In a gritty debut, Vlautin explores a few weeks in the broken lives of two working-class brothers, Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, who abruptly ditch their Reno motel after Jerry Lee drunkenly kills a boy on a bicycle in a hit-and-run. The two are case studies in hard luck: their mother died when they were 14 and 16, respectively; their father is an ex-con deadbeat; neither finished high school. Frank has had just one girlfriend, motel neighbor Annie, whose mother is an abusive prostitute. An innocent simpleton, Jerry Lee is left feeling suicidal after the accident, despite his younger brother’s efforts (à la Of Mice and Men’s Lenny and George) to console him: “It was real quiet, the way he cried,” says Frank, “like he was whimpering.” On returning to Reno, an eventual reckoning awaits them. Vlautin’s coiled, poetically matter-of-fact prose calls to mind S.E. Hinton—a writer well-acquainted with male misfit protagonists seeking redemption, no matter how destructive. Despite the bleak story and its inevitably tragic ending, Vlautin, who plays in the alt-country band Richmond Fontaine, transmits a quiet sense of resilience and hopefulness. (May)
Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information, Review provided by Publisher’s Weekly
As a college student he spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll.
Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world’s best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world’s most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it’s not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob’s love takes action. Bob believes Love Does.
When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don’t want to miss.
Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too.
Review provided by publisher Thomas Nelson
In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.
Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who—born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution—bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert’s wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.
Review provided by Viking Penguin
In the 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones were boyhood pals in a small town in rural Mississippi. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry was the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, black single mother. But then Larry took a girl to a drive-in movie and she was never seen or heard from again. He never confessed . . . and was never charged.
More than twenty years have passed. Larry lives a solitary, shunned existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has become the town constable. And now another girl has disappeared, forcing two men who once called each other “friend” to confront a past they’ve buried for decades.
Severely wounded in the Iraq war, Leroy Kervin has lived in a group home for eight years. Frustrated by the simplest daily routines, he finds his existence has become unbearable. An act of desperation helps him disappear deep into his mind, into a world of romance and science fiction, danger and adventure where he is whole once again. Freddie McCall, the night man at Leroy’s group home, works two jobs yet still can’t make ends meet. He’s lost his wife and kids, and the house is next. Medical bills have buried him in debt, a situation that propels him to consider a lucrative–and dangerous–proposition. Pauline Hawkins, a nurse, cares for the sick and wounded, including Leroy. She also looks after her mentally ill elderly father. Yet she remains emotionally removed, until she meets a young runaway who touches something deep and unexpected inside her.
It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again….
Potok’s first novel, The Chosen, was published in 1967, and he quickly won acclaim for this best-selling book about tensions within the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities. This and later books have been both critically and popularly successful. Many of them explore the meaning of Judaism in the modern era, focusing on the conflict between traditional teachings and the pressures of modern life. The Chosen was nominated for a National Book Award in 1967 and made into a successful film in 1982. Its sequel, The Promise (1969) was the winner of an Athenaeum Award.
This is such a great book! It could have been so predictable, but the author makes it into one of the most original reads I’ve had in a long time. I was immediately engaged with the story and liked the characters. There were so many spot-on things written about the lives of busy working moms struggling with balancing work and family. I found it very relatable on that level. I highly recommend this to readers of intelligent chick-lit!
From Barnes & Noble
“My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died….” Her husband had not intended that she read the letter until after his demise, but Cecilia’s curiosity betrayed him. The unsettling words that she read forever changed the life of this once contented wife and mother; yet this well-intended posthumous missive also becomes the spur that enables Cecilia to connect with two other women recently pushed towards crossroads. A new novel by Liane Moriarty (What Alice Forgot; The Hypnotist’s Love) as original and well-crafted as a fine string quartet.
Kale is the veggie everyone’s gone mad for—from farmers and foodies to celebrity chefs! For those eager to get in on this healthy, tasty trend, here is a fun-to-read, one-stop resource for all things kale, including more than 75 recipes to entice, satisfy, and boost your well-being. The dishes include meltingly tender stews, flash-sautéed side dishes, salads and slaws, sandwiches, smoothies, and even muffins and chips. Stephanie Pedersen, a holistic health counselor and experienced health writer, provides dozens of tips for making kale delicious and desirable to even the most finicky eater. You’ll even learn how to start your own kale garden and turn over a new leaf for a healthier life.
