Book Therapy

Book Therapy

The arrival of a new year can be a time to turn inward and reflect, and the right book can help!  Go on a voyage of self discovery and improvement with the following titles.

10% Happier

Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.

We all have a voice in our head. It’s what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we’re not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we’re stuck with this voice – that there’s nothing we can do to rein it in – but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It’s a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it’s something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.


Atomic Habits

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results. If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.


The Body Keeps the Score

Renowned trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score , he transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring–specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score offers proven alternatives to drugs and talk therapy–and a way to reclaim lives.


Daring Greatly

Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Based on twelve years of pioneering research, Brené Brown PhD, MSW, dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage. Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment, and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity. She writes: “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.”


Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

With startling wisdom and humor, Lori Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is rev­olutionary in its candor, offering a deeply per­sonal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly reveal­ing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.


Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World

Humans are social creatures: In this simple and obvious fact lies both the problem and the solution to the current crisis of loneliness. In his groundbreaking book, the 19th surgeon general of the United States Dr. Vivek Murthy makes a case for loneliness as a public health concern: a root cause and contributor to many of the epidemics sweeping the world today from alcohol and drug addiction to violence to depression and anxiety. Loneliness, he argues, is affecting not only our health, but also how our children experience school, how we perform in the workplace, and the sense of division and polarization in our society.

But, at the center of our loneliness is our innate desire to connect. We have evolved to participate in community, to forge lasting bonds with others, to help one another, and to share life experiences. We are, simply, better together.


The Sacred Enneagram 

The Sacred Enneagram is a trustworthy, richly insightful guide to finding yourself in the enneagram’s 9-type profiles, and applying this practical wisdom to transform your life. Far more than a personality test, author Chris Heuertz writes, the enneagram is a sacred map to the soul. The enneagram offers a bright path to cutting through the internal clutter and finding our way back to God and to our true identity as God created us.


Thinking Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation–each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts–from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, impeccably researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Fall Cookbooks

Fall Cookbooks

Looking for inspiration? Look no further than these brand new cookbooks.


Once Upon a Chef : Weeknight/Weekend / Jennifer Segal

Jennifer Segal, author of the blog and bestselling cookbook Once Upon a Chef, is known for her foolproof, updated spins on everyday classics. Meticulously tested and crafted with an eye toward both flavor and practicality, Jenn’s recipes hone in on exactly what you feel like making.

Here she devotes whole chapters to fan favorites, from Marvelous Meatballs to Chicken Winners, and Breakfast for Dinner to Family Feasts. Whether you decide on sticky-sweet Barbecued Soy and Ginger Chicken Thighs; an enlightened and healthy-ish take on Turkey, Spinach & Cheese Meatballs; Chorizo-Style Burgers; or Brownie Pudding that comes together in under thirty minutes, Jenn has you covered.


Dinner Then Dessert : Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5, or 7 Ingredients / Sabrina Snyder

“How do you make interesting and tasty meals for every member of the family?”

That question inspired former private chef and mom Sabrina Snyder to post practical, reliable, and taste-tested recipes to the website she created, Dinner Then Dessert. Five years later, her website is one of the biggest food sites in America with millions of monthly views and more than 900,000 followers on social media. Incredibly, Sabrina’s famous Philly Cheese Steak recipe, which she posted the day before the Super Bowl, racked up 45,000 hits within the first five minutes!


Trisha’s Kitchen : Easy Comfort Food for Friends & Family / Trisha Yearwood

Trisha Yearwood’s fans know that she can cook up a comforting, delicious meal that will feed a family! Like her earlier bestsellers, Trisha’s Kitchen will include new family favorites and easy-to-make comfort foods, with stories about her family and what’s really important in life.

The 125 recipes include dishes her beloved mother used to make, plus new recipes like Pasta Pizza Snack Mix and Garth’s Teriyaki Bowl. Every recipe tells a story, whether it’s her grandma’s Million Dollar Cupcakes, or her Camo Cake that she made for her nephew’s birthday.


Maman : The Cookbook : All-day Recipes to Warm Your Heart / Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte

Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte opened Maman to fill a void in their hearts. They wanted to create a warm, cozy place for people to come together and savor a freshly baked madeleine or slice of savory quiche with the comfort and familiarity of being in their own living room. This collection of 100 recipes spans bestselling dishes from their locations in New York City, Montreal, and Toronto–like Banana-Lavender Cornmeal Waffles with Vanilla Mascarpone, Cumin Chickpea Salad, and the Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies made famous by none other than Oprah.


