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Welcome! Thought we'd give this blogging thing a spin. We'd like to share some good reads and allow our patrons to do the same. The reader who is recommending may be a staff member here at Peter White Public Library; it might be you, leaving a comment in our guest book.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Couple of Cookbooks

There is nothing I like to read better than cookbooks, and the PWPL has received a variety of new additions to the collection.

The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook by Erin Coopey is a handy compendium of how to make fresh, tastier and healthier staples like salad dressings, stocks, sauces, butters and condiments. The instructions are easy to follow and most cooks will have the ingredients on hand. If you want to try your hand at making your own ketchup, mustards, mayonnaise, pumpkin puree, pickles and salad dressings, this is the book for you.

Local chefs Deborah Pearce and Chris Kibit have written the “go to” cookbook for whitefish lovers.  Wild Caught and Close to Home, Selecting and Preparing Great Lakes Whitefish is a project completed in cooperation with the Michigan Sea Grant. Chefs and cooks from across the Great Lakes share their favorite whitefish recipes and techniques.

~Pam

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A pair of picture books

As a proud grandmother of four, I have come to enjoy so many of the picture books we have here at the library. My grandchildren love the pictures and the stories and sometimes we read them what seems like one hundred times before we have to take them back. Here are two for you.

I Like Old Clothes by Mary Ann Hoberman was recently re-released with new illustrations.  This whimsical book is full of imagination, wonder and just plain fun. A little girl and her brother find so many fun things to do with hand-me-down clothes. The illustrations are fantastic and add to the story. What imagination old clothes can produce and what adventures and sights they can experience--who knew?

For the kids interested in dinosaurs, Julie Middleton’s book, Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?  is  very funny.  It's about a little boy who just may know more about dinosaurs than his father gives him credit for. The story has a great surprise ending and nudges parents to value listening to what their children say. The pictures and illustrations make the book come alive.

~ Nicki

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Frozen in Time

Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff is a gripping story of survival, bravery, and honor in the vast Artic wilderness during World War II. On November 5, 1942, a US cargo plane slammed into the Greenland Ice Cap. Four days later, the B-17 assigned to the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on board survived, and the US military launched a daring rescue operation. But after picking up one man, the Grumman Duck amphibious plane flew into a severe storm and vanished. Frozen in Time tells the story of these crashes and the fate of the survivors, bringing vividly to life their battle to endure 148 days of the brutal Arctic winter, until an expedition headed by famed Arctic explorer Bernt Balchen brought them to safety. Mitchell Zuckoff takes the reader deep into the most hostile environment on earth, through hurricane-force winds, vicious blizzards, and subzero temperatures.

 ~Stan

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

I discovered Lucy Knisley's graphic novel Relish on the latest list of Alex Award Winners.  The American Library Association gives Alex Awards each year to adult titles that are likely to appeal to teens.  It's been a long time since I was a teenager, but I have found a lot of good reads on these lists-- a new author with a fresh perspective, in innovative spin on the art of fiction.

When I took Relish to the check-out desk, the friend and co-waorker who was working there picked it up and flipped through the pages and shrugged.  She said she liked graphic novels where the artwork really stood out.  I can't say that about this book.  The images are skillfully rendered, colorful and balanced, but they are not breaking new ground. 

So why am I recommending this book (and why did it win an award)?  Is it simply the writing?  Would this book work just as well as a short story?  I think there is something about that graphic novel format that makes it not just about writing and not just about art that has to do with the pacing and the package and the experience. 

Relish is a book about an American kid coming of age, surrounded by a whole wonderful world of food.  It's about comfort and tradition and travel and trying new things.  Perhaps Knisley uses her drawings more to explain and illustrate than to impress or inspire her audience. Often the images convey humor.  Each section ends with a recipe that is depicted partly in diagram and partly in illustration, making it clear to the novice exactly how to recreate the item in question, whether wrapping sushi rolls or sauteing mushrooms.

--E.M., Reference desk

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sisterland

Whenever I have a friend whom I both love intensely and who can really get me mad, I say she is like a sister.  I have a lot of sisters; it's a relationship dynamic I'm very familiar with.  Perhaps that is what drew me to Curtis Sittenfeld's latest novel, Sisterland.

