Monday, December 29, 2014


With this blog post we wave goodbye, bid adieu, say adios, give an auf wiedersehen, and take leave of 2014 by completing our look at the best books of the year chosen by the editors of the New York Times Book Review.  All the books mentioned can be found on the shelves of the Monrovia Public Library. 

Scientific study finds that there have been 5 prior extinctions on earth when mass numbers of animal species have died out. The most famous was when an asteroid hit the earth and wiped out the dinosaurs. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History is an examination of the current die off, the one in which 20-50% of fauna on earth will disappear by the end of this century. The cause: climate change produced by humans. Author Elizabeth Kolbert, primarily a magazine writer, travels with scientists around the world and records their research on dead and dying species. The Sixth Extinction is written in an engaging way and facts are presented in a lively manner. This is a thought-provoking book on a subject very much in the news.

Eula Biss is an essayist, Northwestern University teacher and a new mother.  In her book On Immunity: An Inoculation she takes a probing view into the world of vaccinations. Not just content to look at the science and history of being inoculated against disease, she looks at how culture, philosophy and fear affect parents’ choices to have their children vaccinated. Her exploration of the subject of immunization includes her pursuit of whether to vaccinate her new baby. This really interesting book comes at a time when so many other parents are contemplating the same question and so many doctors are encouraging them to do so.

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