Life is What You Bake It : Recipes, Stories, and Inspiration to Bake Your Way to the Top / Vallery Lomas

Popular baking personality and lawyer turned baker Vallery Lomas was ecstatic when she learned she won the third season of The Great American Baking Show . However, her win was never seen by the world–Vallery’s season was pulled after just a few episodes when one of the judges became a focal point in a Me Too accusation. Rather than throwing in her whisk and lamenting all of the missed opportunities she hoped to receive (Book deal! Product endorsements! TV show!), she held her head high and hustled–which resulted in her getting press coverage everywhere from CNN to People magazine. Now, Vallery debuts her first baking book. With 100 recipes for everything from Apple Cider Fritters to Lemon-Honey Madeleines and Crawfish Hand Pies to her Grandma’s Million Dollar Cake.

Books on Books

Books on Books

Books about Books!  What could be more fun!  Here’s a sampling of titles — mysteries, fiction, and memoirs — that highlight the all-encompassing world of books.

Lynne @ SPL


Cover ImageThe Last Chance Library – Freya Sampson

Lonely librarian June Jones has never left the sleepy English village where she grew up. Shy and reclusive, the thirty-year-old would rather spend her time buried in books than venture out into the world. But when her library is threatened with closure, June is forced to emerge from behind the shelves to save the heart of her community and the place that holds the dearest memories of her mother.

…”a sweet testament to the power of reading, community, and the library.” — Booklist


Cover ImageThe Reading List – Sara Nisha Adams  

Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home.

“Readers will be charmed and touched.” – Publishers Weekly   


Cover ImageMr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour BookstoreRobin Sloan

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything–instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store.


Cover ImageBy Its Cover – Donna Leon

One afternoon, Commissario Guido Brunetti gets a frantic call from the director of a prestigious Venetian library. Someone has stolen pages out of several rare books. After a round of questioning, the case seems clear: the culprit must be the man who requested the volumes, an American professor from a Kansas university. The only problem–the man fled the library earlier that day, and after checking his credentials, the American professor doesn’t exist.


Cover ImageThe Book Woman of Troublesome Creek – Kim Michele Richardson

This gem of a historical from Richardson features an indomitable heroine navigating a community steeped in racial intolerance. In 1936, 19-year-old Cussy Mary Carter works for the New Deal–funded Pack Horse Library Project, delivering reading material to the rural people of Kentucky. It’s a way of honoring her dead mother, who loved books, and it almost makes her forget the fact that her skin is blue, a family trait that sets her apart from the white community.


Cover ImageBooked to DieJohn Dunning

Denver cop Cliff Janeway probably knows as much about books as he does about homicide.  His living room resembles an adjunct to the public library.  But when local book scout Bobby Westfall is murdered, Janeway is sure he knows who did it.  His detective talents are as important as his knowledge of books as he follows the twists and turns of this great mystery.  There are only four books in the Cliff Janeway series, but you’re sure to want to read them all.  Great stuff.


Cover ImageTolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical ReadingNina Sankovitch

Grief-stricken by the loss of her sister, a mother of four spends one year savoring a great book every day, from Thomas Pynchon to Nora Ephron and beyond. In the tradition of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and Joan Didion’s A Year of Magical Thinking, the author’s literary-minded memoir is a chronicle of loss, hope, and redemption. Nina turns to reading as therapy and through her journey illuminates the power of books to help us reclaim our lives.  Fascinating.


Cover ImageOne for the Books – Joe Queenan

If you love books and reading, this is the book to check out.  At times, laugh out-loud funny as well as mordantly insightful, Queenan takes on all comers in his defense of reading and books.   He’s never one to shy away from expressing his opinions – whether it’s about libraries, bookstores, authors or that goliath, Middlemarch.  Along the way we learn about his life in books and where those books have led him in life.  I enjoyed it!

Blair Recommends: Non-Fiction

Blair Recommends: Non-Fiction

SPL staff member, Blair, always has recommendations! Whether for books or movies – she’s either read it, seen it, or noted feedback from other library book readers. We’re sharing these collected lists in a series we’re calling “Blair Recommends.”

Continue your education with these Non-Fiction titles!


