"The Book of Unknown Americans" by Cristina Henriquez tells the touching stories impacting the lives of a group of immigrant families sharing space in a Newark, Delaware apartment building. The immigrants have come together from various countries around the globe such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Each of them face common and individual challenges related to assimilation into their adopted American homeland. Central to Henriquez's story are teenagers Maribel Rivera and Mayor Toro w
The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, is a familiar figure to those of us addicted to those documentaries about space that pop up on PBS and the History Channel. Tyson is an affable figure on TV, and proves to be the same in print. This book is a collection of articles that he wrote for “Natural History” magazine. They present complex topics in a clear, conversational manner, infused with humor. Thought-provoking and entertaining.
A fascinating introduction to the history and design of tree forms used to explain knowledge in a visual way, this book is filled with historical and modern tree designs. From hand-lettered medieval trees showing the relationship of Biblical characters to modern computer-generated trees of Twitter feeds, there are 200 wonderful examples of all sorts of tree styles. There is something for everyone—square representations of states by area in 1939, the X-Men family tree, or icicle trees used by statisticians.
Diego Rivera was twice the size and age of Frida Kahlo when they married in August of 1929 but they seemed destined to be together. Rivera was a famous Mexican muralist who used the fresco method of painting on wet plaster. Kahlo was known for her self-portraits showing her suffering due to internal injuries resulting from a bus accident and for her depictions and deep love of animals. As a child, she contracted polio. She had always been sickly. Reef has written a book about one of the most interesting artist couples in history.
Jonathan Carroll’s work is often described as magic realism, but I think Neil Gaiman said it best by stating that reading Carroll is “as if John Updike were to write a Philip K Dick novel.”
Carroll’s book packs in a lot of different stories and details, often mixed together. The very pages of the book are a thin paper; the smoky images at the head of each chapter are visible through the pages.
Jenna Metcalf's mother has been gone for 10 years. Alice Metcalf disappeared after an incident at the New England Elephant Sanctuary, where she worked as a naturalist and expert in elephant behavior. Her daughter, now a precocious thirteen year old, feels abandoned and is passionate to learn what happened to her mother. In "Leaving Time", the most recent novel from Jodi Picoult, Jenna enlists the help of a once celebrated psychic and the heavy drinking detective assigned to her mother's unsolved case ten years ago.
You could say the Quinn Family is dysfunctional… A week before Christmas father Kelley , an innkeeper, finds out his second wife Mitzi has been sleeping with the inn’s hired Santa. Eldest son Patrick, a highly successful hedge fund investor, is being investigated for fraud. Son Kevin, who has been secretly sleeping with the inn’s housekeeper, just found out he is going to be a father. Daughter Ava, who has pinned all her hopes on getting a diamond this year for Christmas, finds out her boyfriend has left to spend the holiday with his mother in New York.
A 15-year-old girl in a red dress flees through the woods pursued by a dark shape. The housewife who sees her and calls the police is later found dead and the girl vanishes. For over 30 years no one knows what happened to Nola.
Janet Leigh was best known for her portrayal of Marion Crane in the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic thriller, Psycho and her eleven-year marriage to Tony Curtis. She starred in mostly low-budget films throughout her film career which spanned from 1947-1999. Hollywood film moguls were attracted to her natural beauty. She endured the unwanted attention of Howard Hughes.
Randall Munroe earned a degree in physics at Christopher Newport University (VA) and went on to work on robots at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia before quitting to become a cartoonist (xkcd.com: “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language”). He employs humorous stick figure sketches to help provide scientific answers to absurd hypotheticals submitted to him through his website.
Drawing Autism showcases the artistic talents of individuals with autism spectrum disorder while giving perspective on how these artists relate to the world around them. Temple Grandin has written the forward which is a perfect introduction and sets the tone for the rest of the book. Author Jill Mullin, a behavior analyst with a clinical background in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), divided the selected works into themes. Her goal was to provide an overview of the autism spectrum while celebrating the individuality of each person. Artists selected for the b
The one year anniversary of Olivia’s mother’s death is drawing near. Her mother’s dying wish was very explicit, her ashes were to be scattered in two specific locations in Huntley, Georgia, a town neither Olivia nor her sister had ever heard of. Looking for a way to escape her increasingly chaotic personal life, Olivia decides now is the perfect time to go Huntley and find out why this place was so special to their mother. What she finds makes her wonder if she ever really knew her mother at all. Huntley is gone…well actually it now sits at the bottom of a man-made lake.
