Book Reviews

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"Tom Dreams" illus. by True Williams, from the 1876 1st. ed.

Although I have never caught a real murderer or found a real stash of gold, in many ways, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer reminds me of my own childhood. (I’ve been a pirate, and I’ve come back from the dead...)

Being the eldest of four, I was often the mastermind trying to see the adventure through to the end when I myself was secretly tired of it. And, being a sister, I feel jealousy deeply and I am a master instigator. Put like this, I wouldn’t like to claim these traits as an adult, but deep inside I know they are still there.

One thing that strikes me about this chapter of Tom’s life is the way that the world around him mirrors the world within him. The mood at the pirate camp had gone between high and low quite rapidly, with only the secret to balance it out in the end. Relations between Tom and Becky switch from hot to cold without a moment’s notice.

Then there is the see-saw between Tom and Aunt Polly: with Tom not thinking of the consequences of his mischief until they are too late and then being truly penitent, and Aunt Polly switching between stern and loving in the same breath.

Family Vegetarian Cooking book cover

Whether you’re adopting a vegetarian lifestyle, making an oath to eat healthier, or are just looking for some delicious new recipes to try, Family Vegetarian Cooking from Good Housekeeping is exactly the cookbook you’ve been looking for.

To begin with, don’t let the word “vegetarian” turn you off from this great new addition to the Library’s culinary collection. Of the 225 recipes offered in this book, there are literally dozens of dishes, like the Spinach and Potato Gratin or Blueberry Pancakes with Warm Blueberry Sauce, that even non-vegetarians will devour.

Almost all of the recipes use every-day, inexpensive ingredients that can be found easily in any grocery store (with the exception of a few items – like Gruyere cheese), and each dish includes the total time to complete, serving size, and most importantly, nutrition information.

While Family Vegetarian Cooking is not a beginning cookbook, most of it can still be used by someone with even minimal cooking experience because of the easy-to-follow instructions. And although this is not a microwave cookbook, occasional recipes, including the Creamy Parmesan Twice-Baked Potatoes, explain how they can be completely prepared in the microwave.

Tom Sawyer – a catch?

I’ve known a Tom Sawyer or two in my time. I’m willing to bet a marble and a pinch bug you have, too. Although Mark Twain doesn’t explicitly describe him, I can tell you that Tom’s sparkling eyes are framed by the kind of thick, long lashes that completely distract you from his sometimes questionable shenanigans.

Marshal Bass Reeves

Breaking Big Read news! The Kansas City Public Library has come into possession of historic fictitious documents outlining the life of Tom Sawyer after his youthful adventures in the works of Mark Twain.

They come to KC Unbound by way of alert patron Tom Ryan, who has composed the following to shed light on one of Missouri’s greatest literary mysteries.

Be sure to keep track of the Library's special Big Read programming, including signature events and book discussions, at kcbigread.org.

The Truth About the Infamous Major Tom Sawyer as Told by a Military Academy Classmate by way of Marshal Bass Reeves and Injun Bill

“Judge Thatcher hoped to see Tom a great lawyer or a great soldier some day. He said he meant to look to it that Tom should be admitted to the National military academy and afterwards trained in the best law school in the country, in order that he might be ready for either career or both.” – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ch. XXXV

What are your “greatest hits?” What are the best moments of your life that you would like to relive over and over and over again? You might have a few that pop directly to the surface, or you might have an oddball moment that came out of nowhere.

This is what it’s like for Samantha Kingston as she dies tragically in a car accident at the age 17. Instead of her life flashing before her eyes, she remembers an odd day from middle school. But instead of going peacefully, Sam wakes up to relive her last day on this earth over and over and over again. Would you do anything differently if you had another chance?

In Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Sam tries to fix the mistakes she made on the last day of her life, hoping it will change her fate.

By her own account, Samantha is your typical, snotty, popular, self-absorbed teenager. Many girls in her high school are jealous of her attractive boyfriend, her best friends are just as popular and snotty, and she gets away with whatever she wants.

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