Review of Secrets of the Sky Caves, by Sandra K. Athans

October 27th, 2014

secrets_of_the_sky_caves_largeSecrets of the Sky Caves

Danger and Discovery on Nepal’s Mustang Cliffs

by Sandra K. Athans

Millbrook Press (Lerner), Minneapolis, 2014. 64 pages.

Shades of Indiana Jones! Here’s a nonfiction book about modern archaeology, complete with danger, religious artifacts, wall murals, ancient manuscripts, and plenty of human remains.

In the Mustang region of Nepal, nestled high in the Himalayas near Mount Everest, high in the soft stone of the cliffs are thousands of caves, where ancient people used to make their homes, probably to escape fighting over the Silk Road.

This book details recent expeditions to explore the caves. Pete Athans, American world-class mountain climber, led the expedition, and brought along his wife Liesl Clark, who is also a world-class mountain climber, and their two children. The children have set a record as the youngest outsiders to enter the district of Mustang. Pete Athans’ sister is the author of the book.

Pete Athans has climbed Mount Everest, but the Mustang cliffs, with their brittle rock faces, are perhaps even more dangerous.

The photographs in the book are many and varied. The story of the exploration is fascinating as they had to use mountain-climbing techniques to uncover these cave cities – and then found artifacts like an ancient mural, thousands of pages of an old manuscript, ancient pottery, and even human and animal remains.

Scientists study the different artifacts in different ways, and for each step, permission was needed from the government of Nepal. A scholar who could read ancient Tibetan was needed for the manuscripts. A geneticist who can extract DNA was needed for the human remains. And of course archaeologists are involved in uncovering the rich artifacts buried in the tombs. And all the scientists have to learn rock climbing to access the finds.

This book is sure to get kids interested in archaeology, as well as the many other areas of science involved in learning about the ancient past. Or perhaps exploration and rock-climbing.

lernerbooks.com

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Sonderling Sunday – For Kristen!

October 26th, 2014

It’s Sonderling Sunday, that time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books!

This week’s installment is dedicated to my niece, Kristen, who recently learned that she gets to spend her Sophomore year of college in Heidelberg, Germany!

Heidelberg Castle

During my ten years living in Germany, we were only about 30-45 minutes from Heidelberg, and it was one of my favorite places to bring visitors. I hope I’ll get the chance to go visit Kristin while she’s there!

And now for Sonderling Sunday. This week, I was asked to step in at the last minute to be a Cybils panelist for first-round Middle Grade Speculative Fiction! What this means is that I probably shouldn’t spend much time on Sonderling Sunday until after the end of the year — I should be reading! (And I *love* that I can legitimately say “I should be reading.”) However, it’s been a long time since I posted, and last week, I spent an hour on a post — and then lost it in a fluke (I hope) WordPress accident. When it got to where it was taking me as long to try to recover it as it would to rewrite it, I decided to stop. But it’s still eating at me that I want that section done!

For Kristen — I like to think of Sonderling Sunday as a sort of phrasebook, with translations you won’t find in ordinary phrasebooks, but which are clearly useful, since they have been used in a children’s book, for goodness’ sake!

This week (and last week), I’m back to Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, The Order of Odd-fish, by the illustrious James Kennedy, whom, it turns out, also knows a lot about Star Wars.

Last time — or anyway, the last time I managed to post — we left off on page 216 in the original English edition, and Seite 273 auf Deutsch. I have to start with the reply to the last line I posted.

“Knitting? I’ll knit you!”
= Stricken? Ich werde dir gleich zeigen, wie man strickt!
(“Knitting? I will you the same show, how one knits!”)

