Book Review: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill


Author: Jenny Offill Title: Dept. of Speculation Narrator: Jenny Offill Publication Info: Holland, OH : Dreamscape Media, LLC, [2014] Summary/Review: This work is an experimental novel about a writer in Brooklyn, her marriage, and parenthood.  It’s written in a series of short chapters and vignettes.  Sometimes it feels like the narrator is going on about little things,…

Book Review: The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer


Author: Andrea Cremer Title: The Inventor’s Secret Narrator: Leslie Bellair Publication Info: Listening Library (2014) Summary/Review: This is the first in a series of an alternate universe dystopia in which Great Britain suppressed the revolution in the American colonies and have created a deeply stratified industrial tyranny.  I actually thought it was supposed to be set sometime in the…

Book Review: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely


Author: Dan Ariely Title: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty Narrator: Simon Jones Publication Info: Harper Collins, 2012 ISBN: 9780062209320 Summary/Review: This book is a psychological and sociological investigation into lying, with the emphasis on the ways in which all humans more or less lie and cheat throughout their whole lives.  Ariely notes that while big scandals…

Book Review: An astronaut’s guide to life on earth by Chris Hadfield


Author: Chris Hadfield Title: An astronaut’s guide to life on earth Publication Info: New York, NY : Little, Brown and Co., 2013. Summary/Review: Like many people I was charmed by Chris Hadfield’s social media presence on Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube et al during his time as commander aboard the International Space Station in 2012-13.  So I was pleased…

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowel


Author: Rainbow Rowel Title: Eleanor & Park Publication Info: New York : Listening Library, 2013. Summary/Review: This novel set in Omaha in 1986 tells of the young love of the 16 year old protagonists Eleanor and Park.  Eleanor lives in poverty with her mother’s abusive boyfriend making an ordinary teenage life impossible.  Park is half-Korean and likes…

Book Review: Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Keating


Author: Thomas Keating Title: Contemplative Prayer Publication Info: [Louisville] : Sounds True, 1995 Summary/Review: Several years ago I attended a retreat where I learned about contemplative prayer.  I found this guide by one of the major proponents of contemplative prayer, Thomas Keating, narrated by Keating himself and decided to listen to is as a refresher.  Keating begins…

Book Review: Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler


Author and Narrator: Bruce Feiler Title: Walking the Bible Publication Info: HarperAudio (2005) Summary/Review: So, I read and reviewed the book Where God Was Born without realizing that it was a sequel to a previous journey until the author responded to my review on Twitter (oops!).   This journey goes to the places of the five books…

Book Review: Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools by Diane Ravitch


Author: Diane Ravitch Title: Reign of Error Publication Info: Knopf (2013) Summary/Review: This is the most important book I’ve read all year and one that I think every American should read.  Educational historian Diane Ravitch unravels the multi-pronged attack of the “school reform” movement on public education, teachers, and the core principles of democracy.  While school reformers…

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


Author: John Green Title: The Fault in Our Stars Publication Info: Dutton Children’s; 1st edition (January 10, 2012) ISBN: 9780525478812 Summary/Review: “You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.”   This quote from The Fault in Our Stars pretty much sums up the book itself.  The…

Book Review: They Might Be Giants’ Flood by S. Alexander Reed and Phillip Sandifer


Author: S. Alexander Reed and Phillip Sandifer Title: They Might Be Giants’ Flood Publication Info: ISBN:9781623569150 Summary/Review: Part of the Bloomsbury Academics 33 1/3 series of books about famous musical recordings, this book analyses my 6th favorite album of all time, They Might Be Giants’ Flood.  Pop scholarship at it’s best, the book explores the 20-song album…

Book Review: The Technologists by Matthew Pearl


Author:Matthew Pearl Title: The Technologists Publication Info: ISBN: 0739344307 Summary/Review: Set in Boston in 1868, The Technologists follows the same historical mystery formula as previous works like The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow.  This novel centers around the students of the first class of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the fictional protagonists intermingling  with historical…

Book Review: Give the Devil His Due by Rob Blackwell


Author:Rob Blackwell Title: Give the Devil His Due  Publication Info: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2013) ISBN: 149289656X Summary/Review: The third installment of The Sanheim Chronicles completes the story begun in A Soul To Steal and Band of Demons.  As noted, the author is a friend of mine, so I may not be impartial, but on the other hand…

Book Review: Quiet by Susan Cain


Author: Susan Cain Title: Quiet Publication Info: New York : Random House, Inc. : Books on Tape, p2012. ISBN:9781415959145 Summary/Review: This is a book for introverts, the people like myself who often feel to be an overlooked minority in a world geared to schmoozers, go-getters, and talk, talk, talk.  Cain dispels some myths about introverts and demonstrates…

Book Review: The Wet and the Dry by Lawrence Osborne


Author: Lawrence Osbourne Title: The Wet and the Dry  Publication Info:   New York : Crown, c2013. ISBN: 9780770436889 Summary/Review:  I received this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. I selected this book expecting whimsical travel adventures seen through a drinking glass.  I forgot that alcohol is a depressant.  The author Lawrence Osbourne comes from a family…

Book Review: Hit By Pitch by Molly Lawless


Author: Molly Lawless Title: Hit By Pitch Publication Info:  Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., 2012. ISBN: 9780786446094 Summary/Review:  I was fortunate enough to receive a free copy of this work through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. This graphic novel tells the true life story of the only baseball player to die from an injury on the…

Book Review: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain


Author: Ben Fountain Title: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Publication Info:   HarperCollins (2012) ISBN: 9780060885618     Summary/Review:   This review should be called “Liam Sullivan’s Long Summertime Read” because it took me months to complete reading.  The slothfulness of the read should reflect more on the reader than the novel, and in fact the intricate level of detail in…

Beer Review: Harpoon Saison Various


Beer:  Saison Various Brewer: Harpoon Brewery Source: Draft Rating: *** (7.5 of 10) Comments: #47 in Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series, this saison is actually a blend of four different beers crafted by four different brewers.  The beer is a deep golden color with very little head or carbonation.  I caught a strong whiff of tropical fruit in…

Beer Review: Beer Works Watermelon Ale


Beer: Watermelon Ale Brewer: Beer Works Source: 12 oz. bottle Rating: ** ( 6.4 of 10) Comments: This is clearly a good summer drink, if not clearly a great beer.  The beer is a thin, straw color, inconsistent in tone and very sparkly.  The aroma is defined by the watermelon scent which is also the clear flavor upon…

Book Review: TransAtlantic by Colum McCann


Author: Colum McCann Title: TransAtlantic Publication Info: New York: Random House, 2013 ISBN: 9781400069590 Previously Read by Same Author: Let the Great World Spin Summary/Review: I’m privileged to review an advanced reader’s copy of this forthcoming novel courtesy of the Library Thing Early Reviewer‘s program. This is a novel of contrasts.  It’s an epic story covering three centuries and as…

Beer Review: Magic Hat Pistil


Beer: Pistil Dandelion Ale Brewer: Magic Hat Brewing Company Source: 12 oz. bottle Rating:  *** (7.2 of 10) Comments: This spring beer is all about flowers and fruit.  It’s a golden, bubbly beer with a musty, wheaty, and citrus aroma.  The flavor is crisp and fruity with hints of spice and flora.  The head dissipates quickly…