Monday, July 25, 2016

New Nonfiction

The Peter White Public Library offers these new nonfiction books.

Liberty or Death: The French Revolution by Peter McPhee.
A thorough recounting of a complex event. Author McPhee includes the context of contemporary events to explore the ways in which the world was changing toward the end of the 18th century, and how the revolution impacted the human condition. He gives examples of how life was changed (or not changed) by the events of the revolution for the inhabitants of Paris, France, the French colonies, and the world. “McPhee’s extraordinary work is destined to be the standard account of the French Revolution for years to come.” -Publishers Weekly
New Adult Nonfiction 944.04 MC

You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf From Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia by Jack Lynch.
A history book for information junkies and lovers of words. If you have spent time pouring through the Guinness Book of World Records, looked up rules of card games in the Book of Hoyle, or used Roget’s Thesaurus to brighten up your writing, you might appreciate this volume which includes all these topics and much more. Each is given a chapter to illuminate its history, and provides insight into why we are compelled to create such works in the first place.
New Adult Nonfiction 028.709 LY

Oneida: From Free Love Utopia to the Well-Set Table, an American story by Ellen Wayland-Smith.
One of the United States’ best known purveyors of flatware has a backstory that begins as a mid-nineteenth century utopian commune. John Humphrey Noyes and his followers mixed spirituality, capitalism, sexuality, technology, and advertising in an attempt to create a “New Jerusalem”. The flatware company produced its product in New York State for over a century. Author Ellen Wayland-Smith is a descendant of Noyes.
New Adult Nonfiction 307.77 WA

My Father and Atticus Finch: A Lawyer's Fight for Justice in 1930s Alabama by Joseph Madison Beck.
The circumstances of this court case were likely an inspiration for Harper Lee’s landmark novel To Kill a Mockingbird. This insightful book peers into everyday life in small-town Alabama. The details of the court case were pulled from the official transcript, along with the personal recollections of the author’s father. The author is also a lawyer, giving additional insight into the case.
New Adult Nonfiction 345.761 BU

Learn to Timber Frame: Craftsmanship, Simplicity, Timeless Beauty by Will Beemer.
Timber frame buildings have an enduring rugged quality that can last for generations. This is a straightforward book that will introduce you to the methods of timber framing, with excellent diagrams. The example project in the book is a 12’ x 16’ timber frame structure, which may be adapted to suit a number of purposes. The author and his wife have run the Heartwood School for the Home Building Crafts in Washington, Massachusetts since 1978. Beemer is also a founding member of the Timber Framers Guild.
New Adult Nonfiction 694.2 BE                

