Doris M.

Breaking Bad

Monday, December 21, 2015

Walter White is a well-liked, mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher. He leads a typical suburban lifestyle. He has a wife, teenage son, and baby on the way. Then comes a cancer diagnosis, and Walter wonders how his son will be able to go to college, let alone his family live comfortably without his salary. What does a decent man who’s dying do? He makes a plan. Only in this situation the plan is indecent. The acting and writing are so spot-on in this drama series you can’t help but empathize with Walter. But beware—aberrant and fantastic circumstances abound in every episode of this television series! Check our catalog

Doris, Reference

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

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Monday, October 26, 2015
Betty Smith

I never would have read this wonderful book if I hadn’t read When Books Went to War. Man after man participating in the Armed Services Edition program mentioned this book as a favorite, piquing my curiosity. It didn’t disappoint. A coming-of-age story about Francie Nolan, the book also is a social history and commentary about growing up poor in an ethnic neighborhood in the early twentieth century. I couldn’t help but admire Francie for her industriousness and her unswerving drive for an education. But even more, I admired how she accepted her familial responsibility to help support her family but never gave up her dream of an education. Check our catalog.

Doris, 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

Meb for Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner

Friday, August 14, 2015
Meb Keflezighi
Meb for Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner

Whether you’re setting your sights on becoming a world-class runner or, like me, are a recreational runner who enjoys doing road races, you’ll find plenty of good advice from professional runner and 2014 Boston Marathon winner (at age 39!) Meb Keflezighi in this book. He shares his various training routines and shows how to do exercises to improve speed, strength, balance, and flexibility. (Note: Meb points out even nonrunners should do the stretching exercises. Don’t we all want to continue to have mobility as we age?) Meb also talks about preparing for and running a race, including what he eats and drinks—and using petroleum jelly. Run a few races and you’ll know why the last is important knowledge. But I’d advise using Hal Higdon’s training plans instead of Meb’s—unless you’re a pro whose job is running. His just seem too intense. What’s the takeaway from this book? You have to decide what’s right for you as you train to become a better runner.

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Doris M., Reference

 

 

Coyote

Saturday, March 21, 2015
Colin Winnette

Don’t be fooled by the length of this book about a missing child or its title. It’s packed with story, character development, mystery, and angst. And though a coyote is mentioned, it is the symbolism and mythology associated with the animal that the title reflects. Every word counts, revealing bit by bit the child’s parents and their reaction to her disappearance, and deepening the mystery surrounding what happened to her.  The novella won the 2013 NOS Book Contest. Check our catalog

Doris, Reference

The Life We Bury

Saturday, December 27, 2014
Allen Askens

Joe Talbert has a dream of going to college. Standing in his way are an alcoholic mother with a tenuous grip on reality and an autistic brother whom he loves and feels responsible for. Still, once he has saved enough money, he drives off to start a new life as a student, thinking he can leave his old life behind. However, that proves impossible. He finds himself entangled not only in the detritus of his mother’s poor decisions but also in a decades old mystery involving Carl Iverson. Carl is a Vietnam veteran recently released from prison because he’s dying. And he is the biography subject of Joe’s class assignment. As Joe, with the help of neighbor Lila, delves into the reason for Carl’s incarceration, it becomes clear how unspeakable secrets can haunt and affect one until they are shared with someone. This intricate tale is worth reading. Check our catalog

Doris, Reference

The Periodic Table: A Visual Guide to the Elements

Friday, October 31, 2014
Paul Parsons & Gail Dixon

Not really into science, you say? This book just may change your mind. The authors provide much more than the details you’d expect to find in the periodic table.  Each element is pictured in color opposite a full page on its discovery, history, and uses. Some of those uses are unbelievable. Radon—which we’re told to test for and guard against in our homes—once was sold as a health supplement!  And though the book doesn’t mention TV show The Big Bang Theory in its entry on yttrium, the entry sure brings to mind the episode where the friends shoot a laser to the moon. Chemistry has never been more fun to explore! Check our catalog.

Doris, Reference

Noah (DVD)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Called a blockbuster, this Russell Crowe movie is just a bust. Yes, it has a larger-than-life feel, but unfortunately the story is too fantastic and fantastical (rock creatures help build the ark!). And worse, the movie doesn’t follow the traditional Bible story. Noah director and writer Darren Aronofsky told The New Yorker magazine that his movie is “the least biblical biblical film ever made." I couldn’t agree more, and I couldn’t be more disappointed.  I expected a retelling of the Genesis tale. Instead, I and other viewers meet a deranged Noah who is determined to end humankind. My advice: don’t waste your time. Check our catalog

Doris, Reference

Runner's World

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Magazine
Runner's World

There I was in the lounge waiting for my car's oil-change and needing something to kill time. Runner's World, the top magazine on the end table, had the same eye-catching headline found on lots of magazines: "Lose 10 Pounds". So naturally I picked it up (who doesn't want to lose 10 pounds?). I never did find the article about losing weight, but I did happen across a wonderful article about two little people, one 3 ft 9 inch and the other 4 ft 4 inch, who qualified for the 2013 Boston Marathon. As a short person who does some road races, I was awestruck reading about their drive and accomplishments. But as often happens in waiting rooms, I didn't have quite enough time to finish the article. Thank goodness the library had a copy of the issue I was reading and I was able to finish the article. Next time you can't finish a current year's magazine article in a waiting room, come to the library, chances are you'll find it here. Check our Catalog

Doris M., Reference

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