Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

For anyone who enjoys Richard Peck's work, especially A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago, A Season of Gifts is the next book you should pick up.

Mrs Dowdel is back. We saw her as the grandmother during the Depression, taking care of her granddaughter and, occasionally, her grandson. Here she is, older but just as feisty - always with a trick up her sleeve to right wrongs and keep bullies off balance.

I wouldn't say that I want to be exactly like Mrs. Dowdel, but I do like her style.

Kathi Linz

30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog

30 Days to a well-Mannered Dog: The Loved Dog Method by Tamar Geller tells dog owners the 7 basic needs of dogs. You learn to teach a dog good behavior by getting them to look to you for instruction, by reinforcing their good behavior, and deprogramming their wolf-like instincts without hurting them. Tamar Geller gives clear, simple instructions that will help any dog-owner train any dog.

I live with two dogs and have instituted several of her suggestions. It would be very useful for anyone contemplating getting a dog to read this book first. She tells you how to work with the dog from Day One.

Kathi Linz

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Lary Levin

Oogy, the hero of Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin, is a most remarkable dog. Probably because he would not fight, Oogy was used as bait so some other dog could learn to kill. In Oogy's case, he wasn't killed in the battle, but having half of his face and one ear ripped off, and being abandoned with open wounds almost finished the job. When he was found, he was taken to an emergency hospital where they cleaned up his wounds and saved his life.

At first, Oogy was mistaken for a pit bull, but eventually the Levins found out that he was a dogo, an Argentinian breed known for its loyalty, love of children, avoidance of fighting, but a killing machine when necessary. These animals are used in hunting wild boars and jaguars. Imagine the size and power this type of dog has!

Oogy adopted a family who love to adopt. The twin boys were adopted and Oogy became "the third twin". His story is amazing.

I enjoyed this book as much as I did Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron.

Kathi Linz

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Instant Millionaire: A Tale of Wisdom and Wealth

The Instant Millionaire: A Tale of Wisdom and Wealth by Mark Fisher had an odd feel to me. It reminded me of the story The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason which I enjoyed and appreciated.

This book contained good advice as "Set goals for yourself with a definite amount and a definite ending date" "Set your creative mind to work on what you want".

I was bugged by the twisting of Scripture to mean something other than the original intent. I believe the story could have stood on its own and carried off the strength of its message without the warped Bible passages.

Kathi Linz

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oprah, Miracles, and the New Earth: A Critique

The book Oprah, Miracles and the New Earth: A Critique by Erwin W. Lutzer (Moody Publishers) illustrates the differences between Christian Scripture and books by the New Age guests frequently seen on Oprah.

The term "Free-thinking Christian" as it applies to chosing the doctrines you like and the ones you don't is an oxymoron.

Kathi Linz

Monday, November 15, 2010

Knit to Be Square: Domino Designs to Knit & Felt

In Knit to Be Square: Domino Designs to Knit & Felt by Vivian Hoxbro, a knitter can learn how to knit mitered squares in such a way that they are attached as you work. One square builds on its neighbor giving a design that resembles diamonds with touching points. Many of the patterns use garter stitch making this a fun project for even a beginning knitter.

The book is heavily illustrated with photographs of each step in the process. The directions are clear and easy to understand. I am a nominal knitter at best, yet I understood their directions with no trouble.

If you are looking for something a little different - maybe something new to craft for Christmas - this might be the book for you.

Kathi Linz

Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook: All You Need to Cook a Foolproof Dinner

The Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook: All You Need to Cook a Foolproof Dinner has some interesting variations on traditional themes and recipes for leftovers. A few examples are: Southwestern Turkey, Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Stuffed with Wild Rice and Cranberries, several gravy and stuffing recipes, rolls, muffins, biscuits, Cornish Hen with Bulgar-Bacon Stuffing, Salmon with Cranberry-Pistachio Sauce, Slow Cooker Pumpkin Apple Dessert, and much more. Tasty!!

I wouldn't necessarily save all of these recipes only for Thanksgiving. They would be yummy any time of the year.

Kathi Linz

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Rough Guide to the Energy Crisis by David Buchan (333.79 Buchan)

This is a very informative book if one is interested in the energy crisis. The author provides a wealth of information about the various energy sources and describes the advantages and problems of each source including oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and a variety of renewable sources.
Submitted by,
Jim Wichman

Interstate 69 by Matt Dellinger (388.122 Del)

This book tells an interesting story about the political and social interactions that are part of attempting to build a major interstate highway. It also tells the story of several Indiana families who supported and opposed this highway.

