Movie Review: 42 (2013)


Title: 42 Release Date: 2013 Director:  Brian Helgeland Summary/Review: This straightforward biopic documents Jackie Robinson’s first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers when he became the first black player to break through the color barrier in Major League Baseball.  It suffers from an excess of Hollywood dramatic moments, but mostly it’s true to life in showing…

Book Review: Soccer Star Cristiano Ronaldo by John Albert Torres


Author:  John Albert Torres Title:  Soccer Star Cristiano Ronaldo Publication Info:  Berkeley Heights, NJ : Speeding Star, an imprint of Enslow Publishers, Inc., [2014] Summary/Review: I read this children’s biography of the Real Madrid and Portugal football star aloud to my son.  Ronaldo is not someone I’ve particularly been impressed by as a person, although his…

Book Review: The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore


Author: Jill Lepore Title: The Secret History of Wonder Woman Narrator: Jill Lepore Publication Info: Random House Audio (2014) Previously Read by Same Author: Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin Blindspot The Whites of Their Eyes Summary/Review: The story of Wonder Women begins as a creation of William Moulton Marston, a something of a…

Book Review: H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald


Author: Helen Macdonald Title: H is for Hawk Narrators: Helen Macdonald Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2015) Summary/Review: After the death of her father, Macdonald works through her grief by adopting and training a young goshawk, Mabel whom she calls “Thirty Ounces of Death in a Feathered Jacket.” This lyrical book is part memoir and…

Book Reviews: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell


Author:  Sarah Vowell Title: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States Narrator:  Sarah Vowell, with  John Slattery, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, Bobby Cannavale, John Hodgman, Stephanie March, and Alexis Denisof Other Books Read By Same Author: The Partly Cloudy Patriot  The Wordy Shipmates  Publication Info: Simon & Schuster Audio (2015) Summary/Review: This audiobook includes numerous well-known actors performing…

Book Review: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow


Author: Ron Chernow Title: Alexander Hamilton Narrator: Grover Gardner Publication Info: New York, N.Y. : Penguin Audio, p2004. Summary/Review: A straight-forward biography of General Washington’s right-hand man, Constitutional crusader, and founder of American finance as first secretary of treasury. It does not shy away from Hamilton’s failings such as an ill-tempered tongue and poor decisions, but mostly…

Book Review: The Wright Brothers by David McCullough


Author: David McCullough Title: The Wright Brothers Narrator: David McCullough Publication Info: Simon & Schuster Audio (2015) Summary/Review: The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, are figures shrouded in the myths and legends of the pioneers of aviation.  David McCullough presents them as two distinct personalities, and introduces the Wright Sister, Katharine, an integral part of their team although…

Book Review: First Family by Joseph Ellis


Author: Joseph J. Ellis Title:  First Family Narrator: Kimberly Farr Publication Info: Random House Audio (2010), Edition: Unabridged Previously Read by Same Author: American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams, and Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation Summary/Review: Historian Joseph Ellis explores the relationship of Abigail and John…

Book Reviews: In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson


Author: Erik Larson Title: In the Garden of the Beast Narrator: Stephen Hoye Publication Info: New York : Random House Audio : Books on Tape, p2011. Books Read by Same Author: The Devil in the White City and Isaac’s Storm Summary/Review: This history and biography book explores the rise of the Third Reich from the perspective of one American…

Book Reviews: Midnight Rising by Tony Horwitz


Author: Tony Horwitz Title: Midnight Rising Narrator: Dan Oreskes Publication Info: Macmillan Audio (2011) Previously read by same author: Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War  Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before  A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World  Baghdad without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia Summary/Review:…

Book Review:The Journey That Saved Curious George by Louise W. Borden


Author: Louise W. Borden, Allan Drummond (Illustrator) Title: The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey Publication Info: HMH Books for Young Readers (2010) Summary/Review: This brightly-illustrated book tells the true story of the creators of Curious George, Margret and H.A. Rey.  Much like their monkey creation, they had to escape from…

Book Review: Grandma Gatewood’s walk : the inspiring story of the woman who saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery


Author: Ben Montgomery Title: Grandma Gatewood’s walk : the inspiring story of the woman who saved the Appalachian Trail Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publication Info: Tantor Media, Inc., 2014 Summary/Review: In 1955, 67-year-old Emma Gatewood of Ohio set out to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.  Completing the hike, Grandma Gatewood became the first woman to through-hike the…

Book Review: Book of Ages : the Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore


Author: Jill Lepore Title: Book of Ages : the Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin Publication Info: Vintage (October 1, 2013) ISBN: 9780307958341 Books read by the same author: Blindspot The Whites of Their Eyes Summary/Review: Jill Lepore, one of my favorite historians, addresses the question put forth by Virginia Woolf regarding about Shakespeare’s sister being equally brilliant but lacking…

Book Review: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan


Author: Reza Aslan Title: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth Publication Info: Random House (2013) ASIN: B00BRUQ7ZY Summary/Review: I’ve not read a lot about the historical Jesus so this short summary of his life and times was engaging and enlightening.  “His times” is an important part of the title as few historical documents survive outside…

Book Review: Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel


Author: Alison Bechdel Title: Are You My Mother?  Publication Info: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2012) ISBN: 9780618982509 Previously Read By the Same Author: Fun Home Summary/Review:  The follow-up to Fun Home, Bechdel’s graphic biography of her father, this book deals with Bechdel’s complicated relationship with her mother. It’s actually about a lot more than that as center to the story is…

Book Review: Life by Keith Richards with James Fox


Author: Keith Richards with James Fox Title: Life Publication Info: Hachette Audio (2010) ISBN: 1600242405 Summary/Review:  I generally shy away from celebrity autobiographies but with the audiobook read by Johnny Depp and Richards himself, I had to give it a listen.  I figured that Richards would be a good storyteller and was not disappointed.  At its best, Life allows…

Book Review: Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield


Author: Rob Sheffield Title: Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut Publication Info: New York : Penguin Group (USA), 2010. ISBN: 9780525951568 Summary/Review: Sheffield, a music critic for Rolling Stone, writes an amusing and touching depiction of his life growing up in the 1980s with each chapter built around a…

Book Review: The Last Icon: Tom Seaver and His Times by Steven Travers


Author:Steven Travers Title: The Last Icon: Tom Seaver and His Times  Publication Info: Lanham, Md : Taylor Trade, 2011. ISBN: 9781589796607 Summary/Review: I received a free advance review copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.  The biography of the great Mets pitcher and Hall of Fame baseball star is generally a hagiography from the…

Book Review: Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand


Author: Lauren Hillenbrand Title: Unbroken Publication Info: Random House (2010) ISBN: 1400064163 Summary/Review: This improbable true-life adventure tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner (who even met Hitler at the 1936 games, naturally)  who goes to war in the South Pacific, survives a plane crash at sea, spends weeks adrift on a life raft (surviving strafing and shark…