The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker

"09book The Golem and the JinniÕÕ by Helene Wecker.Reviewed by Terry Zignego (Library Staff)

A page turning blend of fantasy and historical fiction set in turn of the century Manhattan. The Jinn Ahmed, a magical being of fire, finds Chava, a Jewish creature made of mud, and the adventure begins. The characters struggle to cope with their individual characters and desires and innocently create mayhem in the world around them. The plot includes a villain who tries to control both creatures for his own purposes which adds complexity to the novel. The ending leaves the possibility of a sequel. I sure hope so.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC WECKER)

Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care by Marty Makary, MD


Reviewed by Jennifer Rude Klett (Library Staff)

How do you as a consumer, choose a physician? or a hospital? This book by Marty Makary, MD, reveals insider jaw-dropping information on our health care system, many of it kept from those not privy to health care industry “secrets.” For example:
~Doctors are usually paid commission on chemotherapy, drugs consumers are not allowed to shop around for.
~Medical mistakes are the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S.
~Many patients who are candidates for minimally-invasive surgery are never told of their options.
Recently discussed on Wisconsin Public Radio, it is hard to put this book down – it is a must-read for every potential health-care consumer.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (601.696 MAK)

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

InDefenseFoodReviewed by Jennifer Rude Klett (Library Staff)

With 60 to 80% of health insurance claims deemed “lifestyle related,” let’s face it: the typical American diet is dysfunctional. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan will sincerely change both your thinking and behavior concerning food. Throw out all those fad diet books; this book will help you nourish and enrich your being . . . and bring pleasure back to eating. To quote the book, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Yeah, it really is that simple. There are a lot of nonfiction books out there on diet and food, this is one of the few I recommend to friends.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (613 POL)

Wildwood by Colin Meloy


Reviewed by Melissa Rader (Library Staff)

This book was not scraped delicately with a thin layer of charm; this book had charm slathered on it with a trowel. And then asked for seconds.

Wildwood is a contemporary story with a decidedly old-fashioned feel. When Prue’s baby brother is kidnapped by crows, she resolves to rescue him and soon discovers that a complex animal society exists within the woods bordering her Portland, Oregon home.

I took a big chance on this book but it was so, so worth it! It’s a hefty tome (560 pages!) and the first in a series to boot, so I was worried about it becoming very involved and tedious. However, my opinion is that the pacing was absolutely perfect. Each scene was patiently described and explored, but not lingered over–I felt like we spent just the right amount of time in each one. Plus, the book always managed to take the story to the next level. I would gasp, and then smile.

I don’t know if you know this but Colin Meloy is also the songwriter and lead singer for The Decemberists. Many of their songs are finely crafted sagas (such as my current favorite, “The Mariner’s Revenge Song”) and Meloy’s impressively descriptive yet economical way with words shines through in Wildwood. And, as if this book weren’t already adorable enough (Ha!), it is illustrated throughout by Meloy’s wife, Carson Ellis AND (are you ready for this?) includes color plates. I told you it was old-fashioned! So modern and quaint.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC MELOY BK. 1)

P.S. If you want to check out The Decemberists, they are located under CD POP/ROCK DECEMBERISTS. “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” is on their album, Picaresque

Hundred Days: The Campaign That Ended World War I by Nick Lloyd


Reviewed by Jennifer Rude Klett (Library Staff)

Finally, a World War I book that acknowledges the contributions of the US Doughboys. Thank you, Mr. Lloyd. I immensely appreciated the information on the Americans and attention paid to the last one hundred days of the war, something that many Great War books do not adequately cover. The German perspective was also refreshing to see from an Allied author, again something that is often missing. Mr. Lloyd possesses a gift for both history and writing, which isn’t necessarily present with many books written by academic historians. I highly recommend Hundred Days: The Campaign That Ended World War I. This is a timely (the centennial of the beginning of World War I is 2014) book for history buffs.

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin


Reviewed by Pat Plamann (Library Staff)

What an escape! Helprin’s imagination and his skill to link it to real locations makes Winter’s Tale engrossing! The characters range from a family denied entrance to Ellis Island and their unbelievable plan to get their infant son there, a gang of thugs, wealthy New Yorkers, and idyllic village residents. Mix in some time travel, a mysterious white horse, and love that goes beyond death. A treat!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC HELPRIN)

Quick and Easy Paint Transformations by Annie Sloan


Reviewed by Jennifer Rude Klett (Library Staff)

I admit that I feared the wax! I also admit that I am a chronic redecorator, so any quick and fun projects are right up my alley. I read ALOT of nonfiction books, and this one really stood out above most. After reading British paint guru Annie Sloan’s Quick And Easy Paint Transformations: 50 Step-by-step Ways to Makeover Your Home for Next to Nothing, I am transforming some of my less-than-desirable items in my home. My first completed project (victim) was a raspberry-colored table that I had fallen out of love with. Both paint and wax immensely improved the table. I now love it (again). This book offers lots of photos, easy instructions, and inspiration/ideas to help elevate your surroundings. I am no longer a wax newbie.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (745.723 SLO) 

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson


Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

The Bloggess (aka author Jenny Lawson) is the blogosphere’s foremost purveyor of hilarity and snark. Her life and adventures with taxidermy, goth teens, and a very tolerant husband are presented in memoir form for your reading pleasure. Warning: Do not read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened with a full bladder.

Located in Adult Nonfiction Books (817.54 LAW)

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo


Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo is not only one of the sweetest, bravest tales you’ll read this year, but also the winner of the coveted Newbery Award, as the best children’s fiction book published in 2013. When Flora, a practical girl, witnesses a squirrel being sucked up into a Ulysses vacuum cleaner, a true friendship is formed. Ulysses, as the squirrel is named, emerges from his ordeal a changed squirrel, now able to lift many times his weight, fly when necessary, and compose poetry on a typewriter. This is a touching story of friendship, determination, and  doing what’s right. As Flora would say,  “Holy bagumba!”

Located in Children Fiction Books (J FIC DICAMILLO) and Audiobooks (J CDBK DICAMILLO)