Soon to be cross-posted – a review of Humboldt

So I finally got around to writing another blog posting for a book I read not too long ago.  I wrote it originally for my library’s blog – because it’s a good book and it hasn’t been checked out very much.  I’m posting the review here first – it won’t show up on Pima County Public Library’s blog until late September. Continue reading


Into the Beautiful North

By Luis Alberto Urrea

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Back Bay Books, 2009

Genre: General fiction

ISBN: 9780316025263

Audience: Adult, young adult

Number of pages: 338

Setting: Tres Camarones & Tijuana, Mexico, San Diego, CA, & Kankakee, IL

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: When narcos come to the sleepy town of Tres Camarones, nineteen year old Nayeli, comes up with a brilliant plan for getting rid of them.  Inspired by the movie, The Magificient Seven, she and three of her friends embark on a mission to find seven warriors (cops or soldiers) to drive off the bandits and help repopulate the town.  Nayeli hopes to travel as far as Kankakee, IL to find her father, who (along with most of the other town’s men) left many years earlier in search of work. Continue reading

The Sisters Brothers

By Patrick deWitt

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011

Genres: Western, historical fiction, cowboy noir

ISBN: 9780062041265

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 328

Setting: Oregon City, Oregon Territory, & California (including San Francisco)

Time period: 1851

Plot summary: Charlie and Eli sisters are known throughout the Oregon Territory and California as killers who work for the Commodore.   What begins as an ordinary assignment for them – to go to San Francisco and kill a man – becomes a life changing journey for both of the brothers. Continue reading

Nobody’s son: notes from an American life

By Luis Alberto Urrea

Place: Publisher & Year: Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998

Genres: Non-fiction, autobiography, memoir

Series: Camino del Sol

ISBN: 9780816518654

Audience: Adults

Number of pages: 189

Setting: Various locations in Mexico and the US,  including Tijuana and San Diego

Time period: late 1950s – 1990s

Description: Urrea describes key moments of his life in regards to growing up as a child of both the US and Mexico.  Written in a non-linear fashion, the book is divided into chapters which focus upon places and themes. Continue reading

I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have You

By Bill Green, Ben Peskoe, Will Russell, & Scott Shuffitt; Foreward by Jeff Bridges

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Bloomsbury, 2007

Genre: Non-fiction, social science, popular culture

ISBN: 9781596912465

Intended audience: Achievers

Number of pages: 237

Setting: USA, mostly California but also Louisville, Kentucky

Time period: Contemporary

Description: This book is a must read for any “Achiever”, or true fan, of The Big Lebowski.  Written by the folks who created Lebowski Fest, it is filled with trivia, interviews, and true life stories upon which parts of the movie were based, such as the real Little Larry. Continue reading

Little Brother

By Cory Doctorow

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Tor, c2008, 2010

Genres: Science fiction, general fiction

ISBN: 9780765323118

Intended audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 416 – includes 2 afterwards, a bibliography, acknowledgements, and excerpts from For the Win.  The story is 365 pages.

Setting: San Francisco, CA and the Bay area

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: When Marcus and his friends decide to ditch school for a rousing round of Harajuku Fun Madness, they find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time when the Bay Bridge is bombed by terrorists.  They are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and detained until they give all of the information which DHS requests, including passwords to their phones and emails.  When finally released, Marcus vows to get back at the DHS for using terrorist methods for obtaining information from American citizens. Continue reading

Island of the Blue Dolphins

By Scott O’Dell; narrated by Tantoo Cardinal

Place: Publisher & Year: Santa Ana, CA : Listening Library, c1960, p2003

Genre: Historical fiction

Format: Audio book

ISBN: 9780307243164

Intended audience: Children – tweens

Number of discs: 4 (about 5 hrs.)

Setting: Ghalas-at (San Nicolas Island, Channel Islands, CA)

Time period: Not stated, but likely early 1800’s

Plot summary: When strangers come to the island to hunt for sea otters, they cause disturbances which will radically alter Karana’s life.  Karana will need to become incredibly self reliant in order to survive. Continue reading