New Year, New You

2022 is going to be your year! We will help you keep your New Year’s resolution to become your own best friend and better yourself with this selection of titles on how to improve your perception, habits, and relationships.

RADICAL RESILIENCY by Steve Welker (DBC 05871)
After the authors were severely injured in an auto accident in 1994 they built a new life with their twins, despite blindness and numerous physical challenges. Now a motivational speaker and professional counselor, the Welkers teach how to become “radically resilient” in the face of adversity.

THINK LIKE A MONK by Jay Shetty (DB 102147)
Podcast host presents life lessons he learned while following the path of Vedic monks and then coaching others on the concepts of well-being, living life with a purpose, and mindfulness. Topics covered include overcoming negativity, learning from others, stopping overthinking, and the importance of kindness.

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin (BR 18710 and DB 70275)
Author shares her personal reflections on a monthly plan to improve her quality of life by the end of one year. Analyzes missteps, challenges, and successes in reaching her goals and shares the often unexpected lessons she learned.

GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION by Brene Brown (DB 76888)
The author of DARING GREATLY (DB 75619), a research professor who has studied shame and fear, emphasizes the importance of loving yourself. Discusses ten guideposts and daily practices for embracing life, releasing stress, and resisting the temptation to overdo. Some strong language.

Alternative-medicine advocate Chopra offers ten steps to connect body, mind, and soul. Uses his patients’ case studies to illustrate lifestyle transformations. Explains ways to achieve deeper awareness, focus on relationships, and transcend obstacles.

ATOMIC HABITS by James Clear (DB 92857)
An expert on habit formation reveals practical strategies for creating good habits, breaking bad ones, and mastering the tiny behavioral changes that lead to positive results. Shares inspiring true stories while drawing on ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience. Some strong language.

YOU CAN IF YOU THINK YOU CAN by Larry P. Johnson (BR 18602, DBC 04881 and DT 06967)
Motivational speaker and author Larry P. Johnson offers his advice on overcoming adversity. Johnson outlines his step-by-step approach to achieving one’s dream goals.

MINDFULNESS SOLUTION by Ronald D. Siegel (DB 71957)
Psychology professor maintains that practicing mindfulness can help us lead more enjoyable lives, while avoiding uncomfortable situations increases problems and misery. Suggests ways to identify bad habits and provides exercises, meditations, and techniques to benefit the mind and body.

A psychologist gives advice on how to develop inner strength, based on the concept of neuroplasticity. Discusses how resilience is not simply enduring terrible things, but it’s also coping with everyday challenges like work, raising a family, dealing with stress and health problems, healing old pain, and more.

MINDFUL PATH TO SELF-COMPASSION by Christopher K. Germer (DB 73040)
Clinical psychologist discusses the Buddhist concept of mindfulness meditation–a technique to focus on and accept one’s feelings and thoughts, bring harmony into one’s life, and improve relationships. Uses case studies to illustrate methods of becoming self-compassionate and developing the ability to treat oneself and others with loving-kindness.

Classics with a Twist

The security of all things familiar can be a steady rock in uncertain times, but exploring new things outside your comfort zone is also important for true growth. Find an intriguing balance with these diverse titles that are inspired by or expand upon classic novels.

ON BEAUTY by Zadie Smith (DB 61204)
Inspired by E.M. Forster’s “Howard’s End.” Philandering liberal Englishman Howard Belsey teaches art at a New England college. When Howard’s biracial son Jerome falls in love with the daughter of the conservative Trinidadian Monty Kipps, Howard is dismayed. But Howard’s and Monty’s wives become friends. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex.

AYESHA AT LAST by Uzma Jalaluddin (DB 95458)
In this twenty-first-century Muslim retelling of “Pride and Prejudice,” Ayesha is lonely but does not want an arranged marriage. She meets Khalid, who is smart and handsome, but also conservative and judgmental. Ayesha is torn when Khalid becomes engaged to her flighty young cousin.

THE PENELOPIAD by Margaret Atwood (BR 16454 and DB 63014)
Retelling of Homer’s “The Odyssey.” Penelope is in Hades recalling the events of her life in this contemporary retelling of the ancient Greek tale of the faithful wife of Odysseus and her twelve hanged maids.

THE INNOCENTS by Francesca Segal (BR 20247 and DB 77527)
Retelling of “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton. London. Adam Newman is engaged to his long-time girlfriend Rachel Gilbert and works at her father’s firm. When Rachel’s cousin Ellie returns from New York, Adam is drawn to her and her scandalous reputation. But Adam’s tight-knit Jewish community impedes his infatuation. Some strong language.

THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach (DB 73791)
Inspired by Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Henry Skrimshander is a baseball star at his small Wisconsin college, but his life goes awry after he throws a wayward ball. Meanwhile, Henry’s gay roommate has a risky affair with the school president, Guert Affenlight. Guert’s long-lost daughter returns home after a divorce. Strong language.

BOY, SNOW, BIRD by Helen Oyeyemi (LB 07864 and DB 78650)
Retelling of “Snow White” by The Brothers Grimm. 1950s. A woman named Boy Novak flees Manhattan for suburban Massachusetts. There, she falls in love and marries Arturo Whitman, father to six-year-old Snow. When Boy and Arturo’s own daughter, Bird, is born, it is revealed that Arturo and Snow are African Americans passing for white. Some violence.

BRAZIL by John Updike (DB 38064)
A variation on the famous legend “Tristan and Isolde” in which Tristan is an uneducated black youth who meets Isabel, a convent-trained blond girl, on the beach in Rio. Convinced their fate is to be together, the young lovers marry and run away. Isabel’s diplomat father brings her home and sends her to college. Reunited two years later, the couple embarks on a life of passion that leads to tragedy. Strong language, violence, and some explicit descriptions of sex.

FRANKENSTEIN IN BAGHDAD by Ahmad Saadawi (DB 90221)
Retelling of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” In US-occupied Baghdad, scavenger Hadi stitches together found human body parts as a message to the government that the dead need proper burial. After the corpse disappears, however, a string of murders occurs, and witnesses report a monster who cannot be killed. Some violence and some strong language.

THE GOLDEN HOUSE by Salman Rushdie (DB 89015)
Inspired by Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of Vanities.” A filmmaker insinuates himself into the Greenwich Village mansion of the Golden family. Nero Golden is an eccentric billionaire with three adult sons: alcoholic Petya, artist Apu, and D, whose mother is known only to Nero. Nero’s new wife, Russian expat Vasilisa, enters the household. Some violence and some descriptions of sex.

HOME FIRE by Kamila Shamsie (DB 89016)
Retelling of “Antigone” by Sophocles. After years in London taking care of her siblings, Parvaiz and Aneeka, Isma gets a chance to study in America. While there, she meets Eamonn, son of a powerful London politician. When headstrong Parvaiz runs off to Syria to become a jihadi, Aneeka turns to Eamonn for help. Violence and some strong language.

JANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye (DB 84049)
In a reimagining of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre,” orphaned Jane Steele escapes to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law, Jane discovers her childhood home has a new master who seeks a governess, and she takes the position incognito. Violence, explicit descriptions of sex, and some strong language.

KILLING COMMENDATORE by Haruki Murakami (DB 92509)
Inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” After finding himself abandoned by his wife, a portraitist hides away in the mountain retreat of famous painter Tomohiko Amada. While exploring the house, he discovers an unseen painting that opens a circle of mysterious circumstances that he must solve. Unrated.

MARCH by Geraldine Brooks (DB 64617)
Spin-off of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” Reverend March leaves Connecticut to become an army chaplain during the Civil War. An assignment to teach freed slaves on a plantation changes March’s view of humanity while hardship hurts his family. Strong language and some violence.

Retelling of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Wisconsin, 1970s. Gar and Trudy Sawtelle raise an intuitive and intelligent dog breed on their farm. One dog, Almondine, can communicate with the Sawtelle’s mute son Edgar. After Gar’s brother arrives, Gar dies, and fourteen-year-old Edgar flees into the forest with three of the dogs. Some strong language.

WHEN SHE WOKE by Hillary Jordan (DBC 08668)
A dystopian reimagining of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” set in a future theocratic America where rather than being imprisoned and rehabilitated, criminals are punished by being “chromed”—having their skin color genetically altered to signal their crime—and released into the general population to survive as best they can. Some descriptions of sex and some violence.

We hope you find something newly familiar within this selection. Happy reading!

Holiday Reads

The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and holiday music is suddenly blaring through every radio station, convenience store, and shopping mall. That’s right, December has arrived. To welcome the season, we’ve gathered some of our favorite titles in a few genres. So, gather your coziest blanket and warmest beverage and get into the holiday mood with these novels.

Festive Favorites:

STORY OF HANUKKAH by Amy Ehrlich (BR 08929 and DB 33242)
Retells the biblical story that is celebrated by Jewish people in the feast of Hanukkah.

SEVEN SPOOLS OF THREAD by Angela Shelf Medearis (BR 13078 and DB 97859)
Tale about seven argumentative Ashanti brothers, who are given the seemingly impossible task of turning spools of silk thread into gold. They join together to solve the problem, thus exhibiting the spirit of Kwanzaa.

