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Summer Reading List 2020

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NON-FICTION


A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Storyby Linda Sue Park {4.8 Stars}

The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.


Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson {4.8 Stars} 

#1 New York Times Bestseller and now a Major Motion picture.  A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice – from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.  Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

 


The Choice: Embrace the Possibleby Dr. Edith Eva Eger {4.9 Stars} 

At the age of sixteen, Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz.  Hours after her parents were killed, Nazi officer Dr. Josef Mengele, forced Edie to dance for his amusement and her survival.  Edie was pulled from a pile of corpses when the American troops liberated the camps in 1945.  Edie spent decades struggling with flashbacks and survivor’s guilt, determined to stay silent and hide from the past.  Thirty-five years after the war ended, she returned to Auschwitz and was finally able to fully heal and forgive the one person she’s been unable to forgive-herself.   Edie weaves her remarkable personal journey with the moving stories of those she has helped heal.  She explores how we can be imprisoned in our own minds and shows us how to find the key to freedom.   

FICTION


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28 Summersby Elin Hilderbrand {4.4 Stars}

By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Summer of '69: Their secret love affair has lasted for decades -- but this could be the summer that changes everything.  Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother's bachelor party. Cooper's friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere — through marriage, children, and Ursula's stratospheric political rise — until Mallory learns she's dying.
 

The Deserterby Nelson Demille {4.0 Stars} 

When Captain Kyle Mercer of the Army’s elite Delta Force disappeared from his post in Afghanistan, a video released by his Taliban captors made international headlines. But circumstances were murky: Did Mercer desert before he was captured? Then a second video sent to Mercer’s Army commanders leaves no doubt: the trained assassin and keeper of classified Army intelligence has willfully disappeared.   When Mercer is spotted a year later in Caracas, Venezuela, by an old Army buddy, top military brass task Scott Brodie and Maggie Taylor of the Criminal Investigation Division to fly to Venezuela and bring Mercer back to America—preferably alive. 


A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novelby Amor Towles {4.7 Stars} 

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal and is sentenced to house arrest in Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin.  Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors.  Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.  Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters and one beautiful rendered scene after another.

 American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel by [Jeanine Cummins]American Dirtby Jeanine Cummins {4.7 Stars} 

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.


Lights All Night Long: A Novelby Lydia Fitzpatrick {4.4 Stars} 

A gripping and deftly plotted narrative of family and belonging, Lights All Night Long is a dazzling debut novel from an acclaimed young writer.  Fifteen-year-old Ilya arrives in Louisiana from his native Russia for what should be the adventure of his life: a year in America as an exchange student. But all is not right: he is consumed by the fate of his older brother Vladimir, the magnetic rebel.  The abundance of his new world--the Super Walmarts and heated pools and enormous televisions--is as hard to fathom as the relentless cheerfulness of his host parents. And Sadie, their beautiful and enigmatic daughter, has miraculously taken an interest in him.


https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/513yA7tojNL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgBefore We Were Yours: A Novelby Lisa Wingate {4.7 Stars} 

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shanty boat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

The Guest Listby Lisa Foley {4.2 Stars} 

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.  But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. 


MINDFULNESS & LIFESTYLE

 

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer {4.4 Stars}

An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes." He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship too deep within the author's own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

 

See You on Sunday: A Cookbook for Family and Friendsby Sam Sifton {4.6 Stars}

From years spent talking to restaurant chefs, cookbook authors, and home cooks in connection with his daily work at The New York Times, Sam Sifton’s See You on Sunday is a book to make those dinners possible.  It is a guide to preparing meals for groups larger than the average American family (though everything can be scaled up or down).  The 200 recipes are mostly simple and inexpensive and they derive from decades spent cooking for family and groups ranging from six to sixty. Regular dinners with family and friends, he argues, are a metaphor for connection, a space where memories can be shared as easily as salt or hot sauce, where deliciousness reigns. The point of Sunday supper is to gather around a table with good company and eat.

 

BIOGRAPHIES & HISTORY

 

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, by John M Barry {4.5 Stars} 

Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research, The Great Influenza provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon. At the height of World War I, history’s most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. 

    The Ride of a Lifetimeby Robert Iger (4.8 Stars)

A memoir of leadership and success: The executive chairman of Disney, Time’s 2019 businessperson of the year, shares the ideas and values he embraced during his fifteen years as CEO while reinventing one of the world’s most beloved companies and inspiring the people who bring the magic to life. His vision came down to three clear ideas: Recommit to the concept that quality matters, embrace technology instead of fighting it and think bigger-think global-and turn Disney into a stronger brand in international markets. 

 

BUSINESS

 

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss {4.8 Stars} 

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues to succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counter-intuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.  Life is a series of negotiations you should be prepared for: buying a car; negotiating a salary; buying a home; renegotiating rent; deliberating with your partner. 

              

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, by David Epstein {4.5 Stars} 

David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see. Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers.  

 

Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries,                     by Safi Bahcall {4.5 Stars}

Bahcall, a physicist and entrepreneur, shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing new ideas to rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice.  Bahcall shows how a new kind of science can help us become the initiators, rather than the victims, of innovative surprise.  Over the past decade, researchers have been applying the tools and techniques of this new science―the science of phase transitions―to understand how birds flock, fish swim, brains work, people vote, diseases erupt, and ecosystems collapse. Loonshots is the first to apply this science to the spread of breakthrough ideas. Bahcall distills these insights into practical lessons creatives, entrepreneurs, and visionaries can use to change our world. 

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