Book Reviews from Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena.  Deena was a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team who recently retired.  She has generously continued to share book reviews with us.  Thank you, Deena! 

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

Unorthodox: the Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic roots by Deborah Feldman  DB74459
Deborah grew up in the Hasidic community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn New York. Even as child she longs for the freedom her religion prevents her from experiencing such as dressing fashionably and reading books.  Deborah was raised by her religious grandparents.  Her father suffered from mental illness and her mother abandoned her family.  She attends a private Jewish school and all of her classmates seem to have more than she does.  When she graduates, she becomes a teacher in a Jewish school teaching sixth grade. After about a year, she is matched with a religious Jew and they marry.  There are many problems in the marriage as Deborah still longs for being able to read what she wants and to get an education. To find out more about Deborah’s story read the book and watch the movie “Unorthodox” on Netflix.

The Homecoming by Earl Hamner  BR1474, LT8270
For those of you old enough to remember this is a trip down memory lane.  This was the pilot for the Waltons TV series, although most of the names are different from the TV series, this has the same folksy, family-oriented feel.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult  DB76311
Like a lot of Picoult’s books this book has several story lines.  The present day is of Sage Singer, a baker, who works nights in a bakery. Sage meets and befriends, Josef, an elderly gentleman who was in the bakery. Sage’s only family nearby is her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor.  As Sage gets to know Josef, he confides in her he was an SS officer in the German military. Sage has mixed feelings about this as she likes Josef and he is respected in the community, but her grandmother survived being in a concentration camp. This book has many twists and turns and typical of Picoult a surprise ending. Very well-written, excellent story.

Top Ten Most Popular Fiction Books on BARD Last Month

A set of books with headphonesHere are the most popular fiction books downloaded from BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) last month:

Mercy by David Baldacci DB105787

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly DB105770

Fear No Evil by James Patterson DB105776

Game On: tempting twenty-eight : a Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich DB105777

The Midnight Lock: a Lincoln Rhyme novel by Jeffrey Deaver DB105749

Criminal Mischief by Stuart Woods DB106177

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty DB77238

Clive Cussler’s the Devil’s Sea by Dirk Cussler DB105769

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult DB105742

Flying Angels by Danielle Steel DB105744

Library News Podcast: March 2022

Join library staff for March’s Library News podcast which features information on customized Talking Book Topics called Tiny TBTs, the top ten fiction books downloaded on BARD last month, information about the 2022 Iowa Regional Braille Challenge, the Great Reading Challenge, information about the upcoming Des Moines Book Festival, save the date information for the Elizabeth Perowsky Volunteer Workshop and Luncheon, upcoming Youth programs, and information about ongoing library events and programs.

Library News Podcast: February 2022

Join library staff for February’s Library News podcast which features information on the 2022 All Iowa Reads titles,  the top ten nonfiction books downloaded on BARD last month, information about the 2022 Iowa Regional Braille Challenge, upcoming Youth programs, and information about ongoing library events and programs.

Top Ten Most Popular Fiction Books on BARD in December 2021

A set of books with headphonesHere are the most popular fiction books downloaded from BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) last month:

The Whistler: a novel by John Grisham  DB86026

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman  DB100981

Birthright by Nora Roberts  DB55869

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin  DB100040

The Night Bird by Brian Freeman  DBC16046

All the Light We Cannot See: a novel by Anthony Doerr  DB79182

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty  DB92901

The Affair: a Reacher novel by Lee Child  DB73922

Comfort & Joy: a novel by Kristin Hannah  DBC16784

Black Hills by Nora Roberts  DB69690

What were your top books of 2021?

Stack of three booksAs 2021 comes to a close, we thought it would be fun to look back on the top books from the year.  But how do you decide what the top books are?  We did a bit of research, pulling together a list of titles that were found on multiple “Top Books of 2021” lists and that are found on BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download).  This list is not comprehensive by any means, but definitely interesting.
Wishing everyone a happy New Year!

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry  DB103191

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah DB102287

The Last Thing he Told Me by Laura Dave  DB103326

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir  DB103718

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney  DB104825

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro  DB102764

The Antisocial Network by Ben Mezrich  DB105076

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles  DB105197

Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart  DB105496

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen  DB105192

Second Place by Rachel Cusk  DB103349

Empire of Pain: the secret history of the Sackler Dynasty DB102965

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead  DB104914

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead  DB103266

A Little Devil in America: notes in praise of black performance  DB103276

Matrix by Laruen Groff  DB104843