The Colorado Kid


The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, 184 pages, read by Angie, on 07/28/2016

The Colorado Kid

So I was a big fan of the show Haven on SyFy Channel. I really enjoyed “the troubles” and the characters and everything to do with Haven, Maine. So I saw this book on the library shelf and thought I would give it a whirl. Afterall, every episode of Haven says it is based on The Colorado Kid by Stephen King. Really? Cause the only similarities are Vince and Dave and Maine. This book really has nothing to do with the show Haven, which is fine unless you are expecting there to be a connection.

The Colorado Kid is basically the story of two old newspaper men (Vince and Dave) telling their intern Stephie the story of an unsolved death twenty-five years ago. The Colorado Kid, aka James Cobern, was found dead on a beach in 1980. It appeared he choked to death on a piece of steak. No identification was found and no one knew who he was until they discovered he was from Colorado (thus the Colorado Kid). Once he was identified as James Cobern the story gets even stranger and less explainable. How did he get from Colorado to Maine in the timeframe allowed? Why was he in Maine? What happened to his jacket and wallet? So many unanswered questions, but really no answers here. Vince and Dave are simply telling the story and the story does not have an ending. It is unsolved.

It is an enjoyable story if you like that kind of thing. There is nothing inherently wrong with a story without a definite ending. I was just expecting something completely different so this really didn’t tick the right boxes for me.

Learning to Swear in America


Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy, 346 pages, read by Angie, on 07/26/2016

Learning to Swear in America

So an asteroid is hurtling towards Earth ready to take out the Pacific Rim and all that stands between us and total destruction is a 17-year-old Russian genius named Yuri. Yuri is on the fast track to the Nobel Prize for physics for his work with antimatter and has been sent to the US to help NASA stop the asteroid about to wipe out California. Yuri might be smart about math and science, but he isn’t very smart when it comes to interacting with people or being a teenager. He also might be a genius, but the scientists at NASA aren’t too keen on trying an untested theory even if it is to save the world.

So Yuri has his problems. He knows how to save the world, but no one will listen to him. One of his colleagues back in Russia is stealing his research and claiming it as his own. So Yuri might have to share that Nobel Prize if he saves the world. He has also found out that the US doesn’t really want him going back to Russia and might be keeping him against his will. Into all this mess steps Dovie and her family. Dovie’s dad is a janitor at JPL and she comes upon Yuri at a most inopportune time. Their friendship/romance blossoms as Dovie and her brother Lennon teach Yuri what it is like to be normal (sort of) teenagers in America. Then Yuri has to go back to saving the world of course.

I absolutely adored Yuri. I loved his cluelessness and the fact that he wore suits and didn’t always speak proper English. He is just such a charming character. I loved Dovie and Lennon as well. They are from a free-spirit, hippy family. Dovie is an artist who doesn’t want to be placed in the box her teachers seem to want to place her in. Lennon is in a wheelchair, the result of a childhood accident, but doesn’t let that define him. I thought all their interactions were real and amazing. You could see how great Kennedy is at creating characters you really want to know and love.

This book might be about science and math; it might be about the end of the world; or it might just be about becoming a complete person through the interactions you have with others. His relationship with Dovie and Lennon is what makes Yuri become more human and aware of the real world and not just the world of physics. It was a beautiful story.

Thank you to Netgalley for letting me read this book early.

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne ; retelling by Davis W. Miller and Katherine M. Brevard ; illustrated by Greg Rebis.


Journey to the Center of the Earth retold by Davis W. Miller and Katherine M. Brevard ; by Verne, Jules, 71 pages, read by Kira, on 07/22/2016

Journey Center Earth

I first read this tale in Classic Comic book form as a young child.  Very heavy on description and I didn’t feel much tension.  This graphic novel version wasn’t much of an improvement.  The protagonist Axel is the nephew of a daring scientist, Otto Lidenbrock, who believes volcanic tubes can lead them to the center of the earth.  Otto drags his meek nephew along. Axel is there basically to be, a put-upon whiner.  The other member of the party is the hired guide/help, big strong Hans.  If they encounter problems it Hans who can muscle through it.

It was an okay – perhaps someday I will read the full version, but probably not.  I’ve read some of Edgar Rice Burroughs fiction located at the center of the earth, these titles have way more dramatic tension.

