Book Review: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

radium-girls-coverThe Curies discovered radium in the late 19th Century. Although they noticed that the element had destructive properties, they and other scientists extolled its virtues to the degree that it was deemed perfectly safe. In the years before WWI, women in factories painted watch dials with radium. They used no protection because the factory bosses said it was perfectly safe. After all, it was used to kill cancer, so it must be healthy. So the young women painted their watch dials, keeping their paintbrushes to a point, by sucking them between their teeth. This was the standard practice for years and when women started exhibiting problems with their teeth, no one made the connection between their work with radium and their illnesses.

This book follows the fates of these women in a very approachable way, making their stories personal. Moore used diaries, court transcripts, and letters, among other sources to create a vivid picture of the women who fought against corporate irresponsibility and won. I enjoyed the intimate portrait of the women involved and their lives, and it is always wonderful and important to highlight forgotten parts of history such as this. However, I will warn the reader that some of the descriptions of the women’s physical afflictions are on the graphic side.

Review by Jessica A.

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What’s New at the Library?

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See what’s new this week at the Danville Public Library at:

*** http://wowbrary.org/nu.aspx?fb&p=8491-167 ***

There are one new bestseller, nine new movies, five new music CDs, 18 new children’s books, and six other new books.

The new bestseller this week is “Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News.” The new movies this week include “Hitman’s Bodyguard,” “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” and “Logan Lucky.”

Book Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

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I loved, loved, loved this book. The audiobook is narrated by Fiona Hardingham who created distinct character voices and I can’t recommend enough reading the book in this format. This is the first in a Young Adult magical realism series called Kingdom on Fire. Several years ago a witch and magician opened a portal that allowed the Ancients, heinous otherworldly monsters, to enter our world. As punishment for this serious infraction, witches have been outlawed and magician’s rights have been seriously curtailed. Henrietta Howell is a young woman who fears that her magical affinity for fire means that she is a witch, but she is soon brought into the world of sorcery. She has much to learn to pass her Commendation, and about her own past.

Howell is a great character whose big heart makes her a hero, though her fears sometimes cause her to make poor choices. I love imperfect heroes like her. The supporting cast of characters bring humor and intrigue and animosity to the story in varying degrees. The second book in the series, A Poison Dark and Drowning, came out in September 2017 and I simply cannot wait to dig in.

Review by Jessica A.

Book Review: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

51rmn5eojwl-_sx316_bo1204203200_When one moves to another country, you expect there to be some difficulties, some hardships and culturally settling in. But, when Kim is eleven she and her mother move from Hong Kong to NYC and are thrust into a life of poverty, sweet shops, exploitation, bullying, and fear, most of which is thrust on them by Kim’s mother’s older sister, due to hate and jealousy. But the worst part in my opinion, is that all of this takes place in modern times, when we believe that nothing like this could happen. But, despite all of the problems that Kim and her mother go thru, Kim is able thru hard work and perseverance is able to move out of poverty and out from under her aunt’s thumb.

Review by Leslie B.