Kelly’s Reviews

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

As you're looking for gifts, don't forget Betty Smith's groundbreaking novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It chronicles the life of the Nolans, a desperately poor family in the tenements of turn-of-the-20th-century Brooklyn. Though only a child when the narrative begins, the novel's protagonist Francie does her best to make sense of the joys and hardships of her family, becoming a writer before the readers' eyes. Published in 1942, the novel is part coming-of-age story and part historical chronicle. Though occasionally sentimental, the novel's cumulative power is astonishing.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060736262
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Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - February 1st, 2005

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

The American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century.


The Typewriter Revolution

STAFF REVIEW: Call off the dogs, luddites, the hunt is over. Richard Polt's THE TYPEWRITER REVOLUTION is the perfect book for those of us who have, for whatever reason, held on to our beloved typewriters and are actually still using them. It's also a perfect book for those who might want to dust off and repair a family heirloom. Not only does it have valuable information about how to keep your sweet old Royal, Underwood, etc in top form, but it also has loving testimonials from writers about their beloved machines. Okay, luddites stop reading, it also includes techie typewriter mimics.

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The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist's Companion for the 21st Century Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781581573114
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Published: Countryman Press - November 12th, 2015

What do thousands of kids, makers, poets, artists, steampunks, hipsters, activists, and musicians have in common? They love typewriters the magical, mechanical contraptions that are enjoying a surprising second life in the 21st century, striking a blow for self-reliance, privacy, and coherence against dependency, surveillance, and disintegration.


Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Preoccupied with death since childhood, twenty-something Caitlin Doughty's one career goal was to work in a crematory. This memoir Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is not only a hilarious and poignant account of her realized hope, but also another of several recent books that take a long overdue look at expensive and often tragic results of America's paradoxical obsession with and fear of death. Recommended by Kelly

 

 

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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393351903
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 28th, 2015

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty--a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre--took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life's work.


Gut

STAFF REVIEW: For soft science writing about the digestive system, I thought no one could equal Mary Roach's GULP, but Giulia Enders has done just that with GUT. Though not as roll-on-the-floor funny as Roach, Enders' science is much more detailed and, surprisingly, easier to understand than Roach's. With plenty of her own childhood digestive issues prompting her, Enders went into medical school and specialized in microbiology.

Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ Cover Image
By Giulia Enders, Jill Enders (Illustrator), David Shaw (Translator)
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ISBN: 9781771641494
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Greystone Books - May 24th, 2015

A New York Times Bestseller

A cheeky up-close and personal guide to the secrets and science of our digestive system


Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home

Pope Francis's encyclical letter ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME: LAUDATO SI brought people to tears as a Mary Evelyn Tucker read from it at the annual Prairie Festival gathering last weekend at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. Because he has a substantial science background coupled with compassion and bravery, his call for humans to address the climate crisis and other ravages of our planet articulates what many other religious and political leaders have neglected to say.

On Care for Our Common Home: Laudato Si' Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781593252830
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Published: Word Among Us Press - July 20th, 2015

Addressed not only to Catholics but to "every person living on this planet," Pope Francis' second encyclical is a challenging call for a "bold cultural revolution" in how we think about technological progress and economic growth.


Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day

Written as a guide for people enrolled in the SNAP program, this cookbook by Leanne Brown offers easy recipes and helpful hints about pantry essentials, what to buy when, and not only  how to make do with what you can afford but also to thrive on it. Beautiful illustrations with each recipe make the book a feast for the eyes as well. Best yet, with the purchase of each copy, the publisher will donate a copy to someone who really needs it. -- Recommended by Kelly

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Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780761184997
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Published: Workman Publishing - July 14th, 2015

By showing that kitchen skill, and not budget, is the key to great food, Good and Cheap will help you eat well--really well--on the strictest of budgets.


Under This Beautiful Dome by Terry Mutchler

In a heartbreaking new memoir, UNDER THIS BEAUTIFUL DOME, former AP journalist, Terry Mutchler, recounts the story of her closeted marriage to Illinois Democratic Senator Penny Severns, mentor to then young Senator, Barack Obama. After Severns' death from breast cancer, her family locked Mutchler out of their home and appropriated their mutual possessions.

Under This Beautiful Dome: A Senator, a Journalist, and the Politics of Gay Love in America Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781580055086
Availability: Special Order
Published: Seal Press (CA) - September 23rd, 2014

One of the greatest love stories I have ever heard played out right here, under this beautiful dome. But it was a secret. . . . Penny and Terry just wanted what so many people wantto express their love through marriage. Illinois Representative Ann Williams


Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms

A crackling, marvelous voice in young adult fiction appears in Katherine
Rundell's book CARTWHEELING IN THUNDERSTORMS. The wilds of Africa seem
made for young Wilhelmina who roams her widowed father's ranch with her
friend Simon. When the powers that be decide she should live in an
English boarding school, she must muster all her confidence and

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442490611
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Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - August 26th, 2014

Even a life on the untamed plains of Africa can't prepare Wilhelmina for the wilds of an English boarding school in this lovely and lyrical novel from the author of Rooftoppers, which Booklist called "a glorious adventure."


Does Santa Exist: A Philosophical Investigation

Here's a terrific gift for the philosopher in your life. Executive producer and writer for THE BIG BANG THEORY and THE LATE SHOW, Eric Kaplan explores the ultimate questions of how we mere mortals struggle with the big questions that keep us awake at night, and he does it, as you might imagine, with a lot of humor. Says Hubert Dreyfus, professor of philosophy at U.C.

Does Santa Exist?: A Philosophical Investigation Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525954392
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Published: Dutton Books - October 16th, 2014

A humorous philosophical investigation into the existence of Santa from a co-executive producer ofThe Big Bang Theory


Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards

Otherwise known as Julie Andrews the singer, Julie Andrews Edwards is also a terrific writer. When I was a pre-teen, I read this book about Mandy, a plucky ten-year-old who discovers a "home" of her own in the woods near the orphanage where she lives. I reread it recently, and it still holds up.

Mandy Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780061207075
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - August 15th, 2006

Mandy, the first children’s novel ever written by the beloved star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews, is a modern classic.


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