Reader Review: The Power of One

Posted on Friday, January 27, 2023 by patron reviewer

The Power of One by Natasha Bowman book coverWritten during the COVID-19 pandemic, Natasha Bowman’s “The Power of One” provides insights and strategies to work toward and/or lead changing unjust systems found in our workplaces, communities and governments through regular, everyday actions no matter what status/job title we have. Using the timely events of the year 2020, this book provides information and motivation, as well as worksheets after each chapter to help guide the reader in this work. I really liked how accessible the information was and how Bowman combined real and sobering facts with encouragement, enthusiasm and compassion.

Three words that describe this book: Leadership, changing, communities

You might want to pick this book up if: You’re looking for motivation to make changes at work, home, your neighborhood, and beyond that bring more humanity, empathy and justice.

-Debbie

Reader Review: The Boys

Posted on Monday, January 23, 2023 by patron reviewer

The Boys by Ron Howard and Clint Howard book coverThe Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family” by Ron Howard and Clint Howard is my favorite book of the last year. It’s not a Hollywood tell-all (though there are plenty of interesting stories about their lives in TV and movies), but an homage to their parents and to each other. I particularly enjoyed the format of the book it alternates between Ron and Clint each bringing forward their own perspective, often serving as a foil to the other in a way that only siblings can. I strongly encourage listening to the audiobook, narrated by the brothers themselves, to fully appreciate the book’s tone and feel. It’s a truly enjoyable memoir.

Three words that describe this book: Heartwarming, candid, comforting

You might want to pick this book up if: You want to read a memoir that’s poignant, funny and heartfelt, or an honest memoir about a remarkable show business family.

-Jeff

 

This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2022. We will continue to share these throughout the year.

Reader Review: Command and Control

Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 by patron reviewer

Command and Control by Eric Schlosser book coverCommand and Control” tells the true story of a 1980 nuclear weapons incident in Damascus, Arkansas ⁠– during routine maintenance at a Titan II missile silo in Damascus, a technician dropped a socket wrench which led to a fire in the silo, and eventually an explosion. The book also splices in parts of nuclear history and the history of nuclear war, which eventually ties together into the story of Damascus. I liked it because it’s a subject I am interested in, and I liked the way that it all came together in the end, and gives you a really big picture of the subject, while focusing in on one specific incident.

Three words that describe this book: Nuclear, History, Tense

You might want to pick this book up if: You are interested in military history, or the history of nuclear war.

-Robbie

 

This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2022. We will continue to share these throughout the year.

Reader Review: Dead Wake

Posted on Monday, January 9, 2023 by patron reviewer

Dead Wake by Erik Larson book coverDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” is the true story of a large passenger ship on a trip across the Atlantic. In 1915, The Lusitania carried passengers from the US to England during the middle of World War I. The Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine, as she was completely without the protection of the Royal Navy. I really enjoyed this book because I like the history of submarine warfare, and I also liked all the details the author got into. I never knew anything about the Lusitania and I feel like by reading it that Larson was able to really let me know what it felt like to be on that ship, and start to understand the horror of its sinking.

Three words that describe this book: History, Tense, War

You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy naval history, world war history, or anything taking place on the ocean with lots of details. Early submarine warfare is also described a lot.

-Robbie

 

This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2022. We will continue to share these throughout the year.

Reader Review: The Vanishing Type

Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2022 by patron reviewer

The Vanishing Type by Ellery Adams book coverNora, the owner of the bookstore Miracle Books, is asked to help Deputy Andrews prepare a book-themed wedding proposal for her friend, Heather. Although Nora is happy to help, she also knows the secret Heather hasn’t had the courage to share with her boyfriend. A secret that could bring their romance to an end.

Heather’s tangled family history, a murdered stranger, and mysterious rare books provide a quick read full of twists and turns. If you enjoy cozy mysteries and strong female friendships you’ll want to read “The Vanishing Type.

This book is the fifth book in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society series. Reading the previous books will help fill out the characters’ backgrounds, but each book can stand on its own. As a bonus: Nora’s customer recommendations in each novel will give you plenty of titles to add to your reading list.

Three words that describe this book: absorbing, well-written, surprising

You might want to pick this book up if: If you enjoy cozy mysteries and strong female friendships you’ll want to read this book.

-Sue

This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2022. We will continue to share these throughout the year.

Reader Review: Meet Me by the Fountain

Posted on Monday, December 26, 2022 by patron reviewer

Meet Me by the Fountain by Alexandra Lange book coverMeet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall” takes the reader on a journey through the development and impacts, both structurally and socially, of the shopping mall. The author admits to having a penchant for architecture, so much of the early part of the book focuses on that aspect of malls. As the author expands upon the cultural transformation of malls, it grasps a larger audience of readers — unless you really like architecture, then you’re hooked from the beginning.

