We Recommend… Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin

Neil Shubin’s Shubin Inner fishbook, Your Inner Fish: A Journey in the 3.5-Million-Year History of the Human Body, was published in 2009 and in 2014 he hosted a three-part series by the same title on PBS. Prof. Shubin, a paleontologist and professor of anatomy, tells the story of evolution by tracing the various parts of the human body back millions years. One example that I found fascinating was that the structure of our hands resembles that of fish fins.

You don’t need to be a scientist to read his book or to enjoy the PBS series, and the story of his discoveries is both exciting and thought provoking. Reviewer Oliver Sacks calls Shubin’s work “an exhilarating and compelling scientific adventure story that will change forever how you understand what it means to be human” and I agree.

Review by Shirley, Pinal County Library District Outreach Librarian

Find it at your library!

Learn more:
Your Inner Fish on PBS

Other Reviews:
Publisher’s Weekly

More by Neil Shubin:
The Universe Within

National Library Week & Library Worker’s Day, 2014


Today marks the second day of National Library Week, which falls between Sunday, April 13th to Saturday, April 19th this year.

National Library Week is a national observance week sponsored by the American Library Association with the intent to celebrate libraries and promote all they do for our communities. This year’s theme is “Lives Change @ Your Library“, and the Honorary Chair of National Library Week is best-selling author and intellectual freedom advocate Judy Blume.

In order to share your love for libraries, the ALA encourages you to print their speech bubble prop (click here for download) and write down how libraries have changed your life. Share your images on Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr and tag them #LivesChange or #NLW14 to spread the word!

Additionally, National Library Worker’s Day falls on the 15th. This day is a day to recognize the value of library staff, administrators, and Friends groups. Here at Pinal County we’re exceptionally proud the staff of the 13 affiliate libraries within our district. We encourage you to get to know the people who help make your local library great by visiting our National Library Week Facebook album.

Has a library worker within Pinal County provided you with exceptional service? If so, share your story with us on our Facebook page, or write to us at @PinalLibraries on Twitter.


We Recommend… The Lewis Man by Peter May

The Lewis Man: Book Two of the Lewis Trilogy
By Peter May


The Lewis Man is the second book in Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy.  In it, we continue to follow detective Fin Macleod and his fellow Hebridean islanders, as a young man’s body is discovered buried in the peat of Lewis Island.  When DNA shows the body to be related to Fin’s son’s maternal grandfather, Fin is determined to discover who the young man was and who murdered him.  Since the grandfather is lost in dementia, Fin has to follow a torturous path to get to the bottom of it all. May’s characters are so alive and the mystery so compelling that it becomes hard to put this book down.  The first book in the trilogy is titled The Black House, and it is worthwhile to read this one before The Lewis Man.

Review by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger 

We Recommend… Death Canyon by David Riley Bertsch

Death CanyonDeath Canyon
By David Riley Bertsch

Death Canyon by David Riley Bertsch is the first of a new series featuring a former attorney turned fishing guide living in Jackson, Wyoming.  His name is Jake Trent, and he is living a contented life until he becomes a suspect in the murder of a man he finds in the Snake River.  He teams up with Park Ranger Noelle Klimpton and they spend an exciting few days saving the world from volcanic upheavals while Jake is being framed and almost murdered by a couple of deadly killers from his New York past.  This is a debut novel from a new thriller writer, and if you enjoy Western mysteries, it is a must.

Review by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger 

We recommend… A Serpent’s Tooth by Craig Johnson

A-Serpents-Tooth_SynopsisA Serpent’s Tooth
by Craig Johnson 
Available formats: Print | Audiobook

Mystery author Craig Johnson made a name for himself with the Sherriff Walt Longmire series; a collection of successful crime dramas that eventually were adapted for television in the A&E series Longmire. Johnson’s latest installment will be the 9th novel in the collection, and is sure to keep fans interested.

