Kathleen Z.

The Wright Brothers

Friday, February 24, 2017
David McCullough
The Wright Brothers
This biography gave the Wright brothers, Wilber and Orville, a humanness that I had never read about before.  It made me appreciate their hard work and dogged determination even more than I had in the past.  Both of the brothers had a talent for making and fixing things and a deep curiosity about movement especially flying.  Orville, the younger one, had “dark” periods which is how it was described in the diaries and other documents.  It was probably some sort of deep depression that he suffered from time to time. Their family was close-knit and supportive.  Their father was a well-known traveling minister who had a talent for writing and was well-respected for his integrity.   Their mother died of tuberculosis when they were in their 20s and her death was deeply mourned by the whole family.  Katharine, their younger sister and the only female sibling, was college-educated and very supportive of their work, helping in many ways behind the scenes as their bicycle store and then their airplane business grew.  A very good read.  Check our catalog
 
Kathleen Z., Administration

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.

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Kathleen Z., Administration

 

Inés of My Soul

Friday, November 4, 2016
Isabel Allende
Inés of My Soul

An amazing story of historical fiction about Inés Suárez, a Spanish woman who helped build the nation of Chile in the 1500s.

Inés was born in Spain, but made her way to the New World of South America in search of her husband in about 1537 when she was 30 years old. Although the trip was treacherous, especially for a woman, it is suspected that she wanted to escape the stifling monotonous life in Spain for a woman who is without a husband. She eventually made her way to Peru where she learned that her husband had died in battle.

It is in Peru where Inés becomes the mistress of Pedro de Valdivia, a famous war hero and Field Marshall. She accompanies de Valdivia on his mission to the south to found the country of Chile. Inés’s talents as a seamstress, a cook, and at the healing arts made her a valuable member of the small group of Spaniards who moved into the territory that is now Chile where the natives of the region were inhospitable.

This saga dramatizes the events that are known about the life of Inés Suárez. I recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction with strong female characters.   

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Kathleen Z., Administration

Burial Rites

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Hannah Kent
Burial Rites

In the rugged setting of Iceland in 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is charged with the murder of two men. There are no jails in Iceland at this time, so Agnes is sent to the farm of an assistant District Commissioner. The family on the farm is horrified that they will be caring for a convicted murderer until her execution. Agnes is able to tell her story over many months to the young priest who is charged with preparing her soul for death. Over time, through her hard work and by helping several people with her knowledge of the healing arts, the fear and loathing of her hosts turns to empathy. Her version of events paints a complex story that brings sympathy and understanding. Although it reads like fiction, the story is based on extended research into the last person publicly executed in Iceland. A gripping tale.

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Kathleen Z., Administration

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

The Light in the Ruins (Audiobook)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Chris Bohjalian
The Light in the Ruins (Audiobook)

Set in the Florence and Tuscany areas where the Rosati family’s ancient villa is located, this story moves back and forth between WWII and 1955. In 1955 two members of the Rosati family are murdered and their hearts are cut out. This provides the mystery and suspense that tie the two decades together. The setting and characters hold your attention until the end.

Check our catalog for this audiobook on CD.

 

Kathleen Z., Administration

Speaking Frankly

Monday, May 16, 2016
Clyde Riley with Doron Levin
Speaking Frankly

A Southern Boy’s Journey from Slaughterhouse to Creation of the World’s Top Hot Dog Brand

 

The author, Clyde Riley, moved to Howell, MI, full time in the late 1980s as he was slowly making his way to eventual retirement in 1994 from a 50-year career in the meatpacking industry, working his way from the slaughterhouse to the Chief Executive Office. This is an inspiring story of a poor farm boy from Alabama who worked hard in every aspect of his life. He rose through the ranks to become the President of Hygrade Food Products. Clyde left this life peacefully in the summer of 2015. It was my privilege to know him in his golden years. I miss his smile and enthusiasm.

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Kathleen Z., Administration

The Hundred-Foot Journey (Audiobook)

Saturday, March 26, 2016
Richard C. Morais
The Hundred-Foot Journey (Audiobook)

The book is quite different from the movie. The first half, where the characters are well-developed, is engaging and fun. The second half, which covers Hassan Haji’s experience as a chef and then restaurant owner in Paris, bogs down. The characters in the Paris part of the story are two-dimensional and never really develop. I think the movie with Helen Mirren is a better story.

Check our catalog for the print book. Check MeLCat for the audiobook.

 

Kathleen Z., Administration

The Hundred-Foot Journey (DVD)

Friday, March 25, 2016
The Hundred-Foot Journey (DVD)

In this movie starring Helen Mirren, an Indian family is displaced by political upheaval in India. Eventually they find their way to southern France to open a restaurant across the road from a Michelin-rated restaurant owned by Mirren’s character and the boisterous feud begins. However, the characters grow to appreciate each other and something magical develops. Good story.

Check our catalog for this movie.

Kathleen Z., Administration

Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story

Friday, February 5, 2016
David Maraniss
Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story

This is a 2016 Michigan Notable Book. The author was born in Detroit and is an associate editor of the Washington Post. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a best-selling author.

This story is about Detroit in 1963 when things on the outside looked so upbeat for the Motor City. Maraniss describes the signs showing that things would soon fall apart for Detroit. It’s a well-told story that captures your interest about an exciting time in Detroit’s history (think Motown), but I can’t recommend the audio because the tracks are long – up to 50 minutes - and, while the author is a good reader, he is not great.  Read the book instead.

Check our catalog.

Kathleen Z., Administration

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