The author highlights the cyclical nature of malls’ popularity and decline over the years as society and its needs evolve. It’s particularly interesting to see the cycle play out presently, with the impacts of COVID-19 (which the author also addresses). Is the mall really dead or will there be a resurgence? This book dives into that complex question with historical context, leaving the reader to continue pondering the question; which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Three words that describe this book: Architectural, Cultural, Nostalgic

You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy architectural history, nostalgia, and exploring the societal significance of popular places.

-Anonymous

 

This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2022. We will continue to share these throughout the year.

Reader Review: Martin Marten

Posted on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 by patron reviewer

Martin Marten by Brian Doyle book coverIn the book “Martin Marten,” author Brian Doyle takes us on a meandering, meditative, and often quite wonderful journey through a year in the lives of many human and non-human inhabitants on an Oregon mountain.

Through Martin (a pine marten), Louis (an elk), Edwin (a horse), an unnamed dog friend of Mr. Shapiro, and all the non-human characters, we catch moments of adventure and love, intelligence and survival. These individuals are largely personified even as we’re told (repeatedly) that we can’t possibly understand their thoughts and knowledge. It’s a distinct way to share a story and works (for me) largely because it’s not the main vehicle of the storytelling but is instead the regular reminders that the humans are not the only (living/non-living) creatures on the mountain. Continue reading “Reader Review: Martin Marten”

Reader Review: Portrait of a Thief

Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 by patron reviewer

Portrait of a Thief by Grace d. Li book coverPortrait of a Thief” is a beautiful exploration of what it means to be an American-born person whose ancestry lies on a different continent. It’s also about stealing art. More specifically, Chinese art plundered from previous conquests by the Western world.

In the book, China has requested that their plundered items be returned to them, to no avail. So now, a wealthy private citizen wants to hire a group of Chinese-American college students to steal the art back. The problem is, none of them are majoring in theft.

Can they steal all five Chinese artworks back? Or will they get caught, ruining their futures in the process? With delightful character development, lovely writing, and a little romance, this is an excellent book choice.

Three words that describe this book: Deep, intricate, thoughtful

You might want to pick this book up if: you like heists and a Robin Hood-esque quest.

-Anonymous

 

This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2022. We will continue to share these throughout the year.

Reader Review: How to Be Perfect

Posted on Monday, October 24, 2022 by patron reviewer

How to be Perfect by Michael Schur book coverIn “How to Be Perfect,” Michael Schur, the creator of the TV series “The Good Place,” explores several philosophical models for living an ethical life. You learn about Aristotle, Kant, Sartre, deontology, utilitarianism, existentialism, and my favorite, ubuntu (I am because we are). Philosophy can be a slog, and Shur makes it fun and funny with section headings like, “Should I punch my friend in the face for no reason?” I liked this book because it shines a light on the value of trying to be a good person, and giving real thought about the best ways to go about that. The audiobook version is a real delight because Shur narrates, and there are cameos by all of the main stars of “The Good Place.”

Three words that describe this book: Thought-provoking, humorous, heartwarming

You might want to pick this book up if: You are a fan of “The Good Place” and want to learn something without it hurting too much.

-Anonymous

 

This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2022. We will continue to share these throughout the year.

Reader Review: Floaters

Posted on Friday, October 21, 2022 by patron reviewer

FloatersFloaters by Martine Espada book cover” is a poetry collection covering a wide range of topics, but especially focusing on Latinx and tenant rights movements and grief. I’ve long admired Martín Espada’s work, and this is certainly one of his best.

The most impressive thing to me is Espada’s emotional range, how often he makes the reader laugh out loud or feel almost physically sick with anger or despair — sometimes in the same poem. This range is reflected in his choice of subjects too, how he connects policies and social movements affecting millions to personal matters such as the death of his father or his enduring love for his wife. From the first poem in the book he works to tie together images of his personal, specific experience with stories of others’ lives and histories.

While the book often focuses on the worst of liferacism, exploitation, death — it maintains a sense of both beauty and humor, finding joy and meaning in the lives of the people it fights for or elegizes. The effect these poems have by the end is essential and frankly amazing: the compression of so many events and feelings into a slim volume of poems, a world of near-infinite wonder and sadness in such a small space.

Three words that describe this book: moving, beautiful, surprising

You might want to pick this book up if: you already love poetry OR you’re totally new to it and don’t know where to start! Martín Espada’s narrative style and focus on strong emotions and current events make his work easier to get into than some other poets’, while his imagery, line work, and impeccable word choice and sense of rhythm will impress those who read poetry day in and day out.

-Eric

 

This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2022. We will continue to share these throughout the year.