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  • 21 Day Sugar Detox

    The 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo. “For those looking for a jumpstart to bathing suit season”

  • Alexander Hamilton

    Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.  Also Hamilton The Revolution by Lin Manuel Miranda. "Listen to the Hamilton soundtrack 5-6 times.  Then read this book.  Then see the show.  Then find a 12-step program because you will get hooked." “I’m making my kids read the Chernow biography before we will take them to see Hamilton. This has two benefits: 1) help them appreciate the show more; 2) ticket prices will come down by the time they get through it.” And: "Given the craziness around Hamilton the musical, I decided to re-read Chernow's book on Alexander Hamilton. Hearing Manual Miranda's lyrics from Hamilton the musical practically every morning I drive my daughters to school, I was interested in the translation from book to musical. It is amazing how his lyrics tell the breadth and depth of Hamilton's story as well as the book. To some extent, Hamilton's life was both amazing and a soap opera, making a great story for a biography or a musical. My only complaint is with some of Chernow's writing. On numerous occasions he feels like he has to show off is SAT vocabulary when a more accessible word would do."

  • As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride

    As You Wish:  Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes. "It's not great literature but it's great fun. If you love The Princess Bride (and who doesn't, right?) then this is a real treat to listen to. Cary Elwes is the primary voice but Rob Reiner, Billy Crystal etc etc all chime in to tell you how much they enjoyed making the movie. Don't expect ANY dirt - this is a love fest and I loved every second of it".

  • Bad Days in History

    Bad Days in History: A Gleefully Grim Chronicle of Misfortune, Mayhem, and Misery for Every Day of the Year by Michael Farquhar. “Tons of fun, very much in the Michael Farquhar style, which I love. It's the kind of book you can have on a coffee table and people will pick it up, look for their birthday, then keep thumbing through it, laughing. Great gift for people who love history and trivia.”

  • Being Mortal

    Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. “Thought provoking and, at times, difficult to listen to book - but one that I would highly recommend to everyone. It especially hit home now that I'm in those sandwich years between the kids/grandkids and the aging parent. Almost every story and aspect of this book was recognizable in my own life and made me think about how I need to deal with other people's health and mortality as well as my own. Sounds pretty heavy but Gawande makes it all very accessible. Highly recommend!”

  • Blood and Thunder

    Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides. “In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of “Manifest Destiny,” this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness. In Blood and Thunder, Hampton Sides gives us a magnificent history of the American conquest of the West. At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.”

  • Blood and Thunder

    Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides. “In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of “Manifest Destiny,” this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness. In Blood and Thunder, Hampton Sides gives us a magnificent history of the American conquest of the West. At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.”

  • Bobby Wonderful

    Bobby Wonderful by Bob Morris.  Another title released just prior to our 2015 list publication, this is a recommendation from our mole in the publishing world.  “His mother's last word was his name. His father's was ‘Wonderful.’ Together they inspired the title for this true story of love and redemption.Bob Morris was always the entertainer in his family, but not always a perfect son. When he finds his parents approaching the end of their lives, he begins to see his relationship to them in a whole new light and it changes his way of thinking.  How does an adult child with flaws and limitations figure out how to do his best for his ailing parents while still carrying on and enjoying his own life? And when their final days on earth come, how can he give them the best possible end?  In the tradition of bestselling memoirs by Christopher Buckley, Joan Didion, and with a dash of David Sedaris, BOBBY WONDERFUL recounts two poignant deaths and one family's struggle to find the silver lining in them. As accessible as he is insightful, Bob Morris infuses each moment of his profound emotional journey with dark comedy, spiritual inquiry and brutally honest self-examination.  This is a little book. But it captures a big and universal experience.”

  • Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. “Inspiring true story, well told.  Great read to jointly read with a teen/pre-teen.  Push through the first few chapters and it is a quick 'can't put it down' read.”

  • Carry On, Warrior

    Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton. “In Carry On, Warrior, Glennon Melton’s honesty, thoughtfulness, and humor will keep readers racing through the pages—and set them thinking more deeply about their own lives.” ….“Glennon embodies all that we want to be and fear we are not: she is authentic, funny, wise, loving, and resilient in the face of extraordinary challenges. But the magic of Carry On, Warrior is that by the time you finish the book, you realize you ARE all those things, and more. It is a book that actually makes you feel that you are loved and cherished. Has a book ever accomplished anything more marvelous than that?” (Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of The Language of Flowers)

  • Creativity, Inc

    Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull. “I highly recommend this business book.  Written by a founder at Pixar, Catmull provides some great insight about encouraging risk-taking and collaboration in any type of organization.  It is clear to me that the success of Pixar isn't because of a few innovative animators, but an entire organization working with the same vision.”

  • Dead Wake

    Dead Wake by Eric Larsen. “The story of the final voyage of the passenger liner The Lusitania and the confluence of events that lead to its sinking at the start of WW1.  Chapters alternate between the stories of the passengers and crew and the unfolding political situation as the US and President Wilson sought to avoid involvement in the European conflict.  A perfect balance between a novel and an historical account of the early days of WW1.” …..From Amazon:  “On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas. Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.”

