Monday, October 26, 2020

Book Review: Tales of Sea and Shore by Edward Rowe Snow

Tales of Sea and Shore
by Edward Rowe Snow (910.45 Sn6t)

 

Edward Rowe Snow was a master storyteller and prolific writer who devoted most of his life to collecting unusual tales and mysteries of the sea, particularly in the New England area of the United States. This collection of stories has been my favorite so far with stories of horrific events and crimes that took place on ships in the 1600s-1800s along the Atlantic coast. One story involved a duel on Castle Island outside Boston that brought to mind the famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Lt. Robert Massie of Virginia was killed in a duel on Christmas Day by another officer. The officer who killed Massie suddenly disappeared. Years later, a young Edgar Allan Poe was stationed there and asked what had happened to the opponent. The officers there told him that the killer was made drunk and then walled up in a dungeon in the Castle, still alive. Sound familiar? Names and locations were changed, but Poe knew a good story when he heard one. In 1905, workers discovered the skeleton behind a brick wall in a section labeled as the dungeon on old maps of the Castle. This is just one of many stories that fill this book as well as the other titles that our library system still has in the collection. If you are looking for creepy stories with a historical bent, look no further. This is the book for you!

 

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Boston Bay Mysteries and Other Tales and Incredible Mysteries and Legends of the Sea, also by Edward Rowe Snow.]

 

[ Wikipedia page for Edward Rowe Snow ]

 

Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service

 

Have you read or listened to this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?


New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide Blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewer’s recommendations!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Book Review: The End of October by Lawrence Wright

The End of October
by Lawrence Wright (Wright)

 

A novel of a pandemic – and apparently prophetic. I don’t usually read disaster stories, especially while in the middle of one, but I’d heard that this tale Wright had written just before our current predicament ended up recounting nearly point by point what we’ve been going through with Covid-19.

 

Talk about hair rising on the back of your neck.

 

Wright pulls you into the story immediately. He includes some interesting pandemic history, along with multiple characters you will bond with and worry about. Don’t let the 400 pages deter you, I read half of it in one sitting. There were no boring parts, every page kept me riveted.

 

This is a fascinating, worldwide story of people and events that I couldn’t put down.

 

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton or The Stand by Stephen King.]

 

[ official The End of October page on the official Lawrence Wright web site ]

 

Recommended by Charlotte M.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service

 

Have you read or listened to this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?


New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide Blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewer’s recommendations!

Book Review: Switched on Pop by Nate Sloan and Charles Harding

Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works and Why it Matters

by Nate Sloan and Charles Harding (Music 781.64 Slo)

 

This is a fun and informative book with an interesting structure: addressing pop music hits of the last 20 years, Switched on Pop analyses 16 hit songs by looking at unique attributes of their construction. Each song represents a particular kind of approach to songwriting, placed into context using bits of relevant music theory and music history. Taken as a whole, the book is a great stroll through important musical concepts that you can simply enjoy as a reader, but you can also apply these ideas to songwriting yourself.

 

There are great illustrations throughout the book that help to explain all kinds of musical phenomena visually, from reverb shown as a bouncing ball around a room to song forms shown as rollercoaster rides. While many of the concepts addressed in the book are fairly simple, the authors also tackle more complex musical ideas through pop music, including counterpoint and bitonality. Most importantly, they maintain a sense of fun and curiosity no matter what musical topic comes up. You might find yourself listening to new and different aspects of your favorite songs after reading this book, and liking all kinds of music even more.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try How Music Works, by David Byrne, or Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste, by Nolan Gasser.]

[ official Switched on Pop web site ]

 

Recommended by Scott S.
Polley Music Library


Check out this, and all the other great music resources, at the Polley Music Library, located on the 2nd floor of the Bennett Martin Public Library at 14th & "N" St. in downtown Lincoln. You'll find biographies of musicians, books about music history, instructional books, sheet music, CDs, music-related magazines, and much more. Also check out Polley Music Library Picks, the Polley Music Library's e-mail newsletter, and follow them on Facebook!

 

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?


New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide Blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewer’s recommendations!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Book Review: Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

Snapdragon
by Kat Leyh (jPB (Series) Leyh)

 

Something about this new paperback graphic novel caught my eye. Snap (short for Snapdragon) has reason to believe that the one-eyed motorcycle-riding old woman named Jacks who may or may not be a witch is the one who can help her find her lost dog.

