Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

This is a great “Book Club” book. It’s sure to spark some memories and discussion of them among your fellow book readers. The book’s story takes place in 1959 MILWAUKEE!! There are many local references, so if you lived semi-locally and during this period it will definitely be a hit. The story is told through the view point of a ten year old that experienced many twists and turns during the summer of 1959. The main characters Sally and Troo lived a childhood full of external challenges and heartache. The minor characters are brought into the plot and developed just enough so they become relevant and memorable. Even though readers may not have experienced all the drama described in the story, the writing/character development convey a story that draws the reader into the experience. In other words…..it’s a really good read.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC KAGEN)

 

Mile 22 (2018)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

An action-packed movie from start to finish, Mile 22 follows a CIA task force that has to travel 22 miles to get an asset to safety. The movie stars Mark Wahlberg as the leader of the CIA task force, and supporting characters are played by John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, and Ronda Rousey. While they attempt to travel the 22 miles, there are many fights and roadblocks, and there is a twist at the end that possibly sets the movie up for a sequel. You will probably like this movie if you like a lot of action, and not much plot. But it was entertaining and kept me interested for an hour and a half. One note, I had to turn the subtitles on because I had a hard time understanding the limited dialogue.

Available through the Bridges Library System

If you liked The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo…

…then try one of these books!

Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More / Erin Boyle

For anyone looking to declutter, organize, and simplify, author Erin Boyle shares practical guidance and personal insights on small-space living and conscious consumption.

 

Lagom: Not Too Little, Not Too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life / Niki Brantmark

By using the Swedish lifestyle as an example, Niki Brantmark offers insightful suggestions and bite-sized actions to help you make subtle changes to your life, so you too can make time for the things that matter most and find greater happiness.

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store / Cait Flanders

The Year of Less documents Cait’s life for twelve months during which she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, gas for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero waste movement; and completed a television ban.

The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify / Francine Jay

Rather than the “crash diet” approach found in other tidying up books, Jay shares simple steps to cultivate a minimalist mindset and form new habits, paving the way to lasting success. Her easy-to-follow STREAMLINE method works in any space—from a single drawer to a closet, room, or entire house.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter / Margareta Magnusson

In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, dö meaning “death” and städning meaning “cleaning.” This surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you.

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living / Tsh Oxenreider

Organized Simplicity’s aim is to convince its readers that simple living is the absolute best way to live. Be it with house cleaning, family schedule management, personal finances, and managing the “stuff” you allow within your four walls, the only way to live well is to do so intentionally and simply.

The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life / Anu Partanen

A Finnish journalist, now a naturalized American citizen, asks Americans to draw on elements of the Nordic way of life to nurture a fairer, happier, more secure, and less stressful society for themselves and their children.

 

Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff / Dana K. White

In Decluttering at the Speed of Life, decluttering expert and author Dana White identifies the mind-sets and emotional challenges that make it difficult to declutter. Then, in her signature humorous approach, she provides workable solutions to break through these struggles and get clutter out–for good!

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living / Meik Wiking

Embrace Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) and become happier with this definitive guide to the Danish philosophy of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. Hygge is the sensation you get when you’re cuddled up on a sofa, in cozy socks under a soft throw, during a storm. It’s that feeling when you’re sharing comfort food and easy conversation with loved ones at a candlelit table. It is the warmth of morning light shining just right on a crisp blue-sky day.

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

On a field trip to a Vermont farm with her classmates, Ollie becomes tangled up in a decades-old sinister mystery involving a dark bargain and scarecrows that are more than what they seem. On the way home, the school bus breaks down and the creepy bus driver advises Ollie and her friends to run before nightfall and to “Avoid large places. Keep to small”…because (as they soon discover firsthand) the clawing rake hands of menacing scarecrows can’t reach you if you’re tucked in a tight place.

The spooky chills and fall atmosphere (corn mazes and warm cider abound) was everything I hoped for and more, enhanced tenfold by my own reading circumstances (reading chapters between handing out candy to trick-or-treaters while the October wind whipped leaves off of trees and my mug of spiced tea steamed beside me).

I’ll be honest, though. I have a scarecrow up in my living room as part of my fall decorations and that thing just might have to come down. *shudders*

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC ARDEN)

Spotlight On: Nonfiction CD Books

Nonfiction CD Books: We have a selection of nonfiction CD books for you to listen to on your drive, or around your house. These ranger from self-help to history, and from humor to memoirs. The nonfiction CD books are located on the short bookshelves next to the computers in the middle of the library. New nonfiction CD books have red “NEW” labels on them.

