Staff Picks

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing

Summary: 
I was very skeptical at first about reading this book, but it came highly recommended so I started and I raced through! While I cannot say that I read every word, I touched on all sections and came away with her take-home message. The book has galvanized me to put into practice most of the decluttering and organizing tips she talks about. And it does make you feel good!! If you are downsizing or wishing to tidy your current living space, this a must read.

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Woodlawn

Summary: 
This is a story of one courageous man who took the message of love and forgiveness to a team of football players. Beginning with the boys and coaches, their changed lives affected the dynamics of their team, their families, their school, their community, and was a witness to the rest of the country. Filled with the discord of the early 1970s after the deaths of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King along with the forced end of segregation, our country was living in fear. Many were hurting. Many were filled with hate. Many had given up on the survival of our nation. In the midst of this turmoil, one man came to town and shared the love of Jesus Christ.It is just a movie, but it tells of lives changed, rivalries turned to friendship, healing. I am ever surprised by what can be found on the shelves of the Lebanon Public Libraries. As they say, there is something for everyone.

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Ross Poldark

Summary: 
I read the book long ago and watched the 1970s PBS version of Poldark. I am enjoying listening to the book that became Masterpiece: Poldark, Season One. Ever curious, I wanted to know how closely the miniseries presentation compares to the story line. So far, so good!

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The name of God is mercy : a conversation with Andrea Tornicelli

Summary: 
Pope Francis' new book is worth reading whatever one's belief. At the intellectual level, it gives a sense of which direction one of the largest religious groups in the world is heading, and at the personal level, it makes me feel that we are extremely fortunate to have this man as Pope. And if peoples of all religions and faiths can begin to embrace the teachings in this book, there can be hope that the world could become a more tolerant and peaceful place.

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The English Spy

Summary: 
Daniel Silva's second novel in the Gabriel Allon series finds his main character, art restorer, and sometime spy being asked to visit Zurich, to clean the work of an Old Master for a millionaire banker. But when he arrives he finds the corpse of his client, beneath the masterpiece, and discovers that a secret collection of priceless paintings, stolen by Nazis in the war is missing. With the Swiss authorities trying to pin the murder on Allon and a powerful cabal determined to make sure this wartime secret remains buried, the art restorer, with the help of his late client's daughter Anna,a world famous violinist, set out to find out the truth. The plot is further complicated by presence of an English assassin that he helped to train, who is contracted to kill Anna, to prevent her from helping Allon. This is a unique novel. on the one hand with we have an exciting spy novel with all the trappings one would expect, but on the other, the author has brought the attention of the reader to the role the Swiss authorities played in assisting the Nazis' war machine in WWII. They were in effect the Nazis' bankers, taking in all the gold and other treasures stolen and either hiding them or converting them to liquid assets that would keep the Nazis fighting longer than necessary. A brilliant read!!

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The Blue Between Sky and Water

Summary: 
The heartbreaking story of a family of Palestinians, from 1948 to the present, as the Naqba reverberates through the generations. The portrayal of family life, the mystical connections over time, space, and beyond death, the life in Gaza and of an emigre to America and his granddaughter may be a bit idealized. But the novel offers a rare view of the conflict and the tragedy. Illuminating.

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Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

Summary: 
Award-winning marine conservationist and ecologist Carl Safina has written a new book. In it he brings together extensive scientific research and field observations expressed in an accessible story-telling voice. He focuses on three main species: free-living elephants in Africa, the wolves re-introduced to Yellowstone Park, and killer whales (a.k.a orcas) of the Pacific Northwest. Safina's words offer us an insider's view into the lives and minds of many creatures, shedding a brilliant light on their capacity for perception, thought and emotion. His work compels us to re-evaluate how we interact with them, as well as redefining our place as humans within the circle of life.

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Stuff Matters: Exploring the marvelous materials that shape our manmade world

Summary: 
Forget "marvelous"! A book that can enchant someone whose Waterloo was high school chemistry is "miraculous"! Miodownik makes materials science personal, meaningful, and understandable, opening up the wonder of the manmade world we live in, from steel to chocolate, the pencil in your hand to the stardust of outer space, from human scale to nano and atomic. Miodownik makes it all fascinating.

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The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

Summary: 
Part memoir, part self-help, Amanda Palmer takes you into her crazy, colorful world where she's gone from being a busker on the streets of Boston to giving a TED talk that has reached millions. Amanda shares her insight on how to be vulnerable, how to build a community, and how to (you guessed it) ask. She delves into her personal life, exposing her struggle to accept help and find a sense of independence in her relationship with author Neil Gaiman. Know that you don't have to be a fan of her music to appreciate the care and wisdom Amanda Palmer displays in her book.

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A Briefer History of Time

Summary: 
This is Professor Hawking’s response for readers who have asked for a more accessible formulation of its key concepts—the nature of space and time, the role of God in creation, and the history and future of the universe. If this is a simpler version, of his first book, then I am awestruck by this man's intellect and ability to put such concepts into print. His ability to describe his ideas and concepts in terms that the non-science person might grasp is amazing. I have science degrees and had to reread several sections, to even begin to grasp his ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will probably read this book again, if only to maybe understand a little more. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has any curiosity for even a glimpse of an understanding of our incredible universe.

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