Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Great fiction is one of the ways I learn history, so Booth by Karen Joy Fowler is a wonderful treat. John Wilkes Booth killed Abraham Lincoln, but that’s not the center of this book. The center is his family, and Fowler imagines who they were and brings them to life,so that we get to see what happens to a family when a son, or a brother, commits a horrible act of violence. Fowler, one of my favorite writers, has written a must read historical fiction.

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Book Review – A Thousand Ways to Pay Attention by Rebecca Schiller

In this engaging memoir, Rebecca traces her juggling of many troublesome symptoms with the intricacies of setting up a small homestead, while bringing in an expansive knowledge of the history of the land she lives on.  After issues with misdiagnoses and misguided treatment, she finally discovers that what has plagued her all along is severe ADHD.  This book is a prime example of how a neurodivergent mind thinks, and this book will be of great interest to anyone interested in psychological memoirs as well as life out in the English countryside. Pick up your copy starting April 26, 2002!

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Podcast – Honor, with Thrity Umrigar and Paula McLain

Episode Link:–with-Thrity-Umrigar-and-Paula-McLain-e1e4gl7

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This week on our podcast Lines from Loganberry, we talk to author Thrity Umrigar (@ThrityUmrigar) about her new novel Honor, in conversation with fellow authors Paula McLain, and Loganberry’s own Sarah Willis. They discuss the book’s heavy emotional and political swings as it explores the personal risks of interfaith marriage in modern-day India.

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Book Review: Soberful by Veronica Valli

I hope that everybody is having a nice, healthy new year so far. I would like to sing the praises of a book that just came out – Soberful, by Veronica Valli. When I read this book, I was not struggling with sobriety, but I was struggling with depression and anxiety and Valli’s book really helped me look at myself and my emotions in a whole new way.

For those who are newly sober, or wanting to get sober, this book is a wonderful tool! The material is simple – perfect for those in mental chaos – but enlightening. Valli’s program is not recovery group based. She mentions that these groups can be helpful in early sobriety, but she has her own program of five pillars of sobriety. There are also journal prompts for each concept that help a reader tie it in with what is going on inside. Please, if you are struggling with your drinking, consider reading this book and learning from Valli’s hard earned wisdom. You are worth it.

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Book Reviews – Small Town Life

Those Kids From Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly (Out 3/8/22)

This book, for the middle grade age range, is about a class of twelve in a tiny Louisiana town, and their reactions when a thirteenth class member arrives in town. Orchid comes across as mysterious and urbane as she talks about her past in Paris and New York City, and her presence has a positive effect on nearly every group of kids in the class – until she has a run in with one of the popular girls. Will Orchid win over her enemies? And is she really what she seems? Find out this March!

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir (Out 3/1/22)

All My Rage is a book for teens (though very much enjoyed by this adult) about a Pakistani family living in a small desert town. Salahudin has a lot of problems in his life. His mother has just died, and his father is an alcoholic who leaves his son to run the family motel. Salahudin’s best friend, Noor, also has her problems – she wants to attend college and become a doctor, but her uncle wants her to stay behind and run his liquor store while he goes to university. Facing certain financial ruin, Salahudin starts to sell drugs – starting with his mother’s painkillers and progressing to heroin. Meanwhile, he has to keep his dealing from Noor as he realizes that he was mistaken in turning away her romantic advances the previous year…After a school bully sets off a series of events that leads to Salahudin being busted, both kids have hard choices to make. This book is wonderfully paced and the characters are so vivid, I nearly cried at the end.

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Book Review: Anybody Here Seen Frenchie?

Anybody Here Seen Frenchie is a wonderful, wholesome, emotion laden story for middle grade readers about a boisterous girl named Aurora and her best friend, a non-verbal child named Frenchie. The two friends have been inseparable all through elementary school until this year, 6th grade, when they are put into separate classes. Aurora gets caught up talking to her new classmates one day and doesn’t walk Frenchie to his classroom as she typically does – and then Frenchie goes missing!