Between the World and Me / Ta-Nehisi Coates (New)

Told through the author’s own evolving understanding of the subject over the course of his life comes a bold and personal investigation into America’s racial history and its contemporary echoes. (CDBOOK 305.8 COA)

 

Educated: A Memoir / Tara Westover (New)

In her memoir, Westover recounts her childhood growing up in a strict Mormon family, ruled by an erratic father, and living off the grid in Idaho. Westover compellingly sketches her years growing up, her relationships with siblings, encounters in the town nearby, and the events that eventually drove her to leave and pursue formal education. (CDBOOK 921 WESTOVER)

Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life / Nick Vujicic

Born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic overcame his disability to live not just independently but a rich, fulfilling life, becoming a model for anyone seeking true happiness. Now an internationally successful motivational speaker, his central message isthat the most important goal for anyone is to find their life’s purpose despite whatever difficulties or seemingly impossible odds stand in their way. (CDBOOK 248.4 VUJ)

A Death in Belmont / Sebastian Junger

Documents the events surrounding the early 1960s serial murder case of the Boston Strangler, recounting how an innocent African-American housekeeper was hastily convicted and how the actual killer, carpenter Albert DeSalvo, eventually confessed. (CDBOOK 364.1523 JUN)

 

Hallucinations / Oliver Sacks

A provocative investigation into the types, physiological sources and cultural resonances of hallucinations traces everything from the disorientations of sleep and intoxication to the manifestations of injury and illness, drawing on a wealth of clinical examples to explore hallucination categories and how they reflect folklore and brain structure. (CDBOOK 616.89 SAC)

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence / Amy Sedaris

Offers a guide to the art of entertaining, furnishing recipes, helpful advice, and offbeat tips on how to host parties with extraordinary flair, covering such topics as unique dishes to serve alcoholics and arts and crafts ideas. (CDBOOK 793.2 SED)

 

Food: A Love Story / Jim Gaffigan

In his second book, he will give them what they really crave–hundreds of pages of his thoughts on all things culinary(ish). Insights such as: why he believes coconut water was invented to get people to stop drinking coconut water, why pretzel bread is #3 on his most important inventions of humankind (behind the wheel and the computer), and the answer to the age-old question “which animal is more delicious: the pig, the cow, or the bacon cheeseburger?”. (CDBOOK 817.54 GAF)

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail / Bill Bryson

Bryson shares his breath-taking adventures and the fascinating history of the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, as he travels slowly on foot. (CDBOOK 917.4 BRY)

 

A Life in Parts / Bryan Cranston

A humorous coming-of-age memoir and meditation on creativity by the star of Breaking Bad chronicles his theatrical childhood and recommitment to acting in the aftermath of his father’s disappearance, describing his early acting jobs and the performances that earned him Tony and Emmy Awards. (CDBOOK 921 CRANSTON)

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War / Karen Abbott

Draws from primary source material and interviews to weave together the adventures of four courageous women who risked everything to become spies during the most tumultuous years of the Civil War. (CDBOOK 973.78 ABB)

 

“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment I know in which there is no alloy. It lasts when all other pleasures fade. It will be there to support you when all other resources are gone. It will be present to you when the energies of your body have fallen away from you. It will last you until your death. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live.” ~Anthony Trollope

 

 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

A few years ago, Amor Towles’s debut novel, Rules of Civility, was a bestseller. I read it, but I truly can’t remember a darn thing about it. In my opinion, Rules of Civility was (literally) forgettable. But I doubt I will ever forget the author’s sophomore effort, A Gentleman in Moscow.

This book is a reader’s delight. The protagonist, Count Alexander Rostov, is sentenced by a Bolshevik tribunal to house arrest in Moscow’s Hotel Metropol in 1922. The novel then follows Rostov through the next thirty-odd years. The Count is an excellent character–perhaps not entirely realistic, but his combination of stoicism, erudition, and wit make him a perfect understated hero. I rejoiced to learn that Kenneth Branagh will be portraying him in the forthcoming movie, because that is who I pictured as the Count (albeit in Branagh’s younger days). The cast of supporting characters sparkles with a precocious young girl, a glamorous actress, a temperamental chef, and an evil Party apparatchik. The dialogue, while occasionally a tad stilted, provides plenty of humor as well as hidden delights for a reader familiar with European history and culture.

The plot trips along pleasantly, leaping over swathes of the 1930s and 1940s–World War II is remarkably absent–to keep the story moving. (I am grateful that the author is not himself Russian, as the Russians tend to get a little long-winded.) A few plot twists caught me entirely unawares, but the happy ending was in view from quite a way off. Towles does channel the Russian quirk of inserting philosophical musings into the narrative, which some readers may find pedantic and a bit annoying. But I enjoyed joining the Count as he considered the contributions of the Russians to European culture, and whether Russia always destroys its own masterpieces. These would also be excellent talking points for a book club.

