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Staff Picks

Check out these five-star reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring books and DVDs for adults, children and teens! Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates. The book reviews on this website represent the personal opinions of the individuals who created them and do not represent any official views of the Marathon County Public Library.


Cover: 'The Instant Coin Collector'

"The Instant Coin Collector" by Arlyn G. Sieber

★★★★★ Arlyn Sieber's THE INSTANT COIN COLLECTOR is an excellent, informative beginner's guide to the fascinating world of numismatics, the so-called 'Hobby of Kings.' In 238 well-illustrated pages, Sieber supplies the reader with easy-to-understand information on how to get started collecting coins, coins to watch for, how coins are graded, how they need to be...

Cover: 'Great Escapes: Enjoy the World at Your Leisure'

"Great Escapes: Enjoy the World at Your Leisure" by Lonely Planet

★★★★★ GREAT ESCAPES transports readers around the globe to over 70 travel destinations and then offers up 'Essential Experiences' lists of things to do once you arrive. Would-be travelers are treated to exotic sites in Spain, Africa, China, Bhutan, the U.K., Canada, Colombia and other locales. Each destination is highlighted in a three-four page essay featuring...

Cover: '1939: The Greatest Year in Film History'

"1939: The Greatest Year in Film History" by Mark A. Vieira

★★★★★ To all those who love motion pictures, 1939 will always be THE year. During 1939, so many, many classic films were produced. Mark Vieira reviews those films in this wonderfully-illustrated, insightful and affectionate guide to  that magical time and place. Vieira's book arranges the films in order of release. Most of the films is described in a two-to-...

Cover: 'Fangirl'

"Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell

★★★★★ Cath and Wren are identical twins entering their freshman year of college. Wren jumps into the party scene while Cath dives into her favorite hobby: writing fanfiction about the literary phenomenon Simon Snow. Wren and Cath used to write it together, but Wren is slowly drifting apart from her twin, wanting to make her own identity apart from Cath. Feeling...

Cover: 'Sisterland'

"Sisterland" by Curtis Sittenfeld

★★★★★ Whatever direction life carries us, we cannot escape our family of origin no matter how hard we might try.  Kate and Violet are identical twin sisters with psychic abilities, living very different lives. Kate, married with two children, tries to ignore her “senses” and live a somewhat normal life, while her single sister, Vi flaunts hers, even...

Cover: 'Terra Maxima'

"Terra Maxima" by Wolfgang Kunth

★★★★★ This oversized, wonderfully-illustrated volumes has to be seen to be believed. Bursting with over 3,000 full-color photographs, TERRA MAXIMA is a visual guide to the major technological and cultural achievements of mankind. Its 576 pages describe and illustrate a myriad of human accomplishments such as the tallest buildings, the largest libraries, the most...

Cover: 'Treasures of the Civil War'

"Treasures of the Civil War" by

★★★★★ Published in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, MacLachlan's book is an appealing, intimate tribute to 13 legendary leaders who shaped the nation during the Civil War. Among the individuals covered are Lincoln, Grant Lee, Sherman, Clara Barton, George Custer, Frederick Douglass and George Pickett. Each merits a lengthy write-up...

Cover: 'The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time!'

"The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time!" by Martin Gitlin

★★★★★ Everyone has a favorite sitcom. In THE GREATEST SITCOMS OF ALL TIME, Martin Gitlin has undertaken the daunting task of ranking the top 50 sitcoms of all time. The results make for entertaining and informative reading. Gitlin evaluated hundreds of shows based on factors such as its longevity, ratings, the awards it won, its impact on society and so on. From...

Cover: 'The West That Was'

"The West That Was" by John E. Eggen

★★★★★ John Eggen's book is a fascinating 'time travel' look back at Wild West cowboys. The hundreds of photographs found in the book date from the late 1880s and depict working cowboys in Colorado. They accurately capture the true life and times of cowboys as they round up steers, train horses, chow down around the campfire, etc. Taken together, they supply a...

Cover: 'Literary Legends of the British Isles'

"Literary Legends of the British Isles" by Michael Thomas Barry

★★★★★ Michael Barry's enchanting LITERARY LEGENDS OF THE BRITISH ISLES provides capsule histories of the life and times of 50 of England's greatest writers and poets. Barry provides two-four page write-ups on such luminaries as Shakespeare, Kipling, Chaucer, Swift, Burns, Keats, Dickens, Shaw, Christie, Wordsworth, Wilde, Browning, Orwell, Tolkien and the Bronte...

Cover: 'Uncle John's Perpetually Pleasing Bathroom Reader'

"Uncle John's Perpetually Pleasing Bathroom Reader" by Bathroom Readers' Institute

★★★★★ Once a year the Bathroom Readers Institute uncorks their latest compilation of trivia facts and feats. Well, here comes UNCLE JOHN'S PERPETUALLY PLEASING BATHROOM READER, the 26th Bathroom Reader annual. And it's as chock full of fun and interesting facts as the first 25! This latest edition offers up 540 pages of info on fads & flops, forgotten history...

