The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, by Robert M. Edsel – I enjoyed this book, and now I’d like to see the movie. This is the story of the MFAA, a special force of American and British soldiers in World War II who searched for, and saved much of, the world’s greatest art from the looting and destruction of the Nazi’s. I found this to be complex and occasionally a little difficult to follow, but overall, enjoyable and informative. This is the sort of book that makes you realize how much there is out there that you didn’t know you didn’t know, if that makes any sense. It’s really cool to learn about this amazing story and these amazing people.
The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Book Lover’s Adventures, by Josh Hanagarne – This is the story of a Salt Lake City librarian, lover of stories and books who is struggling with his Mormon faith and his Tourette Syndrome. This is the sort of book that I’m not sure how much I enjoyed it while I was reading it (or listening to it in this case), but by the end I was glad I read it. I’m always interested in people who love books and reading, and it’s interesting to read a mainstream book that deals with my religion. In the audio version, it was annoying when the reader kept mispronouncing “Nephites.” What I liked about this book is how Hanagarne describes what it’s like to have Tourette Syndrome, how the tics come on and the effect on his body and mind. I’ve never known anyone with this syndrome, so I had no understanding of it. I also liked how much support he received from his family, friends, and church leaders. I did wish it talked more about books, though.
American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work, by Susan Cheever – This book follows the lives five Transcendentalist writers in Concord, Massachusetts from about the 1840s to the 1880s. This book makes me want to read or reread the works of these writers as well as read biographies of their lives. The author meant this as an introduction to the lives of these authors, which she was inspired to write after researching Louisa May Alcott. This book was confusing at times, because of the nature of these intertwined lives made some repetition necessary. This sometimes made it so I needed to backtrack a little and get my bearings. I didn’t care for some of the author’s opinions and speculation, but I consider the book a success because it makes me want to learn more.