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of your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
This is an invigorating and reassuring true story of a son
and his mother, who start a book club that brings them together
as her life comes to a close. Over the next 2 years, Will
and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging
and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books
and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic
to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual.
The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage,
as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and
learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded
of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us,
and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world.
Reading isn't the opposite of doing; it's the opposite of
of Food by Michael Pollen
Sue's book of the month is In Defense of Food by Michael
Pollen. For those who are already inclined to eat healthy,
organic and vegetarian, it'll be no surprise that you'll like
this nonfiction book. And for everyone else, there are compelling
reasons in this book to eat real food. The majority of the
book is about the overwhelming number of manufactured foods
on supermarket shelves and that are really doing you no favors
with their unidentifiable ingredients. Considering we are
what we eat, and we are as healthy as the food we ingest,
then this book will give you a whole new outlook on the foods
you choose to buy and eat.
Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
Holly's book of the month is Wild: From Lost to Found on
the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. At 22, Strayed
thought she had lost everything. Her mother had passed away,
her family was scattered about, and her own marriage was unraveling.
With nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision
of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave
Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State--and
to do it alone. With no experience as a long-distance hiker,
the trail was little more than a concept, vague and foreign
and full of promise. This is a riveting true story about a
3-month journey that had her circling around black bears and
rattlesnakes, extreme dehydration, and hiking in boots made
entirely of duct tape. With its vivid descriptions of beautiful
but unforgiving terrain, Wild is a cinematic story.
by Gillian Flynn
Christina's Book of the Month is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
You must read this book. It's as if Gillian Flynn (the author)
has mixed us a martini using battery acid instead of vermouth
and somehow managed to make it taste really, really good.
Gone Girl is delectable and exhilarating and delightfully
dangerous. It's brilliant, actually. It's funny in a cimmerian,
possible way. The writing is jarringly good, and the story
is, well...amazing. Read the book and you'll discover among
many other treasures just how much freight and fright this
book carries. You will not be able to put this book down
Comes to Dinner: How Vertical Farmers, Urban Growers, and
Other Innovators Are Revolutionizing How America Eats by Katherine
Gustafson introduces food visionaries like Mark Lilly, who
turned a school bus into a locally-sourced grocery store in
Richmond, VA; Gayla Brockman, who organized a program to double
the value of food stamps used at Kansas City, MO, farmers'
markets; Myles Lewis and Josh Hottenstein, who started a business
growing vegetables in shipping containers using little water
and no soil; and Tony Geraci, who claimed unused land to create
the Great Kids Farm, where Baltimore City public school students
learn how to grow food and help Geraci decide what to order
from local farmers for breakfast and lunch at the city schools.
It's a smart and engaging look into America's food revolution.
Book Suggestions from NPR and Alan Cheuse
July is all about summer books and we've taken a list from
NPR and Alan Cheuse. It's going to be a big summer for big
broad American literary voices, voices that leap from the
page and linger with you, echo through your summer and perhaps
even beyond. Here's the list:
Home by Toni Morrison
Embittered Korean War veteran Frank Money struggles against
trauma and racism to rescue his medically abused sister and
work through identity-shattering memories.
Canada by Richard Ford
After his parents are arrested and imprisoned for robbing
a bank, 15-year-old Dell Parsons is taken in by Arthur Remlinger,
who - unbeknownst to Dell - is hiding a dark and violent nature
that interferes with Dell's quest to find grace and peace
on the prairie of Saskatchewan.
Arcadia by Lauren Groff
In a lush, haunting story of the American dream, Bit, born
in a back-to-nature commune in 1970s New York State, must
come to grips with the outside world when the commune eventually
The Queen's Lover by Francine du Plessix Gray
Pursuing a friendship and then a passionate romance with the
young Marie Antoinette, dashing Swedish nobleman Count Axel
von Fersen becomes a devoted companion to the entire royal
family before attempting to help them escape in the wake of
the French Revolution. By the author of Soviet Women.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
When a woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary,
her diary reveals hidden turmoil in her marriage. Her husband,
desperate to clear himself of suspicion, realizes that something
more disturbing than murder may have occurred.
All Is Forgotten, Nothing
Is Lost: A Novel by Lan Samantha Chang
Mama Carol's book of the month is All Is Forgotten, Nothing
Is Lost: A Novel by Lan Samantha Chang. This book is absolutely
well written, engaging me with so many questions. An exploration
of youthful love and ambition and how life rarely turns out
the way we envisioned. The story is told in three major sections
that eclipse through the years. We first meet Roman, Lucy,
and Bernard in the poetry-writing class led by the famous,
terrifying, charismatic, and mysterious poet and professor
Miranda Sturgis at the renowned writing school in Bonneville.
After graduation, we follow Roman as he begins his own teaching
career, marries Lucy, and struggles to complete a long-worked-on
volume of poetry. When Bernard becomes homeless for a while,
he spends several months with Roman and Lucy, so the friends
are together again after many years, and their relationships
are renewed and undergo changes. Then, in the third section
of the book, we drop back in on the group 10 years later for
a final look.
Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race
the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
Our niece Kelly's book of the month is Born to Run: A Hidden
Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has
Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. Born to Run is the one
of those books you just can't keep to yourself. It's an epic
adventure. Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the
blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run
hundreds of miles without rest or injury. Award-winning journalist
and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to
discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers
from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and
freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers
of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and,
finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits
America's best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall's
incredible story will not only engage your mind but also inspire
your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were
born to run.
by Alison Swan
Our book of the month is Dog Heart from our dear friend and
poet/writer Alison Swan. This beautiful collection of poems,
is as all of her works, is inspired by her muse, Mother Nature.
Her latest book Dog Heart is her first collection of poems
to be released. They were selected from a decade-long record
of rambles she took in the lightly settled landscapes of the
Midwest with her dag Keweenaw, who passed away last year at
the age of 13.
Here is her title poem, Dog Heart:
Kewee rarely stopped for the camera and so the whole of
her photographed life is movement stopped.
I must hold the other images--Kewee resting, watching
waiting for me to catch up--in my mind. Impossible sometimes
for me, distracted, obsessed, both
The way not to remember, the way to lose things Snow wasn't
blowing around in the trees just then Clouds clotted the
sky. The near-shore shallows were still and green.
That Kewee and I were there together to see it feels like
some sort of miracle, that these feelings keep filling with
warmth and carrying me along because the heart I'll never
see simply keeps doing its job
Civility by Amor Towles
Mindy's book of the month is Rules of Civility,
by Amor Towles. The story takes place in New York, about Katey
Kontent-the young, sharp daughter of a Russian immigrant.
An interesting look at a single woman's life in the late '30s,
it also takes a look at New York City at this time--a time
when things were looking up for some who had lost everything
and were building it back.
On His Trail by Hampton Sides
The Electrifying Account of the Largest Manhunt In American
History. This book reads like a CSI mystery! In choosing the
assignation of Martin Luther King, Sides had an incredible
amount of historical documentation at his disposal. This massive
body of evidence is the raw ingredients that Sides uses to
fire-up a tight and fascinating thriller. Thanks to an unprecedented
international investigation and the rich perspective of time,
Sides stalks every move of Earl Ray and MLK. This book was
a complete thrill to read, not just because of the fascinating
story, but also because of Sides' wonderful narrative style.
In many ways, this book is less the story of MLK's assassination
than it is the story of James Earl Ray.
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