Population 485 by Michael Perry

Population 485

Reviewed by Jennifer Rude Klett (Library Staff)

Published in 2002, this non-fiction book is about life in New Auburn, Wisconsin, population 485 (hence the title). It chronicles the life of a firefighter/EMT in rural small-town Wisconsin. Perry, a local media darling of public radio, is a poetic writer; he will make you laugh, cry, and groan out loud. It reads a bit like something from Lake Wobegon, but remember, it’s all true! A reality book before reality television was popular.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (977.5 PER)

A Place to Call Home (2013)

A Place to Call HOme

Reviewed by Pat (Library Staff)

Nurse Sarah Adams has been in Europe for 20 years, and survived the nightmare of WWII. Aboard a ship returning to Australia, circumstances occur that connect her to a wealthy Australian family, also returning to their home. Set in the 1950’s with occasional references to WWII, and Sarah’s continuing involvement with the family, makes this series positively addicting. After viewing season 1, I am on the library’s reserve list for season two. It cannot come soon enough!


Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Shotgun Lovesongs

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

What do you get when you put Tim McGraw in a hipster scarf and ironic glasses? Shotgun Lovesongs. Nickolas Butler apparently couldn’t decide whether he wanted to pen a paean to uncomplicated small-town living for the Carhartt set, or to showcase his simile skills for the writers’ workshop. So he went for both, and the product is a muddle of shallow characters and overblown prose. Its only redeeming grace is the author’s obvious affection for his own Wisconsin hometown. If you want good writing and a Wisconsin connection, stick to Michael Perry.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC BUTLER)

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su & Kate Rorick

Lizzie BennetReviewed by Judy B (Library Staff)

As a big fan of Jane Austen, particularly of Pride & Prejudice, I try to read every variation of the classic that I can: even the mocking versions. This version, based on the award-winning YouTube series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”, is how I could imagine Jane would have written P & P if she were studying Mass Communications as a post-graduate student. Loads of tongue-in-cheek fun! And check out the web series; each episode is only 3-5 minutes long and very entertaining.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC SU)


An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Col. Chris Hadfield

Astronauts Guide

Reviewed by Library Patron

“What an amazing and captivating real life astronaut story! The reader learns not only of Col Hadfield’s life leading up to his astronaut stint but years of fascinating experience before actually being chosen for take-off — testing, challenges, family. We learn and become part of his commanding of the International Space Station (ISS). “Looking out on the second day of our mission, I became aware that in the far distance, there was a distinctive-looking star. It stood out because, while all the other stars stayed the same this one got bigger as we got closer to it. At some point it stopped being a point of light and started becoming something three dimensional, morphing into a strange bug-like thing with all kinds of appendages; it started to look like a small town which is in fact what it is: an outpost that humans have built, far from Earth. The ISS. It’s every science fiction book come true, every little kid’s dream come true, a large capable, fully human creation orbiting up in the universe.The ISS is a one million pound spaceship that’s the size of a football field, including end zones, and boasts a full acre of solar panels.”

We may have minimized the importance of space missions. Did you know data gathered on the shuttle and ISS help power Google Maps? Experiments with different dietary and exercise protocols have revealed how to ward off osteoporosis. This book will restore your fascination with trips to outer space. Interjected among the fascinating bits of experience and information is the intrinsic value of the steps of becoming qualified for flight and landing on the moon. Nothing is taken for granted. One learns to sweat the small stuff and how important you are in a team minus the ego and need for recognition. Ability, achievement, responsibility – never assume, and be ready for anything. Hadfield describes the landing of the shuttle like a baby’s birth –”this sudden sensory overload of noise, color, smells and gravity after months of quietly floating, encased in relative calm and isolation. No wonder babies cry in protest when they’re born.”Hadfield, a musician, managed to record music in space and his son developed the YouTube video “Space Oddity”- a take on David Bowie’s 1969 tune. Google “youtube space oddity hadfield” and view an amazing recording in space. It’s a must after reading the book. Ah, icing on the cake!

Available through the CAFE Library System

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal

Reviewed by Terry (Library Staff)

This book was especially timely for me. My 88 year old mother, who up until she fell & broke her leg, worked part time 3 days a week and led an active life. She insisted on moving back to her apartment and we were so concerned for her safety, constantly advising on what we thought was best for her. This book helped me understand Mom’s continuing need for independence & a productive life. Gawande writes of freer, more socially fulfilling nursing home models, where quality of life is the goal. He also addresses hospice care. Everyone should read this book.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (362.175 GAW)

I Don’t Like Koala by Sean Ferrell

I Dont LIke Koala

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

This colorfully sketched children’s storybook is about a boy named Adam and his slightly creepy stuffed animal Koala. Horrified by Koala’s watchful yellow eyes and large fuzzy nose, Adam tries desperately to lose him in numerous ways and eventually experiences a change of heart.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E FERRELL)