--Bruce MacDonald, Head of Circulation                                                

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Top Picks" from Book Page

Looking for a new book to read at the Peter White Public Library?  I always pick up the current monthly issue of Book Page: America’s Book Review available free, compliments of the Friends of the Peter White Public Library whose Book Sales and new Book Store help raise funds for the library.  You can find Book Page on the desk across from the Library’s Circulation Desk.  It’s chock-full of reviews of books in categories from Audio, Library  Reads, Whodunits, Book Clubs, Cooking, Lifestyles, Romance, Teen and Children’s, author interviews, columns and  “Top Picks”.  Some recent “Top Picks” include:
            For Book Clubs: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen.  The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and compared by critics to the works of Graham Greene, Denis Johnson, and George Orwell, The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity, politics, and America. The narrator, a Vietnamese army captain, is a man of divided loyalties, a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist sleeper agent in America after the end of the Vietnam War. A gripping espionage novel that examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.
            Nonfiction:  The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing.  What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live, if we're not intimately engaged with another human being? How do we connect with other people? Does technology draw us closer together or trap us behind screens? When Laing moved to New York City in her mid-thirties she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving between works and lives--from Edward Hopper's Nighthawks to Andy Warhol's Time Capsules and from Henry Darger's hoarding to the depredations of the AIDS crisis, Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone, illuminating not only the causes of loneliness but also how it might be resisted and redeemed.
            Memoir:  Dinner with Edward: a Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent.  At a difficult time in her life--her marriage crumbling, and challenged by her reporting job at the New York Post and the aggressive brand of journalism it demanded—Vincent was asked by a friend to look in on her ninety something father, whose wife had recently died. Vincent agrees, but she certainly didn't expect that her dinners with the grieving man would act as a salve during this tough time. Edward, a devoted host and self-taught chef with a penchant for dispensing advice and a poet at heart, insists on preparing his multicourse feasts for the two of them without assistance. And what feasts they are! Vincent's descriptions of food, written with the sumptuous detail of a restaurant review, are something to savor, as are her recollections of Edward and the way he dedicated himself to living after having lost the love of his life.
            Audio:  Boys in the Trees by Carly Simon. Simon's memoir reveals her remarkable life, beginning with her storied childhood as the third daughter of Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster, her musical debut as half of The Simon Sisters, performing folk songs with her sister Lucy in Greenwich Village, to a meteoric solo career that would result in thirteen top 40 hits, including the number one song 'You're So Vain.' She was the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, for her song 'Let the River Run' from the movie Working Girl. The memoir recalls a childhood enriched by music and culture, but also one shrouded in secrets that would eventually tear her family apart. Includes original music composed especially for the program by Carly Simon and Teese Gold, plus a previously unreleased bonus song from Carly Simon.
            Romance: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas. Devon Ravenel has never been anyone's hero, nor does he wish to become one. Unfortunately, after his cousin, Theo, unexpectedly dies, Devon inherits the family title and all the responsibility that comes with it, including the ramshackle estate, Eversby Priory. Devon's initial plan is to dismantle the manor, but this strategy hits an unexpected snag in the person of Theo's lovely young widow, Kathleen who isn’t about to see it wiped off the face of the earth by one irresponsible, self-serving rake. However, convincing Devon to accept his responsibilities as the new Earl of Trenear is definitely going to take all of Kathleen's wits and more than a few of her womanly wiles.
            History:  Valiant Ambition:  George Washington, Benedict Arnold and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick.  In September 1776, the vulnerable Continental Army under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle) evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British Army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war. Four years later, as the book ends, Washington has vanquished his demons and Arnold has fled to the enemy after a foiled attempt to surrender the American fortress at West Point to the British. After four years of war, America is forced to realize that the real threat to its liberties might not come from without but from within.
            Teen:  Unbecoming by Jenny Downham.  Life has just become very complicated for seventeen-year-old Katie-- her father walked out a year ago, her mother is stressed out, her brother is a "special needs" teenager, and she is caring for the maternal grandmother she has never met, who is suffering from Alzheimer's--and Katie has a secret of her own that she cannot reveal. As Katie struggles with her identity and Mary struggles with her memories, long-buried family secrets are revealed about all three generations of women. A book teens—and adults--won’t want to miss.
             Library Reads (recommended by librarians across the country): Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman.  Britt-Marie is 63, a socially awkward, fussy busybody who is used to being organized. When she walks out on her cheating husband and gets a job as caretaker of the dilapidated recreation center in Borg, Sweden she is woefully unprepared for the changes. But as she takes on the task of leading the supremely untalented children's soccer team to victory, she just might find a place where she belongs.

--Caroline Jordan, retired librarian

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Getting to know yourself

I remember learning in high school literature class (long ago) the three types of conflict:  man vs man, man vs his environment, or man vs himself.   So if one is battling one’s self, does that make the battle easier to win or harder? Peter White Public Library offers an array of titles that invite readers to get to know themselves and strive for inner peace.

