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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.

travel

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This is a must read if you're planning on visiting Kauai!  It provides honest reviews (and directions) for everything from restaurants, to hotels, to recreation.  The authors enter establishments unannounced as guidebook writers; therefore, you get the truth on the best and not so good places.  Plus the organization of the writing is easy to refer back to.  I wouldn't visit Hawaii without reading the series book for the island(s) you are visiting!

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Author: Linda Pingel

An author of articles noted in the National Geographic, and the New Yorker Magazines.  While also the author of an awarded winning book "Mr. America. He resides in New York with his family.  I read the book "Turn Right at Machu Picchu" which was the first literary piece I have read from this author.

For the past week, I spent my evenings traveling to Peru through the book Mr. Adams wrote.  It was my first visit to this country while my first time I read a book that actually let me go along on an exploration of a lost civilization.  The book came alive for me with the detailed writing not only of the land, but also of the companions that took part in various aspects of having this adventure come alive.

I appreciated the map at the beginning of the book as Peru is a country unknown to me. The glossary also assisted with the read as I found it handing in a quick look-up.  The photographs brought the written word to life.

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Farside

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Title: Farside
Author: Ben Bova

If you like science fiction that involves space travel, you will like this book.  I really enjoyed it, cover to cover.  The story revolves around outposts on the moon, literally the "far side" of the moon, where an egotistical scientist, Jason Ulrich,  in search of a Nobel Prize commands a group of subordinates who are constructing an unbelievably complex radio telescope facility for the Universtiy of Selene.  Ulrich was once a professor at the University, and though now blind, he is the director of the Farside complex.  Advanced medical technology has allowed him a little "sight" although it is nowhere near normal. 

As you might expect, some of the people have goals that may not be in the best interest of Farside, or for Ulrich to complete the task of being the first to verify the existance of an inhabitable planet nearer to Earth than otherwise thought.  In this vein, the villain is readily picked out by the reader who is paying attention, and therefore the ending is a little bit predictable.

Another interesting vein in the story line involves the use of nanobots, which have been outlawed on Earth due to some rogue bots commiting murder, being used to keep people healthy and young, and to prevent overexposure to radiation.

This book received less than good reviews on Amazon, but I really did enjoy it.  Die-hard sci fi lovers may find it a bit condascending but if you go into it not expecting some interwoven, complicated story, and just look for a good read, I think you will enjoy it too.

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Author: Conor Grennan

In this true story the author changes from an arrogant, self-centered kid into a compassionate young adult. Before settling into a career, Conor sets out on a year-long trip around the world. In a ploy to pick up chicks, he signs up to volunteer for a few months at the Little Princes Orphanage in Nepal. With no past experience working with kids, Conor is in over his head. The children quickly grab hold of his heart leaving the author with a strong desire to make a forgotten corner of the world a little better place. 

Conor holds nothing back in his writing. He shares his most intimate thoughts: his doubts, fears, and shortcomings. He never glorifies his work yet a man who has accomplished such an amazing feat deserves to be called a superhero. 

Originally posted in: APL Picks

Under the Tuscan Sun

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Author: Frances Mayes

I admit it - I am having a long-running love affair. It's okay, though - my husband was aware of it when we got married. The object of my affections? Italy. Swoon. I will happily admit to a slight (okay, more than slight) obsession with Italy. The food, the wine, the art, the history, the architecture, the beautiful countryside. . . I love it all. So it's no surprise that I adore Under the Tuscan Sun. Frances Mayes' memoir of buying and restoring a Tuscan villa is a beautifully written ode to her own love affair with Italy - the good, the bad, and the funny. Mayes is a poet, so her language is wonderfully lyrical - rich and evocative. It really creates a visual of the Tuscan countryside and people for the reader. I find myself returning to this book whenever I desperately need, but can't take, a vacation. If you love travel, Italy, or just a good story about interesting people, you will enjoy this book.

Originally posted in: APL Picks

In a Sunburned Country

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Author: Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is well known as the popular author of books such as A Walk in the Woods, his account of walking the Appalachian Trail, and his recent bestseller, Home, providing the stories behind the objects that make up the modern household. In a Sunburned Country is one of Bryson’s best books, a fascinating and frequently hilarious report of his travels across Australia. From a laugh-out-loud description of a cricket match to a serious rumination on Ayer’s Rock, Bryson provides the feeling of actually being there—without the 14 hour plane trip.

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Author: Casey Scieszka

Casey, daughter of children’s book author/illustrator Jon Scieszka, and Steven met while studying abroad in Morocco during their junior year of college. They fell in love, and after their return to the US started a long-distance relationship. After graduation they decided to pursue their joint goals for nearly two years: 1) living abroad, 2) pursuing their creative interests, and 3) being together. The first six months were spent teaching English to children in Beijing. From China they toured south-east Asia including Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Their final year was spent in Mali and Burkino Faso, where Casey studied the role of Islam in education on a Fulbright scholarship.

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Author: Susan Jane Gilman

It took me a while to get into this but then it turned out to be very intriguing. Anyone who has traveled the world can relate to the culture shock of the author's trip to China as well as the minute details that become so poignant and extraordinary when you are far away from home. The author is traveling with a friend. They are both fresh out of collage and it is the 80s. The wear and tear that ensues on their friendship will make you say, "I have SO been there" when you have traveled with friends. However, this true story becomes highly amazing and strenuous as the author deals with helping her friend through what she thinks is homesickness.

Off Main Street

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Author: Michael Perry

A collection of essays revolving around everything from veterans practicing for a funeral ceremony in his back yard to trucking to Prudhoe Bay on the frozen Haul Road.