With the silly concept of rating things in life according to a five-star scale, The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Dutton, 2021) combines the author’s thoughts about humankind, our influence on the world, and the world’s changing influence on each of us in a collection essays. The essays range from somewhat silly to insightful. As

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Just like the other middle grade novels by Gary Schmidt, The Labors of Hercules Beal (Harper Collins, May 2023) follows the pattern of lonely or troubled kid learning from a loving and helpful teacher over the course of a school year. Once again, the protagonist is a seventh grader, this time a boy named Hercules

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13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin (William Morrow, December 2014) is a practical self-help book to help people develop better habits and make emotionally strong decisions. The lengthy subtitle is “Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success.” The “habits to break”

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In Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendariz (Tu Books, 2020), nine-year-old Julieta is caught in a scandal when she and her father witness the Regent diamond being stolen. When Julieta accidentally lets the thief out of the building and she and her father are suspected, she is determined to free themselves from

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I really enjoyed the book First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. It has just a few words per page, and it is very simple, coming full circle and ending with “First the chicken. Then the egg.” The illustrations were gorgeous paintings (and well deserving of the Caldecott Honor). There were die cuts, which my

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I really like audiobooks sometimes because it gives a book a new edge. I absolutely loved listening to a selection of John Cheever’s stories via audiobook. The John Cheever Audio Collection was very well done. As I listened to the stories, I kept recalling my time reading the short stories of Chekhov and Maupassant last

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I like history and I always want to know more about American History. But in all the nonfiction and fiction about the Revolutionary War, it’s rather limited to dead white guys who fought the battles and otherwise founded our nation. Enter: Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts. In a conversational tone, Roberts shares some of the

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