Here are some of the recent books read and loved by Ferguson Library staff.

Word by Word: The Secret Lives of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper

Dictionaries may seem like impartial tomes that speak with oracular authority, but they are churned out by phalanxes of flawed, obsessive human beings in morbidly quiet offices. Kory Stamper knows what it’s like to work for Merriam-Webster and try to capture the meanings of a language that stubbornly refuses to stop evolving. She has learned that dictionaries do not so much define words as give a snapshot of their shifting meanings over time. She has replied to the hate mail that dictionaries get for including words like “irregardless.” She has spent a full month defining the word “take.” And she has both the sense of humor and snappy prose style necessary to turn this potentially arid subject into a juicy read full of nerdy tidbits. (For example, did you know that the word “pumpernickel” means “goblin fart”?)


Jason enjoys books full of ideas, poems, nerdery, comedy, analysis, history, science, philosophy, oddities, absurdities, filigrees, schematics, provocations, introversions, revelations, and ostentatious sesquipedalians.

The Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel

Eliza Bowen Jumel was born in 1775 in Providence, Rhode Island and became an indentured servant after being raised in a brothel by her illiterate mother. In an amazing reversal of fortune, Eliza rose from a life of poverty and despair to become a well-known socialite and one of the wealthiest women in early America. With relentless determination, she learned to read and relocated to New York City where she found employment as an extra in the theatre.  She made the acquaintance of affluent merchant Stephen Jumel, who became her first husband, and eventually acquired an elegant New York mansion, an impressive art collection, and a summer home in Saratoga Springs.  After Stephen Jumal’s death, she married vice president Aaron Burr.  Ambitious and tough as nails, Eliza was a truly unique American character.


Ellen likes to read biographies, history, and folklore.

This is an encouraging book if you are in the middle of a heartbreak, illness, a failure, addiction or any other personal life crisis.  Tebow explains that in life you are going to have your great times and tough times and that he is thankful for his relationship with Jesus Christ so he doesn’t have to live the highs or lows or the rollercoaster because he knows where his identity as a child of God and that can never be shaken.  His Faith gives him a feeling of belonging-a basic human need-and it’s a foundation that no one can take away.


Deb’s favorite reading genre’s include memoirs, narrative nonfiction, biographies and autobiographies. She likes to read realistic fiction where the story is very true to life.  Reading about people and their life experiences along with their points of view allows her to make sense out of the events of her own life. She also enjoys some popular fiction and an occasional romance.

The Nine of Us: Growing up Kennedy by Jean Kennedy Smith

Simply delightful stories of life in a huge family. President Kennedy’s last surviving sibling reveals secrets of a bygone era that are sure to warm even the most cynical reader’s heart. Rose and Joe Kennedy ran an organized household, their parenting style was put to the test in surprising ways. There is almost no talk of traditional politics. Family dynamics is the strongest power play. Was there a favorite among the nine children? Officially no, but the unofficial story has one child unanimously bestowed the title, and the winner may surprise you.


My favorites are non-fiction, historical fiction, and memoirs.

Texas Ranger: The Epic of Frank Hamer, The Man Who Killed Bonnie and Clyde by John Boessnenecker

In the popular movie, Bonnie and Clyde, Hamer is the villain, but in real life he was a phenomenon. It is a 400 page book, but can easily be read in two or three days, for the fascinated reader. He excelled at what Texas Rangers excel at: sharpshooting, detective work, crime solving, and tough case cracking whether on horse or by auto. For example, Texas at this time was full of KKK and crazed crowds that performed merciless lynching and harassing  of Afro-American citizens. Hamer put a stop to these abominations. He was also able to kill or capture some of the mighty fearless criminals, Bonnie and Clyde being his swan song. If you like Westerns, this is the book for you. If you like biographies of interesting, upright, intelligent, and decent people, this book is for you.


My interests in reading vary with the issues and interests that come up in my life, and so, they change. I do love French literature, biography and memoires, history, occasionally medical science.

The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Geen

In this science fiction novel set in the very near future, Katherine “Kitt” North has a very unique job. She projects her consciousness into the minds of animals to research their lives and behaviors. Changes in the work, the looming end of her career, and a traumatic experience combine to throw Kitt into an emotional and psychological whirlwind. In the end this is a simple tale of a young woman trying to find out who she is when what defines her changes.


Frank’s favorite reading is a wide range of fantasy and science fiction and horror. For nonfiction, he enjoys books on history, sciences, and technology. Frank is also an avid film buff and gamer.