Review: The One-in-a-Million Boy

Until you begin reading The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood, you won’t know how essential it is for you to meet a 104-year-old Lithuanian migrant and the boy who got her living again.25862989

Ona Vitkus, the aforementioned woman, just wants to be left alone, until she is forced to accept the help of an 11-year-old Boy Scout, one obsessed with counting and memorizing Guinness World Records. What begins as a forced transaction becomes a connection that gives Ona new goals beyond just existing. The ramifications of this one connection ripple out, pulling the boy’s on-again-off-again father and his grieving mother into Ona’s orbit. As the two learn about Ona’s relationship with their son, they discover just how special he really was. Continue reading

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More than just productivity: The Productivity Project

51Pi1JKgDpL__SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Within the first chapter of The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey spills the beans on the three ingredients to productivity: Time, attention and energy. He says the balance of these leads you to accomplishing your goals. And if you flip over to the back cover, you’ll find Bailey’s top four recommendations for becoming more productive. But the value of Bailey’s book is not in knowing these factors, but following along on Bailey’s journey and absorbing the lesson that productivity has more important benefits than getting more done every day.

But don’t worry, Bailey does spend some time giving you tips on how to get more productive. Each chapter closes with a challenge that aims to both drive home the theme of the chapter and begin actively working on your productivity. His truthful anecdotes endear you to him and his process, while making you feel that the goal of becoming more productive is something you believe in wholeheartedly. I say that because I grabbed the book not because I wanted to read it, but because I wanted to increase my knowledge of the types of books available in the 600s. By the end, I’ve found myself implementing and valuing many of the lessons Bailey’s imparts. Continue reading

Review: Eleanor by Jason Gurley

eleanorIt was the cover that first grabbed me. Watercolor swirls of blue, outlining brimming eyes dripping tears down into rolling waves on an ivory background. The title and author were afterthoughts: I had to read this book because I had to read about this cover.

Lucky for me, the cover evokes both the topics and themes of the book – a young woman grappling with the tragedies that have derailed her family, as well as the healing power of water and the sea. Sometimes it pays off to judge a book by its heartbreakingly emotive cover. Continue reading

Mini-Reviews: Series notes and a classic

Time for another round of mini-reviews! I’ve been a little neglectful of my book reviews lately, mostly because I am trying to move beyond book reviews in this blog. But I do love reviewing books, and reviews – whether I are writing or reading them – are actually an important component of librarianship.

Reading reviews is essential to collection development. When we purchase books for the library, we often don’t get to read a book before it ends up on our shelves. Reading reviews gives us a better idea of whether the books suit our patrons. But writing reviews is equally important. Writing reviews allows a librarian to practice distilling the qualities and values of a book into an easily digestible description, a necessary skill for those reference librarians who still get to offer readers’ advisory services. So while I will continue trying to integrate more librarianship into this blog, I will always be sharing my book reviews with you. And now, to the reviews!

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Review: The Birthday of the World

In an attempt to read more women authors, I grabbed a book of short stories by Ursula K. Le Guin, who has been on my to-read list forever. But with a to-read list like mine (487 and counting), it seemed like a collection of short stories was easier to tackle then a full novel.51n5X6yiSlL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
The Birthday of the World is Le Guin’s musings that are set in her already incredibly complex universe. Imagine you are dropped onto a world that is so different than your own and you have to figure out what’s going on. For some of the stories, this was incredibly easy to do. In others, I was a little lost. But these little windows into the Le Guin universes made me want more, which is also the value of this collection of short stories.

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