Peter and Wendy
Book Review / October 31, 2016

Title: Peter and Wendy Series: Peter Pan, #3 Author: J. M. Barrie Genre: Fairy Tale Publisher: Kindle Release Date: May 11th, 2012 Format: eBook Pages: 166 Source: Owned First Published: 1911 One magical night, the Darling children­­––Wendy, John, and Michael––are visited by two mischievous denizens of Neverland, an island of the imagination where pirates prowl the Mermaids’ Lagoon and fairies live so long as children believe in them. Peter Pan and his loyal, lightning-quick companion, Tinker Bell, have come for Peter’s shadow, captured the previous night by Nana, the children’s Newfoundland nanny. The pair leaves not just with the shadow, but with Wendy and her brothers, as well, whisking them away to Neverland to join the Lost Boys in their war against the evil Captain Hook. J. M. Barrie created the character of Peter Pan to entertain a young family he regularly met in Kensington Gardens. Over the course of two novels and a play, he turned a whimsical idea into one of the most cherished literary characters of all time. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   We all know the story of Peter Pan. He’s the Boy-Who-Never-Grew-Up. He is as cocky as a rooster, and crows just the same. He flies,…

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business
Book Review / October 27, 2016

Title: My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business Author: Dick Van Dyke Genre: Memoir Publisher: Random House Audio Release Date: May 3rd, 2011 Format: Audiobook Pages: 287 Source: Library Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles. His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van Dyke Show(produced by Carl Reiner, who has written the foreword to this memoir), was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s and introduced another major television star, Mary Tyler Moore. But Dick Van Dyke was also an enormously engaging movie star whose films, including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, have been discovered by a new generation of fans and are as beloved today as they were when they first appeared. Who doesn’t know the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?  A colorful, loving, richly detailed look at the decades of a multilayered life, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, will enthrall every generation of reader, from baby-boomers who recall when Rob Petrie became a household name, to all those still enchanted by Bert’s “Chim Chim…

These Broken Stars
Book Review / September 14, 2016

Title: These Broken Stars Series: Starbound, #1 Author: Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Disney Hyperion Release Date: December 10th, 2013 Format: eBook Pages: 374 Source: Library Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   I am still trying to sort out my feelings on this book. I LOVE Amie Kaufman’s Illuminae, as you might recall. This led me to seek out more of her books, and I found These Broken Stars. The first book in a trilogy, These Broken Stars is challenging to describe. Part Titanic, part survival story, part mystery, and… mostly romance? That seems to cover it. An interesting story concept, but it never really came together fully for me. Shame. Major Tarver Merendsen does not belong on the starliner Icarus. And, honestly, he’s only there because it’s good press. After all, he is…

Mandela: An Audio History
Book Review / August 9, 2016

Title: Mandela: An Audio History Author: Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Joe Richman and Sue Johnson Genre: Non-Fiction Publisher: HighBridge Company Release Date: February 19th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 75 (transcript) Source: Library Recognized as one of the most comprehensive oral histories of apartheid ever broadcast (NPR, BBC, CBC, SABC), ” Mandela: An Audio History” tells the story of the struggle against apartheid through rare sound recordings. The series weaves together more than 50 first-person interviews with an unprecedented collection of archival sound: a rare recording of the 1964 trial that resulted in Mandela s life sentence; a visit between Mandela and his family secretly taped by a prison guard; marching songs of guerilla soldiers; government propaganda films; and pirate radio broadcasts from the African National Congress (ANC). Once thought lost forever, Radio Diaries producer Joe Richman unearthed a treasure trove of these historic recordings in the basement archive of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Ultimately, over 50 hours of archival recordings and many more hours of contemporary interviews with the living witnesses to South Africa s turbulent history have gone into the creation of one of the most moving audio documentaries ever produced. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   The drive to…

Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths
Book Review / July 30, 2016

