Staff Book Reviews-Kathy

Reviews by Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Cuddly Crochet Critters: 26 Animal Patterns

Adult non-fiction, 108 pages.

 

This is an instruction book for large pillow-like animals that are based on the Japanese “tsum tsum” style, crocheted with super chunky yarns. The intro includes information on supplies, stitches, techniques, and assembly.  It also claims an item is “easy” and can be made in a couple hours.

Well, I voted to make a narwhal from the “bonus critter” section in a mini version. What with gathering the supplies, starting it three times to get what I wanted, failing at adding eyebrows (my critter always looked mad or evil with them) and a few other disappointments (the whale project’s photo seems to have a tapered shape, but the pattern is the usual bolster shape) my project, although cute, took many hours longer.


Range: Why Generalists Triumph In A Specialized World By David Epstein

Adult Non-Fiction Audiobook

10hrs, 17 minutes

The author makes a very strong case that specialists’ “hyperspecialization” can actually be crippling to problem solving. He uses very illustrative examples from the real world of sports and musicians (both of which have had people succeed highly without starting early in their field) as well as video games (Nintendo) and NASA. THe point being that widely varied experience leads to insights into solutions, and that should be encouraged in many endeavors. Parents, take note.

Note: I didn’t initially agree with the title’s statement but I was won over.


“Better Call Saul” Sony And AMC TV Series (Season 1)

3 DVDs, adult TV series

This is the highly acclaimed prequel to the award winning “Breaking Bed’ series. I didn’t watch a lot of Breaking Bad, but I wanted to see what all the talk was about concerning Better Call Saul. Well, after the first couple of episodes I was hooked. It has a quirky storyline similar to “Fargo”, this one about a common turned lawyer. At first, pursuing his profession rather honestly, he begins to feel the pull of the dark side. The end of season 1 left me eager to try the next season.

 


Japanese Wonder Crochet By Nihon Yogue

Adult non-fiction, 112 pages

A crochet book translated from Japanese; these patterns offered some unique takes on basic stitches. The fibers used were Japanese brands, but there was a yarn page to help the crafter make a substitution. Probably not for a beginner, it still had good project diagrams as well as a section on how to work the stitches.

 

 

 

 


Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and A Mother’s Will To Survive

Author: Stephanie Land

By: Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Adult non-fiction, 270 pages

Chronicling a very difficult time in her life, the author recounts her struggles as a single mother making a living working as a maid. From trying to balance her social benefits against her earnings, she also is determined to achieve a higher education in order to provide a better life for her young daughter and herself. She perseveres through housing, medical, food, transportation, and a myriad of other troubles to finally move to Missoula and earn her diploma from the University of Montana.


March: Book One

Author:  John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, Illustrator Nate Powell

By: Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Young Adult/Adult, 121 pages

This is the first part of a trilogy of graphic novels about Congressman John Lewis and the Civil Rights Movement. In this book, we learn about his childhood and early beginnings with Civil Rights, and protests based on nonviolence. It is rich in details and wonderfully presented through the artwork of highly acclaimed Nate Powell. A good introduction to Mr. Lewis and the period. (Note: GFPL has all 3 books in the trilogy)


Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

By: Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Adult non-fiction, audio 6hr 30min

This is not the mythology of Marvel Comics and recent films, but rather ancient traditional stories. The author performs his work in this audio, and his ability as a story teller is unsurpassed, easily ending listeners to feel as they are in a Viking longhouse on a cold winter night hanging on to every word from an elder passing down the tales. From the long-ago beginnings to the future end of Ragnarok (and another beginning), this selection of Norse legends about sometimes human-like Gods is very entertaining.


One Dirty Tree

Author:  Noah Van

By: Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Young adult, 110 pages

This memoir is portrayed in a graphic novel format. Noah recounts some of his childhood in a large, poor Mormon family living at 133 __ (I didn’t get the play on the house number in the title until the very end-duh), as well as an early love relationship that does not work out. The illustrations were simpler, so I was less likely to miss some of the detail (yes, I saw the cat poo on the floor). It was an interesting change on just a text biography.


The Day the Crayons Quit

Author: Drew Daywalt pictures by Oliver Jeffers

By: Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Youtube, Juvenile picture book

In celebtration of National Crayon Day, I had my own binge storytime with three YouTube productions of this book. All different, all fun Patrons can find a hardback copy in the Kids’ Place, and learn how Duncan uses his crayons and what they’d like him to change in order to be happier.


