On a Dollar a Day: one couple’s unlikely adventures in eating in America

I loved this book and found it fascinating.  The World Bank says that nearly a billion people around the world live on a dollar a day or even less, that is like 1 in 7 people in the world live on a $1/day or less. With these thoughts in mind, the authors – two high school teachers – decided to see how well they could actually feed themselves on a similar budget for one month and then they blogged about it.  I couldn’t put it down. (submitted by DS)

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Sun Going Down – Jack Todd

This is a great book of historical fiction set in 1800’s US – from Mississippi to Montana – a family saga about a Mississippi steam boat captain who leaves the river during the Civil War to become a rancher/ prospector in South Dakota/Montana/Nebraska, and his twin sons who grow up to live in the American “wild West”. Great quirky characters and evocative description of the Great Plains landscape and history. (submitted by GA)

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Life As We Knew It – Susan Beth Pfeffer

What happens when an asteroid crashes into the moon and shifts it closer to the Earth? Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and volcanic dust are only some of the results of this disaster. The 15- year-old narrator is Miranda, who lives in a rural area of the US. As she details all the struggles she and her family have to survive, I found myself (when involuntarily pulled out of the book) checking outside to see if the air was clear of volcanic ash and the sun was still shining. Utterly captivating, mesmerizing and inspiring, I stayed up till 3am reading this book (the first time I read it). (submitted by SB)

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Storm Glass – Maria V. Snyder

A great story about a girl who feels overlooked and wants more responsibility and magical ability.  It is a refreshing read, light yet action packed.  There is a slight romantic quality to the book.  I really enjoyed the protagonist’s thought process.  She is by all means an average girl, slightly picked upon by her peers and mildly appreciated by her superiors.  During the course of the novel she begins to understand more about her capabilities, and why others think the way they do about her. First book in the series.  (submitted by CT)

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The Story of Stuff

It’s amazing how shiny new possessions you bring home from the store eventually become trash – at least in North America.  I admire Annie Leonard’s engaging take on how this happens, and how we could – and must – improve the situation.  The huge amount of waste she describes is scary and clearly unsustainable, but she keeps the tone light and constructive.  You may have heard of Leonard through her web videos.  She also hosts a website and blog.  One of her most telling points in the book is that beyond basic needs, owning more stuff does not make you happier.  Europeans are more satisfied with life than Americans, though they have smaller homes and cars, and use less energy.  Keep telling it like it is, Annie!  (submitted by DC)

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Anybody Out There? – Marian Keyes

This is the fourth book by Keyes about the Walsh sisters – a wonderfully dysfunctional family of 5 young women and their loving but odd parents. Anna Walsh must return to her family in Ireland to recover from a disfiguring car accident, but she can’t wait to get back to her life in New York as a PR person for Candy Grrrl cosmetics. But when she gets home, Anna can’t figure out why her husband Aiden isn’t returning any of her messages.  Anna’s mum and her scary, beautiful sister Helen are a hoot. Anna’s work for Candy Grrrl also provides a lot of comic relief – Anna is forced to wear “quirky” outfits to work (terrible hats, purses shaped like unpurselike things, pink fishnets) when what she longs for is a charcoal suit. This book is a perfect blend of heartbreak and hilarity. (submitted by GH)

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