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Harvard Library Staff Picks

Heidegger, Grumpy Cat and Keith Richards turned up on the Virtual Staff Picks Shelf created by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab.


January 21, 2014—If the Harvard Library were a bookstore, wouldn't it have an amazing staff picks shelf?


In December 2013, Library staff members uploaded their recommendations from Harvard’s 19-million-volume collection to a Virtual Staff Picks Shelf created by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. Suggestions ranged from the expected (To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, a collection of essays on Heidegger), to bestsellers (Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt), to local interest (books on Central Square and Harvard Square).

Food and drink are well-represented, with selections like The Flavor Bible, Cooking for Geeks, Tender at the Bone and The Savoy Cocktail Book. Graphic novels make an appearance too (Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story and So Long, Silverscreen).

Many of the selections are about history, such as The Hare with Amber Eyes, Eighty Days, Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul and The Ghost Map, and there is an interesting batch of memoirs, including Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje, Life by Keith Richards and Renoir, My Father by Jean Renoir.

But how about Ranchero, which involves a repo man, a road trip and a meth dealer, or The Vesuvius Club, about a gay Edwardian dandy/secret agent, or Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer, a soulless scientist obsessed with raising the dead?

Of course, Grumpy Cat’s debut publication makes the list, as does (swoon) Left of the Dial, a four-CD collection of ’80s underground music. 

See the complete Virtual Staff Picks Shelf here.