Cover ImageThe Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman

“There is the mammal way and there is the bird way.” But the bird way is much more than a unique pattern of brain wiring, and lately, scientists have taken a new look at bird behaviors they have, for years, dismissed as anomalies or mysteries –– What they are finding is upending the traditional view of how birds conduct their lives, how they communicate, forage, court, breed, survive. They are also revealing the remarkable intelligence underlying these activities, abilities we once considered uniquely our own: deception, manipulation, cheating, kidnapping, infanticide, but also ingenious communication between species, cooperation, collaboration, altruism, culture, and play.

 

Cover ImageCosmos: Possible Worlds by Ann Druyan

Based on National Geographic’s internationally-renowned television series, this groundbreaking and visually stunning book explores how science and civilization grew up together. From the emergence of life at deep-sea vents to solar-powered starships sailing through the galaxy, from the Big Bang to the intricacies of intelligence in many life forms, acclaimed author Ann Druyan documents where humanity has been and where it is going, using her unique gift of bringing complex scientific concepts to life.

 

Cover ImageThe Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg

In the early evening of June 25, 1980 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, two middle-class outsiders named Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were murdered in an isolated clearing. They had been hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering but never arrived. Deep suspicion was cast on a succession of local residents in the community, depicted as poor, dangerous, and backward. Weaving in experiences from her own years spent living in Pocahontas County, she follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, revealing how this mysterious murder has loomed over all those affected for generations, shaping their fears, fates, and desires. Beautifully written and brutally honest, The Third Rainbow Girl presents a searing and wide-ranging portrait of America—divided by gender and class, and haunted by its own violence.

 

Yes to Life In Spite of Everything by Viktor E. Frankl

Eleven months after he was liberated from the Nazi concentration camps, Viktor E. Frankl held a series of public lectures in Vienna. The psychiatrist, who would soon become world famous, explained his central thoughts on meaning, resilience, and the importance of embracing life even in the face of great adversity.
Published here for the very first time in English, Frankl’s companion to his international bestseller, Man’s Search for Meaning resonates as strongly today—as the world faces a coronavirus pandemic, social isolation, and great economic uncertainty—as they did in 1946. He offers an insightful exploration of the maxim “Live as if you were living for the second time,” and he unfolds his basic conviction that every crisis contains opportunity.

 

Cover ImageWine Girl: the Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America’s Youngest Sommelier by Victoria James

Exhilarating and inspiring, Wine Girl is the memoir of a young woman breaking free from an abusive and traumatic childhood on her own terms; an ethnography of the glittering, high-octane, but notoriously corrosive restaurant industry; and above all, a love letter to the restorative and life-changing effects of good wine and good hospitality.

 

Cover ImageKorean Dream:  a Vision for a Unified Korea by Hyun Jin Preston Moon

In this centennial edition commemorating the March 1, 1919 Korean Independence Movement, Dr. Moon makes a compelling case that reunification led by Korean civil society is the only way to solve the security, economic, and social problems created through 70 years of division. In presenting his case, Dr. Moon offers a groundbreaking approach to lasting peace rooted in the founding principles and national identity that have made Koreans one people for millennia.

New Biographies

New Biographies

Everything She Touched : The Life of Ruth Asawa / by Marilyn Chase

Everything She Touched recounts the incredible life of the American sculptor Ruth Asawa.

This is the story of a woman who wielded imagination and hope in the face of intolerance and who transformed everything she touched into art. In this compelling biography, author Marilyn Chase brings Asawa’s story to vivid life. She draws on Asawa’s extensive archives and weaves together many voices–family, friends, teachers, and critics–to offer a complex and fascinating portrait of the artist.


(Re)Born in the USA : An Englishman’s Love Letter to His Chosen Home / Roger Bennett

One-half of the celebrated Men in Blazers duo, longtime culture and soccer commentator Roger Bennett traces the origins of his love affair with America, and how he went from a depraved, pimply faced Jewish boy in 1980’s Liverpool to become the quintessential Englishman in New York. A memoir for fans of Jon Ronson and Chuck Klosterman, but with Roger Bennett’s signature pop culture flair and humor.


Letters to a Young Athlete / Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh, NBA Hall of Famer, eleven-time All-Star, two-time NBA champion, Olympic gold medalist, and the league’s Global Ambassador, had his playing days cut short at their prime by a freak medical condition. His extraordinary career ended not at a time of his choosing but “in a doctor’s office in the middle of the afternoon.” Forced to reckon with how to find meaning to carry forward, he found himself looking back over his path, from a teenager in Dallas who balanced basketball with the high school robotics club to the pinnacle of the NBA and beyond.