Jim Wichman

Friday, October 29, 2010

Eating animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (available in Book on CD or Book-641.303 Foer)

This is a must read for anyone interested in a healthy environment and healthy eating. The author discusses factory farming and the toxic practices that are affecting the animals and the environment. Desensitized workers and unregulated or ignored regulations have lead to inhumane treatment of the animals and toxic land sites. Unnatural life spans and indoor living in cruel conditions are creating unhealthy animals affected by parasites and diseases. The suffering of the animals and the health risks involved through improper handling of the animals raises a serious red flag that something is very wrong.-Submitted by Terri Wichman

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What in the Wolrd is Going On?: 10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore

In What in the World Is Going On?: 10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore, Dr. David Jeremiah compares current events to Biblical prophecy. A good deal of it will be familiar to those who have looked into this subject, but I did run into several new ideas. I admit that it made my hair prickle when the day after I read one of those ideas, that same issue was on the news.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet by Margaret Huber

The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet by Margaret Huber is basically a crochet stitch encyclopedia, although it does contain a few interesting patterns that use some of the stitches.

There were a few techniques that were new to me (or I did them so long ago that I had forgotten) including one called intermeshing crochet. It looks complicated, but is simply two mesh designs worked over each other. (Mesh is double crochet, chain, double crochet, chain...).
Another cool pattern was a spiral shape worked in four colors.

If you like to work with yarn, this is a book you won't want to miss.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

This author describes a tragedy that most of us do not think about.
-posted for Jim Wichman

Crisis Economics by Nouriel Roubini & Stephen Mihm

The authors have written a book that provides an easy to understand description of the finance world. The authors explain the recent financial crisis and its consequences. An excellent book. -posted for Jim Wichman

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers by Pam Anderson

I checked through the recipes in Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers by Pam Anderson. I bet the dishes are very tasty, but they have lots of butter. If I made the dishes in this book, I would have to change out some of the ingredients for others a little less fat.

Kathi Linz

How to Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave Fake Trails, and Vanish Without a Trace by Frank M. Ahearn and Eileen C. Horan.

If you've ever considered dropping out of sight or want to make yourself safer from someone who might want your personal information, you should pick up How to Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave Fake Trails, and Vanish Without a Trace by Frank Ahearn and Eileen Horan.

The first thing this book recommends is that you get out of Facebook, Myspace, and any other social website. Then the author tells you how to delete your name from some of the primary places a skip tracer will look for your information. He tells you how to alter some of the information you have in other places, so that you become technically invisible.

This book made me a little paranoid about how many or what type of people might be looking for my information. You will also discover a way to find out who is doing an online search for your name.

Kathi Linz

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Second Nature by Jonathan Balcombe

If more people understood what this author is trying to communicate, the world would be a healthier and happier place. Posted for Jim Wichman.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Having read several of the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan, I found that he was not only well-versed in Greek mythology, but he had an entertaining way of bringing the old gods into modern times.

As I know less about Egyptian mythology than Greco-Roman lore, I was curious about The Red Pyramid. I got a lot of information out of the book without being bored even once.

Carter and Sadie Kane battle Set and other evil creatures during the Demon Days. A few of the good gods - Maat, Horus, Isis - a baboon named Khufu and an albino crocodile called Philip of Macedonia help them. There's also a bunch of magicians who have their own agenda and, for the most part, you don't know whose side they are on through most of the book, but they do make for some interesting complications.

I won't try to cover the same ground as Mr. Riordan except for this: In Egypt, black is a good color because the black soil grows food, while red is the color of death because nothing will grow in the red desert sand. That will give you a hint about the title of the book.


The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion: 37 Patterns to Embrace, Inspire & Celebrate Life

There are several good books with patterns for knititng comfort/prayer shawls. Now there is one for us crocheters. The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion: 37 Patterns to Embrace, Inspire & Celebrate Life by Janet Bristow & Victoria A. Cole-Galo has both rectangular and triangular shawl patterns. Most are listed as easy; a few are intermediate.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180 by Mike Magnuson

In his book Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180, Mike Magnuson tells about his first 38 years of eating, drinking, and smoking . He then describes his love of cycling and how he determined to change his life. At first he joined a bicycling club and began to get into shape, but since he was frequently hung-over, had smoky lungs, and weighed (in a couple of cases) double what the other members weighed, he was always far behind the pack.

