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

When Breath Becomes Air

Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Paul Kalanithi
When Breath Becomes Air

This is a memoir of a 36-year-old man who is “at the top of his game” when his life is turned on its end. In his final year of a neurosurgery residency at a prestigious hospital, Paul Kalanithi is diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. His writing is beautiful as he documents his journey from being a neurosurgeon dealing with dying patients from a professional standpoint to a patient looking his own death in the eye. It’s a quick read and well written. The epilogue is by his wife Lucy. It made me cry but left me with hope.

Check our catalog for this book.


Laura G., Youth Services

Girls Like Us

Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Sheila Weller
Girls Like Us

Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon – and the Journey of a Generation


If you are of a certain age and you listen to music, you know these names. Three female singer-songwriters whose careers took off in the 1960s and whose paths crossed in various ways. The biographies of these three iconic musicians start with each of their childhoods and weave their stories throughout the book. These are strong vibrant women who have very human frailties and challenges. A good summer read.

Check our catalog for this book.


Kathleen Z., Administration

Three Weeks with My Brother

Monday, June 27, 2016
Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks

I haven't read many of Sparks’ books but I love travel literature and so read this one about a trip around the world with two brothers to exotic places like Easter Island, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal. The chapters switch back and forth from the brothers' wild and problematic childhood to great descriptions of their travels to their current family lives. I had to do research about all the places they visited. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.

Check our catalog for this book.


Sue N., Youth Services

Born Standing Up (Audiobook)

Thursday, June 2, 2016
Steve Martin
Born Standing Up (Audiobook)

Written and read by the author


Having read this in book form several years ago and enjoyed it, I happened upon this audiobook while looking for something else and thought I’d give it a try, since it is read by the author himself, Steve Martin. It was definitely worth it! I have always admired his comedy and acting performances and he also proves to be an excellent author as well. (He has written novels and plays, too.)

The story of his life is one of hard work and determination, starting when he was just ten years old selling programs to the public at Disneyland in California, which was only two miles from his house. He would ride his bike up there and interact with the public all day during the summer. From there he moved up to working in the magic shop at the park, learning performing magic by watching the older guys there. Finally, he gets to be an actor in five shows a day at Knott’s Berry Farm. This is where he really learns to be a performer and adjust the act according to the audience’s reactions, learning what works and what doesn’t.

The rest is probably familiar to most people; from there, Martin went on to The Smothers Brothers Show, Saturday Night Live, a hugely successful stand-up act playing to thousands of people in large arenas, and then finally walking away from that to starring in movies. He also discusses his relationship with his parents and sister, as well as the romantic partners he has had.

Martin starts the audiobook in a pretty straightforward way, in his familiar voice. Later on in the story he gets more animated in his reading. For fans of Steve Martin, this will be a pleasure to hear! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this.

Check our catalog for this audiobook or the print book.


Pat P., Technical Services


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