Patron Review: All the Gallant Men

Posted on Friday, March 29, 2019 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2018 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

All the Gallant Men” is written by Donald Stratton, one of the few survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was a navy seaman on the U.S.S. Arizona when it was a attacked by Japanese airplanes. He chronicles what it was like to grow up in the Great Depression in rural Nebraska as the son of a sharecropper before joining the Navy to experience adventure. He also liked that the Navy paid him a weekly wage that he could send back to his family. Stratton goes through step-by-step what it was like in basic training, to serve on a battleship in the Pacific Ocean and ultimately survive the attack on Pearl Harbor that left him with burns across his body as well emotional scars. The way the author described everything felt like I was sitting next to him as he told this story. I learned many facts about Pearl Harbor that I did not know and I am glad I had chance to read this book. I would highly recommend that everyone reads it so we can remember the sacrifice of those who died at Pearl Harbor defending our country and our freedom.

Three words that describe this book: Informative, Shocked, and Inspired

You might want to pick this book up if: You like stories about Pearl Harbor, survivors, history (1940s), and memoirs.

-Marcia

Patron Review: The Outsider

Posted on Friday, March 1, 2019 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2018 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

The Outsider book cover

How can someone be in two places at once? Stephen King and his fictional investigators examine this question in “The Outsider” as they investigate a horrific murder. An upstanding member of the community is accused after numerous witnesses attest that he committed the crime, but he has proof that he did not. Soon, the investigators learn that something similar happened in another case. In typical King fashion, a supernatural explanation turns out to be the solution to the puzzle. King combines elements of horror, the supernatural and mystery in this captivating (and terrifying) read.

Three words that describe this book: horror, mystery, supernatural

You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy Dean Koontz, John Saul, horror novels

-Sarah

Reader Review: The Night Circus

Posted on Monday, February 11, 2019 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2018 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

Night Circus book cover

The Night Circus” is about a mysterious circus that appears at night unannounced. Unbeknownst to the guests, the circus is actually the location of a duel between two young magicians. It’s a battle of imagination and will, and neither knows all the details of the game they’re really playing. I loved the writing. The slow burning romance was fantastic. I really enjoyed the mystery and never minded that it was a little slow at times. I jumped in without reading what it was about beforehand and I’m very glad I did!

Three words that describe this book: Magical, Enchanting, Whimsical

You might want to pick this book up if: You love stories about romance, magic and the circus.

-Jessica

Reader Review: Chemistry

Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2018 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.


Chemistry book cover
In “Chemistry: A Novel” our protagonist is a bit troubled and carries a lot of baggage, but damn if she doesn’t also create a lively and compelling journey through a rather tumultuous period in her life. She is second-guessing her career choice and her relationship choice and yet she flits from moment to moment in a way that has us (her readers) celebrating all her thoughts. Eric, her longtime boyfriend is an almost flawless (at least in her eyes) partner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they perfect for each other just now. She has been a science wiz kid all her life, but that doesn’t mean that chemistry is a perfect career path for her. Her parents have worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to provide her with an opportunity at the American Dream, but that doesn’t mean that she owes them everything.

None of these important decisions are easy for a young adult, and that’s on full display here. But what’s also on display is the character’s lively internal life that helps us understand that the “important decisions” don’t really define a life. Can someone be happy being a tutor instead of a PhD? Quite possibly. Does that diminished status make her mind any less active and valuable? I don’t think so.

Three words that describe this book: Introspective, Lively, Compelling

You might want to pick this book up if: You’ve ever questioned your career path and life choices. If you’ve ever had a “quarter-life crises.”

-Xander

Reader Review: The Hate U Give

Posted on Friday, October 12, 2018 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2018 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

The Hate U Give” is about Starr, a sixteen year old that has to balance two lives: living in her poor black neighborhood, and going to her primarily white suburban high school. She struggles with figuring out how she can be herself at both when something happens: her childhood best friend Khalil is shot by a police officer, and Starr is with him. Being the only witness who knows what really happens, Starr has to decide if she wants to stay quiet and protect herself, or if she should announce the truth. This book opened my eyes to racial discrimination that is happening in today’s society and really challenged me to see events from a perspective I normally wouldn’t.

