Book Reviews From Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena, a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team. Let us know if you would like any titles added to your booklist or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page.

Debbie–My Life by Debbie Reynolds DB29097, LT8419
This biography is about the life of Mary Frances Reynolds whose name was later changed to Debbie Reynolds.  Mary Frances got her start in show business when she entered the Miss Burbank contest.  She did not want to win or expect to win but entered so she could get a free blouse and scarf.  She won and was asked to do a screen test for Warner Brothers studio.  Reynolds was an excellent mimic and became a big star.  Her biography tells of her three marriages including her tumultuous marriage to Eddie Fisher.  She had a good relationship with her two children Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher.  Her second husband, Harry Karl was a big gambler and gambled away nearly everything Debbie had.  After her divorce, she sometimes lived out of her car.  She finally found happiness with her third husband.  If you enjoyed Debbie in one many movies Singin’ in the Rain, Tammy, or Unsinkable Molly Brown you’ll enjoy this book.

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the trial of the century by Sarah Miller  DB84888
If you know nothing about the Borden murders that Lizzie Borden was accused of committing, this is a well-researched book.  She covers Lizzie through the arrest, grand jury and the inquest trying to show both sides of the story.

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi   DB76690
This is a different type of memoir divided into chapters such as The Work, A Good Day, This Side of Good and Evil.  Levi is Italian and Jewish, who spent less than a year in Auschwitz, before the camp was liberated on Jan. 18, 1945.  Primo Levi was injured and spent time in the “sick bay” while in the concentration camp.  He saw one of his bunkmates sent to the crematorium.  This book is recommended reading for a number of different courses throughout the world.

Who was Princess Diana?  By Ellen Labrecque  DBC15023
This is one of a series of biographies written for children about famous people.  The book introduces you to Diana Spencer and her family following her through her growing-up years.  It explains the Spencer’s connection to the royal family.  It talks about Diana’s wedding and the births of children.  Lastly, her death and how she was loved by the people.  If you are interested in this series some of the other biographies that have been recorded are; Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, J.K. Rowling, and Steve Jobs.

Library Chat Podcast: April 2021

April’s Library Chat celebrates National Library Week by reviewing books and a podcast about libraries and librarians. Library staff also discuss an episode from the podcast 99% Invisible hosted by Roman Mars.  Episode 415 titled “Goodnight Nobody” explores the complex figure of Anne Carroll Moore, a New York Public librarian, and her role in making libraries accessible to children.

Library Chat:  April 2021 Book List

The bodies in the library DB97038 by Marty Wingate

The giver of stars DB96907 by Jojo Moyes

Her perfect affair DB100847 by Priscilla Oliveras

Information hunters: when librarians, soldiers, and spies banded together in World War II Europe DB98976 by Kathy Lee Peiss

The Library of the Unwritten DB96922 by A.J. Hackwith

Reading behind bars: a true story of literature, law, and life as a prison librarian DB96548 by Jill Grunenwald

Upright women wanted DB98684 by Sarah Gailey

The midnight library DB100906  by Matt Haig

Syria’s secret library: reading and redemption in a town under siege DB97420 by Mike Thomson

The library book DB92869 by Susan Orlean

The midnight library DB100906 by Matt Haig

Ink and Bone: the Great Library DB85432 by Rachel Caine

The time traveler’s wife DB57102 by Audrey Niffenegger

Dewey’s nine lives:  the legacy of the small-town library cat who inspired millions DB72898 by Vicki Myron

Children’s Titles

The boy who was raised by librarians DBC06351 by Carla D. Morris

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s library DB77918 by Chris Grabenstein

Goodnight moon DB24603 by Margaret Wise Brown

Also, check out the library’s monthly Library News podcast and Braille Bits podcast.  Check out the library’s Podcast Page for information on all the library’s podcasts and episodes.

Throwback Thursday

It’s Throwback Thursday, where we talk about a book we enjoyed years ago!  Today Tim, Digital Recording Specialist/Studio Manager for the library, takes us back.

Are you looking forward to warmer weather, outdoor activities, and longer days? I know I am! When I was a kid, one of the things that spring meant to me was – get out the bat, ball, and glove – we’re going to play baseball! Fast forward to Spring 2008, I’m one year shy of 50 and still playing, albeit a little more “leisure” version – softball. It’s April, and I’m in the Studio at the Iowa Library for the Blind with volunteer narrator David, recording the book Playing with the enemy: a baseball prodigy, a world at war, and the long journey home (DBC01551). We both got completely immersed in this book! This is one of the few books I have recorded in our studio, that at one point (later in the book) it had both David and myself crying – we had to stop the recording session and finish that chapter on a different day! I loved reading this book, and if you like baseball – even a little – and have some memories of the war, I imagine this book will also really touch you in a good way.

Two things really struck me after we finished this book – one, I had a lot of “forgotten” fantastic memories of how much I really loved baseball, and two – the “game” of baseball can really shape a person with many aspects of life – like supporting and encouraging one another, learning how to graciously win and lose, how to work hard and see positive results – even when “defeated”!

