Book Review: Blizzard of the Blue Moon by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Blizzard of the Blue Moon    Publication Info: New York : Random House, c2006. Summary/Review: This may be my favorite Magic Tree House book yet.  Jack and Annie are sent to Depression-era New York City to find a unicorn (SPOILER: If you didn’t guess, it’s in the Cloisters museum, although there’s a…

Book Review: Becoming a Citizen Activist</em< by Nick Licata


Author: Nick Licata Title: Becoming a Citizen Activist Publication Info: Seattle, WA : Sasquatch Books, [2016] Summary/Review:  A Seattle city councilor provides ideas, strategies, and practical advice for how any citizen can effect positive political change in their communities. It includes tips on how to deal with elected officials as well as demonstrating a cause to the public at…

Book Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchet


Author: Ann Patchet Title: Bel Canto Narrator: Anna Fields Publication Info: Blackstone Audiobooks, 2001. Summary/Review: This novel is set in an unnamed Latin American nation that lures a powerful Japanese business man to a birthday party in his honor with an intimate performance by his favorite operatic soprano.  A group of revolutionaries attacks the mansion and takes…

Book Reviews: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson


Author: Shirley Jackson Title: We Have Always Lived in the Castle Narrator:  Bernadette Dunne Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2010) Summary/Review: This mystery/thriller focuses on the survivors of the well-to-do Blackwood family six years after most of the family met their end when a poisoner put arsenic in the sugar for their dessert of berries.  The novel is…

Book Review: Slade House by David Mitchell


Author: David Mitchell Title: Slade House Narrator: Tania Rodrigues and Thomas Judd Publication Info: Sceptre (2015) Summary/Review: Not sure how this one ended up on my reading list as I was totally unprepared for a horror-mystery story.  But that’s a good thing as it’s good to shake things up from time to time.  The basic gist of the…

Book Review: Who is Dolly Parton? byTrue Kelley


Author: True Kelley Title: Who is Dolly Parton? Publication Info: New York, New York, USA : Grosset & Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, [2014] Summary/Review: I finished this children’s biography with the sense that Dolly Parton is one of the kindest, most optimistic, and hardest working people in show business.  And that’s all probably true,…

Book Review: The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland by Chiang Yee


Author: Chiang Yee Title: The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland Publication Info: London, Country Life; New York, Transatlantic Arts [1949] (first published in 1937) Other Books Read By Same Author: The Silent Traveller in London, The Silent Traveller in San Francisco, The Silent Traveller in Boston, and The Silent Traveller in Dublin. Summary/Review: Long ago I discovered…

Book Review: Who Was Louis Armstrong by Yona Zeldis McDonough


Author: Yona Zeldis McDonough Title: Who Was Louis Armstrong Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, c2004. Summary/Review: The life of musician and icon Louis Armstrong is explored at a kids level, focusing mostly on his early life up to the 1930s.  Armstrong grew up in poverty in New Orleans and spent time in a reform…

Book Review: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde


Author: Jasper Fforde Title: Lost in a Good Book Narrator: Emily Gray Publication Info: Penguin Audio (2011) Other Books Read by Same Author: The Eyre Affair, Shades of Gray, The Last Dragonslayer, The Song of the Quarkbeast, One of Our Thursdays is Missing, and The Eye of Zoltar. Summary/Review: Rereading the Thursday Next series has its surprises…

Book Review: Who Was Jesse Owens by James Buckley, Jr.


Author: James Buckley, Jr. Title: Who Was Jesse Owens Publication Info: New York, NY : Grosset & Dunlap, 2015. Summary/Review: Jesse Owens is well-known as a legendary track and field star who was a pioneer for black athletes, attending Ohio State University, going to the Olympics, and winning four gold medals.  Much is made of Owens being…

Book Review: Who Was Annie Oakley by Stephanie Spinner


Author: Stephanie Spinner Title: Who Was Annie Oakley Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, c2002. Summary/Review: I keep learning things I never knew from my son’s biographies of notable people.  Annie Oakley was a sharpshooter and that was all I knew about her.  Turns out she made an interesting life out of her skill traveling around…

Book Review: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann


Author: Charles C. Mann Title: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus Narrator: Peter Johnson Publication Info: Minneapolis, Minn. : Highbridge Audio, p2005. Summary/Review: This book attempts to reconstruct what the world of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere was like before contact with the Europeans.  Often what the first conquerors and colonists saw was…

Book Review: The Great Bridge by David McCullough


Author:  David McCullough Title: The Great Bridge  Narrator: Nelson Runger Publication Info: Recorded Books (2006) Previously Read by the Same Author: John Adams, 1776, and The Wright Brothers Summary/Review: What’s the longest period that a book has been on your “to read” list before you actually read it?  For me, it may be 33 years as I got a copy…

Book Review: Who was Johnny Appleseed? by Joan Holub


Author:  Joan Holub Title: Who was Johnny Appleseed? Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, c2005. Summary/Review: Another children’s biography that I read to my son that ended up teaching me about someone I knew little about.  John Chapman, Massachusetts born, moved to the frontier to raise apple orchards and sell seeds and seedlings to the…

Book Review: Who Was Neil Armstrong by Robert Edwards


Author:  Robert Edwards Title:  Who Was Neil Armstrong Publication Info:  New York, New York, USA : Grosset & Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2012. Summary/Review: My son and I enjoyed another “Who Was?” biography about the first person to set foot on the moon.  Armstrong was always a private person so he was harder…

Book Review: Feminism is for everybody : passionate politics by bell hooks


Author:  bell hooks Title: Feminism is for everybody : passionate politics Publication Info: Cambridge, MA : South End Press, c2000. Previously read by the same author:  All About Love: New Visions Summary/Review: This book is a short primer on feminism that bell hooks always wanted but had to write it since it didn’t exist.  hooks lays down…

Book Review: Amsterdam : a history of the world’s most liberal city by Russell Shorto


Author: Russell Shorto Title: Amsterdam : a history of the world’s most liberal city Narrator: Russell Shorto Publication Info: Random House Audio, 2013 Summary/Review: Shorto’s history of the Dutch city of Amsterdam is built on a principle that the city defines liberalism in both senses of the word.  There’s economic Liberalism – the principle of laissez-faire in free…

Book Review: Who Is Michelle Obama by Megan Stine


Author: Megan Stine Title:  Who Is Michelle Obama? Publication Info:  New York : Grosset & Dunlap, An Imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., [2013] Summary/Review: My song picked out this children’s biography to read at bedtime from the Who was?/Who is? series and we both noted that despite her prominence, neither of us knew much about Michelle…

Book Review: Bitch Planet. Volume 1 Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Robert Wilson, and Taki Soma


Author:  Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro (Artist.), Robert Wilson (Artist.), Taki Soma (Artist.) Title: Bitch Planet. Volume 1 Extraordinary Machine Publication Info: Berkeley : Image Comics, 2015. Summary/Review: Writer Phillip Sandifer stated that this comic series is “most unapologetically social justice oriented book on the stands” so I thought I’d give it a try.  Bitch Planet…