Riverside Public Library

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Adult Summer Reading Program

Our Week 7 Winner is…

Hello, Fellow Readers, and welcome to Week 7 of this No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker game we call summer reading. Our Special Guest Stars come to us this week via spiotrowski5‘s review of The Evil Elves by Bruce Coville. Moongobble, Edward, Urk, the Rusty Knight, Fireball the Dragon, and Arfur took a break from their hunt for the magical stone known as the Queen’s Belly Button to randomly select our winner, and collectively they alighted on doryann2‘s review of Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark:

This is not her best work.  I get some of the stories were started almost 40 years ago, but some of the stories were so short that they seem to only have a beginning.  Where’s my plot? Where’s my ending? Why aren’t some of the mysteries solved? I should have given it a lower rating but I love her work and I didn’t want to discourage you from at least attempting it.

Congrats, doryann2! You are now the possessor of a $25 gift card from Target.

Until next week, Happy Reading!

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Our Week 6 Winner is…

Welcome, Fellow Readers, to Week 6 of this biblio-hootenanny we call summer reading. We invited Library Defense Force babe Iku Kasahara, star of the manga series Library Wars: Love & War by Kiiro Yumi, to be our Special Guest Star this week. And do you know what that little minx did? She randomly selected techia1 for her review of Volume 2 of the Library Wars series. (We have to admit: this week feels like an Escher painting:)

Maybe my review of volume 1 didn’t make this series seem appealing enough. Maybe I should have given a little more detail on the plot. I already mentioned it’s set in Japan, but it’s a Japan of the future (’cause that’s never been done before!). In this case there’s a conflict between the national government and its decision to regulate the media (through censorship and confiscation of offensive materials) and the local governments and their support of libraries (this isn’t too far away from our current reality, the library employees of today are our champions in the cause of freedom of information. My heroes! (。♥‿♥。) ). Consequently both sides in the conflict have the law on their sides and now homicides that take place in libraries are decriminalized. Libraries are combat zones and librarians are soldiers. (I told you it’s sexy!) This is a shojo manga so we can expect a legitimate romance to develop at some point. I’m still waiting.

(Underlined portions are the sentences we had to read multiple times in order to wrap our mind around the concept. We have a feeling we will be buying this series for our own personal library.)

Congratulations, techia1! You are now the possessor of a $15.00 gift card to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf!

Until next week, Happy Reading!

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Our Week 5 Winner is…

Step right up, Fellow Readers, to this amusement park sideshow we call summer reading. This week’s Special Guest Star comes to us via sunset17‘s reviews of the manga detective series Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama—where teen detective Jimmy Kudo has a little run-in with the “Men in Black” and finds himself shrunken into the body of a 6 year-old. (All we can say is this series reads like Encyclopedia Brown as envisioned by Willy Wonka. We are hooked.) We’d like to share a page from Volume 1 just to give our Fellow Readers a taste (the panels read from right to left):

We invited boy detective extraordinaire Jimmy Kudo–cum–6 year-old Conan Edogawa to randomly pick our Week 5 winner, hoping he might let us try out his sweet bowtie voice modulator. He refused the latter request but accepted the former, and did a little sleuthing, and deduced that our winner is…..YOU, summer2015, for your review of The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson:

A brilliant writer!! I read such wonderful reviews before reading, and I agree with other readers. This is not just any fantasy story. The depth of each subject, such as love, politics, and leadership, is amazing.


It’s well over 500 pages with encyclopedia size fonts… It looked a little depressing in the beginning ^^; but, some time later, I didn’t even notice that I was on the last page.I would recommend this book to any one who wants to dig the REAL fantasy!

Congrats, summer2015! You are now the possessor of a $20 gift card from Farmer Boys.

Well, Fellow Readers—maybe it was summer2015‘s sentiment that the number of pages and small fonts of The Well of Ascension was off-putting. Or maybe it was the heat this week. Or maybe it’s just that there’s a reason for the phrase “lazy days of summer.” Whatever it is, we’ve been feeling it when we’ve tried to make our own reading choices this week. Here are a few books we hope to eventually check out…in the fall:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Simple Home Improvements by David Tenenbaum (reviewed by hummingbird1):

 This book was a little more involved than I wanted, but it was informative. It covered your basic improvements in the kitchen and bathroom.

