Library Treasures

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Readers who like novels that are concisely written with no unnecessary words or phrases will welcome The Children Act by Ian McEwan (MCE). The focus in this beautiful prose work is Judge Fiona Maye, who in middle age, questions her choices over the years that have brought her to where she is today. She makes a professional decision that not only adds drama to the novel but enables the reader to also ask, ‘What would I have done? And would I have decided differently if the consequences had been known?’

When I started reading Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick (QUI), I was drawn into the story. The storyline has more of a mystery/suspense feel to it than romance, so in that sense, departs a bit from Quick’s earlier titles. Most readers will be able to connect many of the loose ends of the stories but not see the total connection till the end. 

The Possibilities, by Kaui Hart Hemmings (HEM), revolves around a grieving mother Sarah, three months after her son dies in an avalanche. She lives with her father, who is addicted to QVC shopping and is semi-retired. A girl appears on the scene and from there the story unwinds to how she knows the son. Both she and the son end up changing for the better in the process.

The discussions in The Heart of Zen: enlightenment, emotional maturity, and what it really takes for spiritual liberation, by Junpo Denis Kelly Roshi and Keith Martin-Smith (Philosophy, Buddhism, Kelly), seek to get at the gulf between our spiritual belief and our everyday life. The Q&A sessions with Zen Master Junpo enable the reader to digest many of the ideas step-by-step.

The explosive number of printed books, e-books and self-published titles makes it a challenge for a new author. In Think Like a Publisher:  33 Essential Tips to Write, Promote, and Sell Your Book by Randy Davila (English, Writing, Davila), he shares editorial, marketing and business tools and hints essential to having a chance of being noticed in the marketplace.

The compilation of voices in Sustainable Happiness:  live simply, live well, make a difference by Sarah Van Gelder and the staff of Yes! Magazine (Philosophy, Ethics, Sustainable), offer the reader fascinating research, in-depth essays and moving personal stories showing that real well-being is found in supportive relationships and the renewal we receive from a thriving natural world. There is much for reflection and challenge in this discussion.

Chef Ben Ford is known for attracting crowds to his feasts of enormous proportions–burgers for the block or a whole pig roast. Now, in Taming the Feast (Cookbooks, Entertaining, Ford), he offers his complete guide to outdoor grilling and roasting. One can use the hints and secrets offered for a family reunion or an intimate dinner for four. His suggestions also include a do-it-yourself primer for making simple custom outdoor cookers or a baking barrel or cinder-block oven.

 

Beth Moore calls her latest book Audacious (Religions, Christian Life, Moore), defining it as being “intrepidly daring, adventurous, bold, marked by originality and verve,” and raising some challenging questions for the believer, e.g. Honestly, can you say you love Him? or Honestly, not sure you want to trust Him? The layout of the narrative makes it easy to linger in the text.

The Flowers of Empire by Tatiana Holway (Gardening, Holway) is a treasure for gardeners and historic plant lovers. Holway has written an engaging history of a water lily and the people and lives it touched, including a careful accounting of the technologies it advances and the events it prompted. The reader will be treated to far more knowledge that one might surmise from the title or even the dust jacket. Those with an appreciation for history or plants will find the writing concise and dotted with humor.

The Bear’s Sea Escape, by Benjamin Chaud, offers a delightful story for ages 3 to 5 as well as lush, detail-rich illustrations. Little Bear is included in each page and the reader gets to find him. The illustrations are refreshingly intricate, and even upon the second and third reading, one can find details and discoveries to be made in scanning the pages. The unobtrusive text below the pictures makes this a welcome read-aloud book.

For ages 4 to 8,author-illustrator Rob McClurkan’s Aw, Nuts! offers a story to delight. Squirrel sets off on a chase after the perfect acorn. The bold cartoon drawings enable children to enjoy the story even more. Words that phonetically resemble the source of the sound it describes makes it fun to read, and offers a chance to laugh.

 

Dr. Leroy Hommerding

Beach Library Director