Madly Marvelous: The Costumes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel by Donna Zakowska

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

I checked out this oversized book thinking I would flip through the pictures and take in the details of the gorgeous clothes from Amazon’s brilliant comedy, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. However, to my surprise, I ended up reading every single riveting word of it.

I found it fascinating to see Donna Zakowska’s process and point of view for creating each look. It opened my eyes to the nuanced story she’s telling with color throughout the series, the external representation of each character’s mental landscape, and the impressive attention to detail paid to countless extras.

The concise text is balanced nicely with glossy images of initial sketches, fabric swatches, cast fittings, and final shots of the clothing onscreen. If you’ve enjoyed watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, this is a must-read. (Oh, but make sure you’ve watched through the end of season 3 first as there are many spoilers throughout.)

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel by Kati Marton

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

Angela Merkel grew up in East Germany during the Cold War. Her father was a Lutheran minister, her mother a teacher who was forbidden to teach English. Her grandparents in West Germany sent care packages to her family.

Due to her academic excellence, she was allowed to attend a university and became a research physicist. During that time one of her classmates was hired by the Stasi, the German secret police, to spy on her activities. Then everything changed when the Berlin Wall came down.

She pursued a career in politics, being mentored by Helmut Kohl, the chancellor of the reunited Germany. Within 15 years she rose to the top, using her intellect, her morals, and her scientific reasoning to become the unofficial leader of Europe. She out maneuvered Putin and Trump, worked with Obama and Macron, handled the COVID pandemic with scientific strength and created social policies that included accepting thousands of refugees.

The title of the book really sums it up – she had a remarkable odyssey. I recommend the book wholeheartedly.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Looking for a Moose by Phyllis Root

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Moose are very hard to find, in fact our four explorers have never seen one! The only solution they can come up with is to go in search of the Elusive moose on their nature hike. Every other page spread or so has a moose; some are easy to spot via their antlers or tails, some are harder to find with only their hooves showing. Will you and our hikers be able to spot all the moose along the way? Find out in this delightful hide and seek without flaps picture book.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E ROOT)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Reviewed by Anonymous (Library Patron)

I read the book, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In this book there were many key people and main points to follow along with which made the whole story more complex but in an engaging way. The main plot of the book was about this man named Montag who was a fireman and lived in an economy where no one was allowed to read books or even have in-depth conversations. As the story line continued, Montag met some people and witnessed some events which made him question his stance in life and why were books so bad to read. Montag started to off road the normal pattern of the citizens in this book and faced crucial decisions that would change his perspective of the world forever. This book brought me to the edge of my seat while reading, imagining the book play out in my head.

I would recommend this book to people who really enjoy reading and like thinking of what might happen next. It was interesting to watch Montag’s curiosity over take the set rules by the community. Similar to us in our world we are full of curiosity and that can lead us through our decisions and experience we have in life. Despite the middle of Fahrenheit 451 getting a little long for me I did overall find this to be an educational read and encourage people to read it themselves to find out what Montag’s journey ends up like in the final chapter.

Located in Adult Paperbacks (PBK BRADBURY)

How to Find What You’re Not Looking For by Veera Hiranandani

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Ariel and her sister Leah are very close, even though Leah is six years older. So, when Leah starts spending a lot of time with Raj, eleven-year-old Ariel isn’t sure what it will mean for their relationship, even though Raj seems nice and even takes her out for ice cream. But then, the girls’ Jewish parents reject Raj, and eloping seems like Leah’s only option. Ariel’s world is turned upside down, and everything seems harder without Leah, including managing her dysgraphia and working at the family bakery. How can she help the family come together again?

This historical fiction story is quite interesting. Like Ms. Hiranandani’s Newbery Honor winning title The Night Diary, this book talks a lot about how the main character is feeling. I loved the setting, in part because it takes place the same year my parents got married. 54 years seems like a long time, but it was a great reminder that the Supreme court case Loving vs. Virginia was decided only a couple of generations ago. I believe it makes court cases much more interesting when you consider the impact they had on people’s day to day lives. Kids who like historical fiction, deep characters, or books about feelings would probably enjoy this book.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC HIRANANDANI)

Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

I should know by now that Reese Witherspoon and I do not agree on books. I haven’t liked a Reese’s Book Club pick since the very first one (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine). They are usually passable but bland, with bright covers and voices that aren’t too edgy. Rather like a Reese Witherspoon movie, now that I think about it.

