Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena ~ by Anthony Marra

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena ~ by Anthony Marra, 2013, fiction (Chechnya), 6/10
In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home.  When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed (a failed doctor) finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives.  He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.  For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise.  Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility.  But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate.

A blogger gives a recipe for beef manti (dumplings) in her review because it's mentioned in the book.  I want to try those dumplings, which are "a hearty classic of Caucasian cuisine."  That's plain yogurt added in the middle.  Here's the link to the recipe, which also has a video on how to make it.

http://www.paperplatesblog.com/blog/a-constellation-of-vital-phenomena-by-anthony-marra-beef-manti-dumplings

Friday, February 27, 2015

Beginning ~ with a freak wave

Claire of the Sea Light ~ by Edwidge Danticat, 2013, fiction (Haiti)
The morning Claire Limyè Lanmè Faustin turned seven, a freak wave, measuring between ten and twelve feet high, was seen in the ocean outside of Ville Rose.  Claire's father, Nozias, a fisherman, was one of many who saw it in the distance as he walked toward his sloop.  He first heard a low rumbling, like that of distant thunder, then saw a wall of water rise from the depths o0f the ocean, a giant blue-green tongue, trying, it seemed, to lick a pink sky.

Just as quickly as it had swelled, the wave cracked.  Its barrel collapsed, pummeling a cutter calle Fifine, sinking it and Caleb, the sole fisherman onboard.
Those opening lines, along with this description of the novel, make me want to keep reading:
Claire Limyè Lanmè — Claire of the Sea Light — is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti.  Claire’s mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother’s grave.  Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life.  But on the night of Claire’s seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears.  As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself.


Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gather at the Table ~ a Lenten study

Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade ~ by Thomas Norman DeWolf and Sharon Morgan, 2012, race relations
Two people — a black woman and a white man — confront the legacy of slavery and racism head-on.  "We embarked on this journey because we believe America must overcome the racial barriers that divide us, the barriers that drive us to strike out at one another out of ignorance and fear. To do nothing is unacceptable."

Sharon Leslie Morgan, a black woman from Chicago’s South Side avoids white people; they scare her.  Despite her trepidation, Morgan, a descendent of slaves on both sides of her family, began a journey toward racial reconciliation with Thomas Norman DeWolf, a white man from rural Oregon who descends from the largest slave-trading dynasty in US history.  Over a three-year period, the pair traveled thousands of miles, both overseas and through twenty-seven states, visiting ancestral towns, courthouses, cemeteries, plantations, antebellum mansions, and historic sites.  They spent time with one another’s families and friends and engaged in deep conversations about how the lingering trauma of slavery shaped their lives.

This book is the chronicle of DeWolf and Morgan’s journey.  Arduous and at times uncomfortable, it lays bare the unhealed wounds of slavery.  As they demonstrate, before we can overcome racism we must first acknowledge and understand the damage inherited from the past — which invariably involves confronting painful truths. The result is a revelatory testament to the possibilities that open up when people commit to truth, justice and reconciliation. DeWolf and Morgan offer readers an inspiring vision and a powerful model for healing individuals and communities.
I plan to take part in a 5-week Lenten study that starts this evening.  I like that we'll be using this book.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Two books about the elderly

Eight of the books I'd had on reserve for weeks were ready for pickup on the same day.  EIGHT books.  Two of them were about older people, and that's why I am discussing them as a pair.  Mary Anne Schwalbe is 73 at the beginning of the first book, and she's dying of cancer.  I'm 74 and am more interested in this book than the one about a bride in that stack of eight books.  I'm much closer to when I'll die than when I was a bride, and I'm completely at peace with that.

The other book is about a last great adventure.  Even though Etta is 83 (or maybe because of it), she left home to walk to the sea, just as I moved last summer to St. Louis from my hometown in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  It's an adventure because I've never lived west of the Mississippi River and the only folks I knew here were my best friend Donna and her sister Jane.  I did not, however, walk the nearly 500 miles here.  My adventure started with a moving van.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James ~ by Emma Hooper, 2015, fiction (Canada)
Otto,
The letter began, in blue ink,
I’ve gone.  I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there.  Don’t worry, I’ve left you the truck.  I can walk.  I will try to remember to come back.
Yours (always),
Etta.
Otto finds the note left by his wife in the kitchen of their farmhouse in windswept Saskatchewan.  Eighty-three-year-old Etta will be walking 3,200 kilometers to see the ocean, but somehow, Otto understands.  He took his own journey once before, to fight in a faraway land.  With Etta gone, Otto struggles with his demons of war, while their friend Russell initially pursues the woman he has loved from afar.  And James — well, James you have to meet on the page.  Moving from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty, burnt past of hunger, war, and passion, from trying to remember to trying to forget, Etta and Otto and Russell and James is an astounding literary debut about friendship and love, hope and honor, and the romance of last great adventures.
The End of Your Life Book Club ~ by Will Schwalbe, 2012, memoir
During her treatment for cancer, Mary Anne Schwalbe and her son Will spent many hours sitting in waiting rooms together.  To pass the time, they would talk about the books they were reading.  Once, by chance, they read the same book at the same time — and an informal book club of two was born.  Through their wide-ranging reading, Will and Mary Anne — and we, their fellow readers — are reminded how books can be comforting, astonishing, and illuminating, changing the way that we feel about and interact with the world around us.  A profoundly moving memoir of caregiving, mourning, and love — The End of Your Life Book Club is also about the joy of reading, and the ways that joy is multiplied when we share it with others.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Mindfulness ~ Socrates Café

