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The kind mama : a simple guide to supercharged fertility, a radiant pregnancy, a sweeter birth, and a healthier, more beautiful beginning

The kind mama : a simple guide to supercharged fertility, a radiant pregnancy, a sweeter birth, and a healthier, more beautiful beginningBy Silverstone, Alicia

Despite being yet another celebrity-authored work (as if!), "The Kind Mama" has real value. If you're a vegan looking to conceive, are pregnant or want to raise your baby vegan, this book is absolutely for you. If you're a healthy eater, not necessarily vegan, who wants to avoid putting chemicals into her body and you are starting a family, this book is for you. Even if you're just a regular ol' lady who is ready to start a family, you will get something out of reading this book.

Silverstone writes with a conversational tone, making you feel as though you just arrived to a breastfeeding conversation at your local playgroup. Don't let the familiar cadence fool you though; Silverstone backs up her facts with peer-reviewed research and direct quotes from pediatricians, OB/GYNs, midwifes and doulas. Stand-out portions include the "For Gentlemen Only" sections in each chapter (Silverstone recommends handing the book to your male partner at that moment), recipes for fertility, pregnancy and beyond, and the chapter that explains options for labor and delivery. One staggering statistic she offers, is that a hospital makes around $9,280 on vaginal deliveries; a C-section birth provides hospitals with even more profit. Silverstone does an excellent job of laying out all the pros and cons of every delivery option and shares how her birth story didn't go as planned.

Silverstone spends too much time on making parenting/lifestyle choices based on the principles of karma; if you don't subscribe to that way of life, it could dampen your enthusiasm for the book (as it did for me). She also makes unrealistic assumptions about people's ability to afford the lifestyle she touts. Still, even if you're a mama just surviving, pick this book up at the library (for free) and get a little support from her Kind Mama network. You can visit her website for more tips and to get in touch with other like-minded mamas. Included in "The Kind Mama" are vegan recipes, an index of "kind" food, natural remedies for common ailments, resources and bibliographies.

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The Thing About December

The thing about DecemberBy Ryan, Donal, 1977-

"[A]nd everything was lovely and normal and comfortable and destroyed forever at the same time."

Lyrical and haunting, Donal Ryan’s The Thing About December, is another brilliantly written work from the author of The Spinning Heart. This short novel reminds me of a cross between Dostoevsky’s psychological insights and Chekhov’s brevity and description of the human condition. Each chapter depicts a month in one year of the life of Johnsey Cunliffe, a bullied and lonely man living in rural Ireland who has never really felt like he belonged. Johnsey, considered less than intelligent by the rest of town, is swept up by the changes around him that he is unequipped to handle. Each character you encounter is realistic, though as you get to know them, you may find yourself sometimes wishing they weren’t so believable. Manipulation and deceit run rampant around Johnsey. Though Mumbly Dave, my favorite character, is the one who tells tall tales, he is the most honest and genuine person Johnsey knows. Wonderfully written, soon the chapter months are passing quicker than you’d like, much like the months do in life. Bleak, yet full of delightfully humorous moments, this novel is not for the faint of heart.

"Interfered with or left alone, everything eventually turns rotten and dies."

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Popular: a memoir: vintage wisdom for a modern geek

Popular : a memoir : vintage wisdom for a modern geekBy Wagenen, Maya van.

At the urging of her mother middle school outcast Maya begins a social experiment at the beginning of her 8th grade year. She will spend the school year following the advice of Betty Cornell’s Guide to Teen-age Popularity, a book her father found which was written in 1951. Each month Maya conquers a chapter in the book. She follows advice about grooming (brushing her hair 100 times at night), posture (sit up straight!), and why and how to wear a girdle (yikes!), but Maya is determined to follow it all. It helps that Maya’s family is supportive and loving no matter what. Despite some heartache and a little embarrassment, Maya does not give up on her quest and is ultimately rewarded. She learns the greatest lesson toward the end of the year when she spends one month sitting at a different lunch table every day. Despite peoples’ differences, who they spend our time with and what they wear, Maya realizes that her classmates share a lot of the same insecurities fears, and hopes, and that just saying hello or going the extra mile in any direction can make a difference.

