Lost Connections by Johann Hari

Image result for lost connectionsThis non-fiction book discusses such a prominent topic of depression.  I love that the author is not actually a doctor or psychologist, but an investigative reporter who researches studies on depression and travels the world to interview all the “who’s who” in this realm.  It’s written in a “journalistic” style with many anecdotal stories and personal accounts which makes it short-story like, while keeping facts, research, and breakthroughs in science as a top priority and maintains validity on every point.  Personally, I feel that Hari (the author) is spot on about his reasons why today’s world has such a high rate of depression.  And while this is a fantastic read if you have depression, it’s just as an important read if you don’t!  I feel the main component – Connections – is useful for personal growth, medical science, but also in business.  A focus on re-connecting in every aspect of our lives could be the positive change in our humanity and businesses that can incorporate this philosophy into their plan and vision, will ultimately keep customers happy, coming back, and CONNECTED! (Submitted by Marnie)

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Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos

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Dr. Vernikos is a NASA scientist.  She describes her research on the negative physical effects experienced by astronauts after their return from living in zero gravity, and uses it to detail the ill effects that many earth dwellers continue to suffer, as the result of a sedentary lifestyle.   We use technology to make our daily lives easier, but it is not always healthy, and can contribute to many conditions.   I liked how Dr. Vernikos breaks down the data to stress the importance in awareness of our daily habits and explains how to find simple ways to include gravity-based movement to counter some of these issues.   This is a worthwhile read for anyone looking to improve and learn more about their general health and fitness.  Some of the scientific data may be a bit dry to read through, but the book is small at 130 pages.  Although the message to get up and move more is not a new one, Dr. Vernikos’ findings serve as a compelling reminder of the importance in maintaining an active lifestyle.  (Submitted by TS)

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Black Women Who Dared by Naomi M. Moyer

blackwomen This picture book is for young and old alike: it shines a light on forgotten, local heroes in our midst. Like Rosa Pryor, who in 1919, became the first black woman to own a business in Vancouver. This title features Rosa and other strong women who dared to demand better – better working conditions, access to education and health care. Women who dared to make learning a priority by creating an “hour-a-day” study club which allowed women to make themselves the priority for at least one hour each day. The author of this book, Naomi M. Moyer, has done a great job of compiling a collection of notable women and sharing their amazing feats of bravery, tenacity, and creativity. (Submitted by Andrea)

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Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas

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I loved “Winners Take All” by Anand Giridharadas – eye-opening and paradigm-shifting look at a different kind of world. (Submitted by Jenny)

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Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto

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Sakamoto’s account of his maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother is compelling reading. Both experienced the effects of World War 2 – his grandfather in a Japanese POW camp and his grandmother the hardships of BC’s forced relocation of its Japanese residents and citizens. We get a detailed look at their upbringing and lives, giving us tremendous insight into the times and character of these people, which is thoroughly engaging.

The book changes after the first half when the author begins his own story, particularly when he focuses on his mother’s journey into alcoholism and poverty, but it still leaves a deep impression on the reader. Instead of dealing with the theme ‘forgiveness’ between two people, in fact two families, with powerful reasons to hate each other, the subject is briefly glossed over. You’re left to assume they nobly put the past behind them when their children marry but are barely mentioned in the second half. Sakamoto is definitely not a great writer, some of his historical facts are incorrect, and the book feels disjointed, but I still recommend it as worth reading. It won the CBC’s Canada Reads in 2018 which says more for its champion, Jeanne Beker, than the book itself, but again, its content holds a strong message for us all. (Submitted by Pippa)

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Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of An Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II

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This book is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read.  Giving insight into the beauty, intelligence, and strength of Indian elephants. Even though jungle life in Burma could be dangerous, there were so many descriptions of joy and beauty that were completely transfixing. The dedication that the uzis and the elephant masters gave to the elephants is awe-inspiring. An easy read, that takes you far away, and yet still so close to home. Humanity and the animal world intertwined, doing good, and fighting evil. Loved it! (Submitted by Jamie)

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Midnight Light: A Personal Journey to the North by Dave Bidini

midnight lightDave Bidini’s, Midnight Light, is a fun, offbeat, journey through Yellowknife and the surrounding area. Bidini had been at a bit of a cross roads in his writing career, looking for the topic for his next book while watching his newspaper work shrink as the industry as a whole struggled. In the midst of this, he took a short term gig with the Yellowknifer, Yellow Knife’s main paper. The resulting book is part travelogue, part ode to the newspaper industry, and part a series of vignettes featuring a cast of characters. The main through line for the book is formed by John McFadden, a Yellowknifer reporter who made national news after developing a difficult relationship with the local RCMP. This culminated in a trial for obstruction of justice. Midnight Light is a great read for fans of Canadiana, travel writing, and left me plotting a route north to see Yellowknife for myself. (Submitted by Shawn)

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