 


Heart and Steel / Bill Cowher with Michael Holley

In Heart and Steel , Cowher will take you on his journey from childhood to the undersized, mohawked, disco-dancing North Carolina State linebacker, to fighting for a spot as a “bubble player” with the Browns and Eagles, before injuries ended his playing career. Bill will discuss how that same drive led to his big coaching break, running Special Teams for Marty Schottenheimer and the Cleveland Browns at just twenty-seven-years-old, before taking over the Pittsburgh Steelers just seven years later. Cowher will reveal exclusive, never-before-told anecdotes and candid thoughts on the biggest games, players, and moments that defined his fifteen-year Steelers tenure.

 


Somebody’s Daughter : A Memoir / Ashley C. Ford

Through poverty, adolescence, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley C. Ford wishes she could turn to her father for hope and encouragement. There are just a few problems: he’s in prison, and she doesn’t know what he did to end up there. She doesn’t know how to deal with the incessant worries that keep her up at night, or how to handle the changes in her body that draw unwanted attention from men. In her search for unconditional love, Ashley begins dating a boy her mother hates. When the relationship turns sour, he assaults her. Still reeling from the rape, which she keeps secret from her family, Ashley desperately searches for meaning in the chaos. Then, her grandmother reveals the truth about her father’s incarceration . . . and Ashley’s entire world is turned upside down.


Upper Bohemia / Hayden Herrera

Hayden Herrera’s parents each married five times; following their desires was more important to them than looking after their children. When Herrera was only three years old, her parents separated and she and her sister moved from Cape Cod to New York City to live with their mother and their new hard-drinking stepfather. They saw their father only during summers on the Cape, when they and the other neighborhood children would be left to their own devices by parents who were busy painting, writing, or composing music. These adults inhabited a world that Herrera’s mother called “upper bohemia,” a milieu of people born to privilege who chose to focus on the life of the mind. Her parents’ friends included such literary and artistic heavyweights as artist Max Ernst, writers Edmund Wilson and Mary McCarthy, architect Marcel Breuer, and collector Peggy Guggenheim. On the surface, Herrera’s childhood was idyllic and surreal. But underneath, the pain of being a parent’s afterthought was acute. Upper Bohemia captures the tension between a child’s excitement at every new thing and her sadness at losing the comfort of a reliable family.


London’s Number One Dog-Walking Agency / Kate MacDougall

In 2006, Kate MacDougall was working a safe but dull job at the venerable auction house Sotheby’s in London. After a clumsy accident nearly destroyed a precious piece of art, she quit Sotheby’s and set up her own dog-walking company. Kate knew little about dogs and nothing about business, and no one thought being a professional dog walker was a good use of her university degree. Nevertheless, Kate embarked upon an entirely new and very much improvised career walking some of the city’s many pampered pooches, branding her company “London’s Number One Dog Walking Agency.” With sharp wit, delightful observations, and plenty of canine affection, Kate reveals her unique and unconventional coming-of-age story, as told through the dogs, and the London homes and neighborhoods they inhabit.


Brat : An ’80s Story / Andrew McCarthy

Most people know Andrew McCarthy from his movie roles in Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, Weekend at Bernie’s, and Less than Zero , and as a charter member of Hollywood’s Brat Pack. That iconic group of ingenues and heartthrobs included Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Demi Moore, and has come to represent both a genre of film and an era of pop culture. In his memoir Brat: An ’80s Story , McCarthy focuses his gaze on that singular moment in time. The result is a revealing look at coming of age in a maelstrom, reckoning with conflicted ambition, innocence, addiction, and masculinity. New York City of the 1980s is brought to vivid life in these pages, from scoring loose joints in Washington Square Park to skipping school in favor of the dark revival houses of the Village where he fell in love with the movies that would change his life.


Seeing Serena / Gerald Marzorati

Seeing Serena is an in-depth chronicle of Serena Williams’ return to tennis after giving birth to her daughter, and an insightful cultural analysis of the most consequential female athlete of her time. Author Gerald Marzorati shadows her through her 2019 season, from Melbourne and the Australian Open, to Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, and on to the US Open as she seeks her 24th Grand Slam singles title. He writers about her tennis and her forays into fashion, investing, and developing her personal brand on social media.

Seeing Serena illuminates Williams’s singular status as the greatest women’s tennis player of all time and–in a moment when race and gender are the most talked-about topics in America and beyond–a pop icon like no other. Marzorati is on the scene, observing her matches, and talking to her, her coach, her competitors, and former greats who have witnessed her for years.


