Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story

Friday, February 5, 2016
David Maraniss
Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story

This is a 2016 Michigan Notable Book. The author was born in Detroit and is an associate editor of the Washington Post. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a best-selling author.

This story is about Detroit in 1963 when things on the outside looked so upbeat for the Motor City. Maraniss describes the signs showing that things would soon fall apart for Detroit. It’s a well-told story that captures your interest about an exciting time in Detroit’s history (think Motown), but I can’t recommend the audio because the tracks are long – up to 50 minutes - and, while the author is a good reader, he is not great.  Read the book instead.

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Kathleen Z., Administration

438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Jonathan Franklin
438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea

Imagine surviving in the Pacific Ocean for 438 days!

Salvador Alvarenga’s story, 438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea by Jonathan Franklin, reveals his tale of “resilience, will, ingenuity and determination” to survive drifting west 6,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to the Marshall Islands. Alvarenga was a shark fisherman who had to travel over 100 miles from shore to fill a cooler because oceans have been overfished. After setting 2,800 hooks, 4,000 pounds of fish brought a man about $150. Alvarenga, being very experienced, felt more at home on the sea, but gale force winds are never predictable.

Two fishermen left Costa Azul, Mexico on November 18, 2012 and one survivor drifted to shore on Tile Islet on January 29, 2014. Besides catching/storing fresh water and food, Alvarenga had to “survive” seeing & conversing with people after his time at sea. It was especially hard because the inhabitants where he landed didn’t speak Spanish. I felt like I was in his boat with a broken motor, catching and eating raw food, and staying out of the sun.

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Geralyn B., Technical Services

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things

Monday, December 7, 2015
Jenny Lawson
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things

Jenny Lawson admits it: she’s mentally ill and has rheumatoid arthritis. She knows how mental and physical pain claws at the psyche. Lucky for her—and for us—she has decided to be furiously happy whenever her ailments allow and share how she copes when flare-ups inevitably happen. Lawson writes about all sorts of crazy things; some that she experienced, others that seem to come out of nowhere. And she describes her lows uniquely. Lawson’s language is often saltier than I prefer, but she definitely is funny and insightful. Ultimately, hers is a message of hope and encouragement.

I read the audiobook; we also have the print version.

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Doris M., Reference

Masterminds & wingmen : helping our boys cope with schoolyard power, locker-room tests, girlfriends, and the new rules of Boy World

Friday, November 20, 2015
Wiseman, Rosalind
Masterminds & wingmen : helping our boys cope with schoolyard power, locker-room

Like many parents I read many parenting books, tryng to find the elusive answer to dealing with whatever is going on with my boys.  Masterminds and Wingmen doesn't read like a parenting book.  It is an eyeopener.  Written by the author of Queen Bees & Wannabes which helped parents of girls.  Masterminds helps parents of boys gain insight into what the heck they are thinking and feeling.  I am only half way through and it has changed how I see my boys.  We have made huge improvements in how we encourage girls to step out of the traditional role.  This book talks about the box we have kept our boys in and the emotional cost they are paying for it.  This book addresses issues and lets us hear from boys in the situations.  Definately a must read for any parent or teacher of a boy. Check our Catalog

Cindy A. Circulation

Fail, fail again, fail better : wise advice for leaning in to the unknown

Friday, November 6, 2015
Pema Chodron
Fail, fail again, fail better : wise advice for leaning in to the unknown

When Pema Chodron’s granddaughter was accepted to Naropa Univ. she promised she would speak at her commencement ceremony.  This book is that speech.

