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A coming-of-age story with hints of mystery set in the summer of 1961, "Ordinary Grace" looks at how tragedy affects a small town family and thrusts its protagonist Frank, now 40 years older, into manhood sooner than he expected. Dotson has found the extraordinary in the every day person for 40 years in his NBC "Today" segment "American Stories with Bob Dotson." But with only five minutes devoted to each of these fascinating stories per segment, a lof of their stories were left on the cutting room floor. A memoir with grit, Tom Sizemore writes about rising from the bottom (a product of lower-income Detroit) to the top (scene-stealing appearances in movies like "Heat" and co-owning a restaurant with Robert DeNiro) to his substance abuse-filled fall from grace and bouts with depression and homelessness.
Tapping into her own memories as a 20-year-old Black Panther radical, Juanita captures a young college student's personal growth as she fights for equality during the Civil Rights movement in the hotbed that was 1960s San Francisco. If you didn't pick up Anna Quindlen's very wise memoir on aging, take heart: It's coming out in paperback, all the better to kick up your heels and take in her musings on getting older. Tinseltown's favorite hotel was beloved by the stars way before Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton had paparazzi tailing them. The Happiest Baby on the Block (by Harvey Karp) – Now that you’ve read up on pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, you’ll need to know the basics of keeping your little one happy.  This book reveals the anti-crying techniques developed by Dr. Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt – I really liked deWitt’s previous book, The Sisters Brothers, and so was stoked for this one. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – Maybe I’m biased because of the book’s flattering portrayal of librarians as ancient-power-possessing superstuds who deal in gods and the fate of the universe, but I think The Library at Mount Char is a fine piece of fantasy that lovers of the genre, as well as fans of horror, dark humor, and yes, librarians, will eat up. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair – I was somehow never assigned to read this book in high school, as seemingly everyone else was, so earlier this year, I felt compelled to read it in the name of being a responsible book guy. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande – My lone non-fiction selection for the list, Being Mortal explores end-of-life issues, but it’s a recommended read for anyone, as its messages about the need to reassess what we want medicine to do for us and our priorities as we age are universally applicable. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz – Lisbeth Salander is back, and I’m glad to report she’s in good hands in David Lagercrantz’s first novel taking over for the late Stieg Larsson.
Call the Library for Good MeasurePeople call the library for all kinds of reasons, each of which puts the skills of our staff members to the test in different ways.
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. But even if you can't hit a beach, you can still participate in what spring break is all about: relaxation. Now 50 and with twin boys, Sizemore is taking stock of his life and capturing a moment in Hollywood history that claimed the lives of actors like River Phoenix and Chris Farley in this book. Brown) – This nutritional guide to fertility, pregnancy and beyond helps hopeful and soon-to-be moms keep their diets on track for their best health.  With meal ideas, nutritional tips and advice on addressing common pregnancy and breastfeeding issues with a balanced diet, this book ensures wholesome nutrition for moms and babies. Allow me one last foray into the year that was as I present my “Top 10 Books of 2015” list, with the caveat that only a few of these books were published in 2015; they’re simply my favorite books I read during 2015.
It delivers another Wes Anderson-y tale with quirky misadventures and odd, charming characters whose banter is never short of witty.
Death of the Family, with its ultra-creepy, face-stapled-on Joker putting the entire Bat family in serious jeopardy, does not disappoint. Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye has long been one of my favorite books, and I finally decided I needed more Salinger in my life. Martin – While I eagerly devoured the fifth dictionary-thick installment of the Song of Ice and Fire series and mostly enjoyed it, I spent the entire reading in fear of my favorite character being killed off and callously cast upon the series’ already mountainous corpse heap.
Belcher – I’m not much of a Western fan, but when you throw in magic, mythology, angels, and demons and ratchet up the darkness, my interest gets mighty piqued. We don’t get quite as much of our plucky heroine as I would have liked, and the character development is underwhelming compared to the previous books, but it’s good to see Blomkvist and Salander at it again, and we’re treated to a highly readable thriller.
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So it is fair to say I am a voracious reader, especially when travelling where there are plenty of long bus, boat and train rides on offer.
Four roommates take a road trip to find the people and things they've lost touch with in the course of their lives.
The story about an unremarkable, unappreciated man who leaves home to work in a castle for a mysterious Baron, is entertaining, but the bulk of my enjoyment came from the playful, skillful writing.