The Wild Silence / Raynor Winn

Nature holds the answers for Raynor and her husband Moth. After walking 630 homeless miles along The Salt Path, living on the windswept and wild English coastline; the cliffs, the sky and the chalky earth now feel like their home. Moth has a terminal diagnosis, but together on the wild coastal path, with their feet firmly rooted outdoors, they discover that anything is possible.

Now, life beyond The Salt Path awaits and they come back to four walls, but the sense of home is illusive and returning to normality is proving difficult – until an incredible gesture by someone who reads their story changes everything. A chance to breathe life back into a beautiful farmhouse nestled deep in the Cornish hills; rewilding the land and returning nature to its hedgerows becomes their saving grace and their new path to follow. The Wild Silence is a story of hope triumphing over despair, of lifelong love prevailing over everything. It is a luminous account of the human spirit’s connection to nature, and how vital it is for us all.

Travel Adventures

Travel Adventures

Adventure! Travel! Take a journey with the authors of some amazing journeys. Whether older classics or newer titles, a well-written travel experience is a transporting adventure that is perfect for summer reading. Here are some great titles from the nonfiction shelves of SPL!


An Arabian Journey: One Man’s Quest Through the Heart of the Middle East     Levison Wood

915.3 WOO 2019

Following in the footsteps of great explorers such as Lawrence of Arabia and Wilfred Thesiger, Wood brings us along on his complex adventure: a circumnavigation of the Arabian Peninsula as he completes a 5,000-mile trek through the most contested region on the planet. An epic tour through the land at the root of all civilization.

Cover ImageExplore Everything: Place-Hacking the City Bradley L. Garrett 910.4 GAR 2013

Has every inch of the world been explored?  Perhaps it is the everyday places – the cities we live in – that need to be rediscovered.  The author has evaded urban security in numerous cities to experience the city in new ways – he calls it “place hacking” – a new look at closed, secret, hidden and forgotten urban spaces.  Intriguing and with lots of photos!

Cover ImageNotes from a Small Island Bill Bryson 914.1 BRY 2001

Bill Bryson never disappoints!  The author of A Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country takes us on an irreverent and hilarious journey through the island nation he called home for two decades.

The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot Robert Macfarlane 914.2 MAC 2012

The author sets off from his Cambridge home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove roads and sea paths that form part of a vast network of routes that crisscross the British landscape. An immersive exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths.

The River Queen: A Memoir Mary Morris 917.7 MOR 2007

In the middle of her life, Morris went home, to the heart of the country and the Mississippi River.  Her adventure traveling by houseboat transformed her life.

Sicilian Odyssey Francine Prose 914.5 PRO 2003

The noted author brings the singular island of Sicily to life as she explores its tangled past and colorful present.  Through anecdotes and engrossing historical references she evokes the powerful spell that Sicily has cast for centuries.

Cover ImageThe Snow Leopard Peter Matthiessen 915.496 M433

Truly a classic!  In 1973, the author and biologist George Schaller traveled, as the winter snows were seeping into the high passes of the remote mountains of Nepal, to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Zen Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain.

The Traveling Feast: On the Road and at the Table with My Heroes Rick Bass 818 BAS 2018

Rick Bass strikes out on a journey with the aim of making a memorable meal for each of his literary mentors and to express his gratitude for the way they have shaped his writing and his life.  A wonderful journey!

Cover ImageWalking the Nile Levison Wood 916.2 WOO 2015

Starting in November 2013 in a forest in Rwanda, Wood set forth on foot, aiming to become the first person to walk the entire length of the fabled Nile River.  He followed the Nile for nine months, over 4000 miles and through six nations, to the Mediterranean coast.

Books To Manage Your Life Post-Pandemic

We are finally beginning to return to our normal, pre-pandemic lives. With that brings lots of good things like going out to eat or gathering with friends.  But it also means returning to work, more traffic, busier schedules, and more hectic lives.  Here are just a few titles that you can get from the Sewickley Public Library to help manage your time and ease your mind!

 

The organized mind : thinking straight in the age of information overload / Daniel J. Levitin

New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin shifts his keen insights from your brain on music to your brain in a sea of details. In The Organized Mind , Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, uses the latest brain science to demonstrate how those people excel–and how readers can use their methods to regain a sense of mastery over the way they organize their homes, workplaces, and time.

 

 


Overwhelmed : work, love, and play when no one has the time / Brigid Schulte

Can working parents in America–or anywhere–ever find true leisure time? In Overwhelmed , Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post , asks: Are our brains, our partners, our culture, and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but “contaminated time”?

