The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright


“In Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin, in the winter of 2009, it has snowed. A woman recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for the love of her life. As the city outside comes to a halt, she remembers the days of their affair in one hotel room or another: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial. Now, as the silent streets and the stillness and vertigo of the falling snow make the day luminous and full of possibility, she awaits the arrival on her doorstep of his fragile, twelve-year-old daughter, Evie.”  2012 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.


Tisch Library Call Number: PR6055.N73 F67 2011 
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

The Round House by Louise Erdrich


“Likely to be dubbed the Native American To Kill a Mockingbird, Louise Erdrich’s moving, complex, and surprisingly uplifting new novel tells of a boy’s coming of age in the wake of a brutal, racist attack on his mother. Drawn from real-life statistics about racially inspired attacks on our country’s reservations, this tale is forceful but never preachy, thanks in large part to Erdrich’s understated but glorious prose and her apparent belief in the redemptive power of storytelling.” Reviewed by Sara Nelson.


Tisch Library Call Number: PS3555.R42 R68 2012
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Cinder by Marissa Meyer


“Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl, Cinder, a gifted mechanic, and a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.” First in Lunar Chronicles Series.

Tisch Library Call Number: PZ7.M571737 Cin 2012
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


“Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.”




Tisch Library Call Number:PZ7.G8233 Fau 2012 
Location: Tisch Book Stacks


Salvage the Bones: a Novel by Jesmyn Ward


“Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.”



Tisch Library Call Number: PS3623.A7323 S36 2011
Location: Tisch Book Stacks


State of Wonder byAnn Patchett


“A provocative and assured novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazon rainforest. Infusing the narrative with the same ingenuity and emotional urgency that pervaded her acclaimed previous novels Bel Canto, Taft, Run, The Magician’s Assistant, and The Patron Saint of Liars, Patchett delivers an enthrallingly innovative tale of aspiration, exploration, and attachment in State of Wonder — a gripping adventure story and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3566.A7756 S76 2011
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Fall 2012

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

“A brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround the painful episode in that country’s history. De Rosnay’s U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Velodrome d’Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tezac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand’s family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers — especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive — the more she uncovers about Bertrand’s family, about France and, finally, herself.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR9105.9.R66 S27 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Café



The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes

“In Barnes’s (Flaubert’s Parrot) latest, winner of the 2011 Man-Booker Prize, protagonist Tony Webster has lived an average life with an unremarkable career, a quiet divorce, and a calm middle age. Now in his mid-60s, his retirement is thrown into confusion when he’s bequeathed a journal that belonged to his brilliant school-friend, Adrian, who committed suicide 40 years earlier at age 22. Though he thought he understood the events of his youth, he’s forced to radically revise what he thought he knew about Adrian, his bitter parting with his mysterious first lover Veronica, and reflect on how he let life pass him by safely and predictably. Barnes’s spare and luminous prose splendidly evokes the sense of a life whose meaning (or meaninglessness) is inevitably defined by ‘the sense of an ending’ which only death provides. Despite its focus on the blindness of youth and the passage of time, Barnes’s book is entirely unpretentious. From the haunting images of its first pages to the surprising and wrenching finale, the novel carries readers with sensitivity and wisdom through the agony of lost time.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR6052.A6657 S46 2011
Location: Tisch Book Stacks



 Life of Pi by Yann Martel

“The peripatetic Pi (ne the much-taunted Piscine) Patel spends a beguiling boyhood in Pondicherry, India, as the son of a zookeeper. Growing up beside the wild beasts, Pi gathers an encyclopedic knowledge of the animal world. His curious mind also makes the leap from his native Hinduism to Christianity and Islam, all three of which he practices with joyous abandon. In his 16th year, Pi sets sail with his family and some of their menagerie to start a new life in Canada. Halfway to Midway Island, the ship sinks into the Pacific, leaving Pi stranded on a life raft with a hyena, an orangutan, an injured zebra and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. After the beast dispatches the others, Pi is left to survive for 227 days with his large feline companion on the 26-foot-long raft, using all his knowledge, wits and faith to keep himself alive. The scenes flow together effortlessly, and the sharp observations of the young narrator keep the tale brisk and engaging.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR9199.3.M3855 L54 2001
Location: Tisch Book Stacks



Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

“Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009. England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages. From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, molding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR6063.A438 W65 2009
Location: Tisch Book Stacks



Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

“The sequel to Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.

