Book Review: Find Me by Laura van den Berg


Author:Laura van den Berg Title: Find Me Publication Info: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. Summary/Review: This novel is the story of a young woman named Joy, an orphan raised in various foster homes, who becomes a test subject in a remote hospital when she is found to be immune to a deadly disease sweeping…

Book Review: American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S. Morgan


Author: Edmund S. Morgan Title: American Slavery, American Freedom Narrator: Sean Pratt Publication Info: Gildan Media, LLC (2013) Summary/Review: This book is not so much a history of slavery as it is an economic history of Colonial Virginia.  In a sense, understanding the conditions of Colonial Virginia is important to understanding how this English community came to…

Book Review: How Music Works by John Powell


Author: John Powell Title: How music works : the science and psychology of beautiful sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and beyond Publication Info: New York, NY : Little, Brown, 2010. Summary/Review: With a lot of humor and avoidance of technical detail, Powell breaks down everything about music including physics, acoustics, decibels, rhythm and melody, and musical…

Book Review: Who Was John F. Kennedy by Yona Zeldis McDonough


Author: Yona Zeldis McDonough Title: Who Was John F. Kennedy Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, c2005. Summary/Review: Continuing our way through the “Who Was…?” series with my son.  This book again shows the series’ ability to be age-appropriate, but to also offer honest appraisals of their subjects.  I was particularly impressed by the details of…

Book Review: SPQR : A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard


Author: Mary Beard Title: SPQR : a history of ancient Rome Publication Info: New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a Division of W.W. Norton & Company, 2015. Summary/Review: Beard attempts the very difficult, a single volume history of Ancient Rome, and succeeds. There’s the evolution from Republic to Empire (which is not the clean split it often appears…

Book Review: Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt


Author: Samantha Hunt  Title: Mr. Splitfoot Narrators: Cassandra Campbell and Emily Woo Zeller Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2016) Summary/Review: This gothic mystery tells two interwoven stories.  The first is about the young Ruth and Nat, foster children growing up in a group home under a strange Christian cult leader.  They begin to claim that they can talk…

Book Review: What Was the First Thanksgiving? by Joan Holub


Author: Joan Holub Title: What Was the First Thanksgiving? Publication Info: Grosset & Dunlap (2013), 112 pages Summary/Review: This is a simple but honest children’s history of the settlers of Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoag people and what really happened on that first Thanksgiving.  There’s a fair amount of myth-busting as well as using surviving records to…

Book Review: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik


Author: Naomi Novik Title: His Majesty’s Dragon Narrator: Simon Vance Publication Info: Books on Tape (2007) Summary/Review: I imagine the author read the Aubrey/Maturin series and thought “I’d like to write that same type of book. With dragons.”  Set in the Napoleonic Wars, this is a historic novel for the most part, with the exception that dragons are…

Book Review: Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann


Author: Colum McCann Title: Thirteen Ways of Looking Narrator: Colum McCann Publication Info:  Random House Audio, 2015 Previously Read by the Same Author:  Let the Great World Spin and Transatlantic Summary/Review: That Colum McCann sure can write!  This collection of four stories shows McCann’s skill at stringing together sentences, developing characters, and creating entire worlds through…

Book Review: The Iowa Baseball Confederacy by W. P. Kinsella


Author: W. P. Kinsella Title: The Iowa Baseball Confederacy Narrator: Tom Parker Publication Info: [Ashland, Or.] : Blackstone Audio, Inc., [2014] Summary/Review: I’d been meaning to reread this book, one that became one of my favorites of all time when I first read it in a high school, and with the recent death of W.P. Kinsella, this…

Book Review: Hark! : a Vagrant by Kate Beaton


Author: Kate Beaton Title: Hark! : a Vagrant Publication Info: Drawn and Quarterly (2011), Edition Previously read by the same author: Step Aside, Pops! Summary/Review: This is the first collection of the hilarious webcomics on historical and literary themes from the brilliant Kate Beaton.  I was going to post links to my favorites but I lost the file so…

Book Review: The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy


Author: Tara Clancy Title: The Clancys of Queens Publication Info: New York : Crown Publishers, 2016. Summary/Review: Tara Clancy is one of my favorite storytellers from shows like The Moth, Risk, and Snap Judgment, so I was delighted to receive a free advanced review copy of her memoir through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Clancy describes…

Book Review: The Games by David Goldblatt


Author:  David Goldblatt Title:   The Games Narrator: Napoleon Ryan Publication Info:  Tantor Audio (2016) Summary/Review: I received a free audiobook copy of The Games through the Library Things Early Reviewers program. Goldblatt’s history of the modern Olympic Games from 1896 to the present is a top-down overview of the International Olympic Committee and organizing committees more…

Book Reviews: Who was Franklin Roosevelt? by Margaret Frith


Author: Margaret Frith Title: Who was Franklin Roosevelt? Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, c2010. Summary/Review: A good introductory biography of one of America’s greatest Presidents.  It’s not warts and all, but like many books in this series it includes some of Roosevelt’s failures as well as his success.  Another great historical read with my…

Book Review: What was the Alamo? by Pam Pollack


Author: Pam Pollack Title: What was the Alamo? Publication Info: New York, New York, USA : Grosset & Dunlap, an Imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., [2013] Summary/Review: The Alamo is something this northeasterner only knew the vague details about, so I was pleased to read this children’s history book with my son.  Interesting details include 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…