03. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men by Eric Lichtbau, 266 pages, read by Kim Bolton, on 04/02/2015

Thousands of Nazis — from concentration camp guards to high-level officers in the Third Reich — came to the United States after World War II and quietly settled into new lives. They had little trouble getting in. With scant scrutiny, many gained entry on their own as self-styled war “refugees,” their pasts easily disguised and their war crimes soon forgotten. But some had help and protection from the U.S. government. The CIA, the FBI, and the military all put Hitler’s minions to work as spies, intelligence assets, and leading scientists and engineers, whitewashing their histories.

For the first time, once-secret government records and interviews tell the full story not only of the Nazi scientists brought to America, but of the German spies and con men who followed them and lived for decades as ordinary citizens. Only years after their arrival did private sleuths and government prosecutors begin trying to identify the hidden Nazis. But even then, American intelligence agencies secretly worked to protect a number of their prized spies from exposure. Today, a few Nazis still remain on our soil.

Investigative reporter Eric Lichtblau, relying on a trove of newly discovered documents and scores of interviews with participants in this little-known chapter of postwar history, tells the shocking and shameful story of how America became a safe haven for Hitler’s men.

–From Goodreads.com.

I was truly shocked about how many Nazi criminals made into America after WWII and our own government’s participation and cooperation in bringing them to and keeping them in our country. This is a very well-written and researched book. I enjoyed it for its historical truth and content and its shocking revelations.

01. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

The Brilliant History of Color in Art by Victoria Finlay, 120 pages, read by Kira, on 03/01/2015

index (1)Have you ever wondered how colors that artists and craftspeople use, how they’re made? what goes into them.  After reading Christopher Moore’s book Sacre Bleu about a magical ultramarine shade of blue I became curious, combined with the very attractive cover of this title, made me want to read this book Though nowadays you can just purchase many bright colorful art supplies, this didn’t use to be the case.
Producing these colors could be an elaborate process and a closely guarded secret.

For example, to make ultramarine blue, you start with lapis lazuli, grind it into a powder, then for 3 days work it with pine resin, wax, and linseed oil.  Then add lye, repeat. Lead white produced an otherworldly shade of white, but as we know, it is toxic.  Iron makes  “red ocher” red comes and comes from dying stars or supernovas!  Some of the colors required excrement to produce the desired shade.  I found this book fascinating!some_noname_oil_pastels_by_pesim65-d6egpkoSymbolic-Colors-Tika-Powders1download

01. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Katy, NonFiction · Tags: , , ,

Garbology : our dirty love affair with trash by Edward Humes, 262 pages, read by Katy, on 03/31/2015

13504054The average American produces 102 tons of garbage across a lifetime and $50 billion in squandered riches are rolled to the curb each year. But our bins are just the starting point for a strange, impressive, mysterious, and costly journey that may also represent the greatest untapped opportunity of the century.

In Garbology, Edward Humes investigates trash—what’s in it; how much we pay for it; how we manage to create so much of it; and how some families, communities, and even nations are finding a way back from waste to discover a new kind of prosperity. Along the way , he introduces a collection of garbage denizens unlike anyone you’ve ever met: the trash-tracking detectives of MIT, the bulldozer-driving sanitation workers building Los Angeles’ Garbage Mountain landfill, the artists residing in San Francisco’s dump, and the family whose annual trash output fills not a dumpster or a trash can, but a single mason jar.

Garbology reveals not just what we throw away, but who we are and where our society is headed. Waste is the one environmental and economic harm that ordinary working Americans have the power to change—and prosper in the process.

From www.goodreads.com.


30. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett, 294 pages, read by Sarah, on 03/28/2015

  Rapunzel is kept away from the rest of the world because of a disease that makes her vulnerable to germs.  Her mother, Gothel, checks on her and makes sure she has something to eat, but doesn’t seem to bond with Rapunzel.  Gothel insists on education, though, and a computer with internet access becomes Rapunzel’s window to the world outside her tower.  A legitimate search leads to the discovery of Facebook, and Rapunzel is tempted to try to make just one friend….Fane is fascinated by this street-dumb girl he’s met on Facebook.  Will they ever be able to meet?  Will Gothel change her mind and let a cautious Rapunzel venture out into the world?

