Book Reviews

Then We Came to the End

If you were among the 3.5 million people who tuned into the season five premiere of Mad Men this past Sunday, you're probably used to long waits between moments of joy. To tide you over until the next episode, check out these books inspired by the world of advertising.

Food Lovers' Guide to Kansas City

Already world famous for its lip-smacking barbecue, Kansas City proves it has much more to offer the culinary palate in the Food Lovers’ Guide To Kansas City by Sylvie Hogg Murphy.

Vienna 1814

What would it be like to attend an international diplomatic conference? Would it be one endless meeting, or would business be conducted in the midst of merriment? Definitely more the latter, according to David King's view of the 1814-15 Congress of Vienna.

Black Water Rising

Tonight, featured Winter Reading author Attica Locke speaks at the Plaza Branch. But before you go, check out librarian Amy Morris' video review of Locke's award-winning novel Black Water Rising.

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

Everyone says the book is always better than the movie. But sometimes the audio version of a book is better than the print. Listeners get all the same text that a reader gets, and sometimes, they get something more.

Audiobook listeners can get emotion, suspense, humor, and the beauty of a turn of phrase that might be missed by the eye but caught by the ear.

Think of audiobooks as storytime for adults. If you’re looking for a place to start, try any of the five titles below. And if you’re already an audiobook fan, take a look at this year’s inaugural Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration. These are the audiobooks judged to be twelve of the best produced in 2011.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book cover

I first read L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz when I was 10. It was my first realization that the film version of a book can vary quite a bit from the book. And this one does vary quite a bit.

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? book cover

How do you get a job at the top firms in Silicon Valley? As William Poundstone shows, it takes not only top-notch technical skills, but entrepreneurial drive and the ability to handle job-interview curveballs.

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

Destination: rural Missouri, where young Ree Dolly must go in search of her missing father in a landscape of crime and treachery. Get Plaza librarian Diana Hyle's video book review of this Winter Reading selection by Daniel Woodrell.

Assassination Vacation

Would visiting sites related to the assassinations of three U.S. Presidents be your idea of a good vacation? It was for Sarah Vowell. In this Winter Reading book review video, Youth Services Librarian Jamie Mayo talks about Vowell's Assassination Vacation.

Destination: the Italian countryside, where an unseen magic works its charms on the women in The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth Von Arnim. Readers' Services Manager Kaite Stover has the review.

Across the Universe

Imagine a Star Trek-like story with a huge spaceship traveling across the galaxy in search of a new world. Now throw in a couple of teenagers and some frozen parents, and you’ve got Across the Universe by Beth Revis

City of Thieves

David Benioff's novel City of Thieves looks at the epic Siege of Leningrad through the eyes of a sarcastic teenager named Lev tasked with finding a dozen eggs. As Plaza librarian Wes Hinman explains, it won't be easy. But it will be funny.

The Big Burn

Major events can change the nation. Think the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But as Timothy Egan shows in The Big Burn, less dramatic incidents can make a huge impact on American history, too.

Motorcycles, Sushi & One Strange Book by Nancy Rue

Have you ever enjoyed sushi overlooking the pristine beaches of St. Augustine, Florida? If the answer is no, you should definitely check out the upbeat young adult novel Motorcycles, Sushi & One Strange Book by Nancy Rue.

Jessie Hatcher's personal life is chaotic, and "normalcy" is never in her vocabulary. The 15-year-old redhead takes care of her depressed mother, who has bipolar disorder. Jessie runs household chores, chats on the cellphone with boy-crazy Chelsea, her best friend, and watches "I Love Lucy" reruns on TV Land — all at the same time. Despite her ADHD, she tries to act like her "normal" friends, who have "normal" family life.

Jessie has a tendency to babble her thoughts and blurt out the first things that come to her mind. It's hard for her to concentrate and stay still. It's harder to organize her own bedroom, follow instructions, or study. According to her mother, she has the emotional skills of an eight-year-old.

In the tradition of Hemingway, Adam Gopnik found himself an American in Paris in 1995, raising a baby and writing dispatches for The New Yorker. In her review of Winter Reading selection Paris to the Moon, Plaza Branch librarian Melissa Carle talks about Gopnik's "coming of age in the City of Light."

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