Monday, December 12, 2016


In 1963 Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, borrowed $50 from his father to start a company that imported inexpensive running shoes from Japan. And the rest, says the cliché, is history. In Shoe Dog Knight tells the story of the start-up, long before that phrase came into being, that became a billion-dollar company. This highly readable memoir, peppered with stories of setbacks and successes, will have lots of appeal to both budding entrepreneurs and to readers who enjoy autobiographies.

Are shoes and/or fashion history your thing? How about some nicely illustrated histories also on the shelves of the Monrovia Public Library?  Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers and More by Linda O’Keefe is a delicious compendium of shoe history, from antiquity to modern times, and includes information on various types of footwear, shoe designers, and quotes from celebrity shoe lovers. Glorious color photos accompany this terrifically seductive work. Don’t look for comfort in Mary Trasko’s Heavenly Soles: Twentieth Century Shoes, which is all about the high fashion shoes coveted by fashionistas and proclaimed as sculpture.

What is it about the shoe that attracts so many? The Sex Life of the Foot and Shoe by William Rossi is a classic book on the social history of how feet and shoes have been viewed through history. The chapter on foot binding is as fascinating as it is disturbing and the search by many for comfortable shoes for tired toes will have many readers nodding in sympathy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


What’s new on the fiction shelves of the Monrovia Public Library? The answer: some of the best-reviewed novels this year. Here are titles that indeed tell you that there is something for everyone.

Fan favorite Harlan Coben has a new thriller, the 11th in the Myron Bolitar series. In Home, the author returns to the prized plot device of how a past crime finds a solution in the present. Two boys that were kidnapped years before have been spotted and Bolitar must not only find them but unravel what happened to them. From page one this thriller grabs readers and keeps them focused until the very end.

Author Brit Bennett recently said she wanted to “just depict ordinary black life.” She achieves that in The Mothers, a coming of age novel about a young woman named Nadia who realizes that she is living too many clichés and is looking for a way out. The mothers of the title are numerous and stand in as surrogates for the mother Nadia lost and the mother that Nadia is to become. Beautifully written, this debut novel will captivate readers.

When a travel writer on a cruise ship thinks a woman has been thrown overboard, she desperately discovers that the passengers are accounted for and everyone thinks she is crazy. With a theme right out of Agatha Christie, The Woman in Cabin Ten by Ruth Ware is a page-turning thriller with lots of twists and turns. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016


What’s new on the fiction shelves of the Monrovia Public Library? The answer: some of the best-reviewed novels this year. Here are titles that indeed tell you that there is something for everyone.

Borrowing the name from the famous journey that slaves took to freedom Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad is an original look at the same theme. Here the railroad is no metaphor; rather it is a real train that runs underground with stations and conductors. A slave named Cora flees a life of servitude and punishment while avoiding slave catchers. On the way north the story of Cora’s family unravels in a way that describes the history of slavery. This is an incredibly potent book will rattle readers and keep them turning the pages.

Maria Semple hit the literary jackpot a few years ago with her quirky novel Where’d You Go Bernadette about a Seattle-based woman who disappears under darkly humorous circumstances. Ms. Semple is back with Today Will Be Different and once again mines Seattle’s clichés with a satirical look at a woman who finds herself in a rut. Fans of Semple’s first novel will find more pleasure ahead in this new book.

Reader favorite Alexander McCall Smith returns with his 17th title in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.  Heroine Precious Ramotswe and her sidekick Grace Makutsi are back in Precious and Grace, the story of a Canadian woman who is trying to find the woman that helped raise her when she was a child growing up in Botswana. The gentle mystery and its moral lesson are tied up in a big bow of enjoyment.  McCall Smith readers, old and new, will welcome this new title.