More summer reading picks

Thursday July 15, 2010


Again, I am pleased to share with you, the ever-popular session, Rapid Reviews, at the annual Vermont Library Conference. This year, the 116th annual, was held at the St. Michael's College campus in Winooski. It was only a one-day affair (VLA recognizing the constraints of library budgets in tough times) so even though I attended the conference, I was not able to attend the Rapid Reviews.

During the two-hour session librarians hear four voracious readers provide sound-bite reviews of 60 of their favorite books published in 2008 and 2009. These titles are not the bestsellers, but quality fiction and nonfiction that rise to the top of critics' lists, not just the titles with the largest advertising budgets.

The "Rapid Reviews" list which follows is divided into seven thematic categories where both fiction and nonfiction are included. The categories are: NEW YORK, CURENT EVNTS, HISTORY, FAMILY, SENSE OF PLACE and JUST FOR FUN

Each annotation marked *** reflects the top two choices of the reviewer. To check for these titles at Brooks Library, visit, click on Library Catalog button and enter the title in the search box. If the book is charged out click on the Hold button to place your reserve for the book.

This program is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency, through the Library Services and Technology Act.

The entries for FAMILY, SENSE OF PLACE and JUST FOR FUN ran in Ovation on July 8. You can find them at

Here are the entries for NEW YORK, CURRENT EVENTS and HISTORY.


* Colm, Toibin. "Brooklyn." Scribner, 2009. Young Irish immigrant, alone and uneasy in Brooklyn, struggles to find her own way in the 1950s. SG

* Flint, Anthony. "Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City." Random,

2009. An average citizen stands up for her beliefs. ED

* McCann, Colum. "Let the Great World Spin." Random, 2009. New York in all its diverse glory, with the spotlight on the Twin Tower tightrope walker. AH***


* Agassi, Andre. "Open." Knopf, 2009. A topnotch autobiography that blows the lid off professional tennis prep. AH

* Armstrong, Karen. "The Case for God." Knopf, 2009. In prehistory, religion was the desire to cultivate a sense of the transcendent; the same commitment makes the case for God today. SG

* Durrow, Heidi W. "The Girl Who Fell from the Sky." Algonquin, 2010. What is the meaning of race? First novel, book club natural, winner of the Bellwether prize. AH

* Foer, Jonathan Safran. "Eating Animals." Little, Brown, 2009. Powerful, personal look at factory farming. A life-changer! ED***

* Joannides, Paul. "Guide to Getting It on." Daerick Gross, illus. (line drawings). Goofy Foot Press, 2009. Sensible, encompassing guide to sex for adults. AH

* Kessler, David. "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite." Rodale, 2009. ED

* Kot, Greg. "Ripped." Scribner, 2009. How Napster and greed destroyed the recording industry. ED

* Maass, Peter. "Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil." Knopf, 2009. Good for a discussion group. ED

* Reding, Nick. "Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town." Bloomsbury, 2009. Methamphetamine and its impact in Oelwein, IA, pop. 6,126. AH

* Wills, Garry. "Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State." Penguin, 2010. Wills' well-told story of how the bomb brought us "big brother." ED


* Blake, Sarah. "The Postmistress." Putnam, 2010. Charming romance set in the radio history of World War II. SG

* Collins, Gail. "When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women From 1960 to the Present." Little, Brown, 2009. A page-turning history of the women's movement. ED

* Pears, Iain. "Stone's Fall." Spiegel & Grau, 2009. Reversed time and entwined mysteries lead slowly to resolution in London in 1906, Venice in 1867 and Paris in 1890. SG***

* Perkins-Valdez, Dolen. "Wench." Amistad, 2010. Enslaved as mistresses, four black women meet and become friends when their plantation owners take them for a month's vacation in Ohio. SG

* Phillips, Jayne Anne. "Lark and Termite." Knopf, 2009. Satisfying parallel stories -- a soldier in South Korea and his young son Termite. AH

* Walbert, Kate. "A Short History of Women." Scribner, 2009. A series of moments in the lives of relatives who live unaware of each other, starting with the Townsend suffragette hunger strike in 1914. SG

Jerry Carbone is director of Brooks Memorial Library. List compiled by Amy Howlett, Vermont Department of Libraries Regional Consultant. Initials after each annotation refer to the reviewers -- Ernie Drown, Susan Guilmette and Amy Howlett.

For Love of Books is a column written by readers of notable books which may be found in local libraries and bookstores. "Guidelines for Reviewers" may be requested from Brooks Memorial Library at 802-254-5290, or Connect to the library's new web catalog to search for books and other materials at


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