Monday, December 15, 2014

CHASER


CHASER: UNLOCKING THE GENIUS OF THE DOG WHO KNOWS A THOUSAND WORDS by John W. Pilley with Hilary Hinzmann

This book is about the way John W. Pilley taught his dog, Chaser, the names of over 1,000 objects.  Chaser can also understand and obey sentences giving her several steps of activities to perform.  Mr. Pilley theorized that if he started when his dog was very young, she would be able to internalize language much like a child does.  His hypothesis proved correct.  Some of the book was very scientific and I got a little bogged down with that.  All in all though this book was very thought provoking and interesting.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DRIVING MR. ALBERT



DRIVING MR. ALBERT: A TRIP ACROSS AMERICA WITH EINSTEIN'S BRAIN BY Michael Paterniti

This nonfiction book details the author's journey across the U.S. in a rental car with Thomas Harvey and Einstein's brain.  Mr. Harvey, an 84 year old pathologist, had performed the autopsy on Albert Einstein in 1955 and at the time removed the brain and took it home, where he had kept it for over 40 years.  The author was in his twenties when he got Harvey's phone number and called him.  Harvey needed someone to drive him to California, so Paterniti volunteered.  This book is extremely entertaining and well written.  Pick up this book for a something a little different!
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Thursday, December 4, 2014

UNBROKEN



UNBROKEN, A WORLD WAR II STORY OF SURVIVAL, RESILIENCE, AND REDEMPTION by:  Laura Hillenbrand

This is such a moving book.  I had a hard time getting interested in the beginning of the book but as I kept reading I became riveted by this story.  Unbroken  tells the life story of Louis Zamperini.  Early in life, Louis was a very defiant, trouble maker.  In his teen years he began running which helped him curb his delinquent ways.  Once he started running, he broke record after record and his talent was leading him to the Olympics.  Unfortunately war broke out, and Louis became an airman.  On one of his flights, his plane ended up crashing which started a terrible chain of events beginning with floating on the ocean in a life raft for days and days.  Eventually he ended up in a Japanese POW camp.  How he survived these trials is nothing short of a miracle.  If I have piqued your interest you will have to read this dramatic book to see what life hands Louis over the rest of his life. 
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Monday, November 17, 2014

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES & OTHER LESSONS FROM THE CREMATORY


SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES & OTHER LESSONS FROM THE CREMATORY
by Caitlin Doughty


Caitlin Doughty had always lived with an intense fear of death.  She decided that if she faced death head on it would lessen her fear so she decided to work in a crematory.  Now you would think that this would be a dark and depressing book but that is far from the truth.  Doughty has a wonderful style of writing and even interjects humor.  Doughty believes that Americans fear death so much because we keep death so hidden in our society.  In times past, dead bodies were prepared and shown at home.  Death was something everyone saw.  I myself had always been torn between being embalmed and being cremated.  After reading this book, I have made my choice.  What will yours be?  Doughty went on to become a funeral director and clearly lays out useful information for a good death.  I know death is not fun to contemplate but this easy to read book is a must read for everyone!
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

SAVING SIMON



SAVING SIMON by John Katz

In writing this book about how he saved Simon the donkey, Katz also explored what it means to be compassionate.  He knew he felt compassion for Simon but how about Simon's previous owner?  Shouldn't Katz feel compassion for this flawed human being?  What about Simon?  After his horrific previous life, did he feel compassion for other animals?  Katz tells the story of healing Simon and of healing himself.  As humans we form close, personal bonds with animals and this book also reveals how they can also teach us deep and meaningful lessons.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

"Quirky" is an adjective often used to describe films directed by Wes Anderson.  The "Grand Budapest Hotel" certainly fits that description.  Set in the mountainous state of Zubrovka, one of the country's leading authors, known in the film as "the Writer," tells the story of the Grand Budapest Hotel and the hotel's charismatic concierge, Gustave H.  The writer meets the owner of the hotel, Zero Mustafa, in the 1960's,  when the hotel has long since grown out of style and is looking quite shabby.   Zero was the "lobby boy" for Monsieur Gustave, and after the mysterious death of one of Monsieur Gustave's patrons, Zero is dragged along into a murder investigation, a visit to a monastery, and a prison escape, resulting in Zero becoming the owner of the fabled hotel. For those who like black humor, there are some laugh-out-loud moments. The sets are whimsical and there are many stars in the film.  Ralph Fiennes plays the role of Monsieur Gustave, and Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, among others, have minor roles.  Although I haven't enjoyed the director's previous films, except for "The Moonrise Kingdom," I enjoyed this film.  It is available at the library.  Reviewed by Amy @ the Harris-Elmore Public Library.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

MY GENTLE BARN


MY GENTLE BARN by: Ellie Laks

Ellie Laks had grown up always loving and rescuing animals.  As an adult she rescued a number of animals from a petting zoo where they were being abused and/or neglected.  This led her to opening the Gentle Barn in 1999 which is a sanctuary for abused animals.  Once she had gotten most of the initially adopted animals healthy again, she began welcoming visitors and at-risk children.  With the help of hard work, donations and volunteers the Gentle Barn has become incredibly successful.  This book is filled with wrenching and heart warming stories from Ellie Laks.  If you love animals you will certainly find a lot of merit in this book.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library