Monday, September 24, 2018

The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

 Ada has never been outside.  She has never left their flat in London.  She waves to people outside from her chair but if her mother catches her, she will be punished.  Ada and her brother, Jamie, are evacuated from London just as England enters WWII.  They are placed in the country in the care of Susan, a woman who is grieving the loss of her friend.
Although the books are set during WWII, and the casualties of war do play a role but the books are more about the importance of family and healing physically and mentally.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

An Autobiography by Bill Peet

Something a little different this month. Even though this book is found in the juvenile biography section of our library, Bill Peet's An Autobiography is one adults will also enjoy, probably more than children will. It is a pleasing look back at Midwestern history, the birth of the Walt Disney animation empire, and, the beginnings of a successful children's author and illustrator. As you would expect, Peet also handles all the artwork for his life story.
Peet's work is familiar to many parents, and the Pella Library has several of his books including Ella, Smokey, Capyboppy, Cock-a-doodle Dudley and many, many more. Peet details an entertaining, but restless youth in Indiana and how his growing love of art led to a career choice.
This choice would eventually lead him to Walt Disney and the Disney Studios. Peet recalls the inner-workings of Disney and how many of its early classics came about. Movies that Peet worked on included: Dumbo, Fantasia, Song of the South, Cinderella and many others. He takes the reader behind the curtain and discusses the hierarchy of Disney illustrators, how he worked his way to the top, and what it was like dealing with Walt Disney. All of this information is very enlightening, but I think adults will actually get more out it than younger children.
While at Disney, Peet began writing and illustrating his own children's books and would make this his full-time calling. An Autobiography is a lot of fun to read and look at. A nice piece of animation history.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay

Taken in for questioning, Angela recounts her history with HP, her high school love, for Detective Novak.  For Angela, the question of what happened to HP’s wife, Saskia, requires her to share the whole history of their relationship.  This psychological thriller takes us along with the character as she is presently considered a person of interest in the disappearance, all the while sharing her perspective of the past.

The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone

In the vein of “Hidden Figures”, Fagone tells the story of Elizebeth Friedman and her husband William, who together invented modern cryptology.  During Prohibition, Elizebeth used her talents to pursue rum smugglers.  During WWII, she tracked down covert Nazi spy rings in South America.  Elizebeth herself broke several versions of the German Enigma machine, while her husband broke the Japanese “Purple” code machine without ever laying eyes on one.
These two remarkable people were brought together by Elizebeth’s chance encounter with a librarian, right before she was going to leave Chicago and go back home to Indiana.  Instead, she ended up on the estate of a millionaire, searching for hidden messages in Shakespeare’s writings.  That began her journey, which ended with amazing advances in codebreaking strategies, and the beginnings of what would become the NSA. 
And who has ever heard of her, until this book?

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside by Susan Branch

Part love story, part travel guide, and all completely charming, A Fine Romance by Susan Branch is a must-read for every Anglophile. This book is a memoir/travel diary that details the author’s dream trip to England in 2012. After crossing the Atlantic on the luxury cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2, the author and her husband spent nearly two months touring the English countryside. They visited castles, famous homes (most notably those of Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth, and Jane Austen), small villages, lakes, gardens, and even a few friends along the way. All handwritten and filled with photos, recipes, quotes, travel tips, and Branch’s watercolor sketches, this book is as beautiful as it is informative. There is also an appendix on the author’s website with additional information about many of the things mentioned in the book. So, I hope that you’ll make yourself a cup of tea, curl up in a cozy chair, and enjoy this delightful book as much I did!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Clening by Margareta Magnusson

     Having an interest in decluttering, I picked up this book on the subject. While it has been a Swedish tradition to "put your house in order" prior to or after a death, the information is pertinent to any age or life stage when you want to simplify.
     It was interesting that the author, who describes herself as between 80 and 100, encourages people to begin earlier than she did.I also liked her comments of how our planet may perich "under the wight of our consumrism." We have too much stuff. Peace of mind comes when you can reduce the items you no longer need, as well as relieving those who have to clean up after you when you're gone.
     The author sees death as a natural part of life; so why not prepare for it as you would any other event? Prepare financially and materially. Funny how her last paragraph said that once she was all done with her death cleaning and she is still living, she will "probably go shopping, Again!" What a gem.