Books

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Canada by Richard Ford

It's 1960 and the Parsons family has landed in Great Falls, Montana, where an unanticipated criminal act blasts their family apart forever. For 15-year-old Dell and his twin sister, Berner, nothing is the same after their parents are arrested for robbing a North Dakota bank. 50 years later, Dell recalls the pivotal three months of his life when boring normalcy was turned upside down and he discovered the violence and moral chaos lying just beneath the surface of everyday life.

Stitches by David Small

In this graphic novel memoir, David Small chronicles his sickly childhood growing up in Detroit in the 1950s. Small is told he needs surgery to remove a cyst, but he wakes up without a vocal cord . . . and voiceless. He eventually learns he had cancer—a fact his parents kept a secret from him. The use of the images helps Small to capture his adolescent frustrations, his powerlessness, and his lack of voice better than just words can.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, And the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Chris McDougall

Have you have been looking for some inspiration to get you back out on the track and running now that all the snow has melted? Then “Born to Run” is for you! Author and marathon runner Chris McDougall sets out to find the reclusive Tarahumara Native American tribe in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. Over the centuries, the Tarahumara have developed an almost super human ability to run ultra long distances without the need to rest and without incurring injuries, and they love every minute of it!

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Fourteen-year-old June loves medieval history, Mozart, and fine art. She’s not a typical teenager and she doesn’t have many friends. Her closest friend is her Uncle Finn. To her, he’s the only person who fully understands her. When Finn dies of AIDS, she feels lost and broken. Her mother is keeping secrets about Finn and her sister is mean to her for reasons June doesn’t understand. It’s also 1987, a time when the disease came with a stigma. Then June strikes up a secret friendship with a man who knew Finn well and perhaps knew him better than anyone else.

Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind by Richard Fortey

Instead of studying fossils of long dead critters like any respectable paleontologist Fortey focuses on the survivors—“messengers from deep geological time”--that should not have survived at least 5 mass extinctions. There are the titular horseshoe crabs and velvet worms, of course, but also jellyfish, clams, bacteria and “slimy mounds” (stromatolites). And we must not forget the cockroach. Like a wise old grandfather who knows all things old and fascinating (and much more besides) Fortey guides us through 4 billion years of life.

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

Mahlia and Mouse are refugees in a dark, dystopic future America. The relative calm of their war-torn lives is shattered when they discover a wounded bioengineered war beast named Tool hunted by a squad of young war boys led by a psychopathic lieutenant. Mouse is captured by the squad and Mahlia faces an impossible decision: risk her life to save a friend or flee to freedom. A fast-moving adventure tale of love, loyalty and changes of heart.

Ah-choo!: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold by Jennifer Ackerman

A delightful, witty investigation into the mysterious world of an ailment that touches every life on the planet on average four times per year. And the multi-billion dollar industry that repeatedly (and wrongly) claims to “cure” it. A gifted science reporter, Ackerman takes us deep into the places where the viruses begin their nefarious onslaught (the nose) and delights in relating the studies that debunk the curative effects of chicken soup, zinc, and various soaps and elixirs. But she also tells us what works. And how to avoid a cold (hint: children are germ factories).

The Last Colony by John Scalzi

Former planet-hopping soldiers John Perry and his wife Jane Sagan have retired to administrative positions on a peaceful colonial planet when they entertain a visit from a former commander who makes a proposal: they are the perfect candidates to lead a promising colony of citizens from ten worlds in the Colonial Union. But after they accept things deteriorate dramatically as they discover that they are pawns in a galactic chess game.

What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng: A Novel by Dave Eggers

When 7-year-old Valentino Achak Deng, a Dinka living in southern Sudan, is forced to leave his village, his harrowing journey takes him through three countries, terrifying encounters with Arab militias, government bombers, wild animals and some of sub-Saharan Africa’s most challenging terrain. One of the so-called Lost Boys of Sudan, Valentino stands as an extraordinary example of a story that is equal parts bleak, lyrical, humorous and tragic.

Travels With Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life by Daniel M. Klein

With a suitcase full of philosophy books Klein returns to the Greek island of Hydra to discover the secrets of aging graciously and gracefully. While the ancient philosopher Epicurus is Klein’s most important guide, the author seeks wisdom in a variety of texts. Looking back over a life in the fast lane he contemplates the uncommonly content lives of the old men of Hydra. Men with deep roots in the island’s culture and deeper friendships. A lovely, thin volume filled with pithy and gently provocative observations on a topic of interest to us all.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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