We’ve had an epiphany for why we get so irritated with the “Complete Idiot’s” guides and the “For Dummies” guides.  We are not looking for simplified explanations on how to improve our home. No, we want a tiny little craftsperson to actually step out of the pages of the book and just DO the home improvements for us. (Libraries lending THINGS is a thing now. We’d love to borrow a handyman for two weeks. We promise to return him on time and undamaged.)

The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone (reviewed by michelle131):

I have been flirting with the idea of going vegan so I have been reading up on all types of vegan cookbooks/books. This particular book is a bit too stringent and far out there for me. Very few recipes looked enticing and many ingredients unfamiliar. The idea of a macrobiotic diet was also introduced but I did not feel that there was enough info for me to know exactly what it is and why I should try it.

Just reading the title of this book exhausts us. Excuse us while we go order a pizza delivery.

Finally, two books we plan on reading back-to-back thanks to reviews submitted by shirleygirl1 and reader 2015:

Memory Man by David Baldacci (reviewed by shirleygirl1 this week, highlighted below, and kathy33 awhile back:)

David Baldacci is always good. This story is about a man who gets injured in football and now has the “gift” of memory. He remembers everything forever. One night he comes home and his wife, her brother and his daughter are all slaughtered. After hitting rock bottom of homelessness he is trying to come back into society when they have someone in custody that confesses to the crime. He knows this person is lying because he doesn’t ever remember meeting him, but yet the guy knows certain things that only the killer would know.

This book is very intriguing and suspenseful. Must read.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova (reviewed by reader2015):

When Dr. Alice Howland first starts forgetting things like words when giving a speech, she thinks it might be because of menopause. But when she gets lost jogging near her house, on a route she has taken many times, she knows something is seriously wrong and seeks medical help. Not quite fifty, she is totally unprepared for the diagnosis – early onset Alzheimer’s. As the disease progresses, Alice and her husband John learn everything they can about the disease and treatments, but Alzheimer’s quickly takes its toll.
STILL ALICE is a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel about the devastating effects of Early Onset Alzheimer Disease (EOAD). Genova’s choice of a young, 50 year old intelligent woman ( a reknown linguistics professor at Harvard) – shows that Alzheimer’s can strike anyone. The book is written from Alice’s viewpoint, but shows what EOAD does to her family (husband John, and their children – Anna, Tom, and Lydia) as they struggle with the changes in Alice. Genova’s description of the dementia progression over a relatively short period is frightening. In fact, Genova does such a good job that I forgot Alice was a fictional character. Well written, skillfully capturing Alice’s bewilderment, the book easily rates five stars. The reaction of Alice’s family as they deal not only with her having Alzheimer’s but the fact that her children may inherit the disease is very realistic. Quick read, emotional content, highest recommendation possible.

A man who remembers everything forever and woman who is losing all memory. We wonder which condition would be the worse to suffer from? (Talk amongst yourselves.)

Until next week–Happy Reading!

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Our 2015 Week 4 Winner is…

Do-si-do, Fellow Readers, and welcome to Week 4 of this square dance we call summer reading. This week’s invitation to be our Special Guest Star was extended to Barbie, as in the doll—seeing as how books about her and her lifestyle have been quite popular this summer. Barbie blushed at the offer. (That’s a lie. She is, as the young people like to say, a big ol’ attention-ho.) She only agreed to participate, however, if we promised to (1) plug a few books about her on the blog this week and (2) change her title from “Special Guest Star” to “Reigning Queen of the Summer Reading Pageant.” So our Reigning Queen randomly crowned braerog90 as the first runner-up for her review of Forces Make Things Move by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley:

 

 A great book that teaches kids all about force and how things move.

Here’s a line from this very funny book that brought back a fond memory for us: “If the [toy] car doesn’t hit a wall or your big brother, or the couch or the cat or anything else you can see, it still stops. What is pushing on the car to make it stop? A force called friction!” (Once upon a time, when we were in junior high, we threw a can of StarKist tuna at our older brother. Unfortunately for him, it was not friction that stopped the tuna. It was the back of his stupid head.)

Congratulations, braerog90! You are now the owner of a $25.00 gift card from Cellar Door Books.

