. And in What If?, Randall Munroe, the creator of popular webcomic, xkcd, looks at the science behind everything from global windstorms to the Facebook of the dead.

You can find all these and more in our catalog. Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Books Are Here Again

It's summertime again, and here at the library, we've got new books for you. Drop by to discover something that will complement every aspect of your summer, whether you're looking for a beach read, some staycation company, or a book to relax with between classes or after work. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

If you've been following Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, check out the latest installment, City of Heavenly Fire. You can find the rest of the series in our catalog. If historical fantasy and time traveling are more your speed, check out Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series: Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. You can also find the first three books in our catalog.

We also have an array of standalone novels. In the mood for young adult (YA) books? Check out Paper Towns by John Green. Want some historical fiction? Explore 20th-century America in The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant; Madrid, 1868 in The Fencing Master by Arturo Pérez-Reverte; or the imperial court of Emperor Franz Joseph I in The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki. Curious to see how Jane Austen's Emma would fare in the 21st century? Alexander McCall Smith has your curiosity covered in Emma: A Modern Retelling.

There are even more intriguing stories to be had in nonfiction. Learn about neurological curiosities dating back to the 1500s in The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery by Sam Kean. Explore contemporary Tehran in City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran by Ramita Navai. And just over a century ago, on May 7, 1915, the sinking of the Lusitania hastened the entry of the United States into World War I. Read the full story in Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy by Diana Preston.

Get into the heads of the comedians, actresses, and rockstars who keep us entertained. In Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart, Lisa Rogak follows Stewart's career from stand-up comedian to The Daily Show. Actress and producer Lena Dunham discusses growing up in her memoir, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s "Learned"Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler writes about everything from treating your career like a bad boyfriend to world domination by robots in her first book, Yes Please. Finally, The Art of Asking, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer expands on the musician's 2013 TED Talk and offers readers an example of how they, too, can harness the power of simply asking.

And you've got to read A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir by Lev Golinkin for the title alone.

Check out all these new books and more in our catalog!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Summer Reading Recommendations

The end of the semester is fast approaching! With exams in the rear-view mirror, will you be looking for a great vacation read or an entertaining book to fill a lazy summer afternoon? The latest showcase at the Jessup Library features summer reading suggestions of all genres: mystery, science fiction, humor, thrillers, nonfiction, romance, YA fiction, and more!

Are you fascinated by a suspenseful storyline full of twists and turns? Then try The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, or The Circle by Dave Eggers. For a real life mystery you might like The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox.

Catch up on the books that inspired recent popular films, like Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio J. Mendez and Matt Baglio, or The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

If nonfiction is more your cup of tea, the summer is a perfect time to check out new releases like Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead by David Casarett, Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight by Jay Barbree, or Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Lesser.

Sometimes you just want a fun, entertaining, joy ride of a book to read over the summer—we have plenty of those too! Laugh out loud with Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, Bossypants by Tina Fey, or American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics by Dan Savage.

If you’re looking for a book but aren’t sure what to pick up next, check our Staff Picks display by the circulation desk, or just ask a librarian for a suggestion! Happy Summer (Reading)!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

One Book Trivia Game Winners

Four teams showed off their knowledge of Breaking Night at the One Book Trivia Game, which took place today in the North Mall meeting room. The fast paced game resulted in the following winners:

Gaelen Edwards (free 3-credit class)
Angela Nebel (16 GB Kindle Fire)
Cassidy Tinnell ($100 Amazon gift card)
Annette Cashatt (PVCC hoodie sweatshirt and lanyard)
Saronda Ross ($50 Amazon gift card)
Karen Riordan ($10 Kroger gift card and a pair of sunglasses)
Kellyn Torres ($10 Giant gift card and a pair of sunglasses)
Kaitlyn Duvalois ($15 Mermaid gift card and a pair of sunglasses)

Congratulations to the winners and thank you for coming out to play with us!

The One Book Program returns in the fall of 2015, when we will read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

One Book Essay Contest: Winners

The winners of the Spring 2015 One Book essay contest are:

First place, Karen Riordan, winner of a Kindle Fire
Second place, Brendan O’Toole, $100 Amazon card
Third place, Annette Cashatt, $50 Amazon card

How do we determine the winners?

We put together a panel of judges and give them copies of the essays, with the names removed to ensure fairness.The judges read the essays and rank them, and after a discussion, they come up with the final ranking.

Thank you to all who participated. We hope you will participate in the final event for this One Book season, a trivia contest with stupendous prizes, such as free 3-credit class! Read about it here.