Title: Luke Skywalker Can't Read (and other Geeky Truths) Author: Ryan Britt Genre: Essays Publisher: Plume Release Date: November 24th, 2015 Format: PAperback Pages: 208 Source: Library Essayist Ryan Britt got a sex education from dirty pictures of dinosaurs, made out with Jar-Jar Binks at midnight, and figured out how to kick depression with a Doctor Who Netflix-binge. Alternating between personal anecdote, hilarious insight, and smart analysis, Luke Skywalker Can’t Read contends thatBarbarella is good for you, that monster movies are just romantic comedies with commitment issues, that Dracula and Sherlock Holmes are total hipsters, and, most shockingly, shows how virtually everyone in the Star Wars universe is functionally illiterate.  Romp through time and space, from the circus sideshows of 100 years ago to the Comic Cons of today, from darkest corners of the Galaxy to the comfort of your couch. For anyone who pretended their flashlight was a lightsaber, stood in line for a movie at midnight, or dreamed they were abducted by aliens,Luke Skywalker Can’t Read is full of answers to questions you haven’t thought to ask, and perfect for readers of Chuck Klosterman, Rob Sheffield, and Ernest Cline. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   The best way to describe this book is a collection of geeky love letters. Luke…

Iron Kissed
Book Review / July 28, 2016

Title: Iron Kissed Series: Mercy Thompson, #3 Author: Patricia Briggs Genre: Urban Fantasy Publisher: Ace Release Date: January 2nd 2008 Format: eBook Pages: 287 Source: Owned I could smell her fear, and it satisfied something deep inside me that had been writhing under her cool, superior gaze. I curled my upper lip so she could get a good look at my sharp teeth. I might only weigh thirty or so pounds in my coyote shape, but I was a predator… Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape – but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it’s up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. Mercy’s loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can’t decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her… (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   Well done, Patricia Briggs. You brought me around. In our third edition, Mercy is called in to help the Fae deal with murders happening to their own, they believe by one of their…

Book Review / July 21, 2016

Title: Americanah Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Genre: Fiction Publisher: Knopf Release Date: May 14th, 2013 Format: Audiobook Pages: 477 Source: Library From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home. As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they…

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life
Book Review / July 8, 2016

Title: A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life Author: Brian Grazer Genre: Self Help Publisher: Simon and Schuster Release Date: April 7th, 2015 Format: Audiobook Pages: 320 Source: Library From Academy Award–winning producer Brian Grazer and acclaimed business journalist Charles Fishman comes the New York Times bestselling, brilliantly entertaining peek into the weekly “curiosity conversations” that have inspired Grazer to create some of America’s favorite and iconic movies and television shows—from 24 to A Beautiful Mind. For decades, film and TV producer Brian Grazer has scheduled a weekly “curiosity conversation” with an accomplished stranger. From scientists to spies, and adventurers to business leaders, Grazer has met with anyone willing to answer his questions for a few hours. These informal discussions sparked the creative inspiration behind many of Grazer’s movies and TV shows, including Splash, 24, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Arrested Development, 8 Mile, J. Edgar, Empire, and many others. A Curious Mind is a brilliantly entertaining, fascinating, and inspiring homage to the power of inquisitiveness and the ways in which it deepens and improves us. Whether you’re looking to improve your management style at work or you want to become a better romantic partner, this book—and its…

Out of the Dust
Book Review / May 27, 2016

Title: Out of the Dust Author: Karen Hesse Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Release Date: January 1st, 1997 Format: Paperback Pages: 256 Source: Owned When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring. Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma’s staggering dust storms, and the environmental–and emotional–turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon     As to be expected for a story set during the dust bowl in Oklahoma during the Great Depression this story is dark and dreary. Even bordering on a gruesome quality that, thankfully, the verse distracts us from. However, this is also a story of hope and human connection, making it also beautiful and heart wrenching. Out of the Dust is a 1998 Newbery Medal-winning book written as a journal. Billie Jo is our narrator and she begins her entries in 1934. However, unlike most epistolary novels, narrative poetry is used to tell the story instead of…

Still Foolin’ Em
Book Review / May 17, 2016

Title: Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? Author: Billy Crystal Genre: Memoir Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Release Date: September 10th, 2013 Format: Audiobook Pages: 288 Source: Library Hilarious and heartfelt observations on aging from one of America’s favorite comedians as he turns 65, and a look back at a remarkable career Billy Crystal is turning 65, and he’s not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like “Buying the Plot” and “Nodding Off,” Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards….

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