Americanah
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…

The Rithmatist
Book Review / June 30, 2016

Title: The Rithmatist Series: Rithmatist, #1 Author: Brandon Sanderson Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Tor Teen Release Date: May 14th, 2013 Format: Audiobook Pages: 378 Source: Library Illustrator: Ben McSweeney (Rithmatics Images) More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles. As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever. (via Goodreads) Amazon   Sanderson. Please. Stop making me desperately cling to your words hoping they will never stop. And stop tricking me into reading books for incomplete series. As soon as The Rithmatist ended, I knew I needed more. IMMEDIATELY. Joel wants desperately to be a Rithmatist– someone who battles using…

What If?
Book Review / June 15, 2016

Title: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Author: Randall Munroe Genre: Non-Fiction Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Release Date: September 2nd, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 303 Source: Library Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD ‘a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language’ which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. ‘My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ‘ He liked these questions so much that he started up What If.  If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive? How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm? If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce? What if everyone only had one soulmate? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British empire?  How fast can you hit a speed bump…

All The Light We Cannot See
Book Review / May 31, 2016

Title: All The Light We Cannot See Author: Anthony Doerr Genre: Fiction Publisher: Scribner Release Date: May 6th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 530 Source: Library From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments,…

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….

I Am Malala
Book Review / May 11, 2016

Title: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban Author: Malala Yousafazi, Christina Lamb Genre: Memoir Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Release Date: November 1st, 2012 Format: Audiobook Pages: 327 Source: Library I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday. When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.  Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and…

Yes, Please
Book Review / March 18, 2016

Title: Yes, Please Author: Amy Poehler Genre: Memoir Publisher: Dey St. Release Date: October 28th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 329 Source: Library In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book,Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by. (via Goodreads) Amazon I feel like I need to start this review by sharing: I am not familiar with Amy Poehler’s body of work. I respect her work, and I know what she has done through Amy Poehler’s Strong Girls, but I have never seen Parks and Recreation, I never saw Upright Citizens Brigade, and I barely have seen any episodes of Saturday Night Live. I might have seen one sketch with Amy in it… But I know she’s funny. And that’s all that matters. Why is this important? It means that going into this memoir, I didn’t have any preconceived notions. This is not a standard memoir. Had I known more about…

Freakonomics
Book Review / February 29, 2016

Title: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Series: Freakonomics, #1 Author: Stephen Levitt; Stephen Dubner Genre: Non Fiction Publisher: William Morrow Release Date: November 15th, 2001 Format: Audiobook Pages: 320 Source: Library Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of…

2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas
Book Review / January 26, 2016

Title: 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas Author: Marie-Helene Bertino Genre: Fiction Publisher: Crown Release Date: August 5th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 272 (7 hours, 14 minutes) Source: Library Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, precocious nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer. As she mourns the recent death of her mother, she doesn’t realize that on Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it. As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s…

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