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FDL Reads: The Men With The Pink Triangle

391661The Men With the Pink Triangle: The True Life-And-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps by Heinz Heger

Reviewed by: Sarah Baker, Circulation

Genre: Non-fiction, History

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: In 1939, our author is called to an interview with the SS.  He is accused and arrested on the spot.  His crime?  He is a homosexual.   From there, Heger begins a horrific journey – to prison and then to the death camps.  His tale covers his years in those camps, and the day-to-day life of a prisoner, as well as how he survived.

My Review: I was made aware of this book through a discussion on Tumblr of the Holocaust.  The comment that cemented it for me was something to the effect of “I wondered why there weren’t more books from survivors.  Then I read it, and I don’t wonder anymore.”

The homosexuals that were arrested in this time were male – lesbians were subjected to their own persecution (and is a subject I will be following up on at a later time).  Life in these camps was even more brutal than I had previously thought.  The forms of work these men were forced to do were intensely grueling and a huge number of them died in the process, a fact that didn’t bother their captors in the least.  Heger describes regular sexual assault from the officers, who didn’t see this as a moral shortcoming of their own – after all, these were prisoners and “queers,” so they didn’t really count.  He spares us a lot of details in all but a few cases, which is merciful.  The details he does give us are horrifying, and leave you asking yourself how humans could treat other humans this way.  The account is very matter-of-fact, but it doesn’t lessen its impact in the least.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Heartbreaking, Enlightening, Eye-Opening

Give This a Try if You Like…  Schindler’s List, LGBT History

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck

Cover image for Life-changing magic of not giving a f*ck : how to stop spending time you don't have with people you don't like doing things you don't want to doThe Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation

Genre: Self-Help

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: I didn’t realize this at first, but this is actually a parody of another self-help book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo (which, full disclosure, I have also read). (What? I read self-help books. If only to find out what I’m doing wrong.) The original was about keeping house. The parody is about keeping sane. In the original, Marie Kondo suggests taking a look at every one of your possessions and deciding if it does indeed bring you pleasure to own it. If not, thank it for its service, then discard it. In the parody, Sarah Knight takes much the same approach — only this time, it’s people, habits, obligations that are under the microscope. If there is a relationship that is no longer working for you, get out of that relationship! If a bad habit is dragging you down, change it! The author tells us that it is, in fact, quite all right to just not CARE about the things society tells us we SHOULD care about, things like, oh, attending graduation parties or baby showers when we really would rather stay home and do something else, perhaps something productive. The author argues that it is in our best interest, for our own mental health, to concentrate on doing things that bring us joy, pleasure, and sanity, rather than suffering through things that we don’t … well, that we don’t give a darn about.

My Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck was, in my opinion, a much more useful book than the original. Sure, we all have those evenings (especially this time of year!) when we’d rather stay home and snuggle on the couch with our cats or work in the garden than go out and subject ourselves to karaoke with people whose company we don’t particularly enjoy. It is so freeing to be told — in black and white! — that this is perfectly acceptable, and even something to be encouraged. The book is presented in a light-hearted way, of course — with a title like that, you know the author’s not going to take herself too seriously — but it really does have some pertinent advice for our overscheduled, obligation-filled lives. The book’s message is that it is okay to bow out of doing things you don’t want to do. The further message is to find things that DO excite you — things about which you do give a … darn, and turn your attention and energy to them, instead of wasting your energy on doing things that really don’t bring you joy. We can giggle with guilty pleasure about skipping out on our grade-school reunion. But the book’s real takeaway is this … find things to do that bring you fulfillment. And go out and DO them.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Freeing, encouraging, (and yes, seriously,) life-changing.

Give This a Try if You Like…  Self-help books that don’t take themselves too seriously.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: The Vision Volumes 1 and 2


Cover image for The Vision : little better than a beastThe Vision Volume 1: Little Worse Than a Man 
by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez WaltaCover image for The Vision. 1, Little worse than a man
The Vision Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Reviewed by: Dave Gibbons, Library Volunteer

Genre: Superhero Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: Moving into a new neighborhood can be challenging. This can be made made more difficult when you and your family are androids. In an effort to achieve a sense of stability after facing the deletion of memories of his previous family, Vision (of Marvel’s Avengers) has built a new family from scratch and moved them into the picture-perfect suburbs. Unfortunately, cracks in the stability he hopes for quickly present themselves as each member of the family struggles with feelings  of “otherness.” Kicking off with a supervillain attack (which will prove the least of Vision’s problems) we watch as Vision and his family strive for normality while being pulled into a dark suburban abyss of their own making.

