Staff Picks July 2017

I am re-reading Jane Eyre and am enjoying this classic novel.

Cheri

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

When two little girls go missing in a small town, it causes everyone involved to examine the roles they may have played in the events.  There is more than one suspect and some finger pointing, particularly at Antonia, a semi-single mom to one of the girls.  This book is my first by this author and I enjoyed it.  I intend to read more.

Lynae

I am reading The Boy Who Fell from the Sky by Jule Owen. It is from a British writer of futuristic fiction for young readers that I am really beginning to enjoy although it is not usually the genre that I read. An author that I do like in whatever series he is writing is a British author, Tim Vicary.

Nina

I am reading Aunt Dimity and the Widow’s Curse, by Nancy Atherton.  The story gets your attention right from the start, and leads the reader down a path of exploring a “curse”.  Although nicely written and Atherton tries to consider all avenues of possible outcomes, she overcompensates and the mystery could be solved simply with better communication .  The story slows and leaves the reader saying ,” just dig up the rose garden already!”

Sandra

 

 

Staff Picks for May 2017

Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Cheri

Death of a Ghost by M.C. Beaton

Not too scary, but the twists and turns will lead you through a suspenseful and unexpected conclusion.

Sandra

Audacity by Jonathan Chait

I liked this book because I learned a lot about the Obama administration that I never paid attention to while he was in office. I can’t stand the talking heads/partisan media. His administration encountered some of the same difficulties as his predecessors, but, of course, with some unique challenges. A good read (well, listen- I chose the audiobook).

Jenneffer

Staff Picks for March 2017

Oogy: A Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin

After being used as a bat dog as a puppy, Oogy has some challenges to overcome, but thanks to his new family the Levines, Oogy has finally found the home he deserves. A true story and a great read for any dog lover.

Megan

The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg

A beautiful story of a Swedish mail order bride and her newfound life as a farm wife in Missouri, this is a fantastic book!  Fannie Flagg does an amazing job of developing this story’s characters, and anyone who reads this book will flat-out fall in love with the townsfolk’s wit, wisdom and humor.

Sandra

Silence by Shusaku Endo

Joe

march2017nonfictionflyer

Staff Picks, wrapping up 2016

A very entertaining short story I just read:

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

-Nancy

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Books I like the best are ones that make me ask questions. Mbue does a great job giving real life to the characters in the story. None of them is glossy or perfect, each of them has deep thoughts and feelings. They have joys, sorrow, and take you along every twist and turn they encounter. Wavering between success and struggle, the dreams of the married coouple don’t always match up. She wants to hold on to her dream no matter what. What does she choose to sacrifice for her family? Does she give up? Can you see yourself making hard choices?

-Jenneffer

Born Bright by C. Nicole Mason

This book stands out to me as unique memoir because the author grew up in poverty, and was able to rise above it and earn a PhD, studying poverty. She is both very candid in her story, and also tells it how she remembers, rather than through an academic filter. It makes me “nature vs. nurture” questions such as, did her tenacity play a role in helping her succeed because of her circumstances, or because of her personality/temperament? How does her mother feel about the book? (I always wonder about this when someone writes a memoir…) A quick non-fiction pick that will appeal to novel fans, too.

-Jenneffer

Mischling by Affinity Konar

“One of the most harrowing, powerful, and imaginative books of the year” (Anthony Doerr) about twin sisters fighting to survive the evils of World War II [www.goodreads.com]

-Megan

I recently read Canada, by Mike Myers.  Yes, that Mike Myers; Wayne’s World, Austin Powers, Dr. Evil,   the one and the same Mike Myers.  His book is a fascinating perspective of growing up in Canada, loving Canada, and reconciling American culture with Canada’s own.  Although Mr. Myers does explore Canadian/ American politics he does so with comparison not criticism.  He also allows glimpses into American comedy and how SNL and his own movies were produced.  Along the way the reader is gifted with Myer’s wit and comedy and will find themselves laughing out loud throughout.  Highly recommended!