As I typed part of this at 5:30 a.m., it's 7°F and feels like -7° here in St. Louis, Missouri.  I'm up early, for me, a night owl who is not overly fond of mornings and may still go back to bed for a few hours.  Early as it is, I'm thinking about Socrates because my friend Emily mentioned a book about him, which I picked up at the library the other day.

Socrates Café: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy ~ by Christopher Phillips, 2001, philosophy (of course)
Christopher Phillips is a man on a mission:  to revive the love of questions that Socrates inspired long ago in ancient Athens.  "Like a Johnny Appleseed with a master's degree, Phillips has gallivanted back and forth across America, to cafés and coffee shops, senior centers, assisted-living complexes, prisons, libraries, day-care centers, elementary and high schools, and churches, forming lasting communities of inquiry" (Utne Reader).  Phillips not only presents the fundamentals of philosophical thought in this "charming, Philosophy for Dummies-type guide" (USA Today), he also recalls what led him to start his itinerant program and re-creates some of the most invigorating sessions, which come to reveal sometimes surprising, often profound reflections on the meaning of love, friendship, work, growing old, and others among Life's Big Questions.  'How to Start Your Own Socrates Café' guide included."
Emily seems a bit intimidated by participating in a Socrates Café, but I think it sounds like fun.  Are you ready to come discuss this book with me, Emily?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Beginning ~ with the mother leaving

The Same Sky ~ by Amanda Eyre Ward, 2015, fiction (Honduras and Texas)
Opening line of Carla's chapter:  My mother left when I was five years old.
Opening line of Alice's chapter:  Jake and I weren't sure what to do about the party.
This novel alternates between the viewpoints of Carla in Honduras and Alice in Texas, so I have shared the first sentence in each person's story.
Alice and her husband, Jake, own a barbecue restaurant in Austin, Texas.  Hardworking and popular in their community, they have a loving marriage and thriving business, but Alice still feels that something is missing, lying just beyond reach.  Carla is a strong-willed young girl who's had to grow up fast, acting as caretaker to her six-year-old brother Junior.  Years ago, her mother left the family behind in Honduras to make the arduous, illegal journey to Texas.  But when Carla's grandmother dies and violence in the city escalates, Carla takes fate into her own hands — and with Junior, she joins the thousands of children making their way across Mexico to America, risking great peril for the chance at a better life.


Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chinese New Year ~ Goat

Today is the Chinese New Year, a time to celebrate the Year of the Goat.  The animals of the Chinese zodiac are the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Goat, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog, and the Pig.  Click the link to find your zodiac sign on the left and read about your personality and best career.

I was born in 1940, the Year of the Dragon.  In 2012, I ate out with Jane and Donna to celebrated the Year of the Dragon.  They were both born in the Year of the Tiger, though two cycles apart.  Which is your animal sign, according to the Chinese?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Words ~ chary, wary, and leery

Is this squirrel wary? or leery? or chary? or maybe just cautious?
Joy at Joy's Book Blog found a new word in her reading this week:
I also learned a new word!  This was from a piece by John Parker, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, about some of his terrifying adventures.  He worked better with people who traveled a long distance to get to his location on the Ohio River — their experiences made them strong and resourceful.  The runaways from the Borderland were more inclined to make rookie mistakes and have out-sized expectations.  He introduced a story about them with this sentence:
"I had an experience with one of these uncontrollable groups which made me very chary about my fugitives ever after" (p. 98).
According to my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1979), chary has the same root in Old English as care.  It means "discreetly cautious," and especially "hesitant and vigilant about dangers and risks."  This is such a good word that I’m surprised I haven’t run across it before.  I’m going to use it as a kind of cross between cautious and choosy when there’s an element of risk involved.
Since Joy had put the word chary in the title, I immediately recognized it and compared it to leery before googling the word to check my one-word definition.  Rather than get out my dictionary (the same one Joy has, but mine is still packed in a box from my move last summer), I googled chary and looked at the synonyms.  The first synonym I found for chary was wary, but leery was also mentioned in the list.  (Yay!  I remembered correctly!)  I looked up leery and found both wary and chary as synonyms.  I looked up wary and found leery as a synonym, but not chary.  Oh, well, close enough to say that these three words mean pretty much the same thing:  cautiously reluctant to do something.

