Book Review: What Were the Twin Towers? by Jim O’Connor


Author: Jim O’Connor Title: What Were the Twin Towers Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Random House, [2016] Summary/Review: Following on the Hurricane Katrina book, my son and I read this history of the World Trade Center in New York City.  The book is a full history of the Twin Towers…

Book Review: What Was Hurricane Katrina? by Robin Koontz


Author: Robin Koontz Title: What Was Hurricane Katrina Publication Info: New York New York : Grosset & Dunlap, An Imprint of Penguin Random House, [2015] Summary/Review: I find it easier to work through difficult issues through books so I was impressed when my son picked out out this history of Hurricane Katrina written for children.  The book does a…

Book Review: Beatlebone by Kevin Barry


Author: Kevin Barry Title: Beatlebone Publication Info: New York : Doubleday, [2015] Summary/Review: This novel is rooted  in the fact that John Lennon bought an island off the coast of Ireland and is premised on the idea that he went to visit the island in 1978 for primal scream therapy.  Getting to the island is most of the…

Book Review: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker


Author: Helene Wecker Title: The Golem and the Jinni Narrator: George Guidall Publication Info: Blackstone Audiobooks (2014) Summary/Review: This engaging novel is set in the immigrant communities of lower Manhattan circa 1900. A woman made of clay – a golem named Chava – finds herself stranded alone in the Lower East Side after the man who would’ve…

Book Review: Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park


Author: Linda Sue Park Title: Keeping Score Publication Info: New York : Clarion Books, c2008. Summary/Review: This brilliant children’s novel is set in Brooklyn in the 1950s, the golden age of New York City baseball. Young Maggie, a devoted Dodgers fans, listens to games with the firefighters at the local station, until one day a new guy…

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…