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Book Reviews: What’s In a Book

What’s In a Book

Op-Ed by Gini Rainey

There’s a whole new world waiting for you between the covers of your next book. It’s no secret that I love to read, and that I’ve been doing so for most of my life. Back in the day, when there wasn’t a myriad of electronic devices vying for everyone’s attention, reading was the best way to escape reality. Even though e-readers have become a way of life for most people, including me, there’s nothing I like better than to hold the physical book in my hands, open it up to the first page, and dig into a world created by someone who has a story to tell.

I wish that more parents would encourage their children to read because it helps to develop their imaginations and creativity more than any other method. Just think about all the books you’ve read and how you have pictured the heroes and heroines in your own mind. That’s why character development is one of the most important skills for writers to possess, because without well-developed characters, the reader will have a difficult time wrapping his brain around and immersing himself in even the most intriguing story line.

I would like to issue a challenge to anyone who loves to read.

Do you find yourself reading nothing but one genre of books, i.e. romance, mystery? I do and then I realize that there are so many other types of books available, and I pick something totally opposite – just to broaden my horizons. I would suggest that you try this. You never know what is waiting to be discovered in the next book. You might find out a new reading passion you didn’t even know you had.

“Before We Were Yours: A Novel” By Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate, a journalist, inspirational speaker, and the author of a host of literary works, has brought to life a family scandal that spans a couple of generations from the 1930s to present day and is based on the true-life story of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Homes Society orphan scam that she ran.

This was a mesmerizing tale of a family ripped apart by horrible, unfair, and illegal tactics – and what made this book even more chilling is that is was inspired by a real-life, decades long scandal that destroyed countless families and in turn, forever altered the victims’ entire beings.

While there are several plotlines, and the switches back and forth from the 1930’s to present day at times became a bit confusing, Wingate’s character development makes for a very interesting and compelling read. While this is a terrifying story (mostly because it actually happened) Wingate places the reader in the position of a horrified spectator learning about this forgotten bit of history and the frightened but brave children to whom it happened. Wingate has built the perfect tension between two stories and through it all has given the reader something to cheer about, as well as something to fear, as the main character, Avery, uncovers her family’s history. Wingate leads you to the edge of discovery and somehow manages to pull you back again. This book is definitely a page turner and well worth the read.

Rating: 5 of 5 – Copyright 2017, Ballentine Books

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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 tylerlibrary.com.

Children

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.

Teens

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 library.cityoftyler.org/Programs/Teens. 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

Adults

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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Books

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

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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 barnesandnoble.com.

  • 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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