Cracks That Built the Wall

Author or Artist

Communist Daughter
Cracks That Built the Wall

Summary

Communist Daughter's new full-length continues their expansion into the national consciousness.

I Hear a New World

Author or Artist

Joe Meek
I Hear a New World

Summary

An electroacoustic pop oddity from 1961, credited to Joe Meek (who's been described as England's Phil Spector), and sounding a little like if The Chipmunks lived in an Ennio Morricone dream sequence.

Saint Paul Public Library Reveals Most Popular Books and Media in 2016

Date: Jan 4th, 2017

Anthony Doerr and Ta-Nehisi Coates top fiction and nonfiction lists, while in music, patrons pay tribute to Prince 

SAINT PAUL, MN — The New Year is upon us, but Saint Paul Public Library (SPPL) took a look back at the top books, music and media consumed by patrons in 2016. SPPL created a 2016 guide, detailing the most popular items across its 14 branches and online.

Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “All the Light We Cannot See” topped the fiction list, followed by thrillers: “Extreme Prey” by John Sanford and “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. The latter was also among the top two most popular E-books and E-audiobooks.

“Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic, came in first on the nonfiction list. Nonfiction readers were also captivated by “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi and “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.

Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and Rachel Renée Russell’s “Dork Diaries” series dominated the juvenile books list.

Viewers traveled to space with “The Martian” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — the most popular DVDs. Meanwhile, music lovers clamored for Adele’s “25” and “Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording,” yet also paid tribute to Prince. Seven of the late singer’s albums made the list, including: “1999,” “Dirty Mind,” and “Purple Rain.”

For complete lists visit SPPL’s 2016 Most Popular Items Guide.

Lab Girl

Lab Girl

Summary

An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world. Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she's studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life but it is also so much more. "Lab Girl" is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren's remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom's labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done with both the heart and the hands; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work. Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home. Jahren's probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. "Lab Girl" opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be.

Ruby

Author or Artist

Cynthia Bond
Ruby

Summary

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, "the kind of pretty it hurt to look at," has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city-the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village-all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town's dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy. Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom's Juke, to Celia Jennings's kitchen, where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man's dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.

The Sellout

Author or Artist

Paul Beatty
The Sellout

Summary

Winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction Named one of the best books of 2015 by The New York Times Book Review and the Wall Street Journal A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality--the black Chinese restaurant. Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens--on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles--the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since '68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral. Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident--the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins--he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

Hidden Figures

Author or Artist

Margot Lee Shetterly
Hidden Figures

Summary

Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black "West Computing" group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

Author or Artist

Fredrik Backman
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

Summary

A charming, warmhearted novel from the author of the New York Times bestseller A Man Called Ove. Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy--as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is told with the same comic accuracy and beating heart as Fredrik Backman's bestselling debut novel, A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death and one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.

First LEGO League Jr.

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First LEGO League Jr.

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Tinker Tuesdays

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Tinker Tuesdays - maker workshops for adults!

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