David Rhodes’s long-awaited new novel turns an unblinking eye on an array of eccentric characters and situations. The setting is Words, Wisconsin, an anonymous town of only a few hundred people. But under its sleepy surface, life rages. Cora and Graham guard their dairy farm, and family, from the wicked schemes of their milk co-op. Lifelong paraplegic Olivia suddenly starts to walk, only to find herself crippled by her fury toward her sister and caretaker, Violet. Recently retired Rusty finds a cougar living in his haymow, dredging up haunting childhood memories. Winifred becomes pastor of the Friends church and stumbles on enlightenment in a very unlikely place. And Julia Montgomery, both private and gregarious, instigates a series of events that threatens the town’s solitude and doggedly suspicious ways. Driftless finds the author’s powers undiminished in this unforgettable story that evokes a small-town America previously unmapped, and the damaged denizens who must make their way through it.
For fans of Gillian Flynn and Daniel Woodrell, a dark, gripping debut novel of literary suspense about two mysterious disappearances, a generation apart, and the meaning of family-the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.
The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.
Amy Allen Clark (creator of MomAdvice.com) has written a gem of book. I must say the title of the book got my attention immediately. Who doesn’t what to live the good life for less? We all do, right? I must admit I have gotten more skeptical with age, but by end of the first chapter I was hooked. Clark has such a down-to earth, conversational style you practically feel like you know her! She and her husband struggled early in their marriage with finances, and although they have made their way out of debt, they still choose to live simply and within their means. I was impressed by Clark’s many smart and creative ideas for families living on a budget. She also includes a chapter of good recipes I have already introduced to my family, and most importantly, they liked them! This book is a guide for everyone who finds themselves challenged to juggle all the roles that come with working and parenting Amy Allen Clark gives you the tools, the guidance, and the inspiration you need to run your own household with wisdom, wit, love, and style. As a Librarian at Missouri River Regional Library, I purchased the book for the library and checked it out. I wasn’t even half-way through reading the book before I decided I need to invest in my own copy, and that is truly the best endorsement I can give any book!
In How to Find Out Anything, master researcher Don MacLeod explains how to find what you’re looking for quickly, efficiently, and accurately—and how to avoid the most common mistakes of the Google Age.
Not your average research book, How to Find Out Anything shows you how to unveil nearly anything about anyone. From top CEO’s salaries to police records, you’ll learn little-known tricks for discovering the exact information you’re looking for. You’ll learn:
- How to really tap the power of Google, and why Google is the best place to start a search, but never the best place to finish it.
- The scoop on vast, yet little-known online resources that search engines cannot scour, such as refdesk.com, ipl.org, the University of Michigan Documents Center, and Project Gutenberg, among many others.
- How to access free government resources (and put your tax dollars to good use).
- How to find experts and other people with special knowledge.
- How to dig up seemingly confidential information on people and businesses, from public and private companies to non-profits and international companies.
Whether researching for a term paper or digging up dirt on an ex, the advice in this book arms you with the sleuthing skills to tackle any mystery.
Go from surviving to thriving! Anyone who has ever lost weight only to ultimately gain it back will benefit from this life-changing breakthrough program that shows you not only how to reach and maintain your healthy weight, but how to create a life of renewed vibrancy and become as healthy as you can. Thousands of people worldwide have gone from discouragement to confidence by following this easy-to-use guide by Dr. Andersen, one of America’s most esteemed and compassionate practitioners of weight loss and optimal health. Discover Your Optimal Health teaches you how to live better, happier, and healthier into your eighties, nineties, and beyond.
With the same incomparable style and warm, inviting voice that have made her beloved by millions of readers far and wide, “New York Times” bestselling author Fannie Flagg has written an enchanting Christmas story of faith and hope for all ages that is sure to become a classic.
Deep in the southernmost part of Alabama, along the banks of a lazy winding river, lies the sleepy little community known as Lost River, a place that time itself seems to have forgotten. After a startling diagnosis from his doctor, Oswald T. Campbell leaves behind the cold and damp of the oncoming Chicago winter to spend what he believes will be his last Christmas in the warm and welcoming town of Lost River. There he meets the postman who delivers mail by boat, the store owner who nurses a broken heart, the ladies of the Mystic Order of the Royal Polka Dots Secret Society, who do clandestine good works. And he meets a little redbird named Jack, who is at the center of this tale of a magical Christmas when something so amazing happened that those who witnessed it have never forgotten it. Once you experience the wonder, you too will never forget “A Redbird Christmas.”
