By Jeanette Winterson
Biography & Autobiography – Personal Memoirs
In 1985, at twenty-five, Jeanette published Oranges, the story of a girl adopted by Pentecostal parents, supposed to grow up to be a missionary. Instead, she falls in love with a woman. Disaster.
Oranges became an international bestseller, inspired an award-winning BBC adaptation, and was semi-autobiographical. Mrs. Winterson, a thwarted giantess, loomed over the novel and the author’s life. When Jeanette left home at sixteen because she was in love with a woman, Mrs. Winterson asked her: Why be happy when you could be normal? This is Jeanette’s story–acute, fierce, celebratory–of a life’s work to find happiness: a search for belonging, love, identity, a home. About a young girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night, and a mother waiting for Armageddon with two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the duster drawer; about growing up in a northern industrial town; about the Universe as a Cosmic Dustbin. It is also about other people’s stories, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life raft that supports us when we are sinking.
By Shlomo