Vivek H. Murthy, MD
Humans are social creatures: In this simple and obvious fact lies both the problem and the solution to the current crisis of loneliness. In his groundbreaking book, the 19th surgeon general of the United States Dr. Vivek Murthy makes a case for loneliness as a public health concern: a root cause and contributor to many of the epidemics sweeping the world today from alcohol and drug addiction to violence to depression and anxiety. Loneliness, he argues, is affecting not only our health, but also how our children experience school, how we perform in the workplace, and the sense of division and polarization in our society. But, at the center of our loneliness is our innate desire to connect. We have evolved to participate in community, to forge lasting bonds with others, to help one another, and to share life experiences. We are, simply, better together. The lessons in Together have immediate relevance and application. These four key strategies will help us not only to weather this crisis, but also to heal our social world far into the future. Spend time each day with those you love. Devote at least 15 minutes each day to connecting with those you most care about. Focus on each other. Forget about multitasking and give the other person the gift of your full attention, making eye contact, if possible, and genuinely listening. Embrace solitude. The first step toward building stronger connections with others is to build a stronger connection with oneself. Meditation, prayer, art, music, and time spent outdoors can all be sources of solitary comfort and joy. Help and be helped. Service is a form of human connection that reminds us of our value and purpose in life. Checking on a neighbor, seeking advice, even just offering a smile to a stranger six feet away, all can make us stronger.
A cookbook and culinary memoir about growing up as the daughter of revered chef/restaurateur Alice Waters: a story of food, family, and the need for beauty in all aspects of life. In this extraordinarily intimate portrait of her mother-and herself-Fanny Singer, daughter of food icon and activist Alice Waters, chronicles a unique world of food, wine, and travel; a world filled with colorful characters, mouth-watering traditions, and sumptuous feasts. Across dozens of vignettes with accompanying recipes, she shares the story of her own culinary coming of age and reveals a side of her legendary mother that has never been seen before. A charming, smart translation of Alice Waters’s ideals and attitudes about food for a new generation, Always Home is a loving, often funny, unsentimental, and exquisitely written look at a life defined in so many ways by food, as well as the bond between mother and daughter.
A moving and scientific look at the curative powers--both physical and mental--of rescuing a shelter animal, by the president of Humane Society Silicon Valley. Mutual Rescue profiles the transformational impact that shelter pets have on humans, exploring the emotional, physical, and spiritual gifts that rescued animals provide. It explores through anecdote, observation, and scientific research, the complexity and depth of the role that pets play in our lives. Every story in the book brings an unrecognized benefit of adopting homeless animals to the forefront of the rescue conversation. In a nation plagued by illnesses--16 million adults suffer from depression, 29 million have diabetes, 8 million in any given year have PTSD, and nearly 40% are obese--rescue pets can help: 60% of doctors said they prescribe pet adoption and a staggering 97% believe that pet ownership provides health benefits. For people in chronic emotional, physical, or spiritual pain, adopting an animal can transform, and even save, their lives. Each story in the book takes a deep dive into one potent aspect of animal adoption, told through the lens of people's personal experiences with their rescued pets and the science that backs up the results. This book will resonate with readers hungering for stories of healing and redemption.
The Home Place
J. Drew Lanham
Winner of the 2017 Southern Book Prize Winner of the Reed Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center Finalist for the John Burroughs Medal Named a “Best Scholarly Book of the Decade” by The Chronicle of Higher Education “In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. I am, in the deepest sense, colored.” From these fertile soils—of love, land, identity, family, and race—emerges The Home Place, a big-hearted, unforgettable memoir by ornithologist J. Drew Lanham. Dating back to slavery, Edgefield County, South Carolina—a place “easy to pass by on the way to somewhere else”—has been home to generations of Lanhams. In The Home Place, readers meet these extraordinary people, including Drew himself, who over the course of the 1970s falls in love with the natural world around him. As his passion takes flight, however, he begins to ask what it means to be “the rare bird, the oddity”—to find joy and freedom in the same land his ancestors were tied to by forced labor, and then to be a black man in a profoundly white field. By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking, The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South—and in America today.
The Giver of Stars
Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve, hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, and soon Alice's greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who's never asked a man's permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. What happens to them--and to the men they love--becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives. Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic--a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.
The Music Shop
Named one of the best books of the year by The Times (UK) and The Washington Post. It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction.
Parker Looks Up
Jessica Curry and Parker Curry
When Parker Curry came face-to-face with Amy Sherald’s transcendent portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, she didn’t just see the First Lady of the United States. She saw a queen - one with dynamic self-assurance, regality, beauty, and truth who captured this young girl’s imagination. When a nearby museum-goer snapped a photo of a mesmerized Parker, it became an internet sensation. Inspired by this visit, Parker, and her mother, Jessica Curry, tell the story of a young girl and her family, whose trip to a museum becomes an extraordinary moment, in a moving picture book. Parker Looks Up follows Parker, along with her baby sister and her mother, and her best friend Gia and Gia’s mother, as they walk the halls of a museum, seeing paintings of everyone and everything from George Washington Carver to Frida Kahlo, exotic flowers to graceful ballerinas. Then, Parker walks by Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama…and almost passes it. But she stops...and looks up! Parker saw the possibility and promise, the hopes and dreams of herself in this powerful painting of Michelle Obama. An everyday moment became an extraordinary one…that continues to resonate its power, inspiration, and indelible impact. Because, as Jessica Curry said, “anything is possible regardless of race, class, or gender.”
Maybe Something Beautiful
F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell
Grades K - 3
What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine! Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation - and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big. Pick up a paintbrush and join the celebration!
Grades 4 - 8
Garvey's father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading - anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey's life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father - by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports.
The Sun is Also a Star
This book is inspired by Big History (to learn about one thing, you have to learn about everything). In The Sun is Also a Star, to understand the characters and their love story, we must know everything around them and everything that came before them that has affected who they are and what they experience. Two teens -- Daniel, the son of Korean shopkeepers, and Natasha, whose family is here illegally from Jamaica -- cross paths in New York City on an eventful day in their lives--Daniel is on his way to an interview with a Yale alum, Natasha is meeting with a lawyer to try and prevent her family's deportation to Jamaica--and fall in love.