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Nancy's Notes - July 10, 2014

“The Wives of Los Alamos” by TaraShea Nesbitt “China Dolls” by Lisa See, “Good Talk Dad: The Birds and the Bees….and Other Conversations We forgot to Have.” by Bill and Willie Geist.

We had great fun at our first summer reading program with the ISU insect zoo. There were over 105 in attendance. Where else could you pet a tarantula or a millipede. The UNI students made a presentation with the book, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” at our July 8 session. The next program will be on July 15 at 1:00 p.m. when the Hanson family entertain the children with juggling and unicycles.

    I thought maybe you were wondering what the librarians have been reading. If not you’re going to find out anyway. Last week I finished “The Wives of Los Alamos” with mixed feeling. I love historical fiction but this was completely different than any novel I’ve read. Written in the third person, the story revolved around the groups of families who lived at the military site, and yet it does not center on any particular characters. The book was about the Los Alamos community and the thoughts of the scientists and the families who were stationed there while those scientists constructed an atomic bomb. It told of the secrecy between the men and their families as well as the secrecy demanded of the residents if they left the compound. It would be a good book for a discussion group as the last chapter talked of the denial of some as to their contribution to the war effort and the loss of lives. It also spoke of others who felt they ended the war. The book visited the affects of their work on their families and what they chose to do in the future.

    Right now I am enjoying Lisa See’s “China Dolls”. Again this is historical fiction. The story begins in the 1930s and tells of the lives of two young Chinese women and their Japanese friend. Our nation was very prejudice at that time, it was illegal for a Caucasian and an Asian to marry in many states. I am now up to the 1940s and Pearl Harbor has just been bombed. They are starting to round up Japanese citizens and send them to camps. Lisa See has written several other of my favorite books and I always  learn a lot about the ancient Asian cultures as well as enjoying a good story. 

    Next up is the book, “Good Talk Dad: The Birds and the Bees….and Other Conversations We forgot to Have.”  Authored by Bill Geist and his son, Willie Geist; Bill is the award-winning, long-time special correspondent for “CBS: Sunday Morning” while Willie is a member of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” as well as a “Today Show” host.  The book is written in a unique back-and-forth banter style.  They riff on fatherhood, religion, music, sports, summer camp disasters, and their wonderfully odd family life.  At times, the stories told are literally laugh-out-loud funny.  At other times, it turns poignant and sincere as the two reflect on such topics as Bill’s announcement that he has Parkinson’s disease or recalling his time as photographer during the Viet Nam conflict.  The book is a memoir through the years of a unique and loving father-son relationship.
    Come in and visit: Monday through Wednesday between noon and 8:00 p.m., Thursday and Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.