Sittenfeld takes the relationship a step further and makes her characters twins.  Twins who share psychic abilities they refer to as senses, as in "I have a sense about" anything that might happen.  Their senses, however, seldom help them make good choices.

The novel begins with an argument between sisters in a restaurant.  At first it seemed that the things said would cause irreparable damage to their relationship, but then I realized, no, their relationship is much stronger than bickering they engage in.  Which is part of the pleasure of reading this book.  Sittenfeld seems to have deep understanding of how people can fail and still endure in their personal lives.  The course of this novel follows their relationship through childhood, adolescence, college and early adulthood.  By the end of the book there is a strong sense of lessons learned and unbreakable bonds.  

--E.M. Reference Desk

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New nonfiction for children


The year 2013 saw the release of several great children's books, including a handful selected for the 2014 Great Lakes Great Books list, recently released by the Michigan Reading Association. These two are favorites:

He didn’t speak until he was three. He was a disruption to his class. And he didn’t like to wear socks with his shoes. Read about how one boy's curiosity changed science forever in On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne. This endearing story chronicles the life of the most famed scientist of the 20th century in a fresh and fun way. The light colored backgrounds reinforce Einstein as the creator of the theory of relativity, but offer text and a story young readers can relate to. Einstein was simply a man who asked questions, again and again, dreaming about the possibilities of the universe. What child doesn’t do the same?

All aboard! “Clang-Clang! Clang-Clang! Hissssssss. Huff, huff, huff!” Jump
on the iron horse for an adventure.  Winner of the 2014 Caldecott Award, Locomotive by Brian Floca offers stunning illustrations of a family moving cross country from Omaha, Nebraska to Sacramento, California on a steam locomotive. Hear the sounds, smell the smells as Floca paints the plains, deserts and mountains of the U.S. interior with his words and drawings. Chocked full of facts on the mode of transportation that connected the country for the first time, this non-fiction book will appeal to train aficionados and all audiences that enjoy a good trip.

~Jeni

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Three titles for young adults

The outstanding books on the Michigan Reading Association’s Great Lakes Great Books list are chosen by a committee of teachers and librarians from throughout the state, and that committee meets right here at the Peter White Public Library. This year in particular, the Young Adult (YA) books on the GLGB list are wonderful choices for high school students as well as adults far beyond their teen years. Here are three of the books nominated for students in Grades 9 to 12 to read and evaluate before voting for their favorites. All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry is a book full of mystery.
 
Though it feels like historical fiction, Berry cleverly left her story’s time and place undefined. Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town. Two years later only Judith returned, mutilated, shunned by everyone in her puritanical town and unable to speak. Luckily for the reader Judith’s narrative voice remains strong, clear and full of passion as she silently tells her story to the young man she has secretly loved since childhood. Touching on the power of language, the right to education and the horrors of war, Berry delivers a powerful and disturbing book.

Boy21 by Matthew Quick was my hands-down favorite YA book published in 2013. Its multi-layered story of redemption through basketball and friendships deep and true is beautifully told by Finley, a self-described “minimal talker.” Finley’s life is colored by past tragedy and the grim reality of life in his hardscrabble town where the Irish mob, drugs and racial violence rule; basketball is his escape. His position on the team is threatened when a very troubled but extremely talented basketball player who calls himself Boy21 arrives in town just before their senior year. At their coach’s request, the eternally loyal and goodhearted Finley applies himself to helping Boy21 overcome his intergalactic obsession and return to the basketball court.

 If you enjoy a fun story with plenty of food for thought, check out Every Day by David Levithan. Everymorning “A” wakes up in a different person’s body, living that person’s life, with no warning or control over which body and life he’ll assume. Even under the circumstances, “A” has developed a strong sense of self and a good moral compass. He has figured out the rules and has come to accept this existence, until the day he assumes Justin’s body and falls head over heels in love with Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon. Can Rhiannon love him back? Is it possible to truly love someone no matter what they look like on the outside?

~Mary

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tales of Two Cities from Michigan Notable Books 2014

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Charlie LeDuff returns to his hometown
to uncover what destroyed his city.  He beats on the doors of union
bosses, homeless squatters, businessmen and woman as well as struggling
homeowners.  What he reveals is a story of ordinary people holding the
city together with sheer determination.  Detroit: An American Autopsy is
filled with some of the strangest and strongest people this country has
to offer.



