Sunday, December 9, 2018

2019 Calendar

January 24: Freshwater at Tiffanie's
February 28: The War that Saved my Life at Rosalie's
March 28: An American Marriage at Charlotte's
April 25: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine at Shelley's
May 23: Educated at Sandy's
June 27: The Indifferent Stars Above at Rachel's
July 25: Before We Were Yours at Gina's
August 29: The Tattooist of Auschwitz at Kim's
September 26: Everything Under at Collette's
October 24: The Day the World Came to Town at Amy's
November 21: The Library Book at Tiffanie's

Monday, December 3, 2018

2019 Voting Form

Vote HERE.

2019 Book Suggestions

Rosalie’s Suggestions

The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Brandley 
Young Adult Historical Fiction, 315 pages
Paperback

The War That Saved My Life, which was named a 2016 Newbery Honor book, is a standout coming-of-age story set in the English countryside during World War II. Wartime brings new, scary things into the characters' lives, from bomb shelters and destroyed homes to the plane crashes that kill the pilots at the nearby air base. Far more troubling is the character of Ada and Jamie's abusive mother, who regularly smacks the kids around and has kept Ada, born with a clubfoot, locked up in one room her whole life -- and who hangs ominously in the background when the kids land in the country, where they experience care and kindness for the first time in their lives. Kids and adults will cheer for Ada as she discovers she has value and learns to stand up for herself -- but will her mother take the kids back and destroy it all? There's lots of historical detail about World War II in England, from the evacuation of kids to the countryside to details about British military planes.

I liked it so much I read the sequel, The War I Finally Won

Tisha: The Wonderful True Love Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness as told to Robert Specht  
Memoir, 340 pages
Paperback


In 1927, having no family left in Colorado, nineteen-year-old Anne Hobbs goes to the Alaskan Territory to teach in a remote settlement of gold-miners and fur trappers called Chicken. She finds life difficult because of the isolation, weather and a lack of conveniences, but the biggest problem she faces is that of prejudice. She seeks to teach and befriend all of the people in the small town, but she soon discovers that her kindness towards Indian children raises the ire of the white people in the town. She has to face up to the local school board and the town's people before she is allowed to teach Indians in her school.

'Tisha' is what Anne is called by the some of her students who had a hard time saying "teacher" in the English language.

She falls in love with a "half-breed" and adopts two mixed-race children when their mother dies. This book is full of adventure and insight into what it was like to live in Alaska in the 20's. It is also a triumphant story of one woman's love and her persistence in encouraging justice in her small Alaska town.

Educated by Tara Westover
Memoir, 352 pages
Paperback

Tara Westover was born and raised in rural Idaho. The youngest of seven children in a family on the fringes of traditional Mormonism. While most of their neighbors sent their children to public school, to the doctor for check-ups and injuries, and let them participate in various activities, Westover’s father distrusted the schools and the medical profession, not to mention the government and other Mormons. Physical ailments, including some astonishingly serious ones, were treated with homemade herbal remedies and salves, and later by “energy healing.”  Westover o she speculates her father has an undiagnosed mental illness; he was a paranoid bully who was constantly preparing for the end of the world.



Westover was taught to read but had no formal education in math, history or science.  When she turned 16, inspired by her older brother, Westover began to think about college as a way to escape her dangerous and suffocating home environment.   After teaching herself trigonometry and more to prepare for the ACT, she was admitted Brigham Young University. Westover was vastly unprepared for her new life, but brilliant and committed, she worked hard, driven by a desire to learn.  She studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her to Cambridge and Harvard.


Tiffanie’s Suggestions


Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
Fiction, 280 pages
Paperback

The dictionary doesn’t contain every word. Gretel, a lexicographer by trade, knows this better than most. She grew up on a houseboat with her mother, wandering the canals of Oxford and speaking a private language of their own invention. Her mother disappeared when Gretel was a teen, abandoning her to foster care, and Gretel has tried to move on, spending her days updating dictionary entries.



One phone call from her mother is all it takes for the past to come rushing back. To find her, Gretel will have to recover buried memories of her final, fateful winter on the canals. A runaway boy had found community and shelter with them, and all three were haunted by their past and stalked by an ominous creature lurking in the canal: the bonak. Everything and nothing at once, the bonak was Gretel’s name for the thing she feared most. And now that she’s searching for her mother, she’ll have to face it.


In this electrifying reinterpretation of a classical myth, Daisy Johnson explores questions of fate and free will, gender fluidity, and fractured family relationships. Everything Under―a debut novel whose surreal, watery landscape will resonate with fans of Fen―is a daring, moving story that will leave you unsettled and unstrung.

