Spring Chicken by Bill Gifford

SpringChickenAn entertaining and enlightening look at  the study of aging. What is it, why does it happen, and what can be done to delay it. Fascinating. The conclusion in short, is that there is currently no specific answer or list of to-dos. You will learn a thing or two about people in general, and why the study of aging is so complex.

Review by Kathleen Schissler

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A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

SpoolBlueThis was an interesting story about a family over several generations.  It was funny and poignant and I will look for more books by Tyler.

Review by Anonymous

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

GirlOnTheTrainThis book was just okay in my opinion.  It was confusing to follow with the way it was organized.  The story was okay, but I’m not sure it was worth my time reading it, even though it has been on the NYTimes List for many weeks.

Review by Anonymous

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The Fall by John Lescroart

TheFallAs a Lescroart fan, I enjoyed this novel, great summer reading.  I particularly relish the Dismas Hardy novels and am familiar with the characters from previous books.  I usually read Lescroart books quickly since he always keeps things moving with many surprises.

Review by Anonymous

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Dragonflies by Pieter van Dokkum

This is a beautiful, new picture book intended for adults, with very close-up photos of dragonflies.  It is not an identification guidebook, and will not tell you everything about dragonflies.  The photo quality is outstanding and the information provided is excellent too.

Review by Kathleen Schissler

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Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio

At one time in history, she was called the “most dangerous woman in America.”  This novel is based on the true story of May Dugas — a con artist who insinuated herself in high-society settings and was able to extract huge rewards.  This was a fun and interesting read!

Review by Anonymouse

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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

UnbrokenLaura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken has held a place on the New York Times Best Sellers List ever since it was published in 2010, so its reputation among readers is well established. Hillenbrand first came across the story of Lt. Louis Zamperini when she was researching her earlier best-seller, Seabiscuit, and contacted him in 2002 about writing his story. Mr. Zamperini, an Olympic runner who survived a plane crash and 47 days on a life raft in WWII, only to be captured as a prisoner of war by the Japanese, had already written his own story and felt there was nothing more to say. But Hillenbrand told him she wanted to write about the war through the eyes of one person, and he consented. After interviewing him hundreds of hours and doing extensive research, she has written a thoroughly engrossing read that reveals in great detail what it was like for many fighting on the Pacific front and, in particular, the amazing resilience of one man.

Zamperini lived a remarkable life. (He died in 2014 at the age of 97.) The book begins with his childhood and moves briefly through his discovery of running, training for the Olympics (he ran in 1936), and his enlistment in early 1941 in the Army Air Corps. Beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the rest of the book is a detailed account of the riveting war experiences of Zamperini and his comrades. It concludes with his post-war trauma, and a life-changing experience in Billy Graham’s tent in 1949 that enabled him to forgive his Japanese persecutors and be released from his nightmares. Louis Zamperini spent the rest of his life as a Christian inspirational speaker, and he founded a camp for troubled boys.

Members of the Book Discussion Group thought this book was enthralling, and amazing in its depth and breadth. All agreed that Hillenbrand is an excellent writer, one member saying that the words flowed so well, she sometimes forgot to breathe. Several members thought the research done by Hillenbrand was excellent, but that the use of too many statistics slowed down the narrative. One member switched to the Young Adult version of the book, which is shorter, and found it more to her liking. Another member shared her experience of meeting Mr. Zamperini, and of reading his writings about his career as a Christian speaker.

Reviewed by Nancy

Date of Discussion: May 6, 2015                           Average: 4.5 stars

Posted in Adventure, Biography, Book Review, History, Library Discussion Group, Non-Fiction | Tagged | Leave a comment