Okay, Barbie—here’s the fulfillment of your condition #2. Allow us to present mayagb1‘s review of Love Is in the Air by Apple Jordan:

I read this book to my daughter. Don’t be fooled by the cover. The cover shows Barbie the doll, but the pictures inside the book are hand drawn. I like this because there is so much debate over Barbie being a positive or negative play item for girls. I liked the message of the story. The title makes the book seem like it is about romantic love, but it is actually just about happiness being shared in various ways: families, friends, pets, relatives.

Oh, yes—the Great Barbie Debate. Whether one is pro- or anti-, we think our Fellow Readers will love the book Kinky by Densise Duhamel—a collection of poems all about Barbie.

Titles include :

“Differently-Abled Barbies”

“Beatnik Barbie”

“Barbie as Mafiosa”

“Barbie Joins a Twelve Step Program”

“One Afternoon When Barbie Wanted to Join the Military”

“Why Barbie and Ken Don’t Dress in Underwear”

We will follow the rules of our own FAQs and donate a copy of this book to the library so our Fellow Readers can check it out and enjoy. (Warning: don’t read these poems in public unless you are willing to have strangers stare at you because you’re laughing so hard liquids are squirting out your nose.)

Speaking of sometimes needing a little privacy to experience a good read—we’d like to highlight cristi1‘s review of The Fault In Our Stars by John Green:

Very often, when I read a super hyped book, I find myself significantly disappointed. Because I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about the book, it becomes this huge literary giant in my head, and most of the time, the book cannot live up to this. And so, I finish up the book feeling like it let me down in some way, though I know it’s not the book’s fault. It’s all the hype. For this reason, I tend to avoid overly hyped books. However, I only took 9 books with me on my trip, and yesterday I realized I had read all but 2 of them. So, I pulled out The Fault in our Stars and hoped for the best.


And I’m very pleased to say that this overly hyped book did not disappoint in the least. I found myself fully engaged throughout the entire story, and connected to the characters. While I’ll agree that Green’s teens are often too mature, clever and witty, I still really like reading them. And, with this being the 3rd Green book that I’ve read, and I’ve liked or loved each one, I’m very much looking forward to obtaining and reading the rest.


Folks told me to make sure to have tissues, and they were right. Though, I got to the emotional bits while sitting in a minivan with my entire family. This meant that I had to do my very best to keep my emotions in check so my family didn’t notice I was losing it over fictitious characters. I’m proud to say that, with angling my body just right and keeping quiet, I was able to keep my tears to myself.


I’m so glad I finally read this and I’m looking forward to watching the movie as soon as I can.

We are totally picturing cristi1 all pretzeled-up in the corner of that minivan with a wad of Kleenex hidden in her sleeve. :-)

We’d also like to give a shoutout to techia1 for making us laugh out loud with her review of Rustic Chic Wedding: 55 Projects for Crafting Your Own Wedding Style by Morgann Hill:

Ok, I just want everyone to know I’m not actually planning a wedding. (Although one of my best friends is recently engaged, for some reason he has not requested my assistance in planning his upcoming nuptials.) I just really like looking at the elegant crafts. That’s all.

If we ever decide to dive back into the marriage pond, techia1, we are absolutely asking for your planning assistance.

Finally, props to danascully1 for reviewing Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn:

When I read Flynn’s other novel “Gone Girl” I believed that no other book could be darker or weirder (in a good way). I was wrong. “Sharp Objects” is dark and is filled with twists that make you incredibly confused but in the best way possible. It’s a great book but if you have a problem with psychological issues in novels, don’t read it.

We posted last year about our raging conversion to the Gillian Flynn fan club. We are currently re-reading her novel Dark Places–which we loved even more than we loved Gone Girl. BUT—we are just going to throw this out there:

Are these not THE MOST bland titles for the most amazing and engaging books? (Talk amongst yourselves.)

Until next week—Happy Reading!

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Our 2015 Week 3 Winner is…

Hello, Fellow Readers, and welcome to your Week 3 helping of this all-you-can-eat buffet we call the Summer Reading Program. We extended an invitation to Mort—Death’s apprentice from the Terry Pratchett Discworld series—to be this week’s Special Guest Star. (Props to wundrfundr76  for introducing us through her reviews of Mort and Reaper Man.) Mort graciously accepted, and his randomly chosen winner is harry123 and her review of the Robert B. Parker mystery Death in Paradise:

This book is part of a series featuring Jesse Stone.  It’s a well written plot, but sad.

