Monday, October 31, 2016


Fans of espionage author Daniel Silva will not be surprised that his favorite books are George Orwell’s 1984 and Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, two books that delve into both spying and the human condition. Silva is the bestselling novelist whose Gabriel Allon series delights readers who love thrillers. And, with 16 titles about the Israeli art restorer and secret agent, Silva is an author for those who enjoy following the same character through multiple books.

Michigan-born and California-educated, Daniel Silva began his professional life as a journalist, working in the U.S. and then abroad. He also worked as a producer at CNN, but was thinking about writing. His first novel, the stand-alone The Unlikely Spy, set during World War II, was published in 1996 and encouraged him to leave journalism and devote himself full time to fiction. In 2000 he debuted his first Gabriel Allon novel The Kill Artist set in the Middle East, about a cat-and-mouse game between spy and terrorist.  

Ever the journalist, the author shows his penchant for researching the storylines for his books, and in a recent New York Times interview he mentions how he reads many non-fiction books for this purpose. The Monrovia Public Library owns almost every Silva title and they are available in a variety of formats—regular print, large print and e-book.

His most recent novel, released in 2016, is The Black Widow, a page-turner with a multi-country setting and a plot right out of modern headlines. Here our spy Allon must track down an international terrorist who has set off a bomb in Paris. New Silva readers might enjoy reading the titles in chronological order.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Does your kitty scratch sofa legs? Does your dog hide under the bed when the garbage truck thunders up the street? Does your bird pluck off its feathers? Pet owners, otherwise known as human companions, frequently ponder why their animal friends misbehave as they do. 

The Monrovia Public Library has some books by an expert that may offer answers to your pet questions. Nicholas Dodman, DVM or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is one of the world’s best known animal behaviorists. English by birth and educated in Scotland, he moved to the United States to become a faculty member at Tufts University School of Veterinary Science where he oversees the Animal Behavior Clinic. Dr. Dodman’s books are not just informative, but highly entertaining to read.

Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds is about the new science of animal psychiatry. Revealing the close proximity of animal and human mental well-being, the good doctor mixes personal stories and case histories to share how behavioral issues can be solved. While this work focuses on psychology, biology and pharmacology are also front and center in this must-read book for pet lovers. Readers have commented positively on how this book has proactively helped solve problems for which it did not seem there were solutions. 

Less a how-to book and more a look at some individual cases of difficult animal behavior, If They Could Only Speak: Understanding the Power Bond Between Dogs and Their Owners addresses not just behavior issues, but the role of humans in the lives of pets.

Check out these books and more today at the Monrovia Public Library!

Monday, October 17, 2016


Are you a Southern California native, or maybe a newcomer exploring our cultural history? Is retro your thing? Does the word vintage make your heart sing? Do you remember Disneyland when there were E-tickets for popular rides, when apartment houses were designed like Hawaiian villages, and when ranch houses with backyard barbecues summed up the American dream?

And, do you need a good laugh? Charles Phoenix is your zany author of choice. This showman of kitsch, who dresses in thrift store duds, was raised in Ontario the son of a used car salesman and found his niche when he started presenting hilarious slide shows and writing books about our recent past. His colorful tomes, fun to page through before returning to the beginning for a good read, can be found at the Monrovia Library.

In Southern California in the ‘50’s : Sun, Fun and Fantasy Phoenix highlights the nostalgia for the good life—dining in theme restaurants, driving convertibles, visiting tourist attractions and swimming in sparkling pools. He uses vintage photos, classic menus, and starburst graphics to show California as an optimistic promised land. 

Long before digital photography there was Kodachrome, the Kodak film of choice for color photos. Charles Phoenix shows off spectacular prints in Southern Californialand : Mid-Century in Kodachrome. Exuberant photos of favorite local venues, from shopping centers to resorts, in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's capture the past. Americana the Beautiful also displays fabulous '50's photos, but this time of the whole nation. 

Enjoy these vibrant coffee table books that will make you smile all the way down memory lane.