15. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Sarah

Deenie by Judy Blume, read by Sarah, on 10/13/2014

Deenie is a young lady who is beautiful and her mother thinks she is destined to be a model.  It is discovered that she has scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) and will need to wear a back brace for about four years.  This book showed the struggles of dealing with an overbearing mother, a disease, and friends who don’t know the best way to support each other.  It was pretty good, but a few scenes would prevent me from recommending it to the younger set.  Recommended for the older teen.

vampyreThis tremendous volume tells the full stories surrounding the night Lord Byron challenged his companions to write ghost stories during a foggy, stormy night in Geneva, Switzerland.  That now famous night led to the creation of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Vampyre by John Polidori.  Reading much like a good novel, the book dives right in, explaining why Byron was exiling himself to Switzerland, how he came to hire Polidori as his physician, as well as why Claire Claremont, Mary Godwin (Shelley), and Percy Shelley were also travelling that way.  The book also details the aftermath of that night, ending with an epilogue that explains each of their deaths.  It is a long and very twisted story, the facts of which seem hard to believe at times.  However, the author has faithfully documented each of his facts, once again proving that the truth is stranger than fiction.  It is nice to see a nonfiction book turn out to be such a page turner.  It was difficult to put down.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Romantic period, poetry, or Gothic fiction.

15. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, NonFiction · Tags:

Python in Practice by Mark Summerfield, read by Brian, on 10/15/2014

pythonWinner of the 2014 Jolt Award, this book is an excellent resource for both an experienced programmer or someone who is just beginning.

 

 

11. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Lisa, Memoirs, NonFiction

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward, read by Lisa, on 10/10/2014

“We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped.” —Harriet Tubman

In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life—to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth—and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.

10. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, NonFiction, Sports · Tags:

100 Things Kansas Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Ken Davis, read by Brian, on 10/08/2014

heedAnother book about Jayhawk basketball and the rich tradition of the program.  Pay Heed To All That Enter the Phog, Allen Fieldhouse, home of the Jayhawks.  A must read for any Jayhawk fan.

 

10. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, NonFiction, Sports · Tags:

What it Means to be a Jayhawk by Jeff Bollig, read by Brian, on 10/09/2014

jayhawkJeff goes into each decade talks about the important facts in Jayhawk sports.  Very fun and interesting read.  Rock Chalk.

 

09. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Humor, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Dear Tabby: Feline Advice on Love, Life, and the Pursuit of Mice by Leigh W. Rutledge, read by Kira, on 10/09/2014

index mq1 20101218-Dear Tabby get-attachment deartabby dear-tabby-header-jan-14-2013Another book by Leigh Rutledge.  This one is a Dear Abby type series of letters that cats (& 1 dog), have written in to Dear Tabby.  Tabby answers a range of questions from how to get your humans to change the stupid funny name they’ve given the cat, to love of birds.  Rutledge, seems familiar with the types of letters that might get written in to an editor, including portraying diverse reactions to a given topic.  Dear Tabby is above all funny, with sharp sarcasm ending most replies.  Now on to find more cat titles by Rutledge.

09. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Katy, Memoirs

The Big Tiny: a Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams, read by Katy, on 10/08/2014

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After being diagnosed with a heart condition, Dee Williams decided to downsize and de-clutter her life, and build a tiny house to live in. This is the story of how she designed and built the house, and the benefits and difficulties of living a minimalist lifestyle.

sharkHow to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters: Fight Back When Monsters and Mother Nature Attack is a very important book.  I repeat a very important book.  Not only do you learn how to survive a Sharknado but many other unusual things Mother Nature could throw at you, such as, Arachnoquake, Ghost Shark, Redneck Gator and many more.  Read this book.

 

07. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, NonFiction, Paula

Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait by Kendra Bean, read by Paula, on 10/06/2014

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Vivien Leigh’s mystique was a combination of staggering beauty, glamour, romance, and genuine talent displayed in her Oscar-winning performances in Gone With the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. For more than thirty years, her name alone sold out theaters and cinemas the world over, and she inspired many of the greatest visionaries of her time: Laurence Olivier loved her; Winston Churchill praised her; Christian Dior dressed her.
Through both an in-depth narrative and a stunning array of photos, Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait presents the personal story of one of the most celebrated women of the twentieth century, an engrossing tale of success, struggles, and triumphs. It chronicles Leigh’s journey from her birth in India to prominence in British film, winning the most-coveted role in Hollywood history, her celebrated love affair with Laurence Olivier, through to her untimely death at age fifty-three in 1967.
Author Kendra Bean is the first Vivien Leigh biographer to delve into the Laurence Olivier Archives, where an invaluable collection of personal letters and documents ranging from interview transcripts to film contracts to medical records shed new insight on Leigh’s story. Illustrated by hundreds of rare and never-before-published images, including those by Leigh’s #147;official” photographer, Angus McBean, Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait is the first illustrated biography to closely examine the fascinating, troubled, and often misunderstood life of Vivien Leigh: the woman, the actress, the legend.