Pema Chodron’s starts with asking the question, “What do we do when life doesn’t go the way we hoped?”  “We say, I’m a failure.”  Chodron speaks from experience when she goes on tell us that it is OK to fail.  Through failure we learn to be more loving of ourselves and others.  We also learn to see new possibilities.  I found this book to be apositive, inspiring read.  Check our Catalog

Jan H., Technical Services

Simply Retro with Camille Roskelley: Fresh Quilts from Classic Blocks

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Camille Roskelley
Simply Retro with Camille Roskelley: Fresh Quilts from Classic Blocks

"Camille Roskelley, best-selling author of Simplify with Camille Roskelley, puts a brand new spin on traditional-block quilting. By exploring modern print combinations and employing innovative techniques such as supersizing blocks, Roskelley offers a fresh interpretation of classic blocks in 12 achievable projects. Simple enough for beginners, all of the projects are easy to piece using precuts, yardage, and scrap fabrics. And, as always, Roskelley’s fail-proof instructions and expert knowledge will guide and inspire every step of the way.

• Master a variety of simple techniques such as half-square triangles and easy Flying Geese for a bold, sophisticated style
• Classic-block quilting gets a modern makeover with jumbo sizes, fresh prints and colors, and secondary patterns created with color placement
• Bridge the traditional and modern with quilts that have timeless appeal"

I love the fabric selection in the quilts in this book.  The blocks are reworked for ease of assembly so a novice quilter can put together a quilt top relatively quickly.  Since the block patterns are based on traditional blocks, any fabric selection would look lovely.  This book is great for either inspiration or for actual instruction on block construction.  Show me your quilt when you have it all put together! Check our Catalog

Peggy G. - Circulation

Devil at my Heels

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Louis Zamperini with David Rensin
Devil at my Heels

Many people have read Unbroken by Laura Hillelbrand and have seen the movie.  It is an amazing story of courage and survival.  Then I found this book subtitled" a World War 2 Hero's epic saga of torment, survival and forgiveness".  It is fascinating because it is told in his own words, quite different from Unbroken.   It was a great read. 

Sue N., Youth Services       Check our Catalog


Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters In the End

Friday, September 18, 2015
Atul Gawande
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters In the End

I read this book as a result of a friend telling me she was so impressed with the book that she wanted to buy a copy and loan it to friends. I decided to check it out.

The first part talks about what is currently being done to many of our elderly which is placing them in a nursing home or a hospital after they can no longer care for themselves at home, rather than family caring for them at home as was done many years ago. The second part asks the question "when do heroic measures to save or prolong lives actually make things worse, and what should be done instead?"

Dr. Gawande shows how end-of-life physical conditions are often treated as medical crises needing to be "fixed," instead of managed for quality of life when treatment has become futile. He relates attention-getting true stories, including ones about hospice.I didn’t want to put the book down.

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Betsy H., Reference

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II

Monday, August 31, 2015
Molly Guptill Manning
When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II

We’ve all heard about the GI Bill, but how many of us have heard about the Armed Services Editions (ASE) program? Without the latter, the education component of the former probably wouldn’t have been as successful. Post-World War II, some 2.2 million servicemen went to college and another 5.6 million signed up for advanced training thanks to the GI Bill. Many of those men discovered the joy of reading—and their potential for learning—thanks to ASE books. Originally a response to the Germans burning books, the ASE program aimed to put more books than were destroyed by the Germans into the hands of servicemen.  The books helped men, many of whom hadn’t been readers, beat boredom as they waited in foxholes and elsewhere and cope with emotional distress. They also inspired learning: men requested technical books be added to the lists of novels. This is a great addition to WWII history, as well as publishing history. Like me, it might motivate you to read one of the books repeatedly mentioned. I read When Books Went to War on CD, but the library also has a print copy.

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Doris M., Reference

Crocodile or Alligator?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Susan Holt Kralovansky
Crocodile or Alligator?

Crocodile or alligator?

If you ever wondered how to tell two similar animals apart, you’ll love this series!  In “Crocodile or alligator?” readers are shown great pictures of real animals and the differences between the two are pointed out very simply.  It was great to go to the zoo after reading this book and some others in the series (such as “Monkey or ape?”) and being able to easily see and understand the differences between them.   A great book/series for multiple ages! Check our Catalog


Janice H., Youth Services



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