11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Helen, History, NonFiction

Ghosty Men by Franz Lidz, read by Helen, on 05/30/2012

A true tale of changing New York by Franz Lidz, whose Unstrung Heroesis a classic of hoarder lore.

Homer and Langley Collyer moved into their handsome brownstone in white, upper-class Harlem in 1909. By 1947, however, when the fire department had to carry Homer’s body out of the house he hadn’t left in twenty years, the neighborhood had degentrified, and their house was a fortress of junk: in an attempt to preserve the past, Homer and Langley held on to everything they touched.

The scandal of Homer’s discovery, the story of his life, and the search for Langley, who was missing at the time, rocked the city; the story was on the front page of every newspaper for weeks. A quintessential New York story of quintessential New York characters.

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

Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson, read by Helen, on 04/30/2012

September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over six thousand people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history–and Isaac Cline found himself the victim of a devestating personal tragedy.

Using Cline’s own telegrams, letters, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the science of hurricanes, Erik Larson builds a chronicle of one man’s heroic struggle and fatal miscalculation in the face of a storm of unimaginable magnitude. Riveting, powerful, and unbearably suspenseful, Isaac’s Storm is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets the great uncontrollable force of nature.

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

The Devil in the white City by Erik Larson, read by Helen, on 03/30/2012

Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that ‘The Devil in the White City’ is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

Burnham’s challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous “White City” around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair’s incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World’s Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

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

Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst by Robert I. Sutton, read by Helen, on 02/28/2012

Now with a new chapter that focuses on what great bosses really do. Dr. Sutton reveals new insights that he’s learned since the writing of Good Boss, Bad Boss. Sutton adds revelatory thoughts about such legendary bosses as Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs, A.G. Lafley, and many more, and how you can implement their techniques.
If you are a boss who wants to do great work, what can you do about it?Good Boss, Bad Boss is devoted to answering that question. Stanford Professor Robert Sutton weaves together the best psychological and management research with compelling stories and cases to reveal the mindset and moves of the best (and worst) bosses. This book was inspired by the deluge of emails, research, phone calls, and conversations that Dr. Sutton experienced after publishing his blockbuster bestseller The No Asshole Rule. He realized that most of these stories and studies swirled around a central figure in every workplace: THE BOSS. These heart-breaking, inspiring, and sometimes funny stories taught Sutton that most bosses – and their followers – wanted a lot more than just a jerk-free workplace. They aspired to become (or work for) an all-around great boss, somebody with the skill and grit to inspire superior work, commitment, and dignity among their charges.
As Dr. Sutton digs into the nitty-gritty of what the best (and worst) bosses do, a theme runs throughout Good Boss, Bad Boss - which brings together the diverse lessons and is a hallmark of great bosses: They work doggedly to “stay in tune” with how their followers (and superiors, peers, and customers too) react to what they say and do. The best bosses are acutely aware that their success depends on having the self-awareness to control their moods and moves, to accurately interpret their impact on others, and to make adjustments on the fly that continuously spark effort, dignity, and pride among their people.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, Graphic Book, NonFiction

Smile by Raina Telgemeier, read by Angie, on 11/14/2012

Smile is the true story of Raina Telgemeier’s journey through orthodontia. It was not a pleasant or a short journey. It began with an overbite and a fall resulting in the loss of her two front teeth. The journey consisted of false teeth, braces, surgeries, headgear, and four years worth of visits to various dental professionals…all during junior and high school. Poor Raina! Throughout it all Raina is also dealing with boys, pimples, friends, mean girls, and all the other trials and tribulations of high school. She comes through it stronger and happier, but it is not an easy journey.

As someone who has had braces and retainers (thankfully not four years worth) I completely sympathized with Raina. They are an invented torture to make our teeth look perfect. They work but are definitely not pleasant. I winced with her when her braces were being tightened and when all she could eat was mashed potatoes. I think Raina definitely remembers this time of her life perfectly and she really captured it on the pages of Smile. The story and illustrations embody the torture of braces and the agony of middle and high school. I would recommend this to just about anyone.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Brian, History, NonFiction · Tags: ,

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson, read by Brian, on 02/07/2014

stormI am a weather freak and I love to read Erik Larson, it’s almost like a perfect storm.  The book talks about oddities in weather but more importantly Isaac Cline and is ill fated hurricane prediction that destroyed Galveston, Texas.  This was one of the worst natural disasters in America’s history.  Nature beats arrogance every time.

