14. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

Compact Houses by Gerald Rowan, 207 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/08/2014

compact homesGuide to making the most of smaller homes though several of these I didn’t consider small. The book gives floor plans, guides to what to consider when designing room layouts, ways to remodel small spaces to make them more energy efficient and a few general ideas to make the most of every inch in your smaller home.

I was hoping for more ideas on remodeling an existing small home.

 

05. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Graphic Book, Informational Book, NonFiction

Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 1 by Ed Piskor, 112 pages, read by Courtney, on 03/03/2014

Ed Piskor has taken on an extremely ambitious undertaking in his on-going Hip Hop Family Tree comic strip. Originally serialized online at Boing Boing, the comic has now been collected and bound for our reading pleasure. Beginning with some of the earliest house parties and rap battles and moving up through rap’s mainstream breakthrough in Blondie’s single, “Rapture”, this first volume has a lot of ground to cover. The end of the book features an index and discographies, both of the artists and the beats/breaks frequently used by DJs.
I totally get why the format is used for this history of hip hop, but I still can’t help but feel like there’s something missing here. It gets difficult to keep track of all the names and alliances. There are definitely tons of noteworthy moments featured throughout, but more organization and contextual information would have been helpful.

03. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction, Travel

My Venice and Other Essays by Donna Leon, 240 pages, read by Madeline, on 02/28/2014

Donna Leon has won a huge number of passionate fans and a tremendous amount of critical acclaim for her international bestselling mystery series featuring Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti. These accolades have built up not just for her intricate plots and gripping narratives, but for her insight into the culture, politics, family-life, and history of Venice, one of the world’s most-treasured cities, and Leon’s home for over thirty years. Readers love how Leon opens the doors to a private Venice, beyond the reach of the millions of international tourists who delight in the city’s canals, food, and art every year.

My Venice and Other Essays will be a treat for Leon’s many fans, as well as for lovers of Italy and La Serenissima. For many years, Leon, who is a perennial #1 bestseller in Germany, has written essays for European publications. Collected here are the best of these: over fifty funny, charming, passionate, and insightful essays that range from battles over garbage in the canals to the troubles with rehabbing Venetian real estate. She shares episodes from her life in Venice, explores her love of opera, and recounts tales from in and around her country house in the mountains. With pointed observations and humor, she also explores her family history and former life in New Jersey, and the idea of the Italian man.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Helen, Informational Book, NonFiction

Doing Social Media so it Matters by Laura Solomon, 65 pages, read by Helen, on 09/30/2012

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn: it’s difficult enough to keep abreast of social media Web sites, let alone understand how they fit into today’s library. This practical resource brings together current information on the topic in a concise format that’s easy to digest. Laura Solomon is a librarian with more than a decade of experience in Web development, design, and technology, and her timely guide Provides context on the social media phenomenonOffers practical advice on how libraries can choose, use, and monitor these tools effectivelyIdentifies additional resources and best practicesSolomon has written a unique, to-the-point guidebook for those ready to jump into the deep end of the pool and commence or improve their library’s tweeting, posting, and friending.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, 353 pages, read by Madeline, on 01/30/2013

“Tiny Beautiful Things” brings the best of Cheryl Strayed’s published and never-before-published online columns in one place and includes a new introduction by Steve Almond.

Life can be hard, life can be great. For years, the anonymous author of Dear Sugar was the one to turn to for advice. Now, the best of Cheryl Strayed’s online columns are collected in one place for you to enjoy– and learn from.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction

Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere by Lauren Leto, 269 pages, read by Madeline, on 01/30/2013

Leto, humor blogger and co-author of “Texts from Last Night,” now offers a fascinating field guide to the hearts and minds of readers everywhere. An unrelentingly witty and delightfully irreverent guide to the intricate world of passionate literary debate, at once skewering and celebrating great writers, from Dostoevsky to Ayn Rand to Jonathan Franzen, and all the people who read them.

06. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Cookbooks, Informational Book, NonFiction

Kale: The Complete Guide to the World's Most Powerful Superfood by Stephanie Pedersen, 191 pages, read by Claudia, on 01/23/2014

Kale is the veggie everyone’s gone mad for—from farmers and foodies to celebrity chefs! For those eager to get in on this healthy, tasty trend, here is a fun-to-read, one-stop resource for all things kale, including more than 75 recipes to entice, satisfy, and boost your well-being. The dishes include meltingly tender stews, flash-sautéed side dishes, salads and slaws, sandwiches, smoothies, and even muffins and chips. Stephanie Pedersen, a holistic health counselor and experienced health writer, provides dozens of tips for making kale delicious and desirable to even the most finicky eater. You’ll even learn how to start your own kale garden and turn over a new leaf for a healthier life.

06. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction

Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life by Eric Lindner, 323 pages, read by Madeline, on 01/15/2014

As a part-time hospice volunteer, Eric Lindner provides companion care to dying strangers. They re chatterboxes and recluses, religious and irreligious, battered by cancer, congestive heart failure, Alzheimer s, old age. Some cling to life amazingly. Most pass as they expected. In telling his story, Lindner reveals the thoughts, fears, and lessons of those living the ends of their lives in the care of others, having exhausted their medical options or ceased treatment for their illnesses. In each chapter, Lindner not only reveals the lessons of lives explored in their final days, but zeroes in on how working for hospice can be incredibly fulfilling. As he s not a doctor, nurse, or professional social worker, just a volunteer lending a hand, offering a respite for other care providers, his charges often reveal more, and in more detail, to him than they do to those with whom they spend the majority of their time. They impart what they feel are life lessons as they reflect on their own lives and the prospect of their last days. Lindner captures it all in his lively storytelling. Anyone who knows or loves someone working through end of life issues, living in hospice or other end of life facilities, or dealing with terminal or chronic illnesses, will find in these pages the wisdom of those who are working through their own end of life issues, tackling life s big questions, and boiling them down into lessons for anyone as they age or face illness. And those who may feel compelled to volunteer to serve as companions will find motivation, inspiration, and encouragement. Rather than sink under the weight of depression, pity, or sorrow, Lindner celebrates the lives of those who choose to live even as they die.

06. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction

Food Lit: A Reader's Guide to Epicurean Nonfiction by Melissa Stoeger, 350 pages, read by Madeline, on 01/01/2014

“Food Lit: A Reader’s Guide to Epicurean Nonfiction” provides a much-needed resource for librarians assisting adult readers interested in the topic of food–a group that is continuing to grow rapidly. Containing annotations of hundreds of nonfiction titles about food that are arranged into genre and subject interest categories for easy reference, the book addresses a diversity of reading experiences by covering everything from foodie memoirs and histories of food to extreme cuisine and food exposes.

Author Melissa Stoeger has organized and described hundreds of nonfiction titles centered on the themes of food and eating, including life stories, history, science, and investigative nonfiction. The work emphasizes titles published in the past decade without overlooking significant benchmark and classic titles. It also provides lists of suggested read-alikes for those titles, and includes several helpful appendices of fiction titles featuring food, food magazines, and food blogs.

04. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Informational Book, NonFiction · Tags:

The Black Belt Librarian: Real World Safety & Security by Warren Graham, 104 pages, read by Angie, on 02/03/2014

I think this is a book that everyone who works in a library should read. It is nice and short, but it is full of practical advice for keeping things safe in your library. I really liked the fact that most of the advice can be tailored to your specific situation but is relevant to everyone. This book is easy to read and seems like it would be fairly easy to implement. It is full of library anecdotes that any library employee can recognize. I think some of the best advice in the book is about being aware of your surroundings and being consistent in how you enforce library rules.

03. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Informational Book, NonFiction

The Good Life for Less: Giving your Family Great Meals, Good Times, and a Happy Home on a Budget. by Amy Allen Clark, 240 pages, read by Claudia, on 01/03/2014

The Good Life for Less: Giving Your Family Great Meals, Good Times, and a Happy Home on a Budget

Amy Allen Clark (creator of MomAdvice.com) has written a gem of book.  I must say the title of the book got my attention immediately.  Who doesn’t what to live the good life for less?  We all do, right?  I must admit I have gotten more skeptical with age, but by end of the first chapter I was hooked.  Clark has such a down-to earth, conversational style you practically feel like you know her!  She and her husband struggled early in their marriage with finances, and although they have made their way out of debt, they still choose to live simply and within their means.  I was impressed by Clark’s many smart and creative ideas for families living on a budget. She also includes a chapter of good recipes I have already introduced to my family, and most importantly, they liked them! This book is a guide for everyone who finds themselves challenged to juggle all the roles that come with working and parenting  Amy Allen Clark gives you the tools, the guidance, and the inspiration you need to run your own household with wisdom, wit, love, and style.  As a Librarian at Missouri River Regional Library, I purchased the book for the library and checked it out.  I wasn’t even half-way through reading the book before I decided I need to invest in my own copy, and that is truly the best endorsement I can give any book!

29. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Informational Book

The Black Belt Librarian by Warren Graham, 104 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/08/2014

Black Belt Librarian is a practical guide to making sure your library is a safe space, both for you and your patrons. Written not by a librarian, but by a security professional, this slender book is filled with tough questions and great advice. This should probably be required reading for anyone in a supervisory or managerial role and highly recommended reading for front-line staff. I, for one, am really glad I read it and am currently encouraging all of my colleagues to do the same.

28. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cookbooks, Fiction, How To's, Humor, Informational Book, Noelle, NonFiction

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris, 303 pages, read by Noelle, on 01/08/2014

Cute. Quirky. Weird. Adorable.  INAPPROPRIATE!  Charming. Hilarious. Delicious.  Those are just a few words that come to mind when reading this book, which was a great deal of fun.  If you’re familiar with Amy Sedaris, then you’d expect nothing less.

Are you lacking direction in how to whip up a swanky soiree for lumberjacks?  A dinner party for white-collar workers?  A festive gathering for the grieving? Don’t despair. Take a cue from entertaining expert Amy Sedaris and host an unforgettable fete that will have your guests raving.  No matter the style or size of the gathering-from the straightforward to the bizarre-I LIKE YOU provides jackpot recipes and solid advice laced with Amy’s blisteringly funny take on entertaining, plus four-color photos and enlightening sidebars on everything it takes to pull off a party with extraordinary flair.  You don’t even need to be a host or hostess to benefit-Amy offers tips for guests, too!  (Number one: don’t be fifteen minutes early.)  Readers will discover unique dishes to serve alcoholics (Broiled Frozen Chicken Wings with Applesauce), the secret to a successful children’s party (a half-hour time limit, games included), plus a whole appendix chock-full of arts and crafts ideas (from a mini-pantyhose plant-hanger to a do-it-yourself calf stretcher), and much, much more!

27. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Informational Book, NonFiction

Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health by Gene Stone, T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., 213 pages, read by Angie, on 01/26/2014

I recently watched the documentary Forks over Knives and decided to see what else the book had to offer. It is basically a narrative of the movie, but it still has some really good information on why you should change the way you eat. Forks Over Knives promotes a plant-based whole foods (vegan) diet. Doctors Campbell and Esselstyn have been researching the connections between nutrition and health for decades and their research has led them to this diet. Removing animal products and processed foods from the diet has been shown to greatly reduce the risks of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other health issues according to their studies. The book highlights why the diet is better for you, the environment and animals. It also provides a lot of recipes to get you started. I’m not sure if I could ever go completely vegan, but it does make me think about what I eat and how I eat.

07. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Informational Book, NonFiction

How to find out anything by Don Macleod, 256 pages, read by Claudia, on 12/19/2013

In How to Find Out Anything, master researcher Don MacLeod explains how to find what you’re looking for quickly, efficiently, and accurately—and how to avoid the most common mistakes of the Google Age.

Not your average research book, How to Find Out Anything shows you how to unveil nearly anything about anyone. From top CEO’s salaries to police records, you’ll learn little-known tricks for discovering the exact information you’re looking for. You’ll learn:

  • How to really tap the power of Google, and why Google is the best place to start a search, but never the best place to finish it.
  • The scoop on vast, yet little-known online resources that search engines cannot scour, such as refdesk.com, ipl.org, the University of Michigan Documents Center, and Project Gutenberg, among many others.
  • How to access free government resources (and put your tax dollars to good use).
  • How to find experts and other people with special knowledge.
  • How to dig up seemingly confidential information on people and businesses, from public and private companies to non-profits and international companies.

Whether researching for a term paper or digging up dirt on an ex, the advice in this book arms you with the sleuthing skills to tackle any mystery.

07. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Informational Book, NonFiction

Discover your optimal health by Wayne Scott Andersen, 240 pages, read by Claudia, on 12/12/2013

Go from surviving to thriving! Anyone who has ever lost weight only to ultimately gain it back will benefit from this life-changing breakthrough program that shows you not only how to reach and maintain your healthy weight, but how to create a life of renewed vibrancy and become as healthy as you can. Thousands of people worldwide have gone from discouragement to confidence by following this easy-to-use guide by Dr. Andersen, one of America’s most esteemed and compassionate practitioners of weight loss and optimal health. Discover Your Optimal Health teaches you how to live better, happier, and healthier into your eighties, nineties, and beyond.

