Almost Somewhere by Suzanne Roberts

Almost Somewhere

Reviewed by Terry Zignego (Library Staff)

Part memoir, part nature guide, part travelogue, this story is about three college women grads who spend one month hiking California’s John Muir Trail. One hiker is experienced, the other inexperienced and bulimic. Roberts writes about outdoor as well as relationship challenges with honesty and humor. I enjoyed her vivid nature descriptions as well as the bits of John Muir & trail history interspersed throughout. I will add the John Muir trail to my hiking bucket list.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (796.51 ROB)

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

Boundless

Reviewed by Melissa Rader (Library Staff)

ALL ABOARD!

What I loved about this breathless adventure was the awesome setting–an enormous train bounding through Canada with accommodations befitting a turn-of-the-century ocean liner, the bevy of interesting characters (complete with circus “marvels”), and the slight whisper of fantasy alongside the roar of historical details.

Will Everett is joining his father (an important railway gentleman) on the maiden voyage of The Boundless when he gets himself into a scrape and winds up in the caboose, running for his life. He is taken in by the traveling circus and explores every car in the train (from colonists to third class to the mysterious funeral car of railway baron Cornelius Van Horne) as he makes his way back up to first class, disguised as a member of the circus.

This book for teens would also be appropriate for older elementary school readers–besides a small bit of violence it is overall a fun, clean adventure.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC OPPEL)

 

Ballroom by Alice Simpson

Ballroom

Reviewed by Judy (Library Staff)

Every Sunday night during the late 1990’s, six vastly different people head to the famous New York City Ballroom to forget about their lonely lives. The rotating chapters of personal introspection and detailed back stories are overshadowed by Simpson’s excessive description of bodily functions and the sad routines of each character’s self-centered, pathetic life. I rushed to finish the book just to have it finally end.

Available through the CAFE library system.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

ShortTragic

Reviewed by Marcy (Library Staff)

Incredible telling of an intelligent, kind man’s journey to fit in to two worlds – that of a boy raised by a single, struggling mom and an incarcerated father from East Philly and that of a Yale graduate working in Microbiology and advanced science. As the title suggests he does meet his tragic end and I was left with a wide and clear understanding of what its like to fight the battle, literally and figuratively, of a black man struggling despite opportunity. The book is detailed and yet the author takes you on the journey and you don’t want to stop.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (921 PEACE)

The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi

Nowhere Box

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

George has two little brothers, and both of them are a nuisance. They interrupt his play and follow him EVERYWHERE. Finally, George has had enough, and when asked where he’s going, states “Nowhere! And you can’t follow me!” In his flight, George notices the box from the new washing machine, and his imagination makes it into the Nowhere he wants to be. Soon, though, George realizes in Nowhere, there are no enemy pirates or dragons, and he thinks he knows where some might be, and sets a course for home. This is a great book for the child with younger siblings as well as the child with an older brother who sometimes needs some space.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E ZUPPARDI)

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

As You Wish

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

For anyone who loves the movie The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account of how the movie was made, by none other than Cary Elwes, who played Westley in the movie. From accounts of the audition process, to stories of Andre the Giant drinking everyone under the table, this book is chock full of interesting tidbits, personal accounts, photographs of the cast, and yes, even some inconceivable tales.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (791.4372 ELW)

Acceleration by Graham McNamee

Acceleration

Reviewed by Diane

Duncan has found a great slacker job, watching the lost and found at Toronto Transit, until one day a journal shows up made of unusual material covered in the writings of a mad man. Now he has to decide if the journal is real and if he can save the women.

Located in Teen CDBooks (TEEN CDBOOK MCNAMEE). Available in print form through the CAFE library system.

The Numberlys by William Joyce & Christina Ellis

Numberlys

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

The Numberlys begins “Once upon a time there was no alphabet. Only numbers.” It turns out there weren’t any books, or colors, or jellybeans, or pizzas. Five friends decided there should be something…more, and set about figuring out what that more should be. If you haven’t read a William Joyce book yet, you’re in for a treat. I’ve been a fan of his since Georgie Shrinks, and on through Dinosaur Bob and his Adventures with the Family Lazardo, Shoes, and A Day with Wilbur Robinson. He is also the author of the chapter book series “The Guardians”, stories of famous holiday figures and how they came to be the heroic guardians of us all.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E JOYCE)

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

In the past year, I have read two books by writers of The Office television series: the fantabulous collection of short stories titled One More Thing, by B.J. Novak, and this hilarious memoir by Mindy Kaling. (For those of you not versed in The Office lore, Novak and Kaling also acted in the show, portraying annex-dwelling tempestuous lovers Ryan and Kelly.) I adored The Office, and I tried really, really hard not to let my affection for the show color my impressions.

Well, either I failed, or the books really are as great as the show. The stories in One More Thing were thoughtful and warm-hearted as well as funny–think Michael Scott trying to express how much he loves his co-workers, just before hitting one of them with his car.

But this review is about Kaling’s book. She is a little less intellectual–and a little less cuddly–than Novak, and I like her even better. She is clever, sassy, and just sweet enough to avoid being labeled a “mean girl”. She tells her life story in chuckle-inducing vignettes, from her days as a plump child with the same haircut as her brother, to her big break portraying Ben Affleck in a two-woman show she wrote. (It was a big break–literally. She broke her co-star’s nose during a performance.) As she approaches the present, she sprinkles in stories about Hollywood life and work at The Office, but she largely focuses on relatable topics like dating, dieting, and things she finds funny.

I have read memoirs by a few other well-known comedians, and I think I like Kaling’s so well because she is relatable. She struggles with her weight, binge-watches Chappelle’s Show, and longs to meet a nice guy. She hasn’t lost her sense of the real world in the face of flashbulbs. And isn’t that why we liked The Office so much? We could empathize with the characters while were were laughing at them.