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Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer Reading Adult Book Review: Hunger

Hunger Book Title: Hunger

Author: Elise Blackwell

Review: Hunger is a short fiction book about Leningrad, Russia during World War II. It is the story of scientists who protected seeds that were from ancient plants. There is also a subplot about the narrator’s wife and mistresses. I liked that it discussed Ancient Babylon and its culture. The choices the narrator and his wife make are interesting. It makes you think about the daily decisions in a time of war.

Reviewed by: Lynn R.

Find Hunger in our catalog.

(Note: Adults who participated in Summer Reading and submitted an original review of one of the books they read were entered into a special prize drawing. The winner will be notified soon!)

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Summer Reading Adult Book Review: Shine, Shine, Shine

Shine, Shine, Shine Book Title: Shine, Shine, Shine

Author: Lydia Netzer

Review: This was a book I would have not chosen if it were not for the “science requirement” of the summer reading program, but it ended up being my favorite read of the summer. The novel tells the story of an unusual family: Sunny, born bald in Burma during a solar eclipse; her husband Maxon, an astronaut and Nobel prize-winning scientist with undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome; and Bubber their Autistic son. Sunny strives to hide the oddities and quirks that set her family apart from what is “normal.” She wears a wig, medicates her son, and briefs her husband on what to say in normal social settings. Alternating chapters recall her childhood friendship with Maxon, her Mother’s history and current illness, and Maxon’s time in a rocket on a mission to colonize the moon. The novel’s themes--the need to belong, the definition of “normal,” the bonds between parents and children, and the grief of loss--are huge in scope, and the author wisely does not end the book with tidy conclusions, thus leaving open many of the questions that it introduces. This would be a great selection for any book club, as it allows for the discussion of contemporary ethical issues including treatment of Autism and end-of-life care.

Reviewed by: Paula P.

Find Shine, Shine, Shine in our catalog.

(Note: Adults who participated in Summer Reading and submitted an original review of one of the books they read were entered into a special prize drawing. The winner will be notified soon!)

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Summer Reading Adult Book Review: Local Girls

Local Girls Book Title: Local Girls

Author: Alice Hoffman

Review: This is the story of a young girl growing up in a small town. She has a best friend named Jill who she spends most of her young life with. They have exciting times and dreams of their adult life. Her Mom and Aunt also play important parts in her life. There is a lot of tragedy in her family but her Aunt always looks on the bright side of life and helps her cope with life. It’s interesting how all their lives turn out.

Reviewed by: Carol S.

Find Local Girls in our catalog.

(Note: Adults who participated in Summer Reading and submitted an original review of one of the books they read were entered into a special prize drawing. The winner will be notified soon!)

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Summer Reading Adult Book Review: Kale

Kale: The Complete Guide to the World's Most Powerful Superfood Book Title: Kale: The Complete Guide to the World's Most Powerful Superfood

Author: Stephanie Pedersen

Review: The Roselle Library is a great place to find specialty cookbooks. I highly recommend the book Kale: The Complete Guide to the World's Most Powerful Superfood, if you are interested in adding more healthy vegetables into your diet. It has some really good recipes for smoothies as well as other recipe types. Once you read about the amazing nutrients found in Kale, you will want to try some of the recipes. This book is also available online through eMedia Library.

Reviewed by: Lynn R.

Find Kale: The Complete Guide to the World's Most Powerful Superfood in our catalog.

(Note: Adults who participated in Summer Reading and submitted an original review of one of the books they read were entered into a special prize drawing. The winner will be notified soon!)

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Summer Reading Adult Book Review: Hubble

Hubble: The Mirror on the Universe Book Title: Hubble: The Mirror on the Universe

Author: Robin Kerrod

Review: Hubble Space Telescope orbits the Earth in near-earth space. It takes sky pictures in both visible and invisible electromagnetic wave lengths, revealing the “wonderful, mysterious and awesome universe” (pg. 13). Many full-page (9"x12"), full-color pictures* from HST and other telescopes illustrate the text. It is very readable and has a glossary to help out. The book gives an overview of astronomy, explaining objects in the sky and where they fit in the birth, life and (possible) death of the universe. Our sun will run out of hydrogen fuel in about 5 billion years and eventually become a red giant, using helium for fuel. This red giant will engulf Mercury and Venus, and burn the Earth to a crisp. Only about 10% of the universe is ‘visible’ to us now; the other 90% is currently called dark matter, and can only be studied indirectly.

Our current ‘address’ is: Village of Roselle, DuPage County, State of Illinois, United States of America, North American Continent, Earth, Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, Local Group, Virgo Cluster, Universe. A new, livable planet must be discovered which the human race can colonize within these 5 billion years.

Maybe Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard will inspire a currently obscure, genius-astronomer to make a breakthrough into the unknown.

*Some photos are also seen in the TV series Cosmos. E.g., Ring Nebula in Lyra, M57 (ppg. 54-55).

Reviewed by: Doris O.

Find Hubble: The Mirror on the Universe in our catalog.

(Note: Adults who participated in Summer Reading and submitted an original review of one of the books they read were entered into a special prize drawing. The winner will be notified soon!)

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Staff Book Review: Annihilation

AnnihilationBook Title: Annihilation

Author: Jeff VanderMeer

Review: Annihilation paints an interesting portrait of a difficult person struggling to capture a series of extraordinary events. It’s the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy (the Library also owns Authority, the second book. Book three, Acceptance, comes out in September).

This book is a story told through a field report written by an unnamed biologist who partway through the book mentions that she is extremely bad about putting crucial information into field reports. This field report is about the 12th expedition to Area X, which is a wild area which seems completely untouched by humanity.

People who have returned from the previous expeditions have come back wrong. They suddenly show up at home, without clearing any checkpoints and seemingly under the noses of the expedition leaders, and some of them are irrevocably changed.

Our narrator arrives hoping to understand more about an unknown ecosystem, but she stumbles across strange occurrences that make her question her methodology, employers, and the purpose behind Area X. Fast-paced and suspenseful, Annihilation packs a punch in less than 200 pages. Part adventure story, part introspection into human relationships, I’ll definitely pick up the sequel to find out where the story goes from here.

Reviewed by: Stephanie F.

Find Annihilation in our catalog.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Reading Adult Book Review: Missing Microbes

Missing Microbes Book Title: Missing Microbes

Author: Martin J. Blaser, M.D.

Review: This is easily one of my favorite books ever read! Blaser introduces the reader to the world of microbiology and microbes and their value to the human species. For some it may not sound too interesting at first. However, he goes into explaining how modern drugs and medical practices are screwing up the peaceful equilibrium our bodies once lived under. Blaser discusses research he has led that suggests some shocking discoveries. For nonfiction, Blaser certainly captivated me while discussing some modern medical practices. 10/10

Reviewed by: Mary P.

Find Missing Microbes in our catalog.

(Note: Adults participating in Summer Reading who submit an original review of one of the books they've read will be entered into a special prize drawing. To find out more, stop by the Reference Desk, or simply email a review of at least one paragraph in length to: reference@roselle.lib.il.us)

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