EHS Library "Finds"
This page features EHS library titles that I and the other members of the EHS Library staff have found personally intriguing and worthwhile. Call #s are included for easy locating. Enjoy!
EHS Library Books Reviewed Below:
Manhunt: The Twelve-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer
The Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn
Somewhere in Time
Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
The Power of One
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
♥ Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (FIC/CHE) Review by Ms. Bower
I'm a huge fan of fiction when there is history involved, and this wonderful read--told by alternating characters--concerns the social climate in England following the death of Queen Victoria. Two young girls from different social classes, whose families own adjoining plots in the local cemetery, meet, become friends and endure life's joys and hardships as they mature into young women. This 2001 book has made me an instant fan of this author, and I will definitely be reading more of her!
♥ The Help by Kathryn Stockett (FIC/STO) Review by Ms. Bower
Three women, alternating as storyteller in each chapter, begin a secret writing project about the treatment of colored help in Mississippi in the early 1960s. Each woman assumes great risk in exposing the behind-the-scenes truth and changing the way women in the South view each other. Female readers in particular will be delighted, moved, and uplifted. How I wish I had written this book, penned by a first-time novelist!
♥ Manhunt: The Twelve-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson (364.152/SWA) Review by Ms. Bower If you are really interested in this topic (Reading about it has consumed much of my summer 2009!), then this is the book for you! It is a fast read that constantly alternates between the actions of Lincoln, Booth, and the other event players (so you know what is happening with each person as each part of the story unfolds)...without getting confusing for one moment. Nevertheless, I kept checking the map of Booth's escape route at the front of the book to chart the assassin's progress. I had a really hard time putting down this read, and i think that is "really saying something" considering the outcome is certainly no mystery. Included are a bit of Booth's diary and an epilogue showing what became of some of the other persons involved.
*Try this fun activity when you finish reading the book: Manhunt interactive game. The answers will be revealed in green with the next click after all four choices are revealed for a particular question. Composed for the April 2010 EHS Book Talk using my personal notes and Google images, the 10-question powerpoint will enhance your knowledge of the conspiracy and test your reading skill.
♥ The Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln by Kate Clifford Larson (973.7092/LAR) Review by Ms. Bower
History professor Larson details the true story of the first female executed by the United States government for her role in the Lincoln assassination plot. A few archival photos are included. The minute I checked this one back in at the circulation desk, one of my colleagues grabbed it (She gave it the "thumbs up" as well).
♥ The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell (FIC/MAX) Review by Ms. Bower
A winner of the ALA Notable/Best Books Award and a Publisher's Weekly starred pick, this novel finds Queen Elizabeth I--new to the throne of England--reading the diary of her mother, Anne Boleyn (Henry VIII's second wife, whom he ultimately beheaded). In doing so she learns key lessons from the content of her mother's difficult life.
♥ Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson (FIC/MAT), who also authored I Am Legend Review by Ms. Bower
This is a bit of a genre departure for me, as Somewhere in Time is part romance, part science fiction (concerning time travel). I was drawn to reading it for several reasons, including that I absolutely love the 1980 film version starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. Also, I recently visited the magical Mackinac Island, MI, the place where the movie was filmed and where the story has been immortalized.
The Matheson version involves a terminally ill man from 1971 who falls in love with a celebrated actress from 1896. Events in the first half of the book occur in stream of consciousness, diary-like format in 1971; the second-half events transpire in 1896, and they take the more "substantial" narrative form as the protagonist's life finds fulfillment.
A recommendation from someone who enjoyed both book and film: Read the book before you see the film. The deliberate, changing format of the book version allows the reader to appreciate the growth of the protagonist. It is harder to be a patient reader when one already knows about the "good stuff" to come. And whether or not you partake in either format, do NOT pass on Mackinac Island as a vacation spot, should the opportunity to go there ever present itself.
♥ Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe by John Evangelist Walsh (818.309/WAL) Review by Ms. Bower
There is nothing NOT to love in this short read (only 129 pages)--that is, if you'd enjoy the careful piecing together of an unsolved mystery concerning perhaps the most intriguing writer in American history amidst the unraveling of his doomed last romance. Walsh uses correspondence of the principal players in this real-life drama to make a compelling case for what actually happened to Poe during his final days. The penultimate chapter alone is worth the price of admission here. The inventor of the detective story (Yep, that's Poe) would be proud.
♥ The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (FIC/COU) Review by Ms. Bower
This first-person narrative about the growth of an Anglo-African boy in 1930s/40s South Africa is a long read in three distinct parts. But let me start off with this: It is well worth the time investment. Period. The topics of boxing, bullying, African culture, Hitler, underground mining, the prison system, gambling, and classical music are all wonderfully present here as you follow a young boy who learns valuable lessons from each person he meets, combats his initial "outsider/victim" status, and reaches for his seemingly-impossible dream of being Welterweight Champion of the World.
♥ The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba (608.768/KAM) Review by Mrs. Vanim
In this inspirational true story, a teenage boy living in Africa builds a windmill from scraps he finds in his village. Despite much adversity, the protagonist (William) remains undeterred and eventually succeeds in his quest to produce electricity and bring water to his village. This book is an amazing real-life example of how determination and courage can help people reach their dreams.
♥ Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown (FIC/BRO) Review by Mrs. Moser
Jennifer Brown explores the consequences of sexting in this cautionary tale about a high school girl who decides to text a naked picture of herself to her college-bound boyfriend in the hope that he will not forget her while he is away at school. The repercussions of her spur-of-the-moment decision are painful and devastating--not only for the young girl, but for her boyfriend as well. An eye-opening read for every teenager today, Thousand Words shows the importance of thinking long and hard about actions that could have a disasterous ripple-down effect.