From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, “whistle-blower extraordinaire” (The Wall Street Journal), author of the best-selling The Death and Life of the Great American School System (“Important and riveting”—Library Journal), The Language Police (“Impassioned . . . Fiercely argued . . . Every bit as alarming as it is illuminating”—The New York Times), and other notable books on education history and policy—an incisive, comprehensive look at today’s American school system that argues against those who claim it is broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.
​In Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a concerted effort to destroy public schools in this country. She makes clear that, contrary to the claims being made, public school test scores and graduation rates are the highest they’ve ever been, and dropout rates are at their lowest point. ​She argues that federal programs such as George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top set unreasonable targets for American students, punish schools, and result in teachers being fired if their students underperform, unfairly branding those educators as failures. She warns that major foundations, individual billionaires, and Wall Street hedge fund managers are encouraging the privatization of public education, some for idealistic reasons, others for profit. Many who work with equity funds are eyeing public education as an emerging market for investors.
Reign of Error begins where The Death and Life of the Great American School System left off, providing a deeper argument against privatization and for public education, and in a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, putting forth a plan for what can be done to preserve and improve it. She makes clear what is right about U.S. education, how policy makers are failing to address the root causes of educational failure, and how we can fix it.

​For Ravitch, public school education is about knowledge, about learning, about developing character, and about creating citizens for our society. It’s about helping to inspire independent thinkers, not just honing job skills or preparing people for college. Public school education is essential to our democracy, and its aim, since the founding of this country, has been to educate citizens who will help carry democracy into the future.

26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction

How to be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick by Letty Cottin Pogrebin, 304 pages, read by Madeline, on 12/20/2013

Everyone knows someone who’s sick or suffering. Yet when a friend or relative is under duress many of us feel uncertain about how to cope.

Throughout her recent bout with breast cancer, Letty Cottin Pogrebin became fascinated by her friends’ and family’s diverse reactions to her and her illness: how awkwardly some of them behaved; how some misspoke or misinterpreted her needs; and how wonderful it was when people read her right. She began talking to her fellow patients and dozens of other veterans of serious illness, seeking to discover what sick people wished their friends knew about how best to comfort, help, and even simply talk to them.

Now Pogrebin has distilled their collective stories and opinions into this wide-ranging compendium of pragmatic guidance and usable wisdom. Her advice is always infused with sensitivity, warmth, and humor. It is embedded in candid stories from her own and others’ journeys, and their sometimes imperfect interactions with well-meaning friends. How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick is an invaluable guidebook for anyone hoping to rise to the challenges of this most important and demanding passage of friendship.

04. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Courtney, Graphic Book, Informational Book, NonFiction

Army of God: Joseph Kony's War in Central Africa by David Axe, Tim Hamilton, 128 pages, read by Courtney, on 11/25/2013

Joseph Kony is the most dangerous guerilla leader in modern African history.

It started with a visit from spirits. In 1991, Kony claimed that spiritual beings had come to him with instructions: he was to lead his group of rebels, the Lord’s Resistance Army, in a series of brutal raids against ordinary Ugandan civilians. Decades later, Kony has sown chaos throughout Central Africa, kidnapping and terrorizing countless innocents—especially children. Yet despite an enormous global outcry, the Kony 2012 movement, and an international military intervention, the carnage has continued. Drawn from on-the-ground reporting by war correspondent David Axe and starkly illustrated by Tim Hamilton, Army of God is the first-ever graphic account of the global phenomenon surrounding Kony—from the devastation he has left behind to the long campaign to defeat him for good.

02. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, Informational Book, Kira, Memoirs, NonFiction

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee casts off the yarn harlot's guide to the land of knitting by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee , 218 pages, read by Kira, on 11/28/2013

castoff froganatomy-of-a-knitter1  knit steph Stephanie Pearl-McPhee uses the format of a travelogue to humorously describe knitter’s foibles (including the STASH). She also incudes a number of quizzes so you can find out what type of knitter, stasher, etc. you are.  It was quiet funny and I actually learned a few things I hadn’t know (I am Not a tumblr_loylymBblY1qcg6wqo1_500process knitter).