Monday, September 15, 2014

Bartlett Reads: What Would Candor Read?

Welcome to the third post in the Bartlett Reads 2014 blog series. This year, our community-reads selection is Divergent by Veronica Roth. Each week in September, we'll feature the factions from Divergent and books that they might read. Next up is Candor. They are known for always telling the truth. What books might they like to read?

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 All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.

 The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely

In The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, Ariely shows why some things are easier to lie about; how getting caught matters less than we think; and how business practices pave the way for unethical behavior, both intentionally and unintentionally. Ariely explores how unethical behavior works in the personal, professional, and political worlds, and how it affects all of us, even as we think of ourselves as having high moral standards. But all is not lost. Ariely also identifies what keeps us honest, pointing the way for achieving higher ethics in our everyday lives. With compelling personal and academic findings, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty will change the way we see ourselves, our actions, and others.

 Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French

Who is in Coma Suite Number 5? A matchless lover? A supreme egotist? A selfless martyr? A bad mother? A cherished sister? A selfish wife? All of these. For this is Silvia Shute, who has always done exactly what she wants, until now, when her life suddenly, shockingly stops. Her past holds a terrible secret, and now that she is unconscious in a hospital bed, her constant stream of visitors are set to uncover the mystery of her broken life. Meanwhile she must lie there, victim of the beloveds, the borings, the babblings and the plain bonkers. Like it or not, the truth is about to pay Silvia a visit. Again, and again and again...

 The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

 You Can't Lie to Me by Janine Driver

Driver distills nearly two decades of behind-the-scenes knowledge, cutting-edge science, and relatable case studies into a simple, powerful five-step program. Whether it's with your teenager, spouse, mechanic, or fellow board member, and whether you are communicating face-to-face or through phone calls, e-mails, texts, Facebook posts, or handwritten notes, you will have all the tools and confidence you need to spot deception. More important, you will recognize the truth as you build the caring, authentic connections that make life worth living. In You Can't Lie to Me learn how to perfect your inner lie detector ("BS Barometer") and ban liars from your life, so you can feel more confident and create stronger, more trusting relationships.

Stay tuned next week for a new blog post about faction-style reading!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Pink Suit by N. M. Kelby

   On November 22, 1963, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy accompanied her husband to Dallas, Texas wearing a Chanel-style pink suit. She was still wearing that blood-stained suit when she accompanied her husband's body back to Washington D. C. hours later. This novel is about the people that created that infamous suit.

In the early 1960s, Chez Ninon was a well known, fashionable boutique in New York City. This is where Jackie Kennedy now buys her clothes after being criticized in the media for spending too much money on French designers. The story is really about the workers that painstakingly copied these designs into perfect garments for one of the most photographed women in the world and got absolutely no recognition for their efforts.

The Pink Suit is a fascinating portrayal of not just this one shop, but the mood of the 1960s in general and particularly all things Camelot.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Bartlett Reads: What Would Amity Read?

Welcome to the second post in the Bartlett Reads 2014 blog series. This year, our community-reads selection is Divergent by Veronica Roth. Each week in September, we'll feature the factions from Divergent and books that they might read. Next up is Amity. They are known for peacefulness, nature, and pleasantness. What books might they like to read?

 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World is a darkly satiric vision of a "utopian" future, where humans are genetically bred and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively serve a ruling order. A powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations, it remains remarkably relevant to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying entertainment.

 Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson

 Peaches combines three unforgettable heroines who have nothing in common but the troubles that have gotten them sentenced to a summer of peach picking at a Georgia orchard.

Leeda is a debutante dating wrong-side-of-the-tracks Rex.

Murphy, the wildest girl in Bridgewater, likes whichever side Rex is on.

Birdie is a dreamer whose passion for Girl Scout cookies is matched only by her love for a boy named Enrico.

When their worlds collide, The Breakfast Club meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in an entirely original and provocative story with a lush, captivating setting.

 Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante.

His course took him through almost forty states: northward from Long Island to Maine; through the Midwest to Chicago; onward by way of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana (with which he fell in love), and Idaho to Seattle, south to San Francisco and his birthplace, Salinas; eastward through the Mojave, New Mexico, Arizona, to the vast hospitality of Texas, to New Orleans and a shocking drama of desegregation; finally, on the last leg, through Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to New York.

Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt

"Henry Smith's father told him that if you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you." But Trouble comes careening down the road one night in the form of a pickup truck that strikes Henry's older brother, Franklin. In the truck is Chay Chouan, a young Cambodian from Franklin's preparatory school, and the accident sparks racial tensions in the school--and in the well-established town where Henry's family has lived for generations. Caught between anger and grief, Henry sets out to do the only thing he can think of: climb Mt. Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine, which he and Franklin were going to climb together. Along with Black Dog, whom Henry has rescued from drowning, and a friend, Henry leaves without his parents' knowledge. The journey, both exhilarating and dangerous, turns into an odyssey of discovery about himself, his older sister, Louisa, his ancestry, and why one can never escape from Trouble.

 Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens, both named Will Grayson, are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most fabulous high school musical.

Stay tuned next week for a new blog post about faction-style reading!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

Hmmm... not really sure what to say about this one. Anne Rivers Siddons is one of my favorite authors, but The Girls of August, well, let's just say if you've never read her before, do not start with this one. If you haven't read her before, then this is an OK beach read.

Four twenty-something women meet when their husbands all attend the same medical school, and a bond develops. Since their husbands are busy all the time, the women begin taking an annual trip together every August, and this goes on for years. Each year, it's a different house and a different experience.

But when one of them is killed in a car accident, everything stops. A few years go by, and the girls decide it's time to try again. This time, however, there's a new wife. A very young new wife.

Can these girls all get along?

