Hectic plans for three family weddings in one summer are made even more hectic by murder. A bridesmaid three times over, for her best friend, her sister-in-law to be, and her mother, Meg Langslow returns to the little Virginia town in which she grew up to help arrange the events. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and watching as craziness ensued. From beginning to end, this is a hilarious book. I’m looking forward to the next installment.
Lee Berger has spent his entire life looking for the next big adventure and that quest paid off in 2008 when he discovered a cave in South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind. The cave, Malapa, contained bones from an ancient species of hominids, perhaps the oldest ever found. The Australopithecus Sediba bones of five beings were found in the cave, some nearly complete. The bones tell the story of a species that contained both human and ape characteristics and changed the way scientists think about evolution. This is an immensely readable account of Berger’s discovery and its implications to the scientific community. Our origins are fascinating and mysterious and this book will just wet your appetite to know more about human evolution and our ancient ancestors.
The rodeo comes to life in this book. We live through an entire rodeo from setup to takedown. Each event is introduced by the rodeo announcer, a poem gives life to the event, and an explanation is given on the event. We learn about sheep riding, bronco busting, barrel racing, steer wrestling and rodeo clowns. The history of the rodeo is given as is its importance in Native American and Western culture. This book is very informative and interesting. It will make you want to go see a rodeo!
This book starts out interesting enough. Did you know they’ve found cancer in Dinosaurs brains? and that mammals are more likely to get cancer than reptiles. But it ends there. No mysteries were unlocked, no important information to take away. I was really hoping for something along the lines of Racing to a Cure, where the author looks at a type of vaccine, where they take your fighter blood cells, expose them to the cancer and then inject them back in your body, and the fighter blood cells, then do a much better job of attacking the cancer.
When Michelle Obama came to the White House she decided to start a garden. She was inspired by the Victory Gardens of times past and community gardens. She wanted the White House Garden to be America’s Garden. She wanted to start a dialog about eating fresh and local and to inspire others. The White House Garden became very successful and its message has been heard in schools and communities across the country. This book details how the garden was planned and implemented, what activities have occurred because of the garden and how other gardens and communities have sprung up around the country. There are wonderful tips about planting and the different plants that you can grow in your garden. I was especially inspired by the stories of schools who have changed the food they serve to kids and by the story of the food bus that now delivers fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods without access to fresh foods. Michelle Obama narrates this book along with a host of others including kids, community leaders, private organization volunteers and chefs. Truly inspiring!
The Civil Rights Movement was at a standstill and organizers were not sure how to get it started again. Then the kids started marching and things started moving. The jails were soon filled with children and students, but more and more kept joining the movement. They were determined to make changes in their world and their determination and fearlessness paid off. This is the story of several of the young people who marched in Birmingham that year; they were jailed and hosed with fire hoses and chased by dogs and jeered at by whites, but they stayed strong. They have told their stories to Cynthia Levinson in a moving account of how things happened. I loved the first person aspect of this book; it makes you feel like an insider to a part of history. The back matter of the audiobook included the actual interviews with those featured in the book. This was a wonderful peak into history.
The Rent Collector is the story of Sang Ly, a poor Cambodian woman who lives in Stung Meanchey, a municipal dump. She and her husband survive by picking out recyclables from the thousands of tons of trash that are deposited in the dump each day. Their young son lives in the shack with them and is constantly sick. Sang Ly wants a better life (or any life) for her family and her son. She convinces the rent collector to teach her to read in the hopes of improving her circumstances. In the process she learns more about herself and the rent collector.
I got this book at ALA 2013; I don’t usually pick up books for adults, but this one looked intriguing. I am so glad I did. This was a wonderful book about a young mother’s determination to change her life and of an old woman’s desire to make amends. I loved how we learned more and more about the rent collector as Sang Ly learned more and more about literature. I really enjoyed the fact that the author included excerpts from actual literature from around the world in the book. Even though parts of the book were fictionalized it is based on true people which makes it that much more amazing. I would definitely recommend this one to a lot of people.
