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Staff Reviews by Marsha Young

Cover: 'David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants'

"David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants" by Malcom Gladwell

★★★★ This non-fiction selection is really a discussion about the art of winning (success). The author starts with a description and analysis of the original (Biblical) "battle" between David and Goliath.  The author hypothesizes that, seemingly weaker David, won over the giant (in physical respects) Goliath because quite actually, he used his already...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Stolen, Smuggled Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures'

"Stolen, Smuggled Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures" by Nancy Moses

★★★★ Moses is a woman intimately familiar with museums and the world of art. In this book she explores the rather shadowy world of art, ownership by individuals and museums, and acquisitions of spectacularly famous and valuable items under sometimes questionable methods. The book is divided into eight separate chapters covering the discovery, ownership,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Printz Award Winner, Award-Winning

Cover: 'The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry'

"The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry" by Jon Ronson

★★★★ Jon Ronson is an English journalist who gets called to help decipher a homemade book delivered to scientists around the world. But beyond that, he is asked to determine if there is some “secret message” being relayed to the recipients or is this some elaborate hoax. In his quest he is led to a larger pursuit, i.e. who is or isn’t crazy, who decides who is...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'A Train in Winter'

"A Train in Winter" by A Train in Winter

★★★★★ If you are interested in history (particularly WWII), human behavior, France, heroism or human suffering under spectacular circumstances, "A Train in Winter" will prove an engrossing read. The author takes the reader behind the word “French Resistance” fighter to reveal the real individuals, specifically the females who played a significant role in...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'You Were Always Mom's Favorite!'

"You Were Always Mom's Favorite!" by Deborah Tannen

★★★★ Having read and enjoyed a few of Deborah Tannen’s books and as a person with two sisters, I was intrigued about what she could reveal about these unique relationships.  Tannen offers a linguist’s view ((Professor at Georgetown University) of how sisters relate. Specifically, she analyzes sister’s relationship issues using their conversations as her...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking'

"Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain

★★★★★ If you anyone has ever asked you, “Why are you so quiet?” or “Why don't you speak up?” or even “ Why are you so shy?” then this is the book for you. The author Susan Cain explores the preference for the extrovert personality in our culture. The author explores the many ways that these basic personality types differ starting with differences in the nervous...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)'

"Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)" by Christian Rudder

★★★★ Mr. Rudder is a Harvard-educated mathematician and co-founder of OkCupid, an online dating service. If you want to explore the world of number crunching in the modern world of media and technology, this book is it. He shows through multiple examples, graphs and analysis what numbers reveal (that sometimes people are loath to). Much of the book uses OKCupid...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Technology

Cover: 'What the Dog Saw'

"What the Dog Saw" by Malcolm Gladwell

★★★ This book is from the same author of "The Tipping Point" and "Outliers", books I very much enjoyed. In "What the Dog Saw", Gladwell provides a collection of his writings from the "New York Times". The chapters provide overviews of newsworthy topics and issues, in essence their "back story". He examines the facts, history and interesting details of a wide...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Killing Patton'

"Killing Patton" by Bill O'Reilly

★★★★★ It is ironic and entirely appropriate that I am reviewing this fine book on Veterans Day. The book is a thorough telling of General George S. Patton who led the 3rd Army to victory over Hitler’s forces during WWII. Hitler with his agenda to rule Europe, and perhaps beyond, had devised his last and final attempt to gain back the momentum to win the war for...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, History

Cover: 'Last Post'

"Last Post" by Max Arthur

★★★★ Being unfamiliar with much about the WWI, the last great war, I was eager to hear of stories from the mouths of those few soldiers still left to tell the tale. This 2005 book is a narrative account of those few British soldiers still alive and able to relay their firsthand accounts and stories of an era that will perish when they do. Approximately 20 men,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, History

Cover: 'The Tipping Point'

"The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell

★★★★★ Gladwell explores how and why major changes in culture happen, i.e. “the tipping point”, or to use an even more current term, “go viral”. He has researched why and how trends, social movements, pop culture phenomena and epidemics occur. Gladwell contends that social and cultural events don’t just “happen”, but rather require essential elements to occur. For...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Outliers'

"Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell

★★★★★ This book is a must read for those interested in success or as a personal roadmap to “how to get ahead” in this world. Gladwell busts the popular conception that success is based upon luck. In fact, using countless examples of real success stories (i.e. the rich and famous), Gladwell demonstrates that success isn’t primarily due to luck, but rather, hard...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Blink'

"Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell

★★★★★ This book is an excellent discussion of how we "think", i.e. what really goes on in our brains as we make decisions, evaluate and consider options. Gladwell arrives at the conclusion (with much evidence) that some of our most profound thinking goes on at a level he labels "behind the closed door". The reality appears that when, for example, we need to make...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements'

"You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements" by David McCullough Jr.

★★★★ McCullough’s book came after a similarly themed graduation speech of 2012. His thoughts are well received and regarded because he speaks from the position of an educator of nearly 30 years (Interestingly he spent nearly a decade teaching in the Hawaii high school where President Obama admitted to spending his high school years mostly getting high and “by”...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Body Language'

"Body Language" by Aaron Brehove

★★★★ I have read a number of books on the "science" of non-verbal communication i.e. "body language" and this book was one of the better ones I have read. Scientists have indicated that most communication occurs non-verbally via body signals which we give out unconsciously. While our words convey some meaning, some studies indicate that non-verbal communication...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'The Devil in the White City'

"The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson

★★★★ The author Erik Larson (also of In the Garden of the Beasts), gives a detailed account of the creation of the World's Fair held in Chicago at the end of the 19th century.   The "White City" is the idealized, created city that provided a figurative and literal shape to the fair . The book spends considerable time discussing, in factual detail, how the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, History