Archives for posts with tag: books for adults

Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings

Published as All Hell Let Loose: The World at War, 1939-1945 in the UK

 

Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945Inferno is a compelling history of World War II, told from the point of view of regular people, soldiers and civilians, who experienced the war. The author, Max Hastings, is a British journalist and author of many modern history books. Inferno offers a comparative history of the war, giving the reader context about the similarities and differences between geographical areas and time stages of the war.

One of my favorite parts of reading this book was discovering World War II topics that I hadn’t learned about in high school history class. These include the conflict between the Russian and German armies on the Eastern Front, where 90% of the German Army’s losses were received. I also learned a lot about the Pacific Theater, as most of what I learned focused on the island battles. The sections on China and southeast Asian countries under Japan’s rule were very interesting, as was the discussion of Japanese vrs. Western values on warfare and prisoners. Hastings contends that the industrial might of the United States made more of an impact on the war than the US military, which was interesting to think about given the focus on troops in my history lessons.

Inferno is a great book for people who want a more complete or alternate history of World War II. As a history that is focused on the stories of ordinary people and soldiers, it is also has more compelling human stories than history books focused on battles and weapons. Max Hastings won  the Pritzker Prize for Military History and Inferno was a New York Times Notable Book.

 

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Inferno-World-War-1939-1945-Vintage/dp/0307475530/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405381896&sr=1-1&keywords=inferno%3A+The+World+at+War%2C+1939-1945

 From King County Library System in Book, ebook, and Downloadable Audiobook: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&t=smart&search_category=keyword&q=Inferno+Max+Hastings&commit=Search

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One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson

One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson

The perfect non-fiction summer read. This is an engaging book from the king of popular non-fiction about many interesting developments that happened over the summer of 1927. By reading this book, you’ll learn about the early history of flight and why Charles Lindbergh was such a great pilot and why the 1927 Yankees were the best baseball team in history.  You’ll also read about a massive natural disaster and the President who went on vacation to the Black Hills during the aftermath. There are also some spectacular crimes detailed in the book, including a  horrible murder that gripped the nation, the trial of two anarchists which was very famous at the time but is unremembered now, and you’ll also read about how Al Capone consolidated his power in the criminal underworld of Chicago.

Bryson is adept at making the historical entertaining as well as informative, and you’ll come out of this book with many good cocktail conversation starters. This book is a series of loosely-related topics that were interesting to Bryson, not a linear tale, so if you don’t find one topic that interesting, you can always skip to the next chapter. Bryson also narrates his audiobooks himself, and he has a nice voice, so the audiobook version would be a great choice for a summer road trip as well.

 

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/One-Summer-America-Bill-Bryson/dp/0767919408

 

From King County Library System in Book, Large Print Book, Audiobook CD, Downloadable Audiobook, and ebook: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?t=smart&search_category&q=one%20summer%201927%20bryson&commit=Search&CFID=33673684&CFTOKEN=c512db1bf5f70fde-16D65355-155D-225D-1D6BCD5B976C3CA5

Great Books to Relax With

These are the 10 “beach reads” I am looking forward to this summer, even though I often read them in a comfy chair on my deck instead of on the beach. If they haven’t been published yet the release date is listed.

 

Stuff Matters

10. Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik

This looks like a great nonfiction book to read when I get sick of fiction. There are lots of short entries about the modern materials that make up our everyday lives. Easy-reading nonfiction is great to read before bed, as it is interesting, but does not lead me down the rabbit trail of “one more chapter!” the way a gripping fiction book can.

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Stuff-Matters-Exploring-Marvelous-Materials/dp/0544236041/ref=zg_bs_books_57

From King County Library System in Book and ebook: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&t=smart&search_category=keyword&q=Mark+Miodownik+stuff&commit=Search

 

thrones

9. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I have read all of the books of The Song of Ice and Fire series, but I’d like to re-read them, starting with A Game of Thrones, before I start watching the tv series.