  • Do the Work

    Do the Work by Steven Pressfield.  This is a little book. A very little book.  But it’s the most wonderful volume for anyone with creative ambition.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  • Does this Volvo Make my Butt Look Big

    Does This Volvo Make My Butt Look Big? Thoughts for Moms and Other Tired People by Annabel Monaghan. “Wherever you are when you read this book, you will spontaneously burst into laughter. All the absurdities of raising a family in this day and age, the impossible expectations thrust onto mothers, are in there.  In a series of essays, Monaghan renders with precision and wit our daily lives:  the grocery store runs, school fairs, parent-teacher conferences, and playdates. You will see yourself in here but mostly those ‘other’ moms who ruin it for the rest of us! You will learn to celebrate your cranky selfish side who is craving ’me’ time”.

  • Empire of the Summer Moon

    Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne.  “In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all. S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches. Although readers may be more familiar with the tribal names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and when the American West opened up. Comanche boys became adept bareback riders by age six; full Comanche braves were considered the best horsemen who ever rode. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. So effective were the Comanches that they forced the creation of the Texas Rangers and account for the advent of the new weapon specifically designed to fight them: the six-gun. The war with the Comanches lasted four decades, in effect holding up the development of the new American nation. Gwynne’s exhilarating account delivers a sweeping narrative that encompasses Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads—a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being. Against this backdrop Gwynne presents the compelling drama of Cynthia Ann Parker, a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower-blue eyes who was kidnapped by Comanches from the far Texas frontier in 1836. She grew to love her captors and became infamous as the "White Squaw" who refused to return until her tragic capture by Texas Rangers in 1860. More famous still was her son Quanah, a warrior who was never defeated and whose guerrilla wars in the Texas Panhandle made him a legend. S. C. Gwynne’s account of these events is meticulously researched, intellectually provocative, and, above all, thrillingly told. Empire of the Summer Moon announces him as a major new.”

  • Empty Mansions

    Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman  From Amazon: "Fascinating book about the wealthiest family in the US you've probably never heard of.  The story of how the book ‘Empty Mansions’ came to be, in the words of Bill Dedman, one of its two authors, begins with ‘an exercise in American aspiration.’ And when Mr. Dedman, a journalist, embarked on that exercise, he could not have guessed how right that phrase would be. In 2009 he and his wife were looking for a house outside New York City. Just for fun, Mr. Dedman Googled real estate listings in the astronomical range. He found a markdown in New Canaan, Conn., a house that had gone from $35 million to $24 million and had one very unusual feature, even more unusual than its room for drying draperies. The place had been unoccupied since it was purchased. In 1951."

  • Geography of Loss

    The Geography of Loss by Patti Digh. “If you have suffered any loss which still feels large, heavy and burdensome, this book of essays and beautiful art will give you a way toward peace. NPR recently ran this story.”

  • Glass Castle

    The Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls. This emerged as the “must read” for the summer of 2006. Has been called an American Angela’s Ashes. “So touching, sweet, sad and hilariously funny. Page one and you are hooked. You MUST read it!"

  • Goddesses Never Age

    Goddesses Never Age by Christine Northrup. “Come on, don't we all need a little dose of this?  " Explaining that the state of our health is dictated far more by our beliefs than by our biology, she works to shift our perceptions about getting older and show us what we are entitled to expect from our later years—no matter what our culture tries to teach us to the contrary"

  • Hellhound on His Trail

    Hellhound On His Trail by Hampton Sides. From Random House:  “”On April 23, 1967, Prisoner #416J, an inmate at the notorious Missouri State Penitentiary, escaped in a breadbox. Fashioning himself Eric Galt, this nondescript thief and con man—whose real name was James Earl Ray—drifted through the American South, into Mexico, and then Los Angeles, where he was galvanized by George Wallace’s racist presidential campaign. On February 1, 1968, two Memphis garbage men were crushed to death in their hydraulic truck, provoking the exclusively African American workforce to go on strike. Hoping to resuscitate his faltering crusade, King joined the sanitation workers’ cause, but their march down Beale Street, the historic avenue of the blues, turned violent. Humiliated, King fatefully vowed to return to Memphis that April. With relentless storytelling drive, Hampton Sides follows Galt and King as they crisscross the country, until the crushing moment at the Lorraine Motel when the drifter catches up with his prey. Against the backdrop of the resulting nationwide riots and the pathos of King’s funeral, Sides gives us a riveting cross-cut narrative of the assassin’s flight and the sixty-five-day search that led investigators to Canada, Portugal, and England—a massive manhunt ironically led by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. Magnificent in scope, drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material, this nonfiction thriller illuminates one of the darkest hours in American life—an example of how history is so often a matter of the petty bringing down the great.”