By Shaileen B.
They read widely, they read eagerly, and they read with care. Here are 14 more insightful reviews from participants in the Groundbreaking Reads summer reading program.
Kristen B. (Roland Park Branch) on The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster:
This book started out fantastic. Two chapters in, I was recommending it to all of my friends. I felt I could really relate to this woman. Then, I learned she (much like Martha) was so out of my league. I don't know anyone with a rose keeper, pool man, and landscaper. Apparently she did ditch her hose cleaner for her "Year of Martha." She had more free time than the combined total of any 10 adults I know. She also had a fair amount of discretionary income. I was hoping for a real woman's journey to be more like Martha, but this was not it.
Julian K. (Walbrook Branch) on Dave Bing: A Life of Challenge by Drew Sharp:
...I salute Dave Bing for telling his story. I would encourage every young black male to read this book.
Robin S. (Light Street Branch) on Horns by Joe Hill:
I couldn't put it down! Perfect summer read. I'm looking forward to the movie adaptation.
Joanne S. (Central Library) on King Rat by James Clavell:
...The subject matter of King Rat is grim, but the characters are well drawn, and in fact, unforgettable. Although, having seen the film first, I will never know how I would have visualized these characters, yet I can say after reading the book itself, that never were three characters more perfectly cast. I highly recommend this book.
Ernette J. (Walbrook Branch) on Pretenses by Keith Lee Johnson:
Wonderful book. Long, but you can't put it down. Good balance of romance and suspense. Keeps you guessing until the last page.
Laurie B. (Central Library) on Billy Boyle by James R. Benn:
An inexperienced Boston detective gets assigned to Ike's personal staff in WW2 London. This is the first in a series of eight so far. I appreciate the historical detail, and the book reminded me of the Sheldon Russell series, where Hook Runyon, a security agent for the Santa Fe railroad in the 1940s, also gets results from a combination of audacity and plodding determination.
Mona P. (Light Street Branch) on Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld:
This book was a definite page-turner. I enjoy Ms. Sittenfeld's writing very much. I was not sure if I would like the book since it is about psychic sisters. But I was fascinated by the story and the twists and turns. There are many interesting characters and even some good laughs.
Mickie G. (Govans Branch) on Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein:
For all of us coming to grips with aging, Klein offers wisdom from his friends on a Greek island and from philosophers. A small book that entertains and enlightens--one hopes.
Patrice B. (Walbrook Branch) on Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money, and God by Russell Simmons with Nelson George:
Frank depiction of Russell's rise as a music/business mogul. Interesting story of how being in the right place at the right time, and meeting the right people, can change the direction of your life.
Jennifer R. (Central Library) on Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl:
What I loved about this book was the Southern charm and historical intrigue that was laced throughout the tale. In addition to a refreshing twist on the traditional supernatural characters (incubuses instead of vampires, casters instead of witches) this book has a villain that's bent on remaking the world. It's excitement from the very beginning, and does not disappoint.
Jobi Z. (Central Library) on The Million Dollar Mermaid by Esther Williams with Digby Diehl:
Since Esther Williams died this June, and with Fluid Movement's water ballet coming up in July/August, it seemed like the perfect time to read this book. Autobiography of Esther Williams is well written and entertaining, as MGM studios provides a cast of characters. I'd seen a few of Esther Williams's movies and found her charming and talented. You can see the talent beyond the fluff and script. Reading her autobiography let me in on the big secret: none of her three husbands were anywhere close to Prince Charming! She may have let her children down, but she did inspire the entire sport of synchronized swimming.
Herman M. (Roland Park Branch) on Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami:
An astonishing, brilliant novel by one of Japan's leading contemporary novelists. I can say without hesitation that fans of magical realism will not be disappointed in Kafka on the Beach.
Rick D. (Central Library) on The Great God Success by David Graham Phillips:
Short novel of the rise of the lead character's career (his "suckcess" as Dylan might have called it) and the slow erosion or betrayal (by himself) of his integrity, moral character, and love for his wife (I won't spoil it for you by giving any more...).
Michael D. (Light Street Branch) on Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved the Nation by Steve Vogel:
This is the best history of the War of 1812 for those who live in Maryland. The characters we all hear about—F. S. Key, General Smith, Major Armistead, President Monroe, Commodore Joshua Barney, British General Ross, Admiral Cochrane, Admiral Coburn—appear life-like in an intertwined but clear narrative of events from invasion of Washington to Battle of Baltimore. Final chapter focuses on the interesting later life of F. S. Key and the Star Spangled Banner. A great popular history...five stars.