Book Review


With our busy lifestyles, sometimes it’s hard to find the time to just sit and read.  If you’ve got a stack of unread books and feel like getting out more, you can take care of both situations with Dublin’s Silent Book Club!

On the third Tuesday of the month, from 3:00 – 4:00 pm, the library hosts an adult quiet reading hour. We’ll be setting up a room with a few comfortable chairs, closing the door, and giving you space to escape into a good book. Even though we call it a book club, we’re not discussing or reading the same book. It’s just a way to schedule some reading time and be around others who appreciate and share a passion for reading.

If you’re feeling social, you can come early and join us for our Readers’ Round Table. From 2:00 – 3:00 pm on the third Tuesday of the month, we spend time talking about the books we’re reading and enjoying. Share your latest find, or find a new author to try! While these two programs happen on the same day, you do not need to attend one to come to the other. Pick what feels right for you.

At last month’s Readers’ Round Table one participant recommended the book The Widow of the South, by Robert Hicks. She admitted it was slow to start, but full of detail about life in the South during the Civil War. The characters come to life as you get into it. You learn some history and get some romance. It’s also about how the main character’s home gets taken over by the Confederacy and turned into a hospital.

This prompted another participant to recommend the PBS television series Mercy Street, a somewhat gritty but captivating show about a family-owned hotel turned into an army hospital in Union-occupied Virginia. There’s a mix of interesting characters and perspectives including the Boston widow newly arrived as a nurse, a free black man with untapped medical skills, and a Southern belle whose entitled world has been utterly shaken. Find the DVDs for both seasons at the library.

What new book or show might you discover next? Join us on October 17 to find out!

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Teen Book Talk features book, movie, and local event reviews written by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a double review of the first two books in the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Scarlet.

Teen reviewers select which books and movies they’d like to review, and also which local events to attend and review. All opinions are those of the reviewers. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Sahana N., Teen Reviewer

Book Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 2012

Appeal: Marie Lu, Veronica Roth, and Kiera Cass fans (Middle School)

Rating: 5/5

Cinderella mostly brings the idea of a silky blue ball gown, elegantly rare glass slippers, and a sweet story about love at first sight. Cinder is Cinderella reimagined, in a power packed way you would never expect her.

Linh Cinder is the best mechanic in all of New Beijing. But, she’s different from everyone else. Cinder is a cyborg; one that can tell when someone’s lying, download information, fix practically anything, and even has the perks of not blushing or crying. In New Beijing, being a cyborg isn’t as incredible as it seems. Terrorized by her stepmother and first stepsister, Cinder’s life doesn’t look so good. Especially when her second step-sister and best friend is diagnosed with letumosis, the deadly and rapidly killing pandemic that mysteriously appeared in her country, Cinder has no option but to submit for testing for the cure under her cruel step-mother’s wishes.

At the palace where she undergoes medical testing, Cinder meets Kai, the soon to be emperor, whose father is suffering from the deadly disease and who is torn apart by duty and his heart. Picked up by the whirlwind of her heart, but let down by the gust of reality, Cinder must try to follow a path that has been set for her while making choices for herself, and discovering her identity. But what Cinder learns about herself and her shattering past, can either build the future back up or tear it down.

As you read the book, you’re yanked into Cinder’s bustling world, by a hand made of love, treachery, sadness, betrayal, and a whole lot of strength. Cinder shows you how being different from everyone isn’t as easy as it seems, and you get to feel her anger, her misery, her fear, her enthusiasm, and her love. I would recommend this book to almost anyone who wants to read a good Young Adult book. If you have enjoyed series like Legend, Red Queen, Selection, and Divergent, this book will be an exact fit. Cinder was thrillingly perfect and my favorite aspect of it was that there was an immersive infusion of the beloved classic Cinderella, yet at the same time, the story was much more complex, contrasting in certain areas, and breathtakingly beautiful.

 

Janice L., Teen Reviewer

Book Title: Scarlet

Author: Marissa Meyer

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 2013

Who will book appeal to?: Teenagers

Rating: 4 stars (1 = did not like it and 5 = it was amazing)

This novel is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles, preceding after Cinder . I actually did not read Cinder before reading Scarlet , so I can’t form a judgement on this sequel in comparison to Cinder as the continuation of the storyline in Cinder.

The pacing of the story was a bit too slow in the beginning, but events finally picked up the pace later on as the story unfolded. At some parts of the story, I thought the fight scenes weren’t described well, but the descriptions improved, especially in one of the conflicts towards the end of the novel.

