Thursday, December 1, 2016

Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

In this semi-autobiographic collection of essays, Oliver shares her love of nature and literature.  She describes her communion with nature beginning in her childhood and never feels alone as Walt Whitman is her "friend."  Reading Whitman's Song of Myself reaffirms her conviction as a poet and a sense of belonging that we are all part of a larger whole.  She also pays tributes to Woolf, Emerson, Poe, Wordsworth and Frost and shares her observation of turtles and owls.  It you love nature and poetry, you will find this uplifting.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Medicine in Translation by Danielle Ofri

Dr. Ofri has a strenuous job at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, the oldest public hospital in the United States. Working with language barriers, torture survivors, legal and illegal immigrants, the young and the old, she has many stories and experiences to share. She seeks to understand her patients and build  relationships with them as well as treat their conditions. Spending a year's sabbatical in Costa Rica with her family renews her energy helping her to focus on learning the Spanish language, music, and family. This interesting book relates many struggles of this doctor and her patients.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

This book is perfect for kids, families and adults for a fast read during the Christmas season!  The Herdman tribe have joined Sunday school (for the desserts and donuts!) and are now part of the annual telling of the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve. 
The Herdman children are not the most well behaved children.  Like any good story things go bad and fast!
        I grew up participating in a Christmas pageant on Christmas Eve, with the shepherds wearing the same robes year after year and the angles wearing little white wings.  While reading, I smiles spread across my face, as I remembered all the “fun” we had during those practices leading up to the big performance.  And then receiving our brown sack of peanuts in shells, apples and candy cane!

        The Union Street Players produced a play based on the book in 2013.  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett

Carol Burnett's In Such Good Company takes its readers back to a happy place; a time when variety television could still draw an audience, and Hollywood was still home to mega-stars who could sing, dance and act.
In this book, Burnett looks back on the characters, guests and episodes of her famous television variety show. If you were a regular viewer of the show, In Such Good Company puts you in front of your TV, watching it all over again. The episodes and the memories come flying back as Burnett describes the people who joined her on stage in front of a live studio audience.
Many of the skits she described seemed like they were just on last week, not decades ago. I was a regular viewer, and many of the stories she tells revive a lot of memories. Some of the backstories she adds make these stories even more special.
The kind of television Burnett describes in the book is lost on most of our younger generation today, and that is too bad. Today's television fare makes it hard to imagine any type of variety program going over with today's viewers. This book is a valuable piece of TV history, giving everyone a glimpse of what family time around the tube was like. In Such Good Company takes you back to a different, and good, time in our entertainment history.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Whistler by John Grisham

The latest Grisham book involves investigators from the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct.  Lacy and Hugo are contacted by a man using the name Greg Myers, who claims to have information about a corrupt judge who has stolen vast sums of money.  The scheme involves the elusive Coast Mafia, the Tappacola Indian tribe and its casino, and many foreign shell corporations.
Will Lacy and Hugo be able to gather enough information to remove the judge from the bench?     Do they need to get the FBI involved? 

This book was a quick read, and I enjoyed it.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Collecting the Dead by Spencer Kope

Magnus “Steps” Craig is part of an elite FBI tracking unit that solves missing persons and murder cases.  What most people don’t know is that his tracking skills are aided by a special ability that he calls “shine.” This is a well written thriller with an interesting hero.  I hope it becomes a series.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids by Asha Dornfest

This book is a fun, quick read!  Parents of young children are always looking for solutions for the everyday issues, and this book is full of useful tips.  Written by a blogger, it contains the best submissions from over ten years of online exchanges with other parents.  Ideas cover many phases of early parenting, explained simply and with entertaining pictures, great for those who welcome the help but have little time to read.  Especially fun were the suggestions for painter’s tape and Press ‘n Seal wrap!