Great reads for the new year
1. “True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters” by Elisabeth Robinson. Olivia, a not-so-hotshot Hollywood producer, returns to the Midwest and her seriously ill sister Maddie. Told in a series of letters, this touching, often hilarious novel is about the power of hope and family.
2. “Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness” by John Kabat-Zinn. Kabat-Zinn blends personal experience with science, poetry, and insights from many traditions to awaken readers to the true potential and value of moment-to-moment awareness. He offers remarkable insights into how to use the five senses as a path to a healthier, sane, and meaningful life.
3. “Family Tree” by Carole Cadwalladr. This is the delightful story of Rebecca Monroe, a pop-culture researcher, who is married to a geneticist. Cadwalladr melds their two sciences along with the past and present into a funny and witty story of how one woman finds her place on her dysfunctional family tree.
4. “The Second Chair” by John Lescroart. The Davis author returns with another legal thriller centered on the trial of a 17-year-old rich kid accused of the brutal double murder of his girlfriend and her teacher. Lescroart’s hero, defense attorney Dismas Hardy, disillusioned with the justice system, decides to sits second chair in this high profile case.
5. “Marrying Mozart” by Stephanie Cowell. The four Weber sisters struggle with poverty and marriage prospects until 21-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart walks into their lives. This is the richly textured love story of a remarkable man and the four women who engaged his passion, his music and his heart.
6. “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” by Jared Diamond. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel asks what caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin. Many of the issues faced by Easter Island, the Vikings, and the Mayas are present today. How can we avoid their fate?
7. “The Sound of Blue” by Holly Payne. “The Virgin’s Knot” author tells the story of three strangers who find refuge in music and each other in the hopeless, war-torn Balkans. Payne’s story, based somewhat on her own experiences teaching English in the region, has depth and soul about the power of remembrance.
8. “The Cat Who Talked Turkey” by Lilian Jackson Braun. The “Cat Who” series continues with the story of a body discovered on Jim Qwilleran’s property on the eve of the town of Brrr’s bicentennial celebration. Reporter Jim Qwill and Siamese cats Koho and Yum Yum work to unmask the killer of this fowl crime.
9. “Dancing Naked on the Edge of Dawn” by Kris Radish. The best-selling author of “The Elegant Gathering of White Snows” has written another poignant and outrageous story of a woman in the midst of major life changes. With the help of her circle of friends and suddenly wise daughter, she seeks to break through the restraints of her life to dance naked on the edge of dawn.
10. “The Librarian of Basra” by Jeanette Winter. This picture book tells the true story of everyday heroism against the tragic backdrop of the war in Iraq. Basra librarian Alia Muhammad Baker believes books to be “more precious than mountains of gold.” Illustrated with colorful folk art, Winter tells how Baker and her friends rescue more than $30,000 volumes from the library before it is bombed. This is a child-friendly book with a most important message.
Compiled by manager Alison Jones-Pomatto at The Book Seller, 107 Mill St., Grass Valley, 272-2131. The Book Seller is open 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.
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