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Fiction, 240 pages
Paperback


One of the most anticipated and best reviewed novels of 2018, Freshwater is the remarkable debut of an astonishing young writer. Ada has always been unusual. As an infant in southern Nigeria, she is a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents successfully prayed her into existence, but something must have gone awry, as the young Ada becomes a troubled child, prone to violent fits of anger and grief. Born “with one foot on the other side,” she begins to develop separate selves. When Ada travels to America for college, a traumatic event crystallizes the selves into something more powerful. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these alters―now protective, now hedonistic―move into control, Ada’s life spirals in a dangerous direction. Unsettling, heart-wrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.


The Library Book by Susan Orlean
Non-fiction, 337 pages
Hardcover, but only $16 on Amazon

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?


Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

In The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago.

Along the way, Orlean introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters from libraries past and present—from Mary Foy, who in 1880 at eighteen years old was named the head of the Los Angeles Public Library at a time when men still dominated the role, to Dr. C.J.K. Jones, a pastor, citrus farmer, and polymath known as “The Human Encyclopedia” who roamed the library dispensing information; from Charles Lummis, a wildly eccentric journalist and adventurer who was determined to make the L.A. library one of the best in the world, to the current staff, who do heroic work every day to ensure that their institution remains a vital part of the city it serves.

Brimming with her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, The Library Book is Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country. It is also a master journalist’s reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever.

Rachel’s Suggestions

A Place for Us: A Novel by Fatima Farheen Mirza
Fiction, 400 pages
Paperback

An instant New York Times bestseller! A Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia's, wedding - a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. Rafiq and Layla must now contend with the choices and betrayals that lead to their son's estrangement - the reckoning of parents who strove to pass on their cultures and traditions to their children; and of children who in turn struggle to balance authenticity in themselves with loyalty to the home they came from.

In a narrative that spans decades and sees family life through the eyes of each member, A Place For Us charts the crucial moments in the family's past, from the bonds that bring them together to the differences that pull them apart. And as siblings Hadia, Huda, and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent's faith, to tread a path between the old world and the new, and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest of betrayals.

A deeply affecting and resonant story, A Place for Us is truly a book for our times: a moving portrait of what it means to be an American family today, a novel of love, identity and belonging that eloquently examines what it means to be both American and Muslim -- and announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent.


Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman
Fiction, 336 pages
Paperback

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes...the only way to survive is to open your heart.


The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party by Daniel James Brown
NonFiction, 384 pages
Paperback

In April of 1846, twenty-one-year-old Sarah Graves, intent on a better future, set out west from Illinois with her new husband, her parents, and eight siblings. Seven months later, after joining a party of pioneers led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. In early December, starving and desperate, Sarah and fourteen others set out for California on snowshoes, and, over the next thirty-two days, endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors.

In this gripping narrative, New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat Daniel James Brown sheds new light on one of the most legendary events in American history. Following every painful footstep of Sarah’s journey with the Donner Party, Brown produces a tale both spellbinding and richly informative.

Gina’s Suggestions

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Historical Fiction, 352 pages
Hardcover ($15.92 Amazon)

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.


Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancĂ©, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.


What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein
Adolescent Fiction, 288 pages
Paperback
Abandoned in the jungle of the Nepalese Borderlands, two-year-old Nandu is found living under the protective watch of a pack of wild dogs. From his mysterious beginnings, fate delivers him to the King's elephant stable, where he is raised by unlikely parents—the wise head of the stable, Subba-sahib, and Devi Kali, a fierce and affectionate female elephant. When the king's government threatens to close the stable, Nandu, now twelve, searches for a way to save his family and community. A risky plan could be the answer. But to succeed, they'll need a great tusker. The future is in Nandu's hands as he sets out to find a bull elephant and bring him back to the Borderlands. In simple poetic prose, author Eric Dinerstein brings to life Nepal's breathtaking jungle wildlife and rural culture, as seen through the eyes of a young outcast, struggling to find his place in the world.


The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
Adolescent Fiction, 464 pages
Paperback
These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for nearly ninety years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was eating her, Will's world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagus--a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest--and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatening to overtake and consume our world before it is too late.

The Monstrumologist is the first stunning gothic adventure in a series that combines the spirit of HP Lovecraft with the storytelling ability of Rick Riorden.


Kim’s Suggestions


The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
Nonfiction, 256 pages
Paperback

The true Story behind the events on 9/11 that inspired Broadway's smash hit musical Come From Away.

When 38 jet liners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of US airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000.  The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill. As the passengers stepped form the airplanes, exhausted, hungry and distraught after being held on board for nearly 24 hours while security checked all of the baggage, they were greeted with a feast prepared by the townspeople.  This book recounts the inspiring story of the residents of Gander, Canada whose acts of kindness have touched the lives of thousands of people and been an example of humanity and goodwill.


Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Fiction, 336 pages
Paperback

The acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives.

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Historical Fiction, 288 pages
Paperback

This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.

“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.


Shelley’s Suggestions


Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel by Mark Sullivan
Fiction, 524 pages
Paperback

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.


In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.
Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.
Fans of All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman
Fiction, 336 pages
Paperback


Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes...the only way to survive is to open your heart.


Educated by Tara Westover
Memoir, 352 pages
Paperback


Tara Westover was born and raised in rural Idaho. The youngest of seven children in a family on the fringes of traditional Mormonism. While most of their neighbors sent their children to public school, to the doctor for check-ups and injuries, and let them participate in various activities, Westover’s father distrusted the schools and the medical profession, not to mention the government and other Mormons. Physical ailments, including some astonishingly serious ones, were treated with homemade herbal remedies and salves, and later by “energy healing.”  Westover o she speculates her father has an undiagnosed mental illness; he was a paranoid bully who was constantly preparing for the end of the world.
Westover was taught to read but had no formal education in math, history or science.  When she turned 16, inspired by her older brother, Westover began to think about college as a way to escape her dangerous and suffocating home environment.   After teaching herself trigonometry and more to prepare for the ACT, she was admitted Brigham Young University. Westover was vastly unprepared for her new life, but brilliant and committed, she worked hard, driven by a desire to learn.  She studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her to Cambridge and Harvard.


Charlotte's Suggestions


Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Nonfiction, 496 pages
Paperback

In this culmination of five decades of acclaimed studies in presidential history, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an illuminating exploration of the early development, growth, and exercise of leadership.

Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader?

In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon the four presidents she has studied most closely--Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)--to show how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entries into public life, we encounter them at a time when their paths were filled with confusion, fear, and hope.

Leadership tells the story of how they all collided with dramatic reversals that disrupted their lives and threatened to shatter forever their ambitions. Nonetheless, they all emerged fitted to confront the contours and dilemmas of their times.

No common pattern describes the trajectory of leadership. Although set apart in background, abilities, and temperament, these men shared a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience that enabled them to surmount uncommon hardships. At their best, all four were guided by a sense of moral purpose. At moments of great challenge, they were able to summon their talents to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others.

This seminal work provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field. In today’s polarized world, these stories of authentic leadership in times of apprehension and fracture take on a singular urgency.


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Fiction, 321 pages
Paperback


The author of Silver Sparrow returns with a stunning novel about race, loyalty, and love that endures.

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward — with hope and pain — into the future.


Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath by Ted Koppel
Nonfiction, 288 pages
Paperback

Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before.

It isn’t just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation’s three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure—and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon. Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated thkse grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors—from “hacktivists” to terrorists—have the capability as well. “It’s not a question of if,” says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, “it’s a question of when.”

And yet, as Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid. The current Secretary of Homeland Security suggests keeping a battery-powered radio.

In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation’s estimated three million “preppers,” we meet one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake, stocked with fish, and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. We also see the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company – the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive?

With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.


Sandy’s Suggestions


In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park
Memoir, 288 pages
Paperback

“I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.”
Yeonmi Park has told the harrowing story of her escape from North Korea as a child many times, but never before has she revealed the most intimate and devastating details of the repressive society she was raised in and the enormous price she paid to escape.
Park’s family was loving and close-knit, but life in North Korea was brutal, practically medieval. Park would regularly go without food and was made to believe that, Kim Jong Il, the country’s dictator, could read her mind. After her father was imprisoned and tortured by the regime for trading on the black-market, a risk he took in order to provide for his wife and two young daughters, Yeonmi and her family were branded as criminals and forced to the cruel margins of North Korean society. With thirteen-year-old Park suffering from a botched appendectomy and weighing a mere sixty pounds, she and her mother were smuggled across the border into China.
I wasn’t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea. I didn’t even know what it meant to be free. All I knew was that if my family stayed behind, we would probably die—from starvation, from disease, from the inhuman conditions of a prison labor camp. The hunger had become unbearable; I was willing to risk my life for the promise of a bowl of rice. But there was more to our journey than our own survival. My mother and I were searching for my older sister, Eunmi, who had left for China a few days earlier and had not been heard from since.
In In Order to Live, Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Korea—and to freedom.


God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours by Regina Brett
Nonfiction, 239 pages
Paperback

When Regina Brett turned 50, she wrote a column on the 50 lessons life had taught her. She reflected on all she had learned through becoming a single parent, looking for love in all the wrong places, working on her relationship with God, battling cancer and making peace with a difficult childhood. It became one of the most popular columns ever published in the newspaper, and since then the 50 lessons have been emailed to hundreds of thousands of people.
Brett now takes the 50 lessons and expounds on them in essays that are deeply personal. From "Don't take yourself too seriously-Nobody else does" to "Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift," these lessons will strike a chord with anyone who has ever gone through tough times--and haven't we all?

