Friday, February 17, 2017

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly - 543 pages


The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA at the leading edge of the feminist and civil rights movement, whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space—a powerful, revelatory contribution that is as essential to our understanding of race, discrimination, and achievement in modern America as Between the World and Me and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.
Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.
Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Afterschool Charisma, v. 12 by Kumiko Suekane

Afterschool Charisma, v. 12 by Kumiko Suekane - 208 pages

This is the final volume of Afterschool Charisma.  I was disappointed in the ending.  It seemed that the series ended exactly where it started.  I expected there to be a resolution that never really came.

Assassination Classroom, v. 14 by Yusei Matsui

Assassination Classroom, v.14 by Yusei Matsui - 200 pages

The school is holding a festival and the class who raises the most money wins.  Then it's time for finals again.  Will class E finally beat class A in the scores?

Assassination Classroom, v. 13 by Yusei Matsui

Assassination Classroom, v. 13 by Yusei Matsui - 200 pages

Mr. Karasuma continues to battle the assassin Grim Reaper in an effort to save the lives of the Class-E students.  Then it's time for career counseling by Koro Sensei and Nagisa is having a hard time determining what he wants to do in his future.

Another great volume in the series.  I loved the peeks into the backgrounds of Ms. Vitch and Nagisa.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks-214 pages

This is the next Nicholas Sparks novel I have decided to read since I have already seen the movie. I liked this one better than A Walk to Remember, although that one was pretty good, also. The Notebook film is also more closely aligned with the book. The love and heartbreak (but, ultimately, love) described in this novel is touching and something that I have always dreamed about. Overall, I think this is probably my favorite Nicholas Sparks novel (although I have only read two so far, so I could change my mind!).

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Be Careful What You Wish For by Jeffrey Archer

Be Careful What You Wish For by Jeffrey Archer
(The Clifton Chronicles, book 4)
635 pages / 11 hours, 39 minutes

     The book opens with Harry Clifton and his wife Emma rushing to the hospital because their son, Sebastian, was killed in an auto "accident."  An eye witness points the police investigation in the right direction to discover the truth.
     Don Pedro Martinez continues his efforts to exact revenge on the Barrington family since they helped circumvent his plan to smuggle millions of counterfeit dollars into England.  His cruelty is focused on the family's business, but also extends to Harry and Emma's adopted daughter, Jessica, who has fallen in love with the son of a fish paste king.
     There are some great elements here, and I enjoyed the complicated game of chess in which the main characters become involved.  It's another good book in the Clifton Chronicles series, but I don't think the story line flowed as well as in the previous volumes.  I'm taking a break before reading the next (#5) in the saga.

Monday, February 13, 2017

After the Storm by Linda Castillo

After the Storm by Linda Castillo - 446 pages

A tornado comes through a small town and exposes a 30 year old skeleton.  A lot of the story is set in an Amish community.  It kept my interest enough to finish but wouldn't want to read it again.