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A Little Bit of Everything

A Little Bit of Everything

By Gini Rainey

“Killing Jesus” By Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (Order KILLING JESUS here)

Following the success of “Killing Kennedy” and ”Killing Lincoln,” both page-turning works of non-fiction that have changed the way we read history, O’Reilly and Dugard have taken on the historical events that led up to the murder of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth.

Bill O’Reilly, the anchor of “The O’Reilly Factor,” the highest-rated cable news show in the country, writer of a syndicated newspaper column, and author of several number-one bestselling books and Martin Dugard, New York Times bestselling author of several books of history, have partnered to co-author this book that recounts the seismic, political, and historical events that made Jesus’ death inevitable.

From the outset the authors make it clear that though they are Roman Catholics they are not writing a religious book. Rather, they are writing a historical account of a historical figure “and are interested primarily in telling the truth about important people, not converting anyone to a spiritual cause.” They necessarily rely on the four gospels for their source material and often tell their story by directly quoting the Bible.

They begin, though, by setting Jesus firmly in his historical context and skillfully telling about the rise and fall of Julius Caesar and the subsequent ascension of Caesar Augustus. They introduce a cast of characters who each make an appearance in the pages of the Bible: King Herod who would hear of a potential challenger to his throne and order the slaughter of innocent children, Herod Antipas who would behead John the Baptist and later refuse to deal fairly with Jesus, and Pontius Pilate who would cave in to pressure and order the execution of an innocent man. Each of these men becomes a living and breathing character in the narrative.

Even though the authors clearly stated this is not a ‘religious’ book, rather an ‘historical’ work, you will not be offended by the way Christ and his followers are portrayed. As with any study of history one must rely upon the research and intellect of the writer. It seems to me the ‘homework’ was done. While drawing heavily on the first four books of the Bible’s New Testament, the historical details that are tied to each event provide a realistic view of the life and times of the man whose beliefs continue to influence millions of people two thousand years after his death.

Rating 5 of 5

Copyright 2013 – Henry Hold and Co.

“What Do You Do All Day?” By Amy Scheibe

In Amy Scheibe’s first novel she explores the tears and joys of the stay-at-home mom. This book is one that just about any mother who is immersed in the world of small and precocious children and struggling to be the perfect parent will be able identify with.

This is a story that is centered around the life of Manhattan mom Jennifer, who’s struggling with trying to be the best mom on the block, her husband Thom, and their two children, Georgia and Max. In what has been referred to as a Bridget Jones diary for the modern mother, Scheibe lays it all out there for those who have not had the honor of being a stay-at-home mom and feeling as though she must account for every minute of their day to justify their existence.

Jennifer’s character is fully developed as a mom who could spend the whole day looking at her children and marveling at their amazing gifts and talents one moment and the next moment wanting to ship them off to a foreign country in a crate labeled “beware of the monsters!”

This book, complete with an absent husband, an over-bearing mother-in-law, and sophisticated friends who spend a great deal of time at the country club and getting manicures, is a reality check into the lives of the stay-at-home moms who are constantly asked “do you work?”

This novel has all of the qualities that I love in a book where the heroine is funny, angry, potty-mouthed and lovable all at the same time. Reading it is like spending time with an incredibly cool new mommy friend – like one of those playdates you dream of where you let the kids play with old cheerios, while you and the other mom fall in love with your similarities, watch the kids play and drink wine together.

Rating 4 of 5

Copyright 2006 – St. Martin’s Press

“The Wild, Wild Cookbook – A Guide for Young Wild-Food Foragers” By Jean Craighead George; Illustrated by Walter Kessell

Now, just when the guys think there isn’t going to be anything interesting for them on the cookbook aisle, along comes this keeper. However, my husband just said, after leafing through the book, “there isn’t anything in here that sounds good.” If I hadn’t been deep in creative thought process at the time, I would have reminded him that he probably would never be caught dead foraging and if he were, this book would come in mighty handy.

Written by noted naturalist Jean George, this book is divided into seasonal foraging sections. He has listed plants alphabetically in each season and they are identified by description and habitat, and with recipes for cooking them. The beautifully detailed drawings of the plants by Walter Kessell make this a field guide everyone should carry in his pocket whenever the urge to go hiking and foraging strikes.

I’m telling you, the next time I come across some milkweed buds and pods, the first thing I’m going to do is gather up a boat load of them and make up a Milkweed Pod Pie. Also, in the fall, when all those acorns start to litter your yard and you just don’t know what to do with them, this book will tell you how to make acorn flour and then give you the recipes for Acorn Pancakes and Acorn Bread. Problem solved.