The Last Victim


The Last Victim by Kevin O'Brien, 508 pages, read by Judy, on 07/26/2016

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At first, Bridget Corrigan’s work with her twin brother’s senatorial campaign is an exciting distraction from the trauma of her messy divorce.  But everything changes when Bridget is reminded of the secret she and Brad have been keeping since high school, a secret that could destroy the campaign-and their lives.   Someone else knows what they did.   Someone who’s been picking off the members of their little grup one by one …..

With every “accident” that befalls the members of her old clique, Bridget feels danger edging closer to home.  Yet uncovering the truth about the killer would mean revealing what really happened that horrible night years ago.    She’ll have to find someone to trust-the question is,who?     Because turning to the wrong person could be the last mistake she ever makes.

 

This is definitely a book that I could not put down until finished.     Thrilling at every turn of the page.

Return to the Isle of the Lost


Return to the Isle of the Lost: a Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz, 309 pages, read by Donna, on 07/21/2016

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This sequel picks up where the movie leaves off. Since there is a new one coming out soon, I’m glad I read this first. It certainly answers some of the questions I had at the end of Descendants. Plus can someone with such evil parentage, truly leave evil behind so easily? There is a little bit of suspicious behavior in almost everyone, so the chance to prove how much you’ve changed and decide whether that is what you really want, should be available for one and all.

The sequel to the #1 New York Times best seller Isle of the Lost. Mal’s an expert at intimidating her enemies, but she’s broken the habit since leaving her villainous roots behind. So when she and her friends Evie, Carlos, and Jay all receive threatening messages demanding they return home, Mal can’t believe it. Sure, she’s King Ben’s girlfriend now, and she’s usually nice to her classmates, but she still didn’t think anyone would be silly enough to try to push her around. The thing is, it kind of worked. Especially since she and her friends have a sneaking suspicion that their villainous parents are behind the messages. And when Evie looks into her Magic Mirror, what she sees only confirms their fears. Maleficent’s just a tiny lizard after her run-in with Mal at Ben’s Coronation, but she’s the worst villain in the land for a reason. Could she have found a way to escape? Whatever’s going on, Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay know they have to sneak back to the Isle and get to the bottom of it. Without its infamous leader, the island’s even worse than when they left it, but the comforts of home — even a home as gloomy as the Isle of the Lost — can be hard to resist for recently reformed villains. Will the kids be able to beat the evil bubbling at the Isle’s wicked core, or will the plot to destroy Auradon succeed?

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The Isle of the Lost


The Isle of the Lost: a Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz, 311 pages, read by Donna, on 07/19/2016

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This book was an impulse read while visiting Indianapolis. We came across it and knowing that the new Descendants movie is getting ready to air, I wanted a little more background. Since I was never about the handsome prince on his white horse, these stories appealed to me. It is a quick read and gives background not fully explained in Descendants from Disney. It is easy to see how the evil heritage Mal, Evie, Jay and Carlos share would make them frenemies, it is also easy to see that there is much more to each of them than sinister plots, schemes, and bad blood. Each character has similarities, but is very different from the parent and each has a hidden strength just waiting to come to the surface. Enjoy this before or after seeing the Descendants movie, but allow yourself to be just a little evil in the process.

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that’s been left to rot and forgotten by the world. But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon’s eye: the key to true darkness and the villains’ only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it … who will it be? Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost. Mal: at sixteen, Maleficent’s daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon’s eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all. Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen’s daughter, Evie, doesn’t know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she’s a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal’s little tricks. Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he’s not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon’s eye. Carlos: Cruella de Vil’s son may not be bravest, but he’s certainly clever. Carlos’s inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon’s eye and ending the banishment for good. Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon’s eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the dragon’s eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

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We Were Liars


We Were Liars by Lockhart, E., 227 pages, read by Paula, on 07/25/2016

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Each summer the wealthy, seemingly perfect Sinclair family meets on their private island. Cadence, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat are a unit, especially during “summer 15,” marking their fifteenth year on Beechwood– the summer that Cady and Gat fall in love. Cady became involved in a mysterious accident, in which she sustained a blow to the head, and now suffers from debilitating migraines and memory loss. When she returns to Beechwood during summer 17 issues of guilt and blame, love and truth all come into play.

I loved this book.  Easy read.  Great twist at the end.

Freedom: My Book of Firsts


Freedom: My Book of Firsts by Dugard, Jaycee, 246 pages, read by Paula, on 07/23/2016

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In the follow-up to her #1 bestselling memoir, A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard tells the story of her first experiences after years in captivity: the joys that accompanied her newfound freedom and the challenges of adjusting to life on her own.

