Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: About the B'Nai Bagels by E. L. Konigsburg

Synopsis: Mark Setzer thought he had enough aggravation studying for his Bar Mitzvah and losing his best friend. It's the last straw when his mother becomes that new manager of his Little League baseball team and drags his older brother, Spencer, along as the coach. No one knows what to expect with a mother for a manager, but soon Mark and the other players are surprised to see how much they're improving due to coach Spencer's strategy and helpful hints for "Mother Bagel." It looks like nothing can stop them from becoming champs - until Mark hears some startling news! (from the back of the book)

Review: Once again, Konigsburg has written a book that will stick to my brain and heart. It's utterly different from her other books - and yet, the same. The same complex characters, truth about life, realistic portrayal of family and relationships and growing up. Konigsburg did an excellent job of writing a book about growing up for kids that resonates with adults as well. Mostly, I think, because even though I am an adult by age, I still get lost like Mark did - and it is as comforting to an adult as to a child to read how things turn out all right in the end. I highly recommend this, and all of her other books.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

ISBN: 0-440-40034-1
Date Finished: 7-10-2014
Pages: 172

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: The Book of Great American Documents with Inaugural Addresses of Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy ed. by Vincent Wilson, Jr.

Synopsis: The Declaration of Independence - the Constitution -the Bill of Rights - the Gettysburg Address - these are documents that very American knows instinctively are important part of heritage. These and the other great documents in this book chart the progress of man's quest for freedom on this continent, and of his monumental achievement in building and maintaining a free society. This book is meant to be read. It includes photographs of all the original document available, but each document is also published in large, readable type, so that the citizen, young and old, may not merely possess, but read and know, understand and cherish. (from the back of the book)

Review: This is a fine book to have in any collection. The documents are presented in an easy to read format, with small paragraphs introducing the writer and history of each one. I wish they had included some of the less well known documents - perhaps speeches from John Adams or FDR. In this day and age, you can find all these documents easily on the internet. But I think it's a good thing to have them in hard copy in my home.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Published: 1967
Date Finished: 7-10-2014
Pages: 87

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Aquisitions: BOOK SALE LOOT!

Well, the book sale was not as fabulous as I'd hoped. While the new space allows for better sorting of the merchandise, it seemed they had less to offer. I suppose that is because they have not had time to reload the shelves.

As it was, I did score some good finds, although only one from my list of books to find. Here is what I bought:

100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories ed. by Al Sarrantonio and Martin H. Greenberg

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (The Heroes of Olympus, Book I)

The Letter to the Hebrews by William Barclay (The Daily Study Bible Series)

The Letters to the Corinthians by William Barclay (The Daily Study Bible Series)

The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians by William Barclay (The Daily Study Bible Series)

The Weapon Maker by A.E. Van Vogt

The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education and Roam Confidently with the Cultural Class by David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenhelm

Moja Mean One: A Swahili Counting Book by Muriel Feelings

D is for Drums: A Colonial Williamsburg ABC by Kay Chorao

The Samurai's Daughter by Robert D. San Souci

I also purchased a book for a friend, a several Franklin the Turtle books for a friend's toddler and a huge stack of Berenstain Bears for my nephew (who is just 2 months and I'm sure will enjoy reading them...someday).

All these books only cost me $11 - not a bad haul!

Aquisitions: BOOK SALE!

Today is the Members Only Book Sale of the Newport News Public Library Friends of the Library. I am extremely excited about this. It’s been eons since they’ve held one. They had to move building, so it’s take them a long time to get set back up – which meant no book sale and a very sad Lauren.

I can’t wait to dig through those books. I know there are treasures awaiting me! I’ll try to post what I get and let you drool over my booky loot.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: Irish Legends for the Very Young by Niamh Sharkey

Synopsis: Aimed at early readers and written to be read aloud to young children, Irish Legends for the Very Young contains a new retelling of three of the best-loved Irish legends: ""The Children of Lir"", ""How Setanta Became Cuchulainn"" and ""Oisin in Tir na nOg"". Retold with the young reader in mind, these tales are charmingly illustrated by the author, Niamh Sharkey. (from the online description)

Review: This is a clever little collection of three Irish tales. Like most legends, they all have a bit of a dark side to the, in particular the last one. I enjoyed reading them, the stories illustrated by the quirky pictures. I would be cautious about reading them to very young children, as there is some danger of nightmares. But on the whole, these are fine stories that use age-appropriate syntax to convey a bit of Irish heritage.
Bookmarks: 7 of 10
Awards: None
ISBN: 978-1-85635-144-7
Date Finished: 7-9-2014
Pages: 63

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Sally Wister's Journal: A True Narative by Sally Wister

Synopsis: The diary of a young girl during the Revolutionary War. In 1775 Sally Wister was sent to the countryside to avoid harm. This is a delightful historical record of a young girl's life during a perilous and all-important time in American history (from the online description)
Review: I enjoyed reading about young Miss Wister's experiences during the war. Sadly, it was only a small, tantalizing glimpse. Wister is a lively writing, with an eye for the people around her and a knack for capturing the best bits of her experiences. I wish there was more to her journal, or her life. According to Wikipedia, she lived in her father’s house until her death as an old lady and never married. Given her constant reassurance to her audience that her heat was unmoved by the dashing gentlemen officers she met, this does not surprise me. In the end, I recommend this book as an excellent resource for anyone studying the Revolutionary War, in particular how women and the general populace faced it. This would be an excellent book for kids, age 11+, I think.
Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None
ISBN: 1-55709-114-5
Date Finished: 7-8-2014
Pages: 62

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: Miss Buncle Married by D.E. Stevenson

Synopsis: Barbara Buncle: bestselling novelist, new wife...new neighbor? In this charming follow-up to Miss Buncle's Book, the intrepid writer moves to a new town filled with fascinating folks...who don't even know they might become the subjects of her next bestselling book. Miss Buncle may have settled down, but she has already discovered that married life can't do a thing to prevent her from getting in humorous mix-ups and hilarious hijinks. (from the back of the book)

Review: Once again, Stevenson wrote a marvelous book. What amazes me about her writing is how simple the subject matter is - just a married couple, moving to a new neighborhood, meeting their neighbours and dealing with family. But her ability to take these seemingly boring subjects and infuse them with intrigue, life, merriment, sorrow and humor is what makes her work so delightful, so warm and wonderful to read. The smallest event because fascinating under her pen, the small everyday things become clear and wonderful and shine with new lights. Her characters are lively, deep and unique. I highly recommend the Miss Buncle series and I look forward to reading all of her other works.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7252-3
Date Finished: 7-7-2014
Pages: 347

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review: The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg

Synopsis: An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl. In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child – a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom. The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents’ attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults. At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere. (From the Publisher's Website)

Review: This is a hard book to read. Between the subject matter and Nordberg's intense writing, this book grabs you in the gut. It's a well know fact that women in Afghanistan on treated horribly. Anyone with 1/4 a brain has heard or read something about that. Nordberg manages to suss out a new angle on this well-documented subject - namely - women who get to live as men, even for a while. She explored this topic with clarity and gave her readers access to a raw and intense narrative. What these women suffer - it's unthinkable for us in the Western World. This book will have a treasured place in my collection of works on Afghanistan and Women. I highly recommend this to anyone who wished to know more about this subject. An excellent read. 

NOTE: I received this book free from the LibraryThing Early Review's Program in exchange for my fair and honest opinion. 

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-307-95249-3
Date Finished: 6-27-2014
Pages: 340