While playing around with these words, I also ran across a delightful article from 2004 by James J. Kilpatrick:  What's the difference?  Chary, wary and leery.  Basically, it says these are "three terms that may be defined under a general heading of cautious."  Oh, but how beautifully he says it in three short paragraphs before going on to discuss other words.

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Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog.  Kathy says:  "Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading."  Kathy also asks:  "What words do you want to celebrate today?"
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More snow

That's my car on Monday, third from left, parked in front of the light pole.  The car to the left of mine is the only other one that had not been driven by that afternoon, as you can see by other car windows that have been cleaned off.  By Tuesday evening, the 4-to-6 inches of snow had slid off the sides of my Subaru Outback and mostly off the back window, except where the wiper held a wedge of snow.  But the windshield and top were still covered at nightfall.  As I type this at midnight, snow is once again blowing sideways from the north (which means from the left of this photo) and covering all the vehicles now parked around mine.  My side and back windows are once again totally white, and the light above my car clearly shows the flying snow.

I'm happy that we expect only about another inch tonight, unlike this photo from Laura in Hull that was posted yesterday on BuzzFeed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

TWOsday find ~ right here

The Aviator's Wife ~ by Melanie Benjamin, 2013, historical fiction
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century — from the late twenties to the mid-sixties — and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, this book is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage — revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life ~ by Anne Lamott, 1994
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.'"
I found these two books in the library at the Crown Center, where I live.  That's all that ties them together, that and the fact that I've intended to read them for years.  One fiction, one nonfiction, but both look good to me.  Have you read either of them?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Winifred Tiger Comes to Stay

I've chosen an excellent name for my new tiger, given to me on Valentines Day by my BFF.  If I name her Winifred, I could call her Winnie or maybe Freddie.  I found this online:
Winifred is a feminine given name from the Anglo-Saxon Wine ("friend") and Frith ("peace[ful]").
Winifred, the name of a legendary Welsh saint, was a Top 200 name into the mid-1920's.  I came up with several examples.  Winifred was the heroine of Tuck Everlasting.  One of my English teachers in junior high school was named Winifred.

Wikipedia tells me that Winifred Sanderson was portrayed by Bette Midler in "Hocus Pocus" (a 1993 film).

In Mary Poppins, Winifred Banks was the children's mother, the one who went out marching with the suffragettes for women's rights.  I love that she sings "Sister Suffragette."


If this video quits working, view Winifred singing on YouTube.

And my Winifred Tiger has reddish hair (fur), as do these others.  And she has a big red nose to boot.  Yep, that's her name.  She's Winifred, Winifred Tiger.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Beginning ~ with a new phone


The Lower River ~ by Paul Theroux, 2012, fiction (Malawi)
Ellis Hock's wife gave him a new phone for his birthday.  A smart phone, she said.  "And guess what?"  She had a coy, ham- actress way of offering presents, often pausing with a needy wink to get his full attention.  "It's going to change your life."  Hock smiled because he was turning sixty-two, not an age of life-altering shocks but only of subtle diminishments.
Interesting first lines, especially since I've already posted the book's summary when I got it from the library.  That means I know his wife leaves him, and he goes back to the village in Malawi where he served happily in the Peace Corps.  I wonder if the new phone contributed to the break-up of their marriage.

Coincidence?

After activating my new cell phone on Thursday evening, I flipped open this book to the first page so I could schedule this to post one minute after midnight.  Imagine my surprise to see that the protagonist gets a new phone in the very first sentence.  It made me smile.  How many of you recently got a new phone?


Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Books to be read

Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader hopes some of us will do this "TBR Tag" meme (TBR means books "to be read") that came from Lori @ Palmer's Page Turners.  I decided immediately to do this because of Jennifer's excellent answer to the first question:  "What is this 'keep track' you speak of?"  It could also be my answer, since my unread books don't make a simple "pile," but encompass shelf after shelf after shelf.