Journey to the ancestral self: the native lifeway guide to living in harmony with the Earth Mother by Tamarack Song

"For the deer and the grasses I have written this book, so that we may again be At One with them," writes Tamarack Song in this guide to native lifeways. Though the author is white, the book speaks to readers of every background who seek a connection with their essential self -- that person, deep within, "who dances to the Drum around the ritual Fire, who knows healing lore from times when plants spoke, who yearns for the peace and Blessings of walking again in the Balance of Our Earth." The author shares his unique message: that the lifeways of all Native peoples are essentially one, sharing not just the same ceremonies and life transitions, but the same spirit and reverence for life; and that all of us, regardless of ethnic background or religious upbringing, are essentially Native people. 

The tides of mind: uncovering the spectrum of consciousness by David Hillel Gelernter
This new exploration of the human psyche shows us how the purpose of the mind changes throughout the day. As Gelernter explains, when we are at our most alert, when reasoning and creating new memories is our main mental business, the mind is a computer-like machine that keeps emotion on a short leash and attention on our surroundings. As we gradually tire, however, and descend the "mental spectrum," reasoning comes unglued. Memory ranges more freely, the mind wanders, and daydreams grow more insistent. Self-awareness fades, reflection blinks out, and at last we are completely immersed in our own minds.  By understanding this process, David Gelernter hopes to answer many of our most fundamental questions about the origins of creativity, thought, and consciousness.

Smarter faster better: the secrets of productivity in life and business by Charles Duhigg
At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key productivity concepts—motivation, goal setting, focus, decision making, etc—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently.  They know that productivity relies on making certain choices. The way we frame our daily decisions; the big ambitions we embrace and the easy goals we ignore; the cultures we establish as leaders to drive innovation; the way we interact with data: These are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive.

Pretty happy: healthy ways to love your body by Kate Hudson
In Pretty Happy, Hudson shows how she honors her relationship with herself through exercise, making the right choices about what she eats, and constantly going back to the drawing board and starting fresh, instead of holding herself to unrealistic standards of perfection and giving up when she falls short.

How to have a good day: harnessing the power of behavioral science to transform our working lives by Caroline Webb
In How to Have a Good Day, Webb explains how to apply behavioral science to our daily tasks and routines. She translates three big scientific ideas into step-by-step guidance that shows us how to set better priorities, make our time go further, be our smartest selves, strengthen our personal impact, be resilient to setbacks, and boost our energy and enjoyment. Through it all, Webb teaches us how to navigate the typical challenges of modern workplaces—from conflict with colleagues to dull meetings and overflowing inboxes—with skill and ease.

The 30-day sobriety solution: how to cut back or quit drinking in the privacy of your own home by Jack Canfield
Organized into five phases that span 30-day periods, this book guides you through each day with practical exercises that, over time, allow you to more easily make positive choices again and again. Canfield’s program moves systematically from beliefs (including limiting ones) to feelings and emotions to concrete actions and behaviors that promote better outcomes.
Integrating neuroscience, cognitive therapy, proven tools, and teachings, The 30-Day Sobriety Solution is a clear, practical daily program designed to help you achieve your goals—whether that’s getting sober or just cutting back—and create positive, permanent change in your life.

Presence: bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges by Amy Joy Casselberry Cuddy
By accessing our personal power, we can achieve "presence," the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we're making on others and instead adjust the impression we've been making on ourselves. As Harvard professor Amy Cuddy's revolutionary book reveals, we don't need to embark on a grand spiritual quest or complete an inner transformation to harness the power of presence. Instead, we need to nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language, behavior, and mind-set in our day-to-day lives.

Living with intent: my somewhat messy journey to purpose, peace, and joy by Mallika Chopra
Living with Intent is a chronicle of Mallika Chopra’s search to find more meaning, joy, and balance in life. She hopes that by telling her story, she can inspire others with her own successes (and failures) as well as share some of the wisdom she has gathered from friends, experts, and family along the way— people like her dad, Deepak, as well as Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, Arianna Huffington, Andrew Weil, and Dan Siegel. She also provides a practical road map for how we can all move from thought to action to outcome.

--Ellen Moore, Webmaster