Sunday, October 17, 2021

Staff Recs, Week of October 19, 2021

And now we're back to our regularly scheduled weekly blogging. Staff recommendations for the week!

New In Hardcover

First up, Chris Lee recommends Go Home, Ricky!, by Gene Kwak. Chris says: "When his heart and his neck both get broken, semi-pro circuit wrestler Ricky sets off on a journey to find his absentee father upon whose Native American heritage Ricky’s identity (not to mention his semi-offensive wrestling persona) is based. This book rules. Ricky’s voice is unforgettable – an internet bro full of swagger, jokes, and pain. And his story, like him, is messy, flawed, and wandering, from the top of the ropes to Omaha’s dive bars, halfway across the country twice then back home again. A wholly original, of-the-moment take on the ways a young man in middle America searches for answers to those eternal questions: who the hell am I, and how am I going to live with it? This is a heck of a good book."

Kay Wosewick recommends Redemption of Wolf 302: From Renegade to Yellowstone Alpha Male, by Rick McIntyre. Kay says: "A couple generations into the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, could there be anything new to learn after thousands of hours of study? Yes, indeed! Most surprisingly, significant behavioral and personality changes occur over the life of Wolf 302. Happy tears."

Tim McCarthy recommends The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times, by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams. Tim says: "Hope can be tough to come by these days, but Jane Goodall certainly has it. She is truly "a beacon of hope." People from all over the world look to her for it, and it's not wishful thinking. She has very specific and detailed reasons to be hopeful, and she thinks what people see in her is an unflinching honesty about the nightmare scenarios we face on Earth combined with a sincere belief that we can still overcome them. She freely admits there are times when she feels down, but at 87 years old, long after her revolutionary studies of African chimpanzees, she still travels the world working with people and nature, collecting the most amazing stories! She believes that hope is a survival trait which humans have developed, but that it must also be nurtured and reinforced. Her travels give her a fierce belief in "the amazing human intellect, the resilience of nature, the power of young people, and the indomitable human spirit." She discusses each of these reasons for hope in profound dialogues with Douglas Abrams, who wrote The Book of Joy with the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This is a book I've badly needed, a renewal of my sense of purpose and possibility from one of our wisest elders!"

Kids & YA

Chris Lee gets a late recommendation in for The Littlest Yak, by Lu Fraser. Chris says: "Gertie the littlest yak is up for big adventure, though it might not come in the shape or size she expects, and she might just learn a huge lesson about her small stature along the way. The perfect read-along picture book this winter."

Kay Wosewick recommends middle grade novel Across the Desert, by Dusti Bowling. Kay says: "Jolene always logs in to watch Addie live-stream her adventures flying an ultralight airplane a few hours from Jolene’s home in Phoenix. One day, Addie crashes. Jolene calls officials near where Addie flies, but no one believes her. Jolene is determined to find Addie, who lives in a difficult-to-reach area that’s experiencing a severe heat wave. This exciting adventure for preteen girls has the added plus of dealing plausibly with family narcotic abuse."

New Paperback Releases

Tim McCarthy recommends The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew, by Denise Heinze. Tim says: "Temperance Flowerdew came to Jamestown Colony in 1609 and married Virginia's first two Governors, but her life was not recorded. Denise Heinze imagines her world, from surviving the hurricane that nearly wrecked her transatlantic fleet to living a warm family life in harsh conditions. It's a convincing portrait of a strong and optimistic person determined to report for posterity what a woman of her time could not actually write or say. The novel is dedicated to "all the women gone missing from history." Heinze uses period language and well researched details to get the right tone and character voices, making me feel the gravity of a new colony holding off disaster. Temperance may well have been this extraordinary woman of faith who fought to establish a king’s colonial foothold and must hope her children will make amends for her purchase and profitable use of Africans. Still, I can believe that she may also have seen the Powhatan people as more than savage and that she perhaps even stood toe-to-toe with a man like John Smith!"

Kay Wosewick recommends At the Edge of the Haight, by Katherine Seligman. "Some teens have such aversion to their untenable living situation, whether it is with parents, foster homes, other relatives, etc., that running away becomes their only achievable option. With no place of safety to turn to, they become homeless. This book is about a small come-and-go group of runaway teens that sleep in Golden Gate Park and spend most days in the Haight/Ashbury neighborhood, panhandling, goofing around, avoiding the police, getting high or drunk. Seligman paints a vivid picture of the teens’ living conditions (utterly horrible); the incredible range of people they regularly encounter (including police, local businesses and tourists, ranging from very helpful to very nasty – gangs, hopeful saviors, and the like); plus the always-present possibility of an unexpected event that turns their life upside down in mere moments. The kids’ vulnerability resides on nearly every page. Although At the Edge of the Haight is fiction, much of it feels like a series of live reports compiled over time about a tiny group of invisible people. Thank you, Katherine Seligman, for giving this (probably growing) group of kids a voice."

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