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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

All Hail the Snail!

Cover of Escargot
A review of Escargot by Dashka Slater

He’s my new favorite animal, this snail who hails from France.  From his beret, red scarf and blue and white striped shirt, down to his trail of “shimmery stuff.” From his speedy race across a checked tablecloth to reach the delicious salad with very specific ingredients, “a salad with croutons and light vinaigrette and absolutely no carrots,” to his sad realization that no one chooses snails as their favorite animal.  I love this intrepid little character who invites readers to make fierce faces with him to scare away carrots, race him to the salad, and give him a kiss.

December 21, 2018

War lingers on

Cover of Treacherous is the Night
A review of Treacherous is the Night by Anna Lee Huber

It's 1919 in England and the Great War is over, but its shadow still looms large over England and all of Europe. Verity Kent is one of those struggling with a new life and her attempts to find a new normal. She's grounded in the here and now, but when a friend asks that she attend a seance, she agrees. Verity is a skeptic, to say the least, so when the medium channels a woman Verity once worked with in Belgium during the war, her suspicions are raised. Why would the medium make mention of a woman who worked as an anti-german spy?

December 18, 2018

A once in a lifetime pet

Cover of How to Be A Good Creature:
A review of How to Be A Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery

Have you ever had a truly special pet? Not just a pet that you love and care for, but a pet who profoundly changes you? Naturalist and National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery refers to "a lifetime dog" even though she's known three or four of these and many more animals that she considers notable. I, too, have had three of these "lifetime" pets in my world, plus a few that were honorable mention. 

December 17, 2018

Countdown begins

Kiss Quotient book cover
#libfaves18

I posted a couple "best of" lists last week. Today starts the 10 day #libfaves18 countdown. Each day for the next ten days library workers across the land will be posting their favorite 2018 titles, one day at a time. They'll use the hashtag #libfaves18 on Twitter so you can follow along. Tallying is happening each day and at the end of the countdown the biggest vote-getters will be posted.

December 10, 2018

Make Music!

Cover of Play This Book
A review of Play This Book by Jessica Young

With a musical rhyme scheme, big, bold illustrations, and a colorful cast of children, Play this Book is a fun, energetic read to cozy up with. Little ones are invited to play along with the instruments on each page. Great for toddlers and preschoolers.

December 7, 2018

Poetry that gives life

Cover of Not Here
A review of Not Here by Hieu Minh Nguyen

What a time to be alive. What a time for poetry that gives life. Rupi Kaur, Nayyirah Waheed, Danez Smith, Ada Limón, Morgan Parker, Tommy Pico, Chen Chen, Kaveh Akbar, Ocean Vuong, Solman Sharif, Mai Der Vang, Yesika Salgado. There is no shortage of new school poets with distinctive viewpoints and a moving way with words. Add Hieu Minh Nguyen, the Minnesotan son of Vietnamese immigrants, to that list.

December 6, 2018

When gods return

Cover of Empire of Sand
A review of Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Tasha Suri is a librarian who studied creative writing at University and both of those facts are evident in her debut fantasy novel which is clearly well-researched and oh so creative.

December 5, 2018

You're gonna say she's all that you adore

Cover of In Pieces
A review of In Pieces by Sally Field

But stay away, Gidget is spoken for! Who knows all of the lyrics to the theme song of Gidget, (Wait 'Til You See) My Gidget?" What about "Who Needs Wings to Fly?" the theme song from The Flying Nun? I do! If you spot me at the Central Library please ask and I'll perform them for you! Just kidding. I will not. But if you want to talk about Sally Field's new memoir, you know where to find me.

We are starting to see best of the year lists and In Pieces is high on mine. What a smart, compelling memoir.

December 3, 2018

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