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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Eye of the beholder

Cover of Little Dancer Aged Fourtee
A review of Little Dancer Aged Fourteen: The True Story Behind Degas's Masterpiece by Camille Laurens

What is art? What attracts or repulses the viewer? The colors, setting, images, tactile feel of textiles/sculpture? Does knowledge of the artist or the subject influence the viewer? All these questions and more are addressed in this surprisingly slim and amazing new book by the French novelist Camille Laurens detailing her fascination of one artist, Edgar Degas, and one work, his now iconic sculpture of a young dancer. 

Aug 18, 2022

Watch out for the gooseberry pie

Cover of Miss Butterworth and the M
A review of Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron: A Graphic Novel by Julia Quinn

This graphic novel companion to the Bridgerton series is an absolute delight - candy for the mind and soul. I don't mean that in the empty calories and high fructose corn syrup way. I mean that in the irresistible way that fresh saltwater taffy, or homemade fudge, or hand dipped chocolate candy overwhelms the senses, and for me, is perfection. Sweet as honey combined with buttery brickle. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Aug 16, 2022

Hero or villain? In war is there any difference?

Cover of The Light Brigade
A review of The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

Some books I read and think, "I cannot wait to rave about this book to anyone and everyone." And the next thought is, "how will I do it justice?" The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley had me thinking both of those as I finished. It's a deceptively straightforward military science fiction novel, that packs a much deeper and thought-provoking punch.

Aug 15, 2022

Underwear everywhere

Cover of A History of Underwear wit
A review of A History of Underwear with Professor Chicken by Hannah Holt

Who says nonfiction is boring??? Not author Hannah Holt and illustrator Korwin Briggs! Their book, A History of Underwear with Professor Chicken, is about as delightful as the title suggests. Silly cartoon illustrations loaded with chicken-y antics show the evolution of underwear through time and culture. There’s lots to giggle at here. The text is age appropriate, interesting and factual, with many undie puns to keep it snappy. There is even a visual timeline of underwear and a substantial bibliography at the end. A fresh and fun addition to nonfiction for younger readers.

Aug 12, 2022

Margaret in a fun-house mirror

Cover of Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Pr
A review of Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown

Thanks to the popularity of Netflix’s series The Crown (and the constant drumbeat of stories about Meghan and Harry vs. Kate and William) there has been a resurgence of interest in one of the Windsor family's most fascinating characters, Princess Margaret. Younger sister of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret has to be arguably the most polarizing royal figure of her era.

Aug 11, 2022

Suicide interrupted

Cover of The Survivor
A review of The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz

You know you're having a bad day when your suicide attempt is interrupted by a bank robbery. Just the kind of day Nate Overbay is having. He's on an 11th floor ledge - having crawled out of the window of his bank - very carefully choosing his landing spot in a dumpster (so he doesn't squash anyone) when he hears a gunshot and sees the blood splatter on the window next to him. When he realizes that a group of masked gunmen are robbing the bank, Nate is torn.

Aug 10, 2022

Dancing with the dead

Cover of The Dead Romantics
A review of The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Florence Day is a ghost writer for one of the most famous romance authors in the industry and finds herself stuck after a bad breakup. She believes love is dead and the inspiration to write has vanished. Yet, she cannot shake the dead, because she also sees and communicates with ghosts, no matter how hard she tries to ignore them. So, you have a ghost writer who sees ghosts and believes love is dead even though the dead are present all around her. Are you following all this?

Aug 8, 2022

Fresh off the farm

Cover of Garlic & the Vampire
A review of Garlic & the Vampire by Bree Paulsen

Garlic, of the title, is one of the vegetables brought to life by a witch named Agnes. They all work with Agnes in her garden and at her market stall. Garlic is happy and eager, but she's also anxious that she gets things right - at which she doesn't always succeed. One day after returning from the market Potato notices that there is smoke rising from the castle in the woods. Since the castle is supposed to be empty, the vegetables are alarmed. When Agnes tells them that it may be a vampire has returned, their alarm turns to panic.

Aug 5, 2022

Party girl, intellectual, recluse

Cover of Sex and Rage: Advice to Yo
A review of Sex and Rage: Advice to Young Ladies Eager for a Good Time by Eve Babitz

Eve Babitz is a woman who will not be pigeonholed. A fixture of the 1970s Los Angeles scene, she was an infamous party girl and muse. She was also an intellectual, artist, journalist, and novelist, whose talent was often overshadowed by her buxom stature and a hedonistic appetite for men, booze, and food. Now an elderly recluse, Babitz is receiving a righteous rediscovering, with a steady reissuing of her works over the last few years.

Aug 3, 2022

Kingfisher's cure-all

Cover of Paladin's Grace
A review of Paladin's Grace by T. Kingfisher

I've mentioned in a few other posts how my reading tastes lately have leaned to stories that take me to other worlds and center on honorable characters. And with that reading quest in mind, a co-worker (thank you Amy S!) suggested T. Kingfisher. And a better balm to the soul, it would be harder to find. In this, the first in the Saint of Steel trilogy, we meet a paladin whose god has died and a perfumer who has escaped an abusive past.

Aug 2, 2022


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