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Powell's Q&A | September 3, 2014

Emily St. John Mandel: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Emily St. John Mandel

Describe your latest book. My new novel is called Station Eleven. It's about a traveling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Station Eleven

    Emily St. John Mandel 9780385353304


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The Cybrarian has commented on (9) products.

Fragile Beginnings: Discoveries and Triumphs in the Newborn ICU by Adam Wolfberg
Fragile Beginnings: Discoveries and Triumphs in the Newborn ICU

The Cybrarian, March 13, 2012

The story of Dr. and Mrs. Wolfberg's harrowing experience with the birth of their premature daughter is one that will tug at anyone's heartstrings, parent or not. The difficulty of the situation must have been nearly overwhelming at times yet Dr. Wolfberg has turned that experience into the opportunity to furnish us with not only his personal story but a well-researched examination into the state of NICU care today and its future going forward.

What struck me most about this book was the situation the author found himself in when thrust to the other side of the exam room curtain. Usually privy to all conversations regarding a patient care situation Dr. Wolfberg finds himself cast in the role of worried parent while others decide his daughter's fate. His ability to blend both experiences and produce this lucid, moving book like this speaks volumes about his dedication to his profession and his strength of character.

I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an emotionally taut medical story that will keep you on the edge of your seat or a meticulously researched insight into the current state of NICU operations and ethics.
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Sister of Silence by Daleen Berry
Sister of Silence

The Cybrarian, February 20, 2012

Unfortunately the beginning of Daleen Berry's story is not unique. Sexually abused from the age of thirteen, she became pregnant in high school and by the age of twenty-one found herself the mother of four children, trapped in a joyless marriage to an abusive alcoholic. The important part of Daleen's story is what happened next.

Repeated fantasies of harming one of her children leads her to seek help and she eventually discover that the intense stresses of her life have left her mentally ill. By the end of this chapter in her life Daleen is in treatment, having ended her relationship with Eddie, and on her way to changing nearly every aspect of her life.

The book is not without its flaws. Early on, the pace is slow and the chronology is sometimes patchy. There are some grammatical and spelling errors as well but the story Daleen tells is so intense and so important we are willing to overlook these small problems and focus on the more important story of the prevalence of abuse in our society. Indeed, as the book progresses the writing seems to improve, making Daleen's transformation from a victim to a survivor all the more evident.

Berry pulls no punches. She admits that she is not perfect. She has made some mistakes. What is important to her and evident to the reader is her drive to move forward, to purge the negativity of the past from her life and to tell her story in such a way as to make other young women in similar situations realize that they too can break free, save their own lives and thrive.

Daleen's second book 'Children of Silence', which deals with the emotional struggle faced by her children due to their experiences with abuse, is soon to be published. Her life will have changed for the better but for Daleen, struggle and challenge are never far away. The future will undoubtedly be have its difficulties but through the exercise of her own emotional courage Daleen is able to face them not only as a survivor but as a warrior and a spokesperson for abused women and children everywhere.
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Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America's First Imperial Adventure by Julia Flynn Siler
Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America's First Imperial Adventure

The Cybrarian, February 18, 2012

First visited by foreigners in when Captain James Cook arrived in 1778, Hawaii was already an established society with a thriving culture and economy. The arrival of Christian missionaries thirty years later and the subsequent conversion of the Royal Family to Christianity was only the first link in a chain of events that eventually led to the American military annexation of this sovereign nation in America's first act of international imperialism beyond its own borders.

Award-winning journalist and author of the New York times best-seller, The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, Julia Flynn Siler, tells the story of Queen Lili'uokalani, sovereign of a nation already heavily mortgaged to foreign interests when she took power at the end of the nineteenth century. The gradual erosion of a broad-based subsistence economy eventually led to the creation of a one-crop system based on the raising and exporting of sugar cane for the benefit of a small group of wealthy men known as the sugar kings. Finally, the U.S. Marines landed on the island and, marching to the palace, incited the monarch's overthrow.

Ms. Flynn Siler's accessible style brings the reader into the life of the island immediately with her glossary of native Hawaiian words so important to our understanding of local cultural concepts. The main players are introduced straight off and then the historical drama begins to proceed to, what seems to be, its inevitable conclusion. Her lively writing avoids the pitfall of dry, historical reportage, retaining the colorful palate of the islands themselves in order to better illustrate their unique story.

Equal parts history lesson, human drama and social, political and economic commentary, Lost Kingdom is an insightful look into America's past and may provide an important lesson for those who will determine her future. For today's Americans, desirous of a more responsible participation in world affairs, this examination of the events of the last century may lead to better understanding of a unique part of our own nation and a clearer view of the effects of our participation in the affairs of other nations.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Talking to Girls about Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut by Rob Sheffield
Talking to Girls about Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut

The Cybrarian, August 21, 2011

Music journalist Rob Sheffield has put together a chronological series of essays based on pop tunes from the 1980s that he feels define some major turning points in his life as he came of age in that decade.
One would think that such a limited time-frame would exclude those of us who experienced adolescence earlier or were born later, but this is not the case.
We are all aware of the major players in this game: The Go-Go's, Culture Club, Hall & Oates, Prince and Madonna and if we find ourselves floundering with L'Trimm or Haysi Fantaysee Sheffield stands by to throw us a lifeline from his vast footlocker of pop music trivia.

His references to early MTV bear surprising parallels for those of us from the birth-of-FM-radio generation. In fact he transcends the whole idea of generations by taking us back to our own eras when the answers to life's most difficult questions could be found on the radio. We all have a store of emotional and biographical touchstones, these are Rob's and he explores them with sensitivity and wit that brings the reader into the picture with him.

And the guy can turn a phrase. His stream-of-consciousness style rapping has a rhythm as infectious as any good dance tune and his wide-ranging references, from Byron to Baba Ram Dass and back, are esoteric enough to make us feel smart while accessible enough to let us all in on the joke.

So, if you can't tell John Taylor from Nick Rhodes don't despair, Rob Sheffield will see you through, and let you in on the secret to proper toilet paper placement when entertaining female guests as well- "They just DO".
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The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
The Sisters Brothers

The Cybrarian, August 19, 2011

Narrated by the stouter half of a pair of old west hitmen, Patrick deWitt's The Sister's Brothers takes us on a journey from Oregon to California during the gold rush, ostensibly to complete an assignment from their shadowy boss, but really in search of the dual protagonist's futures.

Eli Sisters is becoming ambivalent about his career path and longs to settle down, Charlie prefers to drink and womanize as always but this particular assignment will change them both permanently.

A new western novel full of the taste of dust and grit, plenty of pain and blood, and large doses of humor and human emotion, The Sister's Brothers delivers on all levels with rich and complex characters, a plot full of twists and a conclusion that takes both the characters and the reader by surprise.
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