Nonfiction

The Boys in the Boat

Friday, April 24, 2015
Daniel Brown
The Boys in the Boat

I listened to this audio book on a trip recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a nonfiction book that reads like great fiction. It is the story of the 1936 University of Washington rowing team that went on to the Olympics in Germany as things were becoming very difficult leading up to the United States entering World War II. It also took place during the depression and these young men endured many hardships to pursue their dreams. It is a great story of strong character, especially in the main character of the story. It includes fascinating descriptions of the "boys" and their families. I highly recommend it. Check our Catalog

Jan K.,Youth Services

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Erik Larson
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

As World War I entered its tenth month, transatlantic shipping was becoming a dangerous business. The German submarine fleet was doing its best to disrupt British naval traffic as well as any boats thought to be concealing troops and munitions bound for the war effort. Up to this point, civilian passenger ships and those from neutral countries were generally considered off limits, but Germany was determined to change the rules of the game. On May 1, 1915 the luxury liner Lusitania sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool with a record number of women and children aboard. It was considered the fastest ship on the seas and it was generally thought that it would be able to outrun any U-boat attack.

In Dead Wake, Erik Larson brings to life the story of the forces that lead to the ultimate demise of the Lusitania. The cast of characters ranges from captains of both the Lusitania and the German U-boat, to some of the colorful passengers, to President Woodrow Wilson as he tries to maintain American neutrality but is eventually led to declare war.  This was a very intriguing read about a subject that I remember as being touched on only briefly in history class as a trigger to U.S. involvement in the war. I highly recommend it. Check the catalog.

Sue A., Reference

World Heritage Sites: A Complete Guide to 878 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
UNESCO
World Heritage Sites

This fantastic book is a complete guide to 878 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  The book covers 1978 till 2008 when it was published.  Since I travel a lot, I love going to as many sites as I can.  The book has descriptions and photographs and is a great travel incentive.  I thought I had seen a lot but actually had only seen 58, which is about 6% of all of them.

This is a great browsing and educational book.  I strongly recommend it. Check our Catalog

Sue N. Youth Services

 

Account Rendered: A Dossier on My Former Self

Friday, March 13, 2015
Melita Maschmann
Account Rendered: A Dossier on My Former Self

My first big-girl job was with an insurance company, at its Detroit branch.  I worked with a woman, Pat, who was born and raised in Germany and crossed the pond as a GI bride. We were fascinated by Pat's backstory but we didn't ask. She didn't speak about growing up until one night, at a company celebration, she told us how she had had a glorious girlhood, living with a group of girls her age up in the mountains where it was beautiful and invigorating and such. We asked if she knew what what going on around her. Then she became evasive.  She had said too much to us. We wouldn't understand.

Last year, I read  The monuments Men : Allied heroes, Nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history . Looking at the bibliography at the end, I found an older memoir written by a young German women, Melita Maschmann, allegedly to her childhood best friend, a young German Jewish girl, entitled Account Rendered. I thought of Pat.

In the early 1960's, Maschmann addressed the question of "how was it possible for so many apparently normal people to be led into a state of mind in which they could commit these crimes without thinking that they were doing wrong? how could they condone them; or turn a blind eye to what was being done - often under their very noses?"  Maschmann tried to explain it, in her case, "change a simple, pleasant young German girl into a dedicated Nazi, without feelings and without pity".

Her story is interesting; the larger context is fascinating. I think I understand Pat a little bit better. I hope that she made peace with herself.

Check it out on MEL

Donna O., Reference

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential

Friday, March 13, 2015
John C. Maxwell
The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential

This is an inpriring book! John Maxwell will give you the laws of growth and ideas on how to apply them so that you can reach your goals and improve yourself and those around you. There is even an app to help keep you on track! Check our Catalog

Jan H., Technical Services

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters In the End

Monday, March 9, 2015
Atul Gawande
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters In the End
This book was a thought provoking look at aging, dying, our medical system and quality of life.  It doesn’t matter if we live our lives eating all the right food and doing all the right things; at some point our bodies will begin to break down.  In our current medical system the goal is always to prolong live no matter what.  The author’s premise is that we need to have hard conversations and talk to those we love about what is most important to them and what quality of life are they willing to live to keep on going.  Do we want to add more “life to our years or years to our life” and what physical and emotional cost are we willing to bear?  
 