This was a modern-day version of Rapunzel that was very fun to read.  If you had been locked in a tower alone with only your mother for an occasional companion, would you know how to interact with a boy?  This is a really enjoyable read with lots of unexpected twists and turns.

28. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books, Teen Books · Tags:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart., 240 pages, read by Kira, on 03/25/2015

16143347  we-were-liars-mapSilhouettes of people jumping in oceantumblr_mxk4emjTkt1sm095go1_500tumblr_n5ohe5tCLG1sm095go1_500 Cadence suffered a terrible accident on her families summer vacation island at age 15.  It is 2 years later, and she is finally allowed to return to the family vacation home, to be with her cousins and family, and to try and retrieve her memories about what happened.   I’m reading this for a book-group I belong to.   I advise you to skip the reviews – you will enjoy it the book that much more.  I  liked the ending!

climateI liked how this book is organized in presenting it’s story.  Global warming and climate change not the same thing and the author takes the doubters questions and shows how they are wrong about their incomplete beliefs.


26. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Business, NonFiction, Self Help

Happy at Work: 60 Simple Ways to Stay Engaged and Be Successful by Jim Donovan, 176 pages, read by Brian, on 03/24/2015

18342410Happy @ Work is a good but not great book.  Jim gives the reader good ways to be more productive, work better with others and of course, to be happy at work.  The suggestions are good but obvious, yes, I like to be reminded of what I strayed away from but I was looking for to get over the next hurdle.


25. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, Informational Book, NonFiction

Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow, 192 pages, read by Angie, on 03/24/2015

Typhoid seems like one of those diseases people used to have back in the old days when there wasn’t any antibiotics or good sanitation. It sort of is, but it still exists today. Fatal Fever is the story of typhoid in the early 1900s in New York. New York was not like it is today. There were outhouses and cesspits and raw sewage in the streets. It was very likely you would come in contact with typhoid at some point in your life. This book chronicles the story of Mary Mallon, otherwise known as Typhoid Mary. It is also the story of George Soper and how he tracked down Mary. Mary was a cook for prominent New York families. Soper’s investigation led him from family to family and from typhoid case to typhoid case. Mary was something unknown at that time: a carrier of typhoid who was not herself sick. She spread the disease through the food she handled and served to her employers. Soper and his associates finally caught up with Mary and had her tested. She was then confined to North Brother Island. Mary was never charged with anything or put on trial. She was confined by the Department of Health because she was considered a health risk. She never believed that she infected people with typhoid or that she was a carrier. She fought against her confinement for years. After she was finally let go, you would think she learned her lesson but you would be wrong. She again infected a family with typhoid and was again sent to North Brother Island where she spent the rest of her life.

Gail Jarrow is one of those authors that I am starting to look for. I really enjoyed her book Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat and equally enjoyed this one. This book reads like a detective story with Soper as the detective and Mary as the villain. There are lots of details about typhoid and sanitation in the 1900s, but you kind of forget how educational the books is. You are just reading it for the pure enjoyment and fascination of it.

24. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Autobiographies, Humor, NonFiction

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris, David Javerbaum, Antony Hare (Illustrator), 304 pages, read by Angie, on 03/23/2015

