BOOKS TO KNOW – September Top 10 Book List

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  1. The Glass Castle,

By Jeanette Walls (January 2006)

Now a major motion picture from Lionsgate starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts.
MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST
The perennially bestselling, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, “nothing short of spectacular” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir from one of the world’s most gifted storytellers.

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

  1. Dare to Be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform the World

By Lizzie Velasquez (author) Catherine Avril Morris (Contributor)  (June 2017)

YouTube personality and celebrated motivational speaker Lizzie Velasquez shows us how we can learn to accept all parts of ourselves and others, and in doing so create a more compassionate world.
Born with a rare genetic condition, Lizzie Velasquez always knew she was different, but not until she was older did she understand what that meant to others. At 17 years old, when she came across a viral video entitled “World’s Ugliest Woman,” only to discover that it featured her, she could no longer ignore what set her apart. She devoted herself to investigating the underlying sources of bullying and standing up on behalf of victims everywhere, creating one of the web’s most popular YouTube channels and a TED talk that has drawn tens of millions of viewers.

In this daring, inspirational book, Lizzie reveals the hidden forces that give rise to self-doubt, shame, and cruelty, and empowers us to redirect them to unlock empathy and kindness for ourselves and others. Through her own battles with anxiety and coping with disappointment, she demonstrates how we can overcome obstacles in our path and move forward with greater positivity and the right mental attitude.

Brilliantly drawing on Lizzie’s wisdom and sentiment, Dare to Be Kind presents the path to acceptance, love, and tolerance, and provides a framework to help us lead confident, resilient lives and, ultimately, forge a radically kind world.

  1. Conscience of a Conservative

By Senator Jeff Flake (August 2017) 

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A thoughtful defense of traditional conservatism and a thorough assault on the way Donald Trump is betraying it.”—David Brooks, in his New York Times column
In a bold act of conscience, Republican Senator Jeff Flake takes his party to task for embracing nationalism, populism, xenophobia, and the anomalous Trump presidency. The book is an urgent call for a return to bedrock conservative principle and a cry to once again put country before party.

  1. I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons

By Kevin Hart (author) Neil Strauss (Contributor) (June 2017)

INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Superstar comedian and Hollywood box office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.   The question you’re probably asking yourself right now is: What does Kevin Hart have that a book also has?

It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys.

But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, JK Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes the reader on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.

And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion.

He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent: It was through his unique way of looking at the world. Because just like a book has chapters, Hart sees life as a collection of chapters that each person gets to write for himself or herself.

  1. Trust: Mastering the Four Essential Trusts:  Trust in Self, Trust in God, Trust in Others, Trust in Life 

By Iyanla Vanzant   (June 13, 2017)

“Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult lessons. That’s because trust is not a verb; it’s a noun. But what if the real problem is not that we can’t trust other people; it’s that we can’t trust ourselves?”
In this compelling volume, filled with illuminating and heartrendingly powerful stories of broken trust, betrayal, and triumph, Iyanla demonstrates why the four essential trusts—Trust in Self, Trust in God, Trust in Others, and Trust in Life—are like oxygen: without them, none of us can survive. Mastering these four essential trusts requires both a process and a practice: Life gives you the process through your experiences; people provide you the opportunity to practice.

Iyanla explores what trust really is and reveals why some of the most shocking trust violations offer us profound opportunities for personal growth and healing. Her pragmatic trust prescriptions—rooted in self-awareness, intuition, communication, and spiritual practice—will challenge you to face your deepest fears and free you to cultivate new levels of increased authenticity, greater resilience, renewed peace, and joy.

  1. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

By Sheryl Sandberg (author) Adam Grant (author) (April 2017)

#1 New York Times Best Seller
From Facebook’s COO and Wharton’s top-rated professor, the #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Lean In and Originals: a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.

Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart—and her journal—to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl’s loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.
Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.  We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.

  1. All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island

By Liza Jessie Peterson (April 2017)

ALL DAY is a behind-the-bars, personal glimpse into the issue of mass incarceration via an unpredictable, insightful and ultimately hopeful reflection on teaching teens while they await sentencing.

