Book Review: What’s It Like in Space? by Ariel Waldman


Author: Ariel Waldman Title: What’s It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There Publication Info: Chronicle Books (2016) Summary/Review: I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. One of my favorite science writers, Ariel Waldman, collects anecdotes and quotes from astronauts about their experience in space…

Book Review: Wild lives by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld


Author: Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld Title: Wild lives : a history of the people & animals of the Bronx Zoo Publication Info: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2006. Summary/Review: This is a children’s book history of the Bronx Zoo, a place I visited since childhood and have always been fascinated about it’s background.  The book focuses mostly on…

Book Review: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein


Author: Naomi Klein Title: The Shock Doctrine Narrator: Jennifer Wiltsie Publication Info:  Macmillan Audio (2007) Summary/Review: This book exposes the ideology of neoliberalism, the idea that government should be limited to the bare bones and that corporations should be completely unregulated, a school of thought promoted by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.  The book begins with…

Book Review: The Round House by Louise Erdrich


Author: Louise Erdrich Title: The Round House Narrator: Gary Farmer Publication Info: HarperAudio (2013 Summary/Review: Set on a fictional Indian reservation in North Dakota, this is the story of the teenager Joe who at the beginning of the novel learns that his mother has been brutally raped.  What follows is a story of legal complications surrounding the crime,…

Book Review: Monday with a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title:  Monday with a Mad Genius Publication Info: New York : Random House, c2007. Summary/Review: Jack & Annie are given the mission to spend the day in Renaissance Florence helping Leonardo Da Vinci.  It’s harder than it sounds but they’re persistent and participate in Leonardo’s science and art adventures, and even a little…

Book Review: Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Stage Fright on a Summer Night Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2002. Summary/Review: This may be my favorite Magic Tree House story yet.  Jack & Annie travel to Elizabethan London and join Shakespeare on stage at the Globe Theatre where they learn the magic of theater.  There’s a lot of…

Book Review: Ghost Town at Sundown by Mary Pope Osborne


Author: Mary Pope Osborne Title: Ghost Town at Sundown Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1997. Summary/Review: Jack & Annie go back to the Old West and visit a ghost town with real ghosts!  They also encounter some cattle rustlers and a kindly cowboy named Slim.  It’s a fun adventure with a riddle to solve. Rating:…

Book Review: The Philly Fake by David A. Kelly


Author: David A. Kelly Title: The Philly Fake Publication Info: Random House Books for Young Readers (2014) Summary/Review: This is a book in my son’s favorite “Ballpark Mystery Series.”  Set at the Philadelphia Phillies ballpark, it’s a mystery that involves the Philly Phanatic and an evil Ben Franklin.  Lots of fun Philly “Spirit of ’76” activities mixed…

Book Review: Listen, Liberal by Thomas Frank


Author: Thomas Frank Title: Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? Publication Info: Metropolitan Books (2016) Previously Read By Same Author:  What’s the Matter With Kansas and Pity the Billionaire Summary/Review: I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Thomas Frank asks…

Book Review: The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman


Author: Francis Parkman Title: The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life Narrator: Robert Morris Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2012, originally published in 1849) Summary/Review: This narrative describes 23-year-old Parkman’s travels west in  with fellow Boston Brahmin Quincy Adams Shaw.  Together they travel with settlers adventurers through the future states of of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado,…

Book Review: Star Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka


Author: Greg Rucka Title:Star Wars: Before the Awakening Publication Info:  Los Angeles : Disney Lucasfilm Press, 2015. Summary/Review: A companion piece to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this book contains three short stories about the protagonists of that film immediately before the events of the film.  Finn, then known as FN-2187, goes through rigorous training…

Book Review: The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin


Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin Title: The Bully Pulpit Narrator: Edward Hermann Publication Info: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books, 2014 Previously Read by the Same Author:  Team of Rivals and Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir Summary/Review: This book is a dual biography of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.  The two men are opposites in many ways.  Roosevelt…

Book Review: Walk the Blue Fields: Stories by Claire Keegan


Author: Claire Keegan Title:Walk the Blue Fields: Stories Publication Info: Grove Press, Black Cat (2008) Summary/Review: This is a collection of stories set in Ireland.  They are contemporary tales but set in rural settings so there are lots of traditional gender roles, repressed emotions, and outcomes that are rather depressing.  Fortunately, there is some humor in…

Book Review: Attack of the Cheetah by Jane B. Mason


Author: Jane B. Mason Title: Attack of the Cheetah Publication Info: Mankato, Minn. : Stone Arch Books, 2010. Summary/Review: This Wonder Woman story for kids is about cheetahs.  And a villain named the Cheetah.  And a zoo with cheetahs who are kidnapped by Cheetah and replaced with Cheetah’s cheetahs.  What a cheetah, er cheater!  I think…

Book Review: Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Mummies in the Morning Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1993. Summary/Review: Another Magic Tree House classic.  Annie and Jack travel to Ancient Egypt and help a ghost-queen by solving the riddle of hieroglyphics and finding their way through the false passages of a pyramid.  This book also demonstrates their different…

Book Review: Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Pirates Past Noon Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1994. Summary/Review: Swashbuckling adventure awaits Annie and Jack as the magic tree house takes them to an island, and they have to help pirates find a treasure.  I love pirates, but this is a weak story in the series, albeit still entertaining….

Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray


Author: Libba Bray Title: The Diviners Narratorr: January LaVoy Publication Info: Listening Library (2012) Summary/Review: Evie, an outspoken youngster from Ohio is sent away be her family to live with a strange uncle in Jazz Age New York City and ends up helping him try to solve a series of occultist murders.  An outlandish premise, but we…

Book Review: Buffalo Before Breakfast by Mary Pope Osborne


Author: Mary Pope Osborne Title: Buffalo Before Breakfast Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1999. Summary/Review: This is a very sweet story in the Magic Tree House series.  Annie & Jack go to the Great Plains of the 1800s and meet a Lakota boy named Black Hawk and his wise and gentle grandmother.  It’s a nice glimpse…

Book Review: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne


Author: Mary Pope Osborne Title: Dinosaurs Before Dark Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1992. Summary/Review: My children ravenously work their way through the Magic Tree House series.  This is actually the first book in the series.  And what a great start!  Any story that involves riding on the back of the pteranadon is my kind of…