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Staff Reviews 2010

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Wonder what our staff reads for fun? Here’s your answer and our ratings!

Magnificent ♦♦♦♦
Rewarding ♦♦♦
Decent ♦♦
Forgettable ♦

Fiction

F BER
Berry, Steve.
The Venetian Betrayal: A Novel.
If you liked The Da Vinci Code, you’ll love Steve Berry’s “Cotton Malone” series. Berry is a better writer and you won’t have to wait five years for his next book. This thriller is jam-packed with adventure, history and mystery! Bruce’s rating...♦♦♦

F FOR
Forster, E.M.
Howards End.
Written in 1910, Howards End by E.M. Forster can certainly be considered a classic. This timeless novel, set in the early 20th century, is still relevant today. Through the intertwining stories of the Wilcox, Schlegel and Bast families, Forster explores the universal themes of culture and class — all the while underscoring the importance for all to “only connect.” Joanne’s rating...♦♦♦

F KIN
King, Stephen.
The Running Man.
The lead character, Ben Richards, lives in an extremely poor part of town in the not so distant future. The big entertainment of this era is morbid, life threatening games that are broadcast on TV. Since Ben Richards has been out of work for a year, he decides to enter the games to see if he can win some money to get medicine for his sick baby. Because of his good health, Ben is chosen for "The Running Man," the most popular of games. He needs to avoid being killed by the hunters of the game while on the run. For every hour he can stay alive he earns money. Should he survive for one month, he will win the grand prize and be allowed to live. He starts running from state to state where he meets those who help him and those who would turn him in for profit. Does he make it? Read and see. Gina’s rating...♦♦♦♦

F KIN
King, Stephen.
Under the Dome.
Under the Dome is one of King’s best. Mayhem, suspense, murder and supernatural happenings abound. It grabbed me from the first sentence and made me long for more. Sue’s rating...♦♦♦♦

F MAY
Maynard, Joyce.
Labor Day.
This coming of age story is about thirteen-year-old Henry’s crazy weekend with his mom and an escaped convict, who hides out at their house and becomes the mother’s lover. Liz’s rating...♦♦

MYS F ROB
Robb, J.D.
Kindred in Death.
Eve Dallas, the tough as nails heroine in the first rate series In Death, continues to fight crime in 2060 on the streets of New York City. While the central crime plot is enjoyable, I noticed an absence of subplots involving the supporting characters. Aimee’s rating...♦♦

F ROB
Robinson, Roxana.
Cost.
Cost is an absolutely riveting novel about a divorced woman who is all set to enjoy life when she discovers her mother has early Alzheimer’s and her son is a heroin addict. Beautifully written, Cost offers great insight into the complexity of addiction and its effect on a family. While I wouldn’t call it entertaining, it’s a book I’ll never forget. Sheila’s rating...♦♦♦♦

F SAP
Sapphire.
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push.’
Push is about a young girl and the cycle of abuse that traps her on many levels. Clareece “Precious” Jones is poor, illiterate and obese. A victim of incest, Precious is abused by both her mother and her father to the point where she feels invisible to the world.

Despite her situation, Precious is able to love and wants to learn to read and write. Given this opportunity by her teacher who accepts and loves her, Precious is urged to keep reaching for her goals no matter how tired she becomes. Ultimately this book is a moving and uplifting story told through the voice of a young girl who struggles to express herself and understand life. Julie’s rating...♦♦♦♦

F YOU
Young, William P.
The Shack: A Novel.
Mack loses his daughter on a family vacation. With evidence that she was murdered in an abandoned shack, Mack returns to the shack four years later. What he finds changes his world. “Where is God in a world so filled with pain?” The answer Mack receives will change him forever and it just might change you. Sharon’s rating...♦♦

Young Adult

YA COL
Colfer, Eoin.
Artemis Fowl.
Take a journey across the border of the human world into the world of fairies. Although Artemis is a manipulative child mastermind, his nemesis as well as the reader can’t help being drawn into liking him — even though he is a blackmailer and kidnapper! Janine’s rating...♦♦♦♦