Maya is an insightful and witty young lady. She is truthful when she writes about her failures and frustrations, and her depiction of going to school in Brownsville, TX, on the border of Mexico, is a candid one, relating to the reality of drugs and lockdowns.

Maya’s journey is captured with honesty, including the good and bad, the failures and successes. She says Betty Cornell changed her life and it’s easy to see why. Popular is a refreshing and inspiring read. Proof that being popular isn’t what some might think is, it’s about being confident in who you are. A fun and interesting read for adults, and especially insightful for those younger teens still trying to figure things out. Highly recommended.

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Finding Jake

Finding Jake [sound recording]By Reardon, Bryan

Simon Connolly faces a parent’s worst nightmare when a shooting takes place at the local high school, with 13 dead. His daughter Laney escapes harm, but 17-year-old son Jake is nowhere to be found. Jake’s friend Doug is identified as the main shooter, killing himself after the attack. But was there a second shooter? Could it have been Jake? The police, the media, and other parents are all convinced Jake was involved. Simon, an insecure stay-at-home dad, and wife Rachel, a lawyer, have been struggling in their marriage lately, and this crisis breaks them further apart. Chapters alternate between the aftermath of the shooting and vignettes from Jake’s childhood. The tension starts out and remains high throughout. I was so afraid that a co-worker who listened to this before me might slip and give away the ending that I avoided her for a week! Narrator George Newbern does a fine job, especially in conveying Simon’s increasingly frantic emotional state.

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Cuckoo Song

Cuckoo songBy Hardinge, Frances

Dear kids age 10 and up (and you too parents): READ THIS BOOK! Unfortunately the cover makes this book look creepier than it really is but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to a 10 year old. You may ask what genre this is….well, it’s historical fiction, fantasy, gothic horror, mystery, and sort of a fairy tale.
11 year-old Triss wakes up after an accident not knowing where she is or exactly who she is, but she realizes that something is terribly amiss. ”Mummy, help me, please help me, everything’s strange and nothing’s right, and my mind feels as if it’s made up of pieces and some of them are missing…”
If you want to find out more, READ THIS BOOK! It’s superbly written with prose that’s just, plain delicious. One of my favorite reviewers of children’s books, Betsy Bird from NYPL says in her review, “Taste the sentences on your tongue. Let them melt there. Then pick up your forks and demand more more more.”

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Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

Ghettoside : [sound recording] a true story of murder in AmericaBy Leovy, Jill.

Leovy, a Los Angeles Times journalist, investigates the murder of a black teenager in South Central LA in May 2007. Bryant Tennelle, 18, was walking down the street with a friend near his home when another young black man jumped out of a Suburban and shot him. Bryant died a short time later. Bryant was the son of LAPD detective Wally Tennelle. Leovy follows the investigation into Bryant’s murder, which was eventually turned over to John Skaggs, a homicide detective with a reputation for being doggedly persistent in pursuing suspects and witnesses. As the case against the perpetrators builds and eventually goes to court, Leovy gives a detailed history of the disproportionate black homicide rates in the United States and LA, and offers some well-founded conclusions about the appalling numbers of black men murdered and the low conviction rates of their killers. This is a significant, powerful book. Rebecca Lowman narrates.

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The Ways of the Dead

The ways of the dead : a novelBy Tucker, Neely, 1963-

Author Neely Tucker, a 25 year veteran news reporter, has created a flawed but thorough and determined character in Sullivan (Sully) Carter, a former Bosnian war correspondent who now works the crime beat for a major Washington, D.C. paper. When the daughter of a prominent judge is murdered, Sully jumps on the story despite his grudge against said judge from a previous case. Sully pulls together his daily front-page stories, digging up some facts in the case that the police have overlooked or failed to thoroughly investigate. He believes the wrong suspects have been arrested, so he enlists the help of the local crime boss who knows everything that's happening in his district and keeps a tight lid on things. Tucker's tight plotting and well-drawn characters get into both the politics and the dual character of the city, as well as detailing the fine line reporters and their editors walk every day to work on a big story and decide what they can safely print. If you are a fan of crime fiction and enjoy a main character who just can't seem to get his life together and succeeds in spite of himself, you will love this fast-paced page turner.
The Ways of the Dead is based on the true story of the Princeton Place murders which took place in D. C. in the 1990's. Tucker's other book is Love in the Driest Season (2004) and he continues his journalism career at the Washington Post.