 

Aside from having an old biker for a babysitter when I was a child, there was also an ivy-covered, spooky-looking house I was always suspicious about on my walk to elementary school many years ago. My friends and I truly believed there were vampires or witches living in that house. Just by looking at the cover, the book had already caught my attention because of those two similarities to stories from my youth.

 

This is a quick read about reaching past first impressions, learning from neighbors, and the power of family and friends. I would indeed recommend it to anyone curious about the weird neighbor down the block or anyone who appreciates a little magical realism in their stories of brave youth.

 

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Cardboard Kingdom, by Chad Sell, Hey Kiddo, by Jarrett Krosoczka, Bingo Love, by Tee Franklin or the Steven Universe comic or TV show.]

 

[ publisher’s official Snapdragon web page ] | [ official Kat Leyh web site ]

 

Recommended by Naomi S.
Eiseley Branch Library

 

Have you read or listened to this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?


New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide Blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewer’s recommendations!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Book Review: The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Snead

The List of Things That Will Not Change

by Rebecca Snead (j Snead)

 

The List of Things That Will Not Change is a finely crafted, heartfelt book about a girl whose family life has changed and is about to change again.

 

When the book opens, it’s been several years since Bea’s parents divorced and she has become used to her schedule of living in two homes. On the day her parents told her they were separating, they gave her a notebook and a numbered list of things that will not change. Number Six was, “We are still a family, but in a different way.” Now, her dad tells her there’s another family meeting and Bea worries what it could be this time, but he tells her he’s going to marry his boyfriend. A little later in the book, Bea realizes this also means she’s going to be gaining a sister like she’s always wanted!

 

The thing that stood out to me the most about this book is the way it models emotional intelligence for kids in so many ways. Bea and her parents have set up signals to check in on each other or to say they love each other with hand squeezes. Bea is seeing a therapist which demystifies and destigmatizes therapy for kids reading the book. This also gives the opportunity for Bea to be mindful about how feelings can layer on top of each other and how her body responds to feelings like anger and guilt.

 

All characters are well-rounded with things happening that sometimes only adult readers are likely to notice, but other times kids are likely to pick up on before Bea does. There’s a bit too much time hopping for the age group, so I’d recommend making a time chart if reading with younger kids.

 

The biggest frame of suspense about how the sound of corn growing ties into Bea’s life is lovely but maybe abstract for kids. However, they will all want to know how the wedding will go, whether Bea and her new sister will get along, how Bea and the classmate that Bea is bullying will work out, whether Bea’s cousin will recover from Bell’s Palsy, how the colonial breakfast project at school will play out with Dad’s fiancĂ© attending, and what happens after you maybe get bitten by a bat.

 

It’s not clear that any of the specific disabilities (like eczema) and experiences in this book are from the author’s personal experience, but it all seemed sensitively written to me.

 

It’s a sweet book that had me misty-eyed a lot. There’s just so much good stuff for kids here while staying firmly in the perspective of a kid their age who is not always doing the right thing the first time but gets there by the end.

 

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Blended, by Sharon Draper.]

 

[ publisher’s official List of Things That Will Not Change web page ]

 

Recommended by Garren H.
Bennett Martin Public Library — Public Service

 

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?


New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide Blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewer’s recommendations!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Book Review: Can I Give You a Squish? by Emily Neilson

Can I Give You a Squish?
by Emily Neilson (jP Neilson)

 

This adorably-illustrated book is a great way to teach children to ask before hugging anyone. Although some of us are especially comfortable hugging, be it with family or strangers, COVID-19 has given us extra reasons to be extra careful. Not only do we need to be aware of everyone’s 6-foot bubble these days, but we also need to be aware that not everyone enjoys being hugged. This book reminds us of our options for showing love to our friends. I would encourage everyone to continue imagining what friendship looks like now that we need additional safety measures in place.

 

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try I Like It When, by Mary Murphy or Will Ladybug Hug?, by Hilary Leung.]

 

[ publisher’s official Can I Give You a Squish? web page ] | [ official Emily Neilson web site ]

 

Recommended by Naomi S.
Eiseley Branch Library

 

Have you read or listened to this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?


New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide Blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewer’s recommendations!