I picked “Heroes In the Night” from a library display because I had not heard of Real Life Superheroes before. The author becomes interested in Real Life Superheroes (RLSH), and then tries to learn more about them through online resources, meeting and interviewing some, and eventually going along with several on their nighttime crime patrols and other activities. Tea Krulos offers fair, balanced insights from RLSH participants, their family members, critics of the movement and others, such as law enforcement members. Krulos’ writing style is very contemporary and hip, but at times this annoyed me. His witty observations and remarks sometimes seemed to get in the way of the stories he was trying to share. I liked the balanced reporting of RLSH that do less-dangerous activities, like environmental clean-ups, supporting very sick children and raising awareness of causes such as veganism. An average person, like myself, could choose to do many of these things.
Three words that describe this book: Offbeat, geeky, yet inspiring
You might want to pick this book up if: You have ever wished that superheroes could be real. That is possible, and you could even become one!
I’ve eschewed commercial soda most of my adult life, and in my growing-up years this product wasn’t on my mother’s grocery shopping list. Rather, my mother allowed my sisters and me to have an occasional “treat” soda (7-UP was my preference) when we ate out at a restaurant, which wasn’t very often. Perhaps her protocol didn’t allow me to develop much of a taste for soda, and I don’t recall feeling deprived from the lack of it. Knowing what I know now about the ill health effects of drinking soda, I’m glad my mother offered us mostly water, orange juice or milk to drink at home.
Maybe you already know commercial soda (both regular and diet versions) is loaded with sugar and/or other artificial ingredients linked to a long list of deleterious health effects. If not, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but better to be informed so you can consider your choices. Here is a little parade of health conditions linked to soda consumption: obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, tooth decay and osteoporosis, among other health impacts. Apparently it doesn’t take much to harm your health; drinking just one can of soda a day can increase risk of stroke by 16%. And since soda is consumed amply by many in the U.S., this data is rather alarming. These two books, backed with substantial scientific research, clearly illuminate the health dangers of soda consumption: “Soda Politics” by Marion Nestle and “Killer Colas” by Nancy Appleton and G.N. Jacobs. Continue reading “Kick Commercial Soda in F(l)avor of Healthier, Homemade, Thirst-quenching Summer Soft Drinks”
In the spirit of the Summer Reading theme “Build a Better World,” your Classics Maven has chosen to discuss a master literary world builder – Ursula K. Le Guin, winner of the Nebula and Hugo Awards for her 1974 science fiction book, “The Dispossessed.”
“The Dispossessed” is a book about walls: physical, psychological, social. The story begins with Shevek, a physicist from the moon colony Anarres, breaking seven generations of tradition by crossing the wall around the space port where ships come and go with cargo. This wall contains the only “No Trespassing” sign in all of Anarres, a utopian anarchist society where everything is shared. Continue reading “Classics for Everyone: “The Dispossessed” by Ursula K. Le Guin”
“Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice” by Curtis Sittenfeld is the fourth installment of The Austen Project. Sittenfeld stays true to Jane Austen’s narrative, character development and humor in her retelling of Elizabeth Bennet’s story.
Liz Bennet and her sister Jane are both nearing 40 years old, and living in New York City working as a magazine journalist and a yoga instructor, respectively. When their father has to undergo heart surgery, they return home to Cincinnati to care for him and their family for the summer. Mrs. Bennet eagerly tries to set Jane up with Chip Bingley, the former star of the reality show, “Eligible,” who also happens to be a financially well-off emergency room doctor and bachelor. Chip’s best friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, a brain surgeon and California estate owner, proves to be quite proud and sees himself as being better than living in Cincinnati, which irritates Liz, causing her a strong dislike of his character.
Sittenfeld develops these classic characters not just in a modern setting but with modern issues facing today’s Americans such as race, financial distress, job satisfaction and sexual orientation. CrossFit and smartphones play a prominent role.
Three words that describe this book: funny, romantic, sequel
You might want to pick this book up if: You like Jane Austen and the future novels that she has inspired.
My family has been hoping and planning to go to Europe for several years, but something has always gotten in the way. Not this year! We are finally doing this: Germany and Austria, here we come! The library has been so instrumental in planning for this trip. Sure, there are travel guides, which have been helpful, but there are so many other resources beyond that.