My Review: I have to confess that when I first heard about this miniseries I quickly dismissed it as a shallow cash grab from Marvel. Fortunately I was persuaded to give it a try and I was completely blown away. While you don’t need prior knowledge of the character, the story does highlight just how strange Vision’s back story is and how trauma takes a toll even on androids. All of the unspoken horror of the suburbs is highlighted by the desperation of the Vision to maintain his happy family. The story is told in a very introspective first person. Walta’s art is perfect for this story, channeling the vibrancy of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Existential, Chilling, Reinventive

Give This a Try if You Like…  The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, Powers by Brian Michael Bendis, Edward Scissorhands, Franz Kafka

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library! (Volume 1) (Volume 2)

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Born a Crime

Cover image for Born a crime : stories from a South African childhoodBorn a Crime by Trevor Noah

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Adult Reference Services

Genre: Autobiography

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Some of you might recognize Trevor Noah as the host of The Daily Show. But before he took over from Jon Stewart, he had a successful comedic and television career in South Africa, where he was born. This book is about Noah’s life as a child and teen, growing up in South Africa, a mixed race child of a black mother and white father at the end of apartheid. Noah’s very existence was a crime in apartheid South Africa and he discusses the challenges of early life where being seen in public with either of his parents could have gotten them arrested. He also tells of his and his parents’ lives immediately after the legal end of apartheid, paying particular attention to his mother and the sacrifices she made to raise him and his brothers with love and care.

My Review: Noah tells the story of his childhood with both humor and grace. He looks back from a personal perspective, infusing dire situations with humor as only an adult can when they are perhaps surprised that they survived those situations. Noah also discusses the political and social aspects of this early childhood and teen years. One of the things I appreciated about this book was that Noah prefaced each chapter with South African history and politics for context. While one of his stories might have been humorous on the surface, the added information gave the story layers, allowing readers to better understand what was at stake when Noah did something as seemingly innocent as steal chocolate from a convenience store. Noah’s book is an entertaining read but it also gives much needed perspective to those who only know the basics of South African history from a long ago high school class (like myself). I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. You don’t need to know Noah from The Daily Show as this book is written about his early life. It’s already one of my favorite books of both 2017 and all time.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Humorous, Educational, Emotional

Give This a Try if You Like…  David Sedaris, Key & Peele, District 9

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: The Twilight Wife

Cover image for The twilight wifeThe Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Adult Reference Services

Genre: Suspense

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Kyra Winthrop is a marine biologist who was involved in an accident while diving with her husband in Deception Pass, Washington. Now suffering from amnesia, she has no memory of the accident. Even worse, she has lost her memory of the last few years and has no recollection of marrying her husband, Jacob, or moving to the island where the two have their home.  Soon, however, odd dreams and what could be flashes of memory begin to appear. The memories conflict with what people are telling her about the accident. Kyra must find out for herself what is true and what isn’t.

My Review: The Twilight Wife is suspense-filled and a quick read. Banner is good at making us feel Kyra’s dismay and her anxiety and confusion about her situation. Jacob’s over-protectiveness makes both Kyra and the reader uncomfortable, adding to the tension. Adding to the ambiance is the misty, rainy setting on an island in the Pacific Northwest.  My only complaint about this book is that it is a bit predictable and too short. I would have liked more detail, more mystery for Kyra to solve. This book would make a great “B” movie – tense but not too threatening, not too long, and everything is resolved pretty neatly at the end.

Three Words That Describe This Book: amnesiac, identity, deceptive

Give This a Try if You Like…  Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson.

Rating: 3.5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

Cover image for How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talkHow to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Reviewed by: Barb Rude, Adult Reference Services

Genre: Non-Fiction, Parenting

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk is a parenting book that encourages authentic handling of communication, emotions, and problem-solving to foster harmony at home. The premise is basically this: treat your kids like reasonable, capable human beings and for the most part, kids will act like reasonable, capable human beings.

My Review: Did I lose you at ‘kids will act like reasonable, capable human beings’? I hope not—it’s no joke. This book offers many examples of how to express emotions and model behavior, encouraging a long view of parenting over short-term behavioral gain. I particularly enjoyed the section on encouraging autonomy, which suggests ways to invite children to find their own solutions and look outside the home for answers to their questions, and using specific language to praise children’s effort. This book is a great place to start if you want to open a dialog with your children but don’t quite know how. Oh—and it might help you talk to other grownups better, too.

