Educated: A Memoir

Friday, April 27, 2018
Tara Westover
Educated: A Memoir

Geralyn B., Tech Services is currently reading...Educated: A Memoir

The Spy Who Couldn't Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI's Hunt for America's Stolen Secrets

Thursday, December 14, 2017
Yudhijit Bhattacharjee
The Spy Who Couldn't Spell


This is a true story about a spy named Brian Regan who worked for a United States government agency.  He stole secrets which he tried to sell to foreign countries. It was a well-written, quick read.  I was horrified by how simple it was for the spy to steal secrets and fascinated by how he encrypted his messages and other information.  The author does a wonderful job of describing Brian’s personality and state of mind as well as giving background to other major characters in the story. A real page turner.  I read it in electronic form through our “Libby” app but we also have it in actual book form here at the library.  Check our catalog
Peggy, Circulation

Becoming Amish

Thursday, December 14, 2017
Jeff Smith
Becoming Amish

I have been intrigued by the Amish since I was first introduced to them as a young teen on a family vacation in Pennsylvania Dutch country.  I was astonished by their dress and that they used horse and buggies for transportation.  Years went by and I decided to take a solo vacation and as a single femail, wanted to go somewhere that semed relatively safe.  Low and behold, I received some literature on northern Indiana and their Amish area which seemed like a good place.  As it turns out, I met the woman that introduced me to my husband on the same trip but that's another story but I guess I owe some credit to the Amish for luring me that way!

Based on my fascination with the Amish, this was a "must read" for me when I saw it in our library.  While I have admired much about the group, I don't believe I could make the transition so I was curious about someone who was able to break away from all things modern and step back to a much simpler life.  This book tells the story of a family that originally lived in Livonia, Michigan and as childeren started coming along, they felt that need to keep their family close together and find a way for them to remain that way.  They initially moved to live more conservatively in the Thumb area of Michigan and tried to find a fellowship of other people with similar belief systems.  After visiting a number of places, they decided they wanted to move to an Old Order Amish community in Ovid, MI and become members of their church.  At that time, they had three children and only the oldest, a son named Tristan who was 12, has clear memories of the transition.  Oddly enough, when asked about the change, he doesn't focus on losing the TV or car but remarks on friendship with other children and the freedom that was granted as they lived in a safe community. 

I was surprised at the fact that the family made several moves during their years with the Amish.  I was under the assumption that most Amish stayed in their local communities although some marry and move and others have moved to places with more affordable land, etc. I have heard of splits within groups over technology or simply dividing church groups that have grown too large. (Most Amish church groups only have about 20 families) I didn't know that a number of communities have simply failed and the members have been forced to relocate.  Surprisingly, they seem to be much more mobile than I realized.  They have apparently been successful about keeping technology out of their homes although they certainly seem to be adapting it more in their businesses. 

In an effort not to give away everything in the book, I won't tell you about the family's biggest struggle but suffice it to say, it's definately significant and would negatively impact most people who were considering making a lifestyle change.  I still find the Amish amazing and even lucky to have such a focus on their faith, family and community.  It's definately an interesting read for anyone interested in the Amish.  Check our catalog

Dana, Admin

Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Ralph Stanley, with Eddie Dean
Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times

A giant and legend in the music business, Ralph Stanley recounts his 60+ years in the industry with warmth, honesty, and great story-telling.  It isn't just a book about the music business - it's about rural life in the early 20th century and what it was like to grow up in those times in a corner of Appalachia.   He remained true to his vision of the Stanley Brothers sound despite trends in the music business; and late in his life experienced a renaissance when others discovered his music through the hit movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"  If you read "Hillbilly Elegy" you will like this book also.  This is one of my favorite autobiographies.  Check our catalog

Margaret B., Reference

A street cat named Bob

Thursday, June 1, 2017
James Bowen
A street cat named Bob

Amazing non-fiction book about a young man struggling with life in London.  He is a street musician and keeps seeing this homeless cat.  He finally takes the cat home and their story begins on how they saved  each other.  This title is also available on DVD and is equally amazing.  Check our catalog

Marilyn S., Circulation


Leaving the OCD Circus

Monday, January 9, 2017
Kirsten Pagacz
Leaving the OCD Circus: Your Big Ticket Out of Having to Control Every Little Th

Your Big Ticket Out of Having to Control Every Little Thing


Kirsten Pagacz, local business owner of Retro-A-Go-Go here in Howell, gives an unflinching account of living with undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for over 20 years.

Never having heard of OCD until her early 30s, Kirsten was a slave to the demanding Sergeant-turned-merciless, wild Monkey that was her OCD starting at the young age of nine years old.

Suffering in silence, hiding the anxiety and fear that was her constant companion, Kirsten fell into the increasingly desperate cycle of obsessions and compulsions, seeking escape in the dangerous world of drugs and alcohol.

She eventually found her way out of substance abuse into a healthy, loving relationship and a successful career. Only she led a double life: one of a young, happy professional woman and the hidden, debilitating other of doubt, rules, and fear.

Shortly after a crippling public breakdown, Kirsten learned of OCD, discovering her frightening taskmaster had a name. With this discovery and validation that she had a real medical disorder from which many others also suffer, she began treatment, taking the first step on a long, difficult, even painful road to recovery and management.

Part memoir, part self-help guide, Leaving the OCD Circus is Kirsten’s offering of hope and help to fellow sufferers, as well as insight and understanding for their loved ones, from someone with intimate knowledge and experience—an insider, a sufferer, a survivor.

If you or anyone you know has or may have OCD, this book is essential reading. Check for it in our catalog.

Kirsten will giving a book talk and signing here at the Howell Library on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 2pm. Sign up here to attend this free event.


Brandi T., Reference

Between the World and Me

Friday, December 30, 2016
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World and Me

Written as a series of letters to his teenage son, Coates writes this thoughtful memoir addressing race and how it has shaped America.   It moves from his  youthful tough Baltimore neighborhood through Howard University and on to New York and Paris.  It follows his evolution of thinking on race from the influences of Malcom X & James Baldwin to current events.  He describes the systematic violence against blacks in America and makes a case that race itself is a fabrication made by whites who see themselves as “exceptional”.  Coates is an award-winning writer who is frank, insightful and original.   He asks and attempts to answer some difficult questions that afflict our current culture.   Powerful reading.

Check our Catalog

Kathleen Z., Administration


Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

Thursday, December 1, 2016
Marcus Luttrell
Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes o

This book was hard to put down. I knew nothing about the Navy SEAL training or the fighting in Afghanistan, so I learned a lot. Marcus Luttrell and his SEAL Team 10 were in a monstrous battle in the desolate mountains while searching for an Al Qaeda leader. All his teammates were killed by the Taliban and Marcus spent four days alone, injured and presumed dead, until a local tribe found him after he had crawled seven miles and hid him until he was rescued. It was a fascinating book and I highly recommend it.

Check our catalog for this book.


Sue N., Youth Services



Hillbilly Elegy

Monday, November 21, 2016
J.D. Vance
Hillbilly Elegy

I grew up in Appalachia so this book really struck a chord with me and I could see myself as I read it. J.D. Vance tells of his upbringing in Kentucky and Ohio and explains how the "Hillbilly mentality" (i.e., poor white Americans) rules the lives of so many people who are not able to break free from their roots. The American Dream is a goal seldom achieved by this segment of society. An excellent and informative read.

Check our catalog for this book.


Sue N., Youth Services