Monday, July 2, 2018

If you're having a bad day...

(Orignally published April 14, 2018)

As I gather together titles for this article, Marquette is immersed in a weather pattern that just doesn’t fit my mental construct of what Spring is supposed to be.  It’s cold, it’s windy, and nary a daffodil is to be seen.  This morning I went to the PWPL online catalog in search of new books with the word “humor” in the record and was rewarded with the following titles to lift my spirits. 

Treating People Well by Lea Berman is a guide to personal and professional empowerment through civility and social skills, written by two White House Social Secretaries who offer an important fundamental message-- everyone is important and everyone deserves to be treated well.

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin is a debut novel that pulses with humor and empathy and explores the heart's capacity for forgiveness. Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they're happily married wives and mothers with successful careers. Their lives are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.

The Complete Peanuts by Charles Schultz collects all the "Peanuts" comic strips as originally published in newspapers, including both daily and Sunday strips into individual volumes that we have housed in the Teen Graphic Novel collection.  The Peanuts have been lifting “kids” of all ages out of the doldrums for my whole life. 

In L’appart:  The delights and disasters of making my Paris Home, bestselling author and world-renowned chef David Lebovitz writes about his evolving ex-pat life in Paris, using his perplexing experiences in apartment renovation as a launching point for stories about French culture, food, and what it means to revamp one's life.  Lebovitz maintains his distinctive sense of humor with the help of his partner Romain, peppering this renovation story with recipes from his Paris kitchen. In the midst of it all, he reveals the adventure that accompanies carving out a place for yourself in a foreign country--under baffling conditions--while never losing sight of the magic that inspired him to move to the City of Light many years ago, and to truly make his home there

In The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, author/comedian Paula Poundstone asks, Is there a secret to happiness? I don't know how or why anyone would keep it a secret. It seems rather cruel, really ... Where could it be? Is it deceptively simple? Does it melt at a certain temperature? Can you buy it? Must you suffer for it before or after? In her wildly and wisely observed book, the comedy legend takes on that most inalienable of rights--the pursuit of happiness. Offering herself up as a human guinea pig in a series of thoroughly unscientific experiments, Poundstone tries out a different get-happy hypothesis in each chapter of her data-driven search. She gets in shape with taekwondo. She drives fast behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. She communes with nature while camping with her daughter, and commits to getting her house organized (twice!). Swing dancing? Meditation? Volunteering? Does any of it bring her happiness? It’s certainly fun to consider the possibilities.

Written in a spirit of exploration rather than declaration, Montaigne in Barn Boots is a down-to-earth (how do you pronounce that last name?) look into the ideas of a philosopher "ensconced in a castle tower overlooking his vineyard," channeled by a Midwestern American writing "in a room above the garage overlooking a disused pig pen." Whether grabbing an electrified fence, fighting fires, failing to fix a truck, or feeding chickens, author Michael Perry draws on each experience to explore subjects as diverse as faith, race, sex, aromatherapy, and Prince. But he also champions academics and aesthetics, in a book that ultimately emerges as a sincere, unflinching look at the vital need to be a better person and citizen.

In Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America journalist Amy Ettinger channels her ice-cream obsession, scouring the United States for the best artisanal brands and delving into the surprising history of ice cream and frozen treats in America. For Amy Ettinger, ice cream is not just a delicious snack but a circumstance and a time of year--frozen forever in memory. As the youngest child and only girl, ice cream embodied unstructured summers, freedom from the tyranny of her classmates, and a comforting escape from her chaotic, demanding family. Sweet Spot is a fun and spirited exploration of a treat Americans can't get enough of--one that transports us back to our childhoods and will have you walking to the nearest shop for a cone.

--Ellen Moore, Web Librarian

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