Labor Day traditionally signals the end of summer (learn more about the holiday by clicking the link or checking out one of our books on the history of the day). We won’t have reading prizes until winter again, but don’t worry, we have plenty of book recommendations to keep your mind sharp! Why not try one of these suggestions collected by TED, from people like Rashida Jones and Bill Gates. You can also check out the list they compiled last year. They say they’re for summer reading, but we think they’re for all year. And if you read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and want more check out this list.
We hope you have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend and can’t wait to see you when we reopen Tuesday, September 2!
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This week’s staff pick is “Simply Sensational Cookies” by Nancy Baggett. With school back in session and the end of summer, you might need a pick me up, and what better way than a batch of delicious homemade cookies? The staff has tried several recipes from this book, and they’ve all come out so well that the results don’t last long. The directions are easy to follow, each recipe is marked as to it’s level of ease (and many are ‘very easy’), and we recommend reading the blurbs at the beginning of each recipe because she has some great tips like rinsing raisins in hot water to keep them plump and from drying out the cookies. Her introduction is also chock-full of great baking advice. This book passed our staff test, and we highly recommend it any time you need a new cookie recipe.
“Sophisticated, contemporary cookie recipes from one of America’s most respected baking experts. From bestselling cookbook author and award-winner Nancy Baggett comes “Simply Sensational Cookies, ” a delicious collection of cookie recipes that covers both the classics that mom used to make and modern, innovative ideas for the adventurous baker. Whether you’re a novice baker, an experienced cook, or a parent looking for new treats to try, this is the ideal cookbook for cookie-lovers, with more than 200 recipes ranging from fast and simple no-bake preparations to challenging projects for experienced bakers.Features more than 200 recipes, from traditional cookies like chocolate chip to sophisticated, savory cocktail nibblesIncludes gorgeous and inspiring full-color photography throughout Nancy Baggett is also the author of “Kneadlessly Simple” (Wiley) and twelve other highly respected cookbooks
Whether you need quick treats for the kids to snack on or fancy fare for your next cocktail party, “Simply Sensational Cookies” offers a wide range of recipes that will satisfy your every craving.”–From Goodreads.com
Simply Sensational Cookies
Published: Sep 26, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown is this week’s staff pick. Our staff member said she was totally absorbed by the book and learned about rowing, or crew, while immersing herself in Joe Rantz’s (one of the rowers) story. While the story mostly focuses on Rantz, it goes into the personal history of the entire team and sets their quest for Olympic gold against the backdrop of Hitler’s rise to power and the propaganda machine. This balance of personal history and world events makes a riveting story. We have it in several formats, so check out a copy today.
“Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.
The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.
Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s The Amateurs.”–Taken from Goodreads.com
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This week’s staff pick is Lexicon by Max Barry. And it’s a doozy. Our staff member read this a year ago and still can’t’ stop talking about it.
“At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics–at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as “poets”, adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.
Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school’s strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Bronte, Eliot, and Lowell–who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school’s most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.
Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he’s done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. Pursued relentlessly by people with powers he can barely comprehend and protected by the very man who first attacked him, Wil discovers that everything he thought he knew about his past was fiction. In order to survive, must journey to the toxically decimated town of Broken Hill, Australia, to discover who he is and why an entire town was blown off the map.
As the two narratives converge, the shocking work of the poets is fully revealed, the body count rises, and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless. Lexicon is a brilliant thriller that explores language, power, identity, and our capacity to love–whatever the cost.”–Goodreads.com
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