Adult Book Reviews by Genre: Biography/Memoir

Egan, Timothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I recently read Timothy Egan's latest book, "Short Nights of the Shadowcathcher," a biography of Edward S. Curtis, famous for his photos of Native Americans at the turn of the century. Although I was familiar with his photos, I didn't realize he also recorded languages on wax cylinders and filmed disappearing Native American ceremonies, which tribes later used to recreate their languages and cultures. With partial funding from JP Morgan, and the moral support of Teddy Roosevelt, he published 20 volumes on the North American Indian, a task that consumed his life. I also did not realize that in 1914, he produced a motion picture using members of the Kwakiutls tribe on Vancouver Island. After positive reviews, the film was tied up in litigation with the distributor and disappeared into storage. The last remaining copy was found in 1972 and carefully restored. On a whim, I looked for the film in the library and, to my amazement, learned that Pikes Peak Library District has a copy on DVD. Amazing what you can find at our libraries!!!!

Reviewer's Name: Terri
Strayed, Cheryl
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I recently read the book "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. The book lended itself to a glimpse into a young womans' adventure as she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail by herself. The beginning chapters showed how inexperienced and innocent she was and as I continued reading other chapters, she had become quite the seasoned hiker with physical scars to prove it. Her marriage had ended and her mom had died, so as we hiked along with her, she came to grips with her life journey. Very entertaining and a page turner to boot!

Reviewer's Name: Sue
Kehert, Peg
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Peg Kehert told you in her own words what it was like to be a child with polio. She writes how deadly and dangerous polio was in 1949. It was heartfelt and she made friends along her hard journey. I think that kids and adults should read this book.

Reviewer's Name: Manjula
Dos, Margarete
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I loved this memoir of a young girl growing up in Berlin in World War II. It is told in a way that makes you feel that you were there, running for the shelters during raids, watching the city you loved decimated by bombs, working in the hospitals and seeing the advance of the Russians. She even spent time in a Russian gulag for reasons unknown, she and her mother were just trying to get to safety. It is a different perspective from many World War II-era books that I've read, and it was an interesting insight into what the German citizens were thinking and feeling.

I appreciated the way that the story was told - it felt like I was sitting next to someone and having them just tell me their life history. The author did a wonderful job transcribing her mother's story, adding little footnotes when necessary and pictures throughout.

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Egan, Timothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Many readers may have seen Edward Curtis's turn-of-the-last-century sepia photographs of Native Americans--the photograph of Chief Joseph or that of a line of Indians on horseback, small in comparison with the monumental rock formations of the southwest, traversing Canyon de Chelly in Arizona.
Born in 1868, Edward Curtis devoted his life to documenting in photographs and text the life of the North American Indian--in the end, producing a twenty-volume collection of books. Egan's fascinating and informative book narrates the story of Curtis's life and life work, time spent with Indians of the southwest, the northern plains, the northwest coast, and Alaska. Egan relates Curtis's association with, among other well-known Americans, Teddy Roosevelt and J. P. Morgan. Readers interested in the history of photography, in the history of the United States, and in the history of Native Americans would enjoy this book.

Reviewer's Name: Bill
Millard, Candice
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Explore an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River with President Theodore Roosevelt in The River of Doubt by Candice Millard. The adventure encompasses United States history, South American politics, native populations along the Amazon, and the relationship that President Roosevelt had with his son. Learn about the animals and plants along the dangerous Amazon and the near death of the President.

Reviewer's Name: Janie
Fey, Tina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Tina Fey's account of her journey to become a successful writer/comic/actress is funny and interesting. With sincerity, warmth and wit, she tells about her life without glossing over the awkward and challenging moments. BTW, she's awesome!

Reviewer's Name: Jenny P.
Halpern, Justin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A very funny portrait of a son's relationship with his eccentric father. I loved that the author was able to draw out the love his father had for him through these ridiculous things he said. A clever book and a quick read.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Saltzman, Nancy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was an interesting book. I liked that it takes place in Colorado Springs. Nancy Saltzman is a very resilient woman. I'm not sure I would have the kind of strength she had if the unthinkable ever happened to me. I guess I was expecting more of a direct 'how to' on grief and loss, but instead the book was more of a teach by example. That's not a bad thing, just not what I was expecting.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Lawson, Jenny
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was hilarious. It's the book I wish I was clever enough to write. At one point I was laughing so hard I was crying. It might very well be the funniest book I've ever read. I highly highly highly recommend this book! Oh, and it's sweet and sad, too. But mostly funny. Did I mention it was funny?

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Wisner, Franz.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Franz Wisner was dumped at the altar, but his honeymoon was already paid for. In an attempt to cheer himself up, he takes his younger brother, Kurt, on his "honeymoon" to Costa Rica, and the two brothers connect in a way that they hadn't as adults. Upon their return from Costa Rica, Franz and Kurt decide to quit their jobs, sell their houses, and embark on a year long trip around the world, and this book tells of the adventures. Part travelogue, part relationship story, after finishing this book I called my sister to try to convince her that we, too, could quit our jobs, travel the world, and become better friends!

Reviewer's Name: Emilie
Bramblitt, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

After he went blind while in college, John Bramblitt practiced getting around without sight at a Six Flags amusement park. Think about that. He began to paint after he lost his sight, and he made me understand what it means to see with sensors other than the eyes. There’s not an ounce of sentimentality here, but plenty of emotion, drive, and grit. You won’t be able to stop reading until you’re through to John’s singing in the light.

Reviewer's Name: Peter
Olson, Bruce
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Before I get very far, I must point out that this book is appropriate for a mature 12-year old, I think. Anyway, this incrediblely true story of Bruce Olson's life, written by Olson, was an excellent source of GOOD-QUALITY reading that is so hard to find in today's world. Bruce is a missionary to the Motilone Indians in Venezuela, South America. He is captured and held hostage by guerillas, and by the Motilones themselves. He describes a night where he woke up and was sandwiched between two large and poisonous snakes. And then there's the tapeworm! I first heard of a book where a man pulls a tapeworm out of his mouth. Don't worry; it's not descriptive there! This is an excellent book that held my attention and encouraged me greatly.

Reviewer's Name: Emma
Fuller, Alexandra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is so amazing because it offers a unique view of Zimbabwe's history. Seeing it through the eyes of a British child lets you experience the trials of the country in a more sheltered way. This book was very honest and funny and interesting and sad. I loved it. Also available in Audio Format.

Reviewer's Name: Jennifer

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