As Mike changed his habits, he was able to accomplish more and more in his cycling passion. He rode several "centuries", hundred mile treks, including one called "Bridge to Bridge" which is an up-and-down mountains trail. By the end of the book, Mike had lost something over 100 lbs. and was nearly as fit as Lance Armstrong.

One major point that Mike makes is that he did not take up bike riding to get in shape. He did it because he loves to ride bicycles. In order to become good at what he loved, the other things fell by the wayside.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Eating Well in Season: The Farmer's Market Cookbook by Jessie Price

With the farmer's market so close by the library, I checked this book out (Eating Well in Season: The Farmer's Market Cookbook by Jessie Price) to see what recipes might look tasty. There were a lot of excellent recipes that seemed easy to prepare. If you want new ideas for healthy meals or want to work on a more balanced diet, this book will give you some interesting options.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Great Potato Cookbook by Reader's Digest

The Great Potato Cookbook put out by Reader's Digest has over 250 recipes for cooking soups, salads, main dishes, vegetarian dishes, and even desserts with potatoes and sweet potatoes. It describes the difference between floury (high starch) potatoes and waxy (low starch) potatoes and how to best use each.

My main complaint with many cookbooks is that the recipes ask for ingredients and spices that I don't generally have on hand. This cookbook is mostly plain cooking but with combinations that will make you think, "That's worth trying." There are recipes representing various ethnic tastes, yet nothing so exotic that you can't find the main spices or ingredients. ("Hey, hon, would you please pick up some blowfish for supper tonight?")


One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus is based on an actual request by Sweet Medicine Man Lone Wolf to President Ulysses S. Grant that one thousand white women be given to the Cherokee nation as brides so that their children could walk in both worlds. Although the request was never fulfilled, Jim Fergus has made an intriguing story about the first - and only - forty women who went to be Cherokee brides. May Dodd emerges as a lynch pin in this little group. She keeps several journals during her year in the West describing the journey from Chicago and the reason she signed up, their stay at the last fort before meeting the Cherokees, their month of acclimation before the group wedding ceremony, and the events that followed right up until the Black Hills became interesting to gold-seekers, and the Indian nations took their stand to remain free people.

It was interesting to see the events leading up to the Battle of the Little Big Horn through white eyes living with the Cherokee. Had May kept writing, she might have found that she didn't fit well in either world anymore.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Telling by Beverly Lewis

Grace Byler spends all of this trilogy wondering why her mother Lettie left the family and doing what she can to find her. With "Englischer" Heather's help, Grace follows clues to her mother's whereabouts, always missing Lettie by a day or two.

One of the major themes running through the three books is adoption. The reader will see the ending coming a mile away, but the twist involves who it is that does "The Telling".

While I enjoy Beverly Lewis's books, I don't think she needed a whole trilogy to tell this story.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rewilding the World by Caroline Fraser

The author tells an interesting story. To me it highlights a paradox. Humans do their best to avoid the hazards of living wild such as predation and lack of care for the injured and sick. However we prescribe this as a solution for all other creatures except our pets.-posted for Jim Wichman

Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin

The author describes the recent financial crisis on a day by day basis as it developed. The book discusses different political viewpoints but does not take a political viewpoint. He describes the people involved and their concerns without casting them as villains. -posted for Jim Wichman

American Heroes by Edmund Morgan

This book tells the story of American heroes such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and others from a different perspective. The author describes these people in the context of their time leading to a more complete understanding of these people. -posted for Jim Wichman

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Missing By Beverly Lewis

It's a little difficult to tell about the second book in a trilogy since there is a part before and a part after. Beverly Lewis' series "Seasons of Grace" tells the story of Grace Byler's Amish family in "The Secret", "The Missing", and "The Telling".

With the exception of the Rumschpringe (an adolescent running-around time), an Amish person's life generally runs in an orderly way. Yet, Grace's mother, Lettie, has suddenly run away from home to parts only guessed at. Lettie's parents have a fear that they know where she is and why Lettie left her family, but they aren't telling. This leaves Lettie's husband and children confused and feeling abandoned.

In "The Missing", Grace wanders slightly afield in a local search for her mother at the same time as a handsome young man tries to court her while helping around her father's farm.

The book ends with Grace and her "Englisher" friend Heather driving off to Ohio in Heather's fancy car.

