Nonfiction

My Stroke of Insight

Friday, August 29, 2014
Jill Bolte Taylor
My Stroke of Insight

Because a dear friend had a stroke, I decided to read this book to help understand what she was experiencing.  Stroke is so common, nearly everyone could benefit from reading it.  It is the first person account of a young (37) neuroscientist who has a stroke and loses all of her left brain function.  Because of her expertise, she is able to describe in detail what happened to her and the long road to recovery she travelled.  It was a seven year plus journey, but she did have a complete recovery.  A fascinating and accessible read, I would recommend this to anyone. Check our Catalog

Pat P., Administration

The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an epic quest to arm an America at war

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
A.J. Baime
The Arsenal of Democracy

In the tense build up to World War II, it becomes increasingly clear to President Franklin Roosevelt and his advisors that America’s ability to fight the type of military machine being built by Hitler’s Germany is seriously inadequate. For the solution he looks to Detroit, the auto industry and its leaders.

This story of Detroit’s effort to create FDR’s Arsenal of Democracy centers mainly on the Ford Motor Company and the shift from building cars to making good on its promise to produce 50,0000 airplanes. The entire process of building the Willow Run factory, learning to build airplanes on an assembly line, and training enough workers in such an urgently short amount of time was really quite  amazing.  But just as interesting to me, was the struggle between Edsel Ford and his aging father Henry Ford. Edsel was the driving force behind Ford Motor Company’s war effort – Henry was reluctant at best. Eventually Edsel would win his father over - but at great cost to their personal relationship and to Edsel’s own physical well-being.

Aside from being a well-documented account of the military build-up during World War II in general, this book is especially interesting for anyone born and raised in southeast Michigan as the people and places are all instantly familiar. My favorite non-fiction read of the year! Check the catalog.

Sue A., Reference

90 Minutes in Heaven

Monday, July 21, 2014
Don Piper
90 Minutes in Heaven

 

This is the true story of a pastor crushed by a semi in an accident on his way home from a conference.  Ninety minutes after he was declared dead, while a fellow minister prayed for him, he returned to life on earth.  This is his account of what he experienced in heaven as well as his account of his recovery.  I found how he coped with the aftermath to be the most inspirational part of the book.  He comes across as a real person dealing with life changing issues in a real way while not giving up his faith in God.  It is a fast and uplifting read. Check our Catalog

Laura G. YS

Tuesdays with Todd & Brad Reed: A Michigan Tribute

Friday, July 18, 2014
Todd and Brad Reed
Tuesdays with Todd & Brad Reed: A Michigan Tribute

This beautiful book is filled with photographs taken every Tuesday (hence the name) during 2012. A few of the highlights are: the Charlevoix Lighthouse seen between icicles on a beautiful blue sky, sunny day; fly fishing the Pere Marquette River on a snowy January day; close-ups of a snowy owl; Mackinac Island when the lilacs are in bloom; a deer bounding through a blizzard (all feet off the ground!); and the sand dunes in various seasons. For anyone interested in photography a plus is that some of the camera settings are included. In the back of the book are two DVDs: Disc 1 is a slideshow of 1,014 Michigan images and Disc 2 includes movies from their top 20 Tuesdays. It has been designated one of the 2014 Michigan Notable Books. This is an absolutely gorgeous book!

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Betsy H., Reference

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Robert M. Edsel
The Monuments Men

I couldn't wait to see the movie.  A great story, George Clooney, how could it miss?  But it did. The book, on the other hand, is now one of my all time top ten reads!  This story is too big for one book.  I expect more will follow.

Edsel vividly retells a piece of the treasure hunt across Nazi occupied Europe following D-Day.  A handful of resourceful men and one remarkable woman risked all to reclaim, protect and return entire collections, including the world's masterpieces, stolen from wealthy Jewish citizens and public institutions alike.  It's a story about conviction . . . and greed, courage . . . and cowardice, compassion . . and cruelty.  Hundreds of thousands of pieces were found buried deep in mines, locked away in castles and adorning cottage walls.

Trivia: The 1964 film, "The Train", starring Burt Lancaster, is an adaptation of one of the many thrilling stories from this group.  www.imdb.com/title/tt0059825/?ref_=fn_al_tt_6

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Donna O., Reference

 

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Daniel James Brown

I grew up hearing about rowing.  My dad rowed in high school and college.  One of his high school rowing teammates won a gold medal at the 1952 Olympics rowing for the USA (Naval Academy Team).   Among other things I can tell you about rowing is that a practice that doesn't end with throwing up means you weren't working hard enough.