Marie-Laure LeBlanc lives a quiet life with her Father, Daniel LeBlanc, at Number 4 rue Vauborel in Paris, France. Daniel is a locksmith for the Natural Museum of History in Paris before the German occupation of France during WWII. Marie-Laure becomes totally blind by the age of six. Her Father fashions a miniature replica of their neighborhood from wood so that she may memorize and better navigate her surroundings while he is busy working at the museum.
If your country needed your help would you give up your career, your comfortable home and endanger your relationships for an unknown job in a location that didn’t appear on any map? Could you handle never speaking of your job to your spouse, or knowing where and why they had to leave for weeks? Could you work on just one small job over and over for years, not knowing what came before or would come after?
This book reminded me a bit of watching West Wing. We don’t realize how the White House is buzzing 24/7. Kantor takes us inside for an eye-opening expose of life in America’s most famous mansion. Michelle and Barack Obama managed to adapt to a very dramatic change in their lifestyle with grace and maturity. But it wasn’t all rosy.
This is an adult graphic novel about a fictional domestic relationship between Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins. Much license is taken here, as Danzig and Rollins are most definitely not in a domestic relationship, but their real life personalities come through in the fictional character’s day to day lives. This gives it a niche audience. But if you are at all familiar with the real life characters, you will be well rewarded with plenty of laughs.
Ove is a 59 year old grump with very strong ideas of what competence and a job well done mean; he also knows when someone isn’t capable of either. His wife has passed away within the last year and now he no longer can find a reason to continue. His reluctant, growing relationship with his new neighbors, however, keeps interfering with his plans and expanding his world. (“Considering how they are constantly preventing him from dying, these neighbors of his are certainly not shy when it comes to driving a man to the brink of madness and suicide. That’s for sure.” 160)
Rainbow Rowell has effectively cemented herself into my list of favorite, must-read authors. Her characters are so authentic and likable that reading this book is like spending time visiting with old friends. The premise of this novel involves 3 characters working at an Omaha newspaper in the midst of Y2K. Lincoln is a shy, 28 year old going through a rough patch in life. He is living at home with his mother and doesn't know what he wants to do with his life.
"Unbroken" is the story of an undaunted human spirit presented by author Laura Hillenbrand; who chronicles the extraordinary life of Olympic runner, Louis Zamperini. When faced with supposed insurmountable obstacles, Louie proves to be a survivor and an example of the power one person can have over his own destiny.
The Beekeeper’s Ball brings us back to the beautiful Bella Vista, the apple orchard we last visited in Susan Wiggs’ novel The Apple Orchard. The dramatic story of newly united sisters Tess and Isabel, along with their grandfather, Magnus, continues to unfold.
If you like pouring over old atlases or scrolling though Google maps, you will probably like this book. The author is a geographer, not a travel guide, and this comes through in the tone of the book as well as subjects covered.
The connection of what makes each of these places so strange is human intervention, either through physical occupation or mapmaking. The book’s first entry is about Sandy Island, which was neither sandy nor an island. But it was on maps for centuries.
Those of us of a certain age grew up to the strains of comma comma down dooby doo down down, comma comma, down dooby doo down down, breaking up is hard to do. That is Neil Sedaka’s signature song, Breaking up is Hard to do. It was released in 1962. Podolsky tells the story of Neil’s early days in Brooklyn. He started his musical training at the prestigious Juilliard School at the tender age of seven.
The Humans is a book I could reread once a year. This is a bold statement, I know, especially since the premise is an alien assassin has been sent to Earth to kill a mathematician and erase all evidence of a potentially dangerous theorem. The story and our narrator, the alien acclimating to human life, become much more. I appreciate a narrator that confides in the reader and becomes a fully developed voice in your mind’s ear. Matt Haig’s alien fills that role beautifully.