Three Words That Describe This Book: practical, hopeful, hands-on

Give This a Try if You Like…  Nurture Shock, Siblings Without Rivalry, No Bad Kids

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Cover image for The smitten kitchen cookbookThe Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Reviewed by: Susie Rivera, Adult Reference Services

Genre: Cookbook

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: “Fearless cooking from a tiny kitchen in New York City.”   This is the description of Deb Perelman’s blog, smittenkitchen.com.  The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is a collection of new as well as favorite recipes. Perelman distinguished herself as a home cook who perfected classic recipes by repeated testing.  She is also known for using practical techniques and ingredients.  This cookbook includes a variety of main dishes, sweets, snacks, and party ideas. Most recipes feature full color photographs as well as cooking tips.

My Review: I have been a big fan of Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen blog since I started cooking on my own several years ago.  Happening upon it via Pinterest, I was amused by her tagline and came to really identify with Perelman as I was also living in a one bedroom apartment with a very small kitchen.  What I like most about Perelman’s recipes is that they are all made from scratch and not pretentious.  I dislike cookbooks that include unrealistic and expensive ingredients that you will only use once.  Perelman is not always about quick and easy, though, as her pizza, tarts, and pies are all made from scratch but totally worth the effort.  One recipe that I thought was a winner is her “Flat Roasted Chicken with Tiny Potatoes.”  This recipe requires you to cut out the backbone of a whole chicken in order to shorten the cook time.  It was delicious! I also enjoyed Perelman’s “Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones.”  I wasn’t sure about adding whole milk ricotta to a scone recipe but was pleasantly surprised at how moist and yummy they turned out to be.  This cookbook is worth a try for those who want delicious, classic recipes that are sure to impress.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Approachable, Delectable (the recipes and photos), Practical

Give This a Try if You Like…  The Love and Lemons Cookbook, Julie and Julia, Thug Kitchen, The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

BookMyne: An App for Android & iOS

The BookMyne app makes it easy to access Fondulac District Library on-the-go! This free app can be downloaded for iOS and Android devices.

  • Search the library catalog
  • Manage your library account
  • Reserve books
  • Get recommendations
  • Scan an item’s barcode to check for available copies at the library
  • Find nearby libraries
  • And more!

For additional information about BookMyne, click here.

FDL Reads: Close to You

Cover image for Close to youClose to You by Kara Isaac

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Adult Reference Services

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Having an Oxford education and a love for Tolkien, a young woman is trying her best to put her life back together after falling for an English con man. In the tourism business for literary types who also love Tolkien, Allison Shire is certainly not looking for any kind of relationship, especially not with an American. But this American is trouble from the start, as he knows nothing about the Tolkien books or the movie settings in beautiful New Zealand. However, Jackson Gregory is trying to win over his uncle, who has signed the two of them up for Allison’s Tolkien tour, which includes exclusive behind the scenes adventures. Jackson also is not looking for any relationships, as he is focused on re-inventing a profitable business and repaying his parents and other investors from his last failed venture. That investment went up in smoke, because his girlfriend took his investment secrets to his competitor. Allison and Jackson are thrown together in some humorous situation and try their best not to like each other.

My Review: This is a humorous romance like many of the Hallmark or Lifetime channel movies. Complications and missed communications make the situations both characters get themselves into both funny and sad. The setting of New Zealand and the Tolkien tour is what drew me to this novel. But a knowledge of the works by Tolkien is not necessary to enjoy the book. Behind the scenes knowledge of the movie series is a wonderful aspect of the novel, however. The beauty of the locations and the goodness of the characters shine through and make the reader want a happy ending for Allison and Jackson.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Tolkien, literary-tourism, romance

Give This a Try if You Like…  Kristen Billerbeck, Deborah Moggach, Jean Ray, Maria Semple, Janice Thompson, Lisa Wingate, or Linda Windsor

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

Digital Collections at the Library

Fondulac District Library offers numerous digital collections to cardholders, including:

  • Overdrive – an eBook and audiobook collection compatible with iOS, Chromebook, Android, Kindle, Kobo, and NOOK tablets. Install the free Overdrive App by visiting one of the following and searching for “Overdrive.”
      • Apple App Store
      • Google Play Store
      • Amazon
      • Chrome Web Store

    You can also check out Overdrive here.

  • Axis 360 – an eBook and audiobook collection compatible with iOS, Android, & Kindle. Install the free Axis 360 app by visiting one of the following and searching for “Axis 360.”
      • Apple App Store
      • Google Play Store
      • Amazon

    You can also check out Axis 360 here.

  • Tumblebooks – streaming collections of eBooks, audiobooks, and read-along picture books that can be accessed in the library or remotely with your Fondulac District Library card on this page.
  • Biblioboard – a free eBook collection filled with classic literature and other titles. Access Biblioboard here.

If you have any questions about utilizing these services, please visit or call the library at (309) 699-3917.

imagine, inform, inspire