• From the Information Desk’s Bag of Tricks: NoveList

    Posted by: Laura J.

    Librarian Laura gives us a quick overview of one of MPL's most helpful resources, Novelist. 

  • May Book Reviews

    Posted by: Staff

    Reviewer: John Drumm, Maring-Hunt Adult Services 

    David Roberts, Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration
    Rating: 4. The exploration of the Earth’s polar regions was not accomplished without great difficulty, and in many circumstances, loss of life. One of the most heroic expeditions took place during the exploration of Antarctic in the years before WWI. One of the most fascinating and memorable was the experience of Douglas Mawson. He was literally alone on the ice. His journey and survival against all odds make for fascinating reading.

    Daniel Stashower, The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War
    Rating: 5. Before being sworn in as President of the United States in 1861, Lincoln first had to travel to Washington D.C. There was an assassination plot waiting for him in the City of Baltimore. Here is the story of Allan Pinkerton, Abraham Lincoln, and the plot that if successful could have changed the course of history.

    Thom Hatch, The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    Rating: 4. When most people look back at the Old West, they do so with nostalgic eyes. Hatch does not. He describes in detail how the West was able to produce two world-class outlaws, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Both of these men, realized that the West was changing and they would either have to change their ways or leave. They left and went to Bolivia for one last “fling”. What happened is the stuff of legend.

    Craig Surman, Fast Minds: How to Thrive if you ADHD (Or Think you Might)
    Rating: 3. Written as a guide for adults with ADHD, this book describes the methods and techniques that can be used to help those with the disorder to understand their behavior and learn how they can play to their strengths while dealing with the affects of ADHD.

    Dan Slater, Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating
    Rating: 3. The first chapter sets the tone, it is called Your Pleasure is Our Business. The last chapter faces reality, it is titled, Dating Starts Here. In between is the fascinating story of how the dating/match making part of the Internet got started. The stuff of dreams and cruel reality carefully examined.

    John Man, Ninja: 1000 Years of the Shadow Warrior, A New History
    Rating: 4. What ninjas have become in the West is not what they have been in Japan. The Ninja, as Man explains, were part of the founding of modern Japan. How the arts of war were perfected and used much later in WWII makes for a fascinating story.

    Charlie LeDuff, Detroit: An American Autopsy
    Rating: 5. The author offers an autopsy for the once great city of Detroit. What it was and has now become is told in stone cold prose. You laugh and then you cry.

    Shari Olefson, Financial Fresh Start: Your Five-Step Plan for Adapting and Prospering in the New Economy
    Rating: 3. With our countries current financial problems, it is important to look understand how the economy has changed and what the people need to do to rebuild credit scores and save for the future.

  • April Book Reviews

    Posted by: MPL Staff

    Reviewer: John Drumm, Maring-Hunt Adult Services

    John Norcross, Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions
    This book is rated three wags/whiskers. So, why do some people succeed in achieving their goals as to weight loss, stop smoking etc. and others fail time and time again? Norcross says those who fail do not start by mastering the skills that will help them succeed and then they do not take the process in manageable steps. The process and the steps are explained in this book.

    Randall Craig, The Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business: The latest strategies and advice on how to start a Profitable Internet Business
    This book is rated three wags/whiskers.  The author starts by reminding us that “owning your own business is hard work, but if you have to work, why shouldn’t you be rewarded for your efforts?”  There are twenty-six chapters and three appendixes. Some chapters will start with a common question like “how much time will you spend?” while others “researching the market” (chapter seven) are straight forward. If you want to start an online business the questions asked and answered here are a very good place to start.

    Norman Stone, World War Two: A Short History
    This book is rated four wags/whiskers. For a short book on a human event, this is a very will done book. In its 238 pages, the origins of the war are discussed along with the major campaigns and why one side or the other succeeded. This is a great introduction for a huge and at times overwhelming topic.

    Ward Wilson, Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons
    This book is rated four wags/whiskers. In very simple terms, the author looks at what nuclear weapons have done in the past and what nations have learned from this experience. Has their existence really prevented war? Or have we learned how to maneuver in spite of them? Did the nuclear bombing of Japan cause the end of WWII? This book is long hard look at what the legacy of nuclear weapons has been and what it may become.

    Sam Sheridan, The Disaster Diaries: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Apocalypse
    This book is rated four wags/whiskers. How would you survive in an earth quake? What about Zombies? Or what if we had a terrible blizzard? This book looks at several different possibilities and discusses the techniques that you could use to survive if the unthinkable happened.

    Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
    This book is rated three wags/whiskers. Why do some children succeed while others fail? How can we help children not to be overcome by adversity? Tough provides us with some answers to these questions. Some of these answers will lead to more questions. Perhaps we have been looking in all the wrong places for answers.

    Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed
    This book is rated three wags/whiskers. For those of us who remember the HAL the computer, (think 2001: A Space Odyssey) the prospect of a computer more powerful than Watson, the Jeopardy! Champion is a little disconcerting. However, according to Kurzweil (the man who invented the Kurzweil reading machine) this process is inevitable due to a variety of advances which he discusses in his book. This volume is both eye opening and a little scary all at the same time.

    Reviewer: Doyne Hahn, Maring-Hunt Adult Services

    Peter Bregman,  18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done
    Rating: 4. In his book, 18 Minutes, the author tells very busy people how to cut through all of the daily clutter and distractions to accomplish their tasks; and at the end of the day feeling good about what they accomplish. He gives the reader a great plan summed up in the subtitle, Find Your Focus, Maser Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. Each chapter is full of helpful advice including his 18 minute plan for managing one's day. Recommended reading for anyone feeling over whelmed.

    Reviewer: Shirley Durnal, Maring-Hunt Youth Services

    Serena B. Miller, A Promise to Love
    Rating: 5. Joshua Hunter, an honorable man and recent widower, is in court, accused of murder and about to lose his five children, when Ingrid, a recent immigrant from Sweden, takes a risk, offers to care for his children and marry him.  Previously, he witnessed her mistress whipping her with a riding crop.  Still loving his wife, and feeling pity for the hired girl, he asks her name and then asks her to marry him. Based on historical facts, this is a story of love and devotion.

    Rob Coppolillo, Holy Spokes! A Biking Bible for Everyone
    Rating: 4.Rob Coppolillo presents an enjoyable overall view of cycling for fun, fitness, competition, and adventure.  He offers advice and tips about bike type, fit, equipment, safety, and maintenance.  Included throughout this inspiring selection, are brief cyclists’ stories and a variety of resources.  The friendly format provides quick, easy access to information.  He notes that racing cyclists become seniors at age nineteen but cycling is a lifetime sport that all ages enjoy.

    Leslie Ann Clark, Peepsqueak!
    Rating: 4.Little Peepsqueak is on the move.  With high expectations, a positive attitude and help from friends he overcomes discouraging comments and repeated failed attempts to succeed.  This is a tender story of perseverance.

    Reviewer: Harriette Harra, Kennedy Library Adult Services

    Ellen Meister, Farewell Dorothy Parker
    Rated 4 wags out of 5. In present day New York City a socially floundering young woman is mentored by the ghost of the outspoken 1920’s New Yorker critic Dorothy Parker. The beneficiary of Parker’s aid, Violet (as in shrinking Violet), doesn’t always appreciate the help. How this all comes about is what makes the book first-rate and fun. There’s nothing spooky or paranormal.  You don't have to know who Dorothy Parker was to enjoy this novel. However, if you do know who Dorothy Parker was and you're a fan of hers, then the likelihood of your liking this book is great.

  • March Staff Book Reviews

    Posted by: Staff

    Reviewer: Harriette Harra, Kennedy Adult Services

    Alan Bradley, Speaking from Among the Bones
    The grisly, gas-masked body was not what was expected inside St. Tancred’s ancient crypt. There’s more to unearth than a saint’s relics, and life is murkier than one of Flavia’s chemistry experiments gone bad. Flavia’s father’s debts force the sale of their home and her snarky sisters are no help. There’s more to solve than a murder. All the regulars are here contributing to the cozy manor mystery feel.  A fun, enticing and surprising 5th book in this series.

    Andy Borowitz (editor), The 50 Funniest American Writers*: An Anthology of Humor from Mark Twain to The Onion
    A comedy writer puts together a successful anthology of funny writing and stories? Seriously? Yes. Borowitz’ choices are not always expected, although some of the authors are. For instance, included is Twain’s declaration for his candidacy for President. One selection was surprising: Orchid Thief author Susan Orlean can be funny. O. Henry’s Ransom of Red Chief is still fun as are Dave Barry and Nora Ephron. This is a superb range of stories to read or gift.

    Reviewer: Shirley Durnal, Maring-Hunt Youth Services

    Jan Brett, Mossy
    Jan Brett presents the loving story of Scoot and Mossy, two Eastern Box Turtles, their separation and their longing to be together.  Removed from Lilypad Pond, beautiful Mossy is taken away to a nearby museum for visitors to admire but is she happy?  Border pictures on each page provide additional story information and outer borders feature beautiful nature pictures of moths, toadstools, wildflowers, bugs and fossils.  This is an enjoyable choice for adults and children.

    Peter and Connie Roop, Tales of Famous Animals
    Learn the story behind the “Screaming Eagles,” Jumbo the elephant, Punxsutawney Phil, Pelorus Jack, Balto, Lonesome George, Seabiscuit, Koko, Smokey Bear and other famous animals. Factual information, presented in a two to four page story format, features interesting concise text and pictures. This selection would also be a good read-aloud book for younger children.