Told with equal parts raw honesty and unbridled compassion, ALL DAY recounts a year in Liza Jessie Peterson’s classroom at Island Academy, the high school for inmates detained at New York City’s Rikers Island. A poet and actress who had done occasional workshops at the correctional facility, Peterson was ill-prepared for a full-time stint teaching in the GED program for the incarcerated youths. For the first time faced with full days teaching the rambunctious, hyper, and fragile adolescent inmates, “Ms. P” comes to understand the essence of her predominantly Black and Latino students as she attempts not only to educate them, but to instill them with a sense of self-worth long stripped from their lives.

“I have quite a spirited group of drama kings, court jesters, flyboy gangsters, tricksters, and wannabe pimps all in my charge, all up in my face, to educate,” Peterson discovers. “Corralling this motley crew of bad-news bears to do any lesson is like running boot camp for hyperactive gremlins. I have to be consistent, alert, firm, witty, fearless, and demanding, and most important, I have to have strong command of the subject I’m teaching.” Discipline is always a challenge, with the students spouting street-infused backtalk and often bouncing off the walls with pent-up testosterone. Peterson learns quickly that she must keep the upper hand-set the rules and enforce them with rigor, even when her sympathetic heart starts to waver.

Despite their relentless bravura and antics-and in part because of it-Peterson becomes a fierce advocate for her students. She works to instill the young men, mostly black, with a sense of pride about their history and culture: from their African roots to Langston Hughes and Malcolm X. She encourages them to explore and express their true feelings by writing their own poems and essays. When the boys push her buttons (on an almost daily basis) she pushes back, demanding that they meet not only her expectations or the standards of the curriculum, but set expectations for themselves-something most of them have never before been asked to do. She witnesses some amazing successes as some of the boys come into their own under her tutelage.

Peterson vividly captures the prison milieu and the exuberance of the kids who have been handed a raw deal by society and have become lost within the system. Her time in the classroom teaches her something, too-that these boys want to be rescued. They want normalcy and love and opportunity.

  1. It’s My Country Too: Women’s Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan

By Jerri Bell (editor) Tracy Crow (editor) Kayla Williams (foreword)

This inspiring anthology is the first to convey the rich experiences and contributions of women in the American military in their own words—from the Revolutionary War to the present wars in the Middle East.
Serving with the Union Army during the Civil War as a nurse, scout, spy, and soldier, Harriet Tubman tells what it was like to be the first American woman to lead a raid against an enemy, freeing some 750 slaves. Busting gender stereotypes, Josette Dermody Wingo enlisted as a gunner’s mate in the navy in World War II to teach sailors to fire Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns. Marine Barbara Dulinsky recalls serving under fire in Saigon during the Tet Offensive of 1968, and Brooke King describes the aftermath of her experiences outside the wire with the army in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In excerpts from their diaries, letters, oral histories, and pension depositions—as well as from published and unpublished memoirs—generations of women reveal why and how they chose to serve their country, often breaking with social norms, even at great personal peril.

  1. Guantánamo Diary

By Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Larry Siems (Editor) (December 2015)

The acclaimed national bestseller, welcomed on the cover of the New York Times Book Review–the first and only diary written by a still-imprisoned Guantánamo detainee.
Mohamedou Slahi has been imprisoned at the detainee camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba since 2002. In all these years, the United States has never charged him with a crime. Although he was ordered released by a federal judge, the U.S. government fought that decision, and there is no sign that the United States plans to let him go.

Three years into his captivity Slahi began a diary, recounting his life before he disappeared into U.S. custody and daily life as a detainee. His diary is not merely a vivid record of a miscarriage of justice, but a deeply personal memoir—terrifying, darkly humorous, and surprisingly gracious. Guantánamo Diary is a document of immense emotional power and historical importance.

  1. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

By Trevor Noah (November 2016)

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, New York TimesNewsdayEsquire • NPR • Booklist
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Praise for Born a Crime

“[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[An] unforgettable memoir.”Parade

“What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today

“[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People

“[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”Booklist (starred review)

“A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”Kirkus Reviews

  1. Bleeding Hearts

By Tami Reeves

A story about Tami Reeves’ husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s and her role as the wife and care-taker.

  1. The Modern Parent’s Guide to Facebook and Social Networks

By Scott Steinberg

A book that reveals how to keep kids safe on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, online apps and more, written.

  1. The Art of Selling the Family Business

By Jonathan Pellegrin

A new book that reveals how to keep kids save on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, online apps and more.

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