When Jaycee Dugard was eleven years old, she was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in South Lake Tahoe, California. She was missing for more than eighteen years, held captive by Philip and Nancy Garrido, and gave birth to two daughters during her imprisonment.

A Stolen Life, which sold nearly two million copies, told the story of Jaycee’s life from her abduction in 1991 through her reappearance in 2009. Freedom: My Book of Firsts is about everything that happened next.

“How do you rebuild a life?” Jaycee asks.

In these pages, she describes the life she never thought she would live to see: from her first sight of her mother to her first time meeting her grownup sister, her first trip to the dentist to her daughters’ first day of school, her first taste of champagne to her first hangover, her first time behind the wheel to her first speeding ticket, and her first dance at a friend’s wedding to her first thoughts about the possibility of a future relationship.

This raw and inspiring book will remind readers that there is, as Jaycee writes, “life after something tragic happens…Somehow, I still believe that we each hold the key to our own happiness and you have to grab it where you can in whatever form it might take.”

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I Could Pee On This and Other Poems by Cats


I Could Pee On This and Other Poems by Cats by Marciuliano, Francesco, 111 pages, read by Paula, on 07/22/2016

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Cat lovers will laugh out loud at the quirkiness of their feline friends with these insightful and curious poems from the singular minds of house cats. In this hilarious book of tongue-in-cheek poetry, the author of the internationally syndicated comic strip Sally Forth helps cats unlock their creative potential and explain their odd behavior to ignorant humans. With titles like “Who Is That on Your Lap?,” “This Is My Chair,” “Kneel Before Me,” “Nudge,” and “Some of My Best Friends Are Dogs,” the poems collected inI Could Pee on This perfectly capture the inner workings of the cat psyche. With photos of the cat authors throughout, this whimsical volume reveals kitties at their wackiest, and most exasperating (but always lovable).

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The Soprano’s Last Song


Sherlock, Lupin & Me: The Soprano's Last Song by Irene Adler (Fictitious Character) {Alessandro Gatti. author}, 239 pages, read by Donna, on 07/25/2016

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Even though I started this series with the last book, I am still enjoying them out of order. Once again it was fun to see how the author develops these three young characters and catch glimpses of the adults they are to become. My favorite character is Irene’s “butler” (really of man of many jobs) Mr. Horatio Nelson, who seems to always know what is going on without being told or present and certainly has her best interest at heart. This is another mystery which only three inquisitive teens seem able to solve or really show much interest in solving. However, since Lupin’s father is the prime suspect, I guess they have more reason than most to keep looking for answers. A quick read that is not too complicated even with a few foreign names and terms thrown in for good measure.

Sherlock Holmes, Arsene Lupin, and Irene Adler planned to reunite in London … but Lupin doesn’t show up. His father, Theophraste, has been accused of the murder of Alfred Santi, assistant to the great opera maestro, Giuseppe Barzini. The three intrepid detectives set out to clear Theophraste’s name, investigating the murder of Santi … which is only the start of their adventures. When the famous opera singer, Ophelia Merridew, goes missing, Irene and her friends might encounter more than they bargained for. will the three young detectives solve the mystery of The Soprano’s Last Song?

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All That’s Missing


All That's Missing by Sarah Sullivan, 358 pages, read by Donna, on 07/23/2016

Parts of this book were hard for me to get through for personal reasons. Dementia is a disease my family has dealt with, in fact, my grandmother suffered from it. While she wasn’t my sole caretaker like Arlo, she was my special person and her slow mental loss was devastating to me. The parts of the book that dealt with that were well written and very accurate as well as heart-breaking. However, I was disappointed in the “fairy-tale” like ending that wrapped up almost all the problems neatly. Reality is never as easy as finding a lost painting to save your home and your family from tough choices. Other than that, I enjoyed this book and thought the characters were well developed and allowed you to take a vested interest in where Arlo would end up living and if he would be allowed some happiness without tons of guilt.

When his grandfather’s dementia raises the specter of foster care, Arlo flees to find his only other family member in this genuine, heartening novel. Arlo’s grandfather travels in time. Not literally — he just mixes up the past with the present. Arlo holds on as best he can, fixing himself cornflakes for dinner and paying back the owner of the corner store for the sausages Poppo eats without remembering to pay. But how long before someone finds out that Arlo is taking care of the grandfather he lives with instead of the other way around? When Poppo lands in the hospital and a social worker comes to take charge, Arlo’s fear of foster care sends him alone across three hundred miles. Armed with a name and a town, Arlo finds his only other family member — the grandmother he doesn’t remember ever meeting. But just finding her isn’t enough to make them a family. Unfailingly honest and touched with a dash of magical realism, Sarah Sullivan’s evocative debut novel delves into a family mystery and unearths universal truths about home, trust, friendship, and strength — all the things a boy needs.

