Living Columns & Blogs

In honor of Presidents Day, these books shed light on our commanders in chief

The Life and Legacy of Richard Nixon
The Life and Legacy of Richard Nixon

The Fresno County Library’s Bookshelf column shares suggestions for books, music, and other items, and provides information about library programs.

Presidential Reading

▪ “Richard Nixon: The Life,” by John A. Farrell. Based on extensive archival research and interviews with living witnesses, here is the story of the president who rose to fame rapidly after World War II, only to be felled in even less time by the Watergate scandal.

▪ “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama,” by David J. Garrow. In almost 1,500 pages, this book offers the most detailed account yet of the first African American president’s childhood, education and pre-White House career.

▪ “The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush,” by Mark K. Updegrove. Reminiscences and reflections from the second father-son team to occupy the presidency, including some insightful critiques of each other.

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“The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush” by Mark K. Updegrove HARPER

Top 5 Most Requested Books

▪ “The Great Alone,” by Kristin Hannah.

▪ “An American Marriage,” by Tayari Jones.

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“An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones ALGONQUIN BOOKS

▪ “The Woman in the Window: A Novel,” by A.J. Finn.

▪ “City of Endless Night,” by Douglas J. Preston.

▪ “Fall from Grace: A Novel,” by Danielle Steel.

New Arrivals

▪ “An American Marriage,” by Tayari Jones. When a young African American executive is wrongfully sent to prison, he and his wife face many unexpected strains – and the sequel to this tragedy places them in a world of anguish they never expected to inhabit.

▪ “The Kremlin’s Candidate: A Novel,” by Jason Matthews. One of the leading candidates in an American presidential election is a longtime spy for Russia. Can he be stopped from gaining the White House and turning over the country’s remaining secrets?

▪ “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education,” by Mychal Denzel Smith. A study of the difficulties of growing up African American, where role models range from inspiring (Obama) to tragic (Michael Brown) to both (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

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“Invisible Man, Got The Whole World Watching” by Mychal Denzel Smith NATION BOOKS


▪ Jazz at the Library: Hear the unusual stylings of jazz organ music: “Classic Hammond Sound  In a Suitcase” with Jon Hammond, Gary Newmark and Rich Severson. 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Woodward Park Regional Library. Details: 559-600-3135.

▪ Author Talk: Saul Maskell will discuss his new novel, “Sharq,” about a race to thwart a deadly plot spawned in North Korea and China and orchestrated by a terrorist mastermind only known only as Abu Sharq – Father of the East. 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Betty Rodriguez Regional Library. Details: 559-600-9245.

▪ The Significance of Stories: Hmong scholars will discuss how their people’s history was kept through storytelling due to the lack of a written language. One of the Library’s Big Read 2018 programs. 11-noon Saturday, Fowler Branch Library. Details: 559-600-9281.

This is a weekly column written by the Fresno County Public Library staff. Events are usually free. Visit, or call 559-600-6227 or details.