Reading Room Blog
Looking for some reading recommendations for your book club? Why not mix things up with a Young Adult (YA) title!
Actor and travel writer Andrew McCarthy eventually discovered his family roots in Ireland and added on more family besides when he wed a Dublin girl.
His several-page story of a reunion across generations is part of Journeys Home, a collection of more than two dozen tales of seekers who found out more about themselves by finding where they came from: Cuba, Africa (and then to Virginia), Peru, Prague, India, Taiwan, and England, among others. Journeys Home is replete with glorious photographs, old and new, that are typical of the quality a reader would expect from its publisher, National Geographic.
There are a few things people may not know about librarians, or at least this librarian. And that is that I LOVE research. Seriously. So when I found out I was expecting a bundle of joy, I did exactly that. I wanted to know what to expect and how to handle any situation that came up (yes, that was naive of me, I know). But by doing this I discovered some amazing books about pregnancy, infants, and things to do with your bundles of joy once they arrive. There are so many pregnancy books out there that it can be a tad overwhelming, so here are my favorite books about pregnancy and beyond, and I hope that they help you as much as they helped me . . . or will help me in the future.
Nature programs on TV can only go into so much detail about the fascinating history that underlies our beautiful world. After all, there are commercial breaks to consider and trying to produce a show for the most casual channel surfer. So viewers come away with an idea of what a place looks like—and maybe a few facts about it—but for the truly curious, there is a dearth of content.
Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians, by Scott Weidensaul, has been a go-to classic for around 20 years. Written in a casual and fascinating yet scientifically accurate way, the narrative draws in readers who do not want to crack academic tomes on the subject but who do wish to learn more about the region’s alpine tundra and the still-living remnants of mighty chestnut trees.
After graduating with honors from Emory University, Christopher Johnson McCandless left his suburban home in Annandale, Virginia, behind to pursue an odyssey to the Stampede Trail in Alaska.
McCandless gave up his $25,000 college grant to charity and began traveling across the Western United States. To the disappointment of his family back home, he ceased all communication with them and abandoned his 1982 Datsun after a flash flood somewhere in the Midwest.
Novelists have bills like the rest of us. They could be writing novels and need auto repairs but cannot wait until they get the advances on the novels. What to do? Short pieces, book reviews, and articles in magazines help a bit. Writers with a journalism background will publish a collection of pieces filed from a war front; others have something they cannot work into novels and publish the ideas separately, as essays. Either way, readers win.
Maisie Dobbs. Perhaps it’s not a fascinating name, but it –is- the name of a fascinating woman. Born to a poor but loving family, thirteen-year-old Maisie goes into service in a grand London house. How very fortunate for her that it is the home of a clever and bored lady bountiful.
History is complicated, and people’s lives are even more so. In the short biography and video clip that Facebook has to share, Irena Sendler is presented as a Catholic woman who saved approximately 2,500 Jewish children. That is true, as far as it goes. Irene was certainly a courageous woman, and she came from Catholic roots and was devoted to the Church during her later years. But there is more to her story. Real heroes often lead complicated lives, as readers of Tilar J. Mazzeo’s Irena’s Children will discover.
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The Fireman: A Novel by Joe Hill
The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton: a highly contagious spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies before causing them to burst into flames. There is no antidote. Harper Grayson was a nurse who treated hundreds of infected patients; now the telltale gold-flecked marks are on her skin. But Harper wants to live at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. Her husband Jakob becomes unhinged and abandons her. And a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter's jacket straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted-- and as a weapon to avenge the wronged. (catalog summary)
*Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft is the first volume of a 6-vol. graphic novel series (Illustrations by Gabriel Rodriguez)
Immersed in the quiet, meticulous life of an art restorer, former Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon keeps his past well behind him. But now he is being called back into the game--and teamed with an agent who hides behind her own mask...as a beautiful fashion model. Their target: a cunning terrorist on one last killing spree, a Palestinian zealot who played a dark part in Gabriel's past. And what begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by both political intrigue and deep personal passions...(catalog summary)
Duplicity by Newt Gingrich
When President Sally Allworth decides to reestablish America's Mogadishu embassy in Somalia before Election Day, her challenger says she's playing politics with American lives. That turns out to be true when the embassy is attacked and hostages are taken. Embassy station chief Gunter Connor and Marine Capt. Brooke Grant end up the unlikely survivors of this Benghazi-style attack. Suddenly, they are the only hope for saving their captured colleagues. (catalog summary)
The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson