22. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, History, Humor, Informational Book, Tammy

Bed Manners: A Very British Guide to Boudoir Etiquette by Ralph Hopton , 151 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/15/2015

bed manners Ever wonder how to avoid offending your spouse with your evening sleeping habits? Or perhaps wonder what the challenges might be of sleeping with another person if you never have? This could be the guide book for you. Originally published in the 1930s the book addresses bedroom etiquette with a sense of humor. It is amazing how few of the basic problems have changed over the years. Husbands and wives still bicker over whose job it is to investigate noises in the middle of the night, who has to get up to get another blanket or close the window or do we even want the window open.

22. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: History, How To's, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags:

Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff by Charles Carson , 117 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/14/2015

downton Some items refer specifically to the household of the television show Downton Abbey, but most information given is historically researched. Even includes recipes and instructions for everything from cleaning silver to properly storing seasonal clothes to protect them from dust and bugs. For fans of the show as well as those looking for traditional cleaning information.

21. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: History, Katy, NonFiction · Tags:

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, 406 pages, read by Katy, on 01/20/2015

unbroken-book-cover-01On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

From www.goodreads.com

I recommend this book to everyone!

20. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: History, NonFiction, Paula

The Dog Who Could Fly by Lewis, Damien, 288 pages, read by Paula, on 01/18/2015

hw7.pl “An instant hit in the UK, this is the true account of a German shepherd who was adopted by the Royal Air Force during World War II, joined in flight missions, and survived everything from crash-landings to parachute bailouts–ultimately saving the life of his owner and dearest friend. In the winter of 1939 in the cold snow of no-man’s-land, two loners met and began an extraordinary journey that would turn them into lifelong friends. One was an orphaned puppy, abandoned by his owners as they fled Nazi forces. The other was a different kind of lost soul–a Czech airman bound for the Royal Air Force and the country that he would come to call home. Airman Robert Bozdech stumbled across the tiny German shepherd–whom he named Ant–after being shot down on a daring mission over enemy lines. Unable to desert his charge, Robert hid Ant inside his jacket as he escaped. In the months that followed the pair would save each others lives countless times as they flew together with Bomber Command. And though Ant was eventually grounded due to injury, he refused to abandon his duty, waiting patiently beside the runway for his master’s return from every sortie, and refusing food and sleep until they were reunited. By the end of the war Robert and Ant had become British war heroes, and Ant was justly awarded the Dickin Medal, the ‘Animal VC.’ With beautiful vintage black-and-white photos of Robert and Ant, The Dog Who Could Fly is a deeply moving story of loyalty in the face of adversity and the unshakable bond between a man and his best friend”

20. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: History, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

Berlin: Portrait of a City Through the Centuries by Rory Maclean, 420 pages, read by Kim B, on 01/19/2015

I did not think that I would enjoy this book as much as I did. The author follows Berlin through the centuries through the eyes of the people that lived there from royalty to peasant, from the rich and famous to the poor and unknown. He includes such contemporaries as Christopher Isherwood, Marlene Dietrich, and David Bowie. I can promise that this book is not full of “dry” history, but rich with the human experience of living in this city down through history.

12. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, Informational Book, NonFiction · Tags: ,

Haunted Air: Anonymous Halloween photographs from c. 1875–1955 by Ossian Brown, David Lynch (Introduction), Geoff Cox (Afterword), 216 pages, read by Angie, on 01/12/2015

So I saw this book on Goodreads and just had to check it out. It looked super creepy and I was not disappointed. There is just something about these old photographs of people in homemade Halloween costumes that ups the creep factor to about 11. I have no idea what most of the costumes are nor do I want to know. The sepia color of the photos makes everything just a little bit more bizarre and demonic. If I saw any of these costumes at my door on Halloween I think I would lock the door and hide in the closet for the rest of the night.

08. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, History, NonFiction · Tags: ,

Irish Witchcraft and Demonology by John D. Seymour, 256 pages, read by Brian, on 01/08/2015

irishThis is a fascinating book.  Seymour documents different people who were known for their witchcraft or people thought they were practicing.  He explores the history of when witchcraft first appeared in Ireland.  Fascinating to some people and maybe a bore to others.