(We will have to admit that while we have not read this novel, we have watched the movie version more times than we can count. Why? Two words: Tom Selleck.)

Congrats to harry123, who is the recipient of a $30.00 gift certificate from the inimitable Downtowne Bookstore.

P.S. We had already highlighted another submission by harry123 we wanted to mention this week: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah:

We totally misread this title as “The Mammogram Murders”—and oh, man, did we want to read that novel! (Mammograms leave us feeling all stabbby, too.)

And so we’d like to thank nasubichan23 for helping to rid us of those stabby feelings by making us laugh with the review of Barbie, Life in the Dreamhouse: Licensed to Drive:

Oh my gosh! This book was hilarious…especially for those of us that have had to put the various assembly-required Barbie accessories together. I read it so that I could quiz my 7-year old niece on the book and ended up thoroughly enjoying the nonsensical idiosyncracies that characterize life with Barbie and her friends in her dream house.

But seriously, how can such an accomplished young woman with so very many careers under her belt not know how to drive? And yet, an incident in the book testifies to her capabilities and savvy…I’d like to label this as “not just for kids”…especially for those of us with a quirky sense of humor.

“Not just for kids” is now a genre option. Thanks, nasubichan23!

Happy Independence Day, Fellow Readers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2015 Week 2 Winner

 

The randomly-selected Week 2 Winner of the Adult Summer Reading Program is reader2015‘s review of The Home Place by Carrie Le Seur:

 

In The Home Place by Carrie L eSeur,  the author admires and aptly describes the sweeping vastness and beauty of the mountains and the majesty of the land surrounding Billings, Montana. The  HOME PLACE however,  is first a story of a broken family and the death of one of its members. Vicky, the youngest in a family torn apart by an accident years before, has been found dead, a victim of the winter elements. It’s January and her older sister, Alma, a high powered corporate lawyer from Seattle, has less than a week to get everything squared away, including figuring out where to settle Vicky’s daughter, Brittany, before she has to be back  for her work. The problem is the land and the hardy, down to earth Montana people  immerse Alma in memories.  Alma struggles to figure out what it is she really wants.  It’s the background and the secondary characters and the feelings those evoke in the reader that makes this debut novel so readable.

This week’s prize is a $10 gift certificate from the Friends of the Library good towards FOL sale books or Pay DVDs at any of the 8 RPL branches and also a canvas FOL tote bag. Congrats, reader2015!

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And Our 2015 Week 1 Winner is…

Hello, Fellow Readers! Welcome to Week 1 of this backyard barbeque festival we call Summer Reading. If you were with us last year, you may remember that we employed an impish pixie named Gogol to randomly select our prize winner each week. You may also remember that Gogol likes to get his party on and isn’t the most reliable used car on the lot. So Gogol, bless his devilish little heart, has been made redundant, and we have invited Nico, the 400 year-old dwarf to whom we were introduced through reading jmcbeauty37‘s review of City of Dark Magic, to be our Special Guest Star this week, and Nico randomly selected kayo19‘s review of the board book Opposites by Sandra Boynton:

Product Details

Sandra Boynton’s books are always fun, and this one didn’t disappoint. It’s fun and colorful for my one year old, and humorous for me, as well. I like that the book isn’t just about teaching him to parrot words back to me, but also about understanding concepts (such as tall and short).

It amazes us that this book is celebrating its 30th Anniversary!

Congratulations, kayo19! You are now the owner of a $40.00 gift card to the Regal Cinemas Riverside Plaza Movie Theater.

Since we will need to find a few more Special Guest Stars to replace Gogol this summer, we’d like to offer muchas thanks to readingmom1 for providing us an excellent source list by putting Neil Gaiman’s M is for Magic on our radar:

Gaiman is an excellent storyteller, and ˆM Is for Magicˆ certainly upholds that reputation. Where else but in Gaiman’s work can you find not only trolls, witches, and ghosts, but aliens, modern London, and even the Holy Grail (hidden under a discarded coat in a second-hand shop)? Though this book is meant for a YA/teen audience, Gaiman doesn’t shy away from darkness or difficult themes, and many of these stories grapple with growing up, or growing older, as well as with their overt plots in the fantasy realm.  Gaiman posits in his introduction (worth a read, even if you typically skip those), that an excellent short story can be devoured in a single sitting but remain with you, become part of you, long after. And in that, his collection delivers. The stories are exceptionally well paced and engaging, making each story easily read in one sitting. Yet, these are not neatly resolved tales tidily wrapped in a glittering bow; they are stories that ask something of the reader, but also give much in return.