I’m not a big non-fiction fan and I really enjoyed this.  The author brings a lot of personal experience into the book which makes for an interesting read.  Check our Catalog
Laura G. Youth Services
 

Sophie: The Incredible True Adventures of the Castaway Dog

Monday, February 16, 2015
Emma Pearse
Sophie: The Incredible True Adventures of the Castaway Dog

This is a great story with a good ending! It's about a dog and a family in Australia. The doggie goes missing on the family boat.The story is all about the great search with a description of the coast in Australia. Read the book to find out how they find Sophie.

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Marilyn S., Circulation

Game Warden Stories

Friday, February 13, 2015
Gerald Battle
Game Warden Stories

John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and Rachel Carson are not the only conservationists worth noting. Gerald Battle wrote of his experiences “in the field” in “Game warden stories.” Battle was a Conservation officer in Leelanau County during the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s. His job was to enforce laws having to do with nature and respecting the lives of creatures that roamed the fields, swam in water, or flew in the sky. Many of his enforcement duties involved deer poaching. Leelanau County, which included the Manitou islands, is a vast area to patrol singlehandedly. At times, he was supposedly “seen” in many places around the county at the same time. This would allow him to stake out an area to thwart illegal activity. Lawbreakers would be surprised when he jumped out of the bushes to catch them in the act. Some county dwellers complained of porcupines chewing on their buildings. It was such a problem that plywood companies had to change their formula in assembling plywood so porcupines found it distasteful. Another incident involved skunks. A cat had crawled under a restaurant and confronted a group of skunks. Patrons and the cat left the scene. The black & white animals were trapped and released in a more suitable location. A fun job in nature. Check our Catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midwest Family

Friday, February 13, 2015
Kathleen Flinn
Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midw

When I read “Burnt toast makes you sing good: a memoir of food & love from an American Midwest family” by Kathleen Flinn, it reminded me of my family life growing up with many siblings in the same time period, the 50’s & 60’s. To Kathleen, meals brought back memories and cooking was a way of communicating. The author’s family struggled financially. As a result, clothes were purchased at thrift stores for the 5 children & bag lunches rather than “hot lunches” were the norm. Of course, these ways of living were fuel for the children being taunted at school. Kathleen’s mother actually told the children that the thrift stores were high end department stores. The girls in the family didn’t realize the white lie until they entered a “real” department store. Imagine their faces to look upon a sight of the multitude of choices to buy, let alone the bright lights! Another similarity had to do with birthdays. In lieu of gifts, the children got to pick out the menu for “their” day. Grandma Inez’s cinnamon rolls were always the choice for breakfast! The words of the title came from an adage that Grandma Inez used to say. She didn’t own a toaster so she “baked” toast in the oven. The children would complain about having to eat burnt toast, so grandma gave them a good reason to eat it. Some of the choice family activities included eating, camping, reading, & fishing. They would spend days fishing, whether it be ice, smelt, or motoring around a lake in a boat that was big enough for the family of seven. The family lived in California for a time helping out a relative run a restaurant. Kathleen’s parents eventually tried their culinary skills by running their own restaurant using family favorite recipes. The book includes some of the family recipes. When the family moved to Michigan, the family’s financial status improved when they were able to buy a farm. Food could be grown & stored for future consumption. At one time there was enough money to open doors for socialization. Food and fun while meeting new people. In regards to reading, Mr. Flinn purchased a set of encyclopedias from a college student. (Selling encyclopedias was a common job for college students during the 70’s, nowadays encyclopedias are a thing of the past). Mr. Flinn would read the informational books from cover to cover. Sometimes he would read aloud so who ever wanted to gain unique knowledge could listen. A good book to read if you want to stroll down memory lane or drive on Route 66. Check our Catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

Don't Give Up, Don't Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Louis Zamperini and David Rensin
Don't Give Up, Don't Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life

Louis Zamperini’s story has been told through the movie “Unbroken” and by the book of the same title by Laura Hillebrand.  This book is in Louis’ own words, revealing more of his life and the lessons he has learned along the way; and was finished only a few days before he passed at age 97.  There are gems of wisdom and advice throughout.  One of my favorites is  “no matter how old you are, don’t stop challenging yourself with new experiences, but be smart about it, please”.   He was skateboarding, mountain climbing and skiing well into his eighties. Check our Catalog

Margaret B., Reference

 

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