 

 


Make time : how to focus on what matters every day / Jake Knapp

In a world where information refreshes endlessly and the workday feels like a race to react to other people’s priorities faster, frazzled and distracted has become our default position. But what if the exhaustion of constant busyness wasn’t mandatory? What if you could step off the hamster wheel and start taking control of your time and attention? That’s what this book is about.

 

 


Mindfulness for beginners : reclaiming the present moment– and your life / Jon Kabat-Zinn

We may long for wholeness, suggests Jon Kabat-Zinn, but the truth is that it is already here and already ours. The practice of mindfulness holds the possibility of not just a fleeting sense of contentment, but a true embracing of a deeper unity that envelops and permeates our lives. With Mindfulness for Beginners you are invited to learn how to transform your relationship to the way you think, feel, love, work, and play–and thereby awaken to and embody more completely who you really are.

 

 


The stress-proof brain : master your emotional response to stress using mindfulness & neuroplasticity / Melanie Greenberg

The Stress-Proof Brain offers powerful, comprehensive tools based in mindfulness, neuroscience, and positive psychology to help you put a stop to unhealthy responses to stress–such as avoidance, tunnel vision, negative thinking, self-criticism, fixed mindset, and fear. Instead, you’ll discover unique exercises that provide a recipe for resilience, empowering you to master your emotional responses, overcome negative thinking, and create a more tolerant, stress-proof brain.

 

 


How to relax / Thich Nhat Hanh

Stop, relax mindfully, and recharge to control stress and renew mental freshness and clarity.

The fifth book in the bestselling Mindfulness Essentials series, a back-to-basics collection from world-renowned Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh that introduces everyone to the essentials of mindfulness practice.

 


Martha Stewart’s organizing : the manual for bringing order to your life, home & routines / Martha Stewart

The ultimate guide to getting your life in order–with hundreds of practical and empowering ideas, projects, and tips–from America’s most trusted lifestyle authority.

 

 


Joy at work : organizing your professional life / Marie Kondo

Declutter your desk and brighten up your business with this transformative guide from an organizational psychologist and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The workplace is a magnet for clutter and mess. Who hasn’t felt drained by wasteful meetings, disorganized papers, endless emails, and unnecessary tasks? These are the modern-day hazards of working, and they can slowly drain the joy from work, limit our chances of career progress, and undermine our well-being.

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Millions of Americans are affected by mental health issues each year, though widespread stigmas and misunderstandings about mental illness remain. Mental health issues cover a range of conditions and present a variety of challenges for those affected by it and their loved ones. The following non-fiction titles highlight different forms of mental traumas – from depression to PTSD to dementia – to offer personal perspectives about mental health issues and remind those struggling with mental illness that they are not alone.


Cover ImageBecause We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought by Lily Bailey

By the age of thirteen, Lily Bailey was convinced she was bad. She had killed someone with a thought, spread untold disease, and ogled the bodies of other children. Only by performing an exhausting series of secret routines could she make up for what she’d done. But no matter how intricate or repetitive, no act of penance was ever enough. Beautifully written and astonishingly intimate, Because We Are Bad recounts a childhood consumed by obsessive compulsive disorder.

 

 


All the Things We Never Knew: Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness by Sheila Hamilton

Sheila Hamilton missed the signs as her husband David’s mental illness unfolded before her. By the time she had pieced together the puzzle, it was too late. Her once brilliant and passionate partner was dead within six weeks of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, leaving his wife and nine-year-old daughter without so much as a note to explain his actions. It details their unsettling spiral from ordinary life into the world of mental illness, examines the fragile line between reality and madness, and reveals the true power of love and forgiveness.

 


Cover ImageThe Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was already known as a crusading physician delivering targeted care to vulnerable children. But it was Diego—a boy who had stopped growing after a sexual assault—who galvanized her journey to uncover the connections between toxic stress and lifelong illnesses. Adverse childhood experiences like abuse, neglect, parental addiction, mental illness, and divorce change our biological systems, and lasts a lifetime. The fascinating scientific insight and innovative health interventions in The Deepest Well represent vitally important hope for preventing lifelong illness for those we love and for generations to come.

 

 


Cover ImageIn the Jaws of Black Dogs: a Memoir of Depression by John Bentley Mays

Weaving intimate recollections with excerpts from the diaries he kept for thirty years, Mays illuminates the struggle that leads to breakdown and the uneasy truce achieved through psychotherapy. Along the way, he offers provocative commentary on the allure of cure, the cultural scripts of normality, and the distorting mirror of clinical language. A literary tour de force that began with an award winning essay, In the Jaws of the Black Dogs is not an objective analysis composed from the safety of hindsight. It is a writer’s attempt to evoke the silent and distorting malignancy–as well as the moments of reprieve–of the only life he has ever known.

