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Summer Reads 2020

Are you looking for a good book to take to the beach this summer? Check out the library staff's summer recommended reads! Contact the library, and we'd be happy to help you find a book.

book coverThe Great Believers

by Rebecca Makkai

A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris.

Goodreads

Recommended by: Mary Dixey.

book coverThe Testaments 

by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

Recommended by: Mary Dixey.

book coverAtomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

by James Clear

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.

Recommended by: Susan Mulry.

book coverResilience The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges

by Steven M. Southwick & Dennis S. Charney

Many of us will be struck by one or more major traumas sometime in our lives. Perhaps you have been a victim of sexual abuse, domestic violence or assault. Perhaps you were involved in a serious car accident. Perhaps you are a combat veteran. Maybe you were on the beach in Thailand during a tsunami, or in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Or maybe, you are among the millions who have suffered a debilitating disease, lost a loved one or lost your job. This inspiring book identifies ten key ways to weather and bounce back from stress and trauma. Incorporating the latest scientific research and dozens of interviews with trauma survivors, it provides a practical guide to building emotional, mental and physical resilience. Written by experts in post-traumatic stress, this book provides a vital and successful roadmap for overcoming the adversities we all face at some point in our lives. 

Recommended by: Debbie Roy.

book coverThe Overdue Life of Amy Byler

by Kelly Harms

Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and-with a little encouragement from her friends-a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy's heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she's ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.

Recommended by: Debbie Roy.

book coverHow to Change Your mind

by Michael Pollan

When LSD was first discovered in the 1940s, it seemed to researchers, scientists and doctors as if the world might be on the cusp of psychological revolution. It promised to shed light on the deep mysteries of consciousness, as well as offer relief to addicts and the mentally ill. But in the 1960s, with the vicious backlash against the counter-culture, all further research was banned. In recent years, however, work has quietly begun again on the amazing potential of LSD, psilocybin and DMT. Could these drugs in fact improve the lives of many people? Diving deep into this extraordinary world and putting himself forward as a guinea-pig, Michael Pollan has written a remarkable history of psychedelics and a compelling portrait of the new generation of scientists fascinated by the implications of these drugs. How to Change Your Mind is a report from what could very well be the future of human consciousness. 

Recommended by: Carl Todd.

book cover

Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses 

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Wall Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us.

Drawing on her diverse experiences as a scientist, mother, teacher, and writer of Native American heritage, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world. Courtesy of OSU

Recommended by: Carl Todd.

book coverThe Starless Sea

by Erin Morgenstern

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world-a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues-a bee, a key, and a sword-that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth.

Recommended by: Jennifer Adams.

book coverThe Moor's Account

by Laila Lalami

In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez sailed from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda with a crew of six hundred men and nearly a hundred horses. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and famous as Hernán Cortés.But from the moment the Narváez expedition landed in Florida, it faced peril-navigational errors, disease, starvation, as well as resistance from indigenous tribes. Goodreads

Recommended by: Dr. Rachel Rubinstein, Vice President For Academic and Student Affairs.
 

book coverThe Underground Railroad

by Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood-where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned-Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.   Goodreads

Recommended by: Dr. Rachel Rubinstein, Vice President For Academic and Student Affairs.

book coverAll American Boys 

by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Rashad is absent again today.
That's the sidewalk graffiti that started it all...
Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn't matter what Rashad said next-that it was an accident, that he wasn't stealing-the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again...and again...stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing.
And that's how it started.

Recommended by: Dr. Vanessa Martinez, Anthropology Professor, Honors Program Coordinator/Phi Theta Kappa Advisor.

book coverHalsey Street

by Naima Coster

A modern-day story of family, loss, and renewal, Halsey Street captures the deeply human need to belong-not only to a place but to one another.
Goodreads

Recommended by: Dr. Vanessa Martinez, Anthropology Professor, Honors Program Coordinator/Phi Theta Kappa Advisor.

book coverWith the Fire on High

by Elizabeth Acevedo

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn't have enough time for her school's new culinary arts class, doesn't have the money for the class's trip to Spain - and shouldn't still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life - and all the rules everyone expects her to play by - once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Recommended by: Dr. Vanessa Martinez, Anthropology Professor, Honors Program Coordinator/Phi Theta Kappa Advisor.

book coverThe Warsaw Protocol

by Steve Berry

One by one the seven precious relics of the Arma Christi, the weapons of Christ, are disappearing from sanctuaries across the world. After former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone witnesses the theft of one of them, he learns from his old boss, Stephanie Nelle, that a private auction is about to be held where incriminating information on the president of Poland will be offered to the highest bidder--blackmail that both the United States and Russia want, but for vastly different reasons. Goodreads

Recommended by: Theresa Labato.

book coverLook Alive Twenty-Five

by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum faces the toughest puzzle of her career in the twenty-fifth entry in Janet Evanovich's #1 New York Times bestselling series.

There's nothing like a good deli and the Red River Deli in Trenton is one of the best. World famous for its pastrami, cole slaw and for its disappearing managers. Over the last month, three have vanished from the face of the earth, the only clue in each case is one shoe that's been left behind. The police are baffled. Lula is convinced that it's a case of alien abduction. Whatever it is, they'd better figure out what's going on before they lose their new manager, Ms. Stephanie Plum.

Recommended by: Kelly Kielbania.

book coverThe Vanishing Half

by Brit Bennett

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?
Goodreads

Recommended by: Camille Close.

book coverHood Feminism

by Mikki Kendall

Today's feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?

Recommended by: Camille Close.

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