Luckiest Girl Alive

Jessica Knoll, 2015

Tifani (Ani) seems to be the luckiest girl in the world with a glamorous job at a fashion magazine in New York, a handsome rich fiancĂ©, yet she is moody, restless and easily annoyed. In the well-crafted novel, Ani is drawn back to her days as a newcomer to an elite boarding school where she is willing to do anything to fit in.  This leads to a gang rape that she hides from everyone except Arthur, a loner who befriends her.  Just before her wedding, she is asked to be part of a documentary about a terrible event at the school and the past catches up with Ani.  The plot twists and turns with spot-on writing and Knoll really knows how to do a surprise ending.

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The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah, 2015

A sensitively written historical novel about commitment, love and  loss in war- torn France at the onset of World War II.  Two sisters, one an idealist, one a rebel make decisions regarding their family and the innocents around them.   The sisters' relationship is tested as is their strength and individual senses of right and wrong. 

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Our Souls at Night

Kent Haruf, 2015

Widower Louis Waters is initially thrown when the widowed Addie Moore suggests that they spend time together in bed to stave off loneliness. He’s lonely too, though he’s never admitted it to himself. He does it. Their relationship blossoms. They find they have a lot to talk about: their dead mates, their children, how their marriages worked out, how neither of their lives turned out as they expected. There is so much wisdom in this beautiful gentle book. . . a small, quiet gem.

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Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect your Brain

David Perlmutter M.D., 2015

Brain Maker opens the door to unprecedented brain health between the gut and the brain working hand in hand together.  Dr. Perlmutter explains the potent interplay between intestinal microbes and the brain, describing how the microbiome develops from birth and evolves. Perlmutter explains how lifestyle choices, and nurturing gut health through a few easy strategies can alter your brain's destiny for the better. 


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All Who Go Do Not Return

Shulem Deen, 2015

A memoir about growing up in and then leaving one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the U.S., the Skverers.  While growing up, Deen knows little about the outside world--only that it is to be shunned. His marriage at eighteen is arranged and several children soon follow. He begins a feverish inquiry into the tenets of his religious beliefs, until several years later, his faith unravels entirely. Deen bravely traces his harrowing loss of faith, while offering an illuminating look at a highly secretive world.

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The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, The Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to The West

Michelle Goldberg, 2015

Goldberg began digging for clues to the connections between the yoga of India and its Americanized version. She learns of 102-year-old Indra Devi (1899-2002), often called the First Lady of Yoga. Her life story, which touches three centuries is a kaleidoscopic journey and explores the underpinnings of her outlook, including a yogic disavowal of attachment, a yearning for freedom, and an unflagging sense of trust and positivity. Devi taught yoga well into her 90s. Though the text will be of particular interest to practitioners and teachers of yoga, this sparkling tale of a remarkable trailblazer should enlighten and inspire every reader.

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Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?

Roz Chast, 2014

In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents, spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents in a graphic novel format. A wonderfully frank and often hilarious, refreshing look at elderly parents,  those that care for them and the unexpected shifts that occur. Chast's memoir is both a comfort as well as a comic relief for anyone experiencing this chapter of life.

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Stella Bain

Anita Shreve, 2013

Anita Shreve explores the effect of WWI post- traumatic stress on the body and the soul.  A woman wakes up in a hospital tent in France in 1916 with cuts and bruises and no identity.  She calls herself Stella Bain even though that might not be her real name.  Intuitively, she believes that someone can help her unravel the past. Alone in London, she is found ill by Lily Bridge and her husband, Dr. August Bridge who nurse Stella back to health.  During her convalescence, Dr. Bridge, helps her to piece together her past through nurturing her artistic spirit. This would make an excellent book club title. 

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Everything I Never Told You

Celeste Ng, 2014

Ng’s debut novel is about a Chinese-American family living in Ohio in the 1970’s. This is a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family. The story exhibits the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

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The Children Act

Ian McEwan, 2014

British High Court judge, Fiona Maye, becomes personally involved in a  complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because of their religious beliefs. She must also deal with the disintegration of her own childless marriage.  McEwan has created a good read and a penetrating character study.

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