 

 


Cover ImageThe Evil Hours: A Biography of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by David J. Morris

Just as polio loomed over the 1950s and AIDS stalked the 1980s and 1990s, post-traumatic stress disorder haunts us in the early years of the twenty-first century. Over a decade into the United States’ “global war on terror,” PTSD afflicts as many as 30 percent of the conflict’s veterans. But the disorder’s reach extends far beyond the armed forces. In total, some twenty-seven million Americans are believed to be PTSD survivors. Yet to many of us, the disorder remains shrouded in mystery, secrecy, and shame. Morris crafts a moving work that will speak not only to those with the condition and to their loved ones but also to all of us struggling to make sense of an anxious and uncertain time.

 


Cover ImageDemon Camp: The Strange and Terrible Saga of a Soldier’s Return from War by Jennifer Percy

In 2005 a Chinook helicopter carrying sixteen Special Ops soldiers crashed during a rescue mission in Afghanistan, killing everyone on board. In that instant, machine gunner Caleb Daniels lost his best friend, Kip, and seven members of his unit. Back in the US, Caleb begins to see them everywhere—dead Kip, with his Alice in Wonderland tattoos, and the rest of them, their burned bodies always watching him. But there is something else haunting Caleb, too—a presence he calls the Black Thing, or the Destroyer, a paralyzing horror that Caleb comes to believe is a demon. Alone with these apparitions, Caleb considers killing himself. There is an epidemic of suicide among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder who cannot cope with ordinary life in the aftermath of explosions and carnage. Author Jen Percy finds herself drawn to their stories.

 


Cover ImageMemory’s Last Breath: Field Notes on My Dementia by Gerda Saunders

Based on the “field notes” she keeps in her journal, Memory’s Last Breath is Gerda Saunders’ astonishing window into a life distorted by dementia. She writes about shopping trips cut short by unintentional shoplifting, car journeys derailed when she loses her bearings, and the embarrassment of forgetting what she has just said to a room of colleagues. Coping with the complications of losing short-term memory, Saunders, a former university professor, nonetheless embarks on a personal investigation of the brain and its mysteries, examining science and literature, and immersing herself in vivid memories of her childhood in South Africa.

 

 


If you or someone you know are struggling with a mental illness, the National Alliance on Mental Illness offers resources for support and education to tackle tough challenges that you, your family or friends are facing.

Worthwhile Non-Fiction

Worthwhile Non-Fiction

Get lost in these non-fiction tales that read like fiction.


Cover ImageSPIRIT RUN by Noe Alvarez

At nineteen, Noe Alvarex learned about a Native American/First Nations movement called the Peace and Dignity Journeys, epic marathons meant to renew cultural connections across North America. He dropped out of school and joined a group of Dené, Secwépemc, Gitxsan, Dakelh, Apache, Tohono O’odham, Seri, Purépecha, and Maya runners, all fleeing difficult beginnings. Telling their stories alongside his own, Álvarez writes about a four–month–long journey from Canada to Guatemala that pushed him to his limits. He writes not only of overcoming hunger, thirst, and fear—dangers included stone–throwing motorists and a mountain lion—but also of asserting Indigenous and working–class humanity in a capitalist society where oil extraction, deforestation, and substance abuse wreck communities.


Cover ImageTHE ADVENTURER’S SON by Roman Dial

In the predawn hours of July 10, 2014, 27-year-old Cody Roman Dial, the son of preeminent Alaskan scientist and National Geographic Explorer Roman Dial, walked alone into Corcovado National Park, an untracked rainforest along Costa Rica’s remote Pacific Coast that shelters miners, poachers, and drug smugglers. He carried a light backpack and machete. Before he left, he emailed his father: “I am not sure how long it will take me, but I’m planning on doing 4 days in the jungle and a day to walk out. I’ll be bounded by a trail to the west and the coast everywhere else, so it should be difficult to get lost forever.”  They were the last words Dial received from his son.


Cover ImageTHE ESCAPE ARTIST by Helen Fremont

Fremont writes with wit and candor about growing up in a household held together by a powerful glue: secrets. Her parents, profoundly affected by their memories of the Holocaust, pass on, to both Helen and her older sister, a penchant for keeping their lives neatly, even obsessively compartmentalized, and a zealous determination to protect themselves from what they see as danger from the outside world.

