ningerbil (ningerbil) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 1-4

1. AsiaTown Cleveland, by Alan F. Dutka. My first book of the year; started this one last year. This was a neat bit of history I'd never heard about our area Chinatown/AsiaTown. It's full of photos as well that capture the area. The book goes from the start of the small but impactful Chinese immigrant population in Cleveland to the present day. It highlights past and present businesses and prominent residents. There's a good chapter on the Tong Wars, a sad period in Cleveland history for that area. All in all, a good book on local history.

2. Haunted Akron, by Jeri Holland. This was a good mix of familiar tales of haunts and several new stories. The concentration was more on the history of the locales themselves and the more technical aspects of trying to verify a particular haunting, which was different. The author stressed that she wanted to emphasize a balanced, neutral approach and she succeeded. It was a nice read on local history, area locales and legend.

3. The Art and Craft of Stage Management, by Doris Schneider. My mom found this book and gave it to me. I'm glad she did. Now, mind you, I have no intention of ever stage managing a show. I knew even before reading the book that this position would not be a good fit for me, and reading this only affirmed this. I had respect for stage managers before- it's a tough job that requires working with a lot of various parties. I had no idea how much was involved. This is a great book for beginner and intermediate stage managers, and can serve as a nice brush-up for either more experienced managers, or managers going from one type of theater to another. There's numerous checklists stage managers can use, it goes over the notation system, includes contact information for the various guilds and even includes a lot of anecdotal stories throughout. It made me appreciate all that goes into a theatrical production.

4. Visions of Sugar Plums, by Janet Evanovich. This short novel was published sometime in between the numbered novels. Obviously, Christmas hijinks are in store here, as the intrepid and hilarious heroine Stephanie Plum meets up with a new character Diesel. This combines some supernatural along with the usual zaniness. I chuckled throughout, and had to put the book down at one point I was laughing so hard. Without getting too deep into spoiler territory, it involved Stephanie's vehicle, a Christmas tree and one of the most hilarious takes on T'was the Night Before Christmas I've ever read. I've been doing a lot of serious reading lately, so this was the perfect chaser, a sugar-sweet bit of hilarious escapism. Fans who haven't already picked this up won't be disappointed.

Currently reading: The Death and Life of the Great American School System, by Diane Ravitch (updated 2016), and On A Burning Deck, vol. 2, by Tom Jones.
Tags: comedy, history, non-fiction

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