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Posts Tagged ‘Summer Reading 2012’

Lost in Shangri-La – A Review

Posted on August 22nd, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

And so, my Summer Reading has come to an end. I have to say I had a lot of fun picking out books from the list and reading them over the three month span of June, July, and August. However, next year I would lower the number of books I chose to no more than six, two per month so I don’t feel like I’m in a rush to get through them all before the end of August.

With that, here is my final book review for my Summer Reading books. (Rest assured, my book reviews won’t stop, there just won’t be quite so many in each month.)

Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is the story of a sight-seeing army plane that was taking several soldiers and Women in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) over a newly discovered vally in Dutch New Guinea in May of 1945 near the end of World War II. This was uncharted territory, and very hard to fly through because of sharp winds, lots of clouds, and very high mountains that appeared out of nowhere like monsters. The plane crashed, essentially in the middle of nowhere, and only three people survived. But life was not easy for them. They were undercover of a dense forest, where no search plane could see them, and two of the survivors were severely wounded, most of their skin burned off and disease setting in. They were forced to hike to a clearing, and to face the natives, whom it was thought at the time, were cannibals. No one in the Army knew how to get them out of their location. Planes couldn’t fly in, and a hike would be roughly 150 miles of dangerous terrain that no one had ever hiked through before.  This book chronicles the plight of the three survivors, two men and one woman, along with those who risked their lives to get them out. It is also the story of how the natives came to meet the outside world for the first time. These people didn’t know what a radio was. They didn’t even know what a wheel was. They had their own way of life, and had been living it for thousands of years before a plane crash changed everything for them.

What an experience. I can’t imagine what this must have been like for those who survived the crash and for those natives who believed these white people who fell from the sky were spirits. But though Zuckoff’s book, I was able to get a glimpse of things, to see how they surivived, and to see the amazing rescue effort that almost didn’t happen on many occassions. This was a fantastic read and one I would highly recommend to anyone interested in flying or surviving in the jungle. Once I got into this book, I couldn’t put it down!

Black Hawk Down – A Review

Posted on July 31st, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is the true story of what happened when an elite group of soldiers went into the city of Mogadishu, Somalia in order to capture an enemy. The capture was only supposed to take an hour. Instead, the American troops were surprised by the retaliation of Somalian people unwilling to let their leader go. The American soldiers were trapped, pinned down in several different areas of the city while a ground transport convoy wandered, lost, and getting torn to shreds trying to find them. Meanwhile, two Black Hawk helecopters were downed by RPGs, and no one in the air command could help ground troops get to them in time. 

At times this mission seemed like a black comedy when nothing was going right. In the middle of the night, many hours after the mission was supposed to have ended, the ground forces were trying to meet up. Yet, they couldn’t find each other, feeling like each group were miles away even though they were actually sometimes only as far away as a few feet, separated by a simple concrete wall. This was a fantastic read, that had me riveted all the way though. I shook my head at the black comedy, frustrated that nothing was going right. Bowden made sure you felt each death as if these men in uniform were your own best friends. He writes in an afterword, published in 2010, that he meant to write the book as if it were the men themselves telling the story. He wanted to take himself out of the picture entirely, and I think he did a fantastic job. It was the right way to tell the story of these guys. But, not only does he tell the American side, he also went to Mogadishu and interviewed several locals to get their side of the story.

All I can really say is… wow. What a terrifying, comedic, brutal, truthful book. All I can say is, if you like reading about the military, or you’re thinking of joining, definitely read this book first. This does not diminish the truth of war by any stretch of the imagination.   

Just an update on my personal summer reading list, these are the three books I have left to read in August:

Doomwyte by Brian Jacques

Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey

Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

Odd Hours – A Review

Posted on July 23rd, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is a continuation of Odd Thomas’s storywhich was started in the novel Odd Thomas. In this novel, Odd meets new friends and battles new enemies with the help of a ghost dog named Boo, the ghost of famous signer Frank Sinatra, and his own nearly psychic powers. Who’s to say which side of the law anyone is on, including the local church pastor and the Chief of Police when it comes down to a huge terrorist plot on California soil.

I have to admit, I enjoyed the first three Odd Thomas books much better than I did this one. Not to say that this novel wasn’t as well written as the others, because it certainly was. But there were a few bits dealing with the plot that didn’t work for me. One was the beginning where a few things didn’t seem very plausible. But, the part I really loved, was the scene where he had to pick on Frank Sinatra to anger him. He needed to turn the usually calm ghost into a poltergeist in order to help move the ghost on to the next world, and also to save himself from death. A fantastic scene if ever there was one.

Will my disapointments turn me away from the rest of this series? No way. Odd Appocolypse is coming out soon, and I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on it!  

And with this novel done, I’ve only got four more on my summer reading list to go! Woot!

A Rumor Of War – A Review

Posted on July 11th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

A Rumor Of War by Philip Caputo

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This was a fantastic book about one officer’s experience in the Vietnam war. Caputo pulls no punches when he talks about what happened. He lays it all out there and writes it as if you, the reader, are actually there. You feel like you’re in the trenches taking mortar rounds. You feel as if you’re struggling to climb a hill suddenly beseiged by Viet Cong who disappear as quickly as they’d arrived.

I had a hard time getting into this, but it wasn’t because the story was boring. It was anything but. However, once I was into it, I was into it and just like Caputo, I couldn’t wait for the Vietnam War to end. Such a truthful memoir. This is the realities of war. And that’s what I liked about it. He didn’t make it seem like some fantasy Hollywood blockbuster.

In short, if you’re interested in history, about past wars, or maybe you’re looking to join the military, this is definitely a book you should check out. Just don’t expect to read it in one day unless you skim it. I wouldn’t recommend skimming it because you’ll lose the full effect of the war that Caputo puts into his memoir.

Get Ready for Henna Tattoos

Posted on June 19th, 2012 by Akunna in Programs, Resources, Teen Services

Summer begins this week! To start us off, local artist Nimmi will be doing henna tattoos at a number of branches this month. If you’ve never seen what these beautiful, temporary tattoos look like, take a look below:

Go to our Events for Teens  tab on the BPL Summer Reading page to find out where and when Nimmi will be doing henna tattoos.

The art of making henna tattoos, called mendhi, goes way back, at least 5,000 years. If you want to know more about it AND learn how to make your own designs, here’s a good place to start

If you need some ideas for what you’d like drawn on you, the Henna Page Symbol Index  has some suggestions.