Told from the viewpoints of Aurora, various adults in Aurora’s life, and Frenchie himself, the mystery deepens as to his whereabouts and why he left his classroom. Aurora feels terrible, but with the support of her small rural Maine town, she learns the power of community. I loved this book because of the pace of the story combined with the love that everybody has for Frenchie, depicting a world where neuroatypical children are honored as they are. (Out February 15, 2022)

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Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese

It has been a long time since the last Reading Goals update. Rest assured, I have been reading and working on those goals! I hope to have a more detailed update for you soon but today I want to tell you about an upcoming book I read recently- Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese!

Back in middle school my friends and I watched the movie Sleepover. This movie chronicled a parentless night of mischief. This adventure seemed fun but not the kind of shenanigans I would want to get up to. Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese, however, is EXACTLY the kind of shenanigans I would love to get up to.

Charley and Greg Decker’s grown-ups are out of town and Charley has an amazing night planned for her and her brother: milkshakes and movies. When the car Greg isn’t supposed to be driving gets impounded, a series of interconnected events and people begins to unfold. 

There are so many things I loved about this book! While Charley and Greg have a fairly large age gap (Charley is in middle school and Greg is headed off to college soon) they are very close. There is genuine care in this relationship from both of them. At times, Charley could be a bit of a brat (for lack of a better term), however this is not only developmentally appropriate but as she gained more insight to what was going on with her brother she was able to gain empathy for him and act in a more understanding manner. Brat of course is not the proper term as she was only acting on the knowledge she had at the time; with more knowledge came more understanding.

Not only was there an incredible sibling relationship but the friendships were wonderful! The characters were distinct and had their own personalities that worked well together. Characters that were different were accepting of one another as friends for who they were and not judged for their personality differences. This actually made them a highly effective team as they navigated the night.

Each of the characters experienced significant growth throughout the story. There were important life lessons embedded in the story. Calabrese skillfully incorporated these in without talking down to readers or taking the reader out of the story.

As heartfelt as this book is, it is also just a plain fun adventure! I highly recommend this story to really anyone- not just children. 

This book is set to be released as a hardcover on February 1, 2022. Hope you pick it up and as always, Happy Reading!

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Podcast – Footnotes, with Caseen Gaines and Aseelah Shareef

Episode Link:–with-Caseen-Gaines-and-Aseelah-Shareef-e184muv

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This week on our podcast Lines from Loganberry, Aseelah Shareef of Cleveland’s Karamu House Theater interviews author Caseen Gaines (@caseengaines) on his new book Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way. They discuss the story and legacy of the groundbreaking 1921 musical Shuffle Along, the first African-American Broadway hit, and exactly how the creators behind it became forgotten in the mainstream pop-consciousness.

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Podcast – Reflections on Cancer Survival, with Penny Casselman and Jackie Acho

Episode Link:–with-Penny-Casselman-and-Jackie-Acho-e17oeqn

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This week on our podcast Lines from Loganberry, we are hosting interviews with cancer survivors Penny Casselman, author of How To Get A Free Boob Job, and Jacqueline Acho, author of Currency of Empathy: The Secret to Thriving in Business & Life. Local Voices manager Miesha Headen asks how their experiences with cancer changed their lives, and what being a survivor means to them.

Purchase How To Get A Free Boob Job from Loganberry online at:

Purchase Currency of Empathy from Loganberry online at:

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Book Review: Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

If you’ve been wondering why your ability to focus has been declining over the years, this is the book for you! Hari goes into the many facets of focus, including the fact that there are multiple valuable ways to focus, and the many factors that have led to progressively worse attention spans ever since the beginning of the Industrial Age. He is very balanced in his research, and notes where there are conflicts between different studies, so the reader is left to draw their own conclusions. I personally learned that there are many societal factors affecting attention beyond the attention economy of social networking, and that there are ways to combat these factors, if only enough people band together to demand changes (if we can focus long enough to do that). Paying attention to this book is attention well spent! (Out January 25, 2022)

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