If Jesse Owens is rightfully the most famous American athlete of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, refuting Hitler’s notion of white supremacy by winning gold in 4 events, the gold-medal-winning effort by the 8-man rowing team from the University of Washington is still a remarkable story. It includes rowing guru British boatmaker George Pocock and an unlikely bunch of rough & tumble young rowers - not the elite young men who usually rowed for eastern schools. 

Brown paints a vivid picture of the socioeconomic landscape of 1930s America (brutal), the relentlessly demanding effort required of an Olympic-level rower, the exquisite brainpower and materials that go into making a first-rate boat, and the wiles of a coach who somehow found a way to, first, beat archrival University of California, then conquer a national field of qualifiers, and finally, defeat the best rowing teams in the world.

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Diane, Admin

Proof of Heaven

Friday, June 20, 2014
Dr. Eben Alexander
Proof of Heaven

The author is a neurosurgeon with impeccable credentials, a medical degree  from Duke and 15 years of experience and research at Harvard-affiliated
hospitals.  As a medical doctor, Alexander  had always dismissed stories of near death experiences (NDE) from his patients as illusions caused from misfirings in their brains due to trauma.  Then his NDE happened during a 7-day coma from E-Coli meningitis and his whole outlook changed.  This short and easily readable story of his NDE was very challenging to write because human language is so much more limiting than the communication
“systems” outside of the time-space universe which he experienced.   Alexander describes something discussed in other works – “consciousness isnot local”  - it does not reside in our brains.  Consciousness is part of a universal communication system that our brains must filter because of our physical limitations. His story describes beautifully the eternal nature of conscousness and the interconnectiveness of everything.  There is a long list of recommended reading at the end that encourages the curious reader to explore further.  Check our Catalog.

Kathleen Zaenger, Administration 

Twelve Years a Slave

Monday, June 16, 2014
Solomon Northup
Twelve Years a Slave

I have not seen the movie based on this true story and titled the same as the book but I highly recommend the book. Solomon Northup was born a free African American in New York state. He was an educated husband and father of three when he traveled to Washington DC, where he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. For the next 12 years he was "owned" by 3 different cotton plantation owners in Louisiana.When he was finally released after twelve long years he wrote this memoir of his years as a slave. Northup describes everyday life as a slave on the plantation, cultivating cotton and sugar cane. It is such a harsh, brutal story but Northup is able to tell it without anger and with compassion for his fellow slaves. His detail and descriptions are so good, I didn't want to put the book down. Check our Catalog

Jan K., Youth Services

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

Monday, June 16, 2014
Jennifer Worth
Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

It is most interesting to look at a country and how they were able to survive after World War Two.. Mrs. Worth has taken a part of England that was extremely poor,The East End of London near the docks. There were 50,000 people living in one square mile. Many of the  apartments they lived in had been condemned 15 yrs before! Some of the apartments didn't have roofs so the people put tarps over the tops to keep out rain & snow. Because these places were condemned the plumbing,if any,trash & sanitation was not taken care of. People would throw their trash in bombed out areas.

The Anglican Sisters of St Raymond Nonatus came into this area and started an order of religious that cared for the sick & and shared their midwifery skills with the people of this area. They were soon joined by young nurse midwives who joined them and actually flew around the East End on bicycles. They would travel up to eight miles to reach a destination!

In this memoir we see how people survive through apparent impossible circumstances. Also the great sisters & nurses who help them. Check our Catalog

Sharon D., Circulation

1001 Ways to Pay for College

Monday, June 16, 2014
Gen and Kelly Tanabe
1001 Ways to Pay for College
It may look a little tedious and boring, but I can honestly say that this book has been an invaluable tool for me. I've only just recently become a high school senior, but I have worried about paying for college for a long time.
1001 Ways to Pay for College is a fairly new book, printed in December 2013, so all of the websites and information is really up-to-date, probably more so than many books on college we have in the catalog. It is straightforward and easy to read, with lists and bullet points. 
For me, the most eye-opening section was the scholarship one. I had no idea so many scholarships existed, and for so many different subjects. Some require essays, some don't, some require students to pursue a certain field of study, and others are simply like prize drawings. I learned that many businesses offer scholarships, including Coca-Cola and Burger King.
In addition to scholarship information, the book leads you through some complicated processes and how to get the most out of resources like financial aid and student loans. 
After all of this guidance, there are even small sections disbursed throughout the book with frequently asked questions and answers, such as "How do I describe my accomplishments to impress scholarship judges?" and "How much do I have to save each month to reach my goal?"
strongly recommend students and parents to read this book. Whether you skip around or read it cover to cover, I can guarantee this book will help you pay for college. Check our Catalog
 
Jada B. Circulation

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