Historical · Non-fiction

The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
Title: 
The Lost City of Z

Author: David Grann

Page Count: 352

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2009/Doubleday

Format: eBook

Review: I will read anything and everything written by David Grann. He has such an amazing writing style, so it’s very easy to get caught up in his work. In the Lost City of Z, he talks about Percy Fawcet and his multiple trips into the Amazon and then goes and tries to recreate the route he was taking when he disappeared. The book alternates between both tales: the past and the present, meaning you aren’t stuck too long on one specific part of the story.

I quickly got swept up in the exploration of the Amazon and the charting of the unknown, and it’s easy to see why Grann frequently writes about people obsessed: he can get into that mindset himself and tell their stories in ways that make the reader feel it too. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever suffered from wanderlust and loves to explore.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

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Memoir · Non-fiction · Young Adult

Shout

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Title: Shout

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Page Count: 304

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: March 12, 2019 by Penguin Young Readers Group

Format: Hardcover

Review: Laurie Halse Anderson has been a powerhouse in the realm of Young Adult Fiction, so it was interesting to learn a little bit more about her through this poetry memoir.  I like the format in verse because I think it will make the book seem less daunting to reluctant readers.  I was able to breeze through it in a couple hours, and despite it’s brevity, there is still a lot to unpack.

I think this is an important book because it reveals the gap in education regarding consent, and really just sex in general.  Because sex is still such a taboo topic, society is failing to educate youth about their own bodies and the importance of respecting others.

One of the most tragic aspects of sexual abuse/assault is that the victims often do not fully understand what has happened/is happening to them.  They push down their shame and internalize their trauma, which often manifests itself in destructive ways.  Because of this, it is so important that we talk through these issues with our youth, and let them know that it is ok to speak out if someone is doing something that doesn’t feel right.

I personally think this should be required reading in middle schools, because it is important to start this conversation early.  It is not graphic, but it absolutely gets it’s point across, which I think makes it appropriate for both middle school and high school students.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

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Non-fiction

Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary

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Title: Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary: 375 Tinctures, Salves, Teas, Capsules, Oils, and Washes for Whole-Body Health and Wellness

Author: JJ Pursell

Page Count: 288

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: March 5, 2019 by TimberPress

Format: eBook

Review: I was so impressed with the way this book was laid out.  It satisfies my craving for order (LOVE that the recipes are alphabetical), and it is so aesthetically pleasing.  I can’t speak to how well the remedies actually work, but I feel confident that I could make any of them if I tried.  This is a great reference book for both beginners and people with more expertise on the subject.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

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Historical · Non-fiction

DOUBLE REVIEW: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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Title: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Author: Heather Morris

Page Count: 262

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 4th 2018 by Harper (first published January 27th 2018)

Format: Paperback

Review: I loved this book. It’s heartbreaking and awe-inspiring and wonderfully written. It’s a quick read, which is good because you don’t want to get stuck in that mindset for too long, since it’s about Auschwitz.

Lale’s story is one of immense hardship and Heather Morris tells it very well. It also makes you wonder what you would do if put in his position. He was a remarkable man, and I really enjoyed reading about him.

Lale, as the title suggests, was a tattooist at the concentration camp. His job was to etch numbers on the arms of the new prisoners, and what first grabbed me about him was how he tried to be gentle with Gita’s when she came into his line. He did not know her but he felt the need to make this process as easy as possible, to the point where he almost got in serious trouble for going so slowly. Sometimes it’s the small things that endear someone to you so much.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

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Review: This is an incredibly moving book, and it is no wonder that it is a best seller (it had over 80 holds in my library system at one point!).  This book is a very quick read, so I recommend reading it in one sitting if you can.

As you can imagine, the content of this book is incredibly sad.  My stomach was churning literally the whole time I was reading it.  It is through a series of miracles, both large and small, that the main characters, Lale and Gita, survive.  Honestly I don’t know if I could have made it through the book without knowing that in advance.

This is one of the rare cases that instant love between two people in a story does not make me roll my eyes.  It is literally love at first sight for these two, and though they know very little about each other, it is a love so pure it makes your heart ache.

There is one particular scene in this book that stands out to me and I think it really encapsulates the heart of this story.  Lale comes across a single flower while walking to his barracks one day, and the mere sight of it gives him pause.  It is such a rare sight to see something so delicate and beautiful that he can’t help but stop and marvel at it.  In my mind, this flower is symbolic of the love between Lale and Gita.  It is the one beautiful thing blossoming in a landscape of unimaginable horrors.

After reading this book it is hard not to believe in the concept of soul mates.  It is unlikely that these two would have met under any other circumstances, and it is even more unlikely that they would have both been able to survive the atrocities committed against them.  Yet they did meet, they did fall in love, and they did survive.   This was a story that needed to be told, and I am so glad it has reached such a wide audience.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Historical · Non-fiction

How to Remove a Brain

Title: How to Remove a Brain

Author: David Haviland

Page Count: N/A

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: July 2017/ Thistle Publishing

Format: eBook

Review: This was a fun, quirky read. It’s full of interesting stories and tidbits about medical history, including, of course, how to go about removing a brain. Each chapter is broken down into multiple stories relating to one overall theme, meaning it can be read quickly, which is always nice.

David Haviland managed to write the exact amount needed for each topic, never going too far or coming up short. The reader is given the relevant information and can go on to read more on their own time if they want, which means the book isn’t bogged down with too much needless information.

Haviland debunks popular medical myths and discusses how they most likely started. He also finds the obscure fact in order to keep you on your toes.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes medical facts, history, and stories and wants a quick, fun read.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

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Historical · Non-fiction

The White Headhunter

Title: The White Headhunter

Author: Nigel Randell

Page Count: N/A

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 24 January 2019/Thistle Publishing

Format: eBook

Review: I found this book incredibly engaging and could not put it down. It’s well written and well researched and just a genuine pleasure to read. While I liked the whole book, there is one part that stood out the most:

‘Village history does not reside in the public domain but is owned by various individuals and families- a copyright legitimised by an ancestral connection to a major participant in the narrative.’ This is the line that fully gripped me and made me realise how much I was going to enjoy reading the book. It shows how much research went into writing it, since this is not something that could be easily understood. Randell clearly went to extraordinary lengths to write this book, and it shows. I loved his dedication to making sure the reader understands the culture of the island, and I think that’s what makes the book such a good read.

It appealed to my love of both history and anthropology and I recommend the book to anyone who likes either.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

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Historical · Non-fiction · True Crime

Famous Assassinations

Title: Famous Assassinations

Author: Sarah Herman

Page Count: N/A

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: Nov. 9th, 2018

Format: eReader

Review: There have been a great number of assassinations in human history, and Sarah Herman describes a good deal of them. She separated them by time period and job type (royalty, president, dictator, etc.), taking us from the Roman Empire to Bin Laden.

Each main assassination is broken down into victim, assassination, assassin, and aftermath (or some amalgamation of the sort), making it a relatively quick read, as well as being very organised.

Herman writes very academically, while still being easily read by the public, which is a rare skill. I highly recommend this to anyone at all curious about the history of assassinations.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold