Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

Image result for inheritance dani shapiroMany people in the last few years have inadvertently opened a “pandora’s box” by taking a DNA test. Some take it for curiosity, some take it because they were given it as a gift, and why not?  Then to find out that biologically they are not who they think they are can be quite a shock. This author has to come to terms that what she pictured as her “family unit” is an altogether different picture. Her journey of discovery as to the how, the why, and what to do now; is one of emotion, and trepidation.  Privacy issues, religious questions and ethical mysteries are rampant.  This memoir is a fair, honest recollection of the process this author took to make sense of her personal nature vs nurture situation and subsequent identity crisis. (Submitted by Jamie)

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A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

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A quiet, unassuming novel that was completely excellent. “Christina’s World” is an iconic American painting from the mid-20 century by Andrew Wyeth. It’s famous for it’s so-called “magic realism” style. At first glance, the girl in the painting is simply sitting in the grass, titled towards the farmhouse. Upon closer inspection, however, there is a sense of eeriness and foreboding: the girls’ arms are too thin and sickly, she is twisted at a wrong angle, the farmhouse is ghostly, and the placement of her hand on the grass suggests both yearning and escape.

The painting triggered many questions, but most of all, people asked this: who IS Christina?

Kline has written a beautifully wrought story here, about Christina’s life, historical American farm life, and living life with a disability. She has balanced these elements of the story so well. I was blown away by the depth of emotions conveyed in her elegant, concise language. The research and facts behind the fiction are clear – everything is believable. Not only does the truth come through, it was fascinating.

Such a wonderful, enjoyable, interesting read. Just like the original painting, there is so much more to Christina Olson’s world going on beneath the surface; beyond what you see at first glance. (Submitted by Veronica)

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The Humans by Matt Haig

Image result for the humans by matt haigI listened to the audiobook: The Humans by Matt Haig. This is the story of an alien who comes to earth and assumes the likeness of a mathematics professor in order to prevent that professor from a mathematical discovery which may have catastrophic impact on the universe. At first, the alien is repulsed by humanity and does not understand the meaning behind even the most basic human interactions. However, as his mission extends, he is drawn into the emotional depth of human interactions. He starts to appreciate music and poetry and develop deeper relationships with the family of the man he’s disguised as.

This book was extremely amusing at times and at other times, extremely poignant. It was really interesting to hear perceptions of humanity from an (albeit fictitious) alien perspective. A lively and entertaining read, I would highly recommend The Humans. (Submitted by Seline)

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The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello

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Caroline cannot remember anything from her past life, but she doesn’t know that there is an incredible gap in her memory. A coincidental Google search lead her to discover that and it turns her life upside down. Her mission to uncover the truth about her past begins.

The Memory Box is a fascinating, well crafted psychological thriller that’s full of twists and turns. Her college Alumni, her doctor, the newspaper, all have info about her past but she is clueless.

It kept me wondering what really happened in her past life? Is she a victim or an instigator? Why was she so keen to uncover her past, and what was that destructive pull that led her to keep looking into her past at all costs? Find out by reading this gripping, ‘unputdownable’ novel. (Submitted by Jamila)

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Wrecked by Joe Ide

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This is the 3rd book in the IQ mystery series and it holds together really well. Like the first two books, I have to get over some of the violence and language used, but I keep coming back. I still find Isaiah Quintabe, IQ, a believable and relatable character, and the world he moves in, his ‘hood’, is filled with gangs and grandmothers, those that are homeless and those that are damaged, families and individuals, all trying to either get by or fight their way through life.

The author grew up in the same part of the Los Angeles as the book’s setting and his description of streets and houses and strip malls bring you right there. Now I just have to be patient for book number four to come out. (Submitted by Renee)

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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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The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

Image result for the sacrifice boxTeen fans of Stranger Things and campy 80’s horror will enjoy this novel about a group of misfit teens. After one glorious summer spent together, they seal their friendship with a sacrifice to a mysterious box they found in the woods. The rules are simple: Never come to the box alone. Never open it after dark. Never take back your sacrifice. Four years later and their small town is overrun by strange occurrences and terrifying events. Someone has broken the rules. Now all of them must pay… (Submitted by Erin M.)

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