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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.

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Author: Nancy Horan

This is a captivating read depicting the life of Mamah Borthwick Cheney, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's long time lovers. The story is an interesting read-including an emotional depiction of Mamah's choices and how they affected those in her life. Lloyd Wright is depicted as an eccentric brilliant who has great creativity and vision but lacks a real world understanding in his egocentrism.

I have always been interested in Lloyd Wright's design, but knew very little of his personal life. While the novel does little to elevate my opinion of him as a father and husband, it is an interesting view of what a woman in the early 1900's would encounter when seeking divorce. After finishing the book, I ended up checking out books about the construction of Taliesen and searching for more information about the happenings surrounding the tragedy that ensued.

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Author: Randi Zuckerberg

Randi has a solid head on her shoulders. She is also positive, upbeat, and creative and that is shown in her writing. She expresses the fact that we are at such an interesting point in history and that, although fraught with complications, this is a very exciting time. I like how she highlights that the rapid technological changes in our world give us an extraordinary opportunity to be better people and better communicators, better relationship builders and better friends. I like how she imparts good, common sense advice about being mindful about how we use the technology, especially social media. She is also not shy about sharing her own blunders and how she has learned from her mistakes. I really appreciate that she is a thoughtful person who is willing to examine her own behaviors and keep learning! Her request for balance is invigorating!

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Author: Robin Sloan

BRILLIANT!! I loved, loved, loved this book!! The two worlds of reading collide--the world of a sleepy, dusty old bookstore which has a puzzle encoded within its walls and the modern world of Google and e.readers. This author deftly crafts a story where both worlds hold potential and value. I am a geek for both worlds and I just delight in how the main character, Clay, is one, too! Woven into the story are subtle comments on everything book related: from book burning to audiobooks. And the overriding question of how we achieve balance within so many choices. There is a quest in the book and the characters are cleverly drawn and presented to us to be a part of the quest. The question of what is immortality, really, and how and when it is a good thing, is lingering below the surface. Every thing is tied up neatly @ the end, even down to what the bookstore is eventually converted into. The ending, however, is sheer perfection. You can just hear the tinkle of the bell and all of us bibiliophiles have experienced this moment, so many times! It is always magical, having the right book fall into your hands @ the precise moment in which you need it. Well, this book was certainly that for me. I have been hungry for a hopeful book like this. (Serendipitously, I was reading non-fiction "Dot Complicated" on the very same weekend!)

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Author: Julie Kibler

Isabelle and Dorrie are unlikely friends.Dorrie is Isabelle's hairdresser but she is only in her thirties and Isabelle is 89. Also, Isabelle is Caucasian and Dorrie is African-American. When Isabelle suddenly needs help she requests that Dorrie drive her from Texas to Ohio for a funeral. Whose funeral? Why Dorrie? All is revealed through the conversations and incidents that are shared in their car journey together. This a lovely tale of friendship and changes in the times. Dorrie is a gift to Isabelle and Isabelle is a gift to Dorrie. The ending is poignant and wonderful--LOVED IT! I am recommending this to my patrons who loved THE HELP.

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Author: Gretel Ehrlich

This collection of essays includes the author's reflections of life on the Wyoming range in the 1970's, a region she escaped to after the death of her boyfriend.  The landscape is the main character in Ehrlich's essays, though she includes stories about cowboys, sheep herders, and Indians. Ehrlich finds a home in this rugged environment and a family among the hardy locals with whom she works and plays. Anyone who's spent time in the Western U.S. will appreciate her descriptions of Wyoming and its people.

Audiobook Review
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Author: Khaled Hosseini

I am a huge fan of this author but this is the first of his books that I attempted via audiobook.  As my background doesn't include being fluent in foreign languages, I usually have a hard time remembering characters' names if they are difficult for me to pronounce.  This audiobook solved my dilemma.  Normally I don't appreciate multi-readers but the three different actors in this production worked wonderfully.  I was able to determine the storyline by the actor's voice.  I also appreciated the heavily-accented English as it made the story very authentic.

Hosseini excels at developing characters we care about, situations that intrigue us and his descriptions of settings make us experience the story completely.  This latest Hosseini book brings home how we are all interconnected.  The decisions we make and the actions we take can have decades of consequences (good and bad) for our decendants.  If you enjoy listening to audiobooks already, this one will keep your attention. 

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Author: Bill Dedman Paul Clark Newell, jr

This is a story of a poor little rich girl. Huguette Clark was the daughter of the copper king W. A. Clark. This is a story of a woman who lived past 100 years old and her life and the circumstances that caused her to live in a hospital for the last 20 years of her life. The authors, one who is a relative of the woman researched her life after he discovered an empty mansion she owned. The mansion has not been lived in for over sixty years, but was still maintained down to the set dining room table by a full staff. It turns out Huguette owned multiple luxury apartments and various mansions on different cities all not lived in for decades. Was Huguette a victim of her close circle of caregivers? Her personal nurse received over 30 million dollars in gifts. Her long time lawyer, felon accountant and the hospital that could and should have discharged her 20 years before are all under fire from her family.

Audiobook Review
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Author: Debbie Macomber

When Charles & Emily trade homes for Christmas, they get more than they barganed for. Emily goes to surprise her daughter, but her daughter suprises her by staying in the East for Christmas.Charles goes to the West to get away from Christmas, but when he gets to Emilys house, that is all he gets!

Things do turn out for both Charles & Emily, but it takes a little while.

Listen to the book & enjoy!

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Author: Naoki Higashida

    This book is a mostly a series of questions posed to a 13 year old boy with autism. He is able to respond by pointing to letters, forming words that are then transcribed by his mother or teacher. The book was translated from Japanese to English by well-known author David Mitchell. Higashida attempts to give insights into the minds of autistic people, expressing their frustrations and limitations with communication and their sometimes puzzling and disturbing behaviors He doesn't, however, attempt to speak for all autistic people and admits that he is unable to explain everything about his condition. Higashida is articulate and inspiring. His longing to connect with other people comes through on every page.

Parents, teachers, and those looking to understand individuals with autism should read this book. I will admit that I am not totally without skepticism about the authorship of The Reason I Jump, having been burned by "nonfiction" authors like James Frye and Greg Mortinson in the past. For example, are we reading Higashida's mother's interpretation of what goes on in his mind, and is Mitchell's translation embellished? I went online to find out more about HIgashida, but there is very little available at this time. At this point, I'm willing to take the book at face value and accept it as Higashida's creation. I hope I'm not disappointed to find out otherwise in the future.

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Author: Laura Levine

Advertisement writer and amateur sleuth Jaine Austen is back in this cozy mystery.  Having taken a writing job at a local dating agency, Jaine figures she will write a few pages for a brochure and be on her way.  She never expects that her new boss, Joy, is advertising actors and models as dates, then scamming regular people out of their money without the first love match.  Is it any wonder that Joy ends up the victim of a posioned chocolate?  Now Jaine has to clear her name from the suspect list while keeping an eccentric old cat lover away from her and her cat, Prozac.  This book made me laugh a lot.  Prozac's antics reach new heights in this quick, fun mystery.