Thursday, July 20, 2017

STING-RAY AFTERNOONS, A MEMOIR

 
STING-RAY AFTERNOONS
By Steve Rushin


This book is about growing up in the 1970's.  I loved it because I remember all of the author's references, like the silly sayings that kids chant, the music, the TV commercials, the pop culture of the decade.  It's all there, along with the story of his life growing up with 3 brothers and 1 sister.  Steve Rushin is a writer for Sports Illustrated and was the 2006 National Sportswriter of the year.  In this book he tells how he loved reading and writing as a kid and dreamed of being a sports writer.  He's an excellent writer and if you remember the 1970's you are show to enjoy this humorous memoir.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Friday, July 14, 2017

THE BRIDGE LADIES


THE BRIDGE LADIES, A MEMOIR
by Betsy Lerner
 
Betsy Lerner grew up watching her mom and four other women playing bridge every Monday (one lady was the substitute.)  As a child, she loved watching them, in their beautiful coordinating outfits and stylish jewelry and scarves .  As a teen, she found them sadly old-fashioned.  When Lerner's mother had surgery at 83 years old, she went to stay and care for her mom for a week.  Each day one of the "bridge ladies" stopped over with food and kind words.  It was these gestures of caring, that got Lerner thinking more about the ladies that had been playing bridge together every week for more than 50 years.  When Lerner first decided to learn more about the ladies, she asked to join their bridge game for a couple of weeks.  She ended up staying with them for 3 years and taking bridge lessons to boot.  As she got to know the ladies better she realized they had all had tough times but weathered through them.  Knowing the bridge ladies better helped Lerner to understand and connect with her own mother better.
I enjoyed this book about a different generation of women with different life expectations.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

THE MIDNIGHT ASSASSIN


THE MIDNIGHT ASSASSIN, THE HUNT FOR AMERICA'S FIRST SERIAL KILLER
by Skip Hollandsworth
 
It was early in the morning on New Year's Eve 1884 when Thomas Chalmers heard a know on his door.  When he opened the door a battered Walter Spencer, a young black man, said someone had broke into his home knocked him unconscious and had done something to his girlfriend since she was gone.  His girlfriend, Mollie, was found dead the next morning near the outhouse with her head nearly split in two.  This was the beginning of the terror that beset Austin Texas for a year.  When the gruesome murders occurred, generally one person was left beaten but alive, yet no one saw or heard anything.  In 1885 two white women were killed within an hour of each other on Christmas Eve and then no more murders occurred.  At least a dozen men were dragged into court on suspicion of murder but all were acquitted.  In 1888 when Jack the Ripper began his rampage in London, some speculated that "The Midnight Assassin" had left the country to kill in England.  However, the murders were not conducted in the same fashion.  This book is a fascinating look at how the authorities tried to solve a crime spree at a period of time where nights were pitch black since there were no street light and without any of the tools law enforcement have at their disposal today.  
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hag-seed
by Margaret Atwood

"Hag-seed" is a re-telling of "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare.  Set in contemporary times, it tells the story of Felix, the artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival.  Through the conniving of his assistant, Felix is ousted as director and ends up living in a shack far out in the country.  He spends his days plotting revenge and thinking about his daughter, Miranda, who died when she was three years old.  Through the intervention of an old friend, Felix begins teaching a theater class at the local prison.  With the help of his students, and the spirit of Miranda, he will mount a production of "The Tempest" and finally get his revenge on those who plotted his ouster from the theatre festival.  Because of his single-minded drive for revenge, the pompous Felix could be a  hard character to like.  But Atwood's humor and humanity make Felix a sympathetic character, and, just as in "The Tempest," he receives redemption and a second chance.  A summary of "The Tempest" is included, and after reading "Hag-Seed," I would like to see a production of "The Tempest" again, as this novel made me think about more aspects of the story.  This novel is one of a series called the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, where Shakespeare's works are re-told by contemporary writers.  Next up for me-"Vinegar Girl" (The Taming of the Shrew) by Anne Tyler.  Reviewed by Amy @ Harris-Elmore P.L. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

FINDING GOBI


FINDING GOBI, THE AMAZING TRUE STORY
A LITTLE DOG WITH A VERY BIG HEART
by Dion Leonard
 
Dion Leonard was born in Australia but now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with his wife.  It was later in life when Dion began running ultra marathons.  Ultra marathons are races where you run the equivalent of a marathon, five days in a row.  Dion traveled to China to run a 155 mile race through China's Gobi Desert.  Almost from the start, a plucky little dog raced  right along side Dion through the hot desert.  At first, Dion was very irritated that the little dog was hanging around him but soon he became impressed with her fortitude.  By the time the race ended, he knew he couldn't be parted from the little dog he had named Gobi.  This book tells about all the trials and tribulations Dion went through to get the little stray dog home to Scotland with him.  This is a very intriguing and uplifting book, especially if you are a dog lover!
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

GOOD KARMA


GOOD KARMA
by Christina Kelly
 
I really enjoyed this fluffy read.  The setting was a gated community of primarily retired folks located on an island off the coast of Savannah, GA.  The characters in the book are exactly that - characters!  The characters you meet in the novel have lives that end up intersecting with one another.  This would be a good summer read!
Reviewed by Mimi at Genoa Branch Library

Friday, June 23, 2017

NEVER CAUGHT


NEVER CAUGHT: THE WASHINGTONS' RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF THEIR  RUNAWAY SLAVE, ONA JUDGE

This interesting nonfiction book, tells of the life of Ona Judge.  Ona was owned by Martha Washington.  Ona was born to one of Martha Washington's slaves, Betty.  Ona's father was a white indentured servant. Any child born of a slave, was automatically enslaved as well.  Betty and Ona were favored slaves and were house slaves.  Eventually Ona became Martha's personal slave.  She helped clean Martha's clothes and helped her dress, brushed her hair, and traveled and went visiting with her.  Once George Washington became president, the family spent part of their time in Philadelphia, the country's capital at the time.  In the northern states, at this time, if a southern slave was in the northern states for over six months, the law required slaveholders to free their slaves.  Washington got around this by constantly shifting his slaves back and forth between Philadelphia and Virginia.  At first the Washington's slaves were unaware of this law, but eventually they heard about it.  When Ona found out that Martha Washington was going to give her away to her volatile niece, Ona made the decision to escape.  Ona Judge remained a fugitive for most of her life.  The Washingtons continued to try to recapture her for many years.  This book really kind of makes you look at George and Martha Washington in a new way.  
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library