Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Day 7 of 7 Days of Books I Loved -- Recent Reads I Recommend

Day 7
Day 7 of books I loved. Recent Reads I Recommend. I have a steady supply of books I've started. There's a shelf by my door so I can grab one on my way to any appointment. Waiting rooms are ideal reading opportunities. My "in progress" books are all great reads. I enjoy the variety of options, even though it takes me a long time to finish any single choice. Here are just a few recent reads (most finished, some in progress) that I highly recommend. 

I'm also going to be expanding some of these titles as individual blog posts. These "Closer Look" posts will have more photos and background on the authors and artists. First in this series is a favorite from the Scholastic Books post, "Champ - Gallant Collie." http://stuartngbooks.blogspot.com/2019/06/champ-gallant-collie-by-patricia-lauber.html

Meanwhile, perhaps you'll find your own book to start from this collection of book covers and commentary:

"I Am Malala"
If you're feeling Messed Up about the state of things today -- read a book about the change that's coming. Malala in her own words is a breathtaking story. Her ordeal and triumph makes for an empowering case study. We are just beginning to see the possibilities for educated young women as global influencers. Malala is having a serious impact from a world-wide platform. Her book is also an excellent primer on the conflicts and history of a part of the world that our sound bite news cycle rarely has time to cover in depth. I picked this book up because after following her story in the headlines, who wouldn't want to know more about this brave, smart soul.

"Dinosaurs in the Attic"
There are great finds to be made at museum bookshops. This title's a reprint from ages ago. Such a fun introduction to the "explorer age" of natural history museums, not to mention the skullduggery of late 1800s dinosaur hunters!

"All the Light We Cannot See"
This novel won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. It took the author 10 years to write. It gives me hope. (about finishing long projects, not prizes A brilliant read with punchy short chapters and poetic prose. It brings WW II France to life. And it's set at one of my all time favorite museums in Paris.

"Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science -- and the World"
Growing up, I felt that there was nothing to read about women pioneers in science and the arts. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough then -- I was pretty busy with all those animal stories. Still, it's encouraging now to see tons of titles covering these hidden her-stories. This book has short chapters on each gal hero. It's a great book to grab when you need something you can pick up and put down. You know you'll learn a lot in short bursts.

"Lab Girl"
Ever wonder how books about science and women scientists are making their way into the hands and minds of young people? This was recommended summer reading for a public high school student's AP language class. This author writes about her field with authority. She also spins charming and insightful tales about her adventures in the lab and academia.

"Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?"
Only Roz Chast could be so painfully honest and sidesplittingly funny about the darkest of subjects. Loss of loved ones is brutal. Chast makes us come to grips with the truth -- we cannot avoid it. The awkward conversations. The logistics. The STUFF. Chast tackles it all. Another find thanks to The Book Frog. I bought so many copies there that I gave as gifts. Better to read it before you need it.

"The Perfect Horse"
New York Times best selling author Elizabeth Letts follows her triumphant "The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman the Horse that Inspired a Nation" with another horse story proving truth is stranger than fiction. She's done an admirable job here gathering all the research about this horse-centric chapter of WW II. It's a history lesson and and a compelling read.

"The Perfect Score Project"
A must-read if you have a kid about to start the college application process, or you know someone in or approaching that category. Author is a Mom who took the SAT 7 times. She has a website with current info on all the craziness of college testing, but this book is still an essential guide to getting through it. Perfect Score Project website: https://perfectscoreproject.com/
Many of the great reads I'm referencing in my "7 Days" summaries were discoveries for me thanks to indie bookstore The Book Frog. I came to rely on their display of recommended reading. This South Bay treasure is sadly closed now, but hopefully will be back. It was run by real readers and book lovers. A missed and not forgotten community resource.

"Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking"
This book is a travel guide to the culture of quiet people. Americans tend to reward type-A go-getters who are on over-drive 24/7. This book helps explain that Quiet people aren't underachieving, just mis-understood. Spending time with this book reminded me of lessons learned from travelling out of the county. It's an eye-opening look at our American/over-achiever culture from a different perspective. To other cultures, we can be overwhelmingly loud, friendly, pre-occupied with our jobs vs. our interests/passions, and always in such a hurry -- for what?? This book challenges us to not impose a hard-driving "if this is Tuesday, it must be Paris" daily grind agenda on everyone, but to spend some time appreciating the value of living at a different pace, with different priorities.

"Radium Girls"
Titcombs Bookshop https://www.titcombsbookshop.com/ , an east-coast indie bookstore I follow, was hosting a signing event with this author, so I was able to order a signed paperback of this book. Shop indie to support community stores and jobs... and shop indies on the internet to get cool signed books!

The image below shows this book was an Emma Watson "Our Shared Shelf" Book Club Choice. 
"Radium Girls" is an example of quality books about women pioneers in science and industry now available. Seeing titles like this making the rounds of book clubs and awards is beyond encouraging. This story documents the price these young workers paid, and the precedent they established. It reads like a true crime novel. As the plight of the girls advances, we learn how new science discoveries enthralled the public. Then turned into unexpected cautionary tales. Here's a link with list of awards for this book and more details on it https://www.juniorlibraryguild.com/book/landing/detailedview?itemcode=9781492649359J

"Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood"
Oliver Sacks. If you haven't read him, you must! He makes the most complex science so accessible. His writing is heartfelt and human. This is just one terrific tile by him.

"Trinity -- A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb"
An actual graphic novel!!! This is a fantastic story of complex science history, literally laid out in easy to understand words and pictures. So much harder to do than author-artist Jonathan Fetter-Vorm makes it look here.

"H is for Hawk"
Another recommendation from The Book Frog. Part memoir about loss. Part natural history/field science adventure. This book has been on "just started" status with me for too long. And the cover is amazing!

"Me Talk Pretty One Day"
If you have ever tried to learn a foreign language, you will laugh even harder at the title chapter in this collection of humor essays.

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