1.  How do you keep track of your TBR pile?
I have a bookshelf dedicated to my library books, so I won't lose track of them.  Those are my immediate TBRs.  Other than that, I don't separate books I own into those I've read and those I haven't.  The majority of my books are nonfiction, so I want them where I can find them for reference.  Since I don't keep many novels after I've read them, they usually come from the library.  And their shelf is next to my bed, where I read before falling asleep.
2.  Is your TBR mostly print or eBook?
Mine is all print, since I don't have (or desire) an e-reader.
3.  How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?
If a library book is due soon and cannot be renewed because others have it on hold, that's the one I choose.  Otherwise, it's simply a matter of what I'm in the mood to read.
4.  A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest?
No idea.
5.  A book you recently added to your TBR?
One I got last week is The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland, a 1995 novel set in the Dominican Republic and in France.  As you can see in the illustration at the top of this post, it's the first book in a trilogy.  If I enjoy it, I'll also read the other two.
6.  A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover.
"Strictly"?  Nope, I don't do that.  Some of my books have beautiful covers, but I got them because of the content, not the cover.  I'm not sure why I like this elegant design, but I consider this edition of Lao Tzu's classic book beautiful.  I did not, however, buy the book "strictly because of its beautiful cover."
7.  A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading.
Jennifer had another great response:  "I can't answer this.  My books are listening!"  I love it!  My answer is that I've been culling books.  If I don't plan to read it, I've given it away.
8.  An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.
I have mostly quit taking books for review and have never done a "tour" of books.  I read what I choose, when I choose, and because I'm in the mood to read it.  Retirement allows me to do that.
9.  A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you.
I don't choose books by how many other people like it.
10.  A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.
Same answer, though friends occasionally say they liked this or that book they notice on my bookshelf.
11.  A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read.
If I'm dying to read it, then I'm reading it.
12.  How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?
I'm not on Goodreads, but I've been collecting books all my life (almost 75 years old) and have NEVER counted my unread books.
NOTE:  I won't tag anyone in particular, but let me know if you answer these questions on your blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Donna's TWO new books ~ for TWOsday

Two new books arrived in the mail for my friend Donna, who showed me what she had ordered. Since she'll let me read them, I'm adding them here as a reminder to myself about them.

Philosophy and Theology ~ by John D. Caputo, 2006
A highly engaging essay that will draw students into a conversation about the vital relationship between philosophy and theology.  In this clear, concise, and brilliantly engaging essay, renowned philosopher and theologian John D. Caputo addresses the great and classical philosophical questions as they inextricably intersect with theology — past, present, and future. Recognized as one of the leading philosophers, Caputo is peerless in introducing and initiating students into the vital relationship that philosophy and theology share together.  He writes, “If you take a long enough look, beyond the debates that divide philosophy and theology, over the walls that they have built to keep each other out or beyond the wars to subordinate one to the other, you find a common sense of awe, a common gasp of surprise or astonishment, like looking out at the endless sprawl of stars across the evening sky or upon the waves of a midnight sea.”
What Would Jesus Deconstruct? : The Good News of Post-Modernism for the Church ~ by John D. Caputo, 2007
This provocative addition to The Church and Postmodern Culture series offers a lively rereading of Charles Sheldon's In His Steps as a constructive way forward. John D. Caputo introduces the notion of why the church needs deconstruction, positively defines deconstruction's role in renewal, deconstructs idols of the church, and imagines the future of the church in addressing the practical implications of this for the church's life through liturgy, worship, preaching, and teaching. Students of philosophy, theology, religion, and ministry, as well as others interested in engaging postmodernism and the emerging church phenomenon, will welcome this provocative, nontechnical work.

Monday, February 9, 2015

What's on your desktop?

This is Sandra Boynton's desktop.  She says, "The steely regard of the chickens keeps me in line."  She's my favorite cartoonist at the moment.

I have this photo of the Smokies taken by Susan Tidwell on my desktop.  What's on YOUR desktop?

Out of your mind

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Salon ~ fake homework

BORROWED

Poems from My Heart and Soul ~ by Melvin Avery Edwards, 2010, poetry
These poems — written between 1980 and 2009 — show the poet's anger, disappointment, happiness, and love of life.  Some of them also explore his belief system and what it means to him.  Melvin, who is currently head of the resident council, lives here at the Crown Center where I moved last summer.  I see him nearly every day.
LIBRARY BOOKS