 


Cover ImageYELLOW BIRD by Sierra Crane Murdoch

When Lissa Yellow Bird was released from prison in 2009, she found her home, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, transformed by the Bakken oil boom. In her absence, the landscape had been altered beyond recognition, her tribal government swayed by corporate interests, and her community burdened by a surge in violence and addiction. Three years later, when Lissa learned that a young white oil worker, Kristopher “KC” Clarke, had disappeared from his reservation worksite, she became particularly concerned. No one knew where Clarke had gone, and few people were actively looking for him.  Yellow Bird traces Lissa’s steps as she obsessively hunts for clues to Clarke’s disappearance.


Cover ImageTHE HUNT FOR HISTORY by Nathan Raab

A box uncovered in a Maine attic with twenty letters written by Alexander Hamilton; a handheld address to Congress by President George Washington; a long-lost Gold Medal that belonged to an American President; a note that Winston Churchill wrote to his captor when he was a young POW in South Africa; paperwork signed and filled out by Amelia Earhart when she became the first woman to fly the Atlantic; an American flag carried to the moon and back by Neil Armstrong; an unpublished letter written by Albert Einstein, discussing his theory of relativity.  Each day, people from all over the world contact Nathan Raab for help understanding what they have, what it might be worth, and how to sell it.


Cover ImageUNCANNY VALLEY by Anna Wiener

In her mid-twenties Anna Wiener—stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress.  Anna arrived amidst a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building.

Herstory: Exploring Women’s History

Herstory: Exploring Women’s History

Celebrate Women’s History Month by discovering real life stories of extraordinary women.

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

In centering Black women’s stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women’s unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today.

A Black Women’s History of the United States reaches far beyond a single narrative to showcase Black women’s lives in all their fraught complexities.


My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.


Jefferson’s Daughters by Catherine Kerrison

Thomas Jefferson had three daughters: Martha and Maria by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, and Harriet by his slave Sally Hemings. Although the three women shared a father, the similarities end there. Martha and Maria received a fine convent school education while they lived with their father during his diplomatic posting in Paris. Once they returned home, however, the sisters found their options limited by the laws and customs of early America. Harriet Hemings followed a different path. She escaped slavery—apparently with the assistance of Jefferson himself. Leaving Monticello behind, she boarded a coach and set off for a decidedly uncertain future.

For this groundbreaking triple biography, history scholar Catherine Kerrison has uncovered never-before-published documents written by the Jefferson sisters, as well as letters written by members of the Jefferson and Hemings families.


A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.”

The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill’s “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and–despite her prosthetic leg–helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.


The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or “human computers,” to interpret the observations their male counterparts made via telescope each night. At the outset this group included the wives, sisters, and daughters of the resident astronomers, but soon the female corps included graduates of the new women’s colleges—Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned from computation to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates.

Elegantly written and enriched by excerpts from letters, diaries, and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden history of the women whose contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe.


Daring to Drive by Manal al-Sharif

Manal al-Sharif grew up in Mecca the second daughter of a taxi driver, born the year fundamentalism took hold. In her adolescence, she was a religious radical, melting her brother’s boy band cassettes in the oven because music was haram: forbidden by Islamic law. But what a difference an education can make. By her twenties she was a computer security engineer, one of few women working in a desert compound that resembled suburban America. That’s when the Saudi kingdom’s contradictions became too much to bear: she was labeled a slut for chatting with male colleagues, her teenage brother chaperoned her on a business trip, and while she kept a car in her garage, she was forbidden from driving down city streets behind the wheel.

Daring to Drive is the fiercely intimate memoir of an accidental activist, a powerfully vivid story of a young Muslim woman who stood up to a kingdom of men–and won.


The Doctors Blackwell by Janice P Nimura

Elizabeth Blackwell believed from an early age that she was destined for a mission beyond the scope of “ordinary” womanhood. Though the world at first recoiled at the notion of a woman studying medicine, her intelligence and intensity ultimately won her the acceptance of the male medical establishment. In 1849, she became the first woman in America to receive an M.D. She was soon joined in her iconic achievement by her younger sister, Emily, who was actually the more brilliant physician.

Exploring the sisters’ allies, enemies, and enduring partnership, Janice P. Nimura presents a story of trial and triumph. Together, the Blackwells founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, the first hospital staffed entirely by women.