Rockin’ Reads, Part 3: More Reviews from Adult Summer Challenge Participants

Here are more great reviews from our Adult Summer Challenge participants:

Gordon B. on The List by Amy B. Siskind: Siskind was told that she needed to make a list of everything that she felt was out of the democratic norm for this administration, otherwise, she would not realize what she had lost when the time finally came to realize that her democracy was gone forever. She began recording and was amazed to see how many words and actions the Trump regime transgressed on. She was also surprised to observe how the actions and words mounted over the weeks that came. Many weeks were jammed with events that could have been scarcely expected when she began making “the list.” Carefully done so that judgment only is implied, this list is a house of horrors for those who want the Trump influence to be very light.

Melina T. on A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: First of all, don’t be intimidated by the length/size of the book – it’s big but such a delightful read. The book takes place a couple of years after the Russian Revolution–the Count Rostov, who lives at the famous Metropol Hotel, is sentenced to life imprisonment within the hotel and declared a “former person.” How can a book so long be told just from within the confines of a six-story building? Towles does an amazing job at making the setting appear larger than life and his characters are so well developed and the hotel becomes as much a character in the novel as any of the human ones. This is a beautifully written book with so many lovely nuggets (too many to list here) and a wistfulness regarding how to comport oneself with class and graciousness. If you don’t fall in love with the Count and the many different characters that make up his world, well then….

Ellen L. on Come Sundown by Nora Roberts: Nora Roberts is a master storyteller of romantic suspense. This book takes place mostly on a family-owned ranch and resort in Montana and has superb dialogue. The plot revolves around a family member who has been missing for 25 years—it has a great surprise ending!

Nancy G. on The Kindness Cure by Tara Cousineau: Super-great, useful suggestions for ways to approach a stressed-out, fearful world with compassion and empathy. Great application of neuroscience information.

Cornelia B. on Florida by Lauren Groff: Spooky, unsettling, weird and internal, these stories probe the psyches and swampy landscapes of America’s weirdest state. This was perhaps the most anticipated book of the summer on lists all over the Internet!

Jana G. on The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang: This was a lovely book and super-quick read. I appreciated that the underlying story was one of acceptance and understanding, though felt the ending a bit contrived (a kids’ fairy tale for sure). the images were wonderful and the story heartfelt. I will likely reread the book again in the future.

James R. on The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn: Pretty good book with lots of references to Hitchcock and other old movies. I think this is one that will actually be better as a movie.

Join the fun! For a chance to win fabulous prizes in the Adult Summer Challenge, create a free Beanstack account and log each book you finish between June 13 and August 15.

Rockin’ Reads, Part Two: More Reviews from Adult Summer Challenge Participants

Looking for your next good read? Take a tip from one of our Adult Summer Challenge participants:

Noelani L. on The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish: Hilarious and heartfelt! Audiobook read by the author is excellent. Enjoyed this on my commute to and from work.

Leslie J. on The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian: Love his books. Can’t put them down. This one had me up late into the night trying to figure out who done it.

Laura M. on Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: The book is written in a fascinating style of quotes from fictional characters and historical accounts of Willie Lincoln’s illness, and imagined experience in the graveyard neighborhood, during Abraham Lincoln’s presidential term. It’s emotional, touching, and imaginative. Quite funny in parts. If you liked Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, you will probably like Lincoln in the Bardo.

Robert B. on Grant by Ron Chernow: Most of us think of Ulysses Simpson Grant as a great general but a poor president. Ron Chernow’s tour-de-force biography casts Grant in a completely different mold, emphasizing his fight against the Ku Klux Klan in the post-Civil War South as well as his determined support for African American rights. Chernow also enumerates those qualities of Grant that made him the first modern general to emerge from the Civil War. This is a large book but definitely worth the time and effort it takes to make your way through it.

Holly T. on Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong and Wreck the Halls: Cake Wrecks Gets “Festive” by Jen Yates: […]Cake Wrecks is an active blog in which people submit pictures of professionally made confections that are just freakin’ WRONG. The books are the best of the worst of these submissions. Laughable spelling and grammar, literal interpretations of instructions, and questionable icing choices are among some of the travesties you’ll find, and they’re made even more amusing by the author’s commentary. The way the world is right now, we could all do with some laughter, and the Cake Wrecks books deliver.

Lakeisha H. on Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill  : […]Walking the streets that I’m familiar with in this book was a comfort and joy. The main character finds not only his personal story but the very deep and historically valid and important story of African Americans in Baltimore. What is wonderful is Baltimore becomes a character in the book. It’s not often you get to read about Baltimore in any other capacity other than crime and violence. The glory of Uptown, the impact of the A.M.E., the beauty of Charles Village, and the people of Baltimore are showcased in this book that could be considered a historical fiction. Extremely worth reading.