Action-packed, interesting characters, and a well-thought out plot make Pierce Brown's debut novel a winner. Darrow is the main character in this sci-fi thriller. He is a hell digger and a "red", the lowest-class human. He, and other reds, live beneath the surface of Mars where they work in the mines to prepare the surface of the planet for human habitation. What Darrow and the other reds don't know is that the surface of Mars is suitable for life. In fact, humans have been living on the surface of Mars for over a hundred years.
Jamie Ford creates a poignant recollection of history with his debut novel, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet". Henry Lee is a recent widower living in Seattle's Chinatown. The year is 1986, and yesterday's memories have assumed a place in the present with the re-opening of the majestic Panama Hotel. Artifacts found in the basement of the old hotel transport Henry back to 1942 when he was a student at Rainier Elementary serving lunch to his classmates alongside his Japanese friend Keiko Okabe. The twelve year olds attend the school on scholarship, and the
Billie Breslin decides to leave college and move to New York City, where she has an interview for a job as an assistant to the editor of the prestigious food magazine Delicious. Billie’s amazing ability to name all the ingredients in a dish by only tasting it, amazes the staff and secures her the position. It doesn’t take long for Billie to realize that she not only loves her job, but is also beginning to love the large, eccentric magazine family. Sadly, not long after she is hired, the magazine is abruptly shut down by the current owner.
There aren’t that many authors that I love. Jonathan Carroll is one of them.
Carroll writes what inevitably ends up being labeled fantasy, but is really simply our lives and emotions expressed more clearly and intriguingly than our workaday world allows for. The mutable nature of reality and the down-to-earth approach to cosmic revelations recall the works of Philip K Dick.
An interesting story of two wealthy girls who, after doing their grand tour of Europe, were not ready to marry and settle down. Though they had no experience of "roughing it" or of teaching, they applied to become frontier school teachers in the Elkshead mountains in Colorado.
He was honest, witty, loyal, brilliant, and indefatigable.He was also pompous, arrogant, insecure, petty, and cranky.He probably did more than anyone else to persuade Congress to declare American independence, bu
Richard Nixon graduated number three from his Duke University Law School class. Thelma (Pat) Ryan was an orphan in Depression-era California yet she attained the equivalent of a master’s degree in merchandising and she taught high school typing and shorthand classes. Swift tells the story of the Nixon courtship, political life and death after 53 years of marriage. Along the way we read about Nixon’s involvement with the Communist scare, 1960 presidential election footing Nixon against John F.
This story is about four “food bloggers”, each with their own personal struggles. The four women met through their blogs and have become good friends, each helping the other get through traumatic events in their lives. Soon they will all be meeting for the first time face to face at Lavender’s birthday party.
Lavender is the 85 yr old owner of the thriving Lavender Honey Farm, in Washington State. With failing health, Lavender is struggling to find someone to take over her beloved farm. Someone who will love it as much as she has and keep it going after she is gone.
Sweeping tale of an African woman, Aminata Diallo, who is kidnapped near her village, at the age of 11, and sold into slavery in the United States. The story spans 60 years of Aminata's life from Africa to the US, then Canada, back to Africa and ending in England, where Aminata writes down her story for the Abolitionist movement in 1803, hoping to bring an end to the slave trade.
"The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion is best described as delightful, funny, and quirky. The central character, Don Tillman, has a reputation for being a rigid, highly scheduled, socially inept, and brilliant genetics professor at an Austrailian university. Tillman is single, 39 years old, and due to his social limitations, sees himself with no prospects for love. He moves to solve this dilemma through the development of an idea he dubs The Wife Project. The Wife Project involves a 16 page, double sided question
My interest in street art has led me to view numerous pictures on the internet. Many are wonders of creativity and determination—from murals on a building to 3D art made from objects already in place. Street art can have an important message or be a small scale drawing, there just to make you smile.
One of my favorite types of street art is chalk art. While temporary, in the hand of a master artist they can be incredibly detailed and convincing. Chalk art combines art, creativity, perspective, and even performance.
The writer Andrew Ferguson set out to explore how Abraham Lincoln is viewed and commemorated across the nation nearly 150 years after his death.He visits Lincoln places across the country and talks with those obsessed with our 16th president, wheth