Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

Put ‘Em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton June 22, 2012

Filed under: adult non-fiction — Bethany @ 10:05 pm
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This cookbook is billed as “a comprehensive home preserving guide for the creative cook from drying to freezing to canning and pickling.”  It contains step-by-step directions for different methods of preservation as well as recipes.  It caters to the beginner, filled with reassurances about the safety and ease of home preservation.

The author’s anecdotes add a personal touch to this comprehensive, easy-to-understand cookbook.  I’m inspired to try canning!


The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler

The story follows Aaron, a man crippled in childhood by a fever, who spent his younger years smothered by an overprotective sister and mother.  When he was out on his own, he found the perfect woman for him.  Dorothy was a matter-of-fact doctor who did not feel compelled to take care of Aaron, a welcome change in his life.  After Dorothy’s unexpected death, Aaron begins to see her; Dorothy is on the sidewalk outside their house, in the parking lot of his office, even walking with him on the sidewalk.  Will these unexplained appearances give him a chance to finally say goodbye?

I read this book after a positive review in Library Journal.  It was a quick read but not particularly enthralling.  I liked the honest look at relationships; the characters’ faults were displayed and their good qualities were not glamorized.  It was well-written, just not my favorite.

3 out of 5 stars


AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller June 12, 2012

Filed under: adult adventure,adult non-fiction — Bethany @ 10:56 am
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In 2003, David Miller (trail name AWOL) left his unsatisfying job as a software engineer to hike the Appalachian Trail.  His wife and three daughters at home, he hiked alone the 2,172 miles from Georgia to Maine.  Part journal, part travel guide, Miller’s story tells of the pain, the joy, and the friendship he encounters along the way.

After reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed and A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, I was ready to learn more about the reality of hiking the Appalachian Trail.  The day-to-day accounts of the distance he traveled, the shelters he slept in, the equipment he used, and the towns he visited gave a realistic look at what it is like to thru-hike this trail.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is considering a long-distance hike or would like to read a well-written account of AWOL’s experiences on the AT.

5 out of 5 stars


The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart June 7, 2012

Filed under: adult fiction — Bethany @ 5:58 pm
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Balthazar Jones and his wife, Hebe, live in present-day London in a tower at a popular tourist attraction.  After the death of their young son, they have only the company of their 181-year-old pet tortoise, Mrs. Cook.  One day Balthazar Jones is visited by a man from the palace and put in charge of the royal menagerie, a variety of animals gifted to the queen by other countries.  There are challenges from day one, from a truck full of penguins that go missing to a Komodo dragon on the loose.  Balthazar must protect the menagerie in addition to dealing with problems at home.  Will it be more than he can handle?

This is the first of the three nominees I’ve read for this year’s One Book, One Lincoln.  The book was interesting, but it’s not something I would have chosen on my own.  My favorite parts were Hebe Jones and Valerie Jennings’ experiences in the London Underground Lost Property Office.  It sounds like an awesome job.  I’ll  have to read all three books before deciding which one I like best.

4 out of 5 stars


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