Book Review – Kazoo Books

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars
by Dava Sobel – Nonfiction History
Harvard’s observatory program in 1882 was run by a young man named William Pickering, with many people contributing data to the university. Henry Draper, a local doctor with a love of stars, was one of the contributors by providing photo plates of sections of the night sky. At that time, the calculation of this data was done by a few women who worked as “computers” in the lab. When Henry Draper died, his widow became a benefactor and contributor to the many programs Harvard was supporting. She began working with Pickering to enhance the observatory. Through letters, memoirs, and documentation, the author has followed these men and women from 1882 through today. The author also goes into depth about the new technology of mirror making for telescopes and the early search for just the right places for observatories. It is a fascinating look into space history and the part women played in achieving the advances that were made in the early years of astronomy.

Roughneck Grace
by Michael Perry – Memoir Essays
This is a new book by the author of Truck: A Love Story. Perry again takes us into his world with these short reflections that include learning to tie his shoes with a memorable uncle and taking trips in the Fambulance with his wife and two daughters. He revisits his neighbor Tom, who was the subject of an earlier title, Visiting Tom: A Man, A Highway and the Road to Roughneck Grace. You can’t call this a sequel, rather a continuation on the road through life. Each story is infused with wit and humor that can be laugh-out-loud funny. The title Orthodontist tells us about the author’s lifelong gap between his front teeth. The tales are set in Wisconsin, where a place is reflected through the people who live there. Pick it up and open to any story. As each one unfolds, you learn about family, mistakes made in life and inner reflections that touch us all. Perhaps it really is a great bathroom read.

Once in a Blue Moon Lodge, A Novel
by Lorna Landvik – Contemporary Fiction
Anyone who has read Patty Jane’s House of Curl will be happy to know she’s back. This is the continuing story with a larger cast of characters. The family is growing and taking on the unexpected turns with the same fierce love, dedication, and humor they have in the past. Patty Jane closes her shop, Nora heads to Norway with Grandma Lone, and this Minnesota-born family with roots in Norway keeps us on the edge of our seat. Landvik has written ten novels, each an adventure into family conflict, devotion, and remembering, a testament that only the unexpected in life is expected.

Hoot and Honk Just Can’t Sleep
by Leslie Helakowski – Children’s Title
This award-winning author brings us a new children’s book that is sure to be a winner. We meet a little owlet and a gosling that have been born in the wrong nest. These babies both hatched from eggs, and both will fly, but they are very different. One sleeps at night and the other during the day. And they don’t eat the same food, either. It’s up to the mothers to sort out the problem. The author has written this in a poetic style and illustrated it using beautiful pastels. This is an easy read and sure to be a hit.