No Job for a Lady ~ by Carol McCleary, 2014, fiction (Mexico)
History, mystery, and murder are the traveling companions of Nellie Bly, the world's first female investigative reporter.  Nellie defies the wrath of her editor and vengeful ancient gods while setting out to prove a woman has what it takes to be a foreign correspondent in dangerous Victorian times.  Pyramids, dark magic, and dead bodies are what the intrepid Nellie encounters when she takes off for Mexico after her editor refuses to let her work as a foreign correspondent because "it's no job for a lady."  It's 1886 and Mexico has not cast off all its bloodthirsty Aztec past.  Nellie is stalked by ruthless killers seeking Montezuma's legendary treasure and an ancient cult that resorts to the murderous Way of the Aztec to protect it.  And there's the mysterious Roger Watkins, who romantically and physically challenges Nellie's determination to be an independent woman in a man's world.
That Part Was True ~ by Deborah McKinlay, 2014, fiction (Britain)
When Eve Petworth writes to Jackson Cooper to praise a scene in one of his books, they discover a mutual love of cookery and food.  Their friendship blossoms as each of them offers, from behind the veils of semi-anonymity and distance, wise and increasingly affectionate counsel to the other.  They both begin to confront their problems and plan a celebratory meeting in Paris: a meeting that Eve fears can never happen.
House of Daughters ~ by Sarah-Kate Lynch, 2006, fiction (France)
Lonely Clementine is the rightful heir to the House of Peine, the vineyard that has been in the family for generations.  She has spent her whole life caring for the vines, not to mention her sour brute of a father.  But now the Peine patriarch is dead, and to Clementine’s distress his will stipulates that she must share the vineyard with a half-sister she hasn’t seen in twenty years and another she didn’t even know existed.  Secrets tumble out as the three sisters struggle to rescue the family heritage while overcoming their own differences.  (Originally published in New Zealand as The House of Peine by Random House New Zealand.)
FAKE HOMEWORK

My 5-year-old great-granddaughter shows off what she calls her "fake homework."  She's in kindergarten and may consider homework something big people do.  You know, like first graders.

Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Beginning ~ with advice from a columnist

The Breakdown Lane ~ by Jacquelyn Mitchard, 2005, fiction (Wisconsin)
Dear J, I'm getting married next summer, to a man of another nationality.  Both families are very happy, but there is a problem.
Those opening lines are intriguing, making me want to know about the problem and what the advice columnist will say.  Here's the book description:
Giving advice is what Julieanne does for a living — every Sunday she doles it out to clueless people she doesn't know, in a column in her local Wisconsin paper.  But when it comes to her personal life, Julie herself seems to have missed some clues.  Having worked creatively to keep her twenty-year marriage to Leo fresh and exciting, she is completely caught off guard when he tells her he needs to go on a "sabbatical" from their life together, leaving Julie and their three children — Gabe, Caroline, and Aury — behind.  But it soon becomes clear that his leave of absence is meant to be permanent.  The succeeding months are filled with a confusion and sadness that shake the core of the entire family.  Things take a turn for the worse when Julie is diagnosed with a serious illness and the children undertake a dangerous journey to find Leo — before it's too late.


Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Two bags full

One of the things I like about the Crown Center, where I live, is the trips we take on the van.  Since I'm new to St. Louis, it's a good way to learn about what's going on around town.  On Monday, half a dozen of us went to the JCC used book sale at the Jewish Community Center.  I came home with two bags full of books.

NOVELS
  1. What She Left Behind ~ by Ellen Marie Wiseman, 2014, fiction (New York)
  2. The Reconstructionist ~ by Josephine Hart, 2001, fiction
  3. The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. ~ by Sandra Gulland, 1995, fiction (Dominican Republic, France)
  4. Anil's Ghost ~ by Michael Ondaatje, 2000, fiction (Sri Lanka)
  5. The Breakdown Lane ~ by Jacquelyn Mitchard, 2005, fiction
  6. Quartet in Autumn ~ by Barbara Pym, 1977, fiction
NONFICTION
  1. The Virtues of Aging ~ by Jimmy Carter, 1998, contemporary thought
  2. Words That Hurt, Words that Heal: How to Choose Words Wisely and Well ~ by Joseph Telushkin, 1996, philosophy
  3. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life ~ by Richard Carlson, 1997, psychology
RELIGION
  1. God Is Red: A Native View of Religion (The Classic Work Updated) ~ by Vine Deloria, Jr., 1994
  2. Why Is God Laughing? : The Path to Joy and Spiritual Optimism ~ by Deepak Chopra, 2008
  3. What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam ~ by John L. Esposito, 2002
  4. A Jew Among the Evangelicals: A Guide for the Perplexed ~ by Mark I. Pinsky, 2006
  5. One God: Peoples of the Book ~ edited by Edith S. Engel and Henry W. Engel, 1990
  6. Religion for Dummies ~ by Marc Gellman and Thomas Hartman, 2002
  7. Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayerbook ~ by Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1975 (5735)