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Staff Reviews: For Adults

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring books DVDs for adults! (For reviews of books for all ages, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates. The book reviews on this website represent the personal opinions of the individuals who created them and do not represent any official views of the Marathon County Public Library.


Cover: 'Paul'

"Paul" by Tony Scherman

★★★★ In the 50th Anniversary year of the Beatles' conquest of America, LIFE Magazine offers up this breezy photo-guide to the life and times of the most famous member of the Fab Four, Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE. It traces Macca's life, the beginnings of the Beatles, their subsequent fame & fortune and McCartney's post-Beatle career. The book is...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, music, history, biography

Cover: 'The Great War'

"The Great War" by Mark Holborn, Hilary Roberts

★★★★★ 1914 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. 'The War to End All Wars" was like no conflict before, embracing many nations worldwide and resulting in horrifying casualties. THE GREAT WAR, A PHOTOGRAPHIC NARRATIVE commemorates that epic struggle, offering up almost 400 photographs depicting all aspects of the war. The pix depict a myriad of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Royal Britain'

"Royal Britain" by Jane Struthers

★★★★★ Jane Struthers' impressive book depicts and describes over 30 historic palaces, castles and other royal residences in England, Scotland and Wales. Gorgeous, full-color photographs accompanied by descriptive write-ups reveal Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Balmoral, the Tower of London, Edinburgh Castle and other 'royal digs' in all their glory. It's a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Too Cute Puppies'

"Too Cute Puppies" by Animal Planet

★★★★ Viewers of the Animal Planet TOO CUTE television show will welcome this charming collection of adorable puppy pix. Among the breeds found in the book are Labs, Shih Tzus, Terriers, Collies, Dalmatians, Spaniels and Pugs doing what puppies do best - playing, sleeping, eating and being generally adorable. Even cat lovers will enjoy this slight but pleasing...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, animals, pets

Cover: 'Ultimate Price'

"Ultimate Price" by Annemarie S. Kidder

★★★ This nonfiction book contains the testimonies of German Christians whose personal beliefs conflicted with Hitler's political ideologies. These were people not involved with the  military; common people, so to speak, also known as the resistance. Various countries had resistance groups attempting to guide citizenry away from Hitler's purification plan....

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history, spirituality

Cover: 'The Pieces We Keep'

"The Pieces We Keep" by Kristina McMorris

★★★★★ In this gripping new novel, we meet Audra, a widow still struggling after the loss of her husband. In an effort to start fresh, she takes her son, Jack, on a job interview, where he has an intense panic attack. Soon, Jack starts having violent night terrors, in which he mumbles names Audra has never heard of. Soon he shows a new obsession with World War II...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Laughter Still is the Best Medicine'

"Laughter Still is the Best Medicine" by Reader's Digest Association

★★★★ Here's a book that's sure to bring a smile or laugh to one and all. The folks at READER'S DIGEST have come up 1,000 of the most hilarious quips, quotes, gags, anecdotes, cartoons and jokes from past issues of their magazine.  Divided into chapters entitled 'Family Fun,' 'At Work,' 'Venus and Mars,' 'Life and Death' and 'Just for Laughs,' the book will...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, humor

Cover: 'How to Retire the Cheapskate Way'

"How to Retire the Cheapskate Way" by Jeff Yeager

★★★★ A person would not expect a nonfiction book about retirement to be a real page-turner, but the author's writing style in this one keeps you engaged chapter after chapter.  A good example is a direct quote from A Word From the Author:  "The following book is what I call "colorized nonfiction". That means it's basically true, with the exception of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Lost City of Z'

"The Lost City of Z" by David Grann

★★★★★ This is a true life adventure about searching for a lost city in the Amazon.  Does it get much better then this?!  I had never heard of Percy Fawcett and his many attempts to locate the lost city of Z.  It became an obsession for him and for many others who tried to follow.  The Amazon rainforest becomes one of his deadliest foes, and I...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Red Rising'

"Red Rising" by Pierce Brown

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand Reds (the lowest caste of society) who live beneath the surface of Mars, mining for an element that will terraform Mars and make it habitable to the people of Earth. After tragedy strikes, Darrow learns that everything he has ever been told is a lie. Mars has been habitable for hundreds of years and...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, science fiction

Cover: 'Sherlock Holmes FAQ'

"Sherlock Holmes FAQ" by Dave Thompson

★★★★ Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is probably the most widely-known and beloved character in English literature. His adventures, as chronicled in four novels and 56 short stories, have enthralled millions of people over the decades. Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, have also been portrayed in dozens of plays, radio programs and films by the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, literary, mystery

Cover: 'The Waters of Star Lake'

"The Waters of Star Lake" by Sara Lindsay Rath

★★★★ Taking place in the great Northwoods of Wisconsin, this story focuses on 60-something widow Talie Waters, looking to escape her bustling Madison life for the quiet solitude of her family's rustic, lake-side cabin. Over the course of the summer, she is faced with many challenges to her quest of peace. First there is the danger of the area wolf packs roaming...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Snowman's Children'

"The Snowman's Children" by Glen Hirshberg

★★★ This book is adult fiction, described as psychologically intense, and that is an apt description of how the story unfolds.  In Detroit, in the 1970's, Mattie, Spencer and Theresa were in the "gifted" program at their school.  At that same point in time, a serial killer known as "The Snowman" was picking and choosing young victims with impunity....