“awkward pause” = verlegene Pause

“snorted” = schnaubten

Here’s hoping you will never ever need to use this phrase, but just in case:
“a rotting face smiling inches from her own”
= ein verrottetes Gesicht, das nur wenige Zentimeter vor ihrem eigenen grinste

“murmuring just beneath human hearing”
= das unterhalb der Hörschwelle des menschlichen Ohres schlug
(“that below the hearing-threshold of the human ear struck”)

“throat” = Schlund

This is mellifluous:
“ruby-lipped” = mit dem rubinroten Lippen

“with all the noise and fury of an oncoming train”
= mit dem Lärm und der Wucht eines heranrasenden Zuges

“sharp lights were stabbing behind her eyes”
= stechendes Licht flammte hinter ihren Augen auf

“Jo was left treading water.”
= Jo blieb zurück und strampelte im Wasser.
(“Jo stayed back and struggled in the water.”)

“hopelessly lost”
= hoffnungslos verirrt

“her body” = ihre Leiche (“her corpse”)

“a concrete shelf near a sewer pipe”
= einem Betonvorsprung in der Nähe eines Abflussrohrs

“Ian kicked open the sewer grate”
= Ian öffnete das Gitter des Abflusskanals mit einem kräftigen Tritt
(“Ian opened the gate of the outflow-channel with a powerful kick”)
— That one gains something in translation.

“humming city” = summenden Stadt

Interesting. This time through I noticed a little stitching up in the German. Nick and Jo are outside the sewers, and it said nothing about bringing Nick out. But as they’re talking, the English then jumps to describe the cut across Nick’s brow. The German covers that, but first inserts, Sie gingen zurück, “They went back.”

Speaking of Nick’s brow:
“There was a nasty cut across Nick’s brow”
= Nicks Stirn zierte eine hässliche Platzwunde
(“Nick’s brow graced an ugly gash”)

“wig” = Perücke

This is definitely longer in German:
“familiar jeweled key”
= vorkommenden juwelenbesetzten Schlüssel

But this one’s shorter:
“half running, half walking”
= im Laufschritt
(“on the run-step”)

And here’s another one I hope Kristen will never use:
“dragging around an unconscious girl”
= ein bewusstloses Mädchen herumschleppten

“front parlor” = Empfangsalon

“Jo suddenly realized what must have happened.”
= Jo begriff plötzlich, wie alles zusammenhängen musste.

“Unscramble the letters”
= Schüttle die Buchstaben… durcheinander

“nursing the lump on her head”
= betastete die Beule auf ihrem Kopf

“deathly croak” = heiserem Krächzen

“sleepily mischievous” = verschlafen-mutwillig

“shyly hopeful” = zaghaft hoffnungsvoll

“petty” = albern

“East Squeamings” = Ost-Heikel (“East-Delicate”)

“Nora’s head would explode”
= dann platzt Nora der Kragen
(“then bursts Nora the collar”)

“every last thing”
= die kleinste Kleinigkeit
(“the littlest littleness”)

“garish” = grelle

“the buttery glow of the moon”
= das gelbliche Glühen des Mondes

And to finish off Chapter 17 with a sentence I hope Kristen will have many occasions to use:
“They took the long way home.”
= Sie nahmen den längeren Weg nach Hause.

Until next time!

Review of The Empire Striketh Back, by Ian Doescher

October 26th, 2014

empire_striketh_back_largeWilliam Shakespeare’s

The Empire Striketh Back

by Ian Doescher

Quirk Books, Philadelphia, 2014. 172 pages.
Starred Review

‘Tis here! The sequel to Verily, a New Hope. Here we have the second volume, Part the Fifth, in the Star Wars saga, as Shakespeare himself would surely have written it.

This one includes Yoda, who already sounded Shakespearean, now speaking in haiku.

Nay, nay! Try thou not.
But do thou or do thou not,
For there is no “try.”

And we’ve got Han and Leia’s love story:

HAN:
A cloth of fiction thou dost weave, yet I
Have found the fatal error in thy stitch:
For I believe thou wouldst not let a man
So beautiful as I depart from thee.