At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR6063.A438 B75 2012
Location: Tisch Book Stacks



Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

“Sloan envisions a San Francisco where piracy and paper are equally useful, and massive data-visualization — processing abilities coexist with so-called ‘old knowledge.’ Really old: as in one of the first typefaces, as in alchemy and the search for immortality. Google has replaced the Medici family as the major patron of art and knowledge, and Clay Jannon, downsized graphic designer and once-and-future nerd now working the night shift for bookstore owner Mr. Penumbra, finds that mysteries and codes are everywhere, not just in the fantasy books and games he loved as a kid. With help from his friends, Clay learns the bookstore’s idiosyncrasies, earns his employer’s trust, and uses media new, old, and old-old to crack a variety of codes. Like all questing heroes, Clay takes on more than he bargained for and learns more than he expected, not least about himself. His story is an old-fashioned tale re-conceived for the digital age, with the happy message that ingenuity and friendship translate across centuries and data platforms.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3619.L6278 M77 2012
Location: Tisch Tower Café



Spring 2012

Cleopatra: a Life by Stacy Schiff

Reviewed by James Barasch, from The Tufts Daily‘s Barasch on Books

This week, I read Stacy Schiff’s new historical biography of “Cleopatra: A Life,” centered on the most famed Egyptian queen and identifiable woman of classical antiquity. She has been a topic of innumerable movies, plays, histories, and even advertising campaigns. Yet, from a historian’s perspective, all this attention may be rather perplexing, as very little contemporary information about her has survived to the modern day, and much of what does survive is unflattering.

It is a common saying that victors write the histories, and this is especially true for Cleopatra. Following her defeat at the Battle of Actium by Octavian Caesar — the future Augustus — and her suicide in 30 B.C. between the ages of 38 and 39 , Cleopatra’s reputation was systematically sullied by subsequent Roman-era chroniclers such as Plutarch and Cassius Dio, who present her not as the powerful, capable and cultured leader of an ancient kingdom — a woman in such power was, at least by Roman standards, unheard of — but as more of an irresistible femme fatale. This vision of Cleopatra depicts a woman whose seductive charms were so great that, while still in her early 20s, captured the affections of both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, two of the most ambitious and powerful men of the time.

Schiff’s biography attempts to strip away the negative accumulations of history and reconstruct Cleopatra as she would have appeared in life. The author achieves this goal with astounding success, presenting Cleopatra Ptolemy as clear-eyed and competent — a Macedonian queen of the richest kingdom in the Mediterranean.

Cleopatra’s personality sparkles with education, charisma and vitality, and all are put to use as she attempts to carve a place for herself and her kingdom in an increasingly Roman-centric world. Cleopatra was also a survivor; she did not hesitate to kill, poison or usurp anyone — including her brothers and sister — who posed a threat to her rule. Schiff’s interpretation allows the reader to see how successful, powerful and experienced men as Julius Caesar and Antony could have fallen for this nubile young queen — whom all remaining ancient sources describe as striking, but not beautiful — and fathered all four of her children.

However, though a worthy biographical reconstruction, the historian may find Schiff’s book to be overwhelmingly peppered interpretations, commentary and vague statements. To Schiff’s credit, she does primarily rely on contemporary ancient sources. Her extensive bibliography and notes at the back of the book show Schiff to be a thorough and conscientious researcher. But, in her attempt to reach as broad an audience as possible with her fascinating story, Schiff had to provide many of her own insights.

Schiff does an admirable job in resurrecting Cleopatra and her world, and I’d recommend this book to anyone — and especially to those interested in history, classics or women’s studies — simply for the enthralling writing, intriguing arguments and fascinating reconstruction of one of the most powerful women of the ancient world. For a 300-plus page history book, it is a relatively fast read that will keep you interested from start to finish.

No matter your grounding in classical history, Schiff’s book appeals scholars and casual readers alike, and will familiarize you with a most exciting era in history and introduce you to the charming, cunning and capable woman at the center of it.