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Game-Thrones-Song-Fire-Book-ebook/dp/B000QCS8TW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402370263&sr=1-1&keywords=game+of+thrones

From KCLS in Book, eBook, Graphic Novel Book, Audiobook CD, Audiobook Cassette(!),  Chinese Book, and Spanish Book: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?custom_query=(contributor%3A(martin%2C%20george%20rr)%20AND%20title%3A(game%20of%20thrones)%20)%20-anywhere%3A(wall)%20-anywhere%3A(hedge)&suppress=true&custom_edit=false

 

thousand

8. Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas

I loved the Veronica Mars tv show because of the spunky teenage girl protagonist solving interesting crimes. I am excited to see if the first book in the series will live up to the show.

From Amazon in Kindle format: http://www.amazon.com/Veronica-Mars-Original-Thousand-Dollar-Paperback/dp/B00JIB7JHE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1402347794&sr=8-2&keywords=the+thousand-dollar+tan+line+veronica+mars+1

From Powell’s in paperback: http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780804170703-0

From KCLS in Book and Downloadable Audiobook: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?t=smart&search_category&q=thousand%20dollar%20tan%20line&commit=Search&CFID=33676042&CFTOKEN=68c19e6e8575842b-179FCAB4-155D-225D-1D8785D646F3B30F

 

ocean

7. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I actually have this book checked out right now, I just haven’t been in the mood to read it! It is a short read, but a little creepy, so I am going to read it when I feel in the mood for a darker title.

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Ocean-End-Lane-Novel-ebook/dp/B009NFHF0Q/ref=zg_bs_25_79

From KCLS in Book, ebook, Large Print Book, Audiobook CD, Downloadable Audiobook, and Spanish Book: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&t=smart&search_category=keyword&q=ocean+end+lane+gaiman&commit=Search

 

Shine Shine Shine

6. Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer

This book looks fantastic! It is about autism, rockets, love, death, and a troubled marriage. It is the first book by the author and has been gaining popularity since its release in 2012.

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shine-Lydia-Netzer-ebook/dp/B006ZL9DRO/ref=zg_bs_25_3

From KCLS in Book, Audiobook CD, and Downloadable Audiobook: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?custom_query=(contributor%3A(Netzer%2C%20Lydia)%20AND%20anywhere%3A(shine%20shine%20shine)%20)&suppress=true&custom_edit=false

 

giver

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

I read this classic children’s book in middle school, and I look forward to reading it again. It is a dystopian story that should appeal to readers of The Hunger Games and Divergent. The movie version will be released in August 2014. It stars Jeff Bridges as The Giver and Brenton Thwaites as Jonas (he played Prince Phillip in Maleficent).

The IMDB page for the movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435651/

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Giver-Readers-Circle-Laurel-Leaf/dp/0440237688/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402428471&sr=8-1&keywords=the+giver

From KCLS in Book, ebook, Audiobook CD, Downladable Audiobook, Preloaded Audiobook Player, Chinese Book, Japanese Book, Korean Book, and Spanish Book: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?custom_edit=true&custom_query=%28contributor%3A%28Lowry%2C+Lois%29+AND+title%3A%28giver%29+%29+-title%3A%28son%29+-title%3A%28messenger%29&page=1&suppress=true

 

Landline

4. Landline by Rainbow Rowell – coming July 8, 2014

Rainbow Rowell is known for writing engaging books about love stories with all of life’s complications. This novel has a character with a failing marriage, and she finds that she can talk on the phone with her husband in the past. This seems like a good mix of romance and sci fi, and a great beach read!

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Landline-Rainbow-Rowell/dp/1250049377/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402365069&sr=1-1&keywords=landline+rainbow+rowell

 

 

The Book of Life

3. The Book of Life (All Souls #3) by Deborah Harkness – coming July 15, 2014

I loved the first two books in this series, which is like Twilight for adults. I am looking forward to the final book in the series.

See my review of A Discovery of Witches, the first book in the All Souls trilogy:  https://30secondbookreview.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/a-discovery-of-witches/

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Life-All-Souls-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00G3L6KQI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402347196&sr=1-1&keywords=the+book+of+life

From KCLS in Book: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1393249082_book_of_life

 

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

fault

Since the movie version of this book came out, it has become even more popular than it was. I got tired of waiting on the hold list, so I went and bought it the other day. I am waiting for a free weekend so I can really sob my way through this tale of first love and cancer.

