Biography/Memoir

Girls Like Us

Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Sheila Weller
Girls Like Us

Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon – and the Journey of a Generation

 

If you are of a certain age and you listen to music, you know these names. Three female singer-songwriters whose careers took off in the 1960s and whose paths crossed in various ways. The biographies of these three iconic musicians start with each of their childhoods and weave their stories throughout the book. These are strong vibrant women who have very human frailties and challenges. A good summer read.

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Kathleen Z., Administration

Three Weeks with My Brother

Monday, June 27, 2016
Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks

I haven't read many of Sparks’ books but I love travel literature and so read this one about a trip around the world with two brothers to exotic places like Easter Island, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal. The chapters switch back and forth from the brothers' wild and problematic childhood to great descriptions of their travels to their current family lives. I had to do research about all the places they visited. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.

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Sue N., Youth Services

Born Standing Up (Audiobook)

Thursday, June 2, 2016
Steve Martin
Born Standing Up (Audiobook)

Written and read by the author

 

Having read this in book form several years ago and enjoyed it, I happened upon this audiobook while looking for something else and thought I’d give it a try, since it is read by the author himself, Steve Martin. It was definitely worth it! I have always admired his comedy and acting performances and he also proves to be an excellent author as well. (He has written novels and plays, too.)

The story of his life is one of hard work and determination, starting when he was just ten years old selling programs to the public at Disneyland in California, which was only two miles from his house. He would ride his bike up there and interact with the public all day during the summer. From there he moved up to working in the magic shop at the park, learning performing magic by watching the older guys there. Finally, he gets to be an actor in five shows a day at Knott’s Berry Farm. This is where he really learns to be a performer and adjust the act according to the audience’s reactions, learning what works and what doesn’t.

The rest is probably familiar to most people; from there, Martin went on to The Smothers Brothers Show, Saturday Night Live, a hugely successful stand-up act playing to thousands of people in large arenas, and then finally walking away from that to starring in movies. He also discusses his relationship with his parents and sister, as well as the romantic partners he has had.

Martin starts the audiobook in a pretty straightforward way, in his familiar voice. Later on in the story he gets more animated in his reading. For fans of Steve Martin, this will be a pleasure to hear! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this.

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Pat P., Technical Services

Speaking Frankly

Monday, May 16, 2016
Clyde Riley with Doron Levin
Speaking Frankly

A Southern Boy’s Journey from Slaughterhouse to Creation of the World’s Top Hot Dog Brand

 

The author, Clyde Riley, moved to Howell, MI, full time in the late 1980s as he was slowly making his way to eventual retirement in 1994 from a 50-year career in the meatpacking industry, working his way from the slaughterhouse to the Chief Executive Office. This is an inspiring story of a poor farm boy from Alabama who worked hard in every aspect of his life. He rose through the ranks to become the President of Hygrade Food Products. Clyde left this life peacefully in the summer of 2015. It was my privilege to know him in his golden years. I miss his smile and enthusiasm.

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Kathleen Z., Administration

Without You, There Would Be No Us

Monday, May 9, 2016
Suki Kim
Without You, There Would Be No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite

My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite

 

In 2011 all the universities in North Korea were closed, the students sent to construction jobs. All but the 270 male students at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. These were the sons of the North Korean elite. Journalist Suki Kim posed as a missionary to teach at Pyongyang University and learn about the secretive country. What she had to do in order to get to North Korea, what she needed to bring with her, and what she endured for a school year in North Korea makes for a fascinating and informative read.

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Jeanne S., Youth Services

 

Crazy Horse: Sioux War Chief

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Peter Guttmacher
Crazy Horse: Sioux War Chief

Since I am going to South Dakota next August, I wanted to study some history of the region. This is a youth book but certainly not a little kids' book. I learned so much about the issues between the Indian tribes and the soldiers who were there to protect the settlers. The life of Crazy Horse is fascinating as is the description of the tribes' way of life. I plan to see the giant sculpture of Crazy Horse in South Dakota which was begun years ago and is still being worked on. This book is something we should all read since we missed this information in our high school history classes.

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Sue N., Youth Services

A Thousand Naked Strangers

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Kevin Hazzard
A Thousand Naked Strangers

A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back

 

In Jojo Moyes’s After You, Louisa Clark is still grieving the death of Will Traynor, the quadriplegic man she cared for and came to love in Me Before You. But grief isn’t the reason for her horrible fall, despite what her family thinks. Out of the tragedy comes new hope for living and a relationship with Patrick, the paramedic who treated her at the scene. The book provides glimpses of the harrowing, sometimes dangerous, and frequently rewarding life of paramedics.

For the nitty-gritty on the life of a paramedic read A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard. Interestingly, what Patrick experiences in London jibes with what Hazzard experienced as an emergency medical responder in Atlanta. Hazzard writes about what motivated him to become an EMT and then to train to become a paramedic. The stories he tells are straight out of the imagination of a screenwriter--only true! Every call is harrowing because of the unknown. Every call may turn out to be dangerous. And every call has the possibility of making the risks and challenges of the job worthwhile. These folks deserve the title hero.

 

Check our catalog for these books: A Thousand Naked StrangersMe Before You, and After You.

 

Doris M., Reference

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

Monday, April 18, 2016
Jeanne Theoharis
The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

Like many I thought I knew the Rosa Parks story of not giving up her seat and starting the bus boycott in Montgomery. This book gave the events so much more depth and perspective. This biography covers more than the few days in her life that the world thinks it knows. In this book we learn how the activist was created from a young age and continued her fight until her death.

It doesn’t paint a pretty picture of iconic figures and brings to light much of what happened behind the scenes that many didn’t want brought to light.

This was a fascinating read about a woman that is worth many fuller books than a few grade school picture books have reduced her to for the public. Rosa Parks still has much to teach us. If you are at all interested in civil rights and/or feminism, this is a wonderful read.

 

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Cindy A., Circulation

Cathedral of the Wild

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Boyd Varty
Cathedral of the Wild: An African Journey Home

An African Journey Home

 

This is a brilliant biography from a young man raised in Africa, the third generation of a family who is trying to improve on the conservation of all the treasured and rare animals that are at risk. He fully describes his life there with his nomad-type parents and sister and all the risks and joys of living in Africa. A super read.

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Marilyn S., Circulation

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

Monday, March 14, 2016
Ruth Reichl
My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

Ruth Reichl was the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine. When it closed unexpectedly in 2009, Ruth was devastated.

This colorful cookbook/memoir is the story of how Ms. Reichl used food to help her cope and recover from her loss. Gourmet was an intimidating magazine for me--so many recipes used unheard-of ingredients in little old Livingston County--but I have personally flagged 22 recipes that I want to try. Maybe my co-workers will be my guinea pigs!

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Jeanne S., Youth Services

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