- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
Everyone is invited to attend the History Book Club at Almaden Branch Library, which next meets at the library on Wednesday, November 21, at 5:00-6:00 PM.
Note: The library closes early at 6:00 PM on November 21 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
For the November meeting, the Book Club is reading In the Garden of Beasts : Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson:
"The saga of an American father and daughter who in July 1933 suddenly found themselves, and the rest of their family, transported to the heart of Hitler's Berlin. The father was William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered history professor from Chicago who, much to his surprise and everyone else's, was chosen by Roosevelt to be America's first ambassador to Nazi Germany; Dodd's daughter, Martha, was 24 years old and came along for the adventure, and to escape a dead marriage. At first this new world seemed full of energy and goodwill, nothing like what newspapers back home had portrayed. But slowly a pall of intrigue and terror fell over the family--until the cataclysmic weekend that changed them all forever." (eriklarsonbooks.com)
Rachel Lloyd has a dual mission: to empower girls, who, like herself, have been controlled and sold by traffickers, and to challenge misconceptions of popular culture glorifying pimping and teen prostitution. In Girls Like Us, Lloyd alternates between telling her own story of abuse and sexual exploitation, and describing her work with GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Service), the organization she founded in New York City to work with girls ages 12–24 forced into the sex trade. Here she talks about her work in an interview with Rachel Lloyd.
Urban economist Edward Glaeser describes the rise and fall of cities, what makes them prosper and what leads to their decline. Some of his conclusions are surprising: prosperity and innovation thrive in urban areas; human capital is attracted to and developed in cities. High density cities are environmentally friendly and healthy compared to suburban sprawl. Troubled cities improve when planners focus on the educational and cultural needs of residents, rather than building projects to attract new capital. Highly readable, informative and thought provoking. Read more about the book and look up interviews with the author at the Triumph of the City website.
Oxford professor Bryan Sykes has written a readable and engaging account of human population genetics in the setting of a road (and train) trip across one of the world’s most genetically diverse countries, the United States. Using DNA information gleaned from contacts, Sykes explains issues of genetic inheritance, summarizing current research, including his own role investigating genetics of Britain’s historic ethnic groups detailed in Saxons, Vikings and Celts.
The West Valley Book Club is taking a break from fiction for their next meeting on June 13 at 6:30 PM to discuss a nonfiction memoir called The Promise by Oral Lee Brown with Caille Milner. The subtitle says it all: "How one woman made good on her extraordinary pact to send a classroom of 1st graders to college". It's an inspiring and true local story of a middle-class woman in Oakland who took on the challenge to make a profound difference in others' lives. It started in 1987 with a simple interaction with a young girl in need, which resulted in Brown's amazing promise to send a whole class of 23 students to college by saving and investing her own money into the Oral Lee Brown Foundation. Over the years, she went on to fund even more students, and in 2003, LaTosha Hunter became the first of Brown's "babies" and the first in her family to graduate from college.
Brown’s pledge to the students was not without great personal and public sacrifice. Her promise turned her life upside-down—it strained her relationships, and at times required her to work several different jobs. Brown also developed a strong emotional attachment to the children—for many of these students Brown was the one consistent adult in their lives. In a world short on heroes, altruism, and dedication, The Promise shows that it is still possible to change lives for the better. This book will encourage, uplift, and inspire every reader. (From Amazon.com)
Watch this segment from KGO7 to see Oral Lee Brown and some of the lives she's touched:
I've never been much for the confessional nature of sports biographies, but somehow tennis seems to provide the exception to that rule. Maybe it's the seemingly obvious in that tennis players appear always willing to confess some of the unseen seediness of this sport of the genteel class, or that in spite of this chosen glamor profession it seems clear that, well, in many cases tennis pros seem to have some personality issues which can at times make for some entertaining reading. Rafael Nadal is not revealing any of the sturm und drang of the Andre Agassi or John McEnroe bios, but in his autobiography Rafa he provides an insightful telling regarding his approach to the sport and it's place in his life. You want to know about his sometimes torturous relationship with his uncle and coach Toni? Check. Interested in his close-knit Mallorcan family, upbringing and longtime girlfriend? You got it.
The real appeal of this book seems to be in Rafa elucidating his approach to the game and in particular an account of two of his most epic matches: the 2008 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer and the 2010 US Open final against a raging up and comer in Novak Djokovic. His comments regarding the latter are prescient indeed as Rafa lost this year's US Open only 4 days ago to the same Djokovic (not to mention the 2011 Wimbledon final). With Rafa now the world's number 2 player behind Djokovic it's clear that this 25 year old has more than a few years of tennis left in him, but will his sizable and devoted fan base and talent propel him to the top spot again? We'll see, but whatever the case this book will appeal most to players and fans of the sport, so if you fall into either category have a read to fill yourself in about the life thus far of this colossal yet humble figure in world tennis.