In fact, I think I like it better than The Killing Joke, which is widely regarded as the quintessential Joker story. Franny and Zooey gives us lots of Caulfieldian dialogue, and in heaping doses; this book is light on plot and heavy on characters trading speeches.
Ultimately, an important character is killed off, which I don’t think is really a spoiler, since there are arguably 12-18 important characters in the books’ increasingly sprawling universe. Read The Six-Gun Tarot (the first entry in the series), then read this book and revel in its weird Wild West world. For one, it's an ex-husband who reappears via postcard, for another it's finding the daughter she gave up for adoption. That, however, is just fine by me, as all that talk is filled with thought-provoking material on happiness, grief, God, and the general struggles that come with being a human. Now fully caught up, I’m just another chump waiting for Martin to fiiiiiiiiinally release the next installment. Belcher, Reader's Advisory, Review, Scott Hawkins, Scott Snyder, The Girl in the Spider's Web, The Jungle, The Library at Mount Char, The Shotgun Arcana, The Storied Life of A. The augmented reality creature hunting game is a bona fide phenomenon, and so much has been said and written about it in its short existence that to write anything more already feels hackneyed. Drawn to the beauty of Ten thousand li, a stunning 53 foot scroll by Wang Hui, Winchester decides to delve deeper into the massive Yangtze for his next book. While the book does not paint a thorough narrative of modern China, it is a well-researched, fascinating way to discover the tangled mass of culture, people and geography along the Yangtze’s edge.
Eagleman’s succinct fables about the afterlife were a thought-provoking, poetic pleasure to read. Written with loving detail, the stories vary wildly from detailed to abstract, from humorous to somber, each extremely creative. Given the title, people make the false assumption that the book has religious undertones – it does not. The 40 completely unrelated short stories comprise a non-partisan, secular collection of imaginative options about the afterlife.
In one of the stories, God is a constantly quibbling couple, distracted from their duties by their own domestic incontinence. With concise chapters and a wide-range of vocabulary, Sum is also a great option for people learning the English language. From the author of the equally compelling Proust Was a Neuroscientist comes a book about mechanics, movement and the construction of the human brain.
His book draws on research from a wide range of scientists and illustrates their findings with a slew of real-life examples: poker players, pilots, firefighters and television producers. He also peppers the book with examples of when the brain ceases to make decisions smartly, discussing the science of serial killing, compulsive buying and other hiccups of logic. By learning more about how our brains process information and make decisions, Lehrer believes we can make better choices in our lives. However, the book did provide me with insight into why I do the things I do, and how to be more conscious of the rationale underlying my decisions.
Drawn to the secrets behind the food, Buford finds that his stint at Babbo isn’t sufficient to satisfy him and subsequently embarks on a journey to Italy to learn both how to make pasta in Poretta, and how to properly slaughter a big in Tuscany. Throughout, Buford’s lyrical, softly self-mocking writing style and hopeless misadventures made the book a complete pleasure to read. Foer, an editor at The New Republic, provides an enthralling and entertaining narrative about soccer and its place in today’s global world. The title is somewhat misleading: the book is truly a series of unconnected essays about sociology, economics and politics and how each relates to soccer. But each chapter was informative and provided a snapshot into a world I would never otherwise inhabit. The chapters on Serbia’s Red Star Brigade and its role in Serbian nationalism and on the Celtics vs.

Rangers rivalry, with its foundation in religious and political anger, were particularly intriguing. How to Shit Around the World: The Art of Staying Clean and Healthy While Traveling by Jane Wilson-Howarth.
This book might not be of the highest intellectual order, but it was extremely useful, downright hilarious and well worth reading in public places if only for the reactions of those around you. With special sections devoted to women’s health and what to eat while traveling, the book is a perfect introduction to venturing out into the culinary unknown when travelling around the world. Horne tackles the tumultuous history of Paris in a series of ambitious biographical essays, infused with captivating narrative and an attention to detail.
The book skilfully blends the passionate politics of the city, with its art and music and scandalous royal class, resulting in a dense but enlightening book spanning Paris’ lifetime. Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam by Andrew X.
Caught in the cross-roads of many decisions, Pham abandons a burgeoning career in engineering (despite his parents’ pleas to the contrary), and embarks on a new path of freelance writing. Disgusted by modern-day Saigon and alienated from the Vietnamese he meets on his trip, Pham tries to find a balance between his family’s haunting saga, the country he thought he loved and the person he has become. Born in Belgium, Sante’s take on New York and the down-and-dirty roots of its old city is a pleasure to read.
Bonus: black and white photographs from the 19th century provide a welcome break from the history-laden pages.
A must-read for anyone travelling through Paraguay or interested in its convoluted history and ego-driven dictatorships.
For a fairly small country (given the size of the continent that houses it), Paraguay has endured a mind-boggling series of wars, tremendous poverty and some unsavoury leadership. Library of Congress, Boorstin is one of those people who I would love to meet and sponge up the content of his brain by osmosis.
The Discoverers walks through the history of human discovery, including the many fortuitous coincidences that often preceded them.
In the thirst to soak up other cultures and traditions, we sometimes forget to learn about their initial discovery and the incremental impact of those who made a first foray into a foreign land or a new idea. The Discoverers covers the fascinating and often checkered pasts of economics, astronomy, geography and history with extraordinary gusto. Highly recommended as are the other two books in this series, the Creators and the Seekers. This book was a donation from friends and it accompanied me on my epic 36 hour trip home from Bangkok. Divided by country, the book details Weiner’s search for the origins of happiness, from Moldova (not so happy) to Iceland (surprisingly happy) and the places in between.
A self-described grump, Weiner stays at an ashram in India, talks to monks in Bhutan (a particularly lovely portion of the book) and interviews the godfather of happiness research himself, Dr. While some chapters did not resonate with me (notably the ones on Thailand and the UK), the natural style of Weiner’s prose and his unique perspective after years of working as an NPR correspondent vaulted this book to my favourites list. A friend of mine gave me this book in Bangkok and while it is not a thorough history of coffee, it remains an educational, fun read and is full of interesting facts about coffee’s role in world history.
Starting with Africa and  tracing coffee’s roots to through Kenya, the villages of Yemen and then Ethiopia, Allen moves on to India, Europe and finally the USA. Educational without being pushy, offbeat and fun as hell to read, The Devil’s Cup taught me a lot about my favorite drink. I’m always looking for suggestions and I actually haven’t read any of these yet!

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