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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

For the distracted among us

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Sites and Casts

My reading these past few months has gone in fits and starts as life and world events have had a major impact on just what can grab and hold my attention. And when nothing can hold my attention for longer stretches of time, I turn to writing and podcasts about books rather than to the books themselves. If you're like me, then I offer some options for your shorter reading attention needs.

Aug 10, 2020

Oh to have an exploding egg, or two

Cover of The Cat, the Dog, Little R
A review of The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma by Diane Fox

Cat would like to read a simple story about a little girl who wears a redhood and takes a basket of goodies to her grandmother’s house. At least that’s what Cat is trying to do. Dog has other ideas. And questions. Lots of questions. What’s the little girl’s superhero power? After all she is wearing a cape. Does she hypnotize bad guys? Why doesn’t the wolf eat little red riding hood in the woods? Does little red have a Kindness Ray? Are the eggs in the basket exploding eggs? In fact Dog is driving Cat to distraction.

Aug 7, 2020

More crazy rich everything

Cover of Sex and Vanity: A Novel
A review of Sex and Vanity: A Novel by Kevin Kwan

The magic mind behind the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy is back with a modern day retelling of A Room with a View that starts out in Capri, winds its way through the Hamptons and culminates on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Described by the publisher as a glittering tale of love and longing, I would add that it's a titanium coated scrutiny of isms: classism, elitism, ageism, sexism, and racism set with sapphires, diamonds and emeralds the size of goose eggs, served up with Peking duck and a side of dumplings.

Aug 6, 2020

Girl with a plan

Cover of Ignite Me
A review of Ignite Me by Taherah Mafi

The world has gone to hell. The environment has collapsed, as has the economy. World-wide, all governments have fallen to the martial law of the Reestablishment, which is run by a single Supreme Commander. The globe is divided into numbered sectors, each with a ruthless leader, all resources are seized, all citizens mercilessly catalogued and controlled.

Aug 4, 2020

Big Library Read

Darwin Affair cover
A review of The Darwin Affair by Tim Mason

Overdrive has a new Big Library Read title, The Darwin Affair by Tim Mason, and you can find a copy to borrow August 3-17th. The Darwin Affair is an historical mystery set in 1860 London with a mystery that has assassination attempts, murder, and a conspiracy centered on the publication of Charles Darwin's controversial On the Origin of the Species. Sounds like the perfect escape for these the doldrums of our summer.

Aug 3, 2020

Enemies or lovers?

Cover of A Rogue of One's Own
A review of A Rogue of One's Own by Evie Dunmore

Evie Dunmore's debut novel Bringing Down the Duke made a splash last year both because of it's feminist love story and it's general sparkliness (is that a word?) both inside and outside. Inside was a sharp, funny, lovely story of opposites attracting and on the outside was a colorful, illustrated design that was part of a major trend in the publishing world.

Jul 29, 2020

Weather accuracy, the neverending goal

Cover of Storm Kings: The Untold Hi
A review of Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Storm Chasers by Lee Sandlin

Though we've been lucky this summer, every Midwesterner knows its keening sound, a reminder that tornado season is upon us once again. Tornadoes remain something of an enigma today, even as technology and YouTube videos make the prediction and experience of storms more routine. But our knowledge of tornados is a very recent phenomenon, as Lee Sandlin chronicles in Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Storm Chasers.

Jul 27, 2020

A little chill for a hot summer day

Cover of North of Boston
A review of North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo

Pirio Kasparov is a medical and biological anomaly. She survived for more than four hours in 40 degree water in the North Atlantic when the small fishing boat she was on was hit by a larger ship. Her survival in waters that would generally kill others within a short period of time is newsworthy, but for Pirio the much bigger issue is the fact that her friend Ned didn't survive the crash and she's beginning to suspect that his death was not an accident. The authorities conclude that the collision was an accident, but Ned's young son Noah is relying on Pirio to figure things out.

Jul 24, 2020


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