Check out what folks in Topeka and Shawnee County are reading this summer – and perhaps discover a book you’ll just have to read. Below you’ll find book reviews from our customers – both kiddos and grownups. Summer reading has concluded, and we hope these customer reviews inspire you to keep reading through the fall.
Hey Mister–Your Alligator’s Loose by Gary K. Clarke
This book has some Topeka history in it, a wonderful account of zoo animals and a brief autobiography of the amazing Gary Clarke. What a book! If you love zoos and you love Topeka then this is a must-read. Reviewed by Christine H. Pearson.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
This was my pick for my book club, and I loved it! The book is a follow-up to Jenny Lawson’s “Bloggess” blog and it was laugh-out-loud funny. Before reading this book I had never heard of Lawson’s blog, but I will definitely be checking it out! I hope this isn’t Lawson’s last book. She talked a lot about her crazy childhood in West Texas with her taxidermist father, but she also touched on more serious issues in her life. My favorite parts of the book were any interaction she had with her husband. Their relationship seems endearing and never without humor. I definitely recommend this book! Reviewed by Anonymous.
Hero Z, Empower Yourself, Your Coworkers, Your Company by Wukkuan C, Byham, Ph. D., and Jeff Cox
This book was written in a unique format. To help empower me with my employer, the authors wrote it like a fairytale. Three Key Components of the book are to maintain or enhance self-esteem (at work), listen and respond w/ empathy (at work), and ask for help/encouragement at work; as needed. Reviewed by Alice Harnisch.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
This book was overall really fascinating. It was a quick read and the vignettes were compelling. I realized while reading this that many of the strategies that programs like Weight Watchers use are modeled on the research of habits. I was glad to realize that these techniques had a basis in research. I think that while the stories were really compelling, the author makes some leaps when he connects them up to his main argument about habits. Also, although he gives a short primer on how to apply this information to your life, he chooses not to offer too many concrete techniques for changing habits. All in all, however, the book was great and I got a lot of food for thought. Reviewed by Karen Kapusta-Pofahl.
On the Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale
I was immediately sucked into this book by the dark/gothic southern setting and character language. I found this one to be a page-turner, kept me awake at night: a little creepy and a little suspenseful. The story is based on a young girl and her friends finding another friend dead;adults in their life are very unsupportive/abusive and want to throw the dead girl back into the lake. The friends vow to give her remains proper rest. Weird thing: I guess the book is set in the 1950s or 1960s, but I thought it was more contemporary…see what you think, I recommend this one! Written by the author of Bubba Ho-Tep–great movie, check out of this book too. Reviewed by Kelli E. Verble.
The Last Juror by John Grisham
I found myself quickly engaged in this book wondering what would happen next. Angered by the manipulation and soften by strong protagonist. I couldn’t put the book down. The middle drags slightly as the author tries to fill in the gaps of time with details of the town and characters that fill it. The ending speeds up quickly and was probably more realistic than I desired. I was not happy with the ending; I expected the characters that died to die and felt sorry for their friends and families, but I honestly don’t understand the killer. Fascinatingly enough it made perfect sense, I just wasn’t happy about it. There was no wild twist and plot discovery. It was all pretty straight forward. All in all a well-written book. Reviewed by Kendall Heiniger.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
This is a story of true love and high adventure, cunningly abridged from the Morgenstern by William Goldman. Hilarious and satirical, this book is just as good as or better than the popular movie! Reviewed by Carolyn
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Although no one will deny that this book is a classic, it defies the stereotypes associated with classic novels. Most of the time, classic novels are difficult to read because of extravagant words and an extremely dry plot. Many classic novels also seem to be leading the reader down a path toward a conclusion that is often heretical or misguided in some way. This book has an exciting plot with an unsuspected ending and is very entertaining. The point that Stevenson makes in the novel is that we should be content to live in and be the person we were created to be. This is by no means a radical or bad idea. This is one of the best classic books I have read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a readable classic. Reviewed by Andrew
Wilma Tenderfoot: The Case of the Frozen Hearts by Emma Kennedy
It was very cute. It definitely kept me going! I didn’t want to put it down, I was positively afraid that I would be missing out on another cheeky action of the main character. A quick read as well! I want to read the next in the series now! Reviewed by Madison
Perfect: A Pretty Little Liars Novel by Sara Shepard
After their missing friend’s body is found and another of their friends commits suicide, four former best friends live in fear of their secrets being exposed by someone who is stalking them via their cell phones. But it’s a great book and really if you watch the show on TV! Reviewed by Heather
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
This was such a great book; I read it in 2 days! I could not stop reading it! This book is about a mouse with large ears that falls in love with a princess. Later, the princess gets into trouble and the only one who can save her is Despereaux! Will he make it? Read and find out. Reviewed by Amanda.
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
After several readings this book is still hilarious to both of my children (probably because of the voice I use for the ladybug). And we’ve talked about manners, telling time, and what aphids are. Such an excellent, educational book. Reviewed by Elisebeth.
Last Son of Krypton by Michael Dahl
This was a great little book introducing Superman and very factual and inclusive about details of his escape from Krypton. Reviewed by Peter.
Horses by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
The book Horses has a lot of information about horses. It tells what a band of horses is. It has great pictures of horses. I liked the ones of mares and foals the best. There is a page of words that you can find in the book so that you will look for them and find what they mean. Reviewed by Abbie.
The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
This book is about a boy named Dan and his sister, Amy. When their Grandmother dies, they must choose between a challenge and a million dollars. They choose the challenge, and many of the other distant relatives make their teams against Dan and Amy. The person or team who discovers all 39 clues will receive the ultimate prize. Dan and Amy survive many dangers including burning buildings and the opposition of their distant relatives. You’ll want to read this book because of its exciting adventures and mystery. Reviewed by Gray.
How Much is a Million? by David Schwartz
It was good. My favorite part of the book was about how big a goldfish bowl would be to be able to fit a million goldfish. The goldfish bowl would be big enough to fit a whale. Reviewed by Evan.