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Memoirs, NonFiction

Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life by Tom Robbins, read by Courtney, on 09/18/2014

I’ve been a Tom Robbins fan since the age of 15, when I picked up a copy of Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas at an airport gift shop. It was the only thing that wasn’t a thriller/mystery/romance and I’d heard of Robbins before, so it seemed like the thing to do. As it turned out, that book was something of a revelation; it was unlike anything else I’d ever read. So I began acquiring his other novels. And read and reread them. Naturally, when I heard that Robbins had a memoir/autobiography out, I felt almost obligated to read it. I felt I owed it to myself and to Robbins to meet the brain behind the fiction. I was not disappointed. Robbins has lived a fascinating life and his anecdotes are laced with his trademark wordplay and sense of humor. I’m not sure that someone who had never heard of Robbins would enjoy this particular book, but those who are fans will find this quite entertaining. My only real issue with this memoir is the lack of a structured narrative. Each chapter is more a short story or vignette detailing a specific period of time in Robbins’ life. They’re more or less arranged chronologically. It’s best not to go into this expecting the traditional memoir/autobiography format, because, much like Robbins’ novels, experimenting with the form is par for the course. The stop-and-go nature made it very difficult for me to read this in a short period of time. Rather, I just read a few chapters and would then put it down for a few days. Needless to say, it took me an eternity to read and, while I more or less enjoyed the process, it did get tedious from time to time. For those wanting to know more about Robbins’ early life and works, this is an ideal place to start.

Flavorful, gluten-free meals that will leave kids begging for more!Every year, millions of children are diagnosed with Celiac’s disease or gluten intolerance, but the dietary changes necessary to treat them don’t come easy.

My favorite part of this book was the first chapter which described how to set-up a Gluten-Free kitchen and addressed possibilities for cross-contamination that I had not considered, such as using wooden spoons which retain traces of gluten or one child putting peanut butter on regular bread and leaving traces of gluten in the peanut butter than the gluten sensitive child coming along with a clean knife and getting the peanut butter with traces of gluten and spreading that on their special gluten free bread.

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Inspirational, NonFiction

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Voscamp, Ann, read by Claudia, on 09/02/2014

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You AreJust like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. “How,” Ann wondered, “do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long—and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?”

In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted … a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved—by God.

Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive.

 

 

foxSimply put, this is an inspirational book on how to roll with the punches and come on top.

 

03. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, NonFiction, Sports · Tags:

Beyond the Phog by Jason King, read by Brian, on 10/03/2014

phogJason King has written a book about Jayhawk Nation what is very interesting he talks with with players and coaches and the transition from Roy Williams to Bill Self.  He covers the important issues of the time and gets the responses from all angles.

 

03. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, NonFiction · Tags:

Travel Photography: A Guide to Taking Better Pictures by Richard I'Anson, Lonely Planet, read by Brian, on 10/01/2014

travelIf you like to travel and take really good photographs at the same time, then Travel Photography is a book you might enjoy.  The instruction is very helpful and the pictures are very cool.

 

03. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Humor, Katy

I work at a public library : a collection of crazy stories from the stacks by Gina Sheridan, read by Katy, on 10/02/2014

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This is a heartwarming and hilarious collection of stories of interactions the author has had with patrons in the public library where she worked. A must-read for anyone who has worked in a public library.

02. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Judy, NonFiction, True Crime · Tags:

In Broad Daylight by Harry N. Maclean, read by Judy, on 09/21/2014

For ten years he terrorized them without mercy. Ken McElroy robbed, raped, burned, shot, and maimed the citizens of Skidmore, Missouri, without conscience or remorse.  Again and again, the law failed to stop him.

Until they took justice into their own hands.   On July 10, 1981 Ken was shot to death on the main street of this small farming community.  Forty-five people watched.  No indictments were ever issued, no trial held… and the town of Skidmore protected the killers with silence.     With this powerful true-life account, Edgar Award-winning author Harry N. MacLean reveals what drove a community of everyday American citizens to commit murder.

02. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Judy, NonFiction, True Crime · Tags:

True Crime: Missouri by David J. Krajicek, read by Judy, on 09/08/2014

True Crime:   Missouri examines criminal activity in the Show Me State and explores the landmark cases that have received national and even international attention.  Included here are accounts of Lee Shelton’s murder of Billy Lyons of St. Louis that inspired the popular 50’s song “Stagger Lee”;  the vigilante killing of the town bully of Skidmore Ken McElroy;  the kidnapping of millionaire Robert Greenlease’s son in Kansas City; the Kirkwood City Council massacre; and the serial killings of thirteen young women in Kansas City by Lorenzo J. Gilyard.    These are the factual accounts of the cold-blooded killers, rapists, and psychopaths who shocked the state… and the nation.

02. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Graphic Book, Humor, Kristy, Memoirs, NonFiction

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, read by Kristy, on 09/29/2014

SistersWhile I think I liked “Smile” a tad better, I had a blast reading “Sisters.” I love how Raina’s graphic novels are so humorous but realistic at the same time. I can relate to many of the situations her characters encounter.

The tidbits of the the past added to this novel helped me to understand the

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relationship that the sisters have. It also showed the struggles of the parents trying to raise 3 children in a tiny apartment.

Cute little novel. Can’t wait for the next!​