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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Remembering the way she was

Cover of We Keep the Dead Close: A
A review of We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Centurey of Silence by Becky Cooper

When Becky Cooper first heard the story as a student at Harvard, it seemed both unbelievable but still entirely feasible: in early January 1969, a Harvard professor killed a female archeology grad student after she threatened to expose their affair. After she failed to show for her general exams, she was discovered in her apartment with red ochre and necklaces arranged ritualistically over her bloodied, naked body. Harvard smothered the investigation, the murder remained unsolved, and the professor was still teaching in the same department, fully tenured.

Jul 18, 2024

Too Good to Miss - July 2024

Too good to miss photo
Too Good to Miss Collection

Every month there are new titles purchased for the Too Good to Miss collections at our libraries. If you're not familiar with TGTM (as we call it here in library-world), it's a special collection of popular books that are truly too good to miss. Some are new and popular titles, others are older titles that might not have had as much media attention as a bestseller or celebrity book club selection but are still great reads that deserve another look.

Jul 12, 2024

Collective strength

Cover of The North Wind & the Sun
A review of The North Wind & the Sun by Phillip Stead

In a battle between the blustering north wind and the warm shining sun, who do you think would win? Would anyone win? In this Aesop's fable, re-imagined by author/illustrator Philip Stead, three sisters go out in their patched-up coats—colored yellow, blue, and red—to take a walk before the weather changes. At first, the sun shines sweetly upon them, but then the grouchy north wind takes over, blowing cold, harsh air across the sisters' path and the whole world! Will the north wind manage to turn the sisters' coats to rags after all? Or will the sun's rays prevail?

Jul 11, 2024

The one for the job

Cover of Basil's War
A review of Basil's War by Stephen Hunter

Sometimes I'm looking for a book that works as a total escape for me and that's just what I got with Stephen Hunter's WWII thriller.

Basil's War introduces British special agent Basil St. Florian who spends his off time drinking and sleeping with film stars and his work time being sent into Nazi-occupied France on secret missions during WWII. If all that sounds a bit flashy? It is. Basil's newest assignment is to enter occupied France and gain access to a manuscript kept in the archives in a Paris that swarms with the German military.

Jul 10, 2024

Narrated by a typewriter

Cover of Olivetti
A review of Olivetti by Allie Millington

Yes, you read that correctly. This novel is narrated by a typewriter. And it is everything I wanted and needed. Also, did you know that books are despised by typewriters because they are attention hogs?!? Makes sense.  

Jul 8, 2024

Changing states

Cover of In Between
A review of In Between by April Sayre, with Jeff Sayre

As a person who loves seeing the return of all our plant and animal pals when the weather gets warm again, I was happy to find the late April Pulley Sayre's In Between among the picture books at Central Library. Filled with beautiful close-up photographs of all kinds of plants (some native to Wisconsin!) and animals—from grey hairstreak butterflies to baby squirrels to sleepy gulls—Sayre tells a gentle poem-like story of different kinds of in-betweenness, illustrating each one with a perfectly apt creature portrait.

Jul 3, 2024

What the dead forget

Cover of The Dead Cat Tail Assassin
A review of The Dead Cat Tail Assassins by P. Djeli Clark

Clark introduces readers to a new fantasy world in this latest novella and I'm so here for it.

Eveen is a an undead assassin. When she died she was offered a chance at an undead life - though she has no memory of how that came to be or why she would have made such a choice. As part of her deal she owes her goddess years of service as an assassin. As the goddess's assassin she has to follow 3 rules:

Jul 1, 2024


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