Nonfiction

George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved The American Revolution

Friday, May 23, 2014
Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger
George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved The American Revolution

The names Caleb Brewster,  James Rivington, Austin Roe, Robert Townsend,  Abraham Woodhull, and Agent 355 should be known to all who love American history.   Hopefully, this book will shed light on these true American heroes.  We come to know their stories, in part, because George Washington saved his letters detailing their exploits .   I loved this well-written book.

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Margaret B., Reference

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis

Friday, May 23, 2014
Timothy Egan
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Ed

The amazing life Edward Curtis had just floored me. I am so glad I read this well-researched book by Timothy Egan. It is just full of larger than life figures from American history, and you should read it on this point alone. This book shows you what a difference one man’s passion can make. Edward Curtis made it his life’s mission to photograph and record stories of the American Indians before their way of life disappeared. It’s an amazing true story and a great read. 

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Margaret B., Reference

The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Catherine Steiner-Adair
The Big Disconnect

This book is a wonderful eye opener about the impact of technology in our society, in particular on our children.  Adair offers great suggestions about how to deal with screen related issues including social media and too much screen time.  She also delves into how parents and can socially connect with their kids in this digital age.  Read this book and you will have clarity about the importance of human connection and how it impacts the educational and social development of kids today. 

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Barb C., Administration

Tuesdays with Todd and Brad Reed:A Michigan Tribute

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Todd and Brad Reed
Tuesdays with Todd and Brad Reed

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 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

Weber's New Real Grilling

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Jamie Purviance
Weber's New Real Grilling

If you are looking for great grilling recipes, this book has many recipes that work and taste great.  The author takes you through the entire process of starting the grill (charcoal or gas) through food preparation and plating your meal.  There are even recipes that include cooking with a wok or pizza stone on the grill.  This is a must read book for the upcoming grilling season. Check our Catalog

Jeremy E., Administration

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

Saturday, May 10, 2014
Piper Kerman
Orange is the New Black
 
Piper Kerman had just graduated from Smith College and was looking for adventure.  Little did she know that the adventure she found would eventually land her in prison.
She began spending time with a fun-loving group of friends. One of these friends, Nora, talked Piper into smuggling suitcases of drug money to Europe and Asia.  To Piper, it seemed like a harmless crime and it earned her a lot of money.  
Eventually, as she was drawn further into the group of drug dealers, she decided to go straight.  She found a good job and a wonderful boy friend.  Ten uneventful years went by, until one day two U.S. Customs officers showed up at her door in New York and informed her that she was being indicted on drug smuggling and money laundering charges.
Piper eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to fifteen months at the federal correction facility in Danbury, Connecticut. This is Piper's story, but more than that, it is the stories of her fellow inmates - many with families and small children on the outside, and with more time to serve than Piper.  Many of these women had not committed major crimes and were without outside resources and good attorneys (as Piper had).  Yet their humor and resilience were inspiring.  Piper befriended many of them - with their help she was able to survive her relatively short sentence.  She was able to help them write letters and attain their GED certificates, but they helped her in many ways also.
Piper's sentence was shortened by two months for good behavior.  When she was released, her family and boy friend and a new job were waiting for her.  Realizing that she is luckier than most of her fellow inmates, Piper has become an advocate for women in prison and serves on the board of the Women's Prison Association.  This book, funny and heartbreaking, gives us a completely different picture of life in prison. Check our Catalog
Catherine T., Reference

Cholera in Detroit: A History

Friday, May 9, 2014
Richard Adler
Cholera in Detroit: A History

This book seemed like another part of the rich History of Detroit, taking the reader back to times before germs and pathogens were discovered.  Cholera was a deadly disease back in the centuries before toxic microbes were analyzed.  There was no known cure for Cholera because people did not know where it originated from.  Some thought it came from the soil; others thought it was transmitted by touch.  It took the documentation of several scientists and medical professionals to find the elusive pathogen that was Cholera.  The book outlines the eipdemics that took place in the Detroit area before cholera was identified to be water-borne.  The history of the sewers and raw sewage that made it way both into the Detroit river, and consequently into the water supply outlines a time that is unimaginable.  Not only cholera took its toll on the residents, but dysentery and smallpox ravaged the population.  
It was interesting to learn about how the city began and how the early residents lived through these unsanitary times.  
I liked it but it was a lot of history and rather unsavory in some of the descriptions of how people lived...not your bedside novel you would read at night...

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Sue H., Reference



 

Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Charles Novacek

This memoir reads like a spy novel.  Charles was taught to be part of the Czech resistance as an 11 year old boy when the Nazi’s invaded his homeland in 1939.  Few of us know of the arduous stories of people in Eastern Europe who endured the hardships of World War II and then the oppression of Communism afterwards.  This amazingly true story tells of       cunning, bravery, strength, fortitude and a belief in a bright future despite terrifying circumstances.  After torture and imprisonment and a harrowing escape in 1948, Charles was able to get to a displaced-persons camp in Germany, then to venezuela and finally was able to immigrate with his family to the U.S. in the 1950s.  He became a civil engineer in Detroit and a model citizen. Highly recommended.

Kathleen Zaenger, Administration

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10% Happier:How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found Self Help that Actually Works-A True Story

Friday, April 25, 2014
Dan Harris
10% Happier

Nightline and Good Morning America News Anchor Dan Harris writes a funny and interesting book about his journey through spirituality and self help. He is trying to calm his "inner voice" that propels him to make poor decisions and not be as calm and serene as he would like to be. After an on-air panic attack he knew he had to make some changes. It is an honest account of Harris's struggle with many interesting side stories about well known names like Peter Jennings. I found it to be a fun and interesting read. Check our Catalog

Jan K., Youth Services

Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning Hope and Repair

Friday, April 25, 2014
Anne Lamott
Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning Hope and Repair

A little group of us from the library had the privilege of singing “Happy Birthday” to author Anne Lamott along with hundreds of other fans when she was at Calvin College in Grand Rapids on April 11. Lamott was visiting my hometown as part of the college’s Festival of Faith and Music. We were thrilled to spend an hour in her company. Her most recent book “Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair” is just as meaningful and lovely as any other she’s written. It’s a perfect antidote for anyone struggling with one of life’s curveballs, big or small. Like her talk in Grand Rapids, it’s loaded with pearls of wisdom, stories of struggles she’s endured and dotted with her funny observations. I especially enjoyed this from Lamott, “I know God enjoys hearing my take on how best we should all proceed, as I’m always full of useful advice. I’m sure God says either, “Oh, I so love Annie’s selfless and evolved thoughts,” or else, “Jeez. What a head case.”   Reading her books always softens my perspective on something I find troubling. Make sure to spend some time with this one. Check our Catalog

Cyndi L., Reference

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