The novel follows a young Mormon boy, a missing mother, a strange old man who claims to be 200 years old, and a compound of armed zealots, through a complex investigation. Returning characters Henry Standing Bear of the Cheyenne Nation and former Philly copy Victoria Moretti make appearances to help solve the case, and finally stop the bad guys. Johnson uses a lot of dry wit, a bit of murder, and even some romance to keep things interesting. Walt Longmire mysteries are worth checking out, due to their funny and strange characters, alongside fascinating glimpses of rural, small town western life.

Review by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger 

PTSD Awareness Day Selections

When psychologist first began attempting to define and diagnose the set of symptoms we call now call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), they referred to the condition as “Soldier’s Heart“. The name punctuated the physiological, psychological, and emotional effects of this painful condition. Today, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has identified that 8% of men and 20% of women who experience trauma, may develop PTSD. In order to educate the public on PTSD, the V.A. has declared June 27th PTSD Awareness Day. Take a moment today to explore resources about this condition, and the ways it affects our veterans and communities.

Resources within Pinal County Libraries:

Battle Ready: Memoir of a SEAL Warrior Medic
By Mark L. DonaldBattle-Ready

“Donald joined the Marines to escape a dysfunctional home after high school. Over the course of his career, he developed into a tough warrior, a Navy SEAL, a medic, and a physician’s assistant. He’s traveled the road from student to instructor and from training in the waters off Coronado to the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan. He was a reluctant hero, who saw comrades and friends killed in action, who saved many more, and who came home a changed man. He details those firefights, his struggles with PTSD, and how he found the help that he needed through the love and support of family, fellow SEALs, and service organizations. This book is similar to Service: Lone Survivor, a Navy SEAL at Work by Marcus Luttrell.
VERDICT An entertaining inside look at the psyche of special operations warriors, this book will be of interest to those who enjoy military memoirs, with an emphasis on special ops and military medicine, along with a side look at PTSD and its issues.”
- Library Journal

The Invisible Wounds of War: Coming Home from Iraq and Afghanistan
By Marguerite Guzman BouvardInvisibleWounds

“Invisible in their suffering, an estimated 4,300 Iraq and Afghanistan vets have returned with crippling post-traumatic stress disorder, writes Guzman Bouvard (The Path Through Grief). A resident scholar at Brandeis’s Women’s Studies Research Center, she calls for Americans to recognize the plight of male and female soldiers, unveiling the heavy psychological cost vets and their families continue to pay. One RAND study found as many as 19% of soldiers may experience traumatic brain injury, possibly overlapping with PTSD and depression. Yet 57% never got an evaluation, much less treatment, from a doctor. Along with the lack of health care, Guzman Bouvard also reports on the loss of those vets whose pain became so unbearable that they took their own lives—men like Noah Pierce, who “succumbed to the hidden wounds of PTSD,” his mother plaintively wrote. Still, programs are beginning to publicly acknowledge the isolation and pain, including an exhibit of photos in Wisconsin called Always Lost: A Meditation on War and a Home Base Program in Massachusetts that addresses the needs of vets and their families. Guzman Bouvard reminds us to properly honor the sacrifices of our war vets while providing care for them and their families.”
Publishers Weekly 

Other titles to consider -
Life After the Military: A Handbook for Transitioning Veterans By Janelle Hall, et al.
After the War Zone: A Practical Guide for Returning Troops and their Families By Laurie B. Slone and Matthew J. Friedman

Additional Resources:

Pinal County Veteran’s Resources

United States Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD

National Institute of Mental Health – “What is PTSD?”

The Discovery Channel’s Stuff You Should Know Podcast – Episode “How PTSD Works”

We recommend… The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag


The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag
Available formats: Print | Audiobook

Bestselling thriller author Tami Hoag is at it again with her new suspense novel The 9th Girl. The mystery begins on a Minneapolis New Years Eve as the authorities are called to investigate a body which has fallen out of a trunk into oncoming traffic. Hoag brings back her most popular characters in detectives Kovac and Liska; who suspect the girl is the 9th victim in a string of murders of leaving eight girls dead in the Midwest. As the story unfolds however, we learn more about the victim, her bullies, and how things may not be what they seem. Hoag takes readers on a journey which is fast paced and full of surprises, exhibiting her excellence in the psychological thriller genre.

