☕ Book Break ☕ | The Library Book by Susan Orlean

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

 

This nonfiction book gives an account of the 1986 fire that gutted the Los Angeles Public Library. Exactly what happened remains a mystery.

Orleans researched the fire, the suspect investigators settled on, and in addition gives an interesting history of the library. This compilation of information is highly entertaining.

The book covers much, but somehow it fits together. If you love books, mysteries, or libraries, this is one to check out.

I was fascinated by the various characters’ stories. At times I felt it did ramble a bit, but I liked the material and the author’s easy to read style so much it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. I’d love to read similar books about the history of other public library systems. 

 

Interesting

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Informative

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Entertaining

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Click here to leave a comment

☕ Book Break ☕ | ~Educated by Tara Westover~

~Educated by Tara Westover~

Tara Westover grew up never going to school, working in her dad’s junkyard, and assisting her mother as she prepared herbal remedies and served as a community midwife. The family practiced Mormonism and Tara’s father had strict beliefs that went beyond the mainstream. The book is about her experiences. I feel like it was it sensitively done. Often as I was reading this I had to put the book aside. It was difficult to read at times.

Is it possible to disentangle oneself from the influences of their childhood? How much do the things we experience growing up affect the rest of our lives? Familial bonds are far reaching, probably influencing us more than we realize.

Educated is a well written account, if at times stretching the limits of believability, but that is the nature of memory and Tara Westover makes note of that. I’m glad I stuck with this book because there’s something deeper here.

It made me reexamine my own childhood. While reading the narrative, I was deeply touched at times. I teared up when she was recounting a specific incident with her mother that appeared to be a restoration, giving hope for that relationship.

This is one complicated family. Her father doesn’t believe in doctors and, according to a now grown up Tara, displays signs of bipolar disorder. Paranoid, he stockpiles food and guns, ranting about the government and the Illuminati. He seems unaware of the danger he constantly puts himself and his family in, causing many injuries by refusing to take basic safety measures.

This is an important story to tell, showing how living with a parent who suffers from a mental illness can affect the entire family. By reading this account I have garnered a greater understanding of why adult children have a difficult time breaking free from their dysfunctional family.

As I read this memoir I pondered gender roles and the tragedies that can occur in a structure that allows only one member of the family to have authority.

It’s exactly the kind of book I like, one that makes you think. Educated is an excellent book for discussion and book clubs.

On a personal side note, we unschooled our children. In my opinion, what Tara is describing is not unschooling or homeschooling but is neglect. She does mention that other family members homeschool their children and those children appear to be receiving an adequate and genuine education. This memoir is not a criticism of homeschooling or religion but an account of her own experience told from her perspective.

 

Click here to leave a comment

☕ Book Break ☕ |~American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse~

~American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse~

“Some people light things on fire because they feel like they have to.”

This book is a telling of the true crime story of the arson in Accomack County. For a while it seemed as if the entire county would burn to ash. The is a fascinating account of the crimes committed, how the culprits managed to elude capture so long, and what set of circumstances could lead to these strange arsons.

If you have an addiction to true crime shows this one might just hook you. I could not stop reading. Well written and meticulously researched, this book was absorbing. Not just a crime story, it is an examination of the decline of a once prosperous community, a picture of what has happened all over the United States.

This is one of those strangely twisted love stories. He did it for love.

Well drawn characters. Engaging, interesting, and good storytelling. Recommended.

Click here to leave a comment

☕ Book Break ☕ | Finish by Jon Acuff

~Finish by Jon Acuff~ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Wrestling the perfectionism beast is one of my most time-consuming past times. This little book is full of great advice and I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles with the disease of unfinished projects. I love John Acuff’s writing style. His personality comes through on the pages. I am sorely tempted to buy this book as Christmas gifts for the procrastinators on my list. This one is well worth the read. I immediately began to implement his advice, even before I was through reading the book. The encouragement and advice in Finished has inspired me and my production has increased so I can say this book worked for me. I am sure I will be needing more of those first draft notebooks.

