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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Of candlepin bowling and people

Cover of Bowlaway: A Novel
A review of Bowlaway: A Novel by Elizabeth McCracken

Bowlaway is a community saga set in Salford, Massachusetts centered on a candlepin* bowling alley. For those of you not familiar with candlepin, it is a variation of bowling played in New England with pins that have a cylindrical shape that taper toward each end similar to a candle. Scoring is different from tenpin and the balls are smaller, with no finger holes.

Mar 13, 2019

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Mar 8, 2019

Beer battles and pie (could it be more midwestern if it tried?)

Cover of The Lager Queen of Minneso
A review of The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

I read Stradal's debut, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, almost in one sitting (literally, as I was in my seat on an airplane) and loved every moment of it. So I was thrilled to see that Stradal's second book was finally here and I dove right in when a pre-pub copy came my way.

Mar 7, 2019

Romance? Check!

Cover of The Kiss Quotient
A review of The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Stella Lane sees the world in math and economics. There is no room for error and there's a formula for everything. So when she's ready for a serious relationship she creates a to-do list and gets ready to start checking off boxes! The only problem is, romantic chemistry is not a formula she can predict.

Mar 5, 2019

Attention honor roll students of comedy

Cover of Caddyshack: The Making of
A review of Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story by Chris Nashawaty

This is the story behind the genius and tragedy of the 1980 comedy film Caddyshack. Full disclosure: I love National Lampoon and have most of the Vacation movies completely memorized. I was excited that there was a new book about Caddyshack, one of my all-time favorites. It can be tough to watch movies from the 70s and 80s with regards to racism and sexism and recreational drug use, but parts of Caddyshack hold up fairly well.

Feb 27, 2019

Clucky Birthday!

Cover of I Got a Chicken for my Bir
A review of I Got a Chicken for my Birthday by Laura Gehl

Ana asked her Abuela Lola (3 times!) for tickets to the amusement park for her birthday, but all she got was a chicken. Lucky for Ana… it isn’t any ordinary chicken. Her chicken isn’t interested in normal chicken things like laying eggs or pecking at chicken feed. Oh no! This chicken has PLANS. It has a list. It has blueprints. It has a bulldozer. This hysterical story told in simple sentences, brilliant illustrations, and funny little side notes “Sorry, no time for cake!” will keep you and your little one giggling over and over.

Feb 22, 2019

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