The last time I was in Minnesota, I couldn’t help but notice the promising stand of staghorn sumac bushes near the cabin. If only I were there now to harvest them and make Stewed Sumac. Now, that’s living. On a more serious note, however, there are recipes included for Gooseberry Pie, Sassafras Tea and Sunflower Bread that do sound pretty good and not quite so radical.

I realize that you might think this is just a really weird cookbook that I dragged into the book review process. Yes, in a way it is, but it’s also a great reference book that is full of a lot of information. I will say, though, that if you’ve ever been out in nature and wondered what the different plants are, this book will help you identify them. Also, the drawings, which are lovely to look at, help to make this little book a fun and interesting read.

Rating 3 of 5

Copyright 1982 – Thomas Y. Crowell Junior Books


May 19th: Book Signing for Patricia Taylor Wells at Tyler Public Library

Book Signing for Patricia Taylor Wells & Makerspace At The Library

The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to


All storytimes will be in Taylor Auditorium.

  • Leeme un Cuento/Read to Me Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Mondays at 10:30am

  • Lap & Play Time (babies up to 18 months) features stories, songs, and playtime with developmental toys at 9:30am every Wednesday

  • Toddler Explore Storytime (children under age 3) is on Wednesdays at 10:30am

  • Read Aloud Crowd Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Thursdays at 10:30am

May 5th (2-4pm) – LEGO® Block Party – Children ages 3 and up, bring your imagination for an afternoon of building and playing! LEGO® and Duplo Blocks are provided.

May 26th (2-4pm) – Makerspace – This continuing STEM education for children and teens will feature May 12th: Drawing with Finch™ Robots and May 26th: Maze Challenge with Finch™ Robots.

May 19th (10:30am) – Family Movie Matinees – Families are invited to watch fun feature-length films in the library’s auditorium. A different movie will be shown each day. Pillows, blankets, and carpet friendly snacks welcome.


Every Tuesday (4:30-5:30pm) – Teen Tuesdays – If you are in Middle School or High School you’re in! The Library will have games, activities, and fun just for teens. Earn volunteer hours completing special projects. Descriptions for weekly activities can be found at Events are:

  • May 1st: Free Play with Finch™ Robots

  • May 8th: Dancing with Finch™ Robots

  • May 15th: Battle Bots with Finch™ Robots

  • May 22nd: Scavenger Hunt


May 5th (10am-12 noon) – EastSide Fiber Artists – An open gathering of all things fiber. Whether you quilt, knit, crochet, weave, spin, needle felt, etc. Bring your current or completed project and make some new friends.

May 11th (11:30am) – “Sex in the Garden, All About Propagation” with Debbie Watkins will be presented as part of the Smith County Master Gardener Series.

May 17th (5pm) – Reel Talk – This event is like a book-club, but for movies! Free to attend.

May 18th (1-3pm) – Veteran’s Movie – Join this biweekly screening of movies presented especially for veterans. This free event is held the first and third Friday every month.

May 19th (10am-3pm) – Book Signing for Patricia Taylor Wells – Local Author Patricia Taylor Wells will be selling copies of her new memoir, “Mademoíselle Renoír à París.”

May 29th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles.

Every Tuesday (10am-1pm) – Quilting Class – Learn the art of quilting at the Library. Fabric and quilt patterns will be provided. Participants are asked to provide their own sewing machines, if you have them, plus scissors, and neutral or white thread. For details and a complete list of supplies please contact the Library’s information desk.

Every Tuesday (5:30-6:30pm) – Evening Meditation – Learn the practice of Heartfulness Meditation with Gayathri Kambhampati.

Every Wednesday (5:30pm) – Gentle Yoga – This gentle yoga class will be taught by Meagan Vrba who is certified in yoga, CPR, and first aid.

Every Saturday (11am-12 noon) – Crochet Classes will be held in the 3rd floor Internet Center Workroom. These are free classes. Learn to crochet with Library staff and volunteers. All materials are provided. All experience levels are welcome.

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Get Prepared for Summer! Here’s Your 2018 Summer Reading List

stretford tyler tx

What’s on Your Reading List for Summer?

By Gini Rainey

“Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng

If you are interested in reading a book that has won nearly every award out there, then this is a must-read for you. Scheduled to be a series next season on Hulu, this page-turner follows the perfect-on-the-outside family as their life is shattered by a nomadic artist and her daughter who land in their neighborhood.

Written by the same author of Everything I Never Told You, Ng doesn’t disappoint in the building of three-dimensional characters who can hold their own in the real world. With opposing family values creating social conflict after social conflict, this book is simply a book of contrasting human characteristics. While the topics of conflict were introduced gently, there is nothing gentle about the impact of they had on both families.