We have watched travel DVDs to get a feel for what we want to see when we get there and to get a feel for the culture and language. When we first began planning this trip, my daughter was worried that it would be nothing but World War II and beer. The DVDs helped ease her fears — there will also be music, food and beautiful scenery. Our favorite DVDs were “The Best of Europe: Fairy Tale Europe, Germany and Austria” and “Visions of Germany and Austria.” We can’t wait to see Neuschwanstein Castle, which was the model for Walt Disney’s castle! Continue reading “Summer Vacation in Germany and Austria!”
Gabriel Wyner’s “Fluent Forever” is a book describing how to learn any language rapidly and effectively. It mostly assumes you are going to use a “spaced repetition” system for the primary means of learning and memorizing. I listened to the audio version of this book on Hoopla, and then listened to the Benny Lewis’ “Fluent in 3 months” audiobook. Wyner makes things more accessible, and he has a more encouraging, sympathetic voice that some may need in order to encourage them to try learning a language. Wyner’s methods are more specific, but less daunting than Lewis’ (compare Wyner’s 30 minute commitment per day plus weekend binges with what Lewis says should ideally be a two hour daily commitment), and they struck a chord with me as something that could be quite helpful. Flashcard learning may not for everyone. Consuming both books in quick succession allowed me to pick and choose from two different philosophies as I began to chart my own course for language learning. I am only one week into the spaced repetition studying, so I cannot say how well it works for me yet, but so far it is fun and I want to do it every day.
Three words that describe this book: encouraging, specific, inspiring
You might want to pick this book up if: You tried learning a language and failed, but would really love to do it.
I love reading, and I adore talking to people about books. One would think that I would be perfect in a book club, and I would, expect for one little thing: I hate reading books that are assigned to me. There were books I was assigned in high school that I would have devoured, but because I had to read them, I read them begrudgingly.
One day, I was online reading about books (as one does), and came across the Silent Book Club. The idea is that people meet up once a month, bring their own books, chit chat a little about books and then read in silence. It’s great for busy folks who find it hard to carve out time to read, as well as readers who just don’t fit into the traditional book club mold. I saw that there wasn’t a chapter nearby, so I decided to start one! Continue reading “Read. Sip. Repeat. The Silent Book Club Is Here!”
Sure, the month halfway over, but it’s not too late to check out some of the newest books for June. Between a fantasy, a classic whodunit and a book perfect for my fellow bibliophiles, there is certainly something for everyone! Read on to see some of the favorite books from librarians across the country in this edition of LibraryReads.
“The Waking Land” by Callie Bates
“Lady Elanna Voltai flees her adopted homeland when the king, who raised her like a daughter, dies under mysterious circumstances and Elanna is accused of murder. Forced to return to the magical homeland of her birth and her estranged father who was branded a traitor for inciting rebellion, Elanna must come to terms with the life she left behind and her destiny. I loved watching Elanna find her voice and her strength, and the rich world of magic around her makes this story even more fantastic!”
-Jessica Perham, Schaumburg Township Library, Schaumburg, IL Continue reading “June 2017 LibraryReads: Top Ten Books Librarians Love”
Unlike a lot of Mary Higgins Clark’s other books, “All by Myself, Alone” leaves her usual New York and New Jersey stomping grounds and enters the high seas. Celia, a gem expert, is invited on board a luxury liner’s maiden voyage as a guest speaker — it’s a great opportunity to get away from a failed engagement and a nasty ex. She meets an eclectic group of people including Mary Higgins Clark’s favorite returning character, Alvirah Meehan and her loving husband, Willy. Celia must solve a murder before they all reach shore. As a lifelong Clark fan this book didn’t disappoint. The only reason this book missed five stars in my mind was the love story (that I could have done without) mired the mystery.
Three words that describe this book: Excellent, Baffling, Clark at her best
You might want to pick this book up if: You have read her other books, or you like to match wits with the detective by trying to solve it before they do. (Good luck with this one!)
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
“I Am Not your Negro”
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Shown at the True/False Film Fest in 2016, this film by Raoul Peck was inspired by a book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and a flood of rich archival material. It’s a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. Continue reading “New DVD List: I Am Not your Negro & More”