Tisch Library Call Number: DT92.7 .S35 2010
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

“From bestselling author Walter Isaacson comes the landmark biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. In Steve Jobs: A Biography, Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs’ professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs’ family members, key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, Steve Jobs is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.”
Tisch Library Call Number:QA76.2.J63 I83 2011
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

“Once you start reading 1Q84, you won’t want to do much else until you’ve finished it. Murakami possesses many gifts, but chief among them is an almost preternatural gift for suspenseful storytelling….Despite its great length, Murakami’s novel is tightly plotted, without fat, and he knows how to make dialogue, even philosophical dialogue, exciting….There’s no question about the sheer enjoyability of this gigantic novel, both as an eerie thriller and as a moving love story.”

Tisch Library Call Number:PL856.U673 A61213 2011
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Stones into Schools : Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson

Greg Mortenson picks up where Three Cups of Tea left off in 2003, recounting his relentless, ongoing efforts to establish schools for girls in Afghanistan; his extensive work in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan after a massive earthquake hit the region in 2005; and the unique ways he has built relationships with Islamic clerics, militia commanders, and tribal leaders even as he was dodging shootouts with feuding Afghan warlords and surviving an eight-day armed abduction by the Taliban. He shares for the first time his broader vision to promote peace through education and literacy, as well as touching on military matters, Islam, and women-all woven together with the many rich personal stories of the people who have been involved in this remarkable two-decade humanitarian effort.”

Tisch Library Call Number:LC2330 .M66 2009
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Townie: a Memoir by Andre Dubus III

“After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their overworked mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and everyday violence. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash between town and gown, between the hard drinking, drugging, and fighting of “townies” and the ambitions of students debating books and ideas, couldn’t have been more stark. In this unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Dubus shows us how he escaped the cycle of violence and found empathy in channeling the stories of others–bridging, in the process, the rift between his father and himself.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3554.U2652 Z46 2011
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Fall 2011 Leisure Reading

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates.  In a breathtaking array of styles and tones ranging from tragedy to satire to PowerPoint, Egan captures the undertow of self-destruction that we all must either master or succumb to; the basic human hunger for redemption; and the universal tendency to reach for both—and escape the merciless progress of time—in the transporting realms of art and music. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3555.G292 V57 2010
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire.  In charting the mistakes and joys of Walter and Patty Berglund as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3556.R352 F74 2010
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

“Through the lives of the eleven main characters (each with their own chapter), Rachman chronicles the rise and fall of a Rome-based international newspaper, which bears a striking resemblance to his former employer, the International Herald Tribune.  This imperfect crew stumbles toward an uncertain future, the paper’s rich history is revealed, including the surprising truth about its founder’s intentions during an era when print news is giving way to the Internet age.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR9199.4.R323 I57 2011
Location: Tisch Book Stacks and Tisch Tower Cafe

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village.  Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs.  Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more.  But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3619.I56294 M35 2011
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

“Henrietta Lacks, a poor married, African American mother of five, died at 31 in Baltimore from a vicious form of cervical cancer.  During her treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital and after her death there in 1951, researchers harvested some of her tumor cells.  This wasn’t unusual.  Though Lacks consented to treatment, no one asked permission to take her cells; the era’s scientists considered it fair to conduct research on patients in public wards since they were being treated for free.  What was unusual was what happened next.”

Tisch Library Call Number: RC265.6.L24 S55 2009
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

What happens on the beach is brutal, and that it braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple–journalists trying to repair their strained marriage with a free holiday–who should have stayed behind their resort’s walls.  The tide of that event carries Little Bee back to their world, which she claims she couldn’t explain to the girls from her village because they’d have no context for its abundance and calm.  But she shows us the infinite rifts in a globalized world, where any distance can be crossed in a day–with the right papers–and “no one likes each other, but everyone likes U2.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR6103.L43 L58 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.  Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion.  The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years”

Tisch Library Call Number: RC275 .M85 2010
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

