The Midwestern Survival Guide: how we talk, love, work, drink, and eat…everything with Ranch by Charlie Berens

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

I have watched his “Manitowoc Minutes” segments on Facebook and have seen his stand-up comedy routine on YouTube, this book is more of the same.

The book embraces the Midwest culture with funny observations and tidbits from his upbringing. If you’re not a big reader, there are plenty of pictures and illustrations, quizzes and even recipes that everyone from the Midwest knows and loves.

This book was enjoyable to scan through and a perfect book to borrow from the library. I don’t think it’s worth purchasing unless you are a diehard Charlie Berens fan, however.


Located in Adult Nonfiction (977 BER)

Wild and Crazy Guys: How the Comedy Mavericks of the ’80s Changed Hollywood Forever by Nick De Semlyen

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

Through candid interviews with the stars, various producers, directors and staff, the author gave behind the scene looks at how the SNL and SCTV comedians got their careers launched.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Animal House are two of my favorite movies, so it was interesting reading about the making of the films.

I always thought that Chevy Chase was a family man, but he was a cocaine user, who ended up at Betty Ford for rehab. Eddie Murphy did not smoke, drink, or use drugs, which surprised me.

There was a lot of inside information that made it a fun read. If you enjoyed the comedy of the late ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, you will enjoy this book.

P.S. I did find one error in the book that drove me crazy, the author referred to Randy Quaid’s character in the Vacation movies as Uncle Eddie, that was wrong, he was Cousin Eddie!

Located in Adult Nonfiction (791.43 DES)

Moulin Rouge! The Musical (2019)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I’ve always enjoyed the music from Moulin Rouge, so when I heard a Broadway musical was being made based on the movie, I was excited to hear what it would sound like. Finally, the soundtrack for the Broadway musical came out and I got to take a listen, and I was pleasantly surprised.

This musical is what is considered a “jukebox” musical, where the creators took a bunch of snippets of popular songs and combined them to tell the story. While some people might not enjoy this, I found it fascinating and entertaining. And no worries, the favorites from the movie are still there, including “Your Song” and “Come What May.” This musical contains songs from all the popular musicians of today, from Beyoncé to Katy Perry, and many more! I enjoyed this soundtrack and would definitely recommend it!

Available through the Bridges Library System

Inside Out: A Memoir by Demi Moore

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

From the moment you start this frank, honest memoir, you are moving full-speed through superstar Demi Moore’s fraught life. Raised by two addict parents, Demi’s upbringing was extremely unconventional and harrowing. When she reaches Hollywood and begins her rise to stardom, you won’t be able to put the book down. Told in a no-holds-barred, candid manner, this memoir is not your average celeb tell-all.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (921 MOORE)

In The Country We Love by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

A 2017 ALA Alex Award Winner, In the The Country We Love is a heartbreaking and uplifting memoir providing a first-hand account of what happens when a family is broken by the immigration divide and who is left to pick up the pieces.

After a normal day at school, 14-year-old, U.S.-born Diane Guerrero (actress in Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin) comes home to find that her undocumented parents and older brother have been deported back to Colombia. When no one comes to check-in on her, Diane remains in the U.S. alone, relying on the kindness of friends and strangers to finish her education, launch her career, and establish an independent life. Growing-up without the physical presence and support of her immediate family, Diane turns to the performing arts to see her through financial difficulties, mental health crises, and familial and romantic relationship trials.

This non-fiction account and coming of age story exposes the tough choices one young teen had to make to pursue a life true to herself, without the support system of her family. Both teen and adult viewers of the hit TV shows Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, as well as non-viewers alike, will find a timely story about resilience in the wake of an ongoing national debate.

Available through Bridges Library System

Cuz I Love You by Lizzo

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Just when you thought you heard everything in music, along comes Lizzo! This album is a much-needed breath of fresh air to the music industry and an absolute masterpiece from Lizzo. Although she has been making music the last few years, “Cuz I Love You” rockets her (and the listener) to another stratosphere. From the soulful, agonizing title track where you can almost physically hear her pain to her club hit collaboration with Missy Elliott “Tempo” to her odes to self-love “Truth Hurts” and “Soulmate,” each track leads the listener down a path of sonic empowerment. Although I hadn’t heard of her until recently, I will be eagerly following her career from now on and can’t wait to hear what is next.