- Review by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger

Men’s Health Week Selections

As we approach Father’s Day, let’s take a moment to honor the special men in our lives by educating ourselves on Men’s Health Week (June 10th – June 16th).
National Men’s Health Week passed Congress and became Public Law in May 1994. Sponsored by former Senator Bob Dole and former Congressman Bill Richardson, Men’s Health Week was implemented with a goal of raising awareness of men’s preventable health issues.

Pinal Libraries offers a great selection of materials on men’s health and wellness!


The A to Z of Men’s Health (2006). By Glenn Rothfeld. Thorndike Press.


Harvard-Medical-School-GuideThe Harvard Medical School Guide to Men’s Health (2002). By Harvey Simon. Free Press.

Health-Issues-in-Latino-MalesHealth Issues in Latino Males (2010). Edited by Marilyn Aguirre-Molina. Rutgers University Press.

For more titles, browse the Pinal Libraries catalog here.

For more information on Men’s Health Week, please visit the Men’s Health Network webpage.

World Environment Day Selections

Today is World Environment Day! Similar to Earth Day, World Environment Day was founded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in order to raise global awareness of environmental issues.

Use this observance day as inspiration for checking out some Pinal County Libraries’ books and DVDs about environmental impact!

CosmoGirlCosmoGirl 250 things you can do to green the world (2009). By CosmoGirl. Hearst Books. Today’s teenagers want to make a difference…and they can. Simply by following the 250 fabulous tips in this ultra-portable guide, they’ll instantly become environmental defenders. It presents unique, teen-friendly ideas that girls can really get excited about and do.


Do One Green Thing : Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices (2010). By Mindy Pennybacker. St. Martin’s Griffin. Presents green decision making in bite-size pieces, with simple choose it or lose it comparisons throughout, from how drinking filtered water can help save oil to how skipping red meat at least one day a week can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ecological-IntelligenceEcological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything (2009). By Daniel Goleman. Broadway Books.  Both individuals and companies suffer from collective self-deception and blind spots in their thinking about the environment and their impact upon it. Goleman explains the role of psychology in these decision making processes.

No-Impact-ManNo Impact Man (2009). Directed by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein. Oscilliscope Pictures. Filmmakers follow author Colin Beavan as he embarks on a challenge to live one year with as little impact on the environment as possible.

On-extinctionOn Extinction: How We Became Estranged from Nature (2012). By Melanie Challenger. Counterpoint. Realizing the link between her own estrangement from nature and the cultural shifts that led to a dramatic rise in extinctions, award-winning writer Melanie Challenger travels in search of the stories behind these losses. From an exploration of an abandoned mine in England to an Antarctic sea voyage to South Georgia’s old whaling stations, from a sojourn in South America to a stay among an Inuit community in Canada, she uncovers species, cultures, and industries touched by extinction. Accompanying her on this journey are the thoughts of anthropologists, biologists, and philosophers who have come before her.

Happy Reading!

We Recommend…The Whiteness of the Whale

Whiteness-of-the-WhaleThe Whiteness of the Whale by David Poyer

The Whiteness of the Whale is a very realistic and exciting sea adventure.  Imagine a large sailing vessel with eight people who barely know one another, thrown together to sail from the tip of Argentina into the waters of the Antarctic in order to find the Japanese whaling fleet that is harvesting whales in illegal waters. Poyer portrays that southern ocean with wonderful clarity, from the large waves, the snow, the ice, and the constant work involved to keep a sailing vessel safe and viable in terrible conditions. He also gives us the interactions among the eight people on board, including all of their emotional baggage, and having to deal with each other in a confined space. Then there are the actual encounters with the Japanese whaling fleet, with hair-raising maneuvering in order to save a whale and her young. The final days, however, deal with a light colored sperm whale, almost white, that finds them and keeps finding them, trying to kill them, and partly succeeding. There is no question of the similarities to Moby Dick, but the rest is all vintage Poyer.

Are you interested in learning more about whaling? Try Leviathan by Eric Jay Dolin