Book Reviews

Together : A Shared Vision

Book Review: Together: a Novel of Shared Vision by Tom Sullivan with Betty White; published in large print by Center Point Publishing, 2008.

I saw the book Together on a large print book list. I was looking for some "gentle" fiction for some of my older large print users, who have forsaken much of general literature because they view it as being too vile for their enjoyment.

I was pleasantly surprised by the book. It is a story about Brendan McCarthy, who a pre-Med student who likes to live on the edge. With a hot girlfriend, Brendan thinks that he is on top of the world the fateful day he begins his descent from a mountain peak that will change his life forever. In a convergent story, Nelson is the third name given to a highly intelligent black lab that is going through service dog training for the third time.

Tom Sullivan and Betty White take a plot line that could have been completely formulaic and add sufficient plot twists to make you excited about turning the pages.

This book is a wonderful addition to any large print collection because it touches so many areas of interest for large print readers. The book proves to be a fairly gentle read, with only a small amount of bad language. As a dog story, it has a strong appeal to people like this writer who has black labs of my own. Third it offers contemporary gentle fiction that is not religious in nature. This will be welcome to patrons who do not want materials with vulgar language, graphic violence, or sexually explicit descriptions.

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Study Bible wins top honors in Christian Book Awards

A study Bible won top honors in the Christian Book Awards that were announced Thursday night in Dallas by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

The association gave ESV Study Bible, published by Crossway, the “book of the year” award. It’s the first time a study Bible has won the overall prize in the 30-year-history of the Christian Book Awards.

What is the purpose of a book review? And are book reviewers writing anything useful?

Michelle Kerns has been experiencing something of a book review epiphany (or, as fellow Simpson fans will appreciate, an epipha-tree). After compiling my list of the top 20 most annoying book reviewer clichés she indulged her self by surfing about the Internet in search of fellow book reviewers in thrall to reviewerspeak. The shocker came when she realized at least 95% of the reviews don't say anything useful at all.


Super-Hero Teachers and the Super-Power of Writing: Perfect Man

Perfect Man

If you are a parent or a teacher or a writer or a child, if you've had the gift of an extraordinary educator, if you've ever felt small, if you're prepared to have your heart swell with hope or you'd just enjoy a good laugh, get your hands on a copy of this unpredictable, heart-warming super-hero tale -- and then rise to its challenges to live life, exercise your strengths and recognize greatness in yourself and others.

There is an aversion to long chunks of sentences.

Commentary on NPR
Literary Death Spiral? The Fading Book Section

One of the sad, little sidebars to the sad, big saga of the waning of American newspapers is the disappearance of professional, edited book sections.

One of the last two major, stand-alone print book sections died this past Sunday, when The Washington Post published its last edition of Book World. The paper will still review books, but only The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle will continue to run a full mini-magazine devoted to books. It is a heavy symbolic blow to readers, writers and publishers. And it is an injury to our collective literacy and, thus, to our wisdom and intellectual agility.

Full piece here.


One of the Last Of the Few Sunday Newspaper Book Sections Will Soon Be Gone

The Washington Post reported today that it plans to close its stand-alone magazine Book World as of mid-February.

In dropping one of the few remaining stand-alone book sections in American newspapers, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said that the coverage will be shifted to the Style section and a revamped Outlook section. Shea said that The Post would publish about three-quarters of the roughly 900 reviews it has carried each year. The change will take effect Feb. 22.

Reading Into Bush's Book List

There is an interesting editorial in today's Washington Post about the list of books George Bush has read recently. "Reading Into Bush's Book List" By Richard Cohen, washington Post, Tuesday, December 30, 2008; Page A15.


Captain Underpants Doesn't Need a Newbery Medal

Is the highest honor in children's literature, the Newbery medal, woefully out of touch? Yes, according to children's book expert Anita Silvey, who made her case in a recent issue of the School Library Journal. Silvey reports that many librarians and book critics think the American Library Association, which awards the Newbery annually, has in recent years chosen "quirky" books that appeal to few adults and even fewer children.

A Favorite Children's Author Writes His Own Tale

...Knucklehead, by Jon Scieszcka. “Knucklehead” is Scieszka’s own tall tale, a memoir organized like a collection of snapshots about growing up with five brothers in the Flint, Mich., of the 1950’s. Ever the teacher, in this slim volume ­Scieszka writes a model memoir. Or as he puts it, when you are getting in trouble “it’s good to be the one telling the story.”

Scieszka gets children, and he gets their humor. Especially boy humor. He tells the truth about what really goes on when parents aren’t looking. Want to hear more? The book is reviewed in the New York Times Sunday Book Review.

If you go in for crazy knuckleheaded kids stories, you might want to check out this accompanying blog from the paper entitled "Are You a Knucklehead"?.

Patience and Fortitude, a Book Review

From the Christian Science Monitor, reprint of a book review from December of 2001. The book by Nicholas Basbanes, is 'Patience & Fortitude' a grand, rambling, serendipitous treasure-house of material about books and the people who have loved them.

This story is told of the Italian humanist Niccolo Machiavelli: "Dismissed from high office, stripped of all his honors, and forced to leave his beloved city of Florence for the primitive countryside, he found solace in his books: “When evening comes, I return home and enter my study; on the threshold I take off my workday clothes, covered with mud and dirt, and put on the garments of court and palace.

“Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where … I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives for their actions, and they, out of human kindness, answer me. And for four hours at a time I feel no boredom, I forget all my troubles, I do not dread poverty, and I am not terrified by death. I absorb myself unto them completely."


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