Book club February 2017 and Friday Finds

Bookshelf4
Picture from my bookshelves
edited with Pixlr
#Fridayfinds

I’m presenting here the books we shared
at our last block Book Club meeting
– it’s a potluck book club,
meaning each member shares about his/her latest good read.
Awesome for diversity in books, lively conversations,
and your TBR getting suddenly taller!
(synopsis taken from Goodreads.com)

I forgot to share all the books we talked about in our book club since September. I hope to do it on a regular basis again.
We had a full house in February, for our 5th anniversary, so here are all the books we talked about.
Reminder: in our book club, each member shares (with passion!) about the last book he/she read.

1. King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild  (1999)
presented by W.

In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million–all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold’s Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust. Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman. Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent. Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold. Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows. Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold II. With great power and compassion, King Leopold’s Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo–too long forgotten–onto the conscience of the West

2. Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy #1) by Chinua Achebe  (1958)
also presented by W.

THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. THINGS FALL APART is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.

3. My Brilliant Friend (L’amica geniale #1) by Elena Ferrante (2011)
presented by B.

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.

Ferrante is the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. With this novel, the first in a trilogy, she proves herself to be one of Italy’s great storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction.

I’m really sure I had read about an upcoming book by Ferrante with clues about her identity, but for the life of me, I can no longer find the title!

4. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles  (2016)
presented by R.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style.

A Gentleman in Moscow
immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the 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 of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

5.  The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome #1) by Colleen McCullough  (1990)
presented by P.

From the bestselling author of The Thorn Birds comes a masterpiece of historical fiction that is fascinating, moving, and gloriously heroic. The reader is swept into the whirlpool of pageantry, passion, splendor, chaos and earth-shattering upheaval that was ancient Rome. Here is the story of Marius, wealthy but lowborn, and Sulla, aristocratic but penniless and debauched — extraordinary men of vision whose ruthless ambition will lay the foundations of the most awesome and enduring empire known to humankind.

A towering saga of great events and mortal frailties, it is peopled with a vast, and vivid cast of unforgettable men and women — soldiers and senators, mistresses and wives, kings and commoners — combined in a richly embroidered human tapestry to bring a remarkable era to bold and breathtaking life.

6. Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernières  (2009)
presented by C.

A funny and heartbreaking new book from one of Britain’s favourite and bestselling writers.

Welcome to the village of Notwithstanding where a lady dresses in plus fours and shoots squirrels, a retired general gives up wearing clothes altogether, a spiritualist lives in a cottage with the ghost of her husband, and people think it quite natural to confide in a spider that lives in a potting shed. Based on de Bernières’ recollections of the village he grew up in, Notwithstanding is a funny and moving depiction of a charming vanished England.

7.  Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger  (1957)
presented by E.

The short story, Franny, takes place in an unnamed college town and tells the tale of an undergraduate who is becoming disenchanted with the selfishness and inauthenticity she perceives all around her.

The novella, Zooey, is named for Zooey Glass, the second-youngest member of the Glass family. As his younger sister, Franny, suffers a spiritual and existential breakdown in her parents’ Manhattan living room — leaving Bessie, her mother, deeply concerned — Zooey comes to her aid, offering what he thinks is brotherly love, understanding, and words of sage advice.

 

8. Running on Red Dog Road: And Other Perils of an Appalachian Childhood by Drema Hall Berkheimer  (2016)
presented by S.

Gypsies, faith-healers, moonshiners, and snake handlers weave through Drema’s childhood in 1940s Appalachia after her father is killed in the coal mines, her mother goes off to work as a Rosie the Riveter, and she is left in the care of devout Pentecostal grandparents. What follows is a spitfire of a memoir that reads like a novel with intrigue, sweeping emotion, and indisputable charm. Drema’s coming of age is colored by tent revivals with Grandpa, poetry-writing hobos, and traveling carnivals, and through it all, she serves witness to a multi-generational family of saints and sinners whose lives defy the stereotypes. Just as she defies her own.

Running On Red Dog Road is proof that truth is stranger than fiction, especially when it comes to life and faith in an Appalachian childhood.