Biography

B COHEN
Cohen, Elizabeth.
The House on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Learning and Forgetting.
When Elizabeth’s husband leaves, she is left alone to care for her young daughter, aging father and a big old farmhouse. As her father’s Alzheimer’s progresses, he loses more of himself and his memories every day. Meanwhile, her daughter Ava is a sponge, soaking up her world while becoming her own person. Seeing the love that exists in this family makes it all the more difficult for Elizabeth to watch her father slip away. You share her feelings of helplessness, but also her joy in each of Ava’s new discoveries. Her skill as a writer comes through in this tender tale of beginnings and endings. Dale’s rating...♦♦♦♦

B DAWSON
Dawson, George and Richard Glaubman.
Life Is So Good.
This is a very interesting biography of the life of George Dawson — grandson of a slave who endured many problems, but rose above them. His father was a big influence in his life and always kept him on the “right track.” Unable to read or write, George learned to read at the age of ninety-three. Charlotte’s rating...♦♦♦♦

B LEWIS
Lewis, Jerry.
Dean and Me: A Love Story.
Dean and Me tells of Jerry Lewis’ life, both personal and on the stage, with Dean Martin. It is a very well written biography without the egotistical trimmings of most autobiographies. Everything, from triumphs to tragedies, is covered in vivid detail. Although this is only one side of the story, it is an amazing look into the lives of a GREAT comedic team — Martin and Lewis. Kitty’s rating...♦♦♦♦

Nonfiction

302 GLA
Gladwell, Malcolm.
Outliers: The Story of Success.
Gladwell’s idea is that success is not only about practicing and working hard on a goal that you wish to achieve; it’s also about why certain circumstances make success more attainable for specific people. Gladwell has taken several career paths, analyzed the backgrounds of key successful people in those areas and devised theories on why they succeed. Outliers is an exploration of how circumstance, culture, timing, birth and luck account for success. It is interesting to find out Gladwell’s theories on what Bill Gates, the Beatles and Mozart have in common that made them successful. Deb’s rating...♦♦♦♦

Juvenile Fiction

J DIC
DiCamillo, Kate.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.
When his “family” moves away Edward Tulane, a toy bunny, gets lost. Thus starts Edward’s “extraordinary” journey to find his family. Though its designated for grade levels 3-6, adults will also love this book! Sharon’s rating...♦♦♦♦

J CON
Conway, Celeste.
The Goodbye Time.
Anna and Katy are best friends who have very different home lives. One has “the perfect family” and one has hardships. When a life changing event occurs, their friendship goes through a rough patch until the end of the goodbye time. This is a great story of life and the power of childhood friendships. Theresa’s rating...♦♦♦

Adult Audiobooks

CD 158 BAN
Ban Breathnach, Sarah.
Simple Abundance: Living by Your Own Lights.
Gathered from the sacred and the secular, this superb collection contains suggestions and exercises for re-discovering what is already wonderful about you and your life. Simple Abundance helps you indulge in simple pleasures to support your journey. Elyse’s rating...♦♦♦♦

CD 362 DOS
Dosa, David.
Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat.
Follow geriatric physician David Dosa as he explores how and why Oscar, the resident cat at a nursing home, appears to know when a patient is going to die; however, this is not so much a book about Oscar. Rather the cat is the supplementing thread by which this narrative leads you through the heartbreaking struggles which family members of terminal patients with different forms of dementia — including Alzheimer's disease — must endure. Elaine’s rating...♦♦♦

CD 919 TYL
Tyler-Lewis, Kelly.
The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party.
The Lost Men is a fascinating and true story. In 1914 while working for explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, the ten men of the Ross Sea Party become stranded in the region of Antarctica. Battling starvation, hypothermia and sub-zero temperatures, they must survive with only the clothes on their backs and little else. Rescued two years later, they surprisingly complete their 1700 mile mission. This incredible story is told through the use of personal journals. Maria’s rating...♦♦♦♦