Although this book started out slow, it wasn’t long before it turned into a can’t-put-down page-turner. I found that I couldn’t read this book without feeling anger, sympathy, joy, worry, hope, and loss. Little Fires Everywhere might be a fast read, but it is definitely an emotional roller coaster, so get ready for an excellent literary ride.

Rating: 5 of 5, Copyright 2017 – Penguin Books

“The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel” by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

If you’re anything like me, reading the Bible straight through is nearly impossible. Studying individual verses on my own time is easier, but leaves a lot to be desired as far as any kind of continuity. The Book of God was recommended to me by one of my pastors a few years ago as a means to provide me with a greater understanding of the Bible. Written in novel form, Wangerin helps to make the ancient men, women, and events come alive with vivid detail and dialogue.

I will admit that even though I love the language used in the King James Version, there are times when the lilting phrases make it difficult to comprehend and focus on the core messages. One of the greater bonuses gained by reading this version is the flow of the stories, especially when reading the Old Testament.

With this book, Wangerin has provided Christians and non-believers a better understanding of the history of the Bible in addition to the many translations and paraphrases of the Bible that are already available. He has taken what historians know about the lives of people in Biblical times and woven it with the historical books of the Bible and provided us with a new and intrinsic way to view the people of the Old and New Testaments.

Rating: 5 of 5, Copyright 1998 – Zondervan

“The Unmasking of Dr. Harrison Miller Moseley” by Stella Brooks

Are you a WWII history buff? How ‘bout a Texas high school football fan? Are you interested in an aspect of Ft. Worth’s Depression-era history?

If any or all of those topics catch your eye, you will get your money’s worth of stories from the book “The Unmasking of Dr. Harrison Miller Moseley” by Stella Brooks. It offers such unique nuggets of Texas and WWII history that has yet to be addressed.

Author Stella Brooks, in her first published work, achieves an informing and warm balance between biographical facts and connecting the reader to the characters.Similar to non-fiction biographies, this book is written in third person. The author does a great job connecting the reader with Miller’s thoughts and emotions allowing the reader to watch the story unfold before their eyes.

It is obvious to any reader that this book was well researched and that much of the information was provided to the author through her first hand interviews with Dr. Moseley and his “brothers” from the Masonic Home. By the time the last page is read, it is clear this story was told not only with paper, pen and ink, but also with heart. It is a true account of Miller’s life that could not be told in any other way.

From the author Stella Brooks, “His wife forewarned me that he had never discussed his life. He had given small morsels of information, but nothing more. But it was one of those small morsels that had me intrigued. I knew there had to be more to this man. Something was missing Expecting the same resistance, I knocked on his door. He must have felt instant trust because he spilled everything. Miller’s wife said ‘Stella, You have the magic key. Miller has never told anyone about his past, not even me.’ Those close to Miller echoed the same. It was a miracle indeed. This book is a lifetime of silence unmasked. I will always cherish our friendship.”

“The Unmasking of Dr. Harrison Miller Moseley” is a gripping story of faith, dedication, perseverance, and overcoming adversities in order to achieve greatness.

Rating: 5 of 5, Self Published

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Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Story Times

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Barnes & Noble Booksellers Story Times

Every month Barnes & Noble (B&N) has a variety of events. All events are free to attend. B&N Booksellers is located at 4916 S. Broadway, Tyler. For more info on this and other events call (903)534-3996 or go to

  • April 28th (11am) – “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” Storytime – Full of rhyming fun, “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” features appearances by some of the world’s greatest scientists. Young readers will enjoy learning about scientists and how they changed the world.

  • May 5th (11am) – “Llama Llama Loves to Read” Storytime – Llama Llama is becoming a reader and can’t wait to show his mother everything he’s learned. Join this storytime and activities featuring this beloved character.

  • May 12th (11am) – Mother’s Day Storytime featuring “I’ve Loved You Since Forever” and “Everything Is Mama” – Join this special Mother’s Day storytime featuring books by bestselling authors Hoda Kotb and Jimmy Fallon. Activities to follow.

  • May 19th (11am) – “Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century” Storytime – Join this storytime and activities in celebration of the Royal Wedding. In this wonderful book about weddings big and small, Fancy Nancy helps out the bride and attends a fabulous party.

  • May 26th (11am) – “An Elephant & Piggie Biggie!” Storytime – Elephant & Piggie are back to celebrate 10 years of friendship in this special collection featuring five classic Elephant & Piggie stories. Join this storytime with activities to follow.

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