 

9. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science by Charles Wheelan (2002)
presented by M.

Finally! A book about economics that won’t put you to sleep. In fact, you won’t be able to put this bestseller down. In our challenging economic climate, this perennial favorite of students and general readers is more than a good read, it’s a necessary investment—with a blessedly sure rate of return. Demystifying buzzwords, laying bare the truths behind oft-quoted numbers, and answering the questions you were always too embarrassed to ask, the breezy Naked Economics gives readers the tools they need to engage with pleasure and confidence in the deeply relevant, not so dismal science.

This revised and updated edition adds commentary on hot topics, including the current economic crisis, globalization, the economics of information, the intersection of economics and politics, and the history—and future—of the Federal Reserve.

10. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight  (2016)
presented by P.

In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his lime green Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed $8,000 his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of startups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all startups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable symbols in the world today.

But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, in a memoir that is candid, humble, gutsy, and wry, he tells his story, beginning with his crossroads moment. At 24, after backpacking around the world, he decided to take the unconventional path, to start his own business—a business that would be dynamic, different.

Knight details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream—along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls the formative relationships with his first partners and employees, a ragtag group of misfits and seekers who became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything.

11. The Great Game of Business: Unlocking the Power and Profitability of Open-Book Management by Jack Stack (1994)
presented by B.

In the early 1980s, Springfield Remanufacturing  Corporation (SRC) in Springfield, Missouri, was a  near bankrupt division of International Harvester.  That’s when a green young manager, Jack Stack,  took over and turned it around. He didn’t know how to  “manage” a company, but he did know about the  principal, of athletic competition and democracy:  keeping score, having fun, playing fair, providing  choice, and having a voice. With these principals  he created his own style of management —  open-book management. The key is to let everyone in on  financial decisions. At SRC, everyone learns how to  read a P&L — even those without a high school  education know how much the toilet paper they use  cuts into profits.

SRC people have a piece of the  action and a vote in company matters. Imagine  having a vote on your bonus and on what businesses the  company should be in. SRC restored the dignity of  economic freedom to its people. Stack’s  “open-book management” is the key — a system  which, as he describes it here, is literally  a game, and one so simple anyone can use  it.

As part of the Currency paperback line, the  book includes a “User’s Guide” — an  introduction and discussion guide created for the  paperback by the author — to help readers make  practical use of the book’s ideas. Jack Stack is the  president and CEO of the Springfield

12. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger (2016)
presented by J.

Sebastian Junger, the bestselling author of War and The Perfect Storm, takes a critical look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the many challenges today’s returning veterans face in modern society.

There are ancient tribal human behaviors-loyalty, inter-reliance, cooperation-that flare up in communities during times of turmoil and suffering. These are the very same behaviors that typify good soldiering and foster a sense of belonging among troops, whether they’re fighting on the front lines or engaged in non-combat activities away from the action. Drawing from history, psychology, and anthropology, bestselling author Sebastian Junger shows us just how at odds the structure of modern society is with our tribal instincts, arguing that the difficulties many veterans face upon returning home from war do not stem entirely from the trauma they’ve suffered, but also from the individualist societies they must reintegrate into.

A 2011 study by the Canadian Forces and Statistics Canada reveals that 78 percent of military suicides from 1972 to the end of 2006 involved veterans. Though these numbers present an implicit call to action, the government is only just taking steps now to address the problems veterans face when they return home. But can the government ever truly eliminate the challenges faced by returning veterans? Or is the problem deeper, woven into the very fabric of our modern existence? Perhaps our circumstances are not so bleak, and simply understanding that beneath our modern guises we all belong to one tribe or another would help us face not just the problems of our nation but of our individual lives as well.

Well-researched and compellingly written, this timely look at how veterans react to coming home will reconceive our approach to veteran’s affairs and help us to repair our current social dynamic.

13. Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea (2016)
presented by B.

Some places seem too beautiful to be touched by horror. Summit Lake, nestled in North Carolina s Blue Ridge Mountains, is that kind of place. But two weeks ago, Becca Eckersley, a first-year law student and daughter of a powerful attorney, was brutally murdered there. Now the town is reeling with grief, and the police are baffled.