If you decide not to care (which I did) at least the description of coastal South Carolina is nice.


Read-alike author: Nancy Thayer.

Think Like a Freak by Seven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Think Like a Freak is Levitt's and Dubner's third Freakonomics book (there is also: Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything and it's follow up Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance).  This addition is all about trying to help readers think a little bit more like the authors of this book. Tips include thinking like a child (sometimes) and asking some questions that may seem obvious. If you liked the Freakonomics you will most likely find this book interesting and it definitely makes you look at things differently. This reader liked it more than Super Freakonomics, but the first is still the favorite. However, for those that did read Super Freakonomics there is an amusing bit of information given regarding terrorists and life insurance. Overall and enjoyable read or listen* (this book, along with the others in this series, is read by Stephen J. Dubner).

For more Freakonomics you can check out their podcast

If you like Think Like a Freak you may also want to check out:
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Carsick by John Waters

Carsick is not a book for the easily offended, and it has enough bizarre material in it to possibly get under the skin of the not-so-easily offended as well. If you are familiar with the movies of John Waters, the book’s author, let’s just say that Carsick is much closer to Waters’ older, weirder movies such as Pink Flamingos and Polyester than it is to Hairspray, his best known and tamest movie.

Carsick isn’t easy to categorize, and not just because of Waters’ exploration of the sick part of the book’s title. The basic idea behind Carsick was for Waters to hitchhike from his home in Baltimore all the way across the country to San Francisco. I knew the basic idea going in and was surprised to find out that the book was divided into three sections: a fictionalized section of good hitchhiking rides (or at least good in Waters’ mind), a fictionalized section of bad hitchhiking rides, and finally a section titled “The Real Thing” that documents Waters’ real hitchhiking adventures. I was a little disappointed with the first section of the book but found section two, the fictional bad rides, to be disturbing and entertaining in a good way.

Not surprisingly, Waters’ true account of hitchhiking across the country doesn’t come close to his hitchhiking fantasies in the first two sections. “The Real Thing” is instead an odd little portrait of America. There are a few people who recognize Waters but most of the people who pick him up are just trying to be helpful to someone they imagine is down on his luck. Waters writes about an America that perhaps isn’t as divided as we may think, at least not along Interstate 70, which Waters is on for most of his trip. People want to help out. Some drive farther than they normally would, and most of the police officers he sees don’t give him a hard time. One even gives him a ride and tries to contact an officer in the next county who might be able to take Waters farther. Carsick ends up with the unusual achievement of being both heart-warming and disgusting.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bartlett Reads: What Would Abnegation Read?

Welcome to the first post in the Bartlett Reads 2014 series. This year, our community-reads selection is Divergent by Veronica Roth. Each week in September, we'll feature the factions from Divergent and books that they might read. First up is Abnegation. They are known for always putting others first. What books might they like to read?

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Born to Be Good by Dacher Keltner

In Born to Be Good, Dacher Keltner demonstrates that humans are not hardwired to lead lives that are "nasty, brutish, and short"--we are in fact born to be good. He investigates an old mystery of human evolution: why have we evolved positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe, and compassion that promote ethical action and are the fabric of cooperative societies?By combining stories of scientific discovery, personal narrative, and Eastern philosophy, Keltner illustrates his discussions with more than fifty photographs of human emotions. Born to Be Good is a profound study of how emotion is the key to living the good life and how the path to happiness goes through human emotions that connect people to one another.

 Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life.Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he's going, he probably won't even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he's decided it's time to let go.But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he's loved and those he's never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin's life.

 The One Good Thing by Kevin Alan Milne

For as long as Halley Steen has known her husband Nathan, he has carried a handful of stones in his pocket. Each day he uses those stones to remind him to follow the Golden Rule, moving a stone from one pocket to the other with each act of kindness. So it's not unusual that Nathan stops to help a stranger on the side of the highway while on his way to his son's football game one Friday evening. But that one act will change all of their lives forever, when a car hydroplanes off the road, killing Nathan instantly.

As Halley and her children Ty and Alice struggle with their grief, Nathan's spiritual legacy lives on. A Facebook page appears, where countless stories about Nathan's selfless acts are shared. But among them is one that stands out, from a woman who says that Nathan saved her life. Neither Halley nor her children have ever heard of Madeline Zuckerman. But soon Halley discovers years of e-mails from this woman to her husband on his computer that refer to "our little girl." How could her husband have kept the secret of this other child for their entire marriage? Why had he lied to her? Was he not the man she thought he was?

Only thirteen-year-old Alice maintains unwavering faith in her father. She knows there's an explanation. When she sets out to find Madeline and learn the truth, she will start to unravel the complex story of The One Good Thing Nathan Steen did that had the greatest impact of all.  

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde

When his teacher sets a challenge to his class to come up with a plan to change the world for the better, twelve-year-old Trevor McKinney's idea is simple: Do a good deed for three people and ask each of them to "pay it forward" to three others who need help. At first, the plan goes awry, and Trevor's project seems valuable only as a lesson on the dark side of human nature. But then something amazing starts to happen: a vast movement of kindness and goodwill spreading beyond Trevor's small California town and across the world. Soon a journalist with a story of his own tracks down the source of the epidemic, and makes Trevor a celebrity. Yet Trevor has problems closer to home: he wants his pretty, hardworking mother to see the softer side of his beloved teacher, Reuben St. Clair, a scarred Vietnam veteran who seems to come alive only when he's in front of his class. In the end, Pay It Forward is the story of seemingly ordinary people made extraordinary by the faith of a child-a story so powerful it has inspired people around the world to follow its example in their own lives. Anyone who has ever despaired of one person's ability to effect change will rejoice in this novel's triumphant message of hope.

 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel--a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice--but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

Stay tuned next week for a new faction-style reading post!