The third book in the series is on my bookshelf awaiting an opportune time. To be continued...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes

For anyone interested in science, this book is informative and enjoyable to read. The author describes the personal lives and the important discoveries of early scientists such as Joseph Banks, William and Caroline Herschel, Humphry Davy and Michael Faraday. Understanding the lives and thinking of these scientists makes it easier to understand their scientific discoveries.-Jim Wichman

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King: A Nonfiction Thriller by James Patterson and Martin Dugard

I love history - the older, the better. This book, The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King: A Nonfiction Thriller by James Patterson and Martin Dugard, had me standing in the palace of Akhenaten and his son Tutankhamen, watching the political intrigue, the servant spies, and the murders of royalty. I followed Howard Carter and his patrons up and down the Valley of the Kings hunting for lost tombs and, more importantly, tomb treasure undisturbed by grave robbers.

The chapters mainly alternate between Ancient Egypt and the early 1900's while Howard Carter worked in Egypt. Occasionally James Patterson throws in a few pages that describe his own hunt for accurate information and some of his writing techniques. One of those techniques was "Be There". Patterson describes events as if he were a personal observer in that time and place. His writing is so convincing that I came away from my reading with a suntan and sand under my fingernails. I felt the heat and gasped for a breath of pure air when Carter traversed the underground hallways carved for dead kings.

This book is more than worth the time you spend reading it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke

In Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke, Hannah Swensen does more baking at home than she does in her bakery, The Cookie Jar. When Hannah is stressed, she bakes, and in this book, she has plenty of cause for stress.

Hannah's sister, Andrea, is terrified that her husband is going to accept a job offer in Florida. Hannah's younger sister, Michelle, moves in with her. Norman goes away for a few days, leaving his cat with Hannah. She is recruited to be a magician's assistant for a friend during a huge city-wide event for which she is also baking hundreds of cookies and apple turnovers. On top of that, the man who caused Hannah damage in college and is now dating her sister, ends up murdered right after Hannah threatens him in front of witnesses.

I will not tell you the end. But...both Norman and Mike surprise Hannah... and not necessarily in a way that makes her happy. And there are some excellent new recipes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

History for Genealogists

History for Genealogists: Using Chronological Time Lines To Find and Understand Your Ancestors. By Judy Jacobson. Clearfield. 2009.

As advertised by the subtitle, this book is mainly timelines ... but sandwiched among the timelines in highly readable style are examples of how timelines can help track ancestors. Included are looks at immigration from various countries and migration by trails and roads. The influences of military actions, racism, religion, disease, disasters, and economics are considered along with sections on myths, confusion, secrets, lies, missing persons and lost towns and states. Sketchy timelines are included for each state and several countries. Includes bibliography and index.

Available for use in the Local History area at the Seymour Library.
- Charlotte Sellers

Sunday, May 9, 2010

13 Bankers

13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson and James Kwak. Pantheon. 30 March 2010.

He Who Has the Gold ... makes the rules – and Wall Street has. Reading this book, I thought about greedy needy King John of England and events surrounding the Magna Carta in 1215 ... as if the banks were king and, in my dreams, Congress the barons who [could have] stood up to the king.

Johnson and Kwak in the book and their frequently quoted Baseline Scenario website report in clear and readable pages how Wall Street and federal lawmakers reached their current symbiotic state where politics depends more and more on money which Wall Street continues to accumulate in ever greater quantities and uses to make dependent friends in the nation’s capital.

The authors lay out why current practices threaten the economy, the country, and the well-being of all. Only public opinion – “a popular consensus that too big to fail is too big to exist” – can bring about “the choice to finish the job that [Theodore] Roosevelt began a century ago, and to take a stand against concentrated financial power just as he took a stand against concentrated industrial power.”

They make a compelling and understandable case for regulation.
- Charlotte Sellers

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Post Your Own Book Reviews !

It would be great if you, our JCPL customers and fans, would post your own book reviews here. Just use Comment (on this Post) to write your review.

New Book on Conspiracy Theory vs Fact

Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History by David Aaronovitch

Very interesting book as it describes how many people prefer to believe conspiracy theory rather than research the facts about current events and recent history. -Jim Wichman

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Timely book on real estate markets and banking

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis 

This book explains the recent financial crisis better then any of the six books I have read on the subject. -Jim Wichman

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Learn to Feel Better & Present the Real You--Using Your "Own" Colors

The Color of Style : A Fashion Expert Helps You Find Colors That Attract Love, Enhance Your Power, Restore Your Energy, Make a Lasting Impression, and Show the World Who You Really Are by David Zyla

It was fun to kick back and relax with the newest book on personal use of color. I was surprised that David Zyla hit a home run helping people find their true "base" colors similar in theory to an old book by Florence Littauer that I considered to be the best on the subject. I just wish he showed the palettes of color, like the old Littauer book.