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fault-Our-Stars-John-Green-ebook/dp/B005ZOBNOI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402349346&sr=1-1&keywords=the+fault+in+our+stars

From KCLS in Book, Large Print Book, Audiobook CD, Preloaded Audiobook Player, ebook, Spanish Book, and Chinese Book: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&t=smart&search_category=keyword&q=the+fault+in+our+stars+john+green&commit=Search

 

Written in My Own Heart's Blood1. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon

The book I am most excited to read is the latest volume in the Outlander series. I can’t wait to find out what has happened to Jaime and Claire since the last book!

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Written-Own-Hearts-Blood-Outlander-ebook/dp/B00C8S9W0G/ref=zg_bs_17_8

From KCLS : http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&t=smart&search_category=keyword&q=written+heart%27s+blood+gabaldon&commit=Search

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

WildWild is a memoir of loss, grief, and finding yourself again. After losing her mother and her marriage, Cheryl Strayed went on a years-long bender of reckless behavior. She impulsively decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Canada down the Western USA to Mexico, as a journey of self-discovery. Strayed encountered many problems, some stemming from her lack of knowledge about the trail and her failure to pack practically, but ultimately triumphed over the trail and worked through some of her problems.

I have heard that this book has inspired many new hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail, but experienced hikers may be underwhelmed by her lack of preparedness and wilderness skills. There are some passages I found genuinely moving, and passages that were very funny as well. Be prepared for the a bit of 1990’s Northwest counterculture/hippie vibe that shows through as well.

This is a feel-good story of growth that won a lot of awards last year, including being included in Oprah’s book club and being named a best book of the year by NPR. It will come out as a movie in December 2014 and will star Reese Witherspoon, so you can get started on reading it before it gets even more popular with the film release. This is a great beach read for those interested in hiking, mother-daughter relationships, or journeys of healing and self-discovery.

From King County Library System in downloadable ebook, downloadable audiobook, pre-loaded audiobook player, audiobook cd, large print book, book, and Spanish-language book: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?custom_query=(contributor%3A(strayed%2C%20cheryl)%20AND%20title%3A(wild)%20)&suppress=true&custom_edit=false

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Found-Pacific-Crest-Vintage/dp/0307476073/ref=sr_1_1_ha?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399934020&sr=1-1&keywords=wild+cheryl+strayed

IMDB for the film version: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2305051/

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells: An Homage to P.G. Wodehouse by Sebastian Faulks

jeeves

Bertie Wooster is a rather foolish young man of the British upper class, and Jeeves is his highly intelligent and understated butler. The Jeeves and Wooster series is a British comedy institution, and P.G. Wodehouse wrote many books over the 60 years of their publication. For those who haven’t read them, the Jeeves and Wooster novels are comedies of manners, like A Room With a View, only more ridiculous, set in a similar time and place as Downton Abbey. The plots are fun and always tie up neatly at the end of the book and the wordplay is delightful.

Many praise Wodehouse as the finest comic English author, so Sebastian Faulks took on a tall order with his new book, subtitled “An Homage to P.G. Wodehouse”. It is a true homage, with a complicated plot of romantic comedy misunderstandings, Bertie messing things up, and witty banter between Bertie and Jeeves. It is not quite as good as the originals, however. The plot wrap-up was not totally up to Wodehouse standards, and though his writing is good, Faulks did not have Wodehouse’s flair for creating crafting each sentence to sparkle like a gem: the wordcraft was always the best part of Wodehouse’s books.

In the author’s note, Faulks says that the Wodehouse estate hopes that this new Jeeves & Wooster novel will introduce a new generation of readers to Wodehouse’s books. I think it does an ok job of an introduction, but if you are looking to get your toes wet with some real Wodehouse, I would recommend starting with Right Ho, Jeeves. You can get it from King County Library System in a number of formats, and you can currently get the ebook for free from Amazon.com.