Neil Patrick Harris is at this point unstoppable. His newest venture is his Choose Your Own Autobiography and it is HILARIOUS! It is set up just like the old choose your own adventure books from my childhood and it works. It also works really well just as a book to read straight through (which is what I did). Neil chronicles his life from childhood to present day in an honest, insightful and funny way. He pulls no punches about himself or those around him. I was especially touched by his personal journey to discover his sexual identity. He is honest about how he dated girls but wasn’t that into it, about his first gay experiences and about finding love with his husband David. I laughed out loud when he was talking about his escapades with LA nightlife in his youth and how outrageous it is to be friends with Elton John. The Choose Your Own Autobiography set up allows you to make terrible choices with Neil’s life which ended up with him as a sandwich maker at Schlotzky’s Deli or in a horrible death scene. I also really enjoyed the letters from his friends like Sarah Silverman, Nathan Fillion, Penn Jillette, Seth MacFarlane and many others. They were sometimes touching, sometimes funny, often bizarre, but always perfect. I started my journey with NPH during his Doogie Howser days when he was one of my favorite teen heartthrobs. I rediscovered him as Dr. Horrible and have loved him ever since. He is very talented and funny, but above all seems to be a genuine good guy who deserves all the accolades he gets. His autobiography is definitely worth the read for fans and nonfans, plus it has magic tricks!

23. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

Off the Leash: The Secret Life of Dogs by Rupert Fawcett , 158 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/10/2015

off the leash  Collection of cartoons originally published on Facebook. Rupert Fawcett’s cartoons have developed into a daily online comic.This collection features the secret thoughts and conversations of dogs of every size, shape and breed. This collection will appeal to pet owners and those who just wish they owned a pet.

23. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Humor, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Texts from Dog by October Jones, 100 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/08/2015

texts from dog  Author October Jones shares the text between him and his pet bulldog. His endearing Dog and his alter-ego Batdog were born. Texts from Dog features his attempts to keep the neighborhood safe from the enemy otherwise known as the Postman. Stories about his arch-enemy Cat-Cat are also included. Some stories are laugh out loud funny. However, keep in mind that these texts are between two young adult males (one human, one dog) about whatever it is they are thinking. Not child friendly humor.

20. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Business, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

What If?: Short Stories to Spark Diversity Dialogue by Steve L. Robbins, 182 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/09/2015

what if  Corporate speaker Steve L. Robbins using examples from his own life including his children as a minority to assist companies large and small to increase diversity in the workplace. His stories and follow-up questions can also help individuals to look at the world from a different perspective than they may have ever experienced.
What If? also presents specific ideas of what organizations can do to engage our global world, build core competencies in diversity and inclusion, and benefit from the best talent available – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, race, or disability. Thought-provoking short essays to inspire a better workplace and perhaps to inspire the reader to be a better member of our increasingly global society.

19. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Humor, NonFiction

A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction by Terry Pratchett, 307 pages, read by Angie, on 03/17/2015

A Slip of the Keyboard is all the nonfiction Sir Terry has written in his long career. Some of it dates back to the 60s when he was a journalist and SF fan while most of it consists of speeches and articles by Pratchett while he was a writer. There is a lot of discussion on what exactly SF/Fantasy is, fans, discworld, author visits, cons and later Alzheimer’s and the right to die movement. All of it is filled with the typical humor and whit you would expect from the creator of the Discworld. My only complaint is one that only comes with reading all of these articles one after another and that is the repetition. Pratchett is very consistent with his message on a bunch of topics and repeats them on a lot of occasions. They are good messages and worthy of being repeated, but it got so I could guess what was going to be said. But really that is a knitpicking. I really enjoyed this collection and recommend it to all fans.

17. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Business, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags: ,

Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson, 272 pages, read by Kira, on 03/17/2015

fut perftI read Future Perfect because I was so taken with Steven Johnson’s paradigm-shifting book Everything Bad is Good for You, which made a compelling case for the internet actually making us smarter – contrary to popular knowledge.  This book is more nuanced.  Johnson argues for a peer-to-peer revolution, in both politics and economics.

