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Welcome to Books R Us, a recommended reading blog from InfoSoup librarians and users and home to A Year of Listening Dangerously, the 2014 InfoSoup Reading Challenge! Find a great book to read next, add your own reviews, and check out our book related resources such as NoveList and BookLetters.

New York

More of Eve Dallas

Author: J. D. Robb

I have not had enough of Eve Dallas.  The 39th installment of the In Death series is just as good as the first.  Eve Dallas is a person I would like to know. Gritty, focused, loved by her friends and utterly delightful in her naivety and as for her husband Rourke, well lets just say I want one just like him.  This Christmas Eve is still befuddled with the gift giving and receiving.  She doesn't shop and when she does buy somehting (there is a difference), it is perfect for the person receiving it.

The murder aspect could have been a bit more edgy, especially since I did not like the murdered person. Without giving away more, I can easily say read the book.  It is a fast read and holds your attention. You will laugh and cry and hope the next installment arrives soon!

Author: Joe Schreiber

When 18-year old Perry's family decides to host an exchange student from Lithuania, he is expecting a steamy romance. Instead, Gobi turns out to be frumpy and uninteresting. That is, until Prom night when everything changes. Gobi turns out to be a little more than Perry can handle.

I listened to the audiobook and it's wildly entertaining. The narrator, Steven Boyer, does a wonderful job with the different voices.

Author: Jane Maas

This book did make me "mad" just as the episodes of "Mad Men" have made me! The way adults operated in this time and place is very disheartening. However, Jane had an incredible career and she offers great insights into what was happening to her and around her. The most interesting part was actually learning about her tenure under Leona Helmsley. I liked the writing style because it was  conversational. It was as if the author was looking back at her life in a surprised and candid way. She doesn't make excuses for behavior. However, she clearly elucidates how people are products of their times. Interesting!

Author: Adriana Trigiani

I just love this author. She writes to Nancy Pearl's pillars of a great book: great writing, well-written characters, great settings, and a good story/plot. Valentine is a modern young woman in her early thirties and she is discovering what she believes about love and family and her career as a shoe designer. The story is set in both New York and Italy which are both well-described. Valentine is working in the family business with her grandmother as her mentor and friend.  The business is experiencing some fiscal troubles since they hand craft the shoes for a niche market--weddings. As Valentine learns to diversify she also learns to be proud of tradition and embrace her heritage. Her Italian family is rich in fun and lovable people and it is great to see them through her eyes. A very fun read that has elements of truth and respect in it. I liked the injection of a reference to "The Elves and the Shoemaker" which is one of my all time favorite folk tales.

Originally posted in: APL Picks

The Poisoner's Handbook

Author: Deborah Blum

Untraceable poisons were easy to get, Tammany Hall controlled the coroner’s office while corrupt cops and politicians ruled Jazz Age New York—it had never been easier to get away with murder. This is how Pulitzer-prize winning author Deborah Blum’s fascinating story about the beginning of forensic and chemical detective work begins.

In 1918, Charles Norris was appointed chief medical examiner for New York City. When toxicologist Alexander Gettler came on board, they began to scientifically investigate unexplained deaths, mysterious illnesses, and other deadly puzzles. As they created experiments to discover poisons and solve murders, they also discovered chemicals that were polluting the lives of everyone around them.

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Author: Jill Jonnes

This nonfiction narrative describes the negotiations and tribulations which took place prior to and during the building of the railroad tunnels under the North River to the island of Manhattan, and the construction of the magnificent Penn Station.

Before the tunnels were built all materials—food, construction materials, and commuters—came across by ferry. Railroads brought their loads as far as the river, where they were transferred to barges and floated across. The river’s channels were extremely crowded, and collisions were becoming more common.

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24 Karat Kids

Author: Judy Goldstein

Dr. Shelley Green loathes the Upper East Side of New York. Imagaine her conflict when Madison Pediatrics offers her a job. Not only does she accept the position, but before long she is living and loving the East Side life. There are many humorous situations with her young patients and with her personal life. If you enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada or The Nanny Diaries this book is right up your alley.

The Ask

Title: The Ask
Author: Sam Lipsyte

How often do you see the subject heading "College administrators -- fiction"? A subject search in InfoSoup turned up only one title. Milo is a frustrated artist and an ineffective development officer for an unexceptional university. Failure is stalking him on every front from career to marriage and parenting when an old friend resurfaces looking to make the largest 'give' in the university's history, and he only wants to work with Milo. The humor is dark; the language is coarse; and the themes are mature. This book is both laugh-out-loud funny and bleak.

History of Love

Author: Nicole Krauss

Leo Gursky immigrated to New York City to escape Nazi officers in Poland. Leo is a lonely man with a dark sense of humor who lives day by day. His story is juxtaposed against the life of 14-year-old Alma Singer. This novel is complex, sad, humorous, and poetic.


Title: Brooklyn
Author: Colm Toibin

A fast fictional read that was simply excellent. Eilis Lacey moves to Brooklyn, New York from Enniscorthy, Ireland based on the recommendation of a priest. (circa 1950s) Eilis is grappling with social norms on both sides of the ocean. In Brooklyn, she experiences culture shock, weather shock!, and homesickness. She is obedient at school, at work and to her landlady. Then she meets Tony and things begin to change. She appears to be finding her own identity. Suddenly she must return to Ireland and once again her destiny is being determined by others. What road will she choose and why? Which would be better for her--Ireland or Brooklyn? All I could think was there must have been countless women (from all cultures) who were in situations like this--I grieve for them.