Right Ho, Jeeves from King County Library System in Book, eBook, Downloadable Audiobook, , Audiobook CD, Audiobook Cassette (!), and the TV series on DVD: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?custom_query=(contributor%3A(wodehouse)%20AND%20title%3A(right%20ho%20jeeves)%20)&suppress=true&custom_edit=false

Right Ho, Jeeves from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Rithmatist-Brandon-Sanderson/dp/0765320320

 

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells from KCLS in Book, Downloadable Audiobook, and Audiobook CD: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?custom_query=(contributor%3A(faulks)%20AND%20anywhere%3A(jeeves)%20)&suppress=true&custom_edit=false

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jeeves-Wedding-Bells-Wooster-Novels/dp/1250047595/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395884835&sr=1-1&keywords=jeeves+wedding+bells

 

Dallas 1963 by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis

Cover image of Dallas 1963

Dallas 1963 describes the social and political climate in Dallas, Texas in the three years leading up to the Kennedy assassination. It is an eye-opening book on the right-wing extremism in Dallas and the culture of hate and fear it spawned. This book delves into the politics of the leaders of Dallas, showing how they acted and their motivations. Some key figures followed include Ted Dealey, the editor of the very conservative Dallas Morning News, General Walker, an army general who became a poster child for the right after he was fired for forcing his conservative views on his troops, and Stanley Marcus, the liberal owner of the Neiman Marcus department store.

I had learned a little about the Kennedy assassination in history class, but I did not live through the event. Dallas 1963 was a great book to learn about the context of the assassination. It delves into the Dallas Citizens Council, the elite power broker businessmen of Dallas that controlled the city, as well as the progress of the Civil Rights movement and de-segregation in Texas and the South more broadly. This book does not go into any of the conspiracy theories, and instead is a well-researched and gripping book about the climate of hate and fear that permeated Dallas and led up to the assassination. As with many books about history, it can also be read as a warning, showing how this culture grew and reminding us that it can grow again if we aren’t careful. A worthwhile read, especially for younger readers trying to understand the event.

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dallas-1963-Bill-Minutaglio/dp/1455522090/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393280617&sr=1-1&keywords=dallas+1963

From King County Library System in book, e-book, audiobook cd, preloaded audiobook, and e-audio: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?t=smart&q=%22dallas%201963%22&commit=Search&CFID=11234464&CFTOKEN=5746043fac8b22ca-FC015BFB-155D-225D-FAD6577D69801EB3&author=Minutaglio,%20Bill

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

The cover of A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches is a fantasy novel that feels like a combination of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, with far more witches. The main character, Diana, is a witch who wishes she was just a human. She studies the history of alchemy at Oxford University, and her world is shaken when she looks at a strange book and meets a handsome, brooding vampire named Matthew Claremont. Diana is quickly drawn into the supernatural world of witches, vampires, and deamons, and gets entangled in their politics.

Like Twilight, A Discovery of Witches takes a little bit of time to get the plot going, and it echoes The Historian with its scholar of European history stumbling into a supernatural world. The real delight in reading A Discovery of Witches is the unfolding relationship between Diana and Matthew. As they get to know each other, their walls start to come down, even as they both find out things that should make them reconsider. Diana is a more grown up and strong-willed heroine than Bella of Twilight, and seeing how Diana and Matthew negotiate an adult relationship is entertaining and authentic.

The author does spend too much time on the intricacies of alchemy for my tastes, but the specifics aren’t important to the plot of the book, so I mostly glossed over the in-depth descriptions of alchemical drawings.

Fans of A Discovery of Witches will be pleased to know that it is part of a trilogy. The second book, Shadow of Night, is out now, and the third, The Book of Life, is due out in July 2014. I gobbled up the first two books and I’m eagerly awaiting the third.

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Discovery-Witches-Novel-Souls-Trilogy/dp/0143119680/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie

From King County Library System in book, e-book, audio cd, large print book, and preloaded audio player: http://kcls.bibliocommons.com/search?custom_query=%28contributor%3A%28Harkness%2C%20Deborah%29%20AND%20title%3A%28discovery%20of%20witches%29%20%29&suppress=true&custom_edit=false=UTF8&qid=1389145973&sr=1-1&keywords=discovery+of+witches