Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Libraries Rock! Witty and Cozy Book Reviews

Share your book reviews with us on our Summer Reading site and we will share them here. Submit 5 book reviews or any combination of book reviews, reading selfies, and bookfaces, and be entered into a random drawing to win a fun prize!

Elements of Wit 

By Benjamin Errett 

This book contains several examples of the great wits of the world and how they developed their craft. Some stories are familiar, such as Winston Churchill's many lines, and others not so much, but overall the book succeeds not on the strength of the subjects, but the subject itself-wit. Errett carefully defines what wit truly is and how to differentiate it from comedy, etc. When finished, you will have a new appreciation for the word play and careful, hard work that goes into a person seemingly witty without effort.

~Cameron L.

Lost Books and Old Bones

By Paige Shelton

Why I chose this book:

One of my favorite genres is cozy mystery. When I came across this one, the title jumped out at me, and so did the setting — not only do I like cozy mysteries and bookshops, but I particularly like mysteries with a different geographical setting (Great Britain, Botswana, Georgia...). Minotaur Books provided a review copy.


I cannot stop thinking about this book since finishing, which happened altogether too quickly. I shall have to seek out the others in this series.

Delaney Nichols is an American in Scotland, working at a used bookshop. The bookshop houses various treasures, including an antique scalpel set that belonged to Dr. Knox. In the 1820's, Dr. Knox had conducted medical research using murder victims' bodies. When an acquaintance of Delaney is murdered outside the bookshop a few hours after discussing the scalpels, and the history of Dr. Knox and his suppliers pops up again and again, Delaney is drawn into hunting down the present-day killer. After an exciting and complex search, an unexpected though not unimaginable culprit is apprehended.

I was consumed by Lost Books and Old Bones. The contemporary characters were people whom I could imagine running into in a bookshop or museum. You find out more about them organically, just as you would with actual acquaintances. I also enjoyed her inclusion of historic figures, namely Dr. Knox, William Burke, and William Hare (the latter two were murderers and cadaver suppliers). Tying the cozy mystery to true crime enhanced my suspension of disbelief. If you think about it, who comes across multiple murders (this book is third in a series) and sets out to solve them herself, other than protagonists in cozy mysteries? No one. But tying the actually-caught-and-convicted murderers to the fictitious murder grounded the novel in a unique way.

The search for the killer was a perfect balance of complexity, red herrings, and common sense. At no point did a question of, "Really???!!!" interrupt my reading. Just as I uncovered layers of the characters, so too were layers of the crime uncovered. Everything developed naturally, from the clues to Delaney's and the police's investigations. At the end, though, the culprit did start monologuing about the crime. Even that, somehow did not feel contrived.

Can I recommend this any more highly? You like mysteries? Bookshops? History? You'll probably like this.

~ Victoria D.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Libraries Rock! Book Reviews Of Late...

The Gatekeepers

By Chris Whipple

For fans of Leo McGarry of "The West Wing" or maybe more recently Doug Stamper of "House of Cards," this book explains the role of Chief of Staff to the President of the United States. The author, journalist Chris Whipple, was able to get 18 living chiefs together to be interviewed about their job and their particular troubles navigating the politics of their time and the Presidential figure they served. 

This book is a thorough look behind the scenes and offers some insight on how critical decisions were made by presidents going back to Nixon. Gain more understanding of politics and who influences the President by reading this book.

~ Christopher R. 

The Stranger

By Harlan Coben

This book was so good, I was sorry to have to put it down to sleep and eat. Fast paced action, lots of twists and turns. Unexpected but great ending. Passing my book on. Recommend it to read. Taking out more by this author!

~ Karen S. 

This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare 

By Gabourey Sidibe

Why I chose this book:

I enjoy reading memoirs of contemporary figures. They are personal histories that help me better understand how other people think and view the world. When I saw this among Harcourt Houghton Mifflin's Spring offerings, I requested a review copy, which was provided.


Gabourey Sidibe, the star of the film Precious, relates her struggles and triumphs from childhood and young adulthood.

From a young age, Gaborey struggled with healthy eating; she struggled through obesity and an eating disorder. She also struggled with her parents' divorce (when her Senegalese father engaged in his cultural norm of polygamy), financial hardship, and bullying. Hand in hand with those issues, she suffered from depression, to the point that it became necessary to drop out of college. After improving her mental health, she was unable to re-enroll in college due to financial constraints and then struggled to find work due to her lack of a college education. She ended up working as a phone sex "talker" and helped to support her family. Through a series of fortuitous events, she arrived at an audition for the film Precious and became the actor she is today.

This Is Just My Face was eye-opening. I didn't know anything about Gabourey before reading this book. The synopsis of the book stated that it was about the star from Precious; I had seen the film, I like memoirs, and I especially like reading about inspirational or strong women, so my attention was caught, but that was all I knew going in. I couldn't have told you who Gabourey was a month ago. Now I think I know her as well as she is comfortable being known by the public, though her writing style is such that I felt like I was having a long conversation with a best friend. And she is funny! That was really my biggest impression of her, aside from her being an inspirational example, that is. She tackles serious topics, shedding light on how she has dealt with unhealthy relationships, what has precipitated her forgiveness, and about maintaining her mental health. Her strength and perseverance are heartening, and reading about her responses to different struggles has validated my own responses to similar issues, such as forgiveness and (unrelated) bullying. I devoured this book and have been recommending it to everyone I can. I am a new fan of Gabourey Sidibe after reading this

~ Victoria D.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Libraries Rock! Summer Reads Book Reviews

Share your book reviews with us on our Summer Reading site and we will share them here. Submit 5 book reviews or any combination of book reviews, reading selfies, and bookfaces, and be entered into a random drawing to win a fun prize!

The Hate U Give

By Angie Thomas

I loved this book! It wasn't the usual type of book I like to read but I kept hearing people talk about it. So I decided to give it a try. I wasn't disappointed i couldn't put it down. It made me laugh it 

~ Jasmine A.

Steve Jobs

By Walter Isaacson

This is an excellent read. Almost 600 pages, it avoids feeling long and stuffed and repetitive. It gets to the essence of what made Jobs so successful and also so irritating. For someone, like myself, that grew up during the infancy of computers, it reminded me of so much that took place to make so much of what takes place seem simple. The truth is that all the technology we enjoy today took years and years and mistakes to get to where we are, and Isaacson along with Jobs had me asking, at the conclusion and throughout, where we will end up. And this is coming from me, someone not in love with technology, but strangely curious about it. I suggest and recommend this book to anyone in their 40s and 50s as a nostalgia ride, to anyone younger as a reminder of what they did not experience, and to anyone of any age that is curious.

~ Cameron L.

When Things Fall Apart: Heart advice for Difficult Times

By Pema Chödrön

A beautiful and inspiring book about learning to accept the ebb and flow of whatever comes our way in life. Pema Chödrön is able to simply but powerfully convey this message through a variety of different analogies. Highly recommended!

~ Sarah L.