 

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin, 208 pages, read by Angie, on 12/27/2014

Segregation and racism were alive and well during WWII. That didn’t stop thousands of young black men from joining the military to fight for their country. Almost all of these men were assigned menial jobs and deemed not fit for combat. In the Navy, that meant stateside duties instead of serving on ships. This book is about the group of men who loaded ammunition onto war ships at Port Chicago. They were all black with white officers. The men had no training in munitions or ship loading. The conditions were dangerous and that danger caught up to the port one evening. On July 17, 1944 the port exploded killing over 300 soldiers. It destroyed two ships and the entire port. Every man in the port area died. Those on the base that survived were not very happy about going back to work after the disaster. This is the story of the 50 men who refused to load ammunition again. They were charged with mutiny and went on trial. The trial found them all guilty of mutiny even though it didn’t seem like their actions fit the definition of mutiny. There were even men charged who refused to load munitions because they weren’t capable and had never loaded before: a cook, an injured man, an underweight man. Didn’t seem like it mattered why they refused the order they were still charged. Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP became involved in the case and tried to get the charges dropped on the basis of racism, but were unsuccessful. Even though this case made the Navy rethink its segregation policies and eventually led to the integration of the Navy, the men’s records were never cleared of the charges. It is a sad part of our history and one Sheinkin did a fabulous job covering. Highly readable with lots of interesting information.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, History, NonFiction, Sports

Babe Conquers the World: The Legendary Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias by Rich Wallace, Sandra Neil Wallace, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 12/23/2014

Babe Didrikson Zaharias was a sports wonder. She excelled at pretty much any sport she attempted: basketball, running, high jump, bowling, golf. You name it and she probably tried it. She was a brash, outspoken, driven person who didn’t always make friends with her competitors or teammates. She had to overcome huge odds to make it in the sports world at a time when women were not thought to be athletically talented. I am not a sports person and had never heard of her before reading this book. I feel like I should have. She opened doors for women athletes and showed that women are just as good if not better than men!

05. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, History, Madeline, NonFiction

Celia: A Slave by Melton A. McLaurin, 192 pages, read by Madeline, on 11/20/2014

Celia was an ordinary slave–until she struck back at her abusive master and became the defendant in a landmark trial that threatened to undermine the very foundations of the South’s “Peculiar Institution.”

17. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Graphic Book, History, NonFiction

Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale, 128 pages, read by Angie, on 11/16/2014

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a graphic novel about WWI, but this one was fantastic. I think I learned more about the war than I have from any other source. The information is presented in a wonderfully reader friendly way that kids will gravitate towards. The story of the war is presented by a Revolutionary War era traitor named Nathan Hale who is telling the story to his hangman and the British officer responsible for hanging him. The countries of Europe are represented by various animals so you can easily tell them apart (although I will admit I had to look back to figure out which animal was which country several times). The causes of the war are clearly laid out as are the major battles and the results of those battles. My only big complaint was the size of the graphic frames. The book is on the smaller size which made the graphic frames smaller. I think it would have benefitted from a larger print size so you could see more of the details.

Rude Dude speaks in a language that I think kids will find appealing. He doesn’t talk like an adult or a kid but more of a mix of the two. He has lots of interesting history and facts about foods that kids like eating. He starts with chocolate and moves on to hamburgers and egg rolls and pizza. There are some really interesting facts about how these foods came to be favorites and how they came together. He also intersperses his historical facts with healthy eating facts that will hopefully motivate kids. Entertaining and just enough fun stuff to attract young readers.

30. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, History, Lisa, NonFiction

He Has Shot the President by Don Brown, 64 pages, read by Lisa, on 10/29/2014

The headline that shocked the nation: President Lincoln Shot by Assassin John Wilkes Booth! One of the most exciting stories in American history told with full color illustrations.
The fifth installment in Don Brown’s Actual Times series featuring significant days in American history covers the Lincoln assassination and the ensuing manhunt. In He Has Shot the President! both Lincoln and Booth emerge as vivid characters, defined by the long and brutal Civil War, and set on a collision course toward tragedy. With his characteristic straightforward storytelling voice and dynamic water color illustration, Don Brown gives readers a chronological account of the events and also captures the emotion of the death of America’s greatest president.

01. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, History, Kira, NonFiction

The Mental Floss History of the World : An Irreverent Romp through Civilization's Best Bits by Erik Sass and Steve Wiegand with Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur., 416 pages, read by Kira, on 09/23/2014

3242424mental-floss-forbidden-knowledgeMentalFloss500mentalfloss   This was a far more interesting history of the world, or most any history than I’ve previously read. The downside, is that I will have difficulty remembering all the individual facts.  The narrative was constructed more like Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader including Harper’s Magazine Index-type lists of comparative statistics that really make you think. Much more attention is given to Asia, Africa and South America than your standard Euro-centered histories of the past.   Did you know that the Khan that Marco Polo visited was the same Kubla Khmentalfloss2an mentioned in Coleridge’s poem?  I listened to this title and thus missed some formatting and organization that would have been communicated on the page.   Apparently, they had sidebars that listed who-or-what was up at a given point in time, who/what was down. They also had important events listed within a given time-period.  These interesting tidbits didn’t translate as readily to the audio version, they needed more verbal placemarkers, such as these highlights apply to this time period.  Still I really enjoyed this book, and will look for more Mental Floss titles.

01. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, History, Lisa, NonFiction

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, 416 pages, read by Lisa, on 09/30/2014

For readers of Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Unbroken, the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics

Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled  by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.

Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s The Amateurs.

25. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Strike!: The Farm Workers' Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner, 172 pages, read by Angie, on 09/24/2014

Strike!: The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights details the history of the farm workers struggle that started in California with the grape workers. These workers were generally migrants who travelled northward through California as the grape harvest came in. The Filipino and Chicano workers were not paid very much and their living conditions were deplorable. In the 1960s, two dynamic leaders started organizing the workers and trying to get them better working conditions. Cesar Chavez worked with the Chicano workers and Larry Itliong worked with the Filipino. They eventually banded together to form the United Farm Workers of America Union and led a successful strike and boycott of the industry. Their efforts took many years, but they showed through peaceful, nonviolent means that they could accomplish their goals. This book is an excellent source for kids to learn about the creation of unions and the conditions workers had to endure. It offers a wonderful historical perspective on what was going on in the agriculture sector during the 20th century.

23. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat by Gail Jarrow, 192 pages, read by Angie, on 09/22/2014

I have never heard of Pellagra or the fact that it was an epidemic in this country in the first half of the 20th century. After reading this book I am pretty happy that it is not a disease we need to worry about any longer. This book was so very interesting. I love learning about new things; I also really like reading about disgusting things. Pellagra is a disease that was around Europe for hundreds of years before appearing in the United States in the 1900s. It was believed the disease was caused by eating bad corn products which is why it affected mostly poor people in the South. They lived on grits and cornmeal and little else. Pellagra caused the four Ds: dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and death. It killed between 1 in 10 and 6 in 10 people affected. It took almost 40 years of investigations by multiple doctors to figure out what really caused Pellagra and how to treat it. Dr. Joseph Goldberg worked on the Pellagra problem for over 15 years and was the one who discovered that it was a lack of niacin in the diet that caused the problem. Because of his work with the Public Health Services that our grain products are now fortified with vitamins and minerals to decrease the chances of diseases caused by dietary deficiencies. This was a truly fascinating book.

27. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Informational Book, Marsha, NonFiction

Evolution of a Missouri Asylum: Fulton State Hospital, 1851-2006 by Richard L. Lael, 252 pages, read by Marsha, on 08/27/2014

downloadThis text provides a lot of basic information about the formation of the asylum in Fulton as well as present day status and everything in between.  Very informative if the reader is interested in some of the politics surrounding the state hospital throughout history.  Lael gives a lot of factual information, including patient statistics.  However, I feel that the book is lacking in one very important aspect: the lives of the patients who lived/live there.  In order to give an accurate history, this reviewer feels that conditions within the asylum should have been included, not just what was happening on the outside.  Though the author makes note of three patients who lived there, this is a very small and seemingly insignificant portion of the book.  An interesting read, but not what this reviewer was looking for.  So many of the treatments used were just glossed over or barely mentioned.  This is, then, truly only a PARTIAL history of this facility.

17. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction, Teen Books · Tags: ,

The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 08/16/2014

Adolf Eichmann was a Nazi commander in charge of emptying Europe of its Jews. He commanded the transportation of Jews from their homes to the ghettos to the camps and to their extermination. He was an essential part of the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem. At the end of WWII, he escaped Germany and ended up in Buenos Ares, Argentina. He lived there in freedom for 15 years before he was identified by a local girl and her Jewish father. Israel was contacted and soon a team of Mossad agents where in Buenos Ares with a plan to capture Eichmann and bring him back to Israel to stand trial. This is their story. It is a compelling story of how the Israelis tracked down Eichmann, confirmed his identity, captured him, and secreted him out of Argentina. The trial of Adolf Eichmann brought the story of the Holocaust into the public consciousness. Survivors were able to tell their stories and the world was ready to listen. This trial was a turning point in the story of the Jews. It is a powerful story and one I hadn’t heard before. Definitely worth the read.

14. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction · Tags:

The Venus Fixers: The Remarkable Story of the Allied Soldiers Who Saved Italy's Art During World War II by Ilaria Dagnini Brey, 320 pages, read by Angie, on 08/12/2014

The Venus Fixers is the story of the monuments men in Italy. If you have read and enjoyed The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel then you will probably enjoy this one. Whereas The Monuments Men was very much the story of the the looted artwork from France and the treasure hunt to find it, this is the story of how the Venus Fixers were on the front lines trying to save monuments and art as soon as they are destroyed. It is the story of Florence and the terrible price that city paid during WWII. It is the story of the Italian superintendents who worked within and around the fascist government and the Nazis to protect their treasurers. It is a fascinating look at a fascinating time of history.