By Shaileen B.
Here are some of the reviews written so far by participants in the Adult Summer Reading Program, "Exercise Your Mind. Read!"
Jessica B. (Central Library) on The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin: Wonderful book -- mix of personal stories, theology, and thoughtful observation. Highly recommended read!
Patricia F. (Central Library) on Body of Lies by David Ignatius: David Ignatius is a foreign affairs columnist who has been with The Washington Post for 25 years, best known for following the CIA and the Middle East. Body of Lies starts off with a riff inspired by The Man Who Knew Too Much, but it rapidly turns into a thriller that you cannot put down. Nothing is what it seems in the intelligence community; more description would spoil the plot and its completely unexpected ending. Do read!
Cynthia M. (Forest Park Branch) on Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: I've been trying to finish this book for years now. It's a classic, and has made its way into the literary canon for teachers of English Language Arts. I must say, everything you've heard about it is true. It's an excellent teaching source for so many literary devices like diction, dialect, imagery, tone, author's purpose, dialogue, word choice, and more. Good summer read.
Christine R. (Govans Branch) on Love May Fail by Matthew Quick: From the author of The Silver Linings Playbook comes another quirky group of people trying to find meaning in life. Part Dickens, part Vonnegut, an engaging read.
Whitney J. (Hamilton Branch) on The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin: A fascinating tale of a family's dealing with terror created in a past life, this is a fascinating story. It's hard to believe it's a first book. I'm off to locate the author's recommended resources. Wow!
Edward G. (Hampden Branch) on The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck: I was struck by the exploration of transcendentalism, and the growth of Tom as a secular, socialist Christ figure. In our introduction to Casey and his lost faith, we start into a journey of shucking off the anti-humanist mantle of organized religion and the social structures that it champions. We are finally rewarded with Tom's "wherever" Sermon on the Mount.
Laura M. (Hampden Branch) on A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe: Good beach read! Emmaline turns 18 in a small town in the Midwest in 1958. It seems like her whole life is planned out already without her say-so. Emmy meets a boy who gives her a glimpse of another path, so she declares her independence. You won't be able to wait to see what happens to Emmy next, and you'll be rooting for her all the while.
Miriam S. (Hampden Branch) on The Atonement by Beverly Lewis: For me, The Atonement was a refreshing read during busy summer weeks. I was challenged by the lessons of forgiveness of one another, forgiveness of yourself, and healing grace. I also enjoyed the book because I grew up in Lancaster County, PA. I am familiar with many of the places mentioned; can picture the action happening on the farms, back roads, and villages; and know the culture. It was like a mini-vacation in my former home area!
Daryl M. (Light Street Branch) on Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein: It's been decades since I've read Heinlein's quintessential novel about a human raised on Mars and brought back to Earth to share grokking with humanity.
Nancy G. (Light Street Branch) on The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks: Another winner for Geraldine Brooks. She makes the Biblical descriptions of David look weak and pale -- historical fiction, loaded with gripping detail of another land and time that still influence our history today. Another example of "what's old is new again."
Stephanie H. (Northwood Branch) on Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique: This is a great book about the intricacies of love, family, and inherited memory/trauma. As we head into summer, one of the metaphors throughout the book illustrated how ironic it was to have an island of people that could not swim, and how learning that life-saving skill either gave them freedom or allowed them to drown (figuratively and literally for both). There are dark moments in the story, but they are countered by Yanique's painting of the landscape and people and by the moments of tenderness between lovers or a mother and child.
Dionne J. (Roland Park Branch) on Perfect Peace by Daniel Black: Perfect Peace is a story about a seventh child born to the Peace family born as a boy but raised as a girl. The mother, Emma Jean Peace, wanted a girl after having six boys and decided to create her own illusion and deception naming her seventh child Perfect. For eight years, she dressed her son as a girl. This book goes deep into deception and how to deal with turmoil.
For a chance to win fabulous prizes, submit an entry to the Adult Summer Reading Program here.