Sankofa, by Chibundu Onuzo, checks all those boxes. Its glorious cover and promise of a female African story drew me in despite my misgivings about Reese’s picks. It starts off with an intriguing premise: Anna, a middle-aged British woman, empty of nest and newly separated from her husband, discovers her father’s identity. The former Francis Aggrey, a student in London when he met Anna’s mother, is now Kofi Adjei, the retired dictator of a small (fictional) African nation.

This discovery launches Anna on a voyage both literal and figurative, to the country of Bamana and through her own identity. And then the author wimps out. She doesn’t push Anna through any real crises–even an overnight stay in jail is cushioned with kindness and rescue–and seems to sand off the sharpest edges of her self-examination. One expects this sort of thing in a young-adult novel, but a work of literary fiction for adult readers should be unflinching. The transformation Anna undergoes should not be as easy or gentle as Obuzo depicts.

This review is also colored by my recent reading of two excellent works of fiction by women authors of the African diaspora. Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernardine Evaristo, are both superior novels focusing on female African stories. Choose either of those before you pick up Sankofa. And it was no surprise to me that Evaristo’s novel captured the 2019 Booker Prize–I always like the Booker Prize picks!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC ONUZO)

Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

It’s hard to be a flightless bird when all your feathered friends can fly. Poor Bernard felt dejected about his wings until he learned his arms were made for hugs and making friends. Friends can make all the difference.

Sweet story about accepting yourself and that friends care about who you are not what you can’t do.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E ADAMSON)

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Reviewed by Anonymous (Library Patron)

I read the book, The Giver written by Lois Lowry. In this book there was a boy named Jonas who lived in a controlling society. The higher commanders did their best to hide pain from the citizens to make a so-called perfect economy where all the decisions were in the government’s hands. The people had no control over any decisions in their life including their families and even jobs. As this book continued Jonas learned a lot more than he ever thought was capable once he unlocked his job. This book really piqued my interest as there were many details and plot twists in The Giver as it went on. A very engaging read that I rarely caught my mind wandering through. I would recommend reading this book because it was an intriguing read especially from Jonas’ perspective similar to our lives as we grow up in the real world we learn more about the good and bad through our experiences. As a young adult it was an important read which I felt in the end I did take thoughts away from it. This book was given the John Newbery Medal and later made into a movie. In conclusion, I found The Giver to be very educational and would recommend anyone to read this book, specifically young men and women around the high school age.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC LOWRY)

Sardines of Love by Zurine Aguirre

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Grandpa Lolo loves sardines so very much so, that it’s all he eats! Grandma Lola is not fond of sardines after selling them all day. One day Lola ran out of sardines at the sardine stand so had to go fish for them. She didn’t catch any sardines that day but she did meet Jeff the octopus who taught her to love sardines and Grandpa Lolo to love Lola more then he loves sardines.

Cute simple color saturated illustrations help this story move along, with a lot of pages and similar character names. I would suggest this one for a slightly older listener/reader to get all the nuances and little jokes along the illustrated way then the 2 year old I read with.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E AGUIRRE)

While I Was Away by Waka T. Brown

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Waka lives in Kansas with her Japanese born parents, and they speak both Japanese and English at home. Concerned that Waka’s Japanese is not strong enough, her parents decide to send her to Japan for four months to live with her grandmother and attend Japanese school. Waka has always been a strong student, so struggling with reading is very frustrating to her, and getting along with her grandmother proves tricky as well.

I have always loved Japanese culture, so I really enjoyed this inside look at a Japanese school in the 1980s. Japanese words are sprinkled liberally throughout the text, as well as explanations for how some of the kanji are derived. I enjoyed Waka’s journey, her honesty, and her recollections of what this time in her life were like. If you like true stories (this is a memoir), like learning new things, and enjoy reading about relationships, this might be the book for you.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC BROWN)