On My Bookshelf Feed

::On My Bookshelf::

Here are some books that that I’ve recently enjoyed that you may want to put on your book list :

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The Inner Runner

Description:  Why are so many people drawn to running? Why is running the most common physical activity? What is it about running that empowers so many people? And how can runners harness that power to create a more meaningful life? The Inner Runner addresses these questions and a whole lot more. This book is not about how to get faster or run a marathon; rather, it explores how the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other helps you harness your creative powers. Learn about the psychological, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual benefits of running and introduce lifestyle changes based on the latest scientific research on running and its effects on hormones and the brain.

As a nationally recognized running and fitness coach with a PhD in Exercise Physiology, Jason Karp brings his expertise in science-based coaching to runners of all levels. He believes that running gives you a chance to discover, challenge, and bring out the best in yourself by impacting your creativity, focus, imagination, confidence, and health. Let The Inner Runner help you become not only a better runner, but a more creative, productive, and imaginative person.

My Review:   (3 stars)  Now that I am getting back into shape and involved again with coaching our track and cross-country teams, I found this a relevant book, but not typical book about running.

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Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering

Description:   Magnolia Table is infused with Joanna Gaines' warmth and passion for all things family, prepared and served straight from the heart of her home, with recipes inspired by dozens of Gaines family favorites and classic comfort selections from the couple's new Waco restaurant, Magnolia Table.

Jo believes there's no better way to celebrate family and friendship than through the art of togetherness, celebrating tradition, and sharing a great meal. Magnolia Table includes 125 classic recipes—from breakfast, lunch, and dinner to small plates, snacks, and desserts—presenting a modern selection of American classics and personal family favorites. Complemented by her love for her garden, these dishes also incorporate homegrown, seasonal produce at the peak of its flavor. Inside Magnolia Table, you'll find recipes the whole family will enjoy, such as:

  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Asparagus and Fontina Quiche
  • Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Bacon, Toasted Pecans, and Balsamic Reduction
  • Peach Caprese
  • Overnight French Toast
  • White Cheddar Bisque
  • Fried Chicken with Sticky Poppy Seed Jam
  • Lemon Pie
  • Mac and Cheese

Full of personal stories and beautiful photos, Magnolia Table is an invitation to share a seat at the table with Joanna Gaines and her family.

My Review:   (4 stars!)  A great book!  Full of family-friendly recipes with practical ingredients.   Look for the Peach Caprese in an upcoming recipe feature in Minnesota Parent Magazine!  

Ok - I may have to admit I have a little Chip and Joanna Gaines crush - This month I also read:

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The Magnolia Story

Description:   The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today. They both attended Baylor University in Waco. However, their paths did not cross until Chip checked his car into the local Firestone tire shop where Joanna worked behind the counter. Even back then Chip was a serial entrepreneur who, among other things, ran a lawn care company, sold fireworks, and flipped houses. Soon they were married and living in their first fixer upper. Four children and countless renovations later, Joanna garners the attention of a television producer who notices her work on a blog one day. In The Magnolia Story fans will finally get to join the Gaines behind the scenes and discover their story of their beginnings.

My Review:  (3 stars) This was a quick and easy read.  It was interesting to learn about the story that is behind the success of Chip and Joanna Gaines.

 

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The Hate You Give

Description:  Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. 

But what Starr does-or does not-say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

My Review:   (3 1/2 stars)  It took me a couple of tries to really get into this story, but after a while I was hooked.  I would recommend the Audible audio book version read by Bahni Turpin,  her performance adds a dimension to the story that my imagination could not recreate.   This is a timely, thought provoking story which offers many perspectives.

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Now That You Mention It

 Description:  New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins welcomes you home in this witty, emotionally charged novel about the complications of life, love and family:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was, Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

My Review:  (3 1/2 stars)  This was a good summer read, not too complicated and entertaining.

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Little Fires Everywhere

Description:  From the best-selling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. 

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads to the colors of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. 

Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants - all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. 

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town - and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. 

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster. 

My review:   (3 stars)  This story was a little more complicated, (more characters, twists and turns).  I listened to this in an audiobook form and it accompanied me on several long runs.  It was worth reading, but seems to drag on at times.  

What is on your bookshelf?

 

*book descriptions in italics are pulled from amazon.com

 

 


::On My Bookshelf::

Life as a mom of four kids is always busy.  But now that my children have all passed through the infant and toddler years.  I seem to have a little more room in my mama brain for things that require more mental capacity. 

I enjoy reading, listening to audio books and reading to my children.  As a teacher and mother, I spend quite a lot of time reading to children.  I love sharing stories with children and the genre of children’s literature overall, but I’m also drawn to literature that’s written specifically to grownups. 

I particularly appreciate illustrated cookbooks and other inspirational project books when I’m looking for new recipes and ideas. I make an effort to cycle through parenting books for ideas, information and research.  I also like to revel in a good novel, travel essay or personal memoir that can give me a little escape from my day-to-day life, even if it is in my imagination. 

Summer can be an opportune time to pick up a book and catch up on some reading. Here are some books that I am reading or that I’ve recently enjoyed that you may want to put on your book list this summer:

Th-10The Great Alone

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: He will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America's last true frontier. 

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents' passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. 

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights' lack of preparation and dwindling resources. 

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt's fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in 18 hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: They are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves. 

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska - a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night audiobook about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature. 

This was a captivating Alaskan story.

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Boying Up: How to be Brave, Bold and Brilliant

Why does my voice crack like that? What should I eat to build muscle? What do I do if someone calls me names or bullies me?

Following her New York Times bestseller Girling Up: How to be Strong, Smart and Spectacular, star of The Big Bang Theory Mayim Bialik turns her attention to teen boys in a new book about the science, pressures and pitfalls of growing up male in today’s world. 

Boying Up: How to be Brave, Bold and Brilliant sees Bialik use scientific information from her life as a neuroscientist, along with personal anecdotes as a mother of two boys, to explain what it means to grow from a boy to a man biologically, psychologically, and sociologically.

Yup, I'm here folks...

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The Book of Joy:  Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity.

The occasion was a big birthday. And it inspired two close friends to get together in Dharamsala for a talk about something very important to them. The friends were His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The subject was joy. Both winners of the Nobel Prize, both great spiritual masters and moral leaders of our time, they are also known for being among the most infectiously happy people on the planet.

From the beginning the book was envisioned as a three-layer birthday cake: their own stories and teachings about joy, the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness, and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives. Both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu have been tested by great personal and national adversity, and here they share their personal stories of struggle and renewal. Now that they are both in their 80s, they especially want to spread the core message that to have joy yourself, you must bring joy to others.

Most of all, during that landmark week in Dharamsala, they demonstrated by their own exuberance, compassion, and humor how joy can be transformed from a fleeting emotion into an enduring way of life.

I listened to this audiobook through audible and also purchased and read a print version.  It is that good.

Th-12

Educated:  A Memoir

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes and the will to change it.

This story is about as crazy as it gets.  It is a story about family, resilience and one woman's journey finding her own way.

Th-11

How to Walk Away

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she's worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment. In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there's her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there's Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won't let her give in to her pity and who sees her like no one has seen her before. 

Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.  

This is a good story, a good summer beach read.  

What is on your bookshelf?

 

*book descriptions in italics are pulled from amazon.com

**this post contains affiliate links