 

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Children's Books, Lisa, NonFiction

Lost Boy: The Story of the Man Who Created Peter Pan by Jane Yolen, read by Lisa, on 02/28/2013

   People around the world know the story of Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up, but not many know the story of his creator, J. M. Barrie. Barrie’s young childhood was marked by sorrow, but also held great adventure. His adult life and relationship with the Davies family brought about a second childhood that helped him to create his lasting triumph. Masterfully illustrated by Steve Adams and using Barrie’s own words, Jane Yolen tells the story of the author and the boys who changed his life.

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

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, 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.

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.

07. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Inspirational, Kristy, NonFiction, Self Help

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz, read by Kristy, on 01/01/2014

In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.

07. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Humor

Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown, read by Brian, on 02/05/2014

vaderVader’s Little Princess is a witty book about Vader raising his daughter Princess Leia.  The book covers topics from the Star Wars series in a new and funny way.

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, 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: Autobiographies, Madeline, Memoirs, NonFiction

This Is How You Say Goodbye: A Daughter's Memoir by Victoria Loustalot, read by Madeline, on 01/31/2014

A razor-sharp memoir in which a young woman travels to Cambodia, Stockholm, and Paris to overcome the legacy of her difficult and charismatic father

When Victoria Loustalot was eight years old her father swept her up in a fantasy: a trip around the world. It was a grandiose plan and she had fallen for it. But it had never been so much as a possibility. Victoria’s father was sick. He was HIV positive and soon to fall prey to AIDS. Three years later he would be gone.

When Victoria realized that the grand trip with her father wasn’t going to happen, she was devastated. Her mother assumed she’d get over it, that eventually it would become just a shrug. But it didn’t. In the years to come, Victoria wondered what it would have been like to have been alone with her dad all those months, to see him outside of his sickness, beyond anything related to their family or their life. To have been with him in a new context. That’s what she wanted. And that’s what she did.

Some fifteen years after that initial promise, Victoria went to Stockholm, to Angkor Wat, and to Paris. She went to the places they were meant to see together, and she went to make peace with her father, too. Because while he’d always be forty-four, she’d gone on accumulating birthdays. Every year, her understanding of him continued to evolve and their relationship was still alive. Victoria Loustalot felt trapped beneath all of the unanswered questions he left behind. She needed to be set free. She needed to say goodbye.

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

Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life by Eric Lindner, 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, 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.

06. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

Drink This, Not That! by David Zinczenko, Matt Goulding , read by Tammy, on 01/30/2014

drink thisThis book gives you advice on how to avoid all those “hidden” calories in what we drink from lemonade to chocolate shakes. I can’t really sum it up better than these statements from the book’s publisher:

“Did you know:
*One bottle of Sunkist orange drink has more sugar than four packs of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
*A large Grape Expectations II Smoothie from Smoothie King has more sugar than 13 Twinkies!
*If you turn your large latte into a large cappuccino, you could lose more than 9 pounds this year!
*A White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks has more than 20 times as many calories as their regular coffee!”

06. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Humor, NonFiction, Tammy

American Thighs by Jill Conner Browne, read by Tammy, on 01/31/2014

american thighsHumorist, Jill Connor Browne, author of The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love, writes a handbook for the “hot and flashy.” Whether young enough to look hot or of the age to feel that way in flashes… she gives advice about life and taking care of yourself and your girlfriends.She shares stories from her teen years forward and tells about kisses she wished for and the ones she wished she’d missed. A laugh-out-loud funny book that your husband will probably not understand.

 

 

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

The Black Belt Librarian: Real World Safety & Security by Warren Graham, 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.

04. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, NonFiction, Pamela

Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Scotland by Virginia Haviland, read by Pamela, on 02/02/2014

scotlandSix traditional fairy tales from Scotland. . .The Page Boy and the Silver Goblet, The Wee Bannock, Peerifool, The Brownie o’ Ferne-Den, The Good Housewife and Her Night Labors, and Assipattle and the Giant Sea Serpent.

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!