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Book Reviews -

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This is a group for library patrons and staff to review books they've read and share what they are currently reading.

Non-Fiction Reviews: (View All)

  • What We See When We Read
  • Author: Peter Mendelsund
  • User Rating: 5
  • Review: Adam's rating: 5 stars

    Call #028.9 Mendelsund

    This is one of the best books I've ever read. Why? Because it's given me a new appreciation for reading and a fresh outlook on life. Mendelsund - book cover artist, classical pianist, and philosopher - illustrates through words and art what goes on when we're reading a book. We think we experience a book like we do a movie, with complete images of the characters and scenes. This reflects our brain's attempt to make sense of the book through synecdoche - where the part refers to the whole. We extrapolate. This is true in books as it's true in life. We only see the world through our eyes, no one else's and we're left with an incomplete and blurry picture.

  • The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living
  • Author: Nick Ortner
  • User Rating: 4
  • Review: Need to ILL

    TCL currently does not have the brother's book The Tapping Solution (as of 12/9/2014) so you'll need to ILL (Interlibrary Loan)it. He also has a DVD by the same name. I started with the DVD which followed 10 totally different people with totally different complaints through the process so you could see how it worked. I like the DVD as I'm a visual learner so it was a good introduction for me and there's a section/chapter dedicated solely to explaining the process and how to duplicate on your own.. I then followed with the book just to get more details and the scientific notation of studies.
    I admit that I feel silly doing this - I loathe anything that requires verbal affirmations - but as a life long sufferer of panic disorder I have a rule that I must at least try anything new that comes along. I do have to say after 1 week of tapping I feel less panic so . . .

    FYI - his sister's book by the same title is in the TCL collection. However, it is completely derivative of her brother's book and less successfully so. Her explanations of how the process should be done are lacking and she has no scientific reference like her brother's book. It's like they decided she could put a "chick spin" on the subject and spoon feed it to "ladies". Ugh. And sigh.

Fiction Reviews:(View All)

  • The Invention of Wings
  • Author: Sue Monk Kidd
  • User Rating: 3
  • Review: TCL Call #: F Kidd S

    Cindy W.'s Rating: 3 stars
    Set mostly in ante-bellum Charleston, North Carolina, this novel is based upon the true story of sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke’, who were born into a wealthy, slave-owning Charleston family but who ironically believed, even as children, that slavery was morally wrong. Their compelling story transcends decades, traverses the eastern seaboard, and sheds a spotlight on the abolitionist and feminist movements of the 19th century. The story of Hettie, the slave girl given to Sarah Grimke’ on her eleventh birthday, is even more compelling. Readers who like Civil War historical fiction will probably like this read. I gave it three stars only because the pace slows at times, but I was tempted to give it four.

    Cindy's Rating: 3 stars
    This story follows Hettie Grimke, a Charleston slave, and Sarah, the daughter of the wealthy Grimke family. The novel opens on Sarah's 11th birthday, when she is given ownership of Hettie, who is to become her handmaid.
    The book follows these 2 characters over the next 35 years of their lives. The chapters alternate between the two voices...Hettie's or Sarah's, which illustrate how linked they both are to the culture of slavery.
    It is based on the true story of Sarah Grimke, one of the early pioneers in the abolition and womens' rights movements.
    I only gave the book 3 stars, however, I think mostly because this book by Sue Monk Kidd came with such a reputation that I was anticipating something much more powerful. Upon reflection, it is a quietly emotional read, and I enjoyed the format, which made it more interesting to read.
    And though you cannot call their struggles equal, both women yearned to be free...Sarah from patriarchy and Southern bigotry and Hetty from the institution of slavery.

  • The Signature of All Things
  • Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
  • User Rating: 4
  • Review: F Gilbert E

    Cindy W.'s rating: 4 stars
    I was pleasantly surprised by the scope of this novel, having read only one other book by Elizabeth Gilbert, her quick-read bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. I’ve noticed many reviews use the words “sweeping” and "ambitious" to describe it. These are fitting descriptors for a novel which spans almost a century, takes place on three continents and at least a couple of oceans, and encompasses the issues of science, art, religion, politics and sex. The main characters are fictional, but several of the supporting characters are historical figures: English botanist Joseph Banks, explorer Captain Cook, botanical illustrator Ambrose Pike, evolutionist Charles Darwin and others. The backdrop of the novel is the birth and early years of the international pharmaceutical trade. It plods in places, moving about as slowly as does moss, the plant the novel’s heroine studies, but I would recommend it to any reader who is drawn to historical fiction and botany and who has the time to read a lot over a short period of time. It’s too expansive a novel to read a few pages at a time.

    Stephanie C's rating: 4 stars
    After reading her bestseller "Eat, Pray, Love" several years ago, I was not a big Elizabeth Gilbert fan. However, after a few pages into "The Signature of All Things" I am a convert. This is an intriguing historical fiction about the life of Alma Whittaker, the self-taught botanist, daughter of a poor Englishman who became wealthy on the quinine trade in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Born in 1800 Alma is confined to societal restrictions of her time. As she spends most of her life exploring the natural world on her family's estate in Philadelphia Alma is naive to the ways of the world outside the family library. Following the brief marriage to a botanical illustrator Ambrose Pike, Alma is led outside of her comfortable life on the estate to explore the world in search of her family and herself.