A Gentleman in Moscow is deservedly one of the most popular novels of the past few years.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC TOWLES)

So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Retta is an actress and comedian who’s probably best known for playing Donna Meagle on the hit TV show Parks and Rec. This book was hilarious, I mean laugh out loud funny. You have to listen to the audiobook version, because Retta reads it, which just makes it even more wonderful and hilarious. She tells stories of life growing up, going to Duke University (aka the Harvard of the South), being on the set of Parks and Rec, and how she became a hockey super fan. I’m not sure I have ever enjoyed an audiobook as much as I enjoyed this one. With Retta reading the book, it was like she was in the room or car with me, telling me stories or giving me my own personal comedy show. As Donna Meagle would say, Treat yo self and listen to this audiobook today!

Audiobook available through the Bridges Library System

Book located in Adult Nonfiction (792.092 RET)

So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Retta is an actress and comedian who’s probably best known for playing Donna Meagle on the hit TV show Parks and Rec. This book was hilarious, I mean laugh out loud funny. You have to listen to the audiobook version, because Retta reads it, which just makes it even more wonderful and hilarious. She tells stories of life growing up, going to Duke University (aka the Harvard of the South), being on the set of Parks and Rec, and how she became a hockey super fan. I’m not sure I have ever enjoyed an audiobook as much as I enjoyed this one. With Retta reading the book, it was like she was in the room or car with me, telling me stories or giving me my own personal comedy show. As Donna Meagle would say, Treat yo self and listen to this audiobook today!

Audiobook available through the Bridges Library System

Book located in Adult Nonfiction (792.092 RET)

If you liked Winter Street by Elin Hildebrand…

…then try one of these similar Holiday titles!

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery / Jenny Colgan

A scenic holiday season in the idyllic Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne finds Polly busily keeping up with demands for gingerbread and other festive fare at her bakery, only to find herself teaming up with her neighbors to safeguard everyone from a dangerous storm that cuts them off from the mainland.

The Noel Diary / Richard Paul Evans

A latest holiday-themed novel by the best-selling author of The Christmas Box follows the experiences of a man who, in the wake of estrangements and losses, is given a chance to rewrite and rediscover his true past.

 

Christmas in London / Anita Hughes

Jumping at the chance to star in the annual Christmas Eve dinner TV special at Claridge’s baker Louisa finds herself drawn to production assistant Noah, while producer Kate has a run in with an old flame that threatens to shake up her world.

 

Merry and Bright / Debbie Macomber

Merry is skeptical when her mother and brother create an online dating profile for her without her knowledge, but she decides to give it a try and finds herself chatting with an endearing match who turns out to be someone she recognizes.

 

A Very Merry Princess / Susan Mallery

When Princess Bethany’s father, the king, sells one of his best stallions, she insists the animal get the royal treatment. Disguised as Beth Archer, a mere stable hand, she takes him to Happily Inc, California, a quaint wedding destination that’s especially sparkly over the holidays.

 

Holly and Ivy / Fern Michaels

Facing another holiday season alone eight years after losing her husband and children in a plane crash, an airline heiress bonds with a young singing prodigy from a home where music is forbidden by the girl’s grieving widower father.

 

Moonlight Over Manhattan / Sarah Morgan

When she becomes a temporary live-in dog sitter for Dr. Ethan Black, Harriet Knight, who is determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, challenges herself to explore their very unexpected chemistry—and to tell him how she really feels after her dog-sitting duties are over.

 

A Christmas Return / Anne Perry

Spurred by holiday cheer and a surprise hidden in Christmas pudding, an elderly aristocrat tries to right a past wrong by solving a decade-old murder.

 

Chasing Christmas Eve / Jill Shalvis

Writer Colbie Albright, fleeing to San Francisco to escape her crazy family, falls for a handsome stranger and, deciding to spend the holidays with Spencer Baldwin, must make a difficult decision when the two weeks they have together comes to an end.

 

A Chesapeake Shores Christmas / Sherryl Woods

Although Mick and Megan O’Brien are ready to remarry, their son Connor doesn’t want to give his blessing to their remarriage.

Luck, Love and Lemon Pie by Amy Reichert

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

This wonderfully delightful novel was a breath of fresh air, specifically about the intricacies of marriage. Milwaukee wife and mother MJ Boudreaux knows that her and her husband Chris seem to be on different wavelengths lately. She’s just not sure which is worse–the fact that they are or the fact the she doesn’t really care. In an effort to solidify their relationship, she takes up Chris’ hobby of playing poker. She would never guess where this would lead her: all the way to Las Vegas for an illustrious tournament and, simultaneously, to the brink of divorce.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC REICHERT)

X
X