Tear-Down: Memoir of a Vanishing City by Gordon Young is another story about a city ravished by poverty and crime.  Gordon Young grew up in Flint.  After 15 years in San Francisco, he found himself interested in what was happening in his hometown.  What he found was a city that could once boast that it had one of the world’s highest per capita income levels, but is now one of the most dangerous places to live.  A city where an exotic dancer can afford a lavish mansion, speculators scoop up cheap houses by the dozen, and where arson is often the quickest way to improve a neighborhood.


~Pam

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Magicians



Quentin Coldwater, as his name might suggest, is not happy with his lot.  When Lev Grossman’s novel The Magicians begins, he is on his way to an interview with a Princeton alumnus as part of his application process.  He is with his two best friends, also gifted and talented, but more bonded to each other than they are to him.  Nothing, that day or at any other time in this novel, goes as he expected.  He does not find exactly happiness, at least not lasting happiness, but he finds a lot of other things he never expected to see.  And he doesn’t go Princeton. 



I’ve heard The Magicians described as Hogwarts for grown-ups.  I don’t know that I would agree with that.  It is certainly full of magic and learning.  If you like it as much as I did, you'll want to read the sequel, The Magician King, also available at Peter White Public Library, and the third book, The Magicians' Land, which will be available at PWPL when it comes out in August. 

~E.M. Reference Department

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

What is life like when you think on a different plane than anyone else your age, focusing on the small details around you while compiling them all into a larger picture of the world? You can count by 7's.

This is Willow Chance's world until her parents are killed in a car crash and she's left in the care of five very different people who try to make her life manageable. However, they all have challenges of their own to overcome, which makes them all the more interesting. There's a guidance counselor lacking in self-esteem, an industrious Vietnamese family living in poverty, and a taxi driver who dreams of going to college. One of the side plots involves Willow's penchant for gardening which highlights the personalities of the leading characters based on their approaches to the planting process.

Sloan has delivered a unique story that will delight and inspire middle school readers.

~Lynette

Friday, February 14, 2014

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Look beyond the minimalist cover to Tom Lichtenheld’s brilliant characterization of the exclamation mark, all illustrated on elementary school penmanship paper. With the help of question mark, and very clever dialogue, exclamation mark finds purpose on the page and joins in the conversation. Educators will enjoy reading this story aloud and spinning off into a mini-lesson on punctuation.

~Lynette Suckow

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Literary Knits

I love to knit. Recently I discovered two new types of knitting that might interest other knitters in Marquette. One is called arm knitting. Rather than using needles with yarn to create scarves, hats and lap throws, the knitter uses his/her own arms to “knit” yarn into an item. The other type, yarnbombing, is more fine art. For those knitters and readers of this column who don’t know this type of knitting, yarnbombing is a term for graffiti knitting. Visualize a tree trunk wrapped in lights at Christmas; that’s the same colorful look presented when one knits graffiti for that same tree, or a light pole, sign post, or whatever item needs a bit of color in today’s stark, urban environments like Houston, TX where it began. Knitters do similar knitting when we create clothing or accessories; we create colorful decoration for our loved ones or ourselves.

Try out Literary knits: 30 patterns inspired by favorite books, written by Nikol Lohr, who blends her love of classic literature and knitting to create some fresh new projects. The book’s patterns are designed  for intermediate knitters, but the detail is explained with excellent photographs if a knitter needs help to complete. Among the lovely patterns are two different mitten patterns based on what might have been knitted by Marmee for Jo or Meg from the book Little Women, a cloche hat inspired by the ladies of The Great Gatsby, shawl patterns influenced by those worn by Emma and Jane Eyre and many other projects for the entire family.

 ~Vicki

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cold weather escapes


Reading can provide an escape from this biting cold weather gripping the UP. Local resident and award-winning author, John Smolens knows cold and that single word is the title of his book about a prisoner who escapes during a snow storm. Cold captures the lives of six people who face love, greed and the promise of a last chance set against the unforgiving terrain of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

One of my favorite authors, mystery writer Steve Hamilton uses UP weather like a character in his Alex McKnight novels set in Paradise, Michigan. Hamilton’s A Cold Day in Paradise is the first book in this series of mysteries featuring a retired cop turned reluctant private eye. Is Alex imagining things, or is the man who shot him and killed his partner on the loose and stalking him?

