15. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Pompeii and Other Lost Cities by John Malam, read by Angie, on 10/13/2013

I really like the format of this series. There is a two page spread on the history of the lost city and then a two page spread on how it was found. There are great little nuggets of history that will whet your appetite for more information. Everyone has heard of Pompeii and Machu Picchu, but little is known of Skara Brae or Akrotiri. It really made me want to find out more.

08. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World by Mary Losure, read by Angie, on 10/08/2013

Frances and her parents move in with Elsie’s family in Yorkshire during the Great War. Behind the house, in the beck (creek), Frances starts seeing fairies. One day she tells her family what she sees and Elsie says she sees them too. The adults want proof so the girls create fairy cutouts and take pictures with the fairies. Somehow word gets out and none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle starts corresponding with the girls to learn more about the fairies. Edward Garner starts lecturing around the country on the Cottingly fairies. The girls are forced to keep up their charade in order to avoid getting into trouble. They take another set of photos, but even that doesn’t stop the attention. They kept their secrets about doctoring the photos until almost the end of their lives; finally coming clean as elderly women. Mary Losure does a great job of telling Frances and Elsie’s stories. This was a very interesting and entertaining little book.

07. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Children's Books, History, Joyce, NonFiction

The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World by Mary Losure, read by Joyce, on 09/12/2013

The enchanting true story of a girl who saw fairies, and another with a gift for art, who concocted a story to stay out of trouble and ended up fooling the world.

Frances was nine when she first saw the fairies. They were tiny men, dressed all in green. Nobody but Frances saw them, so her cousin Elsie painted paper fairies and took photographs of them “dancing” around Frances to make the grown-ups stop teasing. The girls promised each other they would never, ever tell that the photos weren’t real. But how were Frances and Elsie supposed to know that their photographs would fall into the hands of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? And who would have dreamed that the man who created the famous detective Sherlock Holmes believed ardently in fairies — and wanted very much to see one? Mary Losure presents this enthralling true story as a fanciful narrative featuring the original Cottingley fairy photos and previously unpublished drawings and images from the family’s archives. A delight for everyone with a fondness for fairies, and for anyone who has ever started something that spun out of control.

What do most people know about the Norman Conquest, if they know anything at all? They know that William the Conqueror came over to England from Normandy in 1066 and conquered England. That’s it for the most part. This book is a highly readable account of the years leading up to the Conquest in both England and Normandy, what led to William crossing the Channel and what happened after the invasion. The cast of characters in this book is enormous and many of them have the same name, but Marc Morris manages to make history come alive. It amazes me how much information does still exist from the Conquest since it was almost a thousand years ago. Sure there isn’t a lot, but the fact that accounts of events do still exist is amazing. Morris uses contemporary (meaning 11th century) sources to explain the events of the time. He isn’t afraid to point out inconsistency or lack of information. He does a great job extrapolating the truth or the most likely truth from the accounts. This book highlights how violent and turbulent the times where in the eleventh century. It is truly amazing that anyone survived! Morris does not shy away from exposing the brutality of the Conquest or how William used violence to subdue the people. However, it does show that the Normans were maybe not quite as violent as their English counterparts in everyday life. William had a huge impact on how things were done in England. He changed everything from the structure of society to religion to land management to slavery. William also started a building boom in England that is still evident today. Many of the churches and castles built during this time are still standing and in use. America is such a young country that it is often hard to comprehend the fact that there are thousand year old structures in England. If you are looking for a good read on the history of the Norman Conquest, I would recommend this book.

I did receive a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.

03. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Bad Guys and Gals of the Wild West by Dona Herweck Rice, read by Angie, on 10/01/2013

This book gives us the biographies of some of the Wild West’s most notorious bad guys and gals. People like Billy the Kid, Belle Star, Doc Holliday are featured. We learn their history and how they became outlaws (in most cases). The book also asks what it truly means to be bad. It was an interesting look at the topic and the people in the book are all ones that kids would like to know more about. I do think the word “bad” is overused, but other than that it was a nice offering.

I did receive a copy of this book free from the publisher after attending a Booklist webinar.

03. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction, Teen Books

"The President Has Been Shot!": The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James L. Swanson, read by Angie, on 10/02/2013

The assassination of JFK was a pivotal moment in American history. James Swanson leads us through the lives of JFK and Oswald leading up to the assassination. He takes us step by step through the day of the assassination and the immediate days following. Swanson definitely has a bit of a bias in the way he treats Oswald. Not that Oswald was a good guy, but at one point Swanson even calls him evil and describes him in very derogatory terms. His attention to detail is very good however, with lots of source material and photos. This book is geared towards the older kid and some of the graphic explanations of what exactly happened to Kennedy may be too much for more sensitive readers.