    Helen Frost, German Immigrants 1820-1920
    Readers searching for historical information about ancestors will find reasons for their immigration, the route taken, the trip over, and their arrival, how they survived, settled, and influenced America. Other books in the Coming to America Series include Chinese, Irish, Japanese, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish Immigrants. Adults searching for family tree information may also find these selections helpful.

  • February Book Reviews

    Posted by: Staff

    Reviewer: John Drumm, Maring-Hunt Adult Services

    Salvatore Gunta, Living with Honor
    This book is rated four wags/whiskers.
    This is the story of staff sergeant Salvatore Giunta and the events that led to his being nominated for the Medal of Honor and what came after.

    Craig Childs, Apocalyptic Planet
    This book is rated four wags/whiskers
    The earth, Childs says, has died and been reborn many times. We will not be the last and we will not be the first, only the next in line. With the author we get to see the many different types of apocalyptic events that wait. Will it be in fire, ice, or something else? Your choice.

    Katherine Frank, Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, Robert Knox and the Creation of a Myth
    This book is rated five wags/whiskers.
    Who is the Real Crusoe? Truth is much stranger than fiction and more interesting too. The real Crusoe was a sailor named Robert Knox who was kidnapped from his ship along with his father and held captive on the island of Ceylon for nineteen years. It is hard to tell which is the greater story, Knox’s life or Defoe’s adaptation of it. Regardless, the literary offspring that came from the originals issue are still with us in such modern entertainments as the TV series The Survivor etc. This is a wonderful book, prepare to be amazed, dazzled and saddened all at the same time.

    Robert Provine, Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond
    This book is rated four wags/whiskers.
    Have you ever wondered why we do the behaviors that are listed in the title? According to the author, all of these are important to humans as social animals.Coughing comes in musical, medical and social varieties. Farting and belching have import for the evolution of human speech. Who knew that we could do so much with so little If you are looking for a laughing learning experience then this is the book.

    Ben Macintyre, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
    This book is rated five wags/whiskers
    Churchill once said that truth was so precious that during war it needed a “bodyguard of lies.” This is the story of those who made us that bodyguard during WII. The reader will learn just how close at times, the Normandy Invasion was discovered and the reasons why it never happened. Luck and audacity both played a part. Truth is never stranger than fiction.
    Adam Makos, A Higher Call: An incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in The War-Torn Skies of World War II.
    Strange things happen in war. None is stranger that what took place between the crew of the Pub’s and an enemy fighter plane. With their plane shot to pieces, the Pub’s crew had one last enemy to defeat. What follows is a true story of survival and courage. Now years later, the search for the answer to whatever happened to the men in the bomber and the man in the fighter plane will be answered at last.

    Lydia V. Pyne, The Last Lost World: Ice Ages, Human Origins, and the Invention of the Pleistocene
    This book is rated three wags/whiskers
    How we got to be human is a fascinating story and why we survived and our nearest relatives, the Neanderthals did not lie at the heart of this book.

    Maria Konnikova, Master-Mind: How to think Like Sherlock Holmes
    This book is rated four wags/whiskers
    Do we look or do we see? The author uses the stories of the World’s Most Famous Detective along with those of his creator to help the reader know the difference. What we find out quickly is that we look most of the time and do not really “see” what is going on around us. A most thought provoking book.

    James Oakes, Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865
    This book is rated four wags/whiskers
    What the movie Lincoln shows in part, this book tells the whole. How the anti-slavery movement led to bolder and more far reaching searches for solutions for the end of slavery in the United States.

    Reviewer: Doyne Hahn, Maring-Hunt Adult Services

    Chris Guillebeau, The $100 Startup: Reinventing the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
    In The $100.00 Startup, the author teaches you how to start your own business in a rather unconventional manner. He maintains one does not need to have a business degree; a business plan, or even employees. But what he recommends you need is found in this book. With key points at the end of each chapter as a review and 25 selected case studies, you will find success.

    Reviewer: Harriette Harra, Kennedy Library Adult Services

    Kerry Greenwood, Unnatural Habits: A Phryne Fisher Mystery
    International human trafficking of blond little girls, kidnapping, institutional cover-up, the cultural shaming of rape victims and a missing female reporter…..sounds very contemporary, but the setting is 1920’s Australia. Phryne Fisher, the heroine of this “pleasantly dashing” mystery series, can’t rid the world of cruelties and salacious proclivities visited on children and vulnerable adults. However, she makes a satisfying dent in it with the help of her chums.

    Reviewer: Shirley Durnal, Maring-Hunt Youth Services

    Penny Marshall, My Mother Was Nuts: a Memoir
    Revealing a sense of humor that helped her survive Penny Marshall, actress, producer, director, and star of the Laverne & Shirley TV sitcom 1976 to 1983, takes a light-hearted look at the craziness in her life. Her personal story provides an inside view of the entertainment world, her connections, accomplishments, and her atheistic, tabloid lifestyle search for pleasure and self-fulfillment. Irreverent irony and crude language seem to camouflage underlying pain.