Overall, I enjoyed the adventure in the plot and the humor in Cinder’s perspective in her banters with Thorne. I also liked the switch-off between the two different perspectives of Cinder and Scarlet in the chapters of the book as their lives became more intertwined with each other. Kai’s perspective was also switched off between chapters, but I did not enjoy those chapters in particular since they seemed boring to me. I believe the reason why I did not enjoy his perspective as much as the others is because I haven’t read Cinder, so I don’t know the history between Kai and Cinder. Meyer conjured a fascinating connection between them, and I admit I was surprised when I found out the story behind how they were connected. I love that there is a romance element to this novel as well, but this novel doesn’t base its entire plot around the romance. I would highly recommend this book, especially to those that like novels that are spin-offs of fairy tales and to those that enjoy adventure and romance in a novel.

Teen Book Talk features book, movie, and local event reviews written by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of an older teen book, An Ember in the Ashes.

Teen reviewers select which books and movies they’d like to review, and also which local events to attend and review. All opinions are those of the reviewers. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Sahana N., Teen Reviewer

Book Title: An Ember in The Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 2015

Appeal: 6th – 9th Grade

Rating: 5

Laia of Serra, a slave girl, and Elias Veturius, one of the finest and chief soldiers for the Empire, could not live more different lives. But what they don’t realize is that they could also not lead more special lives, because they are both Embers in the Ashes. Laia of Serra is a 17-year-old Scholar girl, afraid of the Empire and her past. One day, Laia’s brother, Darin, is arrested for treason to the Empire. Frozen in fear, while the “masks” invade her home, Laia runs at Darin’s commands. Escaping, all she can think about is her cowardliness so she sets out to find the Resistance, in hopes that they will help free Darin. But all good things come with a price… Laia is forced to spy for the Resistance within the premises of the dangerous military academy of Blackcliff.

Elias can’t be free from his conscience. Reluctant and hesitant to kill, and unwilling to carry out the Empire’s brutal orders, Elias, isn’t sure what he wants: to follow his orders and become the exact person he hates or rebel against the Empire and be what he has been prepared and instructed to fight. When he finishes his training as a mask, a special announcement is made that pits Elias against his own heart and deepest wishes. When Elias meets Laia, with her gleaming golden eyes and silky hair as black as the night, they are both forced to make choices that could quite easily get them killed or lead them to the future they’ve both always wanted.

The way Sabaa Tahir spins Laia and Elias’s tale takes you for a whirl as you make your way through unexpected and exciting twists and turns, and you never really know what’s lurking around the corner. This book is my current favorite because a world is created that makes you laugh, wonder, and at times feel like crying. The characters are strong people who discover things about themselves and in doing so allow you to learn about yourself too. At first when I was reading the beginning of the book, I honestly thought it was going to be a book that would leave me disappointed, but I have to say that this was not the case. In fact, I was actually jumping to read the sequel. If you’ve ever enjoyed classic well-known books like Divergent, Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, Harry Potter or even some of the newest Young Adult series like Red Queen and the Selection, then this book is perfect for you. It has the greatest mix of action, a bit of fantasy, and romance. An Ember in the Ashes is an unforgettable and truly thrilling first installment in the series.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Well, it’s not exactly dinner, but the winners of our last drawing of Three Good Books prizes did get a Starbucks gift card good for a small treat. Not too shabby.

We drew names from reviews from the past two weeks, as well as another drawing with all the participants over the summer who had not yet won a prize. Congratulations to the winners!

Here are some of the books mentioned in the final group of Three Good Books reviews. (We are only listing the titles and not the reviews due to participants’ request.)

Everything I Never Told You,
by Celeste Ng

The Genius of Birds, by Jennifer Ackerman

Growing a Feast, by Kurt Timmermeister

Legend, by Marie Lu

 

 

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened,
by Jenny Lawson

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett

Rich People Problems, by Kevin Kwan

The Twelve, by Justin Cronin

 

Three Good Books was a program in conjunction with Alameda County Library’s Summer Reading Program for all ages. If you have not yet claimed your First and Second Prizes you are missing out. We have a limited amount of free books as prizes and the range of titles is getting smaller each day. So don’t dally any longer! You have until September 15, 2017 to redeem your prizes.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in our adult reviews program this summer. We hope everyone reading these posts found some good picks for their to-be-read list!

 

Teen Book Talk features book, movie, and local event reviews written by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of an older teen book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Teen reviewers select which books and movies they’d like to review, and also which local events to attend and review. All opinions are those of the reviewers. **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 Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 1999

Who will book appeal to?: Teenagers

Rating: 3 stars

The protagonist is a fifteen-year-old boy named Charlie. He is currently coping with the suicide of his friend, Michael, and in order to lessen his anxiety of starting high school without Michael, Charlie starts to write letters to a stranger that he heard was nice but has never actually met in his real life. The letters mainly talks about his daily life at school and how he feels about other people around him. At school, his English teacher, Bill, becomes both Charlie’s friend and mentor. Charlie overcomes his shyness and approaches one of his classmates named Patrick who eventually becomes Charlie’s best friend along with his stepsister, Sam. Throughout the school year, Charlie has his first date and first kiss, deals with bullies, and experiments with drugs and drinking. He makes more friends, loses them, and gains them back again. He also makes his own soundtrack using mixtapes. At home, Charlie has a relatively stable life with his supportive parents. However, a disturbing family secret that Charlie has repressed for his whole life appears at the end of the school year. Charlie goes through several mental breakdowns and ends up being hospitalized.

The letters continue on despite these various incidents that Charlie experiences. I recommend this book to teenagers, especially the ones in high school, because the protagonist with the similar age as themselves will make the story more relatable and understandable, and they can put themselves in Charlie’s shoes. Some readers might not be interested in this story because it covers the dramas in school and they might assume that it would be a story that is too common. However, I think that this story shows the conflicts to its readers in a rather unique way. The format – letters – makes the plot sound more realistic and every book will talk about high school dramas in a different way, so I believe that it is worth reading.

Congratulations to Abby, the latest winner in our adult summer book review drawing! Abby let us know about three books that she recommends and she won herself a Starbucks gift card. A good book and a cup of tea, what more could you ask for? Adult readers in Dublin have until Saturday, August 13 to submit their Three Good Books review and qualify for the next prize drawing.

Three Good Books is a program in conjunction with Alameda County Library’s Summer Reading Program for all ages. If you have not yet logged your reading times and activities, be sure to do so by August 24. While participants have until September 15 to claim their First and Second Prizes (free books y’all!), the Grand Prize drawing for participants who have earned 500 points or more will be held on August 25! Those who have made it to 500 points by that date will automatically be eligible, no need for an extra registration.

If you’re still searching for something good to read as you rack up your reading minutes, come and check out our Three Good Books display in the library, see our previous posts, or try some of these patron picks…

Abby chose:

 

Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe, by Mike Massimino
(autobiography)
riveting, inspiring, fascinating

Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line, by Michael Gibney
(non-fiction)
interesting, humorous, high-brow

Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King
(fiction)
gripping, edge-of-your-seat action, thrilling

 

 

 

Elena recommends:

Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease, by Jon Palfreman (bio-medical non-fiction)
poignant, timely, understandable

Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, by Steve Sheinkin
(historical children’s non-fiction, WWII era)
African-American literature, Local History, Sadness

The Resurrection Fields, by Brian Keaney
(science fiction)
Young Adult, Horror, Absorbing

What three words/phrases would you choose to describe that great book you just read? Library patron Steve, who recently won our latest drawing in Dublin’s Three Good Books program, chose “timely,” “thought-provoking,” and “chilling” to entice readers to try the book Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid.

Sure, we could tell you the plot of a book, but sometimes it’s more fun and  informative to talk about how a book makes you feel, or what the experience of reading a particular book is like.  That’s what inspired this summer program for adults and I hope you’re finding it as interesting as I am.

There’s still time to submit your Three Good Books. You can reply to this post or come in to the library and pick up the form at our display. The last day to submit your entry is Sunday, August 14.

Here are Steve’s three books and two more submitted recently. Happy reading…

 

Steve’s Three Reads:

Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid, (dystopian fiction)
timely, thought-provoking, chilling

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II,
by Molly Guptill Manning, (nonfiction)
touching, unexpected, evocative

Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing,
by Melissa Mohr, (nonfiction)
bawdy, clever, surprising

 

 

Alex recommends:

 

 

Ukridge, by P. G. Wodehouse (fiction)
entertaining, quick-witted, enjoyable

Leave it to Psmith, by P. G. Wodehouse (fiction)
gripping, fast, hilarious

The Clothes They Stood Up In,
by Alan Bennett (fiction)
thought-provoking, unusual, uncanny

 

 

 

 

Bethany’s picks:

Relativity, by Antonia Hayes (fiction)
intriguing, realistic, scientific

Dear Ijeawele,
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (non-fiction)
feminist, supportive, open-minded

The Martian, by Andy Weir (science fiction)
funny, futuristic, scientific

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