Educated by Tara Westover
Memoir, 352 pages
Paperback

Tara Westover was born and raised in rural Idaho. The youngest of seven children in a family on the fringes of traditional Mormonism. While most of their neighbors sent their children to public school, to the doctor for check-ups and injuries, and let them participate in various activities, Westover’s father distrusted the schools and the medical profession, not to mention the government and other Mormons. Physical ailments, including some astonishingly serious ones, were treated with homemade herbal remedies and salves, and later by “energy healing.”  Westover o she speculates her father has an undiagnosed mental illness; he was a paranoid bully who was constantly preparing for the end of the world.
Westover was taught to read but had no formal education in math, history or science.  When she turned 16, inspired by her older brother, Westover began to think about college as a way to escape her dangerous and suffocating home environment.   After teaching herself trigonometry and more to prepare for the ACT, she was admitted Brigham Young University. Westover was vastly unprepared for her new life, but brilliant and committed, she worked hard, driven by a desire to learn.  She studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her to Cambridge and Harvard.

Collette’s Suggestions


Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
Self-help, 240 pages
Hardcover

Do you ever suspect that everyone else has life figured out and you don’t have a clue? If so, Rachel Hollis has something to tell you: that’s a lie.


As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore.
With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.
With unflinching faith and rock-hard tenacity, Girl, Wash Your Face shows you how to live with passion and hustle--and how to give yourself grace without giving up.

Educated by Tara Westover
Memoir, 352 pages Paperback
Tara Westover was born and raised in rural Idaho. The youngest of seven children in a family on the fringes of traditional Mormonism. While most of their neighbors sent their children to public school, to the doctor for check-ups and injuries, and let them participate in various activities, Westover’s father distrusted the schools and the medical profession, not to mention the government and other Mormons. Physical ailments, including some astonishingly serious ones, were treated with homemade herbal remedies and salves, and later by “energy healing.” Westover o she speculates her father has an undiagnosed mental illness; he was a paranoid bully who was constantly preparing for the end of the world. Westover was taught to read but had no formal education in math, history or science. When she turned 16, inspired by her older brother, Westover began to think about college as a way to escape her dangerous and suffocating home environment. After teaching herself trigonometry and more to prepare for the ACT, she was admitted Brigham Young University. Westover was vastly unprepared for her new life, but brilliant and committed, she worked hard, driven by a desire to learn. She studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her to Cambridge and Harvard.

Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton Nonfiction, 320 pages Paperback
The inspiring and hilarious instant New York Times bestseller from the beloved writer, speaker, activist, and founder of Momastery.com whose new memoir Love Warrior is an Oprah’s Book Club selection.

Glennon Doyle Melton’s hilarious and poignant reflections on our universal (yet often secret) experiences have inspired a social movement by reminding women that they’re not alone. In Carry On, Warrior, she shares her personal story in moving, refreshing, and laugh-out-loud-funny new essays and some of the best-loved material from Momastery.com. Her writing invites us to believe in ourselves, to be brave and kind, to let go of the idea of perfection, and to stop making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman’s trying to love herself and others, readers will find a wise and witty friend who shows that we can build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities.

Amy’s Suggestions

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
Fiction, 336 pages
Paperback

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met—a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
Fiction, 336 pages
Paperback

Tom Hazard has just moved back to London, his old home, to settle down and become a high school history teacher. And on his first day at school, he meets a captivating French teacher at his school who seems fascinated by him. But Tom has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history--performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

Unfortunately for Tom, the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society's watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can't have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time tells a love story across the ages—and for the ages—about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. It is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Silver Music Box by Mina Baites
Fiction, 272 pages
Paperwork

1914. For Paul, with love. Jewish silversmith Johann Blumenthal engraved those words on his most exquisite creation, a singing filigree bird inside a tiny ornamented box. He crafted this treasure for his young son before leaving to fight in a terrible war to honor his beloved country—a country that would soon turn against his own family.

A half century later, Londoner Lilian Morrison inherits the box after the death of her parents. Though the silver is tarnished and dented, this much-loved treasure is also a link to an astonishing past. With the keepsake is a letter from Lilian’s mother, telling her daughter for the first time that she was adopted. Too young to remember, Lilian was rescued from a Germany in the grips of the Holocaust. Now only she can trace what happened to a family who scattered to the reaches of the world, a family forced to choose between their heritage and their dreams for the future.