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MADreads

Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

A girl and her mother

Cover of Me and Mama
A review of Me and Mama by Cozbi Cabrera

Me and Mama by Cozbi Cabrera, centers on the special relationship between a young girl and her mother. Starting with the morning “when the house smells like cinnamon” and the papa and little brother are still asleep, a little girl wants to be “everywhere mama is”. “Good morning to you” – her mama sings, as the little girl walks down the stairs.

May 7, 2021

Diary of a reluctant killing machine

Cover of All Systems Red
A review of All Systems Red by Martha Wells

"I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don't know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure."

May 6, 2021

Roadkill and witches

Cover of Snapdragon
A review of Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

Local legends and lore abound in this middle grade graphic novel about a young girl named Snapdragon who befriends the town witch. It turns out the elderly witch, Jacks, is a licensed animal rehabilitator who also assembles roadkill skeletons and sells them for profit on eBay. This is wonderfully weird, but not exactly otherworldly. 

May 4, 2021

Chirli and me

Cover of The Bitch
A review of The Bitch by Pilar Quintana

If you have ever wondered what a gritty and meanly funny version of Marley and Me would look like, Pilar Quintana’s The Bitch has you covered. It is the story of Damaris, who gets a dog. Damaris lives with husband Rogelio on a Colombian hillside, surviving off fishing and keeping house for absentee homeowners. Wife and husband long for a baby that will never come.

May 3, 2021

Crossing the Rubicon

Cover of A Fatal Thing Happened on
A review of A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Murder in Ancient Rome by Emma Southon

I'm a fan of true crime tv and podcasts and will listen to a wide variety of them, but when it comes to books, I'm a bit more particular. I think this choosiness has to do with being able to distance myself a bit from the content and for me, when I'm reading, it can feel so much more immediate. So for nonfiction crime books I gravitate to historical crime with the natural distancing of time making it more enjoyable. A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum really fit that bill.

May 2, 2021

Always something to say

Cover of Nimoshom and His Bus
A review of Nimoshom and His Bus by Penny Thomas

This is the story of a kind, friendly school bus driver named Nimoshom who has something to say to the children every day on the way to and from school. Nimoshom means grandfather in Cree. Sometimes Nimoshom teaches the kids a new word in Cree. He greets the students with tansi (hello), wishes them mino kisikaw (have a good day), asks them to api (sit down) if they bounce around in their seats, and smiles and says ekosani (thank you) when the kids bring him gifts.

Apr 27, 2021

Let's read some poetry part 4

Cover of New Poetry Books
New Poetry Books

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets to remind "the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters." To help myself (and you) out I've put together some lists of poetry from last year and some new titles from the the first quarter of this year. This is the last of four lists. Let's read some poetry!

Apr 26, 2021

Love letter to the funk-rock sound of the 1980s

Cover of MPLS Sound
A review of MPLS Sound by Joseph Illidge and Hannibal Tabu

This is a gorgeous purple graphic novel inspired by the Purple One. Theresa Booker dreams of being a musician and knows that there are many barriers to success for a black woman on the Minneapolis music scene in 1982. She puts together an amazing band with a singular vision but there's nowhere for Starchild to play. Talent and drive are not always enough. 

Apr 23, 2021

Put your thinking cap on

Cover of Project Hail Mary
A review of Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

When he wakes up at the beginning of the book the hero doesn't have a clue as to who he is or where he is. All he knows is that he's hooked up to a lot of tubes and a computer voice is asking him what 2 + 2 is. When he's finally able to answer that question, the computer allows him to progress in his recovery. As he gets stronger physically, he begins to have flashes of memories (including his name, Ryland Grace). Oh and he discovers there are two people long dead in the beds next to his and that he's in a ship in space. Ryland is all alone and millions of miles away from home.

Apr 22, 2021

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