Colorist/stylist for celebrities, Zyla tells how to use your own body colors to find what makes you feel very comfortable and to express yourself in different situations or occasions. This book can help people get rid of the "wrong" things in their closets, choose a new wardrobe, or just one piece of clothing or an accessory. Learn to make a statement in business, romance, or decor, and be a better you, the way you were created to be!

Becky Brewer

Good garden book: Planthropology

Planthropology: The Myths, Mysteries, and Miracles of My Garden Favorites by Ken Druse  

This is a good book for anyone that enjoys plants and gardening. "It uncovers scientific facts, dispels myths, exposes controversies, tells some rollicking good anecdotes, and, along the way, casually dispenses an abundance of practical gardening wisdom." I enjoyed reading this book. -Jim Wichman

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Hidden Flame by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

I love history. The older the better, and I especially enjoy Biblical fiction. Davis Bunn and Janette Oke wrote The Hidden Flame as part of a series called "Acts of Faith" about people who lived in the early Christian era. With the freedoms America enjoys, I don't always stop to realize how difficult it would have been to be a Christian at the beginning of the church. If the Romans weren't watching you for signs of sedition (a crime worthy of crucifixion), then the rulers of the temple where accusing you of blasphemy.

Abigail and her younger brother Jacob do their best to survive in this tempestuous time. Jacob suffers all the traumas of orphaned adolescents on top of that. Abigail, as a young beautiful Judean woman finds herself with two suitors for her hand. One is a rich Jewish merchant and one is a Roman centurion. As the plot comes to a head, Abigail finds herself with a surprise fiance. Although this book is entire in itself, a reader can easily see how more titles could be added to the series.

This book is currently in the New Book section. Pick it up for a quick, engrossing trip to the first century AD.


Inside the Kingdom by Carmen Bin Ladin

Having heard things about the treatment of women in Iraq, I wondered how Carmen Bin Ladin would describe Saudi Arabia and the Bin Laden family. Inside the Kingdom gives her account of her life there.

Carmen was raised in Switzerland by a Persian (Iranian) mother and a Swiss father. She met Yeslam Bin Ladin in Switzerland and together they attended college in Californina. Carmen tells how big a step it was to go from American freedom to the strictures imposed on women in Saudi Arabia. She talks about how women aren't encouraged to have opinions on much of anything and how difficult it was for her to hold a conversation with her mother- and sisters-in-law. Due to catastrophic events in the country, Yeslam started to have a quiet nervous breakdown. Carmen knew her own and the lives of her three girls would come under less and less freedom, so after a vacation in Geneva, she and the girls stayed. When called to Saudi Arabia to appear in divorce court, Carmen believed that her husband would have accused her of adultery for which the penalty is death. She hadn't gone back as of the writing of this book.

Just as interesting as her own story, one finds Osama Bin Ladin woven through the tale. One of the most eye-opening passages tells how Osama became a national hero when he went to Afghanistan with heavy equipment to help the Afghanis build bunkers and tunnels during the Russian invasion. It occurred to me, "No wonder he's so hard to find! He built all the hidey-holes himself!"

This book was an education for me. It's short and a quick read. You can find it in the Biography section.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

I'm a sucker for a good title and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer has that in spades. Before I picked up the book, I had a cow in mind rather than the Island of Guernsey which is between France and England.

The story takes place immediately after World War II. A woman writer gets a letter from a man on Guernsey saying that he has a copy of a poetry book with her name and address inside. He tells her one episode that takes place during the German occupation of the Channel Islands in which a small group of people get caught out after curfew. They were on their way home from an illegal pig roast. When she answers his letter with an explanation of how her book may have come into his possession, a friendship begins between her and all the members of the society.

Having spent many hours reading Anne Frank and various books about concentration camps when I was young, this book showed a whole other viewpoint. There were still the difficulties and tragedies one expects during wartime, but I found the bits of humor, the small rebellions, and the strength of friendships to be a refreshing new way of seeing WWII.

By the way, you can find suggestions for the potato peel pie recipe online, but it is never directly given in the book.

When you read this, keep your eye on Elizabeth's story. In my opinion, this is a book not to be missed.