Patron Reviews

3 Nights in August

Bissinger, H.G. 3 Nights in August. 2005. (796.35709 Bissi.H)

Buzz Bissinger is best known for Friday Night Lights, his riveting tale about high school football in a gridiron-obsessed Texas town. In 3 Nights in August, Bissinger turns instead to baseball: specifically, a pivotal three-game series between the Cubs and Cardinals, as seen through the eyes of St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa. For Cubs fans, the book will evoke memories of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior in their all-too-brief primes; several current Cubs, including Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez, also featured prominently in the series. Cardinals' fans in particular will relish Bissinger's insights into LaRussa's management style and relationships with players and key staff. More generally, this page-turner is an ideal beach read for any baseball fan. The series itself proves a compelling narrative, which Bissinger augments with tactical analysis. Perhaps in part because of the role LaRussa played in producing this book (he's identified as a co-copyright owner), Bissinger does not turn the critical spotlight on him anywhere near as intensely as he did on many of the key figures in Friday Night Lights. For example, despite LaRussa's long and close association with superhuman sluggers Mark McGwire (whom he managed both in Oakland and St. Louis) and Jose Canseco, Bissinger devotes surprisingly little attention to the issue of steroid use by modern players. If the publisher issues an updated edition, that omission should be rectified. (John C.)

 

Letters to a Young Brother

Harper, Hill. Letters to a Young Brother. 2006. (170.8421 Harpe.H)

I got this book from my daughter and couldn't put it down. Every time this young man wrote and Mr. Hill responded back was like me talking to my own son. Mr. Hill touched every subject you could think of that a young man wanted to ask but didn’t know how. He spoke so honestly and truly that I highlighted so many phrases that by the end almost the entire book was highlighted. I suggest that you read this book and have your teen read it too, and have an open discussion afterwards. (Nita C.)

 

The Girl Who Could Fly

Forester, Victoria. The Girl Who Could Fly. 2008. (J Fores.V)

The Girl Who Could Fly is a wonderful book. It was written for middle school students, and those children really enjoy the book. However, I was surprised at how much I liked the book, too, as a 35-year old! I couldn't put it down! (A.G.)




   

Parallel Lives

Rose, Phyllis. Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages. 1983. (306.8109 Rose.P)

This is an inside look at five Victorian marriages. The husbands are (or were) all famous. Charles Dickens remains so, but men like Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin don't mean much in today's world. If ever you feel nostalgic about the Good Old Days, this book will dispel that notion. The Victorian world was rigid, frozen in propriety, reticent about sex, and unfeeling towards women, who were there to have (many) children and to be submissive and often invisible. Details of these marriages are fascinating (actually, there are four marriages and one couple living together without benefit of marriage---in the 19th Century!--George Eliot and George Henry Lewes.) (Harriet W.)

 

This Little Light of Mine

Mills, Kay. This Little Light of Mine: the Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. 1993. (B Hamer.F Mills.K)

This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer tells the story of Fannie Lou Hamer, a woman who experienced injustice and became a leader in the fight for justice for Blacks in the Mississippi Delta. Fannie Lou Hamer was born in 1917 to sharecroppers. In 1962 the civil rights movement reached Mrs. Hamer's hometown of Ruleville and she joined the struggle with all her heart, soul and strength. As the title suggests, she sang church songs such as "This Little Light of Mine" and "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around." Her songs empowered her people and calmed their fears as they faced cruel treatment. Mrs. Hamer's actions embodied the song "This Little Light of Mine" because she gave all she had to empower the poor of the Delta. She let her light shine in the dark situations of racial oppression. She had the ability to analyze political situations and express the black experience clearly. She spoke at universities and at two National Democratic Conventions. She hadn't had the opportunity of a formal education, yet she spoke words of truth and wisdom which impacted both blacks who had been silenced, and also opened the eyes and hearts of legislators and judges. At the Democratic National Convention on August 22, 1964, she told the credentials committee "I question America," because black Americans in Mississippi were being denied their basic rights despite America's claim of freedom and liberty for all. Mrs. Hamer died in 1977 after a life of service to others. She lived a life of courage and commitment. Author Kay Mills tells the story of the civil rights struggle from 1962 to 1977 through Mrs. Hamer's life. She made it interesting through her meticulous research of the events of the day, and by her writing skill, understanding and compassion. I heartily recommend this book. (Charlotte O.)

   

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