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Random Reviews to Pique Your Interset

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Are you looking for a gift for someone and you just don’t know what to get? Are you having a hard time finding something meaningful that is also affordable? Bring someone to the Library and spend some time finding just the right book, movie, or music to enjoy together. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as discovering that someone else enjoys an author, genre or series as much as you do. We have tools to help you make your choice and it will only cost you a little time.

Random Reviews in Random order from Random Library Staff and One Prolific Volunteer might pique your interest:

We work in the library. We like to read. True. We do read. A lot! However, none of us read nearly as much as the entertaining Mr. Von Hatch. Giving credit where credit is due… the best of these reviews have been put forth from his computer to ours.  We’d love to have your short reviews to include next time. Just ask us!

LINDBERGH: THE TALE OF A FLYING MOUSE by Torben Kuhlmann

If you want to encourage a child to think big and that anything is possible, like maybe becoming a famous pilot, this is the perfect book. A fine debut for this author. Great illustrations, for ages 4 and up.

FIVES AND TWENTY-FIVES by Michael Pitre

As a Viet Nam veteran, I am inclined to think my war is the only one that matters. I understand all that is wrong with that idea, but it’s the only war I attended. This book is about one of our two wars of the 21st century. It features Marines, as every good war book should. (I know something wrong with that idea, too). The feelings depicted in the book- devotion, alienation, fear, wonder, and many others-are portrayed vividly and honestly. People cannot begin to understand our returning warriors without reading their stories. The only thing you will miss is putting it all on the line every day. Perhaps we will become more humble when we glimpse the unbelievable things we ask our young people to do in our name.

WINTER GARDEN by Kristin Hannah

Two sisters have spent their lives trying to love an unlovable mother! Before their father passes away he makes them promise to find the reasons behind their mother’s bedtime stories. As the story goes on they are enlightened as to why their mother behaves the way she does. A very nice ending to a sad tale of human history that we tend to forget about!

NO GOOD MEN AMONG THE LIVING: AMERICA, THE TALIBAN, AND THE WAR THROUGH AFGHAN EYES by Anand Gopal

“…and no bad ones among the dead.” is the conclusion of an Afghan proverb. That is the general thrust of this book. The author is a journalist for The Wall Street Journal and The Christian Science Monitor who reported extensively on the war in Afghanistan and went deep into Taliban-controlled areas after he grew a beard and learned the language. This book covers the heady, early days of the war when the Taliban were convincingly defeated. Then came the years of being the backwater conflict to our agony in Iraq. The book follows the lives of 3 Afghans: a Taliban, an educated woman and a warlord. We see what happens to the three of them over the years from 2002 to 2012. If we need one more example of how America struggles at nation building, this is it. We are a wonderful nation whose vision for a wonderful world flounders badly when mixed with the reality and venality outside the town limits of Mayberry. Read it. Don’t get angry.

OPEN HEART by Elie Wiesel

It is not unusual for an 82-year old man facing emergency open heart surgery to reflect upon his mortality and examine the nature of the life he led. In the case of Elie Wiesel, his relationship with death began when he was fifteen years old and got off the train at Auschwitz. Elie and death remain intimate to this very day. His ruminations on life, death, what’s important and what’s not are inspirational. Read it now and avoid the rush in the surgery waiting room. Tiny book. Hugely important.

ALAS BABYLON by Pat Frank

Come on Baby Boomers, one and all. You must read or re-read this book. It is written in the era of the birth of the concept of M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction). You remember that. Duck and cover, fill the bath tub with water and so forth. The huge monster in the closet. Tell your children or grandchildren, to forever abandon their silly Zombie-fueled apocalypse and go with the biggie: civilization vanishing in a mushroom cloud. That’s scary because it’s real. With the exception of The Bible, the Boomers invented apocalypse. Return to yesteryear (or maybe this year) and relive the good old radioactive days.

BEAUTIFUL DISASTER and WALKING DISASTER by Jamie McGuire

Abby Abernathy and Travis “Mad Dog” Maddox are both in for a challenge. Abby’s is trying not to get involved with people that represent her past. Travis is only interested in relationships that represent the one night stand kind. Did this book catch my attention? Yes it did. The subject matter may not be for everybody but for those who like books about relationships, these two will satisfy that.

THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT by Drew Daywalt

So far, I have read it twice, and I giggle each time! If you ever wondered what your crayons thought as you were coloring a Christmas tree, a Valentine, or just an ordinary, everyday picture, this book will give you the answers! I was in agreement with most of the letters that the crayons wrote and wonder how Duncan settled the dispute between Yellow and Orange? Your kids will love this story and I am quite sure you will relate to it too!

THE MASTER AND THE MARGARITA by Mikhail Bulgakov

This Russian novel, written in the era of Joseph Stalin, is remarkable for at least two reasons : 1) It has the usual Russian lit characteristics, irony, satire, political intrigue, and hypocrisy…but it is funny as well. 2) The survival of the author. A favorite of Stalin, Bulgakov, died a natural death, a miracle in and of itself. It must be noted that almost none of Bulgakov’s works were performed or published before his death in 1940. The book is comprised of three parts that work very well together. So if you’re looking for something shorter than “War and Peace” (and funnier, too) with which to impress your friends, choose this one. And, if there is a long introduction, as there was in this volume, do not read it. It will be written by some frustrated English major who is jealous of Bulgakov’s talent and he won’t even say if he likes the book.

“WE WERE ONE” SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH THE MARINES WHO TOOK FALLUJAH by Patrick K. O’Donnell

This is the chronicle of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment or, in the short hand of the Marines: Lima 3/1 and the second battle of Fallujah that began in November of 2004 and sort of ended in January of 2005. Although geopolitical forces far beyond their pay grades brought the players to this point the reason they fought had nothing to do with the world stage, but had to do with the smallest unit, the fire team. Four men whose lives depended on each other, who were closer in many respects than their own brothers. The author is an historian and it is noticeable. He does as good a job of bringing the reader into the fight as close as possible. As you can imagine, you can’t imagine it. In the grand scheme of things Fallujah is a minute battle when compared with Waterloo, Stalingrad and Yorktown, but we also remember the Alamo, and Thermophile. Combat is at the squad level and this is it.

THE FIRST EMPEROR OF MARS by Bradford Gordon

Set in modern times, the story is a unique combination of science fiction and political intrigue.  Mr. Gordon blends this combination well.  The science is not too technical and the politics are believable.  It is an easy and enjoyable read and leaves me wondering, about Mr. Gordon’s next book.  I am looking forward to it.

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