Review: Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

If you like Al Franken, you’ll like this book. It’s as simple as that. It’s a personal memoir that takes us from the backrooms of SNL, inside the campaign trail to the inner workings of Congress. The audiobook—and Franken’s voice—captivated me for a week as I traversed the Twin Cities going about my everyday life. I laughed out loud. I cringed. I laughed out loud. I cheered. I shook my

2017-10-29T11:27:30+00:00 October 29th, 2017|Book Review, Memoirs, Political Science|Comments Off on Review: Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

Review: Blessed are the Dead

Although I never read the book by Thomas Harris, I watched the movie Silence of the Lambs at least sixteen times, tugged by the mechanics of Hannibal Lecter’s mind and his unique bond with Agent Clarice Starling. There’s something alluring about madness—particularly the kind that shapes a serial killer responsible for the most horrendous murders. Blessed are the Dead also features a serial killer and a gutsy Italian reporter, Gabriella

2017-10-11T12:31:32+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Book Review, Crime, Fiction, Psychology, Thriller & Suspense|Comments Off on Review: Blessed are the Dead

Review: Essays

Some things are meant to be treasured. Essays by Robert Lewis Stevenson is one of them. I reserved the collection at my local library, unaware and unprepared for the perfect little package that awaited me. Measuring 4 ½ by 6 ½ inches the book is a pocket-sized gem. Captivating my senses, I explored the pages and their contours. And what I found was simply beautiful. The backmost page contained the

2017-10-08T11:13:33+00:00 October 8th, 2017|Book Review, Essays|Comments Off on Review: Essays

Review: Slider

This is my first book by National Book Award winner, Pete Hautman, and it won’t be my last. Slider is a quirky, warm upper middle grade novel about a (sort of) regular kid named David Miller who, untrained, can eat an entire pizza in less than 5 minutes and who lives his life sandwiched between a needy, overachieving sister and an autistic little brother who the family refuses to label

2017-09-27T11:25:46+00:00 September 27th, 2017|Book Review, Fiction, Middle Grade|Comments Off on Review: Slider

Review: Einstein: His Life and Universe

Fantastically researched based on the personal letters of Einstein, Isaacson’s account of Einstein is comprehensive, meticulous in detail, and reveals the independent thinking and perspectives of the man that drove his greatness. The book is not a fast read nor does it delve into Einstein’s humanity. Mostly, the book is a chronicle of his life from childhood through old age—where he was educated, who he met, his struggles to find

2017-09-10T11:19:59+00:00 September 10th, 2017|Biography, Book Review, Science|Comments Off on Review: Einstein: His Life and Universe

Review: Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World

Wonderland is a refreshing take on a world (and people) that takes itself (themselves) entirely too seriously at times. The premise of the book is that many significant advances in society got their start in amusement—our amusement. According to the author, the book is “a history of play, a history of pastimes that human beings have concocted to amuse themselves as an escape from the daily grind of subsistence.” The

2017-09-02T18:53:54+00:00 September 2nd, 2017|Book Review, Creativity, History, Innovation, Philosophy|Comments Off on Review: Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World

Review: My Friend Maggie

No child escapes youth without some form of humiliation or ostracization—the term “mean girl” exists for a reason. And while most of us can probably share plenty of nasty stories that knock us to our knees and bring us back to our most insecure childhood moments, my most transformative “mean girl” incident as a child was not pointed at me but pointed at a friend. I was a sophomore in

2017-09-02T18:10:53+00:00 September 2nd, 2017|Book Review, Children-s, Picture Book|Comments Off on Review: My Friend Maggie

Review: And Then You’re Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara

One movie terrified me like no other in the 1990’s*: Alive. It was the initial flight scene that haunted me—the one where the passengers were sucked from the rear of the plane mid-air when it collided with a mountain peak. The visual of bodies violently suctioned from their seats like dust bunnies from the carpet by the force of a Dyson was disturbing enough to keep me awake that evening.

2017-08-26T22:28:14+00:00 August 26th, 2017|Anatomy, Book Review, Physiology, Science|Comments Off on Review: And Then You’re Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara

Review: Hoot and Peep

Owls are magnificent—the real ones. But storybook owls? I am vaguely familiar with several children’s books that feature owls but, honestly, I can’t name the title of one rapid-fast. And I know there’s no fictional owl that made an impact on me as a child like Charlotte the spider, Misty the horse, Ping the duck, Sounder the dog or the dozens of other farm and wild animal stories that captured

2017-08-26T20:42:32+00:00 August 26th, 2017|Animals, Book Review, Children-s, Picture Book|Comments Off on Review: Hoot and Peep

Review: Nothing Stays Buried

Although the eighth book in the Monkeewrench series, Nothing Stays Buried, was my introduction to the collection. And I loved it! The opening chapter was captivating and heart-wrenching and among the most high-impact openers I’ve encountered in a long time. My empathy for the character, Marla, haunted me even after putting the book down. From there, the book splinters into two story lines which eventually converge at the end of

2017-08-17T12:42:03+00:00 August 17th, 2017|Book Review, Crime, Fiction, Thriller & Suspense|Comments Off on Review: Nothing Stays Buried
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