15. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Courtney, NonFiction, Teen Books

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, read by Courtney, on 07/19/2013

When it comes to serial killers, few are as well-known as Jeffrey Dahmer. To the author, “Jeff”, was much more than a face on the news. Backderf grew up in the same town and went to the same school as Dahmer. Long before the name “Dahmer” entered public consciousness, he was an awkward and troubled kid. Through the eyes of a friendly acquaintance (Backderf never genuinely appears to consider Dahmer a true “friend”, but more of kid on the periphery of his social circle), we meet a boy who was certainly unusual and somewhat anti-social. Readers will follow Dahmer from childhood to his teen years and, while it paints a slightly more sympathetic version of Dahmer, it never explains or excuses the actions he eventually takes. In hindsight, the signs were there, but it was clear that, at the time, Dahmer was simply regarded as the resident odd-ball and few thought little else about him.
What makes this graphic novel particularly interesting is the inclusion of both photos and documents from Backderf and Dahmer’s school years, as well as the detailed, page-by-page annotations provided by Backderf. This graphic novel is morbidly fascinating. Readers with any interest whatsoever on the topic will find themselves sucked in with no chance of escape until the end of the book. I was intrigued, horrified and even occasionally amused by Backderf’s story.

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

Most Talkative by Andy Cohen, read by Helen, on 09/30/2012

The man behind the Real Housewives writes about his lifelong love affair with pop culture that brought him from the suburbs of St. Louis to his own television show

From a young age, Andy Cohen knew one thing: He loved television. Not in the way that most kids do, but in an irrepressible, all-consuming, I-want-to-climb-inside-the-tube kind of way. And climb inside he did. Now presiding over Bravo’s reality TV empire, he started out as an overly talkative pop culture obsessive, devoted to Charlie’s Angels and All My Children and to his mother, who received daily letters from Andy at summer camp, usually reminding her to tape the soaps. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that everyone didn’t know that Andy was gay; still, he remained in the closet until college. Finally out, he embarked on making a career out of his passion for television.

The journey begins with Andy interviewing his all-time idol Susan Lucci for his college newspaper and ends with him in a job where he has a hand in creating today’s celebrity icons. In the witty, no-holds-barred style of his show Watch What Happens Live, Andy tells tales of absurd mishaps during his ten years at CBS News, hilarious encounters with the heroes and heroines of his youth, and the real stories behind The Real Housewives. Dishy, funny, and full of heart, Most Talkative provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the world of television, from a fan who grew up watching the screen and is now inside it, both making shows and hosting his own.

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

Doing Social Media so it Matters by Laura Solomon, 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: Helen, History, NonFiction

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, read by Helen, on 07/30/2012

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming–yet wholly sinister–Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

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!”