Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

**Warning**  Roz, the Wild Robot, will catch you by surprise!  This is an unlikely story of automation meeting Mother Nature.  Roz, the Wild Robot becomes "activated" for the first time on a remote island and does not know her purpose.  She is shunned by the island animals and viciously attacked by bears!  Can Roz become part of the natural order?  When Roz becomes a surrogate mother for an orphaned gosling the animals slowly begin to accept her.  She forges a bond with Brightbill, her gosling, and begins to find her purpose.  As a reader we feel her fear and sadness as Brightbill flies south, knowing the dangers that lie ahead.  The island quickly turns into turmoil when Roz's past comes looking for her.  Whatever you think you know about automation, Brown turns upside down with The Wild Robot.  I expect you'll want to read the sequel, The Wild Robot Escapes, too!  You won't be disappointed.  I recommend this book for 3rd grade and above.

The Broken Road by Richard Paul Evans

Charles James grew up poor with an abusive father. After he leaves home he marries a wonderful woman but his desires for fame and fortune take over. The power of his personality causes people to give up their money thinking they will obtain wealth also. As Charles becomes very rich he starts to question his achievements and what they have cost him personally and the suicide of one of his customers shakes him.  Bad dreams plague him and he is broken.  Perhaps he has a second chance.  This book is the first in a trilogy. I read the second book also titled The Forgotten Road which I enjoyed more than this one as the story becomes more developed.  I am anxious to read the third book when it is released.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

19 Minutes to Live by Lew Jennings

As much as the Vietnam War was considered by historians to be a "helicopter war", many people are not familiar with, or been exposed to, what it was like to fly helicopters in combat in Vietnam. If you would like to explore that part of our history, Lew Jennings has published an excellent book that will do just that - 19 Minutes to Live.
The title comes from the fact that the life expectancy of a helicopter pilot in combat, in Vietnam, was 19 minutes. Still, even with those odds, Jennings' only hope to fly and serve his country in combat was behind the stick of a helicopter. He flew in two Air Cavalry units from 1969 to 1970. Escorting troops to and from the front in a Cobra Gunship, Jennings racked up over 700 missions, received three Distinguished Flying Crosses and 36 Air Medals.
Jennings' book takes the reader through his experience with flight prior to joining the army and then spans his training days and combat career during Vietnam. Jennings also takes a detailed look at how the Air Cavalry was formed and how it fit into the army's chain of command - very informative extra information.
Both the terror and the dangers are real in 19 Minutes to Live. Jennings has written a very informative and personal memoir of his combat experiences in Vietnam. Another point of interest, Jennings opens this book talking about being back behind the stick and flying missions in Iraq in 2008. He notes that several helicopter pilots serving there are in their 60s and 70s when it comes to age. Here is hoping that Jennings will be able to record those experiences in the not to distant future.

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella

“Is this Heaven?  No, it is Iowa” is a saying everyone growing up in Iowa in the last 25 years has heard at least once.  I have been to the “Field of Dreams” at least twice, and watched the movie in the early 90’s, but I had never read the book the movie and baseball fields are based on.  When looking for a book to listen to  while on a trip, I came across this and decided to give it a try.  I am glad I did!
It is a great story of relationships, following a dream or your heart.  Of course it is different from the movie, but still shares the same motto of “build it and they will come”.  If you are looking for a good story, give it a try and then go back and watch the movie again too.  You will be glad you did!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

RBG produced by Betsy West and Julie Cohen

This movie profiles Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  I'm familiar with her on the High Court, but didn't know her history.  What a trailblazer!  The documentary, while telling her life story, also tells about the cases that she argues before the Supreme Court in the 1970s.  There are several interviews with the plaintiffs in those cases.  It's hard to remember how differently women were treated then in workplace and governmental policies.  She also argues a case where policy discriminated against a man. She's a true champion of equal rights for all.

I'd highly recommend watching the movie if you want a profile of an important person as well as an interesting history lesson.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories by Penelope Lively

I enjoy Penelope Lively's short story collection.  In the title story an animated purple swamp hen in a Pompeian village observes the daily follies of its people and their cruelty towards slaves while Mount Vesuvius was about to erupt.  Abroad tells the disastrous adventure of a couple's European road trip from bad to worse in a remote farm house.  Lively delves into relationships in The Third Wife where the woman outsmarts her con artist husband in a house hunting trip.  All 15 stories are filled with wisdom, humor and surprises.  It is a good read!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill

     I picked this book off the special themes cart we have here at the library. We picked a lot of books about colors to put on the cart for the month. It was during that time when we were celebrating National Coloring Day, which we decide to turn into Coloring Month here at the Pella Public Library. So this book was written for children, but can be enjoyed by any reflective adult as well. The author picks a color and writes a poem about it. She tries to think of all the things she knows that are that color and feelings and places that are often described by that color. The title of the book comes form the poem titled What Is White? The illustrator does a lovely job of creating dreamy pictures that coincide and compliment the words of the poetry. I really enjoyed it.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly by Matt McCarthy

Dr. Matt McCarthy: straight out of medical school, fresh face with little hands-on experience, and new Resident at a New York hospital.  This darkly comic tale follows McCarthy during his first year as he gains experience, wisdom, perspective, and also and a not-so-healthy appreciation for Wendy’s Frostys. The book deals with the question of, “how do you learn to save lives when there are no mulligans?”  McCarthy struggles at times whether to even stay with the 30-hour-a-shift residency and become a doctor.  Through a few near misses, a lot of heartfelt conversation and a series of life-changing interactions with both mentors and patients, McCarthy pulls through to his second year and becomes—dare he say it, a competent physician.    Recommendation: Black comedy, but makes some excellent philosophical points.  Funny in a teetering-on-the-edge-of-destruction way.  Give it a try.