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Interviews | March 17, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Peter Stark: The Powells.com Interview

Peter StarkIt's hard to believe that 200 years ago, the Pacific Northwest was one of the most remote and isolated regions in the world. In 1810, four years... Continue »
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Customer Comments

The Loopy Librarian has commented on (47) products.

Good Kings, Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum
Good Kings, Bad Kings

The Loopy Librarian, December 16, 2013

This book gives the reader insight into a world rarely visited; a world well known to the author. It is the world of the disabled. In particular, it is the world of the institutionalized where residents are young and have little to no say in their own lives. Everything is determined for them including when they rise, what they eat, when they shower, etc. They try to navigate this world with humor, friendships, and even romance but are often at the mercy of neglectful, even abusive caregivers. The author reveals the story through the eyes of several different characters, all of whom are complex and interesting. The characters are revealed to have strength, anger, frustration, and humor. Their is no self-pity here, but there are also no Pollyannas. These are real people with real emotions and real lives. This book affects the reader’s view of the ‘disabled’ and has the reader cheering when these residents take a stand. The author is unflinching in her writing. The language is coarse and some of the story, like the abuse, is very hard to read. However, this book needed to be written and it needs to be read. Social injustice like that portrayed here should never go unaddressed. What I liked most about this book was the fact that I often forgot that the characters were disabled because in their thoughts and actions they were not defined by their disabilities. Able-bodied people often neglect to see past disabilities to the person underneath. This book is an eye-opener.


“Dissatisfaction with my work makes me feel more employed” (p. 13).
“Once you laugh with a person? That person is your friend. You can’t help it” (p. 34).
“Not that invisibility is hard to achieve when you’re a crip. We’re minor characters in someone else’s story” (p. 104).

In accordance with FTC guidelines, please note that I received a free copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.
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Perfect by Rachel Joyce

The Loopy Librarian, October 30, 2013

Wow!! If I had the final print instead of an uncorrected proof, I'd be quoting this book left and right. It is so beautifully written. The imagery is striking; the observations are witty or profound or both, and the characters are precisely drawn right down to the buttons on their clothes. Even the setting, the moors, is vital to the story. The author makes outstanding use of personification. Everything is animated. Time, in particular, becomes a living, breathing entity that appears to willfully disrupt and destroy. Who or what is to blame for the accident that changes everything? That central question defines this mesmerizing story. The end has a twist and a glimmer of hope. I highly recommend Perfect for fans of literary fiction. The characters and their story will remain with you long after you've turned the final page.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, please note that I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
The Girl You Left Behind

The Loopy Librarian, September 7, 2013

I became so caught up in the storytelling and so invested in the characters that I barely remembered to take notes as is my habit. The two love stories, nearly 100 years apart (St. Peronne, France under German Occupation 1916 and London, England 2006) and linked by a portrait, were interlaced beautifully and compassionately. I especially liked the two female characters. They were strong-willed but kind, flawed but likeable. Both were willing to sacrifice everything for love. At times this made them do foolish things, but it was hard not to root for them just the same. This book had hope and tragedy, history and art, war and sacrifice, cruelty and unexpected kindnesses. I was captivated from start to finish, and I highly recommend for fans of historical fiction and romance.

Favorite quotes:

"This was the story of our lives: minor insurrections; tiny victories; a brief chance to ridicule our oppressors; little floating vessels of hope amid a great sea of uncertainty, deprivation, and fear" (p.14). -Sophie

"Sometimes life is a series of obstacles, a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, she realizes suddenly, it is simply a matter of blind faith" (p. 332). -Liv

In accordance with FTC guidelines, please note that I was given a free copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

The Loopy Librarian, September 4, 2013

Birdsong was passionate and yet dispassionate, graphic yet cold, unflinching yet painful. It was a study in contrasts as is often the case with the subjects of love and war. The author does not glorify love or war but rather exposes their ugly underbellies �" what happens when desperation takes hold. The descriptions of war were almost poetic in their brutality. Love was not as romantic as dreamers like to think it is. I felt the horror of it all, particularly the battle of the Somme, and saw how it could destroy a man or change him irrevocably. The ending was appropriate but seemed almost cliche compared to the rest of this remarkable book. I highly recommend it for readers of historical fiction, especially those interested in World War I.
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The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne
The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

The Loopy Librarian, May 7, 2013

Amazing and Inspiring! Josh is a natural storyteller with a quick wit that comes through in his writing. That he would choose to be a librarian (a place for quiet and stillness) when he struggles with one of the worst cases of Tourette's that one could have is a testament to his determination to master his disorder rather than have the disorder control him. He's 6 foot 7 inches tall but a self-professed bookworm. He's not at all what you would picture when you think of a librarian which makes him something of an enigma. His story is all the more fascinating for it.

He writes in a series of entries headed by Dewey decimal numbers designating the subject area. Very clever. Rather than a running narrative, the book switches back and forth through stories of library patrons (you may be surprised by the insanity with which librarians sometimes have to deal), growing up with Tourette's, and living out his Mormon faith. He also includes other interesting anecdotes about dating, becoming a father, strength training, etc. It was an unusual writing style, but it worked.

I stayed up until 2AM to finish this book. I was never bored. Josh has lived such a fascinating life and met some rather extraordinary people. He is also refreshingly and brutally honest. He does not make himself out to be a hero, and he gives his family most of the credit for where he is today. His battle with Tourette's rages on, but his strength training has helped him to cope. As a reader, I couldn't help but get caught up in his story. As a librarian, I related. As a bi-polar, I related. I've even taken some of the same medications that he has. But mostly, I felt a connection as a fellow human being trying to make sense of a sometimes nonsensical world. I think Josh says it well when he notes that not even libraries hold the answer to every question. Not every question has an answer.

Ideas to discuss:

Importance of Faith
Dealing with Tourette's or other conditions

Words I liked:

Hoary Vassal

Conversations to strike up:

Hardships you've had to overcome
The value of libraries and literacy
The support of family

I highly recommend this book! It truly is an inspirational, educational, and humorous read.

In compliance with FTC guidelines, please note that I received a free advance reading copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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(5 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)

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