America Again (bk rvw)

America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t               

This title by the ever popular Stephen Colbert has a lot of the similar antics and comedy that is found on his television show, The Colbert Report. However, 9781607889694something that he does in this audiobook, which is not found as often on his show, is impersonations. He does them really well, and often times it is easy to forget that it is him. The book offers a lot of humorous explanations about things that were going on in the country a few years ago. It gives overly exaggerated examples of people and what their viewpoints would be regarding those issues. Some of them are performed by Colbert, others are performed by guest readers. They are all pretty funny, theatrical, and what brought spark to the book for me.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to this audiobook, but I did feel like it was missing something at times. Perhaps he does better when he has the energy of the audience to feed off of? Nonetheless, it was still pretty humorous, and definitely worth listening to!

The audiobook America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t is available for checkout on the second floor of the library, in the Media Center.

Review written by Allyson H.

If I Stay (bk rvw)

I admit I’ve cried with books before. Time Traveler’s Wife. Book of Lost Things. Stolen Child. The last Harry Potter. But I’ve never cried through at least half a book before I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman. 

Forman’s new YA novel is about 17-year-old Mia, an accomplished cellist, and her family–Mom, Dad and younger brother Teddy. After a tragic accident where Mia is severely injured, she realizes she has the power to choose whether to stay or to go. It’s hard to say more without spoilers, but we see Mia’s life through her memories and the family and friends who rally around her during this time. 

The book is a fairly quick read (it’s over sooner than you think because the last portion is discussion) and has one pondering

the same question: what would I choose?  

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Women’s Equality Day

On August 26 each year, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day. August 26 is the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. We observe Women’s Equality Day not only to commemorate granting women the right to vote, but also to call attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equity.wed

To learn more about the 19th Amendment and the amazing contributions women made to society, check out these books from the VC/UHV Library:

  • Women’s Suffrage by Jeff Hill
  • A Voice of Our Own: Leading American Women Celebrate the Right to Vote
  • My Beloved World: By Sonia Sotomayor (print and audiobook)
  • One Half the People: The Fight for Woman Suffrage by Anne Firor Scott
  • The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis
  • Women Astronauts: Aboard the Shuttle by Mary Virginia Fox
  • I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai (print and audiobook)
  • The Political Thought of Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Women’s Rights and the American Political Traditions by Sue Davis
  • Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family by Condoleezza Rice
  • The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice by Sandra Day O’Connor
  • Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony (DVD)
  • Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Officer, Nurse, Woman: The Army Nurse Corps in the Vietnam War by Kara Dixon Vuic
  • Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965
  • The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection by Nikki Giovanni (audiobook)

Duty (bk rvw)

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates

While I don’t agree with all of Robert Gates views outlined in this book, his heart and dedication to the people who serve our country is undeniable. Duty at times reads a bit like a report rather than a memoir. However Gates successfully illustrates his great Gates-Jacket-697x102411compassion for the troops, dedication to the department of defense, and willingness to work across party lines. I have a new appreciation for what our troops do to defend our country because of this book. I was happy to see that during his time in office, he worked so diligently to remind others in government that our troops are people, not just numbers. They are young men and women putting their lives on the line so that we can enjoy freedom. Their needs should be met.

I think my favorite parts dealt with the individual stories of soldiers that he had dealings with, as well as those moments that he spent behind closed doors with either President Bush or  President Obama. I also was interested to read about the meetings with leaders from other countries in the Middle East, or in Russia, or some of the Asian countries. The comparison between the two presidents (Bush and Obama), how they worked from within the White House, as well as the personal meetings he had with them, were also interesting bits of the overall story. He had far more praise for Obama than I expected him to have. But there was some airing of complaints; I don’t think they are all that different than most of the complaints that the country has with Obama now.

While this book is a long read, and probably could have had several things cut – reading to the end was worth it. I hope you’ll take the time to check it out. It is available in print, or audiobook at the VC/UHV Library.

Review written by Allyson H.

Summer Reading

You’re busy. Reward yourself by taking time each day to open a book and explore the world through reading.

  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki80ba698508f76288e82c306520908022
  • The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan
  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (audiobook)
  • A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • I am Malala: The Girl who Stood up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban (print and audiobook)
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  • The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 by Rick Atkinson
  • The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
  • Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
  • Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin16158542
  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (print and audiobook)
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel Brown
  • The Art Of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  • Duty: Memoirs of a Sectary at War by Robert Gates (audiobook)

Travel Guides

Are you planning a vacation for this summer to a foreign country? Do you want to travel overseas? If you do, the VC/UHV Library has Lonely Planet travel guides available for checkout. Unfortunately, we could not purchase a guide for every destination, but we do have guides available for the popular ones. We have travel guides available for the following countries/regions:

  • Africa9781741798449_p0_v1_s260x420
  • Australia
  • Caribbean Islands
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Hawaii
  • India
  • Japan
  • Spain
  • Turkey

The travel guides are found in our Leisure Reading area on the 1st floor. If you are a VC or UHV student, faculty or staff, we can request additional travel guides through InterLibrary Loan. Otherwise, you can check with your local public library.