Warm up with a good book from the library.

~Pam Christensen

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood

The “Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys” book discussions series begins Wednesday, January 29 at 1:00 p.m. in the library’s Shiras Room.  

Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatima Mernissi is the third book scheduled for discussion on Wednesday, March 26. Mernissi grew up in Fez, Morocco in the 1940s. In this memoir, she writes about her large, extended family in which the women and children were confined to their shared home and restricted in their behavior. Mernissi focuses on her strong, colorful female relatives and their conflicting attitudes about traditional harem life and the political and social changes facing Morocco including the waning of the French occupation, World War II, the Westernization of Morocco and the challenges faced as educational opportunities opened up. The author took advantage of these opportunities. She studied at the Sorbonne and earned her doctorate at Brandeis University. She is a sociologist and teaches at Mohammed V University in Rabat. You can find this biography on the top floor of Peter White Public Library under call number: 921 Mernissi.

~C.S. Reference Desk

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jamrach's Menagerie



I think one of the reason’s Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch is such a compelling story is that it is so close to being a true story.  All the components are at once fantastic and based on fact.  The opening scene, in which a small boy is almost consumed by a tiger, but lives to tell the tale, is based on a recorded incident.  The story that follows of a group of adventurers out in search of real live dragon, could just as easily be true if you allow yourself to imagine what it would be like to live in a time when no one in your part of the part of the world had ever seen a Komodo dragon and all you knew were the stories.  
Terrible things happen in the course of this novel, but what I was left with was a sense of wonder and possibility.  

~EM, Reference desk

Monday, January 20, 2014

Behind the Scenes at the Museum



It takes a certain amount of pluck to be both a first person and an omniscient narrator.  Kate Atkinson’s novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum starts with Ruby Lennox describing the moment of her conception in 1950’s England. In the rest of book she moves both forward and backwards in time to describe not only her own story but that of her parents, grandparents, and extended family.   Her family is not privileged and many die prematurely either by accident or warfare.  But the wit and spunk expressed through the telling keeps the story engaging.   
Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year for 1997. 

~EM, Reference Desk.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Death's Door

The centennial of the Copper Miners’ Strike of 1913 has been observed this past year in the Keweenaw Peninsula. This labor strike lasted from July 1913 to April 1914, and to a large extent shut down or drastically curtailed copper mining in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One of the most notable events of the strike was the Italian Hall Tragedy where 73 people, the majority of them children, lost their lives on Christmas Eve.
        The events of that fateful day are chronicled in an expanded edition of Death’s Door by Steve Lehto. No stranger to Copper Country, Lehto first explored this disaster in the original version of the book which was named a Michigan Notable Book in 2006. Since that time, he has collected new material and photos and doubled the size of the book. He has also served as an expert for two film documentaries about the strike and Italian Hall Tragedy.
        Lehto has also written Shortcut-the Seeberville Murders and the Dark Side of the American Dream. This book details the tragic events surrounding mine security harassment of immigrant miners near Seeberville. When the harassment escalates, two innocent people are left dead.
        Film makers Louis Galdieri and Ken Ross were introduced to the Copper Miners’ Strike by the Woody Guthrie ballad "1913 Massacre." The two spent almost ten years filming and researching background for the film by the same name. What was created is a film that looks at the impact of the Italian Hall tragedy on Calumet and the Keweenaw Peninsula using personal interviews of several of the event’s survivors and local residents. The song, sung by Arlo Guthrie, provides a haunting backdrop to the film.


~Pam Christensen

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Poetry

Michigan has a rich cache of poets, many from the Upper Peninsula. Read your way into these two collections of contemporary poems by local favorites.


