Staff Selections - Molly
Molly, Coordinator of Youth Services
I am primarily a nonfiction junkie. Not a surprise because I am a history major.
Bad Blood : Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou.
One problem with nonfiction can be the writing. There is a danger of it being too dry. An unfortunate consequence when history professors write books! Carreyrou, however, is an excellent writer. I think it’s because he is a reporter for a little newspaper called The Wall Street Journal. Carreyrou writes like he is telling a story not presenting his dissertation.
This book is the tale of one unbelievable scam. Elizabeth Holmes, a Silicon Valley wunderkind, founded Theranos, a company that claimed to have created blood testing technology that would revolutionize the medical industry. This assertion generated a lot of interest from powerful investors and the money rolled in. Was it too good to be true? Carreyrou was the reporter who investigated Elizabeth and her company, a task that would turn out to be not for the cowardly. Elizabeth and her right hand man were known to use intimidation tactics to keep their company secrets.
Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History by Keith O’Brien
Again, another goody from a former reporter. In addition to writing about important and not always well known women pilots, O’Brien presents a brief yet informative history of early flight in the United States. Something of significance I learned was how dangerous early flight (1920’s and 1930’s) was. Plane crashes were not unusual. But this made flying exciting and it was considered a sport and entertainment. Air races and flying demonstrations were popular events, often attended by thousands of people. Pilots were national or even international celebrities, dare devils of the sky. O’Brien notes how women’s interest and participation in flight occured shortly after they gained the right to vote and because of this, flying was a way for women to not only be independent but demand equality. Flying, however, was considered a man’s sport because it was a risky endeavor. These women were harassed, mocked, and strongly discouraged yet they were determined to fly. You go, Fly Girls!
Now on to some Children’s Juvenile Fiction – I am the children’s librarian after all. But note that this book is historical fiction. None of that contemporary stuff, thank you very much.
A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata
This is written by a Newbery Medal winner (super prestigious children’s literature prize for those not in the loop) so you know the writing is top notch. There’s nothing a book worm hates more than a lousily written book.
Kadohata tackles the topic of Japanese American internment during World War II. As a history major, I know about that shameful episode in American history but the way Kadohata tells the story of Hanako Tachibana and her family powerfully evokes the pain, sorrow, indignity, and loss that so many suffered. She also takes a different tract. Most historical fiction books about this period focus on life in the internment camps. Kadohata looks at what happens after the war. Hanako’s father is devastated not just by losing his business and home but also by the betrayal by the government. So he takes up the American government’s offer to be repatriated to Japan where the family tries to start a new life in a country devastated by war. If you want a light happy read, this is not it. If you want a book that makes you think and feel, this is the one.
I’m Listening To: “The Drop Out” (podcast)
After reading Bad Blood, I came upon an ABC podcast about the whole Theranos story. It’s a nice overlap to the book because reporter Rebecca Jarvis interviews many of the people in the book. The podcast format allows for longer interviews which provide even mor e information about what happened than Carreyrou’s book. Spoiler: Not interviewed – Elizabeth herself.
Interested in reading any of these books?
Give us a call at 978-674-4121 to reserve a copy for you to start reading, log into your account online to place a hold or email firstname.lastname@example.org for some suggestions of what to read next. We are happy to help!