At first, investigative reporter Kelsey Castle thinks of the assignment as a fluff piece. But the savagery of the crime, and the efforts to keep it quiet, hint at something far more sinister than a random attack by a stranger. As Kelsey digs deeper, despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca’s friendships, her love life and her secrets the more convinced she becomes that walking in Becca’s footsteps could lead her out of her own dark past.

14. Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks (2016)
presented by M.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with an emotionally powerful story of unconditional love, its challenges, its risks and most of all, its rewards.

At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear…and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down.

In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding—one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.

three-days-and-a-life15. Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre (to be released in English in July 2017)
presented by Emma

Three days at the edge of the new millennium, one moment of madness and one young life’s course altered forever. A dazzling new thriller from the master of noir.

Antoine is twelve years old. His parents are divorced and he lives with his mother in Beauval, a small, backwater town surrounded by forests, where everyone knows everyone’s business, and nothing much ever happens. But in the last days of 1999, a series of events unfolds, culminating in the shocking vanishing without trace of a young child. The adults of the town are at a loss to explain the disappearance, but for Antoine, it all begins with the violent death of his neighbour’s dog. From that one brutal act, his fate and the fate of his neighbour’s six year old son are bound forever.

In the years following Rémi’s disappearance, Antoine wrestles with the role his actions played. As a seemingly inescapable net begins to tighten, breaking free from the suffocating environs of Beauval becomes a gnawing obsession. But how far does he have to run, and how long will it take before his past catches up with him again?

I wrote a thorough review on it

 

  Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange 

 HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THOSE?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?

Advertisements

Book club August 2016 and Friday Finds

Bookshelf4
Picture from my bookshelves
edited with Pixlr
#Fridayfinds

I’m presenting here the books we shared
at our last block Book Club meeting
– it’s a potluck book club,
meaning each member shares about his/her latest good read.
Awesome for diversity in books, lively conversations,
and your TBR getting suddenly taller!
(synopsis taken from Goodreads.com)

 

1. Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-69, by Stephen E. Ambrose   (2001)
presented by P.

Nothing Like It in the World gives the account of an unprecedented feat of engineering, vision, and courage. It is the story of the men who built the transcontinental railroad—the investors who risked their businesses and money; the enlightened politicians who understood its importance; the engineers and surveyors who risked, and sometimes lost, their lives; and the Irish and Chinese immigrants, the defeated Confederate soldiers, and the other laborers who did the backbreaking and dangerous work on the tracks.

The U.S. government pitted two companies—the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads—against each other in a race for funding, encouraging speed over caution. Locomotives, rails, and spikes were shipped from the East through Panama or around South America to the West or lugged across the country to the Plains. In Ambrose’s hands, this enterprise, with its huge expenditure of brainpower, muscle, and sweat, comes vibrantly to life.

2. A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid from the Taliban in Plain Sight, by Maria Toorpakai  (May 20169)
presented by A.

Maria Toorpakai hails from Pakistan’s violently oppressive northwest tribal region, where the idea of women playing sports is considered haram-un-Islamic-forbidden-and girls rarely leave their homes. But she did, passing as a boy in order to play the sports she loved, thus becoming a lightning rod of freedom in her country’s fierce battle over women’s rights.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF DAUGHTER tell of Maria’s harrowing journey to play the sport she knew was her destiny, first living as a boy and roaming the violent back alleys of the frontier city of Peshawar, rising to become the number one female squash player in Pakistan. For Maria, squash was more than liberation-it was salvation. But it was also a death sentence, thrusting her into the national spotlight and the crosshairs of the Taliban, who wanted Maria and her family dead. Maria knew her only chance of survival was to flee the country.

Enter Jonathon Power, the first North American to earn the title of top squash player in the world, and the only person to heed Maria’s plea for help. Recognizing her determination and talent, Jonathon invited Maria to train and compete internationally in Canada. After years of living on the run from the Taliban, Maria packed up and left the only place she had ever known to move halfway across the globe and pursue her dream. Now Maria is well on the way to becoming a world champion as she continues to be a voice for oppressed women everywhere.