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Fear Nothing'

"Fear Nothing" by Lisa Gardner

★★★★★ After Detective D.D. Warren returns to a vicious crime scene where she is confronted by the soon to be called Rose Killer, she awakes with only the memory of a lullaby ringing in her ears. Her extensive injuries send her to a pain specialist who, coincidentally enough, has a genetic condition that prevents her from feeling pain of any kind. But that's not...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Going, Going, Gone'

"Going, Going, Gone" by Bloomsbury Natural History

★★★★★ This 2013 release showcases 100 plants and animals around the globe that are threatened with extinction. Compelling full-color images of each species is complimented by a one-page write-up with a general overview of the species, basic data on remaining numbers/lifespans/threats along with efforts underway to save it along and information on what individuals...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, nature, photography

Cover: 'Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library'

"Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library" by Don Borchert

★★★★ Ever wonder what it's like to work in a big city branch library? Well look no further than this short memoir by Don Borchert. He writes about all of his up and down experiences of being Branch Assistant in a California Library. He started out taking small time jobs before landing his job in the Branch. Here he learns that libraries are where anybody and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Wild Planet'

"Wild Planet" by Chris Packham

★★★★★ WILD PLANET is an enormously-entertaining book showcasing the work of various photographers who have won the 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year' award. The book features glorious, full-color images of tigers, elephants, crocs, rhinos, birds, bats, sharks, meerkats, toads, geese, cheetahs, whales, bees, gorillas, cranes, jellyfish, eagles, spiders, penguins...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, nature, photography

Cover: 'The Gods of Gotham'

"The Gods of Gotham" by Lyndsay Faye

★★★★★ Who is killing Irish children so gruesomely? Timothy Wilde, an inhabitant of New York City and one-time bartender, suddenly finds himself a police officer. This is not a situation he is happy about and yet it will be up to him to find the answer to this ghastly question. The book takes a historical look at New York when the first police force was begun and...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Dad Is Fat'

"Dad Is Fat" by Jim Gaffigan

★★★★ Looking for a very funny and entertaining read by a stand up comedian?  Then this is the book for you!  Part comedy, part memoir, Gaffigan chronicles his life as a husband and father of five children living in a two bedroom apartment in New York City.  This unique situation lends to some very funny parenting anecdotes and observations in a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, humor, memoir

Cover: 'Mountain of the Dead: The Dyatlov Pass Incident'

"Mountain of the Dead: The Dyatlov Pass Incident" by Keith McCloskey

★★★★★ The Dyatlov Pass Incident happened in February, 1959, in what was then the Soviet Union.  Nine university students set out for a ski tourism trip and never returned.  Their frozen, and in at least three cases seriously injured bodies, were found weeks later.  Their tent was cut open from the inside.  What could have cause these nine to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, mystery, history

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

Cover: 'Dark Places'

"Dark Places" by Gillian Flynn

★★★★★ Libby Day's mother and two older sisters were notoriously murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice" of Kinnakee, Kansas in 1985. Her brother, Ben, was convicted of the murders due to swirling rumors about him and a lack of evidence to convict anyone else. Since the day of the murders, Libby has been living off donations from sympathizers, book deals, and interviews...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Art of the Classic Car'

"Art of the Classic Car" by Peter Bodensteiner, Peter Harholdt

★★★★★ Hardoldt and Bodensteiner's beautiful coffee-table book is a sumptuous, authoritative tribute to classic cars of the 20th Century. Bursting with full-page and close-up detail pix done by Hardoldt, the book also features a comprehensive and informative history of the various cars by Bodensteiner. Among the classics covered  are Duesenbergs, Bentleys,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, photography

Cover: '101 Sandwiches'

"101 Sandwiches" by Helen Graves

★★★★ This is definitely not your boring BLT sandwich recipe or your old standby peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  This amazing sandwich book has ways to make even the dullest sandwich fit for a king.  Recipe’s for: The Elvis sandwich, made with bacon, peanut butter and banana’s; The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich, made with garlic, thyme and lemon juice;...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

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