Reader Review: The Best We Could Do

Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2018 by patron reviewer

The Best We Could Do book coverThe Best We Could Do” is a memoir written as a graphic novel. I read this to fulfill a requirement in the Read Harder Challenge and loved it. Graphic novels don’t do much for me, but it really worked for her memoir. I loved so much about this book. The story of her family and coming to terms with her relationship with her parents.

Three words that describe this book: Enlightening, heartfelt, and memorable.

You might want to pick this book up if: You like to read about other cultures.

-Stacy

Reader Review: A Confederacy of Dunces

Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2018 by patron reviewer

Confederacy of Dunces book coverI re-read “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole as part of my Adult Summer Reading Program checklist (re-read a book you loved). It was a favorite among my friends in college, and re-reading confirmed why we loved it. It’s absolutely brilliant — laugh out loud hilarious, magnificent in its detail, timeless in its character portrayals and so good that you just don’t want to put it down. Not a word in the book is wasted. Ignatius Reilly is one of the all-time great characters in fiction. The tragedy, of course, is that John Kennedy Toole committed suicide never knowing that his manuscript — and now classic work of fiction — would be published.

Three words that describe this book: Hilarious, Brilliant, Timeless

You might want to pick this book up if: You want to laugh, and you appreciate clever writing.

-Jeff

Reader Review: Carnegie’s Maid

Posted on Thursday, July 5, 2018 by patron reviewer

Carnegie's Maid book coverCarnegie’s Maid” is the story of Clara Kelley, an Irish immigrant, who takes on the role of another Clara Kelley who died on her voyage to America, and who becomes the personal lady’s maid to Andrew Carnegie’s mother. She uses her wits to not only excel in her new role, but also to learn the inner workings of the Philadelphia business society. Along the way, she falls in love with the iron magnate himself, and convinces him to use his wealth to make the world a better place for all.

This was a good story, if a little spare in places. We are told repeatedly that Clara is educated, bright and resourceful; unfortunately, her actions in the story don’t necessarily show us those traits. This leaves the readers feeling as if they need more to make the story feel complete. This is an interesting look into the lives of servants to the American nouveau riche, and while not a life-changing testament to the power of philanthropy, still a worthy summer read.

Three words that describe this book: interesting, entertaining, historical

You might want to pick this book up if: You’re a Downton Abbey fan or are interested in the stories of servants to the wealthy and famous.

-Justine

Reader Review: The Reminders

Posted on Friday, June 22, 2018 by patron reviewer

The Reminders book coverA wonderful little story. In the book “The Reminders,” author Val Emmich gets into the heads of a talented young girl and a grieving middle aged man, and we get to experience the universal truths that emerge from their thoughts and interactions. Joan’s interesting memory condition and Gavin’s fame and misfortune are unique narrative elements, but the real gold this book mines is simply in the friendship that develops between them. I’m certainly not exactly like either of them, but I understand them and I want to befriend them. Also, while being a rather low-key story, there are quite satisfying plot points for each character and a great climax and denouement.

Three words that describe this book: Quirky, Light, Compelling

You might want to pick this book up if: You want to spend several hours grinning as you come to appreciate two remarkable people.

-Xander

Reader Review: In the Unlikely Event

Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2018 by patron reviewer

In the Unlikely Event book coverIn the Unlikely Event” was thoughtful, suspenseful and fascinating. I always love a good book about people and their lives and stories; this one is no exception. I enjoy the way Judy Blume writes and have been reading her books for years. I loved all the characters. Although the number of characters was a little overwhelming and hard to keep track of at times, Blume does a good job of reminding you who the characters are and how they fit into the book. This book follows the lives of those who lived through the tragedy of three plane crashes which happened in their neighborhood within a matter of a few months. The plane crashes actually happened but the characters and the story are a work of fiction. It seems so unbelievable but the way the tragedy affects the characters is intense, heartbreaking and not at all surprising. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to others.

Three words that describe this book: touching, real, exceptional

You might want to pick this book up if: You like to read about others’ lives and how people react in the face of tragedy.