3. What Works: Gender Equality by Design, by Iris Bohnet  (March 2016)
also presented by A.

Gender equality is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back, and de-biasing people s minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Diversity training programs have had limited success, and individual effort alone often invites backlash. Behavioral design offers a new solution. By de-biasing organizations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts. Presenting research-based solutions, Iris Bohnet hands us the tools we need to move the needle in classrooms and boardrooms, in hiring and promotion, benefiting businesses, governments, and the lives of millions.

“What Works” is built on new insights into the human mind. It draws on data collected by companies, universities, and governments in Australia, India, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, and other countries, often in randomized controlled trials. It points out dozens of evidence-based interventions that could be adopted right now and demonstrates how research is addressing gender bias, improving lives and performance. “What Works” shows what more can be done often at shockingly low cost and surprisingly high speed.

4. 1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, by Robert Byrne   (1988)
presented by B.

From Plato to Groucho, this comprehensive edition features some of the most quotable people who ever lived. They are the famous, infamous, the little-known, and the unknown, inspired enough by life to comment on it, and smart enough to be clever about it.

5.  The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson   (2003)
presented by M.

Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that ‘The Devil in the White City’ is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

Burnham’s challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous “White City” around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair’s incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World’s Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

6. Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin  (1960)
presented by J.

In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line.  Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man.  His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American.

7.  The Vineyard at the End of the World: Maverick Winemakers and the Rebirth of Malbec, by Ian Mount  (2012)
presented by W.

For generations, Argentine wine was famously bad—­oxidized, unpalatable, and often mixed with a low-class French grape called Malbec. But then in 2001, a Cabernet Sauvignon / Malbec blend beat all contenders in a blind taste test featuring Napa and Bordeaux’s finest. Today, Argentina and its signature wine are on the tip of every smart traveler’s tongue. How did this happen?

The Vineyard at the End of the World tells the fascinating, four-hundred-year history of how a wine mecca arose in the high Andean desert. Profiling the outlandish figures who fueled the Malbec revolution—including celebrity enologist Michel Rolland, acclaimed American winemaker Paul Hobbs, and the Mondavi-esque Catena family—Ian Mount describes in colorful detail the nefarious scams, brilliant business innovations, and backroom politics that put Malbec on the map.

8. Black Ribbon (A Dog Lover’s Mystery #8), by Susan Conant  (1995)
presented by S.

Holly Winter and her Alaskan Malamute, Rowdy, are spending a week at Waggin’ Tail Camp, but Holly receives a sympathy card for the loss of her pet–is it a sick joke or is Kimi, her other Malamute, in jeopardy?

9. The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller (1992)
presented by M.

If you’ve ever experienced the one true love of your life, a love that for some reason could never be, you will understand why readers all over the world were so moved by this small, unknown first novel that they made it a publishing phenomenon and #1 bestseller. The story of Robert Kincaid, the photographer and free spirit searching for the covered bridges of Madison County, and Francesca Johnson, the farm wife waiting for the fulfillment of a girlhood dream, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY gives voice to the longings of men and women everywhere-and shows us what it is to love and be loved so intensely that life is never the same again.

10. The Devil’s Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police #5) , by Martin Walker (2013)
presented by C.

Mystery, food, and wine in the French province of Dordogne—the latest offering from Martin Walker, featuring Benoît “Bruno” Courrèges.
It’s spring in St. Denis. The village choir is preparing for its Easter concert, the wildflowers are blooming, and among the lazy whorls of the river a dead woman is found floating in a boat. It’s another case for Bruno, the town’s cherished chief of police. With the discovery of sinister markings and black candles near the body, it seems to him that the occult might be involved. And as questions mount—regarding a troubling real estate proposal in the region; a suspicious, violent death made to look accidental; and the sudden reappearance of a politically controversial elderly countess—Bruno and his colleagues and friends are drawn ever closer to a climactic showdown in the Gouffre de Colombac: the place locals call the Devil’s Cave.
With the enchanting backdrop of France’s pastoral heartland, a cast of local characters as vibrant as their surroundings, enough sumptuous repasts to satisfy any literary gourmand, and a hero winningly capable of balancing the good life with a dogged dedication to solving the crimes that threaten it, The Devil’s Cave invites readers to raise a glass and turn the page.

11. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande  (2009)
presented by N.

NB: this is the author of Being Mortal.
We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies‚neither seems to prevent grievous errors. But in a hopeful turn, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist.
First introduced decades ago by the U.S. Air Force, checklists have enabled pilots to fly aircraft of mind-boggling sophistication. Now innovative checklists are being adopted in hospitals around the world, helping doctors and nurses respond to everything from flu epidemics to avalanches. Even in the immensely complex world of surgery, a simple ninety-second variant has cut the rate of fatalities by more than a third.

In riveting stories, Gawande takes us from Austria, where an emergency checklist saved a drowning victim who had spent half an hour underwater, to Michigan, where a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection. He explains how checklists actually work to prompt striking and immediate improvements. And he follows the checklist revolution into fields well beyond medicine, from homeland security to investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds.
An intellectual adventure in which lives are lost and saved and one simple idea makes a tremendous difference, The Checklist Manifesto is essential reading for anyone working to get things right.

12. The Promise, by Danielle Steel  (1977)
presented by J.

Young architect Micheal Hillyard and artist Nancy McAllister are determined to get married despite his wealthy mother’s disapproval. Then minutes before their wedding, a terrifying accident and a cruel deception separate Micheal and Nancy–perhaps forever. Each pursues a new life–Nancy in California, Micheal in New York. But eventually nothing–and no one–can keep them apart as they keep their vow never to say good-bye.

13. My Brilliant Friend (L’amica geniale #1) , by Elena Ferrante, (2012)
presented by B.

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.

Ferrante is the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. With this novel, the first in a trilogy, she proves herself to be one of Italy’s great storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction.

14. The Shipping News, by Annie Proulx  (1992)
presented by E.

NB: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1994), National Book Award for Fiction (1993)

When Quoyle’s two-timing wife meets her just desserts, he retreats with his two daughters to his ancestral home on the starkly beautiful Newfoundland coast, where a rich cast of local characters and family members all play a part in Quoyle’s struggle to reclaim his life. As Quoyle confronts his private demons–and the unpredictable forces of nature and society–he begins to see the possibility of love without pain or misery. A vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary North American family, The Shipping News shows why Annie Proulx is recognized as one of the most gifted and original writers in America today.

15. The House Between Tides, by Sarah Maine, (Aug 2, 2016)
presented by me

The House Between TidesKate Morton meets Daphne du Maurier in this atmospheric debut novel about a woman who discovers the century-old remains of a murder victim on her family’s Scottish estate, plunging her into an investigation of its mysterious former occupants.
Following the death of her last living relative, Hetty Deveraux leaves London and her strained relationship behind for Muirlan, her ancestral home in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. She intends to renovate the ruinous house into a hotel, but the shocking discovery of human remains brings her ambitious restoration plans to an abrupt halt before they even begin. Few physical clues are left to identify the body, but one thing is certain: this person did not die a natural death.
Hungry for answers, Hetty discovers that Muirlan was once the refuge of her distant relative Theo Blake, the acclaimed painter and naturalist who brought his new bride, Beatrice, there in 1910. Yet ancient gossip and a handful of leads reveal that their marriage was far from perfect; Beatrice eventually vanished from the island, never to return, and Theo withdrew from society, his paintings becoming increasingly dark and disturbing.
What happened between them has remained a mystery, but as Hetty listens to the locals and studies the masterful paintings produced by Theo during his short-lived marriage, she uncovers secrets that still reverberate through the small island community—and will lead her to the identity of the long-hidden body.

If you want to read my enthusiastic review about here, come this way:
https://wordsandpeace.com/2016/08/23/book-review-the-house-between-tides/

 

  Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange 

 HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THOSE?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?