Book Highlight


by Sarah J. Maas

My introduction to Maas was through a new student who was entering her senior year. She raved about the author and A Court of Thorn And Roses. I love great recommendations...

This modern, romantic retelling of Beauty and the Beast has been marketed for adults because of some of its passionate scenes and violent descriptions. So, it's not for everyone and nor for every taste. Maybe partly due to that warning, but most probably because of her story telling and writing, Maas has been able to gain wide popularity with young adults as well as with adults.

The story is set in an ancient world that is mostly inhabited by Faeries. During one of her hunting outings 19-year old human Feyre ends up killing a large wolf that happens to be a Faerie. Big mistake... For her punishment she is taken to a magical kingdom where she discovers that everything, mostly her survival, comes at a high price.

Some of the titles in the series won the Goodreads Choice Award and the series was a #1 New York Times Bestselling Series. The fifth title is expected to come out in early 2021, and a film adaptation is said to be in the works.

"As a first time reader of Maas, I have to say that her writing style, although slow to begin with, is amazing and so beautiful. The way she writes is so delicate: perhaps the only way I could describe it would be as a piece of lace, so beautiful that it appears so fragile that you daren't touch it (...)

Overall, I have been able to place this novel within the seven books which I have rated five stars so far this year. I loved it so much and advise anyone looking at this review to go and read the book now." HannahLoveBook, teen reviewer for The Guardian

There, you have it. If fairies, a bit of gore, and mature fantasy interest you, be the next one in line to borrow it or put it on hold in Discover, our online catalog.

The library also has House of Earth and Blood by Maas - not part of this series.

MAY 2020


Are we more attracted to the genre during pandemics? It would seem so when you see classics fiction reclaiming their places on bestsellers list. The Paris attacks gave renewed popularity to books such as Voltaire's Treatise Against Intolerance, and Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. Now, Albert Camus' The Plague is commanding a lot of renewed attention.

Here are some great recommendations.

A Journal of the Plague Year - Daniel Defoe
A Journal of the Plague Year is a book by Daniel Defoe, first published in March 1722. It is an account of one man's experiences of the year 1665, in which the bubonic plague struck the city of London in what become known as the Great Plague of London.

Love in the Time of Cholera
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A love story that ranges from the late nineteenth century to the early decades of our own, tracing the lives of three people and their entwined fates.

The Plague (La peste) - Camus
Chaos prevails when the bubonic plague strikes the Algerian coastal city Oran.

The Stand
- Stephen King
The Stand is a post-apocalyptic dark fantasy novel written by American author Stephen King and first published in 1978 by Doubleday. The plot centers on a pandemic of a weaponized strain of influenza that kills almost the entire world population.

The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton
A satellite crashes near a tiny Arizona town. After everyone in the community dies within days, a few scientists are called upon to study and defeat the alien virus that accompanied the satellite.

Ammonite - Nicola Griffith
In the face of this crisis, anthropologist Marghe Taishan arrives to test a new vaccine. As she risks death to uncover the women's biological secret, she finds that she, too, is changing–and realizes that not only has she found a home on Jeep, but that she alone carries the seeds of its destruction

Blindness - José Saramago
A novel about the chaos that ensues when a city is struck with an epidemic of blindness in which its victims see only white

Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
Jimmy, perhaps the last living human unaltered by science, struggles for survival in a post-apocalyptic world as he tries to make sense of how everything went wrong, mourns the loss of his beloved Oryx, a girl he met through a kiddie porn Web site, and considers the role of his genius friend Crake who had been working on a formula for immortality at the RejoovenEsenseCompound.

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
In a future in which a pandemic has left few survivors, actress Kirsten Raymonde, having witnessed paparazzo-turned-EMT Jeevan Chaudhary try to save the life of actor Arthur Leander after he suffered a heart attack on stage, travels with a troupe performing Shakespeare and finds herself in a community in which a prophet will not let anyone leave alive. Includes subplots about Jeevan as he watches the world change from the pandemic and Arthur before his death.

Find Me - Laura van den Berg
Joy has no one. She spends her days working the graveyard shift at a grocery store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled past. But when a sickness that begins with memory loss and ends with death sweeps the country, Joy, for the first time in her life, seems to have an advantage: she is immune.

A Prayer For the Dying - Stewart O'Nan
Set just after the Civil War, A Prayer for the Dying is the story of a small Wisconsin town gripped by a mysterious, deadly epidemic, and one man desperate to save it. Torn between his loyalty to his family, his faith in God, and his terror of this vicious disease, Jacob Hansen struggles to preserve his sanity amid the chaos and violence around him.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks
Max Brooks, son of actor Mel Brooks, chronicles the fictitious "zombie wars" that nearly decimated the human population, with first-hand accounts from people who have had a brush with the undead and facts and figures documenting how many undead currently roam the planet.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy
A man and a boy, father and son, "each the other's world entire, walk a road in "the ashes of the late world". Cities have been destroyed, plants and animals have died, and few humans survive.The man remembers the world before; as his memories die, so, too dies that world. The boy was born after everything changed...

