Big girl panties

From Andrea Kalinowski
Author:  Stephanie   Evanovich
Title:  Big girl panties
Big girl panties by Stephanie Evanovich caught my eye for two reasons. The first of the reasons being the author’s last name, Evanovich. I later discovered that Stephanie Evanovich is the niece of Janet Evanovich, one of my favorite authors. The second reason the book caught my attention was the title. I have oft heard or read “It’s time for you to put on your big girl panties” and so the title resonated with me. The way I understand the expression is that the time for wailing against fate is over and it is time to confront your demons. The main character, Holly Brennan, used food as a crutch and comforter during her husband’s final days. Now she is overweight and determined to change her life. When a chance encounter puts her in a plane seat next to Logan Montgomery, a personal trainer, it seems fate is lending a helping hand. Logan is, as all personal trainers are, in prime physical condition and snobbish with it. He is one of the perfect people and has difficulty in comprehending how life can sometimes overwhelm personal wisdom. Both characters undergo a needed transformation. Holly’s transformation is only skin deep because inside she was already a fine example of a human being. Logan, through his training of Holly, transforms into a better human being. I enjoyed this book immensely because it demonstrates that growth is always a choice.

Living your best with early-stage Alzheimer’s : an essential guide

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Lisa Snyder
Title:  Living your best with early-stage Alzheimer’s : an essential guide
Living Your Best with Early-Stage Alzheimer’s is different from most of the books about Alzheimer’s disease because it directly addresses the person who has the disease.  It is a thorough but easy to read guide for coping with the symptoms as well as the emotions of an early-stage Alzheimer’s diagnosis.  It covers topics such as when to stop driving, informing others of your disease, whether or not you can live alone, accepting help, staying active, family relationships, friendships, exercise, nutrition, planning for the future, support groups, treatments and therapies, etc. . The unique situation of those with early-onset Alzheimer’s (those who get the disease at a younger age) is also addressed.  The book also includes tips from those actually living with the disease.

I would readily recommend this book to anyone who has been diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s, as well as their family and friends.

Under the big top : a season with the circus

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author:  Bruce Feiler
Title:  Under the big top : a season with the circus 
What happens when a guy with degrees from Cambridge and Yale runs away and joins the circus? That’s exactly what Bruce Feiler did, and what he details in this engrossing story. From the inner workings of Clown Alley to detailed looks at all the animals and how they live, the author takes you behind the scenes and tells you the stories of many of the performers. It’s entertaining and educational. Recommended for “Children of All Ages,” as they say in the circus.

Memoir of an independent woman : an unconventional life well lived

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author:  Tania Grossinger
Title:  Memoir of an independent woman : an unconventional life well lived
Yes, that Grossinger. Tania G. grew up with the hotel family and had a fairly unconventional childhood, followed by a definitely unconventional young and middle adulthood. She strikes me as someone who would be an absolute hoot to hang out with. Hey, anyone who made her living as Hugh Hefner’s Playboy publicist can’t be boring. The book is lively and an entertaining read. One does wonder what her life would have been like without the clout that came with the Grossinger name and connections. Either way,it’s a fun book.

Mother: caring for 7 billion [videorecording DVD]

From Ellen Druda
Title:  Mother [videorecording DVD] : caring for 7 billion
Our mother, Mother Earth, is at a critical point.  On October 31, 2011 the world population will reach 7 billion.  Over-population, fueled by advances in science, food production and health care, and encouraged by religious beliefs and an unquenchable desire for economic growth, is overwhelming our natural resources.  The dire facts are presented in the first part of the film in a fast-paced montage that features expert interviews and historical film footage, bringing us quickly up-to-date on the issue and the need for action.   The film then changes tempo and we find ourselves along a personal journey with child-rights activist Beth, who travels to Ethiopia searching for a way to make a difference.  She discovers that empowering women; the daughters, wives, and of course mothers with education, choices about birth control, and a voice in the way the world works, may be the answer to slowing our frantic race to a troublesome future.  The film focuses on over-population, but also addresses the very complex problems that have led us to our crowded world.