LEIA:
The only stitch I know is in my side,
From laughing at thy pride most heartily.
Thou mayst attempt to needle at my heart,
But I am sewn of stronger thread than this.
To say I would not let thee go – pish, pish!
I know not whence thy great delusions come,
Thou laser brain.

I especially like the Ugnaughts on Lando’s planet of Bespin. The Dramatis Personae list calls them “merry dwarves of Bespin,” and they go about their work singing:

Enter UGNAUGHTS 1, 2, and 3, singing.
UGN. 3 The time is ripe!
UGN. 1 His time is nigh!
UGN. 2 And soon he will be frozen!
UGN. 1 We’ve never done –
UGN. 2 This on a man –
UGN. 3 But someone’s now been chosen!
UGN. 2 A merry prank!
UGN. 3 O shall it work?
UGN. 1 Or will the man be dying?
UGN. 3 What’er befall –
UGN. 1 One thing is sure –
UGN. 2 The pleasure’s in the trying!
[Exeunt Ugnaughts.

That Ian Doescher has put a lot of thought into making these authentic is expressed in his Afterword. He explains his choice of haiku for Yoda, as well as other choices like having Boba Fett speak in prose rather than iambic pentameter.

These books are far too much fun. I’d be willing to bet that no one’s ever read one of the volumes all the way through without bursting out and reading sections aloud.

IanDoescher.com
Quirkbooks.com/empirestrikethback/

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Think Like a Freak, by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

October 25th, 2014

think_like_a_freak_largeThink Like a Freak

The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
read by Stephen J. Dubner

HarperCollins, 2014. 5 ½ hours on 5 compact discs.
Starred Review

I reviewed Freakonomics back in 2005. It presented a different way of looking at problems than common “wisdom” suggests. In this book, Think Like a Freak, the authors not only show you problems they have solved, but they offer tips and suggestions for how you can solve problems the Freakonomics way.

As well as giving problem-solving tips, they also give you advice on persuading people who don’t want to be persuaded. One piece of advice is to tell stories. And this book abounds with stories and examples for every principle given. Even if you don’t take their advice, you’ll find the stories entertaining. But I’m guessing that you will also find them persuasive.

For example, to go with the tip of having gardens weed themselves, we’re told why Nigerian scammers are actually smart to mention Nigeria. It weeds out all but the very most gullible people.

In light of the principle that we should get rid of the idea that quitting is always bad, the authors tell about a huge experiment they ran, offering to make people’s decisions for them with a coin flip.

Those are just a few of the entertaining and informative examples, which are presented in an engaging way and may get you looking at the world differently. Unlike many authors, this one’s voice is as mellifluous as an actor’s. I found myself looking forward to my commute to hear more of what he had to say.

freakonomics.com
harperaudio.com

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy, by Robert Arthur

October 24th, 2014

whispering_mummy_largeAlfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators in

The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy

by Robert Arthur
illustrated by Harry Kane

Random House, New York, 1965. 185 pages.

In my rereading of childhood favorites, The Three Investigators series, I’m now on Book 3. The Whispering Mummy isn’t the greatest of the series. The plot seems quite far-fetched, going well into Scooby-Doo territory, with lots of seemingly supernatural occurrences that the reader is pretty sure are going to end up being someone’s evil plot.

Once again, there’s another ethnic group that’s treated essentially as a stereotype, this time a Libyan boy and his uncle. Once again, rival Skinny Norris has a small part to play, but actually I like his part in this book.

Jupiter uses the Ghost-to-Ghost Hookup, asking five friends to ask five friends about something, and thus blanketing the city. Even as a kid, I never believed in the Ghost-to-Ghost Hookup, because it doesn’t take into account that after awhile kids would run out of friends who hadn’t already been called. Kids don’t actually have a large number of social groups, and once most of the kids in their grade at their school are contacted, it doesn’t matter what you ask them to do, they wouldn’t be able to deliver.

