December 14, 2014

In the Calais Coach

Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie 
reviewed by Lintaro 

This book is one of Agatha Christie's famous Poirot novels, and deals with the main character, Hercule Poirot, trying to solve a murder on board a train that is stranded in the middle of nowhere during a week-long snow storm. The book has everything you could ask for: a riveting plot, a surprising twist at the end, and most importantly many details. Murder On The Orient Express is really one of the best books in the Poirot series with a mix of action, surprise, and suspense that I believe anybody could read and love.

Librarian's notes:
The official site for the book (with map).
The 1994 movie based on the book had an absolutely all-star cast including Albert Finney. Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, and so on. Read the book and then see the movie.

Posted by library at 10:51 AM

December 10, 2014


The Good Earth by Pearl Buck  
reviewed by Lintaro 

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, is a captivating book about a Chinese peasant named Wang Lung who has to deal with the rigors of life such as famine and death while also having to deal with the vast social upheaval China experienced during the last century. It portrays life in its tragedy, poverty, wealth, and happiness. It focuses on family and conflict, making it very realistic.

Librarian's note: A critical essay by an Asian Studies scholar.

Posted by library at 03:37 PM

December 09, 2014

From Columbus to Iraq

Zinn - Young People's History of the United States

A Young People's History Of The United States by Howard Zinn 

reviewed by Kie 

What is the real story behind the Japanese Americans in camps during World War II? What is the truth behind Columbus and the Indians? What were some of the ways African-American's revolted against racism during the 1950s and 1960s? A Young People's History Of The United States is a well written book. Not only does it talk about subjects rarely mentioned in books, but it sheds light on the standpoints of young people living in some of the hardest times in the history of the United States. This book is certainly for all ages.

Librarian's Notes:
A critical NYT review
Howard Zinn discusses the book
10th anniversary of Zinn's Voices of a Peopleís History of the United States (the recent performance at The New School).

Posted by library at 04:46 PM

December 08, 2014

Welcome to Sunset Towers

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin 
reviewed by Lintaro 

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin is an enthralling novel about a reclusive billionaire who is murdered and then, according to the will, he invites his heirs to play a game that will decide the future of his vast fortune. Oh, and did I mention the murderer is among them? In this surprising gem of a book, there are many plot twists, moments of excitement and so on. This is a wonderful book I would recommend to anybody.

Librarian's notes: Ellen Raskin was also an artist who designed many book covers, including the dust jacket for the original edition of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time .
The Westing Game won the 1979 Newbery Medal.
The original manuscript has been scanned and is available online. Take a look.

original manuscript page from The Westing Game

Posted by library at 12:02 PM

December 07, 2014

In the West Nothing New

All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque 

reviewed by Sarah 

These are the thoughts and experiences of Paul Baumer, a young German soldier who enlists in World War I. He is just a young man, only twenty years of age, but all he knows is the terror and despair of the front lines. As the war breaks him, he keeps fighting to keep a single promise, a promise to "fight against the hatred that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but in different uniforms against one another". But the front is a merciless and perilous place and Paul must first survive.

This is an extremely dense and deep book but I love this book so much because it reveals the reality of war. It was a brutal war, and Paul experiences the effects of mustard gas, goes through the trauma of seeing the ones he cares for in pain and dead, only to go back out on the front and fight a war that he had nothing to do with. This book has no clichés about a heroís duty, itís real, and itís powerful. Everyone should read this book, whether they are an adult or teenager and should remember the Lost Generation.

Librarian's notes:
The movie version of All Quiet on the Western Front is a great classic.
A complete edition of Remarque's last book, The Promised Land, has finally being published in English translation.

Posted by library at 10:14 AM

December 06, 2014

Meg's Adventures

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle 
reviewed by Kie 

On a dark and stormy night, a girl named Meg, her friend Calvin, and her little brother Charles Wallace, are visited by three strange women with even stranger names. The three embark on a dangerous and extraordinary mission: to save Meg's father. What the trio doesn't know is that the threat is more dangerous than they could ever have imagined. Madeline L'Engle has truly written a masterpiece with A Wrinkle In Time. This book is meant for all ages.

An earlier student review

Librarian's Notes:
This book won the Newbery Medal in 1963.
It has been "challenged" frequently, that is parents or others have asked that it be removed from library shelves.

Posted by library at 04:22 PM

December 05, 2014


How They Croaked by Georgia Braggnbsp;
reviewed by Lintaro 

How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg is a wonderful book that explains in detail the 5 W's of some of history's most famous deaths. These people include Charles Darwin, Cleopatra, and even Galileo Galilei. Although most people think these people croaked in their sleep or just went into a long rest one day, the truth is they died in pain and anguish, with the use of bloodletting to get rid of their diseases and ailments. This book may make you think about how lucky you are to have aspirin in your cabinet today.

Posted by library at 03:32 PM
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