Archive for November, 2017

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

November 30, 2017

[SAM] November is family literacy month! One of my favorite new literary families is the Vanderbeekers! Siblings Jessie, Isa, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney find out five days before Christmas that their beloved old brownstone in Harlem will no longer be their home. The landlord, Mr. Beiderman, has refused to renew the family’s lease on their apartment. But to the Vanderbeekers kids this building is like a member of their family, and they won’t abandon it that easily. 

This is a great middle grade novel about family and the meaning of home. Chapters alternate perspective among all the siblings. You get very specific pictures of all five kids ranging in age from five to twelve. Their apartment and the neighbors around it are also lovingly described.

It’s not a Christmas book book per say, but has a little bit of Christmas in it, which makes it a fun family seasonal read! A perfect book for fans of The Penderwicks or The Silver Sisters series! Find it HERE

The Vanderbeekers can be found on Libby/Overdrive.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street - ebook

The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott

November 30, 2017

[Lesley] Great book by by one of my favorite writers. McDermott’s individuals, afloat in small seas of community, are compelling in their ordinariness. They are special and luminous in their ordinariness – how is that possible? As in many of her other books, the main characters in this story are revealed through the lens of an observer – in this case an observer connected through family relationships, but distant in time, the descendant of the mother and daughter in the story itself. Sparse yet lyrical writing carries the reader along from mystery to revelation to mystery.

The audiobook of The Ninth Hour is on Libby/Overdrive.

3 Books Following People Trying to Do Things Better

November 10, 2017

[Lesley] Not sure if it’s cheating to include three books in one review, but I read these fairly close together and they definitely reminded me of each other in some ways.

I tend to like books that relate a project someone takes on, or a challenge they set for themselves, or new skills (or new whatever) they have set a goal to learn – with a deadline. Basically the genre: change your life in X days. But – I don’t like the ones that seem too good to be true, or that send the message if you just do everything exactly as that person did, you will be successful and happy for the rest of your life. I want the people writing these books to be honest, funny, self-deprecating, and to have the same obstacles most of us face (money, time, space, no personal trainer or full time domestic staff, etc.).

If you like this kind of thing too, you might be interested in one of these titles:

I loved the quirky “projects” each of these books details, mainly because the people involved were funny, real, and not shy about either their “wins” or their failures. I don’t read these books because I plan to try any of what they describe myself – but more as memoirs of just one piece of someone’s life.

I read Year of No Clutter and No Cheating, No Dying in print, and listened to The Marriage Test. I loved the audiobook which mirrored the book’s alternating voices/perspectives with two readers, a woman and a man. It made me feel like I was actually listening to the authors talk conversationally about their experiences – kind of like a Story Corps recording. Initially when I checked out No Cheating, No Dying I thought it might be too similar to The Marriage Test; but the voices were so different, and the authors at different parts of their lives and relationships that it wasn’t repetitive at all. In fact, it was more interesting to have the two stories on a wider spectrum.

Know of any other books of this type that I should put on my “to-read” list? Let me know!