Monday, August 29, 2016

PATIENT H.M.



PATIENT H.M.  A STORY OF MEMORY, MADNESS, AND FAMILY SECRETS
by Luke Dittrich

The author's grandfather was a pioneer in the study of lobotomies.  Dittrich's grandfather, Dr. Scoville, was a brilliant and respected surgeon.  In the late 1930's it was thought that a new surgery, the lobotomy, would help patients suffering from epilepsy, schizophrenia, homosexuality, and other mental problems.  The surgeons who performed these surgeries were referred to as psychosurgeons.  Unfortunately, at that time in history, people's rights were not as protected as they are now.  Thousands of people in asylums, acting as human guinea pigs, had lobotomies performed on them.  One such individual was Henry Molaison.  Dr. Scoville performed a new type of lobotomy on Henry to try and help his epilepsy.  Henry's ended up losing the ability to construct any new memories.  Over the next 60 years of his life "patient H.M." became the most studied individual in the history of neuroscience.  This book was quite fascinating.  Not only was I intrigued by the way scientists learned about the brain but also the changing attitudes of society in regards to people suffering mental and/or physical issues.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library
"The Case of the Missing Morris Dancer"
by Cathy Ace

The women of the WISE Enquiries Agency (Annie, Mavis, Carol & Christine)  have set up shop in a small village in Wales, with the assistance of the Dowager Duchess of Chellingworth.  They are soon tasked with finding one of the key dancers of the Morris Dance, a traditional dance held to guide a bride and groom to their home.  Not only is the dancer missing, but  valuable artifacts necessary for the dance are also missing-and the wedding of the Duke and Stephanie is only days away.   The ladies make their inquiries and finally get the police to take the disappearance seriously-all in time for the wedding.  I liked that the group got together and summarized things for each other, which also helps the reader, and that the ladies don't go charging off with weapons drawn to confront the villain.  The book is certainly a "cozy," with the village setting, the emphasis on characters, and minimal violence-but I did find the motive rather odd-but because I care for the characters, I will probably pick up the next in the series.  Reviewed by Amy @ Harris-Elmore Public Library.

Monday, August 22, 2016

DAMAGED


DAMAGED
by Lisa Scottoline


Lisa Scottoline hit another home run with her newest book!  Mary DiNunzio, an attorney, is hired to represent 10 year old Patrick O'Brian, who is accused of attacking a teacher's aide with a pair of scissors.  When Mary meets Patrick, she finds it hard to believe that a small, shy child could have done such a thing.  Mary also finds out that Patrick is a fifth-grader but because of his dyslexia, he can't read at all.  He has fallen through the cracks at his school and is the target of cruel bullying.  More problems turn up for Patrick and questions surround some of his actions. Will Mary be able to help him?  This novel keeps you guessing until the very end!
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Thursday, August 18, 2016

ARROWOOD


ARROWOOD
by Laura McHugh
 
If you are in the mood for a mystery featuring an old mansion, an unsolved abduction, and several characters with motives - this is the book for you!  Arden's father has died and she has inherited the family home that has remained in the family for over a hundred years.  Arden and her family had lived there until she was eight.  That was the summer her 2 year old twin sisters were abducted and the family moved away soon after.  Fast forward twenty years and Arden is back in town, living in the family home and trying to find out what really happened to her sisters.  The plot twists around, making you speculate on "who done it."  I guessed wrong!  Great read - kept me engaged!
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Monday, August 15, 2016

HILLBILLY ELEGY

HILLBILLY ELEGY: A MEMOIR OF A FAMILY AND CULTURE IN CRISIS
by J.D.Vance


J.D. Vance grew up as a hillbilly in Kentucky and Southern Ohio.  He was born to a mother who was an addict and married five times, creating an unstable place for a child to grow up.  Luckily for him his grandma (or mamaw as he calls her) was always there for him providing a home when he needed it, food, cash, and plenty of advice.  His mamaw and papaw were divorced but his papaw also always had time for him and was the only father he knew for many years until he met his biological father in his teens.  This is a success story though!  Somehow instead of following in his family's footsteps, J.D. pulled himself up by his bootstraps and graduated with a law degree from Yale after earning his undergraduate degree from Ohio State University.  J.D. takes a critical look at the hillbilly culture and speculates that there is no government policy that can fix the problem.  Somehow it will have to start with individuals at a young age. Young people from the Appalachian area need to learn that education is important and that not all families are abusive or facing addiction problems. Schools alone cannot fix the problem, the families need to be fixed in order for children to excel at school.  Vance doesn't offer any easy fixes but I think just recognizing the problem is the first step in receiving help for this marginalized group of people.
This is an astutely written and thought provoking book.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Monday, August 8, 2016

THE BLACK DEATH, A PERSONAL HISTORY


THE BLACK DEATH, A PERSONAL HISTORY
by John Hatcher

This book is historical fiction.  The author has researched and published about the fourteenth century for forty years.  In this book he wove fourteenth century archives with a fictional story to bring history to life.  The Black Death is the greatest natural disaster the world has ever seen, killing 35% to 40% of the known world at the time.  Not only does Hatcher chart the spread of the disease and how people tried to stem the tide of it, he also documents the aftermath of the horrific event on the whole social structure of that time.  To lose so many people in such a short amount of time threw everything into chaos.  If you are interested medieval history, you will find this book quite interesting.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Thursday, August 4, 2016

SLEEPS WITH DOGS

SLEEPS WITH DOGS: TALES OF A PET NANNY AT THE END OF HER LEASH
by Lindsey Grant


Lindsey made the decision to move to California to attend graduate school as a resident.  She crashed at friends' of her parents and looked for job.  She ended up working as a pet nanny with overnight stays with dogs being especially lucrative for her.  This humorous book tells the stories of her times with the variety of dogs she cared for, as well as, her hand to mouth existence.  I thought I was a fussy "dog mom" until I read about some of the really over the top requirements owners had for their dogs.  This book is bound to make you chuckle! 
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library