Three words that describe this book: Empowering, Eye-opening, and Heartbreaking

You might want to pick this book up if: You loved “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

-Anonymous

Reader Review: The Worst Hard Time

Posted on Friday, September 14, 2018 by patron reviewer

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2018 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.

The Worst Hard Time book cover

The Worst Hard Time” is an engrossing and compelling description of the causes of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s and the seemingly apocalyptic daily existence in the Dust Bowl. It was an incredibly difficult time for the people who lived there, although it was basically caused by farming practices. The reader lives through all of it — wet sheets on windows to keep out the dust that turns to mud; swarms of grasshoppers; mounds of dust at the front door, etc. It was a very hard life, and the book clearly conveys that. It’s an overlooked part of the 20th century.

Three words that describe this book: engrossing; descriptive; demoralizing

You might want to pick this book up if: You want to learn more about a significant but now overlooked part of the 20th century.

-Jeff

Reader Review: Salt to the Sea

Posted on Friday, August 31, 2018 by patron reviewer

Salt to the Sea book coverI read other books by Ruta Sepetys so I decided I wanted to read “Salt to the Sea” as well. I also wanted to read it since it has been nominated for the Gateway Readers Award.

Well, let me say that this book did not disappoint. I started reading it in the morning and I finished it all in one day — it was that good. I am so glad to know that Sepetys does quite a bit of research when writing her books. I even decided to check out a recommended website once I had finished reading the whole book.

I will admit that it was a little hard to start the book since it kept jumping around between different character points of view, but once I got into the story I started imagining what the characters looked like. My favorite character was Joana since she was leading a group of refugees across the war torn land. I empathized with other characters, but she seemed like the strongest of them all.

I think the character I didn’t like was Alfred, the boy soldier/sailor. He seemed to full of himself and thought more highly of himself than others did. He was so focused on daydreaming about his girl that he often did not get any work done. He was only thinking of himself when Florian asked for help. Alfred only was concerned with getting a medal or getting more recognition than he deserved. Continue reading “Reader Review: Salt to the Sea”

Reader Review: Persepolis

Posted on Friday, August 17, 2018 by patron reviewer

Persepolis book coverPersepolis” is a graphic novel about a girl coming of age during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The author introduces the book as her firsthand account of living in Iran, saying that she wrote it because she doesn’t want people to forget what happened, nor judge all of Iran on the bad things that happened there.

The book is a heartbreaking combination of humor and horrible, an unspeakable reality of the events that transpired in Iran. I learned a lot about the progression of events that led this somewhat progressive, educated society into a repressive theocracy. Seeing it through the eyes of a young girl helped me to understand not only the historical aspects, but also made it personal.

Three words that describe this book: Historical, heartbreaking, humorous

You might want to pick this book up if: You want to try out a graphic novel! This is a great one.

-Anonymous

Reader Review: Twain’s End

Posted on Friday, August 3, 2018 by patron reviewer

Twain's End book coverTwain’s End” will change its reader’s concept of Samuel Clemens. From his privileged upbringing to his pampered later life, he was not the Mark Twain from rural Missouri he tried to present. His interactions with women throughout his life are the heart of this story, from his relationship with his slave nanny to his complicated love of his secretary/companion Isabel. His treatment of Isabel during their seven year relationship is infuriating at times, yet fascinating. The author had access to the diaries of Isabel and thoroughly describes the limited options of an educated but poor woman at the turn of the 20th century. There is even a side plot regarding Helen Keller and her teacher, which was also disturbing.

Three words that describe this book: Mind-changing, disturbing, well-researched

You might want to pick this book up if: you have been a Mark Twain fan and enjoy historical fiction.

-Janet

Reader Review: Lost Signals

Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2018 by patron reviewer

Lost Signals book coverLost Signals” is a collection of short horror/suspense stories that all include radio transmissions or other forms of electronic communication as a theme. I really liked it because I like short stories and almost every story included was tightly woven. I am fascinated with numbers stations and other unsolved mysteries of this nature. The theme did get a little repetitive when reading three or four stories in a row, so I recommend this as an occasional read (with a cup of coffee or when you have a 10 minute block of time to kill), rather than a one-sitting book.

Three words that describe this book: Unsettling, Suspenseful, Eerie

You might want to pick this book up if: You like urban legends, unsolved mysteries and abandoned buildings.

-Carolyn