Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter Reading Club Book Review: Kilimanjaro Adventure

Title: Kilimanjaro Adventure
Author: Hal Streckert
Review: I've read many books about climbing mountains, specifically Mt. Everest, since I am awed by the strength and determination it takes to achieve such a goal. One that I will never do and actually have no desire to so. This book was the tale of one family's quest to scale the highest peak in Africa. It put mountain climbing on a more personal level. I still don't want to climb mountains but this made it seemed possible. Cheers to the Streckert family for sharing their story.
Rating: 2 out of 5

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Winter Reading Club Book Review: The Invisible Thread

Title: The Invisible Thread
Author: Laura Schroff
Review: The heartwarming story of a woman who befriends a poverty stricken boy on the streets of NYC. Their friendship ends up spanning several years and still continues. Inspiring and emotional and a nice example of taking a chance on someone and having a positive outcome.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Winter Reading Club Book Review: The Work

Title: The Work: My Search For a Life That Matters
Author: Wes Moore
Review: Wes Moore's second book is just as compelling as his first. In this journey he outlines his experiences and opportunities and how they have made his life into one more meaningful, not only for himself, but to those that it serves. Inspirational and motivating it is a positive outlook that should convince everyone who reads it to do something more with their life - and by helping others you yourself will be enriched.
Rating: 4 out of 5

2015 Notable Books announced: Year’s best in fiction, nonfiction and poetry

CHICAGO — The Notable Books Council has announced the 2015 selections of the Notable Books List, an annual best-of list comprised of 26 titles written for adult readers and published in the U.S., including fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The list was announced Sunday, February 1st during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting.

The 2015 selections are:

FICTION

All My Puny Sorrows” by Miriam Toews
How much sacrifice does the love of a sister require?

All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
Navigating the dark of World War II a German boy and a French girl survive using senses other than sight.

The Bone Clocks: A Novel” by David Mitchell
The human condition: bleak but not without moments of redemption.

The Children Act” by Ian McEwan
A deceptively simple story reveals complexities of life choices.

The Crane Wife” by Patrick Ness
A thoughtful exposition of love, in all its endless varieties.

The Enchanted: A Novel” by Rene Denfield
Death row inmates await escape through execution in this weirdly gorgeous tale.

Narrow Road to the Deep North: A Novel” by Richard Flanagan
Australian beaches, Burmese jungles, love and death permeate a story of World War II POWs.

On Such a Full Sea” by Chang-Rae Lee
From fish farm to big pharma, 100 years later it’s all the same.

Orfeo: A Novel” by Richard Powers
On the run from Homeland Security, Peter Els reflects on a life of attempted creation and immortality through music and chemistry.

Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories” by Ron Rash
A brutal and beautiful collection of human tales set in the Carolinas.

Station Eleven: A Novel” by Emily St. John Mandel
Love, music, and Shakespeare sustain survivors of a global pandemic.

Tigerman” by Nick Harkaway
Funny, strange, and dangerous, the island of Mancreu may be beyond saving, but perhaps a superhero can bring redemption. “Full of win.”

NON-FICTION

The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution” by Jonathan Eig
The not-so-immaculate conception of the first oral contraceptive.

Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris” by Eric Jager
Political intrigue that starts with a murder and ends with a throne.

Dark Invasion: 1915 Germany’s Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America” by Howard Blum
German spies collaborate to unleash a campaign of terror in the United States at the start of World War I.

Factory Man” by Beth Macy
Made in America vs Made in China—is it too late to save one of these labels?

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette” by Hampton Sides
Glory and heartbreak on the rocks.

Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story” by Rick Bragg
“Can a man play rock and roll and still go to heaven?”

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stephenson
A searing indictment of institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned death.

The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses” by Kevin Birmingham
Biography of a notorious classic which changed the landscape of literature and launched the Modernist movement.

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State” by Glenn Greenwald
A real life spy thriller and a cautionary tale about government data gathering.

Pandora’s DNA: Tracing the Breast Cancer Genes Through History, Science, and One Family Tree” by Lizzie Stark
One woman’s face-off with her genetic fate.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman” by Jill Lepore
Suffering Sappho, we need to teach these girls to have some fun!

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert
Whether it’s rats or cockroaches that inherit the earth, this tale of species loss forms a narrative of evolution and annihilation.

Poetry

The Blue Buick: New and Selected Poems” by B.H.Fairchild
A regional American experience through myth and memory.

Gabriel: A Poem”, by Edward Hirsch
A father’s lament.

The winners were selected by the Notable Books Council whose members include 12 expert readers’ advisory and collection development librarians. The Council considers titles based on stellar reviews published in standard library reviewing sources and other authoritative sources. Derived from this list is the long list for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, American Library Association’s highest honor for books written for adults.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Just the Facts: Book Discussion Recap from January 22

Ten chilly people braved the weather and the wind last week to attend this book discussion. Their presence, as always, was much appreciated.

Our book was The Age of Gold: the California gold rush and the new American dream by H. W. Brands. Gold has always had a special hold on the human imagination. It has been coveted and hoarded, turned into everything from coins to jewelry to fine art. When gold was discovered by James Marshall while building a saw mill for John Sutter in January of 1848, the discovery started a gold rush of immense proportions. People rushed to California from not just the eastern United States, but from revolution ravished Europe, China, South America and Australia. These immigrants changed the course of American history and the nature of the American people. The author describes the treacherous voyages to the gold fields, whether by wagons across the country’s mountains and deserts, sailing around the Cape Horn or by crossing the jungles of Panama. The author describes the geology of gold and the ways to mine it, the horrors of the mining towns thrown up around the mines, the building of the transcontinental railroad and the effects of all this on the Native Americans and the Mexicans who had lived in California before the rush. Gold was found in great quantities, but few of the miners became rich. People like Leland Stanford and Sam Brennan made immense fortunes by selling supplies to the miners. The author concludes that the gold rush changed America by changing the American dream from attaining prosperity through hard work to looking for get rich quick schemes. It ushered in the Gilded Age of great fortunes and robber barons.

Our next meeting will be February 26, 2015 at 7:00 pm. The book to be discussed, Fordlandia: the rise and fall of Henry Ford’s jungle city by Greg Grandin, is available at the Circulation Desk. All are welcome.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter Reading Club Book Review: This is Where I Leave You

Title: This is Where I Leave You
Author: Jonathan Tropper
Review: Jonathan Tropper knows how to put the dysfunctional in family. At their father's death request, Judd and his siblings must sit Shiva for a week. During this time they realize what it means to be a family as they dredge up their shared history and look towards the future. Tropper's concise writing and humor made this book both touching and funny.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter Reading Club Book Review: Free for All

Title: Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library
Author: Don Borchert
Review: First book of 2015! And off to a good start... I love libraries and if you want to know the behind-the-scenes action and what librarians deal with on a daily basis, read this memoir written by the wry-humored Don Borchert. It actually made me laugh out loud at parts. Also made me wonder what our dear librarians at Harborfields are witness to here in Greenlawn :)
Rating: 5 out of 5

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Adult Winter Reading Club

Warm up at the Reference Hut for a perfect winter adventure. Pick up your “star chart” and read or listen to any books of your choice. After reviewing three (3) books, turn in your completed star chart for a prize. Each completed star chart is also used as a raffle ticket to win tickets to the Vanderbilt Planetarium.

All adult Harborfields cardholders can be a stargazer! Open your eyes this winter with your choice of enlightening reads!

The Adult Winter Reading Club runs from Monday, January 5 through Friday, February 27, and the raffle drawing will be Monday, March 2.