Tammra F. on First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: Cooper and Piper made for a very interesting storyline. Piper was a treat to read about. She reminded me of a little bit of myself. She seems to think out loud and it makes for a very funny and interesting read. Cooper is just wonderful and I love that he doesn’t give up on Piper and seems to understand her better than she understands herself.

Join the fun! For a chance to win fabulous prizes in the Adult Summer Challenge, create a free Beanstack account and log each book you finish between June 13 and August 15.

Rockin’ Reads, Part 1: Reviews from Adult Summer Challenge Participants

Libraries rock, and so do many of the books our Adult Summer Challenge participants have read so far! Check out these sample reviews:

Linda F. on The Last Painting of Sarah De Vos by Dominic Smith: Gripping story that takes us from NYC in the 1950s to Amsterdam in the 1600s to Australia in 2000. Lots of fascinating details about the techniques of painting, combined with history and insights into love (maternal, spousal, romantic).

Kameron K. on Daring Greatly by Brene Brown: Brene Brown does it again! In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown sheds light on how our culture of scarcity leads to internalizing shame. She reviews an “armory” of defense mechanisms, which we use to mitigate vulnerability but actually get in the way of connection. Poignant stories and anecdotes are woven throughout and her easy-to-read and accessible writing make this book a pleasure to read.

Bethany B. on Love Letters of Great Men: What a treat! I picked this up with great interest in having a glimpse into love of the past. For me, not every letter was so enthralling, but just the opportunity to experience these personal letters is incredible. Dating way back and sprinkled with some super-familiar names, as a love-letter writer myself, this is a truly special collection of history. Looking very forward to reading the women’s collection.

Kia R. on The Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae: Absolutely loved this book. I laughed, I cried, and being that I am myself an awkward black girl I felt every word she wrote on these pages.

Kelly B. on Calypso by David Sedaris: This newest collection of essays is perfect for fans of writing that is sincere, profane, and occasionally profound.

R. H. on The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson: As long as you can overlook and/or are not disturbed by (or perhaps prefer) profanity, this book–as well as the audiobook read by Roger Wayne–is a reasonably approachable way to consider how to let go of some issues that might be making it difficult to get through life and return your focus to where it would be better spent. I was impressed by his perspective given his relatively young age.

Wanda Q. on The Perfect Nanny by Leїla Slimani: They had everything, she had very little. They took advantage of her kindness. She slowly began to resent her life or lack of, to compare her meek presence to their thriving life. It slowly began to boil over and she sought revenge the only way she could….

Valerie S. on The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve: A true page-turner, highly recommended. Unless something comes along posthumously, this is Anita Shreve’s last novel (she died in March 2018). This one takes place in Maine just after WWII, focusing on a marriage between a war veteran and his younger bride. I don’t want to say more because part of the book’s appeal are the surprises and plot turns throughout. If you start it, you will hardly be able to take a pause until you finish it.

What have you read lately? For a chance to win fabulous prizes in the Adult Summer Challenge, create a free Beanstack account and log each book you finish between June 13 and August 15. If you’re posting your reading on social media, use the hashtag #atthepratt.

A Night of Laughs with Jeff Dugan

by Julie Johnson, Branch Manager, Roland Park Branch

Jeff Dugan, former television producer for the Discovery Channel, is a funny guy. He started his June 7th program with a throw-away joke or three and then headed straight for the other funny bone with a few readings from his book, Ins & Outs: A Life in Television.

Who knew that being the unintended camera pool feed for ALL the networks at Pope John Paul II’s entry into Giants Stadium could be so entertaining? Well, at least in the telling. At the time, perhaps “terrifying” is a better adjective.

How about the best way to get a French television company to cough up the “clean tapes” for a television program? Why, have your local fixer pretend to be you having a full-scale meltdown in the office, of course.

And yes, he did work with Oprah while she was in Baltimore.

You’ll have to read to book find out more. Click on the cover to check out his book in the collection.

Black Women’s History Month Resources: Part 3

In 2014, the state of Georgia and the city of Atlanta declared April as Black Women’s History Month. Pratt Library staff have highlighted related texts in the Humanities Department, Fine Arts and Music Department, and African American Department. Please enjoy the major contributions black women have made to religion, theatre, poetry, writing, political thought, activism, and art. Check out the first and second post for more suggested reading.

Click the cover to reserve your copy now.

Black Feminism

Included here are works by seminal scholars that consider black women’s historical contributions to the feminist movement. Several texts reflect on intersectionality- the theory that race, class, gender, and other social categorization creates overlapping identities that shape black women’s experiences in ways often very different from white women.  

BIOGRAPHY/AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Highlighted here are works by and about influential but lesser known black women, including early suffragists, Civil Rights leaders, Black Panthers, and contemporary cultural critics.

ESSAYS

Additional anthologies, essays, and speeches reflecting on race, gender, feminism, and popular culture.

Checking out one of the resources? Share it on social media with #atthepratt.