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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DL

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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DL

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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One Plus One

Jojo Moyers, 2014

How does a single parent of two cope in a 21st century world?   Moyes ‘ cast of skillfully crafted characters includes single-mom Jess,  her stepson, Nicky ,  his  gifted sister Tanzie and Ed Nicholls, a technology millionaire.  Each person's story flows on its own, yet they all meld together into an uncommonly good story about family, trust, and love.  I hated the book to end!

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MC

The Alchemist

Paul Coehlo,1993, 2006

An Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. The obstacles Santiago encounter along the way become the teachings for his discovery of the treasures found within.  This is a simply written book about lessons that we all know in our hearts, and we forget as we get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our material lives. Lessons are revealed about living in the moment, the transient nature of possessions and the illusion that we can even "possess" something. 

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By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Paulo Coelho, 1996, 1998, 2006

Pilar, an independent young woman, renews her relationship with a childhood friend who is now a maverick seminarian, and together they follow a spiritual path to true love.

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DL

Stoner

John Williams, 1965

Williams’ casts a window on 20th century university life.  He explores a young man’s development from farm boy to university student and follows him through his adult life – his destructive marriage, a love affair , university politics  and his overall love for learning.   The book has been called called  "the greatest American novel you've never heard of".  It was reissued in 2003

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MC