We live in an area of the Ozarks that has a very interesting history. Some people who lived here before are not content to be forgotten. The lay of the land is so varied that many types of living arrangements have developed through the years. From the earliest man living here, about 10,000 BC, to the present, many groups of people have had experiences that have left a busy history in this region – the Mound Builders, the Baldknobbers, and the Jessie James gang, to name a few. There have also been happenings that involved many people, such as the Civil War and the Trail of Tears. It seems that when some people die untimely, their spirit remains in that area. Many stories are Indian legends. Every county has at least one place where the restless bodies are known to be seen or heard, things are moved, or one feels the presence of another body. Many homes are named in this story: Ha Ha Tonka, Leeper Mansion near Chillicothe, Houston House at Newburg, the Iberia Academy, the Kendrick House at Carthage, and Ozark Avalon were a few. There are also many castle-like homes which have haunted legends. Along with the stories are old sayings and superstitions listed. This is a very interesting book with lots of historic information.
Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic; a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
Wolves Unleashed, is a nonfiction book that takes the reader on an incredible journey into the lives of wolves. Andrew Simpson is our guide on this journey. Andrew is an animal trainer for Hollywood and his animals have been seen in numerous films. Besides the story, there are fascinating pictures of the wolves. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys animals.
No Crystal Stair is a mix of fiction and nonfiction. It details the life of Lewis Michaux from birth to death and everything in between. It is written by his great niece. Lewis was born the son of a fish seller in Newport News, Virginia. He was one of 11 children; his mother also had 4 babies die at birth. All the children and the hard work eventually drove her a little crazy. His father was an ambitious and driven man who worked his way up to a successful business. Lewis’s brother Lightfoot became a well-known and successful preacher, who started several churches on the East Coast. Lewis tried many things in his life, some legal some not so legal, before he moved to Harlem and decided to educate the Black community. He believed that if you were ignorant of your history you were just a negro. So he wanted to inform Blacks about who they were and where they came from. He opened his National Memorial African Bookstore in the heart of Harlem. Starting with just five books, he built the store up to a quarter of a million books. All of his books were by Black people and about Black people. The bookstore became the meeting place for people like Malcolm X and others interested in helping the Black Community. Lewis, called the Professor, thought it was his duty to help and educate those around him. His place was a sanctuary, a school, a pulpit and a store. Eventually, the state forced the closure of the store and Lewis died of cancer shortly after. But his legacy lives on in those he helped and the lives he improved.
Who doesn’t love a bad girl? Jane Yolen teams up with her daughter to give us brief glimpses of the lives of several bad girls throughout history. We learn about such bad girls as Salome, Cleopatra, Bloody Mary, Lizzie Borden, and many, many more. The information is presented in two to four page chunks that will whet your appetite for more information about each of these women. Yolen doesn’t gloss over their bad deeds but she does offer explanations for the times and for history’s retelling. Interspersed between the chapters are one page graphic novel format sessions of Jane and Heidi doing “research” and arguing over the latest bad girl. These segments are funny since a lot of their research involves eating, traveling and shoes. I think kids will enjoy these bad girls and their stories. You can read them all or just your favorites and with only a couple of pages for each lady it doesn’t take very long.
This book contains many interesting photos of Missouri throughout it’s history including some from Cole and Osage County. In fact the first photo inside the book is from Chamois, Missouri in Osage County!
This book conveys Missouri’s rich cultural heritage and history through this collection of photos. Ranging from city life to rural country life this book features some of the states most important natural resources, including the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers. Nearly 200 vivid black-and-white photographs show the reader the places, people and events that have shaped the history of the Show-Me State. From the early 1870s to the 1970s are photos of President Ulysses Grant’s cabin, the Gateway Arch, cotton pickers in the Bootheel, the 1904 World’s Fair, Whiteman Air Force Base, the Lake of the Ozarks,the St. Louis Browns, the first capitol at Jefferson City, Ste. Genevieve and other towns as they looked in days gone by.
