Book Reviews Blog

Book reviews by New Jersey State Library staff

An Invitation to the World of Donald Culross Peattie

As a lover of books and an inveterate reader, as I presume you to be since you are reading this blog, I imagine that one of the great pleasures in life for you, as it is for me, is discovering a new author, one whose books you find exciting to read. Your discoveries may be different from mine, but I bet the thrill of the find is similar for us both.
I am always looking for the next book to read. When I finish one there follows a period of time where I cast around searching for the next one. Sometimes I end up going back to a book I read years ago, or to one on a topic that currently intrigues me. I often look for a new book by an author I enjoyed reading in the past, but nothing tops the pleasure of discovering a book by an author I do not know whose book surprises and pleases me in ways I do not expect. Some books give more pleasure than others, some are more memorable, more likely to be read a second or third time. These are the books I seek.

Great Books Provide an Escape from Winter

A couple of weeks ago, I was buying one of the last pairs of Wellies at a shoe store when I mentioned to the cashier that I was lucky to have found them before the next predicted snowstorm. The look of disgust on her face as she snapped, “I’m so sick of this weather!” reflects what most of us are feeling as March begins but winter continues on, unrelenting. Spring is approaching yet still feels so far out of reach.
But cold days are great for curling up with a good book, and there are many that are perfect for getting through the winter months.

The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story – Lily Koppel

On April 9, 1959, NASA introduced to the world the seven men chosen to be astronauts as part of Project Mercury, the United States’ first human spaceflight program.  During the press conference, reporters had many questions for these new national heroes, not the least being, “What kind of woman would actually let her husband be blasted into space on a rocket?”
The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel takes a closer look at those women, who stood by the astronauts and, in many ways, played an integral part of their successes.

Independent for Life: Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging America By Henry Cisneros, Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain and Jane Hickie

Independent For Life addresses the issues of an aging society where those over the age of 60 will outnumber those under the age of 15. The baby boom generation is driving this trend. Given the dramatic increases in life expectancy and less morbidity, living independently for those who are aging and disabled will have a large impact on society. Many of us are wondering how we will live in our later years. This book educates and gives us hope and encouragement not only for ourselves, but for our parents and families that the future need not be as bleak as had been presented to us.