But in this case, Skinny finds out about the question being asked and foils their plans. I didn’t mind that, since even though it’s maybe unrealistic the question would have actually gotten to Skinny, at least it shows that Jupiter’s “brilliant” plan doesn’t always work smoothly.

And overall? The book is still lots of fun. Three boys solving a mystery that baffles adults, including dangerous situations and mysterious phenomena and cool equipment (walkie-talkies!). Gleeps! If the plot wasn’t terribly believable, at least it was lots of fun.

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book gotten by interlibrary loan via Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of The Griffin and the Dinosaur, by Marc Aronson

October 20th, 2014

griffin_and_the_dinosaur_largeThe Griffin and the Dinosaur

How Adrienne Mayor Discovered a Fascinating Link Between Myth and Science

by Marc Aronson with Adrienne Mayor
illustrated by Chris Muller

National Geographic, Washington, DC, 2014. 48 pages.

Here’s a picture book biography of a scientist readers probably haven’t heard of, but whose work, which continues to the present day, is fascinating.

Adrienne grew up interested in the natural world around her and also interested in Greek myths. As she studied Greek writings and Greek art over a course of years, she became convinced that the Greeks were basing their stories on things they had actually seen.

The book traces Adrienne’s thought processes and dead ends until she finally established a connection between Greek tales of Scythian gold hunters and abundant fossilized bones of Protoceratops

Adrienne’s decade-long quest to prove that the griffin legend was based on a real fossil always had a larger aim. She was certain that the peoples of the ancient world had been as attentive to fossils and bones as we are today. If the Cyclops was an extinct mammoth and the griffin was a Protoceratops, surely many other myths and legends were based on observation, not fantasy. Which ones?

This book is an introduction to the topic that is sure to pull in readers. We’ve got Greek mythology and dinosaurs, combined. What could possibly have more kid appeal?

marcaronson.com
kids.nationalgeographic.com

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Unthinkable, by Nancy Werlin

October 16th, 2014

unthinkable_largeUnthinkable

by Nancy Werlin

Dial Books, 2013. 392 pages.
Starred Review

After I read Impossible, by Nancy Werlin, on the way to vacation in Oregon, I made sure I went to Powell’s books to find copies of Extraordinary and Unthinkable to read as well. So together they gave my vacation a memory of some Extraordinary reading time!

Unthinkable is billed as a “Companion” to Impossible. And though technically you can read it without having read the others, it pulls together some threads from both Impossible and Extraordinary, so I’m happy with my choice to read them in order.

In Impossible, we learned about the family curse on Lucy Scarborough and all of her female line right back to her ancestor, Fenella Scarborough, who rejected an Elfin Knight and then was cursed. Fenella also has been unable to die for all those centuries, having to watch each of her daughters and granddaughters be tormented in turn.

When Lucy broke the family curse, she didn’t break the enchantment placed on Fenella. Now, Fenella just wants to be allowed to die.

Fenella goes to the faerie queen, begging to be allowed to die. But it’s not so simple. There’s a spell upon her, cast by Padraig, the one who cursed her family. The queen figures out that to break the spell, Fenella needs to complete three tasks of deliberate destruction in the mortal realm. She warns Fenella that this will involve terrible choices, but Fenella doesn’t care. She commits herself to the tasks.

And then Fenella learns that if she completes the tasks, not only will she again be mortal, but Padraig will die. If she fails? She will once again be Padraig’s slave.

And there’s more. The queen sends her brother Ryland along in the form of a cat to help Fenella, and then reveals more about the quest:

The queen nodded. “I am glad you mention your daughters. You will go to the two that survive, Lucy and her mother, Miranda. Tell them you have been freed and are coming to them for help to restart your life.”

“No,” Fenella was firm. “I will do this destruction my own way. I will keep Lucy and her family entirely out of it.”

The queen continued as if Fenella had not spoken. “They will want to love you and take care of you. They will not be suspicious.”

“I don’t wish to go to them,” Fenella repeated. “I would rather simply begin on the first task of destruction. Tell me. What must I destroy first?”

