Library Column – November 8, 2007

Stick season rolls around again and the weather is finally cooling down. My reading has been more scattered than usual: Vikings, breastfeeding, religion, gourmet eating and two novels. Colleen Mays has contributed a review of an exciting adventure story for kids. We are still looking for donated DVDs to add to our collection, especially popular feature films. Do you have any you’d like to clear out of your house?

Nursing Mother, Working Mother: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding Your Baby Before and After You Return to Work by Gale Pryor and Kathleen Huggins, R.N., M.S. An excellent book for any mother who wants to breastfeed, even if she only needs to plan for occasional separations. Good information on establishing breastfeeding, coping with any problems and then figuring out how to continue to breastfeed even if you have to be away at work. Illustrated.

The Whale Road by Robert Low. A rip-roaring adventure story. A young Norseman is reunited with his father and dragged off to sail on a Viking ship which is pursuing a mysterious lost treasure. The book wanders to Ireland, Norway, Finland and Russia and includes several exciting and bloody battles with swords and axes and some creepy explorations of underground tombs. The author belongs to a Viking reenactment group, which lends a sort of wacky authenticity to the battle scenes. 

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong. Ms. Armstrong explores the history of the idea of God as it developed in the three major religions, beginning with Judaism, adding on Christianity and then Islam. The author favors aspects of mysticism over the idea of a “personal God” and over the various versions of God proposed by the philosophers. Thorough and thoughtful.

The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation (Regional) by David Kamp. A lively account of all the eccentrics and outsiders and obsessives who brought about a revolution in eating habits in America. Reading this book will transform your next visit to a grocery store: observe the vast amounts of manufactured, denatured food and also observe all the special goodies that we have come to take for granted over the last 30 years or so—from extra virgin olive oil to free-range meat to local baby greens.

Woman in Red by Eileen Goudge. Set on a small island in the Northwest, two people with shadowed pasts meet and try to help each other. Then they discover that their grandparents were involved…but the real story was hidden for 60 years.

Bad Blood by Linda Fairstein. The murder of a wealthy wife (by her husband?) crosses wires with an explosion that kills three men in a deep water tunnel construction project. The author knows her legal stuff and knows how law enforcement works AND she knows a lot about spousal abuse and violence against women. A good book, but occasionally reads like an educational text on the history of deep excavation projects in NYC.Review by Colleen Mays:

The True Adventures o f Daniel Hall by Diane Stanley. The true story of 14 year old Daniel Hall who left his whaling village New Bedford, MA  in 1856, for a life as a crew member on a whaling ship. We follow Daniel Hall as he flees his ship and its moody and violent captain into desolate Siberia- where he battles hunger, wild animals, and Mother Nature.  We watch his remarkable rescue and his reunion with his loving father.  Based on Daniel Hall’s autobiography Arctic Rovings: or, The Adventures of a New Bedford Boy on Sea and Land,  Diane Stanley has ensured Daniel’s  inspiring true life story will continue to be passed on from generation to generation.  

See you at the library!


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