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Links 1 through 10 of 193 Pocket Library's Bookmarks

Two Years Before the Mast is a classic of maritime nonfiction. It was published in 1840 and tells of Dana’s two years of living the life of a common sailor after leaving his studies at Harvard. Dana’s voyage took him from Boston to South America and around Cape Horn to California. This is a very exciting and engaging read for anyone interested in sailing and California history. -Jason

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Set in the 1960’s, this is the second novel by MacDonald (her first, Fall on Your Knees, is another great read). Loosely based on the true story of 14-year-old Stephen Truscott, who in 1959 was sentenced on dubious circumstantial evidence to be hanged for the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl, this story begins with the murder of a young girl and the resulting impact on a family and others in a small community. Most of the story is told from the perspective of 8-year-old Madeline, who is discerning enough to know how to protect those she loves from what she witnesses but is still too young to fully understand what it is that she saw. A deeply engrossing interplay of childhood memories and startling realizations in adulthood. A compelling read. -Katherine

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If you read the summary of Hold Me Closer Necromancer it seems like the premise for a show on the CW. A young adult, working at a dead end fast food job, suddenly becomes mixed up in the supernatural world and discovers he is actually a powerful necromancer. He ends up kidnapped (imprisoned with a lovely werewolf, of course!) and at the mercy of another necromancer who wants to steal his powers. It is deeper than it would seem, however, with strong characters, a fun romance, and a thoughtful look at the consequences of power. It is an absolutely delightful addition to the YA paranormal genre and suitable for adults as well as teens. Be sure to check out the sequel, Necromancing the Stone. -Brendle

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In this immense and intense novel, wrapped up in the origins of modern geek, pre-digital culture, Stephenson sets the bar for the cyber-epic. He tells the story in two different times; WWII cryptography experts (and some crazy soldiers), including Alan Turing, fight their own little part of the war, and some modern experts capitalize on the birth of the internet and their vision of a future governed by mass amounts of data and ruled by those who hold that data. Okay, it's long and involved, so you have to be committed, but the writing is amazing and Stephenson is very knowledgeable about his material. -Erik

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Imagine you’re the prince of a galaxy-spanning empire, enhanced, trained, and groomed to one day succeed the emperor. Now imagine that when you finally leave your cloistered childhood environment, you find you’re only one of ten million spoiled and entitled princes competing for the right to rule. ¶ This young adult novel is the first I’ve read by Garth Nix, but I can see why he’s so popular. His work covers a broad range of fantasy and science fiction for kids, tweens, teens, and even adults. -Dave

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This is a compendium of firsthand accounts by European explorers and settlers of California in the years 1769-1848. It begins with an excerpt from the diary of Father Juan Crespi, who accompanied Father Serra and Captain Portola on the expedition in which the Spanish first saw San Francisco Bay from land. There are a total of eleven accounts, all taken from journals or books written by Europeans or Americans who visited the San Francisco Bay area during these eighty years. Each chapter includes an introduction by the editor Paddison, providing background about the writer and historical context. It’s a fascinating look at early California history: impressions of the land, wildlife and natives when European settlers first arrived, life under Spanish and Mexican rule, and the years of Yankee infiltration and conquest. -Michael

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This is a fascinating look at how one woman overcame a stroke that left her severely changed. What is really unique about this story is that the author is also a brain scientist. This perspective gave her a unique insight into how the brain works which enabled her to fully recover. Through her journey she really learned how the left and right brain affect behavior and the way we perceive the world especially in areas of spirituality. A great read for anyone interested in human behavior. -Jason

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I became very interested in David Foster Wallace after reading several of his short stories and the amazing The Pale King. David Foster Wallace was surely one of the great writers of our time and his early death (suicide in 2008) leaves us wondering what additional master pieces he may have created had he been able to surmount the debilitating depression he battled the entirety of his life. D.T. Max brings out details of Wallace’s childhood, and his amazing college years, and his approach to writing. We learn of his relationship with Don DeLillo who helped him break through writer’s block and his many romances including a brief tryst with Anne Patchett at a writers’ retreat. I suspect there will be many more biographies about Wallace and this is a good one with which to start. -Katherine

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Reading this superb novel, which follows U.S. Marshall Carl Webster from his days on his daddy's pecan farm in 1920's Oklahoma to his gunfights against some of the nastiest bank robbers and outlaws of the 1930's, I relished Leonard's language, kind of chewing on a mouthful of savory words at a time, like taking a bite of peppered bacon and fine steak, wrapped in sautéed spinach and washed down with a brew. Then I went on to the next mouthful...This is great writing and a really fun story, all in one little book. -Erik

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This is a 4 CD set of trumpet virtuoso Louis Armstrong's 1920s recordings with the Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles. This body of work is considered seminal jazz, with Armstrong improvising and soloing brilliantly in front of hot bands. If you enjoy early jazz and Armstrong, you have got to hear this. These recordings are obviously quite old, but this particular set is considered the best sounding version of them, it sounds great, and the playing is amazing. -Michael

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