Click here to leave a comment

Book Review|The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer

 

 

“We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urgent within us that spurs us to the pursuit.”

Containing ten short chapters, this book by A.W. Tozer is as relevant to believers today as it was when it was written. Practical and easy to read, The Pursuit of God is comforting and admonishing in turn

Tozer does not pull punches when addressing the church.  I was struck by how applicable Tozer’s writing is to the current issues we face in the church and in our individual lives. Whether we agree with all of his philosophy or not, The Pursuit of God is full of dateless advice for seekers.

There is a certain beauty in the straightforwardness  of Tozer’s prose. It is refreshing. Timeless exhortation and instruction rests between these pages. Plain speaking and simple, but at the same time profound, the writing contained in this small volume is well worth the read.

Each of the 10 chapters ends with a prayer.

This small volume is suitable for individual or group study.

An excellent book to write responses in a personal journal.

“The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect one. While he looks at Christ the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do.”

Project Gutenberg has this book, The Pursuit of God, free here.

Click here for a discussion guide for The Pursuit of God.

 

Click here to leave a comment

Book Review| The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

Book Review

The Zookeeper’s Wife

by Diane Ackerman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman  is a high interest nonfiction account of the German invasion of Warsaw told from the perspective of Antonina Zabinski and her husband, Dr. Jan Zabinski. Diane Ackerman skillfully weaves together historical events of both horror and beauty.

The Zabinski’s, Active in the Polish underground, used the zoo as an unusual hiding place while attempting to carry on with the care of the animals, operating of the facilities as usual, and raising their children. Tales of the animals and the day to day operation of the zoo during this occupation break up the recounting of the people and their struggle to survive. Ackerman depicts the life and people of the Warsaw ghetto, giving us a glimpse into the terrible history.

A vast number of people passed through the zoo, and this book is brimming with anecdotes, bringing to life the characters. The narrative is full of interesting details on how people avoided detection and the extraordinary lengths and methods taken.

Ackerman delves into the history of the German mindset and recounted some of the experiments carried out by the Nazis. This retelling of history is not as graphic as others I have read, but the ideology exposed chills the soul.

The ZooKeeper’s Wife is a story of compassion and daring, and a story of real lives saved and lost. I would classify this as a necessary history, an exposition of humanity both good and evil. Well worth the read.

I listened to the audiobook on CDs. The book seemed to have a slow start, but the narrative garnered more of my interest as I listened.

Highly recommended.

Winner of the 2008 Orion Award

Lit Lover’s Reading Guide for The Zookeeper’s Wife

Author Website

Visit The National WWII Museum online here to listen to more first hand accounts of WWII.

Click here to leave a comment

Book Review|The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan

51UJq0+7CVL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less

by Terry Ryan

The memoir The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan is entertaining and inspirational. Terry’s mother, Evelyn Ryan, used ingenuity and wit to battle poverty and raise her ten children despite a difficult home situation. Gifted with a writing ability, she kept the family afloat financially by making a career of entering product contests popular at the time.

Often, I was moved as I listened to the story of this family and the struggles they experienced growing up in the 1950s and 60s with an alcoholic father and constant financial uncertainty .

Although she was faced with trying circumstances, Evelyn handled them all with a no nonsense attitude colored with humor. Terry obviously has a great deal of love and respect for her mother. I think this book is a beautiful tribute.

This was a story that kept me engrossed. I listened to the audiobook and finished it in one sitting.

Recommended.

Issues of concern:

Father’s alcoholism, poverty, destruction of property, incident where father pushes mother and causes injury, lack of support

I listened to the audio version of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less read by Terry Ryan, the author. This is an abridged version. The recording and the reading were well done and easy to listen to.

Book Discussion Questions for The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio from Mount Prospect Public Library

This memoir has been made into a movie, which I have viewed. The movie stays true to the version of the book I listened to with minor changes and deletions. I believe the heart of the story is conveyed quite well on the screen.

 

Linked up at

Linking Out Loud Thursday, Literacy Musing Monday, #readwithme

Click here to leave a comment