We love love LOVE the All Hallow’s Read tradition that Neil Gaiman started, and we are sure that if we ever met Mr. Gaiman in person, we would  be all weeping and fainting and stuff like those girls in the audience for The Beatles when they performed on the Ed Sullivan Show.

As you know, Fellow Readers, this year’s reading theme is Read to the Rhythm, and as part of the Adult Summer Reading Program, Riverside Public Library will be offering a free 3-part lecture and book discussion in July with professor and author Jonathan Friedmann centered on his book Music in Our Lives: Why We Listen, How It Works. So we also offer muchas thanks to ABCDecay123 for submitting this review:

Future editions of Music in Our Lives should be given a different title. My suggestion: Our Lives in Music, reversing the order of immersion, perhaps with the subtitle Il N’y a Pas de Hors-Texte, where Texte [text] is crossed out and replaced with Chanson [song]. (Anyone familiar with Derrida will recognize in the alternative subtitle a play on one of his slogans, often mistranslated as “There is nothing outside the text.”) The content of the book should then be revised to accommodate this reversal, resulting in a series of meditations on music conceived not as an object of investigation but as something prior to objectivity itself, thereby accounting for such discontinuous developments in the history of music as John Cage’s avant garde composition 4’33″, consisting of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of “silence” or “background” noise while the ensemble refrains from playing its instruments. As it stands, the book mentions Cage only once, and in the most superficial way possible. Then again, the author professes up front to look at music “through a humanistic lens”–that is to say, to the tune of humanism, which happens to be fairly restrictive in terms of creative improvisation.

We are an English major. This unexpected reinsertion of Derrida into our consciousness made our eyesballs feel all hairy. But you are our new BFF, ABCDecay123.

(We’ll be posting more info about Mr. Friedmann’s program in the next few weeks. If you have any questions before then, just shoot us an email.)

Finally, we’d like to end Week 1 on a note of elephant-butt humor, thanks to techia1 and her review of the book Elephants Can Paint, Too!:

This is another favorite that we borrow a few times a year. The little one really gets a kick outta the pictures of elephants painting flowers (yes, elephants can paint representational art!) and eating cookies and being somewhat naughty (stealing each other’s artwork and bringing it into the water or painting another elephant’s bottom instead of the canvas for example). 

Until next week–Happy Reading, Fellow Readers!

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A One and a Two…

Hello, Fellow Readers! Imagine the sound of our conductor’s baton striking our computer screen(*) as we kick off the registration for the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program.

Here’s how to sign up:

Go the the Login link. (This link is on the right-hand side of your screen.) Enter your information in all the required fields and hit “Register.”

You’ll receive email confirmation once you’ve successfully registered. Then voila! Log in and bask in the glory of your very own profile page, where you can upload an avatar, see all  your reviews cached in one spot, and submit new reviews.

All book reviews are moderated, so your review won’t appear until it has been approved.

For FAQs on the Youth program, check here.

Feel free to contact Mizz Reader if you have any questions. Happy Reading!

Mizz Reader

(*)Just don’t imagine us like that guy in Whiplash. We would never hurl objects at your head or threaten to gut you like a pig.

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And Our Grand Prize Winner is…

Summer Reading Program Statistics:

Just so you know: there were a total of 153 Fellow Readers participating this year with 947 book reviews submitted. Not too shabby! Thanks to everyone for a summer filled with good books and great reviews!

 

Here it is, Fellow Readers: Gogol stepped up to the free throw line blindfolded, and the ball was nothing but net for beth4599‘s review of the mystery novel In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming:

Mystery with lots of twists & turns. Little bit of romance thrown in. I had a hard time getting into the book and staying with the story until the end.

How ironic that the review selected for the Grand Prize of Summer Reading is titled In the Bleak Midwinter. Gogol is such a trickster.

Congratulations, beth4599! You are now the owner of a Kindle Fire 7″ HD Tablet. Muchas gracias to the Friends of the Library for making this Grand Prize possible!