Cover: 'Souvenir Relics: Relics, Keepsakes and Curios from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History'

"Souvenir Relics: Relics, Keepsakes and Curios from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History" by William L. Bird, Jr.

★★★★★ This appealing look at American history spotlights over 50 memorabilia from history, detailing each item's history and how they came to find a home at the Smithsonian. Included are such fascinating items as a piece of the original Plymouth Rock, a Washington Monument cornerstone, the table/chairs used by Grant and Lee at Appomattox, a framed lock of Andrew...

Cover: 'Donuts'

"Donuts" by Elinore Klivans

★★★★★ This unbelievable book has recipes for 40 different kinds of donuts. From maple-bacon donuts to jelly-filled donuts tolemon-filled beignets and apple fritters, you will find the easy to follow recipes in this book. The hardest part will be deciding which ones to make first. The last chapter includes recipes for fillings, glazes and toppings to complete your...

Cover: 'The A to Z of Children's Health'

"The A to Z of Children's Health" by Jeremy Friedman

★★★★★ This useful guide to children's health is written by a dozen pediatricians from the Hospital for Sick Children, one of the best children's hospitals in the world. Parents of small children will welcome the book's comprehensive, up-to-date information on diseases, illnesses, injuries, conditions, symptoms and treatments. Among the topics covered are...

Cover: 'Out of the Easy'

"Out of the Easy" by Ruta Sepetys

★★★★★ We can’t choose the families that we are born into but we can choose our destiny. Born to a prostitute mother and an unknown father, and living in a brothel with her mother in the French Quarter, Josie Moraine appears to have the cards stacked against her. While cleaning rooms at a brothel, working at a bookstore, and being tangled up in a murder...

Cover: 'First Big Book of the Ocean'

"First Big Book of the Ocean" by Catherine D. Hughes

★★★★★ Do you know what a leafy sea dragon is? Find out in this ocean-filled book put out by National Geographic Kids. This books is a great read for any school-aged child that is curious about biology or the ocean. Split up into ocean sections, each section details the animal life one will find in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Arctic oceans. Each animal...

Cover: 'As I Knew Him'

"As I Knew Him" by Anne Serling

★★★★★ In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Rod Serling penned various movie and television scripts that demonstrated the power and majesty of the English language. Though termed "television's angry young man," his scripts consistently displayed a sensitivity, gentleness and perceptive understanding of the human condition. This tender and intimate biography, penned by his...

Cover: 'Four Seasons of Travel'

"Four Seasons of Travel" by National Geographic Society

★★★★★ This sumptuous travel guide offers up hundreds of gorgeous, full-color photographs and first-person reminiscences of "400 of the world's best destinations in winter, spring, summer and fall." Among the destinations covered are Edinburgh, London, Victoria Falls, Queenstown, New York City, Lake Como, Oaxaca, the Atlas Mountains, Newport, St. Petersburg,...

Cover: 'What Does the Fox Say?'

"What Does the Fox Say?" by Ylvis

★★★★★ Dog goes woof and cat goes meow, but what does the fox say? If you loved the YouTube sensation "What Does the Fox Say?" you will love the children's picture book version! The book is filled with the zany lyrics to the popular song and kooky illustrations of the animals mentioned. Recommended for children and adults who are fans of the song, or anyone...

Cover: 'A Christmas Story Treasury'

"A Christmas Story Treasury" by Tyler Schwartz

★★★★★ Over the years, 'A Christmas Story' has become a perennial favorite around the holidays with its heartwarming story of young Ralphie longing for a very special Christmas gift. Tyler Schwartz's charming and informative book details the creation of this film and how it flowered into a beloved holiday classic. Illustrated throughout with color photographs, the...

Cover: 'Rescue'

"Rescue" by Anita Shreve

★★★★★ Anita Shreve, a well known author who wrote "A Pilots Wife," has done it again with her book "Rescue." Did you ever dream your life out completely, right down to land you where going to buy in your own town? Did your dreams ever spiral out of control and you had to be the strong one? Webster, a young paramedic, had his life all figured out and was saving...

Cover: 'Santa Claus and The Three Bears'

"Santa Claus and The Three Bears" by Maria Modugno

★★★★★ The three bears weren't expecting company when they went for a walk on Christmas Eve. But who should appear but the merry old gentleman himself - Santa Claus! Santa tries out the Christmas pudding, the chairs and then the beds. Find out what happens when the three bears come home from their walk. Wonderful pictures and whimsical prose make for a lovely...

Cover: 'Toy Time: From Hula Hoops to He-Man to Hungry, Hungry Hippos'

"Toy Time: From Hula Hoops to He-Man to Hungry, Hungry Hippos" by Christopher Byrne

★★★★★ Revisit your childhood with this charming, full-color chronicle of toys from decades past. Among the toys described and illustrated are Play-Doh, Barbie, Gumby, Uno, Rubik's Cube, Etch-a-Sketch, Teddy Ruxpin, Silly Putty, G.I. Joe, the Star Wars Action Figures, Care Bears, Dungeons and Dragons, Tonka Toy Trucks, NERF Ball, View-Master and the Frisbee....

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