Book Review: The Library Book, by Susan Orlean

There is a lot to like about The Library Book. Author Susan Orlean chronicles the 1986 fire that devastated the Los Angeles Central Library, at the same time using it as a vehicle to explore the history of the library, the mission and future of libraries in general, and share her own poignant history and relationship with libraries. Continue reading

Book Review: Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, by Hans Rosling

The title of this book says it all. This is a fact based look at the world, and the facts show that, on the whole, the world is improving in most key areas, including education, income and life expectancy. Written by a gifted storyteller and accomplished scientist, Factfulness is a powerful antidote to people’s tendency to think that the sky is perpetually falling. Continue reading

“American Fire: Love, Arson and Life in a Vanishing Land”, by Monica Hesse

Sad, strange events are brought to life in Monica Hesse’s “American Fire”. Hesse takes what would probably be just an average true crime story and elevates it to something more by providing social, economic and historic context. The result is a very interesting and sometimes sympathetic look at a crime wave that shook a small Virginia community. Continue reading

“The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story” by Douglas Preston

“The Lost City of the Monkey God” is a fascinating mash-up of archaeology, cutting edge technology, treasure hunting, history, Central American politics and epidemiology. Author Douglas Preston, who also writes about archaeology for National Geographic, covers some complex topics in a manner that’s easy to understand and also very interesting. Continue reading