By Shaileen B.
As Einstein said, time sure can fly! It's hard to believe that Literary Elements, the 2014 Adult Summer Reading Program, is over. Here's one last sampling of reviews from our terrific participants:
Ryan D. (Brooklyn Branch) on Skin Game by Jim Butcher: "The phenomenal quality of Butcher's books just get better with time. Could not put this one down. In this book Harry Dresden, Winter Knight, and Warden, must team up with his arch nemesis Nicodemus."
Holly D. (Brooklyn Branch) on Animal Liberation by Peter Singer: "An interesting and thought provoking read. While the author can be very insistent that his views are the 'correct' views with regard to vegetarianism, he still makes very good arguments for at least limiting the suffering of animals in a farm environment, and excellent arguments for the limitation of use of animals in experimentation."
Monica S. (Central Library) on Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgement by Nikki Giovanni: "Really and seriously, it reads like a racist manifesto, but reverse it. And don't let that deter you, Black or otherwise, from a dose of Miss Giovanni's ribald, cutting, loving, amen-saying, throw-your-hands-in-the-air insight. Eureka it is."
Veronika W. (Central Library) on The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks:
"The Harlem Hellfighters is a book that details the account of the 369th regiment of all-black soldiers who fought overseas in WWI. Before reading this novel I was only vaguely aware of blacks fighting in war and only knew about the Tuskegee Airmen, but this fictionalized account of these soldiers' bravery in the war effort made me feel proud of my history. The best part of this novel, besides the amazing story, is that it is written in graphic novel format! The art and graphics are simply amazing!"
Charles D. (Central Library) on Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl:
"This was a life-changing book--the kind of book that you will never ever forget, it's the kind of book that you want all your closest friends to read, so they can get better insight on existentialism. A must-read, this book moved me in many ways."
Danielle S. (Central Library) on The Good Wife by Jane Porter: "The Good Wife was an emotional ride. She (Sarah) wants to know that she is more than a wife, mother, and daughter. The family dynamics of this story are intense and gripping. This novel pulls you in as a reader and keeps you in suspense until the last page. Great book."
Gary S. (Central Library) on Jack Maggs by Peter Carey: "In 1837 Jack Maggs--wrongly convicted by a kangaroo court--is sentenced to a life in exile, in hard labor in Australia. (Note cleverly worked-in pun!) He escapes and returns to London with goals of revenge and proving his innocence. The strongest character is London: raw sewage, rats, fog (really smog), and soot."
Toni G. (Edmondson Avenue Branch) on Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann: "The story and characters are portrayed against the backdrop of Philippe Petit's 1974 walk across a high wire suspended between the NYC Twin Towers. McCann links the characters together by the end of the book in a beautiful, moving narrative. I read this book for my Book Club. I finished it one morning before driving to work and I found myself thinking a lot about the characters and the story and actually started to shed a few tears. Very poignant novel that reminds us that there is much more that unites us than separates us."
Mark C. (Govans Branch) on Paris 1919 by Margaret MacMillan:
"A very readable and informative book about the peace talks following World War I. The author does a great job of explaining complex relationships while also giving the men (and woman) involved a human presence."
Rebecca P. (Govans Branch) on Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa:
"This book gripped me from early on. I have read histories of the Palestinian people before but somehow the injustices hit me harder coming from a work of fiction. Stayed up late to finish it and stayed up after finishing it to think about it."
Noelani L. (Govans Branch) on Below Stairs by Margaret Powell:
"If you enjoy Downton Abbey you are sure to find this book delightful, as it served as inspiration for that program's creator. The author worked in domestic service, first as a kitchen maid and later a cook. Her first-hand accounts are funny, poignant, and charming. This short memoir is a fast read. I wish it had been longer."
Andrea S. (Hamilton Branch) on Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell: "Interesting read filled with moments of 'So that's how I know that!'"
Wendy S. (Hamilton Branch) on The Circle by Dave Eggers:
"A dystopian novel for adults. Eggers describes the circle, surprisingly like the Google complex, a business that controls its employees through subtle and sometimes not so subtle peer pressure. As new employee, Mae, negotiates the Circle, the reader realizes that the circle is gaining too much control over its employees and all Americans. The question is: Will Mae realize this before it is too late? Great social commentary!"
Whitney J. (Hamilton Branch) on Nothing to Lose by Lee Child:
"This is a Jack Reacher novel. Need I say more? There are some really creepy characters in this one. A good read."
Himani S. (Light Street Branch) on What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty:
"Light, quick summer read. Great for the beach! not trashy--just fun. What happened to the intense, married, mother of three--who fell off her bike during her favorite spinning class??!!"
Jeanne R. (Light Street Branch) on The Book of Killowen by Erin Hart:
"I grab Erin Hart's books as soon as I see them. Archaeology in Ireland, correct info about discoveries in bogs, all with great characters."
Meredith V. (Staff) on Avalon High by Meg Cabot:
"The first Meg Cabot book I ever read, and still one of my favorites. It's funny, exciting, and a little romantic. The King Arthur myth is used sparingly but effectively. Plus, it takes place in Maryland, and it's always fun to read about fictional people in places you've actually been."