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From Portnoy to Ishmael: 12 More Reviews from the Central Library's Summer Reading Participants

Posted In: Recommendations, Summer Reading for Adults - Groundbreaking Reads, Summer Reading
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By Shaileen B.

Summer Reading for Adults Join NowSummertime, and the living is easy at the Pratt Library. I don't know whether fish are jumping—the ones in the fishpond at the Central Library usually look sleepy to me—but the piles of appealing books are certainly high.

Participants in Groundbreaking Reads are devouring those books with enthusiasm. With each volume they complete, they get a chance at a fantastic prize. Why not join them? Use our online entry form or the paper form at your branch to tell us any book you've read since June 1.

You don't have to review the book, but if you do you'll be in good company! Check out these reviews submitted to the Central Library.

Brian G. on Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth:
Story of my life! Most uncomfortable family vacation-beach read ever.

C. A. on The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander:
A must-read for every minority male or someone who is raising a male of minority!

Arteasha K. on The Sunshine When She's Gone by Thea Goodman:
As a mom of two both out of the stage of infancy, I reminisced a lot about the feelings and emotions described within the story. I found it hilarious at times and heart-wrenching at others. I highly recommend this book.

Jerome B. on Little Green by Walter Mosley:
I purchased this tome after coming down to the reading held for the author [Listen to the podcast]. I found it very entertaining but I thought the subplot involving the attempted extortion of Jackson / Proxy Nine to be unnecessary.

Shannon S. on Charm City by Laura Lippman
My favorite Tess Monaghan. So fun to read about Baltimore in the 90s (when I came here) and to realize the changes.

Amy T. on The Selection by Kiera Cass
Loved this young adult novel! This book felt like a mix between The Hunger Games and The Bachelor and was so hard to put down.

Jane S. on The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston:
Preston was in the midst of his book on the eradication and resurrection of the smallpox virus when the anthrax attacks took place. This makes the book even more frightening and fascinating. I learn so much when I read his books and am in awe of his meticulous research, his rapport with scientists, and his fluid style. Plus, I think he brings to life the courage and tenacity of scientists, FBI agents, and others who work every day to save lives—usually without anyone being aware of their courage.

Jennifer R. on Bared to You by Sylvia Day:
If you liked Fifty Shades of Grey, you will love this book as it is nearly identical with very few details changed. It's almost astonishing how similar the stories are, even though Day admits to having been influenced by E. L. James in writing her novel. Nevertheless, if you have a Christian-Grey-shaped hole in your heart after finishing the Fifty Shades series, then meet Gideon Cross, your newest obsession.

Kathryn T. on Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake:
Teen horror book that was genuinely creepy. I can't wait for the movie to come out!

Maureen O. on Inferno by Dan Brown:
Dan Brown always delivers novels filled with suspense, history, and travel guides to foreign lands! This novel combined historical info about Dante, as well as theories about population control and viral engineering. I read this as an ebook and the narration was expressive and compelling.

Joanne S. on Pandora's Lunchbox by Melanie Warner:
From the "pure food" crusades of Harvey Wiley in the late 1800s, which culminated in the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act in the United States, to the convoluted chemistry that produces our most cherished "comfort foods," such as American Cheese and Corn Flakes, Pandora's Lunchbox will change the way you regard the most familiar foods on the grocery store shelf. Melanie Wiley details the chemical additives and the manufacturing processes that convert basic real foods into the manufactured products that look, smell, and remain seemingly "fresh" the way consumers expect them to.

Besides having researched the chemistry in order to explain it to the reader, she also has written an entertaining narrative that you would expect to sound partisan or didactic, but her voice remains surprisingly neutral. Sometimes, such as her description of how American Cheese came to be, you would expect a bit of outrage at how a dairy product became so stripped of real nutrition that it would last two years in her refrigerator without going moldy, but she actually sounds more intrigued than outraged. A very eye-opening book!

Jobi Z. on Moby Dick by Herman Melville:
I want a medal for finishing this book! While I really didn't LIKE the book, I can understand why it is a good book and a real classic. Excellent portrayal of a crazy captain, encyclopedic details about every whale type. But did Ishmael ever interact with anyone once he was on board?


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