Did you know you can do research from home? Instructions are here.

Library Blog

LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Far from the Tree


Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity By Andrew Solomon

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity

"…Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so.

Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter.

All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on forty thousand pages of interview transcripts with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges. Whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery for transgender people, Solomon narrates a universal struggle toward compassion. Many families grow closer through caring for a challenging child; most discover supportive communities of others similarly affected; some are inspired to become advocates and activists, celebrating the very conditions they once feared. Woven into their courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.

Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far from the Tree explores themes of generosity, acceptance, and tolerance—all rooted in the insight that love can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory book expands our definition of what it is to be human."

- From the author’s website: http://andrewsolomon.com/books/far-from-the-tree

See our previous Books of the Week here

Ask a librarian to help you find this or other resources on this topic.



LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Undocumented


Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League By Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League

"In this dogged journey of a Dominican boy "without papers," Peralta, currently a Mellon research fellow at Columbia University, describes his valiant battle against the obstacles of poverty, prejudice, and government red tape. Peralta, a native of Santo Domingo, came to America at age four with his undocumented parents, but financial demands forced his father to return home, leaving Peralta and his mother to fend for themselves. He writes candidly about hard times including a period spent in a dangerous homeless shelter, breaking through the harsh immigrant cliches to a pure humanistic level that any reader can embrace. Peralta found time to study despite the lack of financial stability; in time, he attended an elite Manhattan private school, then earned a degree from Princeton University. Understanding the "contradictions of his life," he describes himself: "illegal alien, hoodrat, Dominican, classicist," but states no one label could accurately fit him. Part memoir, part confessional, and part coming-of-age tale, Peralta's story holds several truths on the road through loss, sacrifice, and achievement to gaining his slice of the American dream."

- "Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League." Publishers Weekly 8 June 2015: 53. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.

See our previous Books of the Week here

Ask a librarian to help you find this or other resources on this topic.



LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The Vital Question


The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life By Nick Lane

The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life by Nick Lane

To explain the mystery of how life evolved on Earth, Nick Lane explores the deep link between energy and genes.

The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there's a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.

For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen?

The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane's hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths.

Both rigorous and enchanting, The Vital Question provides a solution to life's vital question: why are we as we are, and indeed, why are we here at all?–From the author's website: http://www.nick-lane.net

See our previous Books of the Week here

Ask a librarian to help you find this or other resources on this topic.



Beach Book(s) of the Week

Beach Book(s) of the Week -- Recent Leisure Reading

City of the Lost cover'' Patience by Daniel Clowes book cover' Alice & Oliver by Bock cover''

Kill Em and Leave by McBride cover'' Glory Over Everything cover'' Before We Visit the Goddess cover''

Pick one just for fun! The library has a leisure reading collection which includes these books and many more. Ask a librarian about it!

See our previous Books of the Week here.



E101 Opens at noon today!; E111 still open

We're almost ready to open E101! E101 will be open at noon. The Annex is open now.