Library Treasures

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Dictator by Robert Harris (HAR) is the last of the Cicero trilogy. It covers the last fifteen years of his life, from 58 BC to 43 BC and is dominated by the rise and fall of Caius Julius Caesar (the reason for the title). Although the conclusion to the trilogy, it reads well as a stand-alone novel. The novel is well researched and contains characters that are so rich in detail that it is entertaining and informational at the same time.

Nora Roberts fans can consult her Stars of Fortune (ROB), book one of The Guardian Trilogy. Even with some similarities to other Roberts characters, the plot here is mysterious and unique. Stars of Fortune introduces us to Sasha, a lone artist who has dreams and premonitions.

Science Fiction readers will want to pick up Version Control by Dexter Palmer (PAL), as it belongs with the best of Sci-Fi. You get real-world physics here with enough complexity and richness to keep the reader turning the pages.

Sci-Fi readers can also enjoy The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor (OKO), a storyteller who creates worlds and events that are convincing. Her stories read a bit like a dream.

The National Parks: An Illustrated History, 100 Years of American Splendor by Kim Heacox (Travel, North America, United States) is an inviting journey in getting to know our national treasures in the parks. At the beginning of the sections, or next to a photo, there is a description from a previous National Geographic magazine that describes the picture.

What is interesting is that most of what was described in an earlier decade is still true today.
The author of the bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home (Personal Growth, Rubin) offers more powerful discussion in Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives (Psychology, Rubin) in probing how do we change? Gretchen Rubin’s answer: Through habits. Better Than Before presents a practical outline that enables the reader to understand their habits and how to change them. She tackles, “Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do? Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can’t change a habit, no matter how hard I try. Why? How quickly can I change a habit? What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit?

The Urban Monk, by Pedram Shojai (Philosophy, Buddhism, Shojai), is a discussion of issues that many of us face with technology and life today but rarely talk about. The book is filled with practices that one can use in daily life to find peace and have more energy. The book is organized into 10 chapters that each discuss a major life issue: stress, time poverty, lack of energy, sleep issues, stagnant lifestyles, poor diets, disconnection with nature, loneliness, money issues and lack of meaning and purpose.

Political satirist, humorist, magazine editor, and perhaps best known as the co-host of the TV show “The Five,” Greg Gutfeld offers much to think about in How to Be Right: the Art of Being Persuasively Correct (Politics, Conservatism Gutfeld). He discusses strategies that helped him keep a steady job for three decades. He also highlights tools readers can use when arguing, influencing and convincing their friends, family and foes. The context took place prior to the 2016 election cycle and knowing the results makes the discussion even more interesting. As always, Greg mixes humor, politics and truth as only he can.

For ages 8 to 12, I Love Hermit Crabs by Harold T. Rober (J 639.67 ROB) and Look, A Starfish by Tessa Kenan (J 593.93 KEN) offer age appropriate text with vibrant photos, inviting young readers to learn about hermit crabs and starfish. A big plus are critical thinking questions and a photo glossary that help build nonfiction learning skills.

For ages 4 and up, The Wonder of Underwater Animals (J591.77 WON) is an enticing, colorful work that offers animal facts and under-the-sea photographs to learn about and appreciate orcas, sea turtles, whale sharks, sea stars, octopuses, shrimp and jellyfish. The colorful full-page photos make it easy to be drawn into the journey.

Dr. Leroy Hommerding
Beach Library Director