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The Games


The Games: A Private Novel by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan, 366 pages, read by Donna, on 07/17/2016

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I’ll start by saying I enjoyed this Private novel a lot more than I did the last. Both stories going on during the lead up to the 2016 Summer Olympics flowed steadily and were wrapped up in a way that answered almost all the questions posed. However, once again Jack Morgan loses someone important to him and that small glimmer of happiness you thought might be coming, is shot down. I guess that is what makes a reader keep coming back. This time both plots seemed like they could realistically happen in today’s society, especially in light of the recent terrorist attacks around the world. This book certainly makes me wonder what might happen next month as the Games begin and all the world looks to Rio and Brazil.

Rio has spent years preparing to host the world during the Olympic games — but they didn’t prepare for this… Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — home to beautiful white-sand beaches, gorgeous women, stunning natural beauty, and the world’s largest Carnival celebration — knows how to throw a party.  So it’s a natural choice to host the biggest spectacles in sports — the World Cup and the Olympics.  To ensure that the games go off without a hitch, the organizers turn to Jack Morgan, the unflappable head of the renowned international security and consulting firm Private. But when events are this exclusive, someone’s bound to get left off the guest list. Two years after the action nearly spilled from the field to the stands during soccer’s championship match, Jack is back in Rio for the Olympics. But before the cauldron is even lit, the only thing more intense than the competitions is the security risks. When prominent clients he’s supposed to be protecting disappear, and bodies mysteriously start to litter the streets, Jack is drawn deep into the heart of a ruthless underworld populated by disaffected residents trying to crash the world’s biggest party. As the opening ceremonies near, with the world watching in horror, Jack must sprint to the finish line to defuse a threat that could decimate Rio and turn the games from a joyous celebration into a deadly spectacle.

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby


Bone Gap by Laura Ruby , 345 pages, read by Kira, on 07/25/2016

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Finn was there when Roza was kidnapped.  But Finn has trouble recognizing faces – he recognizes people by the way they move, by the rest of their body.  It is a condition known as Prosopagnosia. However, people just think Finn is strange, but they don’t know why, they call him Moonboy or Sidetrack.  So when he cannot describe the man that took Roza, they wonder if Roza went willingly.  Finn however, keeps trying to find her.  He also has a crush on a local girl Priscilla or Petey.  Petey keeps bees, has a nice figure, but an odd face.  Finn of course doesn’t notice her face.

This was a wonderful delightful read.  I loved the magical realism, and the fact that the allusions were subtle.  I liked that the author showed how our stereotypical “hero” is wounded and in reality unable to rise to a challenge.  I liked the fact that the book is sex-positive.  And I really liked the protagonist Finn.

Dragon Rider


Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, 527 pages, read by Angie, on 07/25/2016

Dragon Rider

The dragons have been living in their Scottish valley for centuries, but now the humans are coming and it is time to leave. Firedrake sets out with Sorrel the Brownie to find the mythical Rim of Heaven and the home of the dragons. Along the way they meet orphan Ben who joins them on their journey. They are harassed and pursued by Nettlebrand, the Golden One, a dragon-like creature created to destroy the dragons. Their journey takes them from Scotland all along the coast of Europe to the Indus River and the Himalayas.

I enjoyed this book but I did think it was pretty long for the age it is aimed at. It probably could have been edited down by a good 150-200 pages and still maintained the integrity of the story. There were a couple of really magical parts to the story that really struck me as wonderful. The main one was the village on the Indus that used to celebrate the dragons coming to the see every full moon. Then the dragons disappeared and the village still looked for them. They had to wait 150 years before a dragon returned but they celebrated it just the same. That little bit of the story was truly touching and magical. What wasn’t magical was all the swearing and name-calling done by several of the characters. So the swear words weren’t “bad” words, but it was a lot of negativity and bullying that I found distasteful. It is something I have noticed a lot in Funke’s books and wish I hadn’t. I don’t know that young readers will notice or care, but as an adult reader I was a bit put off.

Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman


Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman by Lindy West, 260 pages, read by LisaS, on 07/25/2016

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Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible–like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you–writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.

From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.

With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss–and walk away laughing. Shrillprovocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.

–from Goodreads.com.

Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library


Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library by Don Borchert, 240 pages, read by Kayla, on 07/23/2016

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Not long ago, the public library was a place for the bookish, the eggheaded, and the studious–often seeking refuge from a loud, irrational, crude, outside world. Today, libraries have become free-for-all entertainment complexes filled with rowdy teens, deviants, drugs, and even sex toys. Lockdowns and chaperones are often necessary. What happened? Don Borchert was a short-order cook, door-to-door salesman, telemarketer, and Christmas-tree-chopper before landing a job in a California library. He never could have predicted his encounters with the colorful kooks, touching adolescents, threatening bullies, and tricksters who fill the pages of this hilarious memoir. Borchert offers readers a ringside seat for the unlikely spectacle of mayhem and absurdity that is business as usual at the public library–cops bust drug dealers who’ve set up shop in the men’s restroom, a burka-wearing employee suffers a curse-ridden nervous breakdown, and a lonely, neglected kid who grew up in the library and still sends postcards to his surrogate parents–the librarians. In fact, from the first page of this comic debut to the last, you’ll learn everything about the world of the modern-day library that you never expected. (–Goodreads.com)

 

This book was way more interesting than I originally thought. It’s always interesting to see how places work from the point of the view of the employees (rather than the owners), and it was really nice to see how similar MRRL is to a library all the way out in California. Though I haven’t been employed here for very long, I’m sure that I will be able to write my own book one day of crazy patrons, coworkers and other adventures here. Though I don’t think this job will be as weird as the one mentioned in the book, I highly recommend it to any librarian. I’m sure someone else will get a few chuckles out of this book like I did.

The Bell Jar


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, 296 pages, read by LisaC, on 07/25/2016

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The Bell Jar chronicles Esther Greenwood’s descent into mental illness. A dark and tragic tale,  it has been hailed through generations as one of the best descriptions of mental illness in literature. When describing Esther’s first visit to her psychiatrist Plath explains Esther’s fear…”and then I would find the words to tell him how I was so scared, as if I were being stuffed farther and farther into an black, airless sack with no way out.”
Then when Esther was contemplating suicide she offers up this gut wrenching explanation as to why she couldn’t do it in the end, ” But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defenseless that I couldn’t do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn’t in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get at.”
Desperate, sad and at times difficult to read, I found myself riveted by the writing, the poignant story of one’s journey into the dark ugly world of mental illness.

Mrs. Lincoln: A Life


Mrs. Lincoln: A Life by Catherine Clinton, 415 pages, read by Kim B, on 07/24/2016

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Catherine Clinton’s biography Mrs. Lincoln: A Life is the little known story of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the sixteenth President of the United States. Unlike her husband, Mary was born into wealth and privilege,  political as well as personal, but also unlike her husband, Mary Lincoln’s was a mercurial personality. Historians have been trying to figure her out since the day she stepped across the threshold of the White House. Clinton’s delves into the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, the celebrations and the tragedies of this woman’s life which in the end managed to unhinge her mentally. While the assassination of Abraham Lincoln was the catalyst that put her on the  path mental instability, her neuroses went back even further to an insecure childhood, a love of money and possessions to take the place of the absent love of a father, a mother who died when she was young, and a stepmother and step siblings with whom she did not get along. In the end, Clinton decides that Mary Todd Lincoln was her own worst enemy. Her paranoia enhanced her insecurities, especially where her husband and other women were concerned, a paranoia that only grew deeper with age along with the huge financial debts she managed to accumulate. It was only after her incarceration in a mental asylum and in the decrepitude of old age, that Mary Todd Lincoln managed to find some modicum of peace before she died.

How to Eat Fried Worms


How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell, 128 pages, read by Angie, on 07/24/2016

How to Eat Fried Worms

How to Eat Fried Worms is the story of a bet and what it does to a friendship. Billy and Tom bet Allen and Joe that Billy can eat 15 worms in 15 days. If he does Allen will give him $50. Turns out Billy is a worm eating champion and starts enjoying the taste of the worms smothered in ketchup, mustard, horseradish, cheese and all kinds of other condiments. Allen and Joe get scared when Billy is doing so well and try to trick him in a multitude of ways. The bet does not do their friendship any good as the more worms Billy eats the more tensions erupt between the boys.

I remember reading this as a child and with many of the kids books I have reread I don’t think it stands up to adult reading. While I found this pretty realistic with the bet breaking up their friendship, I definitely did not enjoy the read as much as I did as a child. You can definitely tell that this book is 40 years old and I am not sure how much appeal that will have on modern readers.

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