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.

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

Look Me in the Eye: my life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison  DB64970
John Elder Robison tells the story of his life as a person with  Asperger’s and how he felt socially inept and did not fit in, thus the title “Look me in the eye”.
He came from a dysfunctional family.  His father was an alcoholic and beat him and his brother and his mother was mentally ill.  John found his niche in electronics and worked building circuits and special effects for the band KISS, among others. After several years of that he decided he needed a “real job” and used his electronic abilities to get another job. He married his high school sweetheart and became a father. It wasn’t until in his forties, when he learned he had Asperger’s that felt he fit into the world. Recommended for KISS fans, and anyone wishing to know more about people with Asperger’s and their reactions and how they think.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson BR18651, DB69104
Lia’s best friend, Cassie just has died as a result of Bulimia.  Lia is Anorexic and continually sets goals to lose five more pounds.  Cassie comes back to haunt Lia and urge her to join her.

Alibi Man by Tami Hoag   BR16909, DB63498
Elena Estes, a former cop, now works at a horse stable.  She goes for a walk and discovers a groom, Irina that she works with dead in a canal.  Elena investigates Irina’s death and helps the police.  Irina was Russian and the Russian mob appears to be involved.  This was a page turner with an unexpected ending.

The Loop by Nicholas Evans  LT5749, DB46713
I really did not think I would like this as much as I did. This takes place in Montana where wolves were reintroduced to the area.  Helen Ross works to put radio collars on the wolves to track and protect them.  The ranchers in the area are against the wolves because they have killed cattle.  Luke, the son of the leader of the ranchers, assists Helen with the wolves, much to the embarrassment of his father.  It all comes to head when Luke is caught trying to save some wolf pups. Recommended for animal lovers and environmentalists.

Library Chat Podcast: March 2022

Clip art image of headphonesIn March’s Library Chat Podcast, we continue our new format where we invite a different library staff members to join us as a special guest.  They will choose the topic to be discussed during Library Chat and we will talk about what they do on the library team, as well as books and podcasts around their chosen topic.

For March’s Library Chat, Karen Cunningham, our Instructional Materials Center Librarian joins us to talk about inspirational titles and autobiographies.

Books we discussed:
Book List From Podcast

Podcast we discussed:
Gretchen Rubin’s More Happier Podcast, March 5, 2022

 

Join us at the DSM Book Festival!

Image of DSM Book Festival logoJoin the Library and the Iowa Department for the Blind at the Des Moines Book Festival on Saturday, March 26th at Capital Square in Downtown Des Moines from 9:00am – 7:00pm.  For more information about the DSM Book Festival: https://www.dsmpartnership.com/dsmbookfestival/

The library will be hosting programs for adults and families:

  • 12:00pm: That All May Read:  Intro to Braille Hands-On Workshop
  • 2:00pm: The Story of Braille: stories and hands-on activities in the Just for Kids Room

We will also have a table throughout the day, so stop by!

The DSM Book Festival connects people who love books with the people who create them.

Book Reviews from Deena

Heart shape filled with books on shelvesCheck 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

An Ocean in Iowa by Peter Hedges DB47261
Scotty Ocean turns seven.  His mother leaves him and his two older sisters. Scotty tries various ways to get his mother to return to the family.  Some are funny and some are embarrassing. If you are interested in a humorous book about a young boy growing up in Iowa, I would suggest The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson (DB63131).  This is a laugh out loud read that takes place in Des Moines.  The one thing I did like about An Ocean in Iowa is that a lot of the places mentioned in the story are very close to my home.

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf  DB79095
Ellen Moore has been a social worker in Iowa, working with abused or neglected children for many years.  One day when she is running late for work the unthinkable happens.  Ellen is investigated and arrested.
Meanwhile, Ellen’s mother. Maudene while working at a restaurant runs across a young girl all alone.  Jenny gets sick at the restaurant.  Maudene later sees Jenny walking alone.  She asks if she can take her somewhere and ends up taking Jenny to her grandmother’s house, she finds out the grandmother has died.  Maudene, tells her daughter about Jenny and Ellen urges her to call a social worker. This book handles some tough subjects with sensitivity.

Book Reviews from Deena

Heart shape filled with books on shelvesCheck 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

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff  DB94677 

London, England 1943: Eleanor Trigg is in charge of training women to be radio operators, among other things for the French Resistance.  Marie is recruited because of her knowledge of the French language.  Marie faces many dangers, once placed on French soil.
New York 1946: Grace Healey, war widow cuts through Grand Central Station on her way to work. She notices a suitcase pushed under a bench.  No one is around and thinking someone has lost it, Grace looks inside and finds photos of several young women with names written on them.  Impulsively, she takes the photos.  Who were these women?  This sends Grace on a quest to find out who they were and what happened to them. 

First Lady by James Patterson  DB94124 

The president is caught with another woman.  The First Lady, to escape the stress and questions, goes out to ride her horse.  She disappears.  The secret service has lost her.  The chief of staff hearing of the president’s affair, is concerned about the chance of reelection in the upcoming election, weeks away.  The White House receives a ransom note.  Everyone is trying hard to find the First Lady before the press gets wind of it.  Everyone is hoping for her safe return except for one person.  This mystery will keep you guessing as to the outcome of the story. 

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher (available through Bridges

Thursday is the second wife in a polygamous relationship.  Her husband, Seth sees her only on Thursday, since the other two wives live in another city.  Thursday tries to be the complainant wife, so he loves her more.  Curious after a time, Thursday seeks out the other two wives on social media. The more she digs into their lives, the more convinced she is Seth is being untruthful.  This is a fast-paced thriller with a surprise at every turn.