Book Review


Looking for a few good books? Come by the library this summer and see what others are suggesting, and leave your own suggestions, too!

Now through August 13th, 2017, the Dublin Library is asking adults to share three recent reads that they have enjoyed and three adjectives to describe each title. Come in and see our display at the library and fill out our Three Good Books form.

When you turn in your Three Good Books form you will be entered in our twice-monthly drawings for $5 gift certificates to Starbucks. Enjoy a snack or drink with your beach read!

Here are Three Good Books submitted by some Dublin Library staff…

Adult Librarian Diane’s choices:

The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
Teen Fiction
smart, endearing, romantic

A Gathering of Shadows, by V.E. Schwab
Fantasy set in alternate Londons (book 2)
thrilling, engaging, clever

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
Fiction- Family Saga
engrossing, intense, eye-opening,

 

Teen Librarian Mary’s picks:

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, by Kate Moore
Non-fiction (history, science)
Engrossing, poignant, unsettling

Bull, by David Elliott
Teen/YA (verse, mythology)
Entertaining, twisted, comical

Daughter of the Pirate King, by Tricia Levenseller
Teen/YA, Fantasy/Adventure
Fun, sarcastic, daring

Adult Librarian Eugene’s books:

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
Historic Fiction
Informative, ante-bellum society, gripping

Rocket Girl, by George D. Morgan
Biography (of author’s mother, a space scientist in the 1950s)
Inspiring, informative, presentation of societal attitudes

City of Women, by David R. Gillham
Historic Fiction (Berlin in last years of Third Reich)
Thriller, spies, resistance

Now that you have some good books to read, sign yourself up for Alameda County Library’s online Summer Reading Program for all ages!  It’s not just for the kids. No matter how young or old you are, you can read books and do activities to earn free books and enter a grand prize drawing. Just register online, log the time you’ve read and/or do the activities listed to earn points.

That should keep you busy and entertained this summer! As always, come in to the library or contact us for more reading and listening suggestions.

Teen Book Talk features reviews by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of the book, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Jiwon H., Teen Reviewer

Book Title: The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 1988

Who will book appeal to?: Adults

Rating: 5 stars

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is one of the very famous books throughout the world as it has been translated into at least sixty-nine languages getting into many different readers’ hands. The book begins with a man named Santiago who believes that the recurring dream he has is prophetic. He decides to travel to meet a Romani fortune-teller to figure out what this dream is trying to tell him. Throughout his journey, Santiago meets different people and learns about various values in one’s life. Following what his dream has shown him, his ultimate goal in the journey is to find the treasure at the pyramids, which is based on the interpretation of his dream by a gypsy woman. In the desert, Santiago meets an alchemist who teaches him about alchemy, helps him cross the desert to reach the pyramids, and talks about his wisdom about the Soul of the World.

The story tells the readers many values in our lives, such as wealth, fame, security, and health. Santiago sees how individuals prioritizing the values in different ways. Then, he looks at himself and finds what is most important in his life by the end of his journey. Paulo Coelho introduces philosophical concepts and the manner each reader perceives these varies.  In order to truly understand the message of this book and learn from it, the readers should be able to connect their own conceptions of different values in life to those of Santiago in the book. Thus, I would like to recommend this book to adults who are interested in reading inspirational books. I rated this book with five stars, because I believe that the lessons or the main message of the story is very meaningful regardless of whether or not each reader could fully understand it or get inspired by it after reading.

 

Two more reviews submitted from our Blind Date with a Book program. Patrons checked out books that had been covered up so they could not see the title, but we had provided a few words describing the book. If you participated in this program, then today (Tuesday, March 7) is the last day to submit your review and qualify for our drawing for prizes!

Book review by Jan for:


I Shall be Near to You, by Erin Lidsay McCabe

Was it a love match? What did you like/not like about it?

I enjoyed the story. I felt it portrayed the emotions of the main character very well. It was believable and well-crafted.

Tell us three adjectives that describe this book:
engaging, heart breaking, absorbing

 

Book review by Jeanne for:


Veil of Lies, by Jeri Westerson

Was it a love match? What did you like/not like about it?

Yes – very intriguing book – excellent description enabled me to be watching all action in my mind. I was disappointed in last chapter as Crispin Guest moves away from marriage chance.

This was such a good book. On my own I probably might not have checked it out by the title. I was unfamiliar with the author, but now I will read the best of J. Westerson’s books.

Character Crispin Guest was similar to Houdini in escaping his bound legs & arms when he found himself in Thames River.

Tell us three adjectives that describe this book:
Historical – London when Richard II became king at age 10
Masquerade – Imposters of identity
Identity – reallocation of titles, bureaucracy of trade

blinddatereview

Looking for something good to read? Here are a couple reviews submitted from our Blind Date with a Book program. If you checked out a blind date book and haven’t yet turned in your review, be sure to bring it in to the library by Tuesday, March 7 to be entered into our prize drawing. We’ll be giving away two separate prizes: a gift certificate to Dublin’s Nothing Bundt Cakes and a gift card for two adult admissions to Regal Cinemas.

Book Review by Emily for:
availableman-cover

An Available Man, by Hilma Wolitzer

Was it a love match? What did you like/not like about it?

This blind date was off to a rocky start but I decided to stick it out and am so glad I did. A little choppy with the progression of relationships but great imagery and overall story line. Definite tear-jerker.

Tell us three adjectives that describe this book:
Sad, encompassing, passionate

 

Book Review by Roberta for:
wildsnail-cover
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Was it a love match? What did you like/not like about it?