-Sandra

The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood

Ava’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood―one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.- from Amazon

Lynae

Body of Work- Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab by Christine Montross

This was a great book! Written by a young woman going through med school, this book examines the process by which a student not only must, but eventually an, dissect a human cadaver. Through dissecting an elderly woman’s body, three lab partners come to terms with their feelings on religion, mortality and morality. They will become the doctors they are today because of the gift this woman, and others like her, have given the profession. I could not put this book down. Not only was it informative, it was also a good story.

-Jeri

 

December 2016 book recommendations

The Book of Joy– Dalai Lama with Desmond Tutu

from Jenneffer

In, “The Book of Joy,” by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, a powerful distinction is made by one of their attending physicians between cures and healing. “Curing involves the resolution of the illness…[but] healing was coming to wholeness and could happen whether or not the illness was curable (p161).” Archbishop Tutu is intimate with cures and healing. Early in his life, he was diagnosed with TB and was nearly given up for dead. Facing such adversity with the body, the only vehicle we know that inhabits this world, must be scary for those of us who identify our being with our body.

However, the Dalai Lama offers another perspective, also from, “The Book of Joy.” “As a Buddhist practitioner…I take seriously the contemplation of the Buddha’s first teachimg, about the inevitability of suffering and the transient nature of our existence.” He says it’s important to meditate daily on our own mortality, because all earthly things pass away. His interpreter, Jinpa, explained further that confronting our own mortality is a, “true measure of Spiritual development.”

Christians, of course, rejoice in comfort of being with the Lord. Romans 14 (KJV) says, “For whether we live, we live into the Lord; and whether we die, we die into the Lord. Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living. Although this passage provides comfort in the idea of death, the context is actually in that of forgiveness.

Bishop Tutu and his daughter wrote a book on the topic in 2014, called, “The Book of Forgiving.” He was the chairman for the Truth and Reconciliation commission in South Africa, which promoted forgiveness and healing for a nation broken by apartheid. He says, “the quality of human life on our planet is nothing more than the sum total of our daily interactions with each other. Each time we help, each time we harm, we have a dramatic impact on our world.” So by forgiving, we can mend our broken social fabric. “It is the way we stop our human community from unraveling” (p4).

By this logic, we can deduce that through forgiveness, we can also stop ourselves from unraveling. Maybe not physically, but emotionally and spiritually. When a person is in pain, or the body is failing, it is easy to blame: doctors, God, the body itself, our past choices, pollution, global warming, the breakdown of modern society, and on it goes. The beauty of advent, whether you are healthy, poor, rich, suffering, is the beautiful gift for which we can prepare ourselves.

Born a Crime– Trevor Noah

from Jenneffer

In some ways, I felt like I knew everything Trevor was describing, because I served in the Peace Corps in the Kalahari in South Africa for two years, and also because I grew up part Cherokee part White. Being a half-breed of mix, you don’t ever fit in. But, once I finished the book, especially ruminating on the horrendous story toward the end, I realized, “I don’t have the slightest clue what he’s been through.” Not being able to hug his Daddy in public, having to jump out of taxi cabs for fear of his life, slumming in the ghetto just to make a living, living with an abusive step-father, all events that would lead almost anybody to the propensity of addiction, failure and poverty.

This book is so inspirational because Trevor is clearly none of those things! He has this knowing that he is worth more than any of that garbage. What courage to write about such painful experiences, and do it so eloquently, and with humor. A super great read. I was actually mad when I finished and turned the page and realized it was over.

The Education of Little Tree– Forrest Carter

from Jenneffer

Everyone should read this book. It’s really a shame that each of us can’t have an experience like Carter describes, becoming so intimate with our surroundings that we know them better than we do each other. The description of the mountains, and the ways of the people living there is so rich, and beautifully described. You really feel like you’re following along with Little Tree, into the holler, up the hills, into the creeks, everywhere.