Blog Posts by jlasky

Posted by jlasky on 11/14/18
cover image
Joseph, a college student at UC Berkeley, receives a mysterious package from Cairo, the home of his birth father. Although he was raised in the states by his Jewish mother, he spent several summers in Cairo traversing a completely different culture and lifestyle with his Muslim relatives.

The package leads him on an adventure that peels back the rich history of his ancestors on both sides. Going back a thousand years, the Muslim men in his family kept watch over the sacred Ezra Scrolls in a small synagogue in Cairo, the same synagogue where his parents met. The story is helped along by two British sisters at the end of the 19th century, who travel to Egypt to rescue sacred texts.

In “The Last Watchman of Old CairoMichael David Lukas weaves a remarkable tale of various traditions, cultures and religions through the centuries. Vivid scenery, mysticism, love, devotion and richly developed characters make this a tale you will find hard to put down.
Posted by jlasky on 06/11/18
cover image
Dreading his 50th birthday, and receiving an invitation to the wedding of the love of his life, as well as a manuscript rejection, Arthur Less embarks on a madcap world tour. In order to escape the heartbreak of becoming a lonely, failed middle age writer, Arthur decides to accept random literary invitations, many of which even a mid-level writer would not consider. From Paris, Morocco, Berlin, Southern India, and Japan, through his mishaps and adventures, he finds some hope and surprises, as well as a new look at humanity.
 
 Andrew Sean Greer uses a mysterious narrator and lyrical sentences to tell this humorous, character driven love story. You will be utterly charmed by Arthur, and may even see a bit of yourself in him. 

A recent Pulitzer Prize winner, as well as the June pick for the PBS NewsHour-New York Times book club, Less is a perfect summer read.
Posted by jlasky on 02/01/18
cover image
Shanti Sekaran isn’t afraid to wade into such private, painful and politicized topics as infertility, immigration, family, childbirth, and adoption. In Lucky Boy, we navigate the lives of Kavya and her husband Rishi, living in Berkeley Ca. They are desperately trying to have a child, both to fulfill their own desires as well as their family’s expectations back in India. In contrast, there is Soli, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who struggles to keep her head above water as a single mother in a foreign land. A simple mistake wreaks havoc in her already fragile life.

Their parallel paths heartbreakingly intertwine, as they struggle to navigate US social systems, as well as  keeping their families together.

Lucky Boy is a thoughtfully written story that takes you deep into the layers of these hopeful young lives. Sekaran carefully crafts her characters who have similar dreams and wishes, but like all of us, never know what pain they may have to endure to achieve them. Both sides of these hot button issues have convincing arguments but no clear answers.
Lucky Boy will appeal to readers who lean toward books with empathetic, multiple perspectives. This book will have you wanting both sides of this struggle to emerge victorious, and may have you looking through a new lens at some of these issues.
Posted by jlasky on 01/11/18
cover image
Migrants trudging through water carrying babies is an image of migration that we are used to seeing in the media. One may forget that those fleeing civil unrest can be young professionals willing to seek a future even if it means leaving loved ones behind. Mohsin Hamid tells such a saga in his critically acclaimed book ”Exit West”.

Hamid tells a lyrical tale of young Saeed and Nadia who meet and fall in love just in time to gain the courage to flee their homeland. The country they leave is never named, it could be anywhere that civil war, power and corruption are threatening citizens. With the blessing of their families, and promises to stay together until they reach safety, they embark on an unknown journey. They follow their instincts through ‘mystical doors’ of escape and opportunity , that they hear whispered about in the immigration camps they land in around the world. The prose is beautiful as it lays in contrast to the horrors and upheaval of escape.

It is a slim, quick read that moves along through harsh realities, opportunities, hopes &  dreams . Short –listed for The Man Booker Prize in 2017, “Exit West” is impactful and sheds a unique perspective on the story of migration and immigration.
Posted by jlasky on 12/05/17
cover image
 Although she says she is “not a reflective person by nature”, Alice Waters is a writer, an advocate and a chef. Her new memoir Coming to My Senses: the Making of a Counter Culture Cook tells a natural, graceful story of her life, and the various paths that led her to open the world- renowned restaurant Chez Panisse. Looking back from her early years in New Jersey, to European travels and eventually landing in Berkeley California, Waters shares tales of a true free spirit who is open to new experiences in all aspects of life. Falling in love with everything French, and finding a passion for organic and locally sourced food, leads her to open the now iconic Chez Panisse. At the age of 26, with no formal training, she embarks on opening a French restaurant with the simple goal of cooking for her friends. Now 46 years later, with dozens of prestigious awards, the restaurant is as strong as ever.  
 
Since opening, she has been credited with introducing mesculan salad to the US, as well as starting the Edible Schoolyard Project. Her passion and involvement in locally sourced organic food, as well as the Slow Food Movement has changed the way Americans eat. The beauty of a well written memoir is the thrill of being a fly on the wall through an interesting life well lived. This book is one of those.
memoir
Want recommendations on what to read next? Complete this Book Me form and we will provide a list of recommended books for you to try.
 
If your status is Confirmed Registration, your spot for the event is confirmed.

If registration for this event is full, you will be placed on a waiting list. Wait listed registrants are moved to the confirmed registration list (in the order of registration) when cancelations are received. You will receive an email notification if you are moved from the wait list to the confirmed registration list.

6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
 
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
 
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
 
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
 
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
 
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
 
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
 
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
 
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
 
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy