Let Me Help You Find A GREAT Book
I love Bill Bryson, and I enjoy the tangential journeys of his books. But there are times when I want to question his editor. The summer of 1927 felt like it lasted 87 years.
This was Do-Not-Go-To-The-Bathroom-by-Yourself SCARY! I picked this book based on a recommendation from NPR that billed it as a literary thriller. While it was tautly, purposefully written, it is not oozing with literary provocativenes...
Why? Oh, Why? Every year I read the Printz winner, and every year, I wonder WHY? Who sits on this committee? Have they ever met a YA reader? YA readers want Susanne Collins, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, etc. They do not want this dark,...
The premise of this novel is what makes YA great -- it's creative, innovative, without boundaries. But I can't get past David Levithan's personal ethos coming across as preaching. It doesn't sound like a the voice of a 16-year-old, but...
An aching sense of vulnerability. This is how Cahalan's memoir left me. It's not a paranoia that this might happen to me, but it is a deep appreciation that my sense of self is a precarious combination of chemical reactions that can ea...
With the exception of Casual Vacancy, which sucked all joy from my life in its brilliantly crafted pages, Rowling has given me days of pleasure in words. I love her. And I love Robin and Strike, too. This is my second summer to lose myse...
Beautiful storytelling. It does not matter if you are 10 or 100, a good tale is a good tale. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Manifest.
by Neil Gaiman
I read this to my 8-year-old. He was entertained, but it was too nonsensical to truly intrigue him. The humor was more for me than him. While I truly appreciate what Gaiman does for literature and libraries, I am not a huge fan of his bo...
First, a book about birds that references the poetry of Emily Dickinson--be still my heart. There is hope! I thoroughly enjoyed this read that investigates bird behavior and its ramification in the world of humans. The narrative is en...
Why do so many memoirs come from Manhattan? Because so many editors come from Manhattan. And this is not a good enough reason to read the memoir. Will Schwalbe's Manhattan-centric perspective comes across as privileged and pretentious...
This is the second book by Montgomery and Bishop that I have read. These are beautiful books--exciting narrative and stunning photographs. With conservation at the center, this is an incredible story of the power of humans to both dest...
Sweet, magical, thoughtful, and funny. What more can a girl ask for? Oh, and I don't even like squirrels. They're scary,fast,noisy rodents. But like I love a spider named Charlotte, I now love a squirrel named Ulysses.
Here's the thing about reincarnation--it never ends. And this is exactly how I felt about this novel. It's easy to appreciate the depth and skill of Atkinson, but much of this reading experience was ruined for me by the meandering an...
We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever
by Benjamin Mee
Outstanding writing. At it's heart, this is a story of pursuing life and taking risks. Well worth it!
Captive in Iran: A Remarkable True Story of Hope and Triumph amid the Horror of Tehran's Brutal Evin Prison
If you call yourself a Christian or have ever considered following Jesus, this is a must-read!
In the spirit of her other books, Halse Anderson speaks truth in a believable voice with humor and compassion. Easy to recommend to the YA reader.
Well, my kids thought it was funny (we did skip over the death by sex chapter). Sometimes funny; mostly pathetic.
This is worth your time and consideration. Pollan challenges the reader to question common beliefs and reconsider.
by Ernest Cline
A great surprise! While my reading tastes are eclectic, I did not expect to enjoy this book. First, I was still a child and early adolescent in the 1980's. Secondly,I do not like video games. On the advice of some friends and students...
While Lady Almina was a portrait of strength, Lady Catherine is vulnerable but resilient. I liked her. Her husband was stunted and selfish, but Lady Catherine was a real-housewife sans TMZ and Perez Hilton.
by Jojo Moyes
Why? Oh, why? I will never get these hours of my life back. This book is like Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks had a love child. And while you can't stop yourself from turning the page, you're left swimming in an ocean of melodrama and...
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
by Allie Brosh
I loved this book. She makes me laugh. It's smart. And we've all been there. I like when someone else can describe how I've felt in words AND pictures. And BONUS: there's dogs!
The premise will hook the YA reader. The issues of obesity, bullying, and social media collide in this book. It felt too neat and packaged at times, but this may be just what the reluctant reader needs.
This is an enjoyable journey. The plot carriers the story easily, and the narrator's voices are likable and authentic.
by C.S. Lewis
Best bus ride you'll ever take. Remember: you can't take all your luggage on all your journeys; on one journey even your right eye may be among the things to leave beyond.
Truly good historical fiction! I look forward to sharing this novel with my students and staff at a high school library. Factually steeped and exquisitely drawn. It's literary while not feeling too hard to chew and swallow. Put this o...
This book should be read in conjunction with Luke Dittrich's Esquire article. Dr. Alexander offers an experience that is worth our skepticism, thoughtful consideration, and dialogue. Ultimately, I question his personal veracity. This ...
by Sarah Dessen
A warning tale of dating violence for the teenage girl. It's realistic and easy to recommend, but it's also simple and predictable.
by Tom McNeal
Once upon a time, I found the book Far, Far Away, and I was under the magical enchantment of the written word. And in those moments, I was transported to the town of Never Better and believed in happily ever after. You should try this bo...
by Pete Hautman
Do you have a reluctant young adult reader? Is your reluctant reader a boy? Found ya a book! This is short with fast pacing and plenty of plot.
I love Rufa birds! (And lovely nonfiction children's books) Who knew?? This is a beautifully photographed, journalistic account of the Rufa shorebird. It will inspire the conservationist in all of us.
This book is reminiscent of the others-- beautifully drawn and finely tuned. While I enjoy the writing, I long for a moment of levity like a girl with PMS at a candy shop.
by Kyle Idleman
It took me two weeks to read 207 pages because I was a fan. Not now. Well worth your time and contemplation!
If you can only take one Thomas Foster book to your desert island, choose "How to Read Literature." This treatise on the novel is more cumbersome and repetitive. The book on literature is more concise and accessible.
This is not a shady-sort-of dark, but a black, abysmal, vacuum of joy. The mystery and plot are a fast ride, but this lacks the satire of Gone Girl, which allowed the reader to laugh at the craziness. This just makes you want to suck Z...
Our greatest weaknesses can be our greatest strengths. This is true for us all. Gladwell explores this thesis in his style -- anecdotal, fast-paced, condensed. This style is his greatest strength, and it's also his greatest weakness, l...
When an autistic 13-year-old makes sweeping generalizations to explain the reasoning and motivations of all people afflicted with this disorder, it should be considered as credible as if I tried to explain why all women behave the way th...
by Jane Austen
This novel let you hear Miss Austen speaking directly to you. I enjoy every conversation and plot twist.
by Bill Dedman
A thoroughly enjoyable tale of American royalty and the intrigue of wealth. Without veering toward tawdry or tabloid, this account remains fascinating. History collides with modern folly to tell a tale equal parts avarice and human con...
by Tara Conklin
Yes! Read this next! I wanted to read every word and turn the next page. Good time with a good book.
This is an easy sell to my YA readers. I liked it. My only complaint, and this is a general complaint against the genre: I want YA authors to pick their melodrama. Select an issue, and address it. When you try to use every adolescent p...
by Neil Gaiman
I like the title and the book jacket. And that's about it.
by Garth Stein
Yes!! There's a talking dog! And his owner is a man of strength AND humility! What more can a girl ask for in a book??? Oh, and I'm naming the next dog in my life Enzo.
While this may sincerely test your willing suspension of disbelief, it also delivers in suspense and intrigue. The novel provokes questions while entertaining.
Art + Intrigue + Hollywood + Worldwide Suspense + True Heroes = LOVE
by Mark Owen
This narrative comes straight from the mouth of a Navy Seal, and it sounds like it, too. Mark Owen is not a journalist; he's a soldier. The book does not delve into other perspectives in this complex mission, but it does offer a glimps...
by Lisa McMann
Well, what kind of ending was that? It's like chewing candy but not swallowing. Unsatisfying.
I was an adolescent. And then I dedicated my entire adult life to adolescents. It's often a love/hate relationship. If you work with teenagers, you know what I mean. Everywhere I go, there's awkward and angst. They bully and retreat a...
This is a great pick for the YA reluctant reader. Classic 1990s, too. I enjoyed the throw back.
by Jane Austen
Dear Miss Austen, I love you, and I will not allow this book to alter my affections for you. I earnestly want to admire Fanny, but she fails to translate to all of my twenty-first century sensibilities. And dear Edmund is no Mr. Darcy. I...
I had no idea. . . . But now I do, and I'm not the same. And that's why I love reading. This is gripping journalism that manages to present Shin's narrative with all its ramifications. It's personal and global. This book should be requi...
Lost in Shangri-la: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II
Literal Native Greeting: I will eat your poop. Translation: I will do the unthinkable for you. Fascinating story.
This is the last time I fall for the line "The Next JK Rowling." This is not JK Rowling. Maybe it isn't Shannon's fault she got the hype, but it definitely fogged my lens. I couldn't get past what I hoped this would be to what it real...
by Hugh Howey
If you can be committed to exercising your willing suspension of disbelief, you will be rewarded with a well -written, suspenseful paced, entertaining story. This is worth it!
A good time! I hope this isn't the last we hear from Strike. Rowling delivers.
by Zadie Smith
Smith made me laugh with her quick, perceptive dialogue. But I never felt connected to the characters, and finishing this overly-wrought tome became an exercise in perseverance.
This may make you thirsty. But overall, well done. Cheers!
Great beach book! It's like Jodi Picoult lands in a Victorian garden. Emotionally and aesthetically satisfying.
Outstanding narrative! Informative and suspenseful. This is a great way to read history.
There's a trade-off with this memoir-- you have to be willing to delve into the depth of human depravity in order to know the incomparable forces of resiliency, healing, and hope. I am grateful for the editor of this book. Jaycee's voi...
by Tom Franklin
I am a sucker for a good southern writer and a tale of the Deep South. Rich is characterization without heavy-handed moralizing, this is great for the poolside with a cold drink. Sip and savor. I will return to Tom Franklin.
We are unreliable narrators of our own lives. There, I just saved you 150 pages. While Barnes is good at his craft, I did not love story.
"Humans have too many words, more than they really need." Here's my ode to Ivan, in the spirit of brevity: BEAUTIFUL!
This is good and important. I want to tell you I liked it more than I did. But I know YA readers, and this is a hard sell. And while I enjoyed the history, the technical jargon was distracting and took away from the characterization. I w...
by Tina Fey
This is book candy. What it may lack in literary quality (which are overrated calories), it makes up for in seriously good laughs.
by Mary Roach
I love Mary Roach. Because of her, I am never at a loss for interesting facts to share at a dinner party. If you need to know about sex, dead bodies, ghosts, space travel, or the science of flatus, I can hold my own. Thank you, Mary Roach!!
by Robin Sloan
This book is not perfect. But its flaws are part of its charm. This is what happens when Dan Brown meets Google. And it's served with a side of pretentious vegan, gluten-free cookies. I enjoyed every bite.
You don't have to like a person to learn from their journey. But you have to be willing to listen. While there were times I wanted to censor or lecture young Cheryl, I decided to let her be. And I am richer for having heard her voice.
by Watchman Nee
The writer has street cred. He wrote this from prison. It's worthwhile.
When I was done with this book, I found myself staring out the window at my landscaped yard on a tree-lined street. And I knew my world had changed. This book is why I read.
by Paul Brand
30 years after publication, and it's still relevant and thought-provoking. I am grateful for the sense of awe and wonder that Brand and Yancey inspire. This is accessible to lay readers, and it is worthwhile.