Why am I reading Apocalyptic novels now? (Agnes Callard, NYT)

Apocalyptic fiction helps us deal with the anxiety of the corona pandemic (The Conversation)

APRIL 2020

Inversion Aversion de Camille Lebienvenu-Afaf (ASP teacher)

"Je vous invite à entrer dans un monde où les hommes sont emprisonnés, où les femmes règnent sur un univers qu'elles croient parfait, et où pourtant l'amour et la rébellion font leur apparition, aux risques et périls de notre héroïne.

Ceci n'est pas un livre féministe. Ce n'est pas un livre antiféministe. Ce n'est pas une histoire réelle, et pourtant elle n'est pas irréelle non plus (...) je peux vous dire que c'est un roman, un roman avec des personnages attachants un roman qui interroge notre humanité, qui questionne notre monde et ses limites."

Camille Lebienvenu-Afaf enseigne le français à l'American School of Paris. Dans ce premier roman franc et très bien ficelé, l'autrice nous plonge dans un monde dystopique qui se veut d'actualité et ce, pour le meilleur et pour le pire.

MARCH 2020

Drawndown, Edited by Paul Hawken

"Drawdown describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, we describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world." (from the website)

The book's sub-title, The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming is ambitious and optimistic, but every solution brought forward seem real and tangible, and the model-based results sound convincing. Drawdown reads extremely well without paternalising the reader. Will a social movement be the answer to most of our environmental problems? The book measures the optimistic in us.

Related books in the library:

. Replenish: The virtuous cycle of water and prosperity by Sandra Postel
. Power Trip by Michael E. Webber (reviewed in December)
. On Fire: The burning case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

In his neighbourhood there are three rules:

No. 1. Crying: Don't. / No matter what. / Don't.
No. 2. No snitching: Don't. / No matter what. / Don't.
No. 3. Get revenge: If someone yo love / gets killed, / find the person / who killed / them / and / kill them.

What can happen in sixty seconds...? As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn's fatal shooting, various people will board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know. Written in verse this powerful and highly praised teen novel delivers a powerful moral message.

Long Way Down received over 30 awards and honors and 4.33/5 stars on Goodreads.

The Testaments & Nickel Boys


More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.

As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

'Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in.' Margaret Atwood (The Booker Prizes)


NPR BBC The Guardian The NYT Goodreads


As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual, and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men."

In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.

The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.

Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers. (Publisher)


NPR The Guardian The NYT Goodreads

by Dr. Michael Webber

ERRATUM: There has been a change in dates and Dr. Webber will speak at the American Library in Paris on February 11th.

"Energy is humanity's single most important resource. In fact, as energy expert Michael E. Webber argues in Power Trip, the story of how societies rise can be told largely as the story of how they manage energy sources through time. In 2019, as we face down growing demand for and accumulating environmental impacts from energy, we are at a crossroads and the stakes are high. But history shows us that energy's great value is that it allows societies to reinvent themselves.

Power Trip explores how energy has transformed societies of the past and offers wisdom for today's looming energy crisis. There is no magic bullet; energy advances always come with costs. Scientific innovation needs public support. Energy initiatives need to be tailored to individual societies. We must look for long-term solutions. Our current energy crisis is real, but it is solvable. We have the power." From the publisher's website

Dr. Michael Webber is Chief Science & Technology Officer at ENGIE (a global energy & infrastructure services firm headquartered in Paris) and a professor at the University of Texas at Austin... as well as an ASP parent.


by Edward Snowden

"My name is Edward Joseph Snowden. I used to work for the government, but now I work for the public. It took me three decades to recognise that there was a distinction, and when I did, it got me into a bit of trouble at the office." Opening sentences of the Preface

In the world of Big Brother, there's a before and an after Snowden. In 2013, the then unknown NSA employee disclosed intelligence files that showed the world how the American government was using surveillance on a global scale. Snowden's autobiography is his attempt to contextualise the actions for which he is still paying for. Called a traitor by some, and hailed as a hero by others, Permanent Record tries to set the record straight.

Snowden's 2013 Events Timeline (The Guardian)

OCTOBER - SAT, AP... and Shmoop

'Tis (soon) the season.... for external prep tests. The library offers several SAT subject test books, AP practice tests and a digital resource called Shmoop, a resource we highlight in the body of this month's newsletter.

New this month.

. SAT Math 1 & Math 2
. Physics
. Biology
. US History

. AP French Language
. Comparative government and politics


Generally we suggest that students use the Modern Language Association citation format, MLA 8, to cite their sources. It's widely known and is fairly straight forward. However, some teachers prefer to use a citation format that is more specific to their field such as Chicago and APA.

To guide students amidst all these styles the library offers various works on MLA 8, APA and Chicago. We've also created a LibGuide (pathfinder) that pertains specifically to MLA 8. Click here to access the page.

Finally, we've added several books on how to write papers in History, which includes chapters on citing... Check this issue of the newsletter and our catalog, Destiny.

Cite Right - 3rd Edition (NEW)
Charles Lipson

808.02 LIP

An excellent overview of MLA, APA, Chicago and others with plenty of examples.

MLA Handbook
MLA Editors

808.02 MLA

The official handbook from the mOdern Language Association.

How to Cite APA [Style]

Richard Bromfield

808.02 BRO

A Manual for Writers (Chicago) - Ninth Edition (NEW)

Kate L. Turabian

808.06 TUR

Chicago Manual of Style Guidelines (NEW)
Quick Study Academic

808 CHI