Yes, it was a love match! Winner of the 2011 John Burroughs Medal Award for Distinguished Natural History and the 2012 William Saroyan International Prize for Non-fiction, this natural history memoir is a jewel! This tiny book is a beautiful and loving ode to the humble, fascinating creature: the SNAIL. I like every word: the 17th, 18th, and 19th century references, the beautiful haikus, the loving, intense observation of the author and the calm, joyful experience of reading this prayerful little masterpiece.

What did I not like? Well, based on the title, I probably would never had picked up the book… yet I am so grateful to have had this “Blind Date.” FYI, snails are blind and deaf, yet they manage quite well. Read it for a calming adventure into nature

Tell us three adjectives that describe this book:
Inspirational, informative, absolutely beautiful

This week for Teen Book Talk, our teen reviewer shares her views on a teen novel, Mosquitoland, by David Arnold.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Esha C., Teen Reviewer

mosquitolandBook Title: Mosquito Land

Author: David Arnold

Format: Book

Year Of Publication: 2015

Who Will This Book Appeal To: Readers who enjoy books by John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Jandy Nelson.

Rating: 4/5 stars


In David Arnold’s Mosquito Land, main character, Mim Malone, decides to drop everything, leave home, and go find her mother. She hops on a bus with some cash, and an address, hoping to finally find some closure about her mother’s disappearance and the lack of communication that they’d had for months. Throughout her journey, Mim encounters various interesting people, and develops fleeting friendships as she finds her way closer and closer to finally seeing her mother again. By the end of the novel, Mim has reached new levels of acceptance and has learned to open up her heart in ways she didn’t think were possible before. 

 

I really enjoyed this book. The plot took a lot of interesting turns, so I never got bored while I was reading it. This book is similar (the writing style) to books by John Green, Jandy Nelson, and Rainbow Rowell, so I think that readers who enjoy the Young Adult and Realistic Fiction type novels will really enjoy this book. (There is no material in the book that would make anyone want to stop reading or uncomfortable.)

 

This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer shares his take on the end of a series, with a discussion about the last title in the Daniel X: Alien Hunter series. This book is book six, and entitled, Daniel X: Lights Out by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. (The library only owns book six in ebook format. Click on the title here to link to the catalog listing for the ebook).

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Justin L., Teen Reviewer

lights-outTitle: Daniel X – Lights Out

Author: James Patterson

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 2015

Appeals to: Preteens and early teens

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

In Lights Out, the sixth (and final) book in the Daniel X Alien Hunter series, Daniel has already taken down most of the aliens on the List (a list of alien outlaws plotting to commit evil crimes on Earth). The only one left is Number One, known as “The Prayer”, a giant praying mantis with dreadlocks, immense strength, an enormous intellectual capacity, the ability to warp space and time, and no conscience. The Prayer killed Daniel’s parents when he was three years old, so Daniel has a personal grudge against it. Not only that, the Prayer also opened up a black hole to destroy all life on Earth, and it’s up to Daniel to stop it before it’s too late.

I actually did not enjoy this book very much. The main character’s narration had the sarcastic humor used throughout the series, but the plot did not pull me in. There was a lot less action in this book than all the books preceding it, which was disappointing considering Daniel was supposed to be fighting the worst and strongest of all the alien outlaws. The plot was also confusing, with Daniel leaping around through time and then immediately leaping to another time and place while the Prayer followed him (although this demonstrated the “amazingness” of the powers of the Prayer, it wasn’t very interesting as the List already gives the reader a long list of everything that the Prayer can do). There were also random hospitals, fake parents, real parents (who shouldn’t have been able to come back after their souls were scattered in Book 5), and many other details in the story that were confusing. The whole concept of souls (not discussed in depth in any of the books prior, first mentioned, briefly, in Book 5) was also suddenly thrust upon the reader in the middle of the book, and the discrepancies between what the characters said about what souls can do and what the souls actually did in the book only serves to confuse the reader more. In my opinion this book did not do a good job wrapping up the series and I wouldn’t recommend this book (however I would recommend Game Over, Book 4 in the series; I liked that one better).

This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer shares a review of a classic novel, Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Esha C., Teen Reviewer

brave-new-worldBook Title: Brave New World

Author: Aldous Huxley

Format: Book

Year Of Publication: 1932

Who Will This Book Appeal To: Readers who like science fiction and books about utopian/dystopian societies

Rating: 4/5 stars

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is an amazing book about the future. Well, when it was first written in 1932, the book was the author’s “prediction” about what society would be like in the future (around the year 2020). Right now, 2020 is not too far away, and after reading Brave New World it is blatantly clear that the society in the book looks nothing like our world today.  Brave New World centers around the utopian society called the World State, which is composed of five classes of citizens: the Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. The novel also centers around a character named John, who is exposed to the World State after growing up in a reservation that isn’t affected by the utopian world. Brave New World is one of the most amazing books I’ve read.  At first it was really difficult for me to understand what was going on, but as I read more and more of the book, the story and characters became extremely interesting.  Brave New World is a book about a utopian/dystopian society, but it doesn’t involve any rebellions or revolutions the way that The Hunger Games or Divergent do. Instead, the book focuses on the injustices of the lives of the citizens in John’s eyes. While everybody leads a happy and content life, John argues that it’s wrong that none of the citizens get to feel or understand love, pain, or emotion in exchange for maintaining a stable society. I think that this book provides a very much needed fresh breath of air for readers who enjoy utopian/dystopian novels, and I definitely recommend others to read this book. (This book has no content that would make anyone feel uncomfortable or unwilling to continue reading the book).

 

 

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