Books Reviews

book-wool-omni-182x300Wool, by Hugh Howey

Should the need for survival outweigh human rights and freedom? Hugh Howey’s novel, Wool, explores a world blasted by nuclear war and environmental poisoning, where the last remnant of humanity lives within the closed, restrictive confines of a large underground silo. An unexpected revelation unsettles the established order and leaves several people desperately trying to re-establish peace – but only on their own terms.

An edgy, exciting read, Wool appeals to both older and younger readers while provoking deep questions about fear of ideas and individual differences, balancing society’s needs with human rights, the use of nuclear weapons, and the hard choices made in service to a cause. Cold War-era nuclear doomsday mixes with friendships, love, and the petty rivalries of a society struggling to survive despite impossible situations. A great way to bring generations together to enjoy a book with something for everyone.


Gaining Ground, by Forrest PritchardGaining Ground cover

Do you love your local farmer’s market with its selection of fresh, organic produce? Remember how your grandparents grew their own vegetables – each tastier than the supermarket’s offerings? Or maybe you’re one of the growing numbers of people tackling backyard gardens, reviving a small family-owned farm, or simply becoming more aware of where their food comes from.

In Gaining Ground, Forrest Pritchard shares in a lively fashion how he re-invented his family’s farm for the 21st century. In an era of big agriculture, feedlots, and mass-produced, over-processed food, Forrest Pritchard turned a failing Virginia spread into a farm providing sustainable meat and eggs to urban dwellers in the surrounding Washington, D.C. and Arlington area.

Gaining Ground is perfect for community reads, all campus reads, and library programs that seek a fast-paced read dealing with, the very popular subject of, the choices we make about our food and local communities. Opportunities for tie-in programs with your local farmers’ market, backyard gardeners, chefs, historians, children, adults, and senior citizens abound, and with discussion starters in every chapter, practical suggestions on how to support and seek out your local farmers, and reminders that following your own passions brings the greatest rewards. It’ll bring your community together around a topic that matters to everyone.


The Distance Between Us_PBThe Distance Between Us, by Reyna Grande

Dreams and disaster came hand in hand for Reyna Grande’s family, as Reyna chronicles their struggle to immigrate to America.  For many, America is the land of opportunity, but for Reyna and her siblings, it became the land that stole parents away.  The Distance Between Us, a gripping memoir of one child’s journey, from a poverty-stricken Mexican village to undocumented immigrant and American citizen, challenges readers to see themselves, Hispanic immigration, and the dream of America from new perspectives.

Giving voice to unfamiliar stories and finding the strength to tell one’s own are common themes Reyna and her stories impart to readers and audiences. Middle-grade students, teens, college freshman, and mature readers have all found themselves changed by Reyna’s memoir.  In a nation built by immigrants, The Distance Between Us reminds us of the high cost paid every day by those dreaming of a better life – and why they believe life in the United States is worth every bit of it.

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