Wishing all of you continued Happy Reading throughout the year—and, in case you ever need a little something to get you through your own bleak season, here are 13 Simple Steps to Get You Through a Rough Day from BuzzFeed. (Yes, a photo of Ryan Gosling with a penguin is involved.)

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And Our Week 9 Winner is…

Well, Fellow Readers–we, along with cristi1, have a case of the sadz. We’ve reached the final week of Summer Reading. Not only will we miss reading all the wonderful reviews and discovering new books based, as jadec123 so wonderfully put it, “on the reviews of real people,” we now must return to that face-off with Ulysses. And we will lose. But at least we know we are not alone in the Great-Books-We-Should-Probably-At-Least-Appreciate-If-We-Want-to-Call-Ourselves-Lovers-of-Literature Club. (See highlight of the reviews for Middlemarch by jadec123 and slhess1 below.)

We will also miss connecting with you each week on this blog. Allow us to share with you the picture we keep taped above our computer screen. We choose to believe Mr. Gosling IS speaking directly to us:

http://www.thewovenmoments.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/hey-girl-ryan-gosling.jpg

(We could spend whole weekends on the intewebz with Ryan Gosling and the “Hey Girl” meme. Especially the site dedicated to library personnel. We are not proud of this. We’re just sayin.)

Okay, so: this week Gogol made like Monty Hall, and the Week 9 Winner behind door number 3 is mark5314  for his review of Zero Day by David Baldacci:

This character is a NCIS/CSI on steroids. The story deals with a nuclear catastrophe & a small town environment. The underlying greed causes the issues to happen. Great story, you must read the book!

Zero Day is an example of a book we picked up based on the review. We heart CSI! How could we pass up CSI on steroids?

Congrats, mark5314! You are now the proud owner of a $20 gift card to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Mission Inn Avenue. (We are enjoying one of their mini coconut lemon cakes as we write this.) Huge thanks again to Beth and the CBTL team for supporting Summer Reading!

Another book we picked up based on reading the review was Alexander McCall Smith’s The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, submitted by 1goldengirl:

#14 in the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Novels and it is as good as the first one. Alexander McCall Smith writes with a gift of subtle humor. These are not fast-paced books but are books to linger over while sipping tea or eating, I hate to say it, fruitcake. If you read the book you’ll understand. In this installment we find her assistant Grace Makutsi married and expecting a child, so Mma Ramotswe is on her own for two detective cases. Although these books contain mysteries they are more about the characters and their life and love of Africa. These novels are a pleasant addiction.

Fruitcake? We must understand this—MUST!—so read this book we shall.

We are currently reading a lot of military-themed books in honor of the California Reads theme War Comes Home, so we thank butterfly2 for putting Peter Nelson’s book Left for Dead on our radar:

You may want to note this author’s name so you can check out more books written by him; it is that well written. This book is about the injustice of Captain McVay’s court martial. He was serving on the USS Indianapolis. It contains the personal accounts of the survivors of the torpedoed ship, and what it was like floating in the ocean with no rescue for days while sharks swam beneath them. It covers how the captain was tried in court without all of the evidence to prove his position, and how the survivors tried to clear the captain’s name, but to no avail. What makes this true story all the more incredible is that an eleven year old boy’s completed  history fair project on the topic brought more attention to the case. This boy, Hunter Scott, shows as much determination and fight as the survivors did. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

P.S. That is the scariest book cover we have seen in awhile. (No, we are not a fan of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.)

Speaking of book covers—here’s cristi1‘s review of Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer:

Am I the only one who judges a book by its cover? I’m sure I’m not. We do it, right? We look at the cover and decide whether we will enjoy reading the book based solely on the art of the front cover. Then, if we have the want to, we’ll read the synopsis on the back to confirm what we felt from the front cover. You all do that too, right?  Right?! Well, I do. And because of this, I simply knew I would like Hope Was Here, because, well, PIE! The front cover is a beautiful looking, half eaten apple pie. It must be a good book if it has pie on the cover. And then I read the synopsis and confirmed it. Hope is a 16 year old girl moving from New York to a small Wisconsin town with her aunt and guardian, Addie. They’re quite the team, Addie is a master cook and Hope is a wizbang waitress. Together they have moved all over the country, working in diner after diner. They are vagabonds of a sort, never staying in one place too long, but always working as a team to try to get through life as best they can. However, things are different in this new town. For one thing, the owner of the diner is a good hearted man, but he has cancer. Two, he’s decided to run for mayor to defat the corrupt incumbent. Three, Hope is quickly learning that this podunk town may not be so bad after all. She and Addie may have found just what they were looking for…..Home.

We do not wish to spark the whole Cake vs. Pie debate here. But if you are so inclined, you can read about it here. (*cough cough* cake *cough cough*)

Seeing as how we’ve entered juvenile-behavior mode (nanny nanny boo boo), here’s as good a place as any to highlight 11lsing‘s review of Nevada Barr’s High Country:

Parks Ranger Anna Pidgeon is back in High Country, a murder-mystery set in Yosemite. Anna goes undercover as a middle-aged waitress to find out why four people disappeared without a trace on the same day. Author Nevada Barr hits it out of the park with this novel – what I like is that her hero ages (you know, like people DO) and brings wisdom, insight and humor to the story telling. Her character Anna is tough, practical yet flawed, and not in that annoying Janet Evanovich way where the heroine always forgets her gun in the cookie jar (EVERY SINGLE DARN TIME – really, Stephanie Plum? It’s why I stopped reading that series. You know, after 11 of the books anyway :-) ). It’s a bit more like dealing with the situation at hand – you’ve dropped your pack to rest and get water and food, then when someone shoots at you, you run like a fox without your supplies. What do you do next to survive? It’s that kind of thinking and decision making that I so enjoy about Nevada Barr! Great book, great mystery, great hero. I want to be Anna Pidgeon when I grow up!

We like Stephanie Plum only slightly more than we like sharks. And when we grow up, we want to be Angelina Jolie.

As we have mentioned, we are always up for a good laugh, and techia1 did not disappoint with her review of Sayre April Pulley’s Vulture View:

Have you ever felt dismay over the serious dearth of rhyming books about vultures? Have I got a book for you! Vultures are so generally neglected and when they are mentioned in any text there’s a tendency toward the negative. It’s outrageous. Kudos to Sayre and Jenkins for doing their part.

Sharks get a whole week. Stephanie Plum gets 21+books. Where IS the respect for the vulture, dang it?

And here we are full-circle, back to the subject of no appreciation or respect. As promised, here are the reviews of George Eliot’s Middlemarch :

http://covers.feedbooks.net/book/575.jpg?size=large&t=1391186302

We give props to slhess1, who reviewed this classic back in June and gave it 4 stars:

I love George Eliot. Her writings are like 19th century soap operas. So much detail. Middlemarch is considered her finest book. I agree; the characters are full of life. For lovers of English literature.

But we’ve got to be honest–we feel jadec123 on this one:

I read so many reviews stating this was a favorite book among readers online. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t finish it! I felt like I was back in high school. And with sentences like this, “Hire facounde eke full womanly and plain, no contrefeted termes had she to semen wise,” was more effort than I cared to put into summer reading!

Have no shame, jadec123. Anything that makes one feel as if one has returned to the bare-knuckle cage match that was high school should be destroyed with fire. (Does this sentiment make Mizz Reader one of those “haters” we hear the young people talking about so much these days?)

(Side note: hands up if the dude on this particular cover of Middlemarch reminds you of a shark.)

Well, we’d like to end this post on a positive note, so here is braerog90‘s review of The Writer’s Digest Writing Clinic: Expert Help for Improving Your Work:

A writing clinic book so helpful. Includes many writings from different writers. For about a month I haven’t written because I have been wanting to focus on one main topic. I finally chose, Mizzreader, to focus on healing. So many people hurting in this life and I want to reach out to them. Going to read a ton of healing books and write healing poetry.

braerog90, you are an inspiration, and we <3 you.

http://sustainableman.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Maya-Angelou-peace.jpg

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1821610/thumbs/o-MAYA-QUOTE-570.jpg?6

Wishing you all continued Happy Reading!

Mizz Reader

P.S. Gogol is going to take a power nap so he can pick the Grand Prize Winner tomorrow, 17 August, and we will announce his result here on the blog. All you fellow readers who have submitted 5 or more reviews over the course of the program are eligible to win—even if you were also a weekly prize winner. We wish we could give a Kindle Fire 7″ Tablet to EVERY fellow reader who submitted reviews, and we would gladly sell a kidney to make this happen, but sadly, we already sold off that extra kidney to cover our son’s college tuition. ¡Buena suerte a todos!

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