A collection of Christmas letters penned by J.R.R. Tolkien and signed as Father Christmas that were sent to Tolkien’s children from 1920-1943. Each recapped activities of the preceding year at the North Pole, including reindeer running amok and the North Polar Bear breaking the moon into four pieces.

MR. DICKENS AND HIS CAROL by Samantha Silva (LB 09285 and DB 87973)
Depressed about the failure of his most recent book, feeling pressured by his publisher to write a Christmas book, and worried over his family’s financial stability, Charles Dickens seeks refuge in nightly walks. On one, he meets Eleanor Lovejoy, who takes him on a Scrooge-like journey.

Hallmark Holiday:

ROYAL HOLIDAY by Jasmine Guillory (BR 22879 and DB 96768)
When her daughter gets a job styling a member of the British royal family for the holidays, Vivian Forest jumps at the chance to travel with her. She is intrigued by Malcolm Hudson, a private secretary to the Queen, but Vivian is supposed to return home after Christmas. Some strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex.

TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS by Jenny Bayliss (DB 101994)
The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with dating prospects, but thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner’s best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. With twelve dates with twelve different men, she hopes for love by Christmas. Unrated.

WINTER NIGHTS by Francis Ray (DB 52196)
Compilation of three short African American Christmas novels. In “Until Christmas” Samantha becomes a housekeeper for Principal Rawlings and his twins. “Kwanzaa Angel” finds Erin being reintroduced to an old high school crush. In “Round Midnight” radio talk-show host Summer falls in love with her director. Some descriptions of sex.

Family Fiascos:

SEVEN DAYS OF US by Francesca Hornak (DB 89399)
The Birch family are under the same roof at Christmas for the first time in years, including Olivia, a doctor usually off saving the world. When Olivia is told she must stay in quarantine for a week, it means she and her family are stuck together for the duration. Some strong language.

CHRISTMAS STORY by Jean Shepherd (DBC 13520)
This edition of A Christmas Story gathers in one hilarious volume the gems of autobiographical humor that Jean Shepherd drew upon to create this enduring film. The pieces that comprise A Christmas Story coalesce in a magical fashion to become an irresistible piece of Americana, quite the equal of the film in its ability to warm the heart and tickle the funny bone.

SKIPPING CHRISTMAS by John Grisham (BR 13636, DB 52929, and LB 04959)
Tax accountant Luther Krank calculates that a Caribbean cruise will cost less than what he and his wife, Nora, spent celebrating the holidays last year. Since daughter Blair is in the Peace Corps, they plan to skip Christmas. Luther, however, doesn’t anticipate the town’s reaction. Some strong language.

Murder, Mystery, and More:

FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK by Georgette Heyer (DBC 11081 and LB 07187)
Locals claim it is haunted and refuse to put a single toe past the front door, but to siblings Peter, Celia, and Margaret, the Priory is nothing more than a rundown estate inherited from their late uncle and the perfect setting for a much-needed holiday. But when a murder victim is discovered in the Priory halls, the once unconcerned trio begins to fear that the ghostly rumors are true, and they are not alone after all. Some strong language and some violence.

MISTLETOE AND MURDER by Carola Dunn (DB 73122)
England, 1923. Daisy Dalrymple, her husband Alec, and other relatives spend Christmas at Brockdene, Lord Westmoor’s Cornish estate, which Daisy is writing about. They are hosted not by Westmoor but by his poor Indian relations who reside there. Daisy and Alec investigate when a visiting Indian cleric is murdered.

IN A HOLIDAZE by Christina Lauren (DB 101089)
With her life a mess, Maelyn Jones is looking forward to spending one last Christmas at her family’s cabin in Utah. On her way, she is in an accident, and wakes to find herself in a time loop where she relives the same holiday over and over. Descriptions of sex and some strong language.

Nonfiction Noel Narratives:

CHRISTMAS MEMORY by Truman Capote (DB 30913)
A late November morning and the exclamation “Oh my, it’s fruitcake weather,” conjure up for Truman Capote the memory of a beloved cousin, Miss Sook Faulk, and Queenie, a little rat terrier “who has survived distemper and two rattlesnake bites.”  They make fruit- cake on this, their last Christmas together.

Selections from forty years of the award-winning author’s reflections on Christmas themes conveyed in stories, poems, essays, letters, and journal entries. Topics follow the Christmas season: Advent, Incarnation, Epiphany, Glorious Mystery, Redemption, and Celebration. The title piece recalls a past Christmas when L’Engle feared her daughter had leukemia.