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

Lizzo recently headlined at Summerfest and after listening to this CD I am crushed that I missed it. “Cuz I Love You” is the confident building, self love encourage, accept yourself album of a lifetime. Dance-able beats will have you rocking out while doing the dishes and feeling all kinds of powerful. Songs “Soulmate” and “Like A Girl” are the definite stars of the album, but truthfully, all of the songs are amazingly written and performed. If you enjoy empowering hip hop music, you absolutely will love Lizzo and this album.


Dirty John (2018)

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

This TV series is adapted from an extremely popular true-crime podcast about John Meehan, a man who makes a career by lying. From fighting in Iraq to treating patients experiencing debilitating pain with his vast medical expertise, there is no line John isn’t willing to cross accompanied by a handy explanation or six ready in his back pocket to keep him out of trouble. He swoops into Debra’s beautiful, expensive life and in less than two months, moves in, deflects Debra’s children from seeing her, adds his name to her financial accounts and marries her. Aghast by their foolish mother, the daughters and her nephew do everything they can to tell Debra there’s something wrong with John, but she refuses to hear any of it. Even as the foundations the couple hastily built together begin cracking, Debra calmly and with a gratingly soft voice, chooses to ignore direct evidence of John’s harmful behavior towards her children and picks him over them numerous times. Vapid, entitled and equip with unfortunate California valley girl accents, it was the girls that kept me watching regardless. Slighted left and right, the siblings don’t give up on their mom and put themselves in harm’s way to keep an eye on her. Without spoiling anything, Debra couldn’t be more right near the end when she remarks, “this isn’t going to make me look very good.” It sure doesn’t, Debra.

Located in TV Series (TV SERIES DIRTY)

Powers of a Girl by Lorraine Cink & Alice X. Zhang

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

This beautiful little book is a biography of 65 fictional ladies who grace the pages of the Marvel Universe, from Captain Marvel and Black Widow to Valkyrie and (my personal favorite) Squirrel Girl.

Each biography is supplemented with gorgeous illustrations, including a breathtaking full page portrait of each dangerous dame. Alice X. Zhang magically captures the beauty, strength, and personality of each character in her colorful, broad-stroked style.

As someone who has read a handful of superhero comics but isn’t well-versed in the multiverse, I appreciated the succinct backgrounds on the often confusing histories of our heroes, which are sometimes ridiculously over the top, even for superheroes. The humorous, conversational tone kept me interested, although I did find the “Girl Power” message to be a little grating and heavy-handed for my taste.

Located in Graphic Novels (GRAPHIC MARVEL)

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

This is really an unusual story with a lot of weird twists and turns. It is written in the form of a series of letters. Readers may need to adjust to that. I also think it may be helpful to know ahead of time that the author had been a writer on the TV show, “Arrested Development”. If you enjoyed the wackiness of that show you might have found yourself an enjoyable read.

All of the characters are flawed and the author reveals them to the reader through events that occur within the book’s plot. As I tried to tell a family member about the events in this book, I found myself forgetting or interjecting side notes as I trudged through the book from cover to cover. Even though I didn’t necessarily have too much in common with Bernadette (the main character), I could relate to the struggles and life choices that she faces in the course of this book. Bernadette appears to be a person who prefers to live her life unplugged from others and situations that require her to make decisions or act. The only factor that compels her to overcome her hermit type existence is her daughter, Bee. The book begins with her daughter “cashing in” on a promise that her parents made regarding a perfect report card. The parents told Bee she could pick somewhere to go on a family trip if she got a perfect report card. She picked Antarctica! If you decide to read this book, get ready to suspend your mind’s sense of regular life events and enjoy this unbelievable literal ride.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC SEMPLE)

The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy by Bill Carter

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

I am an avid podcast listener and one of my new favorites is late night show host’s Conan O’Brien’s “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.” After listening to a few episodes, I went down the rabbit hole to find out more about his history and found this book, The War for Late Night.

Exhaustively researched and impeccably written, the book covers Conan’s oh-so-brief tenure as host of “The Tonight Show” before NBC yanked the rug out from under him and gave it back to Jay Leno. Although you know what is coming, you can’t help but root for O’Brien, who comes off as a man with genuine integrity. Bill Carter, who also wrote of the feud between Jay Leno and David Letterman, clearly knows his subject and engages us with a narrative reminiscent of any page-turning novel. Intriguing and entertaining!

Available through the Bridges Library System