The cat butted his soft head against Fenella’s ankles. He did not make a sound, but Fenella heard his mocking voice in her head.

“No,” she said sharply. “No, you’re wrong.” She looked at the queen. “Isn’t he wrong?”

“He directed his thoughts to you, not to me. What did he say?”

“He told me –“ Fenella broke off. “He said that my family must be the target of each act of destruction. He said it would not be human destruction if there was no pain for me. For people I care about.” Her eyes were hot flame. “Tell me it’s not true,” she demanded.

The queen said, “Your first task is the destruction of your family’s safety.”

“No,” said Fenella.

“Yes,” said the queen, steadily. “You have agreed. You must go forward toward the death you desire, sowing destruction about you, or you will belong again to the Mud Creature.”

Fenella does join her living family. And she does come to love them. There is even a man she feels connected to. If she commits these acts of destruction, surely they will hate her. But if she doesn’t, starting the family’s curse again is truly unthinkable.

I won’t give any details, but I was surprised by what a beautiful ending Nancy Werlin pulled off out of this terrible situation.

As with the other books, the author did a marvelous job with the characters and relationships in this book. These people love one another, but they are caught up in an extraordinary and difficult situation. There’s even a hint of ways Fenella can work with the faerie realm in the future – I hope this means more books to come.

nancywerlin.com
www.penguin.com/teen

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Source: This review is based on a copy I purchased at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer L. Holm

October 15th, 2014

14th_goldfish_largeThe Fourteenth Goldfish

by Jennifer L. Holm

Random House, New York, 2014. 195 pages.

The Fourteenth Goldfish gets its name because of the goldfish Ellie was given in preschool:

I took my goldfish home and named it Goldie like every other kid in the world who thought they were being original. But it turned out that Goldie was kind of original.

Because Goldie didn’t die.

Even after all my classmates’ fish had gone to the great fishbowl in the sky, Goldie was still alive. Still alive when I started kindergarten. Still alive in first grade. Still alive in second grade and third and fourth. Then finally, last year in fifth grade, I went into the kitchen one morning and saw my fish floating upside down in the bowl.

My mom groaned when I told her.

“He didn’t last very long,” she said.

“What are you talking about?” I asked. “He lasted seven years!”

She gave me a smile and said, “Ellie, that wasn’t the original Goldie. The first fish only lasted two weeks. When he died, I bought another one and put him in the bowl. There’ve been a lot of fish over the years.”

“What number was this one?”

“Unlucky thirteen,” she said with a wry look.

“They were all unlucky,” I pointed out.

We gave Goldie Thirteen a toilet-bowl funeral, and I asked my mom if we could get a dog.

After this seemingly unrelated beginning, in the next chapter we learn that Ellie’s mother is going to be late coming home because of something to do with getting her grandfather from the police. When she does come home, she’s got a thirteen- or fourteen-year-old boy with her. He looks awfully familiar, and is very critical of her mom.

Something about this whole exchange tickles at my memory. It’s like watching a movie I’ve already seen. I study the boy – the gray-tipped hair, the way he’s standing so comfortably in our hall, how his right hand opens and closes as if used to grasping something by habit. But it’s the heavy gold ring hanging loosely on his middle finger that draws my eye. It’s a school ring, like the kind you get in college, and it looks old and worn and has a red gem in the center.

“I’ve seen that ring before,” I say, and then I remember whose hand I saw it on.

I look at the boy.

“Grandpa?” I blurt out.

Yes, Ellie’s grandpa Melvin is a scientist, and he’s discovered a “cure for aging.” He discovered a new kind of jellyfish that can actually revert its body to the polyp stage, it’s younger self. He made a compound with the specimen and tested it successfully on mice, reverting them to adolescents. Then, naturally, he tried it on himself, and the result is an apparently thirteen-year-old “cousin” living with them.

