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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detailed work of historical fiction that addresses how such an event could have occurred.

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Local scholar shares secrets of Charles Dickens' life


Courtesy of Rotary Club o f Los ALtos
Rotary Club of Los Altos President Kendra Gjerseth and club member Allart Ligtenberg flank educator and Dickens scholar Tim Farrell.

Local educator Tim Farrell characterized Charles Dickens at the apex of his career in 1857 as a “combination of Father Christmas, Prince Albert and God – a veritable Victorian rock star” in a presentation on the literary great at the Rotary Club of Los Altos Jan. 29.

Farrell, a Los Altos resident, taught for 48 years, sharing his love of the English classics with students at Mountain View and Gunn High schools.

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French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled with wit, pathos and wonderful dialogue that feels fresh and honest and leaves one wanting to meet the characters and spy into their lives a while longer.

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"Fearless Genius" photos chart Silicon Valleys brain trust


Not every book needs pages and pages of words to tell a story – some do it through pictures.

“Fearless Genius: The Digital Revolution in Silicon Valley, 1985-2000” (Atria Books, 2014) by Doug Menuez features more than 100 photographs Menuez took in Silicon Valley tracking the high-tech boom and bust years.

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Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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