He starts off comparing the French configuration of rail lines versus the Germans.  The French had a master-plan, where every rail line would follow a straight line, and every line would pass through the center of the world – that being Paris.  This is in contrast to the Germans rail lines, that were a hodge-podge of lines that followed the terrain, forming a lace pattern, with much duplication.  But during WWII, the German rails proved their superiority, as they were much faster at transporting soldiers to whichever front, compared to the French who faced the bottleneck of Paris. cartography,map,network,train,transportation-839c638d5f46b779eb80ae800beb4d61_hindex Johnson uses this metaphor of networks or peer-to-peer operations consistently outperforming top-down hierarchies.  Johnson then applies the model to problems the US faces in politics and economics.  Worthwhile to ponder this alternate model.

17. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, Katy, NonFiction

I am neurotic : (and so are you) by Lianna Kong, 228 pages, read by Katy, on 03/16/2015

6567437You can′t get through the day without checking to see if your front door is locked three times. You take exactly two tablespoons of cream in your coffee which must be swirling while you pour or else it just doesn′t take right. The worst part is that you have to do all your neurotic habits discretely because you don′t want people to know. You′re not alone though. iamneurotic.com is a collection of anonymously submitted neuroses revealing the habits that we take care to hide from others.

While sitting in the bathroom stall waiting for everyone to leave, Lianna Kong realized her own neurosis: she can′t use the bathroom when other people are around. I am neurotic was born. What started as a blog where Lianna and her friends could share and joke about their own neuroses turned into a form of confessional therapy for others. People eager to unburden themselves of their hidden habits began to anonymously confess their neuroses and in turn learned they were not the only ones to sniff their floss or avoid the cracks in the sidewalk. I am neurotic congregates the best neuroses from the website and unseen submissions accompanied by photographs. The result is a book that will demonstrate how neurotic behavior is highly amusing, shocking at times, and ultimately a great human equalizer.

From www.goodreads.com

Too funny! I can relate to a few of these habits…

16. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

The Last Nazi: Joseph Schwamberger and the Nazi Past by Aaron Freiwald and Martin Mendelsohn, 362 pages, read by Kim B, on 03/02/2015

The Last Nazi: Joseph Schwamberger and the Nazi Past details the one of the last major war crimes trials in modern Germany. It contains a lot of discussion on whether these aged former Nazi soldiers should be brought to trial and argues that Germany as struggled for over fifty years to put its Nazi past behind it but the world will not allow the country to do so. The book also hashes out the controversial subject between older generation Germans and the younger generations. It is a very good read for Holocaust readers.

08. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, Katy, NonFiction

Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres, 241 pages, read by Katy, on 03/07/2015

11230081Stories and advice from Ellen DeGeneres. Pretty funny.

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

Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets of the World's Favorite Treat by Kay Frydenborg, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 03/04/2015

This is the story of chocolate from its beginnings in South and Central America to its trip across the pond into Europe. It is the story of how chocolate went from being a bitter, ceremonial and medicinal plant to the candy we all love today. The history of chocolate is complex with ties to colonialism, slavery, the industrial revolution and climate change. I really enjoyed the history of chocolate, but was less than thrilled by all the scientific information packed into the book. This is geared towards middle grade readers who I am not sure will care about the chemical make up or how those chemicals were found to affect humans. This is a pretty long book for the age it is geared towards as well. I think it could have been paired down a bit to focus more on the historical and modern parts of chocolate’s story which would have made it a little bit more readable for its audience.

I received this book from Netgalley.com.

05. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, NonFiction · Tags:

American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country by Katrina Fried, 276 pages, read by Brian, on 03/03/2015

farmerPaul Mobley, traveled across the country to get into the heart of the farmers of American, not corporate farming but generations of farmers who have worked through the weather, economy and other hardships.  This book displays beautiful pictures of the people in their natural settings and the verse wonderful and striking.


03. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Brian, NonFiction

Revolution by Russell Brand, 299 pages, read by Brian, on 03/03/2015

brandYou say you want a revolution….Russell Brand’s new book is informative, well researched and funny.  Russell brings sharp wit as he talks about societies ills and ways to fix them.  Never left hanging, I read this book pretty much straight through to the end.  Bravo Mr. Brand.