Room by Sarah Donoghue

In many ways, Jack is a typical 5-year-old. He likes to read books, watch TV, and play games with his Ma.  But Jack is different in a big way–he has lived his entire life in a single room, sharing the tiny space with only his mother and an unnerving nighttime visitor known as Old Nick.  For Jack, Room is the only world he knows, but for Ma, it is a prison in which she has tried to craft a normal life for her son.  When their insular world suddenly expands beyond the confines of their four walls, the consequences are piercing and extraordinary.  Despite its profoundly disturbing premise, Emma Donoghue’s Room is rife with moments of hope and beauty, and the dogged determination to live, even in the most desolate circumstances.  A stunning and original novel of survival in captivity, readers who enter Room will leave staggered, as though, like Jack, they are seeing the world for the very first time.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR6054.O547 R66 2010
Location: Tisch Library Book Stacks and Tisch Tower Cafe

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

“An unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future.  Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved.  In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride.  Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PR9199.3.A8 O7 2003
Location: Tisch Book Stacks

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Reviewed by Julie-Ann Bryson, Library Assistant at the Lilly Music Library

The Hunger Games is set in the not-too-distant future, in a country called Panem that exists where the United States once did.  The Capitol is the center of government and high society, and the other twelve Districts make up the labor forces of the country. Each year, as punishment to the Districts for having once attempted to revolt against the Capitol, two young Tributes from each District are chosen to compete in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death where only one child goes home as the living Victor.  When Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister’s place in the Games, the adventure begins. What happens to Katniss and the other tributes in the arena make this a compelling, entertaining, and disturbing novel that you won’t be able to put down!

Action, humor, friendship, rebellion, bloodshed, a strong female heroine, reality television at its worst, and even a little bit of romance… The Hunger Games has it all!

Read it now before the movie adaptation hits theaters in March 2012!  Check out the other two books in the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, also in the Tisch collection.

Tisch Library Call Number: PZ7.C6837 Hun 2008
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

The Moral Lives of Animals

The Moral Lives of Animals by Dale Peterson, Lecturer in English, Tufts University


Bloomsbury Press, New York 2011

Reviewed by Regina Raboin, Science and Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning Research & Instruction Librarian, Tisch Library

My father was in the military and our small family of three traveled extensively up and down the East Coast of the United States. At the time I was an only child and lonely, so I asked my parents for a dog. And not just any dog – but an “Asta” – a Wire Haired Fox Terrier just like the dog in “The Thin Man” films and television show. We named him MacDuff (my parents were great readers) and we were inseparable. He understood me; he laughed, played and pouted with me. If insulted, which often happened when not offered a plate of spaghetti, he would turn his back to you and then turn his head over his shoulder to look at you with hurt eyes. My parents said he was just a dog, but I knew better. MacDuff was more than a dog — he was a reincarnated person.

Dale Peterson’s latest book, The Moral Lives of Animals, asks the reader to look beyond the most commonly held belief that only humans are moral or have the intelligence to reason and analyze behavior and emotions. Using Moby-Dick and the characters of Ahab and Starbuck as representatives of two standard theories of animal behavior and intelligence, Peterson suggests that there is another way to comprehend animal morality. This third way promotes the existence of many animal minds (not an animal mind), which are alien to human minds, yet similar; we have all undergone the process of evolutionary adaptation according to social and ecological needs.

Peterson reviews Judeo-Christian (e.g., the Ten Commandments) and philosophical tenets; he defines “morality” and challenges the reader to accept morality as being as much an animal attribute as human. The concept “Darwinian narcissism” — the “ordinary condition of a species” — is used to show that evolutionary continuity allows for habituation, the every-day routine of an animal’s life, including in humans. While animals and humans readily orient themselves to their own kind’s behavior, we share many behaviors that allow for meaningful understanding and awareness among species.

Morality isn’t an easy subject to define or discuss, but Peterson methodically — yet beautifully — presents the topic through personal and animal stories, literary examples and scientific studies. His use of rules, attachments and assessments makes it easy to follow his argument to its conclusion: that all animals (including humans) share similar thoughts, that is, “subjective mental experiences,” allowing for mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence.

There is much in Dale Peterson’s new book The Moral Lives of Animals to absorb, contemplate, understand, and fear. Yes, I fear that human beings might not have the courage to do what Peterson asks of us in his final chapter – to come to peace with the knowledge that we aren’t the only moral beings on this Earth, and to choose “not to destroy what we [do] not entirely understand.”