Looking for Alaska (bk rvw)

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indexLooking for Alaska is a YA book by John Green, the author of The Fault in Our Stars and is also the winner of the Michael Prinze Award for Young Adult literature. I’m really glad Mr. Green got such great recognition for The Fault in Our Stars, but he deserved it just as much for this book. It’s just as good as his later work. Looking for Alaska reminded me of Perks of Being a Wallflower, one of my all time favorite reads. The novel covers a one year period of boarding school for Miles (Pudge) and the friends he makes there, including Alaska. Alaska reminds me of Sam in Perks and Miles has aspects of Charlie. It’s not the same story at all, just the same reminiscence of teenage years, good friends and growing up.

I’m very glad to have discovered John Green’s works last year and plan on reading them all! I hope you will too. The library has The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska and we will surely be ordering his others!

D-Day Books

“June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- size1-army.mil-2007-06-06-120454hold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high -more than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded — but more than 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler.”

To learn more about D-Day, check out these resources at the VC/UHV Library:

  • The guns at last light : the war in Western Europe, 1944-1945 by Rick Atkinson
  • Eisenhower : in war and peace by Jean Edward Smith
  • Dropzone Normandy : the story of the American and British airborne assault on D Day 1944 by Sir Napier Crookenden
  • America’s greatest victories (DVD)
  • Double cross : the true story of the D-day spies by Ben Macintyre
  • D-day : the Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor
  • The Bedford boys : one American town’s ultimate D-Day sacrifice by Alex Kershaw (Ebook) [Off-campus access: UHV & VC students/faculty/staff]
  • Clash of arms : how the allies won in Normandy by Russell Hart
  • Currahee! : a Screaming Eagle at Normandy by Donald R. Burgett
  • Beyond the beachhead : the 29th Infantry Division in Normandy by Joseph Balkoski (Ebook) [Off-campus access: UHV & VC students/faculty/staff]
  • D-Day, June 6, 1944 : the climactic battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose
  • Night drop; the American airborne invasion of Normandy by S. L. A. Marshall
  • D-day : the total story (Online Video) [Off-campus access: UHV & VC students, faculty, staff]
  • Cross-channel attack by Gordon A. Harrison
  • The Comanche code talkers of World War II by William C. Meadows

You can also learn more about D-Day from the following websites:

The Goldfinch (bk rvw)

I read. A lot. But almost never do I feel a need to share my opinion with anyone else. Reading is such a subjective thing; we all enjoy different genres and expect something different from a book. But every so often, I read something so wonderful I want to share it with everyone! This is the way I feel about the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch.

What’s it about? It’s about a boy. It’s about making a family. Life. Death. Art. Our place in history. Loving completely and losing. It’s sad, it’s compelling, it’s hopeful. I didn’t even read the blurb before I started the book, which is rare for me. I bought the book for the library because it was a Pulitzer, not because I had any interest in reading it, but every single review I skimmed was so positive.I’m not going to do a plot summary or mention anything that happens. Come at it with an open mind and see what you think it’s about.

As for the writing, I’m going to compare Donna Tartt with people like Margaret Atwood. Everyone once in a great while, I’ll read a book that seems almost to be written in another language because what the author can do with English takes it to another realm altogether, makes it really, really beautiful in itself. Margaret Atwood, Louise Penny, Richard Russo are  a few of my favorites. It’s just simply they make you taste the words, no matter what the subject matter. Donna Tartt does that in The Goldfinch. 

And don’t be overwhelmed by the size of the book! When I was about 500 pages in, I started putting it down, not because I wasn’t riveted by it, but because I wanted it to last even longer.index

One Crazy Summer (bk rvw)

One Crazy Summer

By Rita Williams-Garcia

Three sisters, ranging in age from eleven down to seven, fly from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with their mother (who abandoned them seven yOneCrazySummerears ago) during the summer of 1968.  Cecile has no TV, very little furniture OR motherly feelings, and refuses to let any of her daughters in the kitchen—she sends them down the block to buy Chinese take-out and they picnic on the living room floor.  She sends them out of the house every day—usually to a summer camp sponsored by the Black Panthers.  Delphine is the oldest and has been looking after her younger sisters for her entire life.  Delphine has everyone on a schedule:  “Only when I sat in the tub did I wish my Timex wasn’t so reliable or the ticking so steady.  Oh, how I wished the minute hand would slow down and give me time for a nice, long soak.  Wish all I wanted, I couldn’t leave Vonetta and Fern alone……Three extra minutes in the tub and I’d be sorry.  I stuck to the schedule”    [p 50].

They eat Chinese take-out until Delphine goes grocery shopping at Safeway and cooks food (she knows her grandmother at home expects her to take GOOD care of her little sisters)—Cecile allows her into the kitchen as long as she is quiet and doesn’t mess with Cecile’s project.

This is historical fiction for upper elementary through middle school, though I thoroughly enjoyed this look back at a turbulent time, seen through the eyes of Delphine.

One Crazy Summer is the Winner of the 2011 Coretta Scott King Author Book Award and a 2011 Newbery Honor Book. One Crazy Summer is available for checkout at the VC/UHV Library. You’ll find it in our Juvenile Collection on the 3rd Floor.

Review written by Clyde Ruth B.

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