Poetry in Michigan/Michigan in Poetry is a beautiful new release from Western Michigan University’s New Issues Poetry & Prose. Edited by William Olsen and Jack Ridl, this book anthologizes about 90 contemporary Michigan poets and 30 artists. The subjects of their poems concern Michigan’s landscapes, waterways, cities, and the emotions and experiences of its people. The settings range from the U.P. to Detroit. U.P. poets include Elinor Benedict (Rapid River); Matthew Gavin Frank and Austin Hummell (NMU); Ander Monson (originally from Houghton); Ron Riekki (originally from Marquette) and Russ Thorburn, the U.P.’s Poet Laureate (Marquette). The stunning art work is worthy of its own show.


The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works, edited by Ron Riekki, was published this past spring by Wayne State University Press. The poems and stories offered here present an intimate look at life in the U.P. They capture its humor and sorrow, fear and joy, people and topography. I have sometimes wondered how pastors are able to endure so much death and grief and discovered an answer in Emily Van Kley’s poem “My Father’s Datebook” in which she writes, “First in are … days of canoes & cranberry bogs & forest service cabins—by which he means to endure … the church members dying….” The poems and stories collected in this anthology help, too. ~Cathy

Monday, January 6, 2014

Detroit: An American Autopsy

Many Best or Notable Books of the Year lists are made available to enthusiastic readers in December. It is always fun to find out which titles are chosen and which appear on more than one list.

One of my favorite books this year is Charlie LeDuff’s Detroit: An American Autopsy. After a twenty year absence, LeDuff, a New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, returns home to report for the Detroit News. He chronicles the abandoned homes, neighborhoods and factories of his broken city. He demonstrates the incompetence and corruption of City Hall and describes the outrageous actions of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Council Woman Monica Conyers. He follows the trail of the auto industry from manufacturing and labor leadership to bailouts and incompetent, clueless executives. LeDuff also portrays the courage and dedication of the Fire Fighters who respond to Detroit’s systemic arson driving wrecks of fire trucks and wearing protective clothing so coated with chemicals they are a fire hazard themselves. Even the brass poles of the firehouses have been sold for scrap! LeDuff parallels the story of Detroit with that of his family, writing of their hard work, failures, tragedies and endurance. LeDuff’s fierce passion for his city and his family give readers hope for Detroit’s salvation.

~Cathy

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Red Sky in Morning

 
Here's Red Sky in Morning, a novel of 275 pages that you won't be able to put down, so it feels right.  It comes in under 300 pages--just the right length of a winter read, with a glass of brandy at your side and a cat purring. It got a favorable review from Alan Cheuse on NPR, but for me it was the first paragraph that nailed it to the barn door--no, not paragraph--first sentence:  "Night sky was black and then there was blood, morning crack of light on the edge of the earth."
 
Right away, I knew I was in Seamus Heaney territory, with an Irish author named Paul Lynch who cared about every single utterance and probably read each one aloud--and I found out he did, in an interview, and that he composed, if you could call writing this shivery prose in long, breathless sentences composing, while listening to jazz.
 
But the plot, it was tight with rage (if I can steal one of his phrases). Set first in Donegal, 1832,bad things happen to a poor Irishman with family, but mostly to Coll's brother who's quickly caught by an evil bossman for a crime his Coll committed. Coll Coyle.  Even his name feels tight.  Like everything else that happens here, which I won't reveal.
 
Paul Lynch is a comer, splendid with his leafy prose scattering in every direction but always holding you to the page.
 
Read it.
 
--Russell Thorburn, Poet Laureate of the Upper Peninsula

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Street Cat Named Bob

I started out as a dog person, getting my first dog when I was around eight years old. It wasn't until the late 1990's that we adopted our first cat. Since then it has been only cats in our house. I enjoy all animals, but especially dogs and cats because they have brought such joy to my life. I'd like to share one of the best cat books I have read, and I hope, as you read it, you enjoy it as much as I have.

A Street Cat Named Bob, and How He Saved My Life by James Bowen is the story of the author, a street musician struggling to make ends meet. Bob is a stray cat looking for somewhere warm to sleep. When James and Bob meet, they forge a never-to-be-forgotten friendship that has been charming readers from Thailand to Turkey. A Street Cat named Bob is an international sensation, landing on the bestseller list in England for fifty-two consecutive weeks and selling in twenty-six countries around the world. Now, James and Bob are ready to share their true story with readers in the United States.

When Bowen found an injured cat curled up in the hallway of his apartment building, he had no idea how much his life was about to change.Bowen  was living hand to mouth on the streets of London, barely making enough money to feed himself, and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet Bowen couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent, but very sick animal, whom he named Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining that he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas. This is a tale unlike any you've ever read, and Bob is a cat who possesses some kind of magic.

~Arlette

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

After arriving in New York City 1977 we meet Reno, a young and ambitious artist determined to turn her fascination with motorcycles and danger into art. Reno’s trial-by-fire story alternates provocatively with the gripping tale of Valera, an Italian who serves in a motorcycle battalion in WWI, manufactures motorcycles including the coveted Moto Valera, and makes a fortune in the rubber industry by oppressing Indian tappers in Brazil. These worlds collide when Reno moves in with Sandro Valera, a sculptor estranged from his wealthy family, and tries to make art by racing a Moto Valera on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Ultimately, Reno ends up in Italy, where militant workers protest against the Valeras. Embracing the worlds of motorcycle racing, art and radical politics, The Flamethrowers sweeps us into the swirl of life amid a memorable group of characters to reveal what it's like to live on the edge or aspire to do so.

~Dominic

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Peter Panzerfaust


I love reading; however, there are times when I crave a different kind of storytelling, one which melds text and pictures to create a lush world. This combination of words and drawings brings a new layer to the reading experience, opening up avenues for subtext, side plots, and story lines which are not be possible with traditional, linear storytelling. Books are often read because of their authors, the same is true for comic books. 

I’d like to share with you one of my favorite comic book artists available at the Peter White Public Library. Canadian team Kurtis J. Wiebe and Tyler Jenkins breathes fresh air into J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan in their two-volume comic book Peter Panzerfaust. Self-proclaimed history buffs, Wiebe and Jenkins transport the Peter Pan story to Nazi occupied France where, along with a band of French orphans and the Darling children, teenaged Peter and the gang must work together to survive the darkest days of World War II. Jenkins’ art is subtle yet unique, the dark tones embrace the reader and remind them of how terrible the war was, yet never strays too far from the adventurous tone of the original story. The character’s expressions range from the sorrow of losing friends and family to the joy of a peaceful picnic. 

The art from Panzerfaust has been transformed to a new media, the motion comic, which has been released in the UK through the BBC. where the original artwork is animated and the characters are voiced by Elijah Wood, Summer Glau, and Ron Pearlman. Collection librarians at Peter White will be keeping on eye on availability in this country for our DVD collection. In the meantime, Panzerfaust is a must read for those who love history and the original Peter Pan story.

~Tracy

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Temple Grandin

One of the most interesting books I've read this year can be found in the Juvenile Nonfiction section of the library. It's titled, Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery (2012) 148 pages.

Who hasn't found it hard to fit in with a crowd, been the target of bullies, or thought no one shared their interests? Add hypersensitivity to sound and touch and the inability to read emotions on faces, and you have Temple Grandin's particular challenges on the spectrum of autism. She had a father who didn't understand her and a mother who wouldn't give up on her. Her mother found a suitable boarding school that recognized Temple's abilities and encouraged her to build on her strengths. Temple's lifelong ability to relate to animals more easily than people eventually led her to become an expert in the humane treatment of cows. Since cows are usually raised to become part of the human food chain, her work concentrated on their living conditions and handling practices. Temple Grandin's amazing journey from a confusing childhood to becoming a university professor is chronicled with photos and sidebars of information on brain research and the farming industry.
~Lynette

Monday, January 21, 2013

City of Dark Magic

I've probably read some books in the last couple of years that are more literary or more more meaningful, but I'm not that I've read a book in that last five years that is more fun than the City of Dark Magic.  I am a middle-aged woman with a young child; I go to bed early.  I was up past 1 am one night just that eager to see what would happen next.  When I finished the story, I was digging around the Internet to see when the next book would be out. 

The author listed on the cover, Magnus Flyte, is the pen name of writing duo Meg Howrey ( a novelist) and Christina Lynch (a television writer).

The bulk of the story is set in modern day and not so modern day Prague.  Time becomes fluid in this story.  There are, as the title suggests, elements of dark magic.  The protagonist is a smart young doctoral student of musicology.  I learned a few things about Beethoven.  That's enough.  Read the book, have fun.