The Moral Lives of Animals and Dale Peterson’s other works can be found in Tisch Library by doing an author search in the Tufts Catalog.

Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World

Reviewed by Regina Raboin, Science and Environmental Studies Reference Librarian

by Jonathan M. Tisch with Karl Weber
Crown Publishers, New York 2010
Tisch Library Call Number HN18.3 .T57 2010

The Light on the Hill burns bright and is spreading across America.

Jonathan M. Tisch’s (with Karl Weber) new book, Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World, invites private citizens, public servants, non-profit organizations and corporations to transform old models of civic action into new. In asking the question, will 20th century thinking hold back 21st century progress? Mr. Tisch is hopeful that new ways of perceiving and implementing civic activism will answer 21st century challenges. Throughout the book, Mr. Tisch and Mr. Weber weave examples of citizen activism, social and professional entrepreneurship, and corporate philanthropy, bringing to the forefront transformative thinking and new partnerships between people, organizations and corporations.

The authors profile Tufts University’s Tisch College of Active Citizenship and Public Service, illustrating how private organizations foster social activism through integration of active citizenship across all facets of the school (including curriculum), connecting academic rigor with learning outcomes focused on root causes of societal problems and modeling how social activism is open to everyone. Quite simply, Tisch College outlines ways in which America’s education system can develop active citizens.

Corporate leaders such as Pierre and Pam Omidyar, Bill Gates, Alan Solomont and Alan Khazei are presented as examples of how great wealth and corporate social leadership can address social problems using unique and sustainable partnerships.

Public servant leadership is also explored using Michael Bloomberg’s (and others) New York City (NYC) Service program as an example of “a city of citizens”. Mayor Bloomberg believes that active citizenship combined with non-profit, business and city government assistance can help in creating sustainable urban neighborhoods, “…citizen service can make the difference, bridging the gap between what government can do and what needs to be done.” (p. 108)

From a practical point of view each chapter provides sections entitled “Food for Thought, Seeds for Action”, ideas and information on how to pursue and realize civic engagement. The concluding chapter, “To Learn More”, lists fifty-two ways (along with contact information) to become an active citizen.

It’s not surprising the majority of Citizen You’s featured social activists or organizations are Tufts alumni, students, faculty or affiliated organizations. Tufts University is recognized nationally and internationally for promoting social activism through its Tisch College, student organizations, centers and institutes and curriculum. Tufts is known for graduating students who seek positions in fields that are dedicated to civic engagement and activism – and I think that’s something to write about – don’t you?

The Climate Solutions Consensus by David E. Blockstein and Leo Wiegman

Reviewed by Regina Raboin, Science Reference Librarian

booksAs the reference & instruction librarian for Tufts’ Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning department and Environmental Science, I’m always searching for essential resources that help students and faculty gain a solid overview of a topic. The Climate Solutions Consensus: What We Know and What to Do About It (NCSE/Island Press, 2010) achieves this by bringing together the intricate science, policy and practical applications surrounding the most important social, cultural, environmental and political issue of our time.

Authors David Blockstein, Director of Science Education and Senior Scientist with the National Council for Science the Environment (NCSE) and Leo Wiegman (A ’80), founder of E to the Fourth Communications Strategy and Mayor, Croton-on-Hudson, NY, have written a book pulling together findings and subsequent policies of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other summits and symposia. The beginning of the book outlines “Thirty-nine Reasons Why We Have to Act Now”, providing succinct, important global climate change facts and tenets. Blockstein and Wiegman also discuss how the phrase, global warming is too narrow to be used as a synonym for global climate change, but is useful for describing overall increases in average surface temperature of the Earth. This is an important distinction as numerous factors contribute to global climate change.

Throughout the book, the authors use definition, explanation and resources to assist readers in understanding the complex issues covered in the text. Topics such as atmospheric carbon, biodiversity, greenhouse gases, global and local action and science and public policy are clearly and concisely explained with online resources, climate solution actions and works cited/consulted sections providing additional resources and further education. Each chapter includes a “Connect the Dots” section, linking theory/policy with application.

