Tazewell County Public Library

Library Updates

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Picture Books: Space Books
Reviewed by Lisa Tyson

The Space Shelf in the children’s library features books about the moon, the stars, being an astronaut and more. Five, four, three, two, one… Lift Off! Travel in a rocket to the moon with the book On the Moon by Anna Milbourne and Benji Davies. The combination of colorful illustrations and NASA photographs provides a unique view of a trip to the moon. The book includes simple facts that kids can relate to: “You can jump really far-much further than you can at home.” Young children will appreciate this interesting introduction to space.

I Want to be an Astronaut by Byron Barton is a clear, colorful overview of the experience of astronauts in outer space. As the astronauts float in zero gravity, try ready- to-eat meals and fix a satellite kids can imagine themselves in space eating freeze dried ice cream. The bold illustrations and simple text give space lovers a first look at life on a space shuttle. Sure to fuel little imaginations!

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The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Reviewed by Tammy Powers

The Fact of a Body is a non-fiction book that is a mix of a memoir and a study of a murder. Alexandria is a Harvard Law student who has always been against the death penalty. She accepts a summer internship at a Louisiana firm that defends men accused of murder and who are on death row. The case that she is assigned, Ricky Langley, will cause her to question her values. After watching old tapes of him discussing the crime, she immediately wants him to die. Ricky is a convicted child molester who strangled a six year old neighborhood boy. Her reaction is so distressing that after she graduates from law school, she decides to investigate the crime starting with the childhood and life of Ricky. She is overcome with the need to understand Ricky and the crime, to find the truth. The truth of the tragedy is more complex than the raw facts that are revealed at trial. As she uncovers facts from Ricky’s life, she is forced to face the truths of her childhood and the family secrets that have impacted her life and beliefs, but are a part of who she has become, just as with Ricky. I would highly recommend this book. The emotional descriptions of events in both lives are gut-wrenching and chilling. The interweaving of the facts of the case, Ricky’s life, and Alexandria’s life creates a story that will make you angry and distressed, but also hopeful and amazed at what people suffer and survive

Available at TCPL: Book

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Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge

Stop by the library to pick up the 2018 Reading Challenge or print a copy for yourself.

Make a commitment to diversify and expand your reading for the New Year!

Teens: PDF | JPG

Adults: PDF | JPG


2017 Reading Challenge

Don’t forget to turn in your 2017 Reading Challenge by January 6, 2018! Remember, the challenge does not have to be complete for you to bring it back!

For the Adult Challenge:

Patrons who read 6 to 15 books will be entered into a 3rd place prize drawing.

Patrons who read 16 to 30 books will be entered into a 2nd place prize drawing.

Patrons who read 31 to 52 books will be entered into a 1st place prize drawing.

For the Tween/Teen Challenge:

Patrons who read 5 to 10 books will be entered into a 3rd place prize drawing.

Patrons who read 11 to 20 books will be entered into a 2nd place prize drawing.

Patrons who read 21 to 32 books will be entered into a 1st place prize drawing.

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Reviewed by Erica Hall

For readers who enjoy Greek mythology, The Song of Achilles is a must-read retelling of The Iliad. While many other interpretations focus on Achilles or Hector, this book follows the life of Patroclus, particularly with respect to his relationship with Achilles. Beginning when they are both young boys and concluding with the tragic end that we all know, Miller fills in the gaps that Homer and other interpreters have left surrounding Patroclus’ life. As Achilles’ closest companion, Patroclus is certainly a major figure in the Trojan War, and here his story is beautifully fleshed out. One might even find themselves sympathizing with Achilles, who frequently comes across as brattish in other interpretations.

Available at TCPL: Overdrive Audiobook

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Bloody Rifles by Lee Floren
Reviewed by Lonnie Payne

In 1872, the army contracted with Matt Sherman for his company, Sherman Freighters, to haul supplies over a thousand miles to the army outpost at Fort Hall in the Idaho Territory. Supposedly, only three individuals knew that Matt’s cargo was rifles and ammunition. However, Sherman was to learn that his crew had heard rumors before they left Independence.

From the beginning, they had to contend with delays because of rain and flooded streams. There were dissensions among the drivers. There was a woman stowaway to contend with. Finally, there was a massive attack by Cheyenne Indians led by Chief War Cloud who had heard about the rifles.

Available at TCPL: Large Print Book

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Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Reviewed by Morgan Hayes

I have spent my whole life avoiding the Jurassic Park franchise. In fact, I didn’t even realize that Jurassic Park was also a novel until this year! (That’s how much I avoided it).

Then, by chance, I happened to watch the scene from Jurassic World where Jimmy Buffet flees from some Pterodactyls while carrying two margaritas and in that moment I knew this series was for me.

I immediately checked out Jurassic Park and read the whole book in less than twenty-four hours. It was that good! If you are like me, and unfamiliar with Jurassic Park, the story revolves around the disastrous attempt to create an amusement park with living dinosaurs as the main attraction. This novel is action packed right from the start and so you won’t be able to put the book down until you know what happens to the ensemble of characters in the story (many of whom, you will either love or hate). This book is also very scientific, but in a way that anyone can understand (and it will make you feel smart while reading).

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes action, science fiction, or mystery. It will satisfy all of your reading needs!

Available at TCPL: Book | Overdrive eBook | Movie

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To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
Reviewed by Lynne Bartlett

This book’s title is enough to be intriguing – then especially so when finding out about the subject matter. It is a novel that takes place in Alaska during the late 1800s – a time when Alaska was still being explored. Lieut. Col. Allen Forrester is taking two men to wild Alaska along several rivers and across mountains. They pick up several guides along the way, meet native Alaskans and encounter people and situations that can only be described as magical because they cannot really be explained. The Lieut. Col. is a newly married man and his wife Sophie waits in Vancouver for letters that are slow in coming and ultimately for his return. She is not content to socialize and keep house and begins learning how to photograph birds – a difficult task with all of the burdensome equipment that was needed. She turns her pantry into a darkroom and teaches herself with the help of a few long-distance mentors. The reader learns about what happens through diary entries of both the Lieut. Col. and Sophie; also through their letters to each other. But it is even more than these entries and letters that make the story so enjoyable – there is a sense of wonder and awe about what took place historically, because as the story unfolds, we also are hearing from descendants of the main characters in present times who are communicating by letter about the diaries, letters, and artifacts that will become part of a museum in Alaska. There is a breadth and focus of this novel that is very captivating and I felt myself there, in the danger and hardships of a wild Alaska and present in the lives of people who explored it, people who waited for their loved ones to return, and people who looked back to that time in awe of what their ancestors accomplished. I highly recommend this book! I can’t wait to also read this author’s first novel The Snow Child which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. I’ve discovered a wonderful new author!

Available at TCPL: Book | Large Print | Overdrive eBook | Overdrive Audiobook

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The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

Reviewed by Lynne Bartlett

If you have ever wanted to go on a hiking and river rafting adventure in the wilderness with your closest friends, you might want to think twice!  This story could change your mind.  Four women set out into the Maine wilderness for a guided hike, camping, and river rafting experience.  Three of these friends had to be convinced by their more adventurous, athletic fourth friend that this would be great fun.  They are guided by a young man who is very convincing about his ability to guide them but a few of the women are skeptical.   Find out what happens in this frightening, bite-off-all-your-nails kind of story.  It’s a story that explores the bonds of friendship during extreme situations and raises questions of what is considered “civilized” in our current times.

Available at TCPL: Book  

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School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex & Christian Robinson

Reviewed by Amy Horne

“School’s First Day of School” provides a funny twist to first day jitters. We think about teachers and students being nervous about starting a new school year or perhaps starting a new school altogether, but what if the school building itself is the nervous one?

Frederick Douglass Elementary is a brand new building who does not know what to expect on the first day of classes. Will the students like school?  Will they be nice?

Things get off to a rocky start when several kids are overheard announcing they do not like school.  One kindergarten girl doesn’t want to come in and has to be carried into the building by her mother. She refuses to tell her name, and whispers to herself that she also “doesn’t like being at school.” Constant touching of everything and making messes by students, as well as an accidental fire drill only add to the frustrations.

By the afternoon the school has listened in on lessons and has seen how happy the students are while learning. It then begins to understand how important of a job it has. The school is especially excited when the little kindergarten girl draws a beautiful picture of the school and the teacher hangs it on the bulletin board.  The school is not so nervous anymore after realizing its purpose and it is excited that the students will be returning tomorrow.

This book will make a great read aloud for a parent with an apprehensive child about school and also for teachers to read to their class in the beginning of the school year.

Find many more books about going to school on our School Subject Shelf.

Available at TCPL: Book

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Love What Matters: Real People. Real  Stories. Real Heart

Reviewed by Sarah Murphy

Today’s world seems full of anger, bitterness, selfishness, and other negative, soul crushing problems. If you are in need of a quick dose of positivity and reassurance that love and happiness still exist, this book will help. Short anecdotal stories accompanied by a photograph can easily be read for a dose of positivity when things seem bleak and frustrating. Hopefully they will also inspire the reader to see the important, truly valuable people and experiences they have each day and lead to greater appreciation for their own blessings in life.

Available at TCPL: Book

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  • Tazewell Library

    129 Main St.
    P.O. Box 929
    Tazewell, VA 24651
    (276) 988-2541

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    Bluefield, VA 24605
    (276) 326-1577

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    P.O. Box 860
    Richlands, VA 24641
    (276) 964-5282

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