Russell Freedman is a master of children’s nonfiction. His work is readable and interesting. His look at WWI, the War to End All Wars, was a fascinating read. He gives us the history and politics that started the war and the major campaigns and battles in the war. He also takes a look at the aftermath and how it led to WWII. This was a war that changed how wars were fought. 20 million people were killed during WWI and yet the world went to war again 20 years later. It is like we learned nothing. I would definitely recommend this for fans of military and historical information.
This is “The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession”. It was well told and one feels you really get to know John Charles Gilkey, who deeply loves books. (He just doesn’t think he should pay for them.) The author often discussed his activities with Ken Sanders, who also loved and collected books (legally) and worked as an amateur detective to catch Gilkey. Although he was put in jail several times for thievery, it didn’t dampen his love of books and need to collect. He agrees with the saying, “Physical artifacts carry memory and meaning, and this is as true of important historical texts as it is of cherished childhood books.” He likes them all. He considered himself to be an existentialist because “they can’t differentiate between right and wrong”. He read many of the books he took and didn’t think it was wrong to have a book he enjoyed. He did have a job occasionally (usually working in a bookstore), but made a good bit of his spending money selling stolen books.
Gilkey knew the author was writing a book about him and was both careful about how much he shared, and delighted to be considered an important subject. At the end of the story he was known to have just stolen a book from a Canadian dealer. He was not arrested. “The story never ends.”
Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin presents a dazzling exploration of how life co-evolved with the changes in our planet.
Cool things I learned:
Camp Century, a U.S. Army cave city carved inside Greenland’s glacier before they realized that glaciers move and would ultimately crush the base.
How algae made the earth habitable for other organisms because they produce oxygen.
Blake’s quote ‘To see a world in a grain of sand, / And a heaven in a wild flower, / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, / And eternity in an hour’ is an apt description of this book, encompassing both the awe and wonder of the universe and life.]
Victor, the Wild Boy, of this tale was found roaming the countryside. He was captured and eventually ended up at a home for deaf/mutes. There is no information on whether he could actually hear, but he never learned to talk. He communicated through gestures. This is a fascinating tale. Losure does a great job laying out the details of Victor’s life and speculating on what might have happened. All the information came from the notes of those doctor’s that studied him. The book is short and easy to read. The story is engrossing and really makes you want to learn more about this and other feral children.
The story is one that is envisioned by many: a relative, an old woman who has lived in the same home for a lifetime, passes away, her death prompting the inevitable task of sorting through her effects by her surviving family. But in the attic in this particular house, a treasure trove of historic importance is found. Rarely does this become an actuality, but when Helene Elias died, no one could put a price on what she left behind.
Helene Elias was born Helene Frank, sister to Otto Frank, and therefore aunt to Anne Frank. Ensconced upstairs in the house she inherited from her mother, and eventually passed on to her son, Buddy Elias, Anne’s cousin and childhood playmate, was the documented legacy of the Frank family: a vast collection of photos, letters, drawings, poems, and postcards preserved throughout decades-a cache of over 6,000 documents in all.
Chronicled by Buddy’s wife, Gertrude, and renowned German author Mirjam Pressler, these findings weave an indelible, engaging, and endearing portrait of the family that shaped Anne Frank. They wrote to one another voluminously; recounted summer holidays, and wrote about love and hardships. They reassured one another during the terrible years and waited anxiously for news after the war had ended. Through these letters, they rejoiced in new life, and honored the memories of those they lost.
Anne’s family believed themselves to ordinary members of Germany’s bourgeoisie. That they were wrong is part of history, and we celebrate them here with this extraordinary account.
This book was written for teens but is an excellent companion book to the Diary of Anne Frank and you learn more of the personal background of the Frank family and those who helped to hide them. You also learn more of what the Frank sisters, Anne and Margot went through in the seven months of their captivity in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.