125. The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identify of the Child in the Manger by Lee Strobel
Similar to all his other “Case for” books, Lee Strobel uses his investigative skills to examine pieces of the Christian religion. Here is concentrates on the story of Jesus’ birth and whether the evidence supports it actually happening as written in the Bible. After meeting with a variety of people who have studied such things as the Bible and archeology he determines that the evidence highly supports the Christian narrative of Jesus’ birth. I give it a 6 out of 10.
124. Mobile Library by David Whitehouse
The Mobile Library is a kind of absurdist novel, but one with heart. Bobby Nusku’s mother has left, his father beats him, and his classmates bully him. He has no friends until a boy name Sunny befriends him and they hatch a plan to turn Sunny into a cyborg who will protect Bobby. Meanwhile Bobby also befriends Rosa, a disabled girl who lives on his street. Her mother Val takes Bobby under her wing and the three of them eventually run off in the mobile library Val was hired to clean until the city decided to shut it down. Along the way they pick up an ex-soldier named Joe who has some secrets of his own. For awhile they become an unlikely family on the run from the heartache in their lives. The book is rather ridiculous and I didn’t particularly care for it, though I did appreciate how everything came together in the end. I give it a 4 out of 10.
123. In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen
The story starts out in 1992 with 4 teenagers in different places seeing the movie Eons and Empires based on a series of comic books. Over the next two decades Phoebe, Ollie, Adam, and Sharon’s paths will cross and their lives intersect in a variety of ways. It took a little getting used to at first, but the author deftly indicates the passage of time by mentioning things that mark the year the characters are in at a particular time through things such as movies or larger events like 9/11. I really enjoyed this book a lot and appreciated how the author really made all the characters connected in some way whether in a big way or in passing. I give it an 8 out of 10.
122. The Triangle: A Year on the Ground with New York’s Bloods and Crips by Kevin Deutsch
The author, a reporter, does a deep investigation of the gang war taking place between the Bloods and Crips on Long Island. It was a fine book, but at least for me who has read any number of other similar books it felt very much like a retread. Deautsh reports on some of the history of the Bloods and Crips and how they became entrenched in this area of Long Island. He introduces you to some of the key players in each gang and details the gang war that they are currently fighting over drug corners and retaliation. It all seems so heartbreakingly senseless. If you’re into these kinds of books, of which there are any number, this is a decent addition. I give it a 6 out of 10.
121. Songs Unfinished by Holly Stratimore
I don’t normally read any kind of romance novels let alone lesbian romance novels, but I happened across an ARC of this book at a time I was looking for something mindless to read. As a big fan of music the story set around two musicians appealed to me. I have no idea why I kept reading, let alone finished it. This was not a good book by any measure. The writing was awful. The story was silly and contrived. Even I as someone who doesn’t read very many romances know that this was a really poor one. I give it a 3 out of 10.
120. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Yes Please is Amy Poehler’s humorous memoir written in a series of essays. She covers all aspects of her life from her childhood, early jobs, family, Saturday Night Live, and her current role on Parks and Recreation. I don’t really have much to say about this book other than if you like Amy Poehler you’ll like this book. It’s pretty much on par with Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? If you liked those books you should enjoy this one too. I did. I give it a 7 out of 10.
119. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
In his most recent dive into historical events, Erik Larson looks at the events that lead up to the sinking of the Lusitania during World War I. He examines the story from a variety of angles including the captain and passengers on the Lusitania, the sailors on the German U-boat that sunk the ship, and President Wilson who was trying to avoid getting the United States entangled in the war. Larson does an excellent job of creating a really compelling story and bringing to life the people who were involved in the events. I highly recommend this book. I give it a 9 out of 10.
118. Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Flora and Ulysses is a Newberry Award winning book. It features a young girl named Flora who becomes involved in a crazy adventure with a squirrel she names Ulysses who develops super powers after being sucked into a vacuum cleaner. He helps reconnect her to parents who have divorced. The book is interspersed with humorous comic drawings. It’s a very cute kid’s book and I definitely seeing it appeal to the age group it was aimed at.
117. Blues for Zoey by Robert Paul Weston
In the young adult novel, Blues for Zoey, Kaz is a high school boy who works at a local laundromat that he lives above with his mother and younger sister. He’s saving every penny to try and send his single mother to a clinic to help treat her severe sleeping disorder that is affecting all their lives. His life gets much more chaotic after he meets Zoey, a girl he sees playing a mysterious instrument on the street across from the laundromat. She draws him into a number of crazy situations. I didn’t really care much for this book, but despite my general dislike of it overall I actually really like how it ended. I maybe should have seen the ending coming, but I didn’t and I really like what the author did with it. I give it a 5 out of 10.
116. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
Atul Gawande writes excellent books about medicine aimed at the general public, and Being Mortal is no exception. In this book he covers the issues of the end of life whether from old age or a fatal illness. He discusses treatment and how to decide when it’s best to stop treatment depending on your preferences and what effects the treatment may or may not have. He also examines hospice care and nursing homes. As someone who won’t have any kids to help take care of her in her old age it gave me a lot to think about and hopefully find some place like some of the ones he talked about this book should I end up in a nursing home. Being Mortal is a really excellent book for anyone who is thinking through end of life issues. I give it an 8 out of 10.