The most appealing chapter of Climate Solutions Consensus, “Strategies for Stabilization, Mitigation, and Adaptation”, presents thirty-five immediate climate actions, describing the policy, research, and education needed to achieve each action item.

Well-documented and accessible, Climate Solutions Consensus, would work as an excellent text for a college/university course in global climate change or environment; it would also be useful as a resource for municipal or citizen environmental/climate change groups looking to educate their community and begin developing policies and actions to address global climate disruption.

Location: Tisch Book Stacks QC903 .B56 2010

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

waterReviewed by Laura Walters, Associate Director for Teaching, Research, and Information Resources, Tisch Library.

Did you dream of joining the circus when you were a child?  Did you want to be an elephant trainer or the beautiful woman on the flying trapeze?  If so, you should enter the world of Water for Elephants, a novel that chronicles life in a second-rate circus crossing America in 1932.  From the moment 22-year old Jacob jumps on a train to escape his grief at his parents’ death, we are enveloped in a world that we have only dreamed about.  Reality is much harsher than dreams, and Jacob has to deal with a sadistic ring leader and a brutal circus owner as he struggles to protect the people and the animals he comes to love.  The novel alternates in time between Jacob at 22 and at 93, and the passages involving the elderly Jacob beautifully capture the pathos and nostalgia of a man reflecting on his life’s journey.

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3607.R696 W38 2007
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Summer 2010 Leisure Reading

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

“Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations. Now the disappearance of two women is bringing Towner back home to Salem- and is bringing to light the shocking truth about the death of her twin sister.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3602.A777548 L33 2009
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

“Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, Erik Larson’s spellbinding bestseller intertwines the true tale of two men- the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World’s Fair, striving to secure American’s place in the world; and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Larson crafts a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.”

Tisch Library Call Number: HV6248.M8 L37 2004
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Apologize, Apologize! by Elizabeth Kelly


“Welcome to the perversely charmed world of the Flanagans and their son Collie (yes, he was named after the dog breed). Coming of age on Martha’s Vineyard, he struggles within his wildly wealthy, hyperarticulate, resolutely crazy Irish-Catholic family: a philandering father, incorrigible brother, pigeon-racing uncle, radical activist mother, and domineering media mogul grandfather (accused of being a murderer by Collie’s mother). It is a world where chaos is exhilaratingly constant and money is no object. Yet it is one where the things Collie wants -understanding, stability, a sense of belonging- cannot be bought at any price. Through his travails, we realize what it really means to grow into one’s family: to find ways to see them anew, to forgive them, and to be forgiven in turn.“

Tisch Library Call Number: PR9199.4.K448 A66 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

greatworldamazon“A rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. A radical young Irish monk struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gathers in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. A 38-year-old grandmother turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth. Weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s allegory comes alive in the voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century”–a mysterious tightrope walker dancing between the Twin Towers.”

Tisch Library Call Number PR6063.C335 L47 2010
Location Tisch Tower Cafe

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

lastsong“Seventeen-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside down when her parents divorced. Three years later, she remains alienated from her parents, particularly her father . . . until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she and her brother spent the summer with him. Resentful and rebellious, Ronnie rejects her father’s attempts to reach out to her and threatens to return home before the summer’s end. But soon Ronnie meets Will, the past person she thought she’d ever be attracted to, and finds herself falling for him, opening herself up to the greatest happiness  –and pain- that she has ever known.”

Tisch Library Call Number PS3569.P363 L37 2010b
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

GirlwhoplayedOn the eve of publisher Mikael Blomkvist’s story about sex trafficking between Eastern Europe and Sweden, two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Mikael Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander–the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid years before.

Tisch Library Call Number PT9876.22.A6933 F57 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes and Adam Grano

Ghost WorldOne of the best-selling and critically-acclaimed graphic novels of all-time telling the story of two supremely ironic, above-it-all teenagers facing the thrilling uncertainty of life after high school. As they attempt to carry their life-long friendship into a new era, the careful dynamics of their inseparable bond are jolted, and what seemed like a future of endless possibilities looks more like an encroaching reality of strip malls, low-paying service jobs and fading memories.

Tisch Library Call Number PN6727.C56 G62 2008
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

cutting“Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by the mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3622.E744 C87 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

from Tisch Library's Leisure Reading Collection