Book Reviews

BookReviews

BOOK REVIEW: 'Raised by Librarians' will warm your heart

Sheila Dembowski: "The children's picture book "The Boy Who was Raised by Librarians" is a wonderful story that makes that very point. Author Carla Morris is a librarian herself and has woven her experiences into an inspirational story about the power of libraries and the positive influence they can have on people."

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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.

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

<img title="Perfect Man" src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/:1551434350.01._SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpg" alt="Perfect Man" align="right" /> 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

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.

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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

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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. In what without a doubt is the most astounding op-ed piece of the year, Karl Rove reveals that his friend and former boss, George W. Bush, has read probably hundreds of books over the course of his presidency. One of them was Albert Camus' "The Stranger," with its unforgettable opening lines: "Mother died today.

Captain Underpants Doesn't Need a Newbery Medal

<blockquote> <p>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 <a href="http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6600688.html">made her case</a> in a recent issue of the School Library Journal.

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."

Top Ten of 2008 from the New York Times

NYTimes ten best books of 2008, including reviews, excerpts and some first chapters. Included are Toni Morrison's 'A Mercy', Jhumpa Lahiri's 'Unaccustomed Earth' and the new biography of
V. S. Naipaul, 'The World is What It Is'.

V. S. Naipaul, a Man Who Has Earned a Knighthood, a Nobel and Enemies Galore

New book about novelist V. S. Naipaul : THE WORLD IS WHAT IT IS,
The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul, By Patrick French,
Illustrated. 554 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. $30.

According to the review in the New York Times, it’s a handsome volume, jacketed in silver and black, with a disarming cover photograph of Mr. Naipaul stooping, with a gap-toothed grin, to tie a loose shoelace. Reviewer Dwight Garner says author French is "a relative rarity among biographers, a real writer, and at his best he sounds like a combination of that wily bohemian Geoff Dyer and that wittily matter-of-factual cyborg Michael Kinsley. Even the cameos in Mr. French’s biography are crazily vivid. Here is his hole-in-one description of the editor Francis Wyndham: “Popular, gentle, solitary and eccentric, Wyndham lived with his mother, wore heavy glasses and high-waisted trousers, gave off random murmurs and squeaks and moved with an amphibian gate.”

History of the Dot

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A review of the History of the Dot. See: "<a href="http://papercuts.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/27/dot-everything/?hp">Dot Everything</a>" By Jennifer Schuessler, the New York Times, October 27. Earlier this month, Oxford University Press published “On the Dot: The Speck that Changed the World” — a short and very enthusiastic history of the mark you make when you dip a toothpick into a puddle of stuff. Forget the almighty and all-explaining cod.

French Writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio Wins Nobel Prize

The Swedish Academy on Thursday awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for literature to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, a cosmopolitan and prolific French novelist, children’s author and essayist regarded by many French readers and critics as one of the country’s greatest living writers.

Treasure found on E-bay - Resistance: Memoirs of Occupied France

The <A HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7634000/7634154.stm">BBC reports</A> that an import yet forgotten book appeared on E-bay. As Translator Barbara Mellor notes, "Notre Guerre, Souvenirs de Résistance, Agnès Humbert, 1946. The listing on French eBay didn't give much clue as to the treasure that lay in store...Humbert's journal sent shivers down my spine.

Books Maketh the Man

Attempting to tell an author's life through the books he read is a risky enterprise. In this remarkable new biography of Oscar Wilde, Thomas Wright makes a convincing start with his claim that books were the greatest single influence on his subject's life. Wilde's first reading of some of his favourites was, says Wright, 'as significant as his first meetings with friends and lovers'. Indeed, he later used gifts of books to seduce young men.

His passion (apart from young men) was Balzac. Literary Review of Thomas Wright's new title "Oscar's Books".

10 Books Not To Read Before You Die

The producer of at least three television shows that you may quite like shares with us his definitive list of books that just aren't worth the bother.

1: Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

From what I can gather it’s Mills and Boon from the olden days, and really boring Mills and Boon at that. I did try reading a Jane Austen novel once, but it hadn’t got going by fifty pages so I guiltily gave up; the characters spoke in a very oblique way and it seemed to be all about hypocrisy and manners and convention; worse than that, it was really difficult to find the doing word in a sentence.

Librarian probes unsolved case, finds danger

"Death Books a Return" (Pemberley, $17.95), the second novel in Marion Moore Hills' mystery series, features Juanita Wills, the "Scrappy Librarian." The reviewer says "This is a book you'll like."

If she's killed, can she leave enough evidence that Cleary can figure out who did it? Or, will he get there before she is killed? After all, someone must have heard the shots in the library. Whoever heard of shots in the library?
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Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet

Book review at Salon.com of the book "Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet"

How do we know what we know? A new book takes a long view of knowledge, from ancient oral traditions to the rise of universities and the Internet.

We live in the information age, when networked computers give millions of users unprecedented access to communications and data. But so what? That is, in effect, what Ian McNeely and Lisa Wolverton have to say at the conclusion of "Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet." The authors are indeed hard to impress. Their small book takes a long view -- an exceedingly long view, beginning with the birth of Western civilization in the philosophical academies of ancient Greece and wending its way, century by century, to the present. McNeely and Wolverton remain unpersuaded that the Internet is as revolutionary as it's cracked up to be.

Full review here.

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