Melvin has a mission – to break into his lab and recover the jellyfish specimen. The security people there don’t believe he’s the same person as is shown on his badge.

But living with his adult daughter and eleven-year-old granddaughter has some challenges. Ellie’s mom insists that he has to go to school, since he doesn’t want to get the police coming after them. As Ellie gets to know him, she finds the science he talks about more and more fascinating. And she’s happy to try to help him break into the lab.

This book is a lot of fun, and presents a refreshing perspective on aging, science, and the generation gap. Without giving any specifics, I’ll say that I didn’t buy the ending, so that made it fall short of greatness for me. But I did like the way she interwove themes throughout the book, and I liked the look at how an old man would act if he suddenly became a teenager again.

randomhouse.com/kids

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of The Noisy Paint Box, by Barb Rosenstock and Mary Grandpré

October 13th, 2014

noisy_paint_box_largeThe Noisy Paint Box

The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art

by Barb Rosenstock
illustrated by Mary Grandpré

Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2014. 36 pages.
Starred Review

I love picture book biographies about artists where the illustrator communicates the feeling of the artist’s life and work. Mary Grandpré achieves this in The Noisy Paint Box, managing to do what Vasily Kandinsky was trying to do, and paint feelings.

The words ring. A note at the back explains, “This book is historical fiction. The dialogue is imagined, although the events are true.” As long as Barb Rosenstock was inventing dialogue, she used words that make an impact.

“Look what I made!” shouted Vasya.
“Is it a house?” asked Auntie.
“Is it a flower?” asked Mama.
“What’s it supposed to be?” asked Papa.
“It’s music!” said Vasya, waltzing his painting around the house.

“Calm down!” said Mama.
“Do some math!” said Papa.
“Heavens!” said Auntie. “This boy needs a proper art class.”

Later, when the adult Kadinsky creates abstract art, we see our first reproduction of one of his paintings with text that echoes his family in childhood.

It took a long time for people to understand.

“Is it a house?” “Is it a flower?” “What’s it supposed to be?”

“It’s my art,” Vasya answered. “How does it make you feel?”

In the note at the back, the author also explains that Kandinsky probably had synesthesia, since he described experiencing colors as sounds and sounds as colors throughout his life. Combined with the art of Mary Grandpré, even child readers will get a sense of what that means.

BarbRosenstock.com
MaryGrandPre.com
randomhouse.com/kids

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

October 12th, 2014

storied_life_of_aj_fikry_largeThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

by Gabrielle Zevin

read by Scott Brick

HighBridge, 2014. 7 hours on 6 compact discs.
Starred Review

After listening to the first CD of this audiobook, I was strongly tempted to quit. Put the whole book away. The book doesn’t even begin with A. J. Fikry. It begins with a woman who’s a publisher representative. She takes the difficult journey to Alice Island in Massachusetts to meet with the owner of Island Books. He hasn’t read his email and isn’t expecting her. In fact, he hadn’t realized that her predecessor is dead.

He is curmudgeonly and terribly rude to her. After she leaves, we see him get out the rare book that he’s counting on to pay for retiring from the bookselling business. He drinks until he passes out and imagines his recently-killed wife helping him to bed.

In the morning, his rare book, the one worth a fortune, is gone. The same policeman helps him who investigated his wife’s car accident.

Depressing story, right? I wasn’t crazy about the reader, either. It wasn’t terribly easy to tell who was talking by the voice.

But I continued into the second disc… and someone left a baby in the bookstore.

The baby changes A. J.’s life. In good ways. And this book about A. J.’s life ends up being delightful.

There are some dramatic plot twists thrown in. Perhaps the story isn’t entirely likely. But it has plenty of heart.

We see A. J.’s daughter grow to be a teenager, with the story focusing in on different crucial times in their shared lives. She’s a girl who loves books and reading. They are my kind of people.

By the end of the book, we’ve got a tribute to independent bookstores, and how they give a community its heart.

highbridgeaudio.com

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