More than two decades after moving to Saudi Arabia and marrying powerful Abdullah Baylani, American-born Rosalie learns that her husband has taken a second wife. That discovery plunges their family into chaos as Rosalie grapples with leaving Saudi Arabia, her life, and her family behind. Meanwhile, Abdullah and Rosalie’s consuming personal entanglements blind them to the crisis approaching their sixteen-year-old son, Faisal, whose deepening resentment toward their lifestyle has led to his involvement with a controversial sheikh. When Faisal makes a choice that could destroy everything his embattled family holds dear, all must confront difficult truths as they fight to preserve what remains of their world.
“The Ruins of Us” is a timely story about intolerance, family, and the injustices we endure for love that heralds the arrival of an extraordinary new voice in contemporary fiction.
Caulfield’s book has been dubbed the Freaknomics of the health industry. Like many women, my weight has always been an issue. I like to eat everything that is bad for you ( I like good stuff too) from fast food to donuts, and watch out if I don’t have my afternoon Coca-cola! I’m not much of an exerciser and my genetic make-up is not playing in my favor. I try my best….I’ve been a weight watcher, a slim faster, a sugar buster, a Jenny Craigster, just to name a few! Caulfield’s book equally humorous and depressing. Guess what? There is NO magic diet! Researcher Timothy Caulfield talks with experts in medicine, pharmaceuticals, health and fitness, and even tries out many of the health fads himself, in order to test their scientific validity, dispel the myths, and illuminate the path to better health. His findings are simple: intense exercise is best; eating fewer calories, more fruits and veggies, and no junk is better than any fad diet; and that you need to be “skeptical, scientific, self-aware and patient” to decipher greed-fueled mixed messages from food, drug, and diet conglomerates. No one says it’s easy, Caulfied notes, but the truth never is.
This is a very whimsical children’s poetry book about books with fun titles like “Calling all Readers,” “A Character Pleads for his Life,” “On the Shelf and Under the Bed,” “Paper Sky, Bookplate,” and “I’ve got this covered” just to name a few. Characters plead for sequels, book jackets strut their stuff, and we get a sneak peek at the raucous parties in the aisles when all the lights go out at the bookstore! My daughter and I took turns reading the twenty-one poems aloud to each other and found ourselves giggling until the very end.
After repeatedly hearing what a great book this is from several people, and most importantly my 10 year old son, I decided to read it out loud to my 8 year old daughter. Neither of were prepared for the emotional impact his book would have on us and for me, it lingers in my mind to this day. Meet Melody. She is a 5th grader who suffers from cerebral palsy. Although Melody has never spoken a single word or walked one step, she is one brillant young girl. Her mind is always working overtime! This book is about assumptions….the ones we make about people who are different than us, especially people with disabilites. Everyone in Melody’s world assumes just because her body doesn’t work that her brain doesn’t either. This book is told in Melody’s unsentimental voice, and she tells it exactly how it is! With the exception of her parents and another caregiver, she is considered invisible and incapable of interaction, let alone actually being able to learn something or contribute in a classroom setting. She is literally going “out of her mind” from boredom and frustration and the inability ot express herself. She is wasting away in school classes that don’t even begin to quench her thirst for learning….until a special teacher sees her potential. Soon after, with the help of her devoted after-school care giver, Melody acquires a medi-talker (a machine that gives her a voice) and a whole new world is opens up to her….but it isn’t necessarily an accepting one. Melody still struggles against preconceived notions about her and her disability….even from teachers! This book is a must read for 3-6 graders, and is a Mark Twain nominee with a strong chance of winning this year’s award. My money is on Sharon Draper! This is a great book with a tough, but realistic ending.
Mudbound is a modern classic in my estimation. It currently resides in my top ten list, and Jordan is my new one-to-watch favorite author. I am already trying to find out when her next book will be published! Mudbound was Jordan’s 2006 debut novel and it was honored with the Bellwether prize for fiction. The book is about prejudice. The year is 1946 and Laura McAllan is struggling to raise her children on her husband’s muddy Mississippi Delta farm., a place she dislikes from the outset and grows to hate. In the midst of the family’s farm struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, who is everything her husband is not—-charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, who has come home a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its heartbreaking conclusion. The men and women of each family relate their versions of events and we are drawn into their lives as they become players in a tragedy we know was lived out by so many others years ago.