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

Reader Review: History of Wolves

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2017 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.

History of Wolves book cover

What a wonderfully written book! I’ll admit that I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I first cracked “History of Wolves,” and the meandering pace and plot kept me unsure through the first several chapters. But as this tale revealed itself to be an introspective look at the thoughts and actions of youth, I was left completely enthralled. Part of what impresses me most about this piece is how much I connect with the young protagonist despite how little I actually have in common with her. Linda is an observer, she’s self-critical, she’s trapped, she seeks no assistance or sympathy despite her age, she’s fascinating. As I reached the midpoint in this book I gleefully wrapped myself in the subtle sense of dread that Fridlund imbues these pages with.

Three words that describe this book: Atmospheric, fresh, enveloping

You might want to pick this book up if: If you want to spend several hours inside the head of an adolescent girl grappling with an unusual reality.

-Xander

Reader Review: Into the Water

Posted on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 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.

Into the Water book coverPaula Hawkins’ second novel is a good read, but not quite as compelling as her first, “The Girl on the Train.” “Into the Water” is a story of mysterious deaths that occurred in the river of a small town and focuses on several characters in that small town. Each of these characters is a narrator, and the novel shifts among them, which makes the book a bit confusing to read because there are so many characters. The mystery is compelling, though, particularly the story of Jules Abbott, who is trying to understand how and why her sister, Nel Abbott, died in the very river that she had long been fascinated with: the river was the subject of a book that she was writing. Jules cares for Nel’s daughter and works to solve the mystery of her sister’s death. She also becomes focused on her late sister’s book project and the ways in which she interpreted some of the mysterious deaths that occurred at this local “suicide spot.” Jules also revisits her past and the roots of her strained relationship with her sister. The story and mystery are compelling, despite the large number of characters and a couple of plot twists that test the notion of “suspension of disbelief” required for fiction.

Three words that describe this book: mystery, thriller, sisters

You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoyed “The Girl on the Train.”

-Sarah

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Reader Review: Everything You Want Me to Be

Posted on Friday, September 1, 2017 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.

Everything You Want Me to Be book coverI’ll admit to beginning “Everything You Want Me to Be” with inaccurate expectations. For some reason I thought it was going to be a “The Girl on the Train” style thriller, but it’s not — and it’s much better for it. There is a murder in this book that happens within the first couple chapters, and then we spend the rest of the book unraveling who committed it (and working on two timelines: both pre and post murder), but that’s not really what the story is ABOUT. In actual fact, this is the tale of three individuals and the town they all live in and the actions and decisions that can lead to terrible consequences. One of the best features of this book is that there are not any “bad guys.” There are people who make bad decisions, but we all do that all the time. There are people who take love very seriously and those that trample on love (sometimes the same people), but that is true to life. This is not necessarily a book that is going to stick with me for a long time, but it is certainly a book I appreciate having read.

Three words that describe this book: Doomed, Thoughtful, Human

You might want to pick this book up if: If you enjoy tracing each thread as they get increasingly tangled and ultimately lead to tragedy.

-Xander

Patron Review: Homegoing

Posted on Friday, August 18, 2017 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.

Homegoing Book coverIn a saga that spans two centuries, “Homegoing” takes readers on a journey through the Gold Coast slave trade, Asante wars, colonialism, slavery, the Civil Rights Movement and more. One woman, Maame, birthed two daughters, Effia and Esi, unbeknownst to one another. Each woman is left to find her way in the harsh world, their challenges magnified due to the color of their skin and their circumstances. Through split narratives, we follow the descendants of Maame through time and through the world. Not for the faint of heart, this novel touches on graphic and disturbing periods of American and world history, but will leave the reader feeling touched and inspired.

Three words that describe this book: powerful, moving, historic

You might want to pick this book up if: You like family sagas, US history and world history.

-Chelsea

Reader Review: The Hearts of Men

Posted on Thursday, August 10, 2017 by patron reviewer

The Hearts of Men book coverThe Hearts of Men” is about intertwining friendships and families set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at a beloved Boy Scout summer camp. The reason I enjoyed reading this book so much was I was invested in the characters and couldn’t wait to have more of their stories revealed to me. The author also peppered his novel with emotionally reflective comments which provide the reader a chance to have thoughtful reflection on parenting and society today.

Three words that describe this book: Insightful, Engaging and Page-turner

You might want to pick this book up if: you enjoy character-driven writing. There are five main characters in this book, one of which the reader journeys with for a period over 55 years.

-Kimberly