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Whispering Shadows

Whispering shadows : a novelBy Sendker, Jan-Philipp author.

The first book in a planned trilogy, Whispering Shadows takes place in Hong Kong where American Paul Leibovitz lives in seclusion after the death of his son and collapse of his marriage. A chance meeting with a couple looking for their missing son stirs him to gradually re-enter society in order to help them. Paul is drawn into a web of international intrigue involving a mining operation on the mainland, in which some corrupt cops have a financial interest. Out of his league, Paul enlists the help of his straight-laced Hong Kong detective friend, Zhang, to put together the story of what has really happened to the missing son, a quest which proves very dangerous to both of them. Paul is also drawn closer into a relationship with single mother Christine, as he deals with the demons of his past.
Sendker's other books include The Art of Hearing Hearbeats and A Well-Tempered Heart, both of which took place in Burma and were international best sellers. Senker is a German citizen who was a journalist in Asia for many years and is intimately knowledgeable about its culture.

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Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Can't we talk about something more pleasant?By Chast, Roz

New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast was the sole caregiver for her +90 year-old parents: in their own apartment, into assisted living and eventually to hospice.  Not finding much in the way of “how-to” material, she did the best she could and decided to write a graphic memoir about her experiences.  It’s not all sad and gloomy—there are definitely some funny episodes as well as high drams and just muddling through. What’s great about Chast’s unsentimental, astounding work is that she doesn’t hold back about any aspect of the topic none of us want to talk about, what Chast calls “the moving sidewalk of life”.  Whether dealing with fears, explosions of denial, decreased capacity to care for oneself, medical directives, moving to assisted living, dealing with a lifetime of accumulated things, legal and financial issues, and all the overwhelming emotions that rise up in the process, Chast lovingly brings grace under pressure,  talented insight, and spot-on drawings to the task.

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Outside the Box : Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists

Outside the box : interviews with contemporary cartoonistsBy Chute, Hillary L, interviewer.

Hillary Chute is Professor of English at University of Chicago and a frequent contributor to the canon of writing on comics; she is the author of Graphic Women: Life Narratives and Contemporary Comics. Over the past decade, Chute has conducted interviews with many of today’s leading cartoonists, and presents twelve of these in Outside the Box. Among those interviewed are Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Scott McCloud, Charles Burns, Joe Sacco, Lynda Barry, Daniel Clowes and Alison Bechdel. Fans of graphic novels/narratives will love this book for the insights into how these authors/artists got into this rapidly expanding field. For the newly curious, this book is a great introduction to the history of the field and an intimate look at a few of its literary icons. A profusion of full color illustrations throughout the text supplement these excellent, in-depth interviews. Highly recommended.

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On the Run : Fugitive Life in an American City

On the run : fugitive life in an American cityBy Goffman, Alice, author.

Alice Goffman spent the years from her sophomore year through grad school (6 years) as a participant observer (the researcher becomes part of the group being studied) of a virtually all-black neighborhood in Philadelphia to support her undergrad sociology thesis and her graduate work. She started out as a tutor for two children, who introduced her to friends and neighbors, and pretty soon she was “little sis” to many of 6th Street’s toughest young men, who spent much of their teen years interacting with aggressive policing, in and out of jail and on probation. Although she became intimately involved with much day-to-day drama, Goffman remained unbiased and nonreactive, sticking to her methodology plan and she delivers a sobering study of the futile and frustrating revolving door lives of young black men today. You will get a first-hand observer’s analysis of what is behind the headlines, knowledge that can engage individuals toward systemic changes in our future.

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The Stranger : Barack Obama in the White House

The stranger : Barack Obama in the White HouseBy Todd, Chuck, 1972- author.

Todd Chuck is a former chief White House correspondent, NBC political director, and currently hosts NBC’s Meet the Press. This fascinating book framed by Todd’s observation that Obama "came to Washington on the strength of being a stranger to the city and to the political elites, but it hasn't always served him well." Not used to the backroom politics that get things done in Washington, he has relied on his close-knit group of staffers to make up for his shortcomings, especially Joe Biden. Todd's well-sourced book covers the first six years of Obama’s presidency, presenting an intimate portrait of the decision-making and strategic thinking Obama utilizes to make his points and carry out his agenda despite almost overwhelming antagonism and the demise of bipartisanship in the Congress.