-Megan

Reader Review: H Is For Hawk

Posted on Friday, April 6, 2018 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2017 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

H is for Hawk book coverH is for Hawk” is a book about the inner world of the author. Helen Macdonald opens herself up deeply and honestly. She talks about many different things (including the process of taming her hawk, Mabel), but everything she talks about is deeply processed by her soul, as if she is constantly searching for meaning in things — even when she talks about landscapes and trees. This way of approaching life was probably intensified by the death of her very much loved father. The loss felt so intense that things lost meaning and “nothing made sense.” Everything had to be reprocessed, the world brought from ashes, a new world, where her father physically doesn’t exist. Even though Helen’s speculations about death look to me as “Death 101” level, it was very interesting to listen. Nothing is shallow or artificial in this book. And, of course, the main thing of this book is just a detailed description of falconry, which was a kind of “outside the box” reading for me and very interesting.

Also, in the course of the book, the writer is connecting to another writer of the past, who wrote about his story of goshawk training. This kind of connection feels to me as time bending, connecting past to the future to a point of melting. A similar kind of thing was described in the book “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt and is a very unique way to experience life.

Three words that describe this book: Honest, deep, interesting

You might want to pick this book up if: You are tired of dystopias.

-Larisa

Reader Review: The End Of The Affair

Posted on Monday, February 26, 2018 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2017 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

End of the Affair book coverIn the years that follow the ending of an affair between Sarah Miles and Maurice Bendrix, we learn (through the help of a dedicated private detective) what the relationship had meant to both parties and what they had done to protect themselves or the other from the intensity of love that they experienced. While Bendrix wrestles with jealousy and insecurity, Sarah struggles to honor a vow she believes keeps Bendrix safe, but demands that she quit their love entirely.

Graham Greene was a phenomenal writer and “The End of the Affair” provided both plot and prose that I found to be stunning. (Seriously, how is this not required reading?!) Greene explores relationships and morality in a way that forces the reader to abandon the dichotomy of good and bad, and appreciate the nuances and complexity in so many of life’s experiences.

Three words that describe this book: Love, loss, fantastic

You might want to pick this book up if: You want a new author to love. Also, if you’re working on “1001 Books to Read Before You Die.”

-Renee

Reader Review: The Invisible Library

Posted on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2017 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

Invisible Library book coverOur heroine, Irene, is an agent for the Library, which gathers works of fiction from different realities in order to preserve them. Her latest mission involves complications like a new apprentice and competition from several parties—including a hated, long-time rival and a dangerous enemy to the library—as well as interesting new allies. “The Invisible Library” has a compelling premise, and strong character and world building. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series.

Three words that describe this book: interesting, fun, tense

You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy a good mystery with a strong dose of fantasy.

-Katherine

Reader Review: Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch

Posted on Monday, January 15, 2018 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2017 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

Queen Bee of Mimosa Beach book coverQueen Bee of Mimosa Branch” is about Lin, a Southern girl, who married her childhood sweet heart and beat it out of her home town with him as her husband to Atlanta. 30 years later, Lin tucked tail and returned to her little home town without him, after her husband’s antics of disloyalty and insane choices with their money gave her no other choice. Returning to a small town with no money or skills, other than having been a socialite, is compounded by strained relationships with every member of her family.

I liked it this book because I find it therapeutic to read books about women who have experienced life as I have. The characters of the book are friends for that short time it takes to read about them; there is encouragement and there are lessons. I particularly liked the wisdom of grandmas of the South.

Three words that describe this book: awakening, family, acceptance

You might want to pick this book up if: you like books about women for women, their friendships, their talents and that sort of thing.

-Pamela

Reader Review: Get Well Soon

Posted on Friday, January 5, 2018 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2017 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

Get Well Soon book cover

Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them” is great because it does not pretend to be something it’s not. From the onset, the author is unapologetic about her opinions, lets her sense of humor fly with abandon and is clear on her message. It works because she labels her opinions for what they are. There is snarky humor galore and the pages are rife with pop culture references. This topic is one for which laughter really is the best medicine, and making historic events tangible to modern readers is beneficial for being able to internalize the very serious issues at hand. The overarching “stunningly obvious” messages of this book are: (i) learn from the mistakes and successes of the past, (ii) our survival and quality of life during a plague depends on all of us, (iii) diseases do not infect people based on personality traits, income, sexual orientation or sin, and (iv) care about your fellow humans. Yet, as the epilogue reminds us, we continue to make the same mistakes through modern times.

Three words that describe this book: sincere, worthwhile, humorous

You might want to pick this book up if: you are interested in surviving an epidemic and you enjoy snarky humor.

-Shannon