The corpse reader

From Andrea Kalinowski
Author:  Antonio Garrido
Title:  The corpse reader
Just imagine, if you will, being gathered in a crowd of peasants, sickle in hand, waiting impatiently for the official to pronounce sentence. The official scans the crowd, looking for his witness, and finally spots him. The witness is indicating “Yes, this is the sickle that slew the peasant.” The official beckons forth the peasant holding the sickle and pointing to the witness, a fly, on his blade, pronounces sentence. When the peasant inquires as to how the official knew, the official points to the fly and his brethren. The fly would not sit on your blade without something to attract it and so even though you cleaned the blade, the fly knew there had been blood on the blade. Now imagine you are in China and this is really happening to you. The Corpse Reader by Antonio Garrido is a novel based on an actual Chinese personage, Ci Song.  Ci Song was the father of Chinese Forensic Sciences and the official who used a fly as a witness. The beginning of the novel was a little slow but soon enough it caught me in its web. From that moment on, I could not put the book aside. Ci Song experiences many moments of pain but is always moving forward. He exemplifies strength in the face of adversity and always attempts to honor his family ties.

The girls of Atomic City : the untold story of the women who helped win World War II

From Eileen Effrat
Author:  Denise Kiernan
Title:  The girls of Atomic City : the untold story of the women who helped win World War II 
Recruited for jobs in a town that did not exist,thousands of women from 1943-1945 worked as factory workers, secretaries,custodians, nurses, chemists,and more in Oak Ridge.   Their employer,Clinton Engineer Works, only told these women their jobs  would serve to bring the war to a speedy end. Shrouded in secrecy, 75,000 workers toiled. Although many suspected something BIG was happening, few pieced together the true nature of their work until August 6,1945 when the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. For three years uranium was enriched at Oak Ridge and sent to Los Alamos for use in the “GADGET”.  For this book, the author interviewed hundreds of women. Most were high school graduates from farm families in rural towns, while some had college degrees in chemistry or statistics.   Kiernan focuses on the lives of nine women in particular. I found this book enlightening. This is a part of our history that few know.

Balance : a story of faith, family, and life on the line

From Margaret Mezzacapo|
Author:  Nik Wallenda
Title:  Balance : a story of faith, family, and life on the line 
Yes, Nik Wallenda comes from the famous Flying Wallendas. In this book, he describes growing up in the circus and several of his famous stunts, including his walk over Niagara Falls last summer. It’s a quick read because there’s not a lot of substance to it –I would have liked some greater detail about circus life and how he performs his stunts. This book is suitable for all ages.

The chocolate book bandit : a Chocoholic mystery

From  Andrea Kalinowski
Author:  JoAnna Carl
Title:  The chocolate book bandit : a Chocoholic mystery
I started a series backwards. I try not to do that, in general, but the title and the jacket intrigued me enough that I broke my rule. What book could entice me to do that? Well, the book is entitled The Chocolate Book Bandit: a Chocoholic mystery by JoAnna Carl and it centered around an accountant to a chocolatier. The accountant, Lee Woodyard, is offered an opportunity to sit on Warner Pier’s Library Board. She attends the Library Board meeting and, after the discovery of a body, becomes embroiled in the subsequent murder investigation. Lee Woodyard, the accountant, works for her aunt at TenHuis Chocolates, and she intrigued me enough that I am now reading the Chocoholic mysteries from the beginning and thoroughly enjoying them. Another interesting part of this series is the chocolate facts that the author includes in her Chocolate Chat pages within the novels. The backstory to Lee Woodyard is intriguing and I hope you, too, will enjoy your visit to Warner Pier and TenHuis Chocolates, hopefully, with a small selection of prime chocolate by your side.

The smartest kids in the world : and how they got that way

From Andrea Kalinowski
Author:  Amanda  Ripley
Title:  The smartest kids in the world : and how they got that way
The smartest kids in the world: and how they got that way by Amanda Ripley is an informative read. The journalist, Amanda Ripley, admits in her prologue to the work that, “for most of my career at Time and other magazines, I worked hard to avoid education stories. If my editors asked me to write about schools or tests, I countered with an idea about terrorism, plane crashes, or a pandemic flu. That usually worked.” For all of the author’s reluctance, I thoroughly enjoyed her exploration of Finland, Korea, and Poland’s restructuring of their school systems. Finland recognized the path their school system was on and did a massive revision of the system. They included, in their overhaul, the education of Finland’s teachers. They pared down the acceptance of students by making the standards more rigorous. Korea has always been a rigorous nation but one or two things that really caught my interest were the fact that the students are in charge of cleaning the schools and that one man, Andrew Kim, was known as a “rock-star teacher.”  He earned $4 million dollars in 2010. He teaches at a hagwon or private tutoring academy, where the students did most of their real learning. This book provides a fascinating glimpse into what can be done with the educational system.