The Lager Queen of Minnesota

Author: J. Ryan Stradal

By:  Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Adult fiction, 478 pages

This is a sweet family story about a farm, two estranged sisters, and the beer business in Minnesota. I knew that brewing was an involved process with lots of variables in ingredients, but never had any idea of all the types of beverages created. Beyond that interesting backstory, this tale also follows the lives of several family members through many decades of ups and downs.


Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight

Author:  Duncan Tonatiuh and Illustrator

By: Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Young Adult

This is a graphic novel story written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh, whose work I’ve enjoyed before. The internet describes his art as “inspired by Pre-Columbian art, particularly that of the Mixtea Cadex”. The book’s format intrigued me. It folds out rather than having a bound edge. The story is about Juan, who enters the U.S. at a young age to earn money for his family. While working at a restaurant he marries and learns his employer is not treating him nor others fairly, and he becomes involved in the movement for equal treatment for equal work.


The Terror

Author: Dan Simmons

By: Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Adult, 769 pages

Using the true background of the 1845 Franklin Expedition for the Northwest Passage, Simmons has crafted an intense story of that experience and thrown in a monster to make it even worse. The monster is a Tuunbaq, a creature from the “Equimaux” legend. The ships in the expedition were the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. They became icebound and all hands were lost, and recently located. They are now protected in a National Historic Site. Simmons wrote his story in 2007 and I really appreciated all of his detail to understand what this adventure entailed-from the ships, the sailing through ice, and the human lives.


“The Outsiders”

Director F.F. Coppola

By: Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Young adult film

Produced in 1983, I had never seen this film but I distinctly remember reading the book by S.E. Hinton in the late 60’s. The story shows the struggles between the “greasers” and “socs” and it includes many soon to be famous young actors portraying the teens. Visually it struck me as being a lot like “Gone with the Wind” and the story a stylized/romanticized version of gangs and their rumbles. It is definitely worth watching!


The Terror (AMC TV Series, Season One)

Executive Producers: Ridley Scott and Dan Simmons

By: Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Adult, TV Series, 3 DVD’s

Okay, I must admit that I couldn’t finish reading the book before binge watching this series las weekend!  After I got over my initial disappointment that Ciaran Hinds does not play the part of Captain Crozier, I was able to relax and enjoy this interpretation of the book by the same name.  Some of the true background of the 1845 Franklin Expedition was depicted.  This expedition tells the story of a ship and all hands that were lost after they became icebound during a search for the Northwest Passage.  This voyage was mixed with a monster, Tuunbaq, and the terror increases episode by episode.

P.S. Season 2 seems to be an entirely different tale….


Crabby Pants By Julie Gassman And Illustrator Richard Watson

Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Juvenile picture book

A very humorous portrayal of Roger’s less than “sweetness and light” personality (purrsnoality). And when he thinks he’s figured out a solution for his crabbiness it backfires. Be sure to look carefully at the pictures, especially the photos of the kids on the walls.


 

Design Your Own Crochet Projects By Sara Delaney

By: Kathy Wight, Library Specialist

Adult non-fiction, 250 pages

This would be a great reference book for anyone who likes to crochet! The author has developed formulas for producing very personalized scarves, socks, gloves, etc., and her introduction “why do we need crochet patterns?” touches on how she learned her craft, as well as lots of information on the variety of yarns and their various effects. She does insist on swatching (ugh), as this is used to determine how much of the yarn in the chosen stitch pattern will be needed (along with some size measurements) for a project. There is also a very nice stitch dictionary in the appendix.


Run

Author: Ann Patchett

Pages: 410 (Large Print Version)

Audience: Adult Fiction

Review:

This is a family story set over the course of a day but with many side stories to flesh it out.  I found it interesting but not believable, although it did raise ideas as to what makes a family and it did a good job of contracting the lives of the privileged with those of the less advantaged.  Filled with happiness, sadness and the intense love of family; it makes for a good read.


Date: 04/30/20

Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin

Directed by: PBS American Masters

Audience: Adult Documentary

Review:

Years ago when I shelved books as a high school “page” I was very aware of the popularity of Ms. LeGuin but I don’t remember reading aby of her books even though I was a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy.  This documentary provides a well-rounded history of her and her ground breaking work, with commentary by other well-known individuals such as Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood as well as herself.  Notes indicate it was produced over a decade in time.