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Adult

Being There

Being There

By Jerzy Kosinski 141 pages Adult

Danny Says

One of my favorite short novels and a wonderful movie with Peter Sellers, Shirley McLaine and Melvyn Douglas. Satire written in the 70s about the wonderful character known as Chauncey Gardiner, an imbecile whose world revolves around television that rises to the highest echelons of power in American politics.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

By Leo Tolstoy 128 pages Adult

Danny Says

Tolstoy is best known for the lengthy War and Peace, but we lazy readers can still impress folks at cocktail parties by mentioning we devoured the much shorter Death of Ivan Ilyich. Can’t say this book brought a lot of joy to me as I read it, but I certainly was happy to finish it!
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories

A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories

By Flannery O'Connor 276 pages Adult

Danny Says

Have to admit that I had limited exposure to O’Connor and was quite taken by this collection of short stories. She has a wicked sense of humor – but in that sweet, Southern-charming way. What a gifted writer!
Sula

Sula

By Toni Morrison 192 pages Adult

Danny Says

Incredible entry by the Nobel Prize-winning author, Sula tells the tale of two little girls growing up in a poor, black neighborhood nestled in the barrio known as “The Bottom.” As they grow older and separately, the two friends become something worse than enemies in this brilliantly written novel.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

By Mohsin Hamid 191 pages Adult

Danny Says

Can’t believe I just discovered this gem about a Pakistanti Princeton grad trying to navigate subtle and blatant bigotry in a post-911 world. Provocative and heart-wrenching.
Why Simple Wins

Why Simple Wins

By Lisa Bodell 240 pages Adult

Danny Says

Bodell shows how to eliminate redundancies, communicate with clarity and make simplification a habit in this quick, engaging and informative read (strike that – for the point of simplification, let’s just call it an “essential” read).
Papi: My Story

Papi: My Story

By David Ortiz,Michael Holley 272 pages Adult

Danny Says

Understand that I am NOT a Boston Red Sox fan (although Fenway Park is my favorite stadium in baseball). I preferred them as loveable losers, but there are a few people in the organization I just adore: Terry Francona (who now blesses the dugout of the Cleveland Indians) and Big Papi. Who the heck doesn’t like David Ortiz? The guy was always clutch and played the game the right way. Any baseball fan should like this autobiography.
Gwendy's Button Box

Gwendy's Button Box

By Stephen King,Richard Chizmar 180 pages Adult

Danny Says

So – I have this unwritten rule that I try to feature primarily new and under-appreciated authors, but I could not resist including this latest novel from the king himself. Chizmar is also well-published but not as widely known, so this is a great way to introduce yourself to fine writing that you cannot put down.
Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...

By William H. McRaven 144 pages Adult

Danny Says

I’m starting to form a section of excellent self-help books just written by former Navy SEALs. Too many things in life are overcomplicated, and McRaven does an excellent job of helping people focus on the essential stuff. I’d actually recommend this book be placed in middle schools and high schools, and I am sure they’ll come out with an illustrated kids’ version (and I’d welcome that version).
The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future

The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future

By Steve Case 272 pages Adult

Danny Says

Fascinating manifesto by the Founder of AOL (remember that?) that paints Case’s vision for the future direction and possibilities of the Internet.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

By Neil deGrasse Tyson 224 pages Adult

Danny Says

Nothing thrills me more than learning from brilliant minds with the ability to take complex concepts and make them understandable to a layman like me. DeGrasse Tyson is an excellent teacher, and I am so grateful he is in the world to show people why science matters.
The American Spirit

The American Spirit

By David McCullough 192 pages Adult

Danny Says

If you have never read any of McCullough’s books or heard him speak, here is a wonderful introduction to a historian who will make you proud to be an American and remind you why each of us needs to study the lessons of history or risk repeating the same mistakes.
True Love and Homegrown Tomatoes

True Love and Homegrown Tomatoes

By Julie Cannon 256 pages Adult

Danny Says

Maybe it is because I spent all of April home (I did not travel for business once) or maybe it is because I am on a diet, but I seem to have done a lot of soul-searching and reflecting recently. Robinson’s lovely novel about dealing with a loved one’s death is both heartbreaking and hilarious. It made me want to dig into the dirt and plant a Southern garden.
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

By Edmund Morris 920 pages Adult

Danny Says

This is a phenomenal account of Teddy’s life up until he became President.  Before reading this, I only knew that Teddy bears were named after him, and for some reason he has his mug on Mt. Rushmore.  Now I consider him one of the most fascinating Americans in history.  Morris points out that Teddy read nearly 20,000 books by the time he was 30.  I am trying to make up ground by reading lots of short books!
The Killer Angels

The Killer Angels

By Michael Shaara 355 pages Adult

Danny Says

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and basis for the movie “Gettysburg.”  His son wrote a prequel (Gods and Generals) and sequel (The Last Full Measure), and, while not as good, they are both very appealing.  The Killer Angels is a must-read, as I have recommended it to nearly 100 people of all ages, races and genders, and all have told me that it is one of the best books they have ever read.  I never knew how interesting the Civil War could be, and I would recommend that all high school social studies teachers recommend this book to their students.  I would have been much more interested in this time in history (now I read every book on the Civil War that I can get my hands on).

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