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Child 44

Child 44By Smith, Tom Rob

Owing to the fact that the film adaptation of Child 44 is due later this year, I wanted to read Smith’s book first. This is a grim, violent story of life in Soviet Russia in 1953, where “there is no crime in Paradise.” We meet Leo Demidov, a top secret police agent, and his wife, Raisa, a schoolteacher. The lack of investigation into a possible murder case, dismissed as an “accident” by the police, shows how such cases are regularly “solved” with the arrest of an undesirable citizen who is coerced into a confession. Political machinations by Leo’s arch-rival, Vasili, get Leo and Raisa exiled to a remote outpost, where he picks up the trail of a possible serial murderer and must go to great lengths in his attempt to show a connection with the first child’s death in Moscow. A taut thriller with lots of action and intrigue. The film will star Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman and Joel Kinnaman in an uphill battle for justice, directed by Ridley Scott.

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The Invention of Wings

The invention of wings : a novelBy Kidd, Sue Monk

If you liked The Secret Life of Bees, you might enjoy Kidd’s new book, which is available at YDL in multiple formats: large print, Book on CD, eBook, and regular print. It has been chosen as an Oprah 2.0 Book Club title, and I would assume a movie in its future. Once again, Kidd assembles some memorable, well-drawn characters, a great story (this once is partially based on real people and events), and an easy-flowing writing style. The story follows the childhood to middle-aged lives of ambitious sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke, their siblings and plantation-owning parents, as well as the lives of the slaves living and working on the Grimke plantation, in particular the seamstress Charlotte and her daughter Hetty (nicknamed Handful). The settings alternate between early 19th century Charleston, North Carolina and several northern locations during the time the abolitionist message was gaining in exposure. The title is taken from a well-known and beloved African folk tale.

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Etta and Otto and Russell and James

Etta and Otto and Russell and James : a novelBy Hooper, Emma.

Etta and Otto are a married couple in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. Russell owns the property next door. They are all in their 80’s. While Otto had his great life adventure overseas during the war (Russell was lame in one foot and therefore exempt from service), Etta feels that she has never had one great adventure in her life: she decides she will walk East until she reaches the Atlantic Ocean, which she has never seen. She leaves Otto a note and takes off on her 3,000 mile hike. Otto is left alone with a pile of recipe cards; but doesn’t seem too upset about her going; it seems fair to him. Russell, however, reacts much differently. The back stories of these three alternate with Etta's on the trail. James is her traveling companion—I won’t spoil the surprise. A beautiful story.

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Award Winners & Bestsellers

Nobel Prize
2014 Prize in Literature
Patrick Modiano

National Book Award

2014 Prize for Fiction
Redeployment
by Phil Klay

2014 Prize for Nonfiction
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
by Evan Osnos

Newbery Medal
2015 award
The Crossover
by Kwame Alexander

Caldecott Medal
2015 award
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

b
y Dan Santat

Printz Award

2015 award
I'll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson

New York Times Fiction Bestsellers (top 5 combined print & e-book sales)
Grey
, by E.L. James
The Girl on the Train
, by Paula Hawkins
The Rumor
, by Elin Hilderbrand
Tom Clancy Under Fire
, by Grant Blackwood
Country
, by Danielle Steel

New York Times Nonfiction Bestsellers (top 5 combined print & e-book sales)
The Wright Brothers
, by David McCullough
Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari with Eric Klinenberg
The Boys in the Boat
, by Daniel James Brown
Dead Wake
, by Erik Larson
Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies
, by David Fisher

 

More Award Winners & Bestsellers

Following is a list of award-winning and bestselling materials from a variety of sources. Links will take you to an external page that will open in a new window. If YDL does not have an item you are interested in, please submit a Materials Suggestion to us.

Academy Awards

American Booksellers Association National Indie Bestsellers

Billboard Top 100 songs

Caldecott Medal

Coretta Scott King Award

New York Times Bestsellers

Newbery Medal

Printz Award