Book Reviews

Book Reviews by Connie Bennett.

This is KLCC.  I’m Connie Bennett, Director of Eugene Public Library, with a book review of "I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel” by David Shields and Caleb Powell.

When I first heard about “I Think You’re Totally Wrong” I was quite intrigued.  After all, the book jacket promises an “impassioned, funny, probing, fiercely inconclusive, nearly-to-the-death debate about life and art.”  I love nothing more than a debate about life and art.  At the very least, it sounded entertaining.  

May 2015 – KLCC Book Review by Connie Bennett:  "Saint Friend” by Carl Adamshick
This is KLCC.  I’m Connie Bennett, Director of Eugene Public Library, with a book review of "Saint Friend” by Carl Adamshick .
It’s not often that I read a book of poetry, cover to cover.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy poetry.  I’m fascinated with the way a poet can distill a concentration of imagery and evoke layers of meaning into such sparse phrases.  But I usually imbibe on one or two poems at a time.

In “Juliet’s Nurse,” Portland author Lois Leveen, showcases her knowledge both of literature and history in a retelling of the story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, from the perspective of Juliet’s nurse.  She’s clearly studied every line of dialogue in the play as well as historical Verona, including the plague, the class system, the role of the church, and even medieval bee keeping.

Book Review: iZombie

Mar 13, 2015

I'm Connie Bennett, Director of Eugene Public Library, with a book review of "iZombie" by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred.

This is not a book for everyone.
Oceans of words, swelling waves of paragraphs, long sinuous sentences running on for a page or more like a rare variety of seaweed.
And a compelling story as well.
Author Brian Doyle, best known as the editor of “Portland” magazine and books of essays, has written two novels.  The first, “Mink River,” is invariably described as a “sprawling” novel of Oregon.  And now, “The Plover” – not really a sequel but more a companion piece – about Irish Oregonian Declan O’Donnell, a minor character in “Mink River.”

Random House

I have to tell you: I both loved and hated this book.  But it took me a while to figure out why.

Let me tell you about the buzz surrounding "All the Light We Cannot See."  A finalist for the National Book Award.   On the bestseller list for the past 28 weeks.  At the top of The New York Time’s list of "100 Notable Books of 2014".  Goodreads, the online book community, chose it as this year’s Best Historical Fiction.  And on his Christmas shopping trip last weekend, President Barack Obama made the news when he purchased a copy of his own.

Oregon Reads

It starts with little things.  “Flowers jump from the tracks of Big Foot all over the uplands.”  William Stafford’s poem “Everyone Out Here Knows” was originally published in “Starting with Little Things,” a 1983 teaching guide for poetry writing in the classroom.

One of the serendipitous joys of reviewing Pacific Northwest writers for KLCC is how it has expanded my own reading.  It’s always exciting to discover a new favorite.  Frankly, in the case of Seattle writer Erica Bauermeister, I’m surprised I hadn’t encountered her before.
She came out with the delightful “Joy for Beginners” in 2011, and her new novel, “The Lost Art of Mixing,” is a sequel to 2009’s bestselling “The School of Essential Ingredients.”   How could I have missed them?

I’m Connie Bennett, Director of Eugene Public Library, with a book review of "Dream Animals” by Emily Winfield Martin.

First the disclaimer.  I’m a physicist’s daughter.  And, I have two brothers and two nephews who are engineers.  So, it was with at least a bit of skepticism that I cracked the cover of Portland author Christine McKinley’s new book, “Physics for Rock Stars: Making the Laws of the Universe Work for You.”

“Hi, I’m your neighbor, and I’d like to eat your weeds.”  In her book “Dandelion Hunter: Foraging the Urban Wilderness,” author Becky Lerner accepts her editor’s challenge to survive for a week on the wild plants growing within Portland’s city limits.  She quickly discovers that collecting leafy weeds and brewing pine-needle tea costs far more in energy than it provides in sustenance.  Exhausted and near starvation, she gives up on the experiment by the end of chapter 2.

In her first adult novel, Seattle writer Deb Caletti has crafted a mesmerizing internal journey for her protagonist, Dani Keller.  The story grabs us with the first sentence:   "I used to imagine it sometimes, what would happen if one day I just didn't come home."   But it isn’t Dani who disappears.  She wakes one morning to find her husband gone – from their bed, their Lake Union houseboat, just vanished from her life – with no explanation. 

courtesy of

The Thing with Feathers,” released at the end of last month, is a new book by South Eugene graduate and self-described bird nerd, Noah Strycker.  The book’s been getting rave reviews from the birding community, but I think that sells it short.  While Strycker begins each chapter with bird watching anecdotes and fascinating facts, he never stops there.   

Harper Collins

The book I’m reviewing this month – Carl Hoffman’s “Savage Harvest” – is a bit of a departure for these KLCC reviews.  For one thing, this is the first time I’m reviewing an advanced copy – the book won’t be available until later this month.  For another, award winning journalist Carl Hoffman, perhaps best known for his book, “The Lunatic Express,” isn’t a Pacific Northwest writer.  However, he will be speaking at Eugene Public Library in a free talk on March 27th as part of his book tour.  So I thought it well worth bringing this fascinating book to your attention.

Hyperbole and a Half

Eugene Public Library Director Connie Bennet reviews Allie Brosh's "Hyperbole and a Half".

Eugene Public Library Director Connie Bennett reviews "The Boys in the Boat" Nine Americans and their epic quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics" by Daniel James Brown.

Connie Bennett, Director of the Eugene Public Library, reviews "Bad Houses,” a graphic novel written by Sara Ryan and illustrated by Carla Speed McNeil.