I received this book from netgalley.com.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson , read by Angie, on 08/28/2013

The Civil Rights Movement was at a standstill and organizers were not sure how to get it started again. Then the kids started marching and things started moving. The jails were soon filled with children and students, but more and more kept joining the movement. They were determined to make changes in their world and their determination and fearlessness paid off. This is the story of several of the young people who marched in Birmingham that year; they were jailed and hosed with fire hoses and chased by dogs and jeered at by whites, but they stayed strong. They have told their stories to Cynthia Levinson in a moving account of how things happened. I loved the first person aspect of this book; it makes you feel like an insider to a part of history. The back matter of the audiobook included the actual interviews with those featured in the book. This was a wonderful peak into history.

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Informational Book, Janet, NonFiction

Haunted Ozarks by Janice Tremeear, read by Janet, on 08/28/2013

Haunted Ozarks     We live in an area of the Ozarks that has a very interesting history.  Some people who lived here before are not content to be forgotten.  The lay of the land is so varied that many types of living arrangements have developed through the years. From the earliest man living here, about 10,000 BC, to the present, many groups of people have had experiences that have left a busy history in this region – the Mound Builders, the Baldknobbers, and the Jessie James gang, to name a few.  There have also been happenings that involved many people, such as the Civil War and the Trail of Tears.  It seems that when some people die untimely, their spirit remains in that area.  Many stories are Indian legends.    Every county has at least one place where the restless bodies are known to be seen or heard, things are moved, or one feels the presence of another body.  Many homes are named in this story: Ha Ha Tonka, Leeper Mansion near Chillicothe, Houston House at Newburg, the Iberia Academy, the Kendrick House at Carthage, and Ozark Avalon were a few.  There are also many castle-like homes which have haunted legends.  Along with the stories are old sayings and superstitions listed.  This is a very interesting book with lots of historic information.

27. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, History, Kim, NonFiction · Tags:

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, read by Kim, on 08/27/2013

It was wonderful to read this book again after so many years.

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic; a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

24. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, & Other Female Villains by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, read by Angie, on 08/23/2013

Who doesn’t love a bad girl? Jane Yolen teams up with her daughter to give us brief glimpses of the lives of several bad girls throughout history. We learn about such bad girls as Salome, Cleopatra, Bloody Mary, Lizzie Borden, and many, many more. The information is presented in two to four page chunks that will whet your appetite for more information about each of these women. Yolen doesn’t gloss over their bad deeds but she does offer explanations for the times and for history’s retelling. Interspersed between the chapters are one page graphic novel format sessions of Jane and Heidi doing “research” and arguing over the latest bad girl. These segments are funny since a lot of their research involves eating, traveling and shoes. I think kids will enjoy these bad girls and their stories. You can read them all or just your favorites and with only a couple of pages for each lady it doesn’t take very long.

22. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Historic Photos of Missouri by Alan Goforth, read by Tammy, on 08/17/2013

historic photos

This book contains many interesting photos of Missouri throughout it’s history including some from Cole and Osage County. In fact the first photo inside the book is from Chamois, Missouri in Osage County!

This book conveys Missouri’s rich cultural heritage and history through this collection of photos. Ranging from city life to rural country life this book features some of the states most important natural resources, including the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers. Nearly 200 vivid black-and-white photographs show the reader the places, people and events that have shaped the history of the Show-Me State. From the early 1870s to the 1970s are photos of President Ulysses Grant’s cabin, the Gateway Arch,  cotton pickers in the Bootheel, the 1904 World’s Fair, Whiteman Air Force Base, the Lake of the Ozarks,the St. Louis Browns, the first capitol at Jefferson City, Ste. Genevieve and other towns as they looked in days gone by.

21. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

The War to End All Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman, read by Angie, on 08/19/2013

Russell Freedman is a master of children’s nonfiction. His work is readable and interesting. His look at WWI, the War to End All Wars, was a fascinating read. He gives us the history and politics that started the war and the major campaigns and battles in the war. He also takes a look at the aftermath and how it led to WWII. This was a war that changed how wars were fought. 20 million people were killed during WWI and yet the world went to war again 20 years later. It is like we learned nothing. I would definitely recommend this for fans of military and historical information.

16. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

Talking Pictures by Ransom Riggs, read by Tammy, on 08/09/2013

The author found antique photos with notes on the photos about the personal moments of the people in the pictures or other friends and family. He realized he had something unique in his unusual collection and decided to share this lost bits of time and place in a book.talking pictures

01. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Seven Wonders of Ancient Greece by Michael Woods and Mary B. Woods, read by Angie, on 07/31/2013

This book covers the seven wonders of ancient Greece; it includes things like the Parthenon and the Oracle at Delphi. It gives really good historical information and facts about each wonder and their condition today. Lots of good information; educational and entertaining.

01. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Christian, History, Inspirational, Kira, NonFiction, Reviewer · Tags:

The heart of Christianity: rediscovering a life of faith by Marcus J. Borg., read by Kira, on 07/31/2013

Renowned Jesus SeminarBorg_Heart_of_Chrty mborg_arms_raised scholar, Marcus Borg, distinguishes between “Earlier Christianity” and “Emerging Christianity”.  He discusses how Christianity limited its focus in reaction to Enlightenment Science challenging aspects of the Bible.  Christianity narrowed its focus to a set of beliefs (atonement theology) focused around sin and the afterlife.  Borg shows how much deeper and richer Christianity is than merely believing certain doctrines or the literalness of certain biblical passages.

I was impressed.

If you’re interested and want to see a video-clip of him go to:

 

29. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson, read by Angie, on 07/27/2013

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer is a fast-paced, exciting read. It details the plot to kill Lincoln and the manhunt for Booth afterwards. There is a lot of details about why John Wilkes Booth wanted to kill the president, how he set it up, and how he escaped into the Maryland/Virginia countryside. There are also a lot of details about how General Stanton took over the death watch for Lincoln and the manhunt for Booth. This book reads like fiction even though it is nonfiction. I listened to the audio and Will Patton has the perfect voice for this type of material. It was compelling and fascinating.

23. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Biographies, History, Kim · Tags:

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer, read by Kim, on 07/19/2013

Based on the true story of Irena Sendler, a Holocaust hero, and the Kansas teens who ‘rescued the rescuer’.

I loved this book. Couldn’t put it down!

15. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Discovering the Iceman by Shelley Tanaka, read by Angie, on 07/12/2013

In 1991, a couple hiking in the Alps discovered the frozen remains of a man. At first many thought the man was a lost hiker, but it turns out he was 5300 years old. His body had been preserved in the ice on the mountain for all those years. It was only discovered because the ice had been retreating and melting. Scientists studied the remains and learned a lot about this prehistoric man. He died where he was found and had many artifacts with him, including jewelry, weapons, tools and clothing. We may never know exactly what happened to this man, but his discovery was very interesting.

This book talks about the discovery of the man, his possible life and what we learned from him. Tanaka did a great job researching the find and its importance. I especially enjoyed the side items explaining things that were discussed in the text; like prehistoric tools, glaciers, and animals.

06. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, History, Madeline, NonFiction

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson, read by Madeline, on 06/10/2013

The inspiring story of one of the greatest moments in civil rights history as seen through the eyes of four young people who were at the center of the action.
The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March was a turning point in American history. In the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, the fight for civil rights lay in the hands of children like Audrey Hendricks, Wash Booker, James Stewart, and Arnetta Streeter.
Through the eyes of these four protesters and others who participated, We’ve Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary, middle, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail between May 2 and May 11, 1963. The children succeeded – where adults had failed – in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in America.
By combining in-depth, one-on-one interviews and extensive research, author Cynthia Levinson recreates the events of the Birmingham Children’s March from a new and very personal perspective.

A terrific book! I’ve read a good amount about the civil rights movement but didn’t know about this.

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, Informational Book, NonFiction

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, read by Angie, on 06/16/2013

Did you know that congestion is basically an erection in your nose? I didn’t, but it is making me think of colds in a whole new way. Mary Roach tackles sex in all its glory in Bonk. Like Stiff and Packing for Mars (the other two Roach books I have read so far), she focuses on the absurd, the lurid, and the hilarity of the subject. She delves into the history of sex research from Kinsey to Masters and Johnson to modern day researchers. Through Roach’s research we also learn all about penile implants, non-sexual orgasms, who has the best sex* and more. The book was fun to listen to if slightly embarrassing when caught at a light while driving. Other drivers tend to take notice when the words masturbation and clitoris are blaring out of your speakers. This is my third Mary Roach book and I highly recommend them.

*In case you are wondering…it is gay and lesbian couples who have the best sex. They seem to take their time and enjoy the ride whereas heterosexual couples race to the finish line and don’t always take the time for their partners.