There is a reason baseball is often referred to as “America’s National Pastime” and I think in part because it inspires, it instills pride, and even it can even heal!

About the book:
Playing with the enemy: a baseball prodigy, a world at war, and the long journey home DBC01551
Moore, Gary W, (Gary Warren). Reading time: 11 hours, 58 minutes.

Read by David Saurman. A production of Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Iowa Department for the Blind.

Gene Moore was a country boy who could hit a baseball a country mile. He was so good that the Brooklyn Dodgers came calling. When Gene’s baseball career was interrupted by World War II, he joined the U.S. Navy, and in 1944, he found himself on a top-secret mission: to guard the German sailors captured from a U-505 submarine carrying an Enigma decoding machine. Stuck with guard duty, Gene taught the enemy how to play baseball. It was a decision that irrevocably changed his life… and maybe baseball itself. Inspired by true events. 2006.

Is there a book that takes you back?

Virtual Money Smart Week 2021

Image:  Virtual Money Smart Week April 10-17, 2021Virtual Money Smart Week 2021 will be held Saturday, April 10 – Saturday, April 17. Money Smart Week is a national public education program coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago & delivered by a network of supporters. This week-long free virtual campaign aims to help people better manage their personal finances with a focus on those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This year’s line-up of virtual program topics include; saving, basic banking, student loans, fraud protection, personal finance, budgeting, and more. Virtual Money Smart Week 2021 will focus on one daily “Money Smart” theme. Content will be provided by government, non-profit and educational institutions through a combination of 10-15-minute presentations, checklists, toolkits, and other pertinent resources.

View more details at  Events are free and open to the public, but registration is advised.

Join Us for Makerspace Monday on April 12th!

Makerspace Monday @ The PlaygroundDon’t miss the Makerspace Monday Virtual Event on Monday, April 12th at 6:30pm. We will not only discover the magic of feathers but get ready to tie and trim as you assemble the Feathery Macramé craft! You will learn to turn yarn into wall art just one feather at a time.

Makerspace Monday Virtual Event
Date and Time: April 12th 6:30 p.m.

Activity: Feathery Macramé Fun
Register Here

We love Libraries and Librarians!

As you know, it’s National Library Week!  So we thought this would be a good time to highlight some newer books about libraries and librarians.  There is something for everyone on this list, from romance, to science fiction, to mystery, to biography and true crime.  It was hard to narrow it down.  Who knew libraries and librarians made such excellent settings and characters?

The bodies in the library DB97038 by Marty Wingate

Hayley Burke lands a job as the curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling’s First Edition library at Middlebank House in Bath, England. But when one of her Agatha Christie fan-fiction writers group is found dead in the venerable stacks, Hayley has to catch the killer to save her job.

The giver of stars DB96907 by Jojo Moyes

  1. Alice Van Cleve is still trying to adjust to married life and living in Kentucky after being raised in England. When offered the chance to join a group of women to deliver Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, she jumps at it. But they face dangers.

Her perfect affair DB100847 by Priscilla Oliveras

Responsible Rosa Fernandez has planned her career with precision, finally landing a job as a librarian. But she’s been harboring a secret crush on dreamy Jeremy Taylor, and after one dance with him at her sister’s wedding, Rosa longs to let loose for the first time.

Information hunters: when librarians, soldiers, and spies banded together in World War II Europe DB98976 by Kathy Lee Peiss

A cultural historian recounts the role of book and document collecting during and after World War II as a part of intelligence and national security, military planning, and postwar reconstruction. She profiles the librarians, archivists, and scholars who carried out these missions and describes the forward-reaching impact on American libraries.

The Library of the Unwritten DB96922 by A.J. Hackwith

Claire is Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing of Hell’s library, where stories unfinished by their authors reside. When a hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must capture him with the help of her assistant, Brevity, and demon courier Leto.

Reading behind bars: a true story of literature, law, and life as a prison librarian DB96548 by Jill Grunenwald

A newly minted librarian looks back on her first career stop: working in a prison. Discusses what drew her to the profession, why she chose to take the job, personalities she encountered, examples of both typical days and extraordinary ones, and challenges she faced.

Upright women wanted DB98684 by Sarah Gailey

Esther stows away in the Librarians’ book wagon to escape an arranged marriage with her dead best friend’s former fiancé–a friend with whom she was in love and who was executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The midnight library DB100906  by Matt Haig

After she attempts suicide, Nora wakes up in a mysterious library. The shelves are full of books, each the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with other books for the other lives you could have lived.

Syria’s secret library: reading and redemption in a town under siege DB97420 by Mike Thomson

An account of a hidden library organized in 2013 in the war-torn town of Daraya, which was besieged early in the Syrian Civil War. The author recounts how the books inside were salvaged and scavenged.

The library book DB92869 by Susan Orlean

The author re-opens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in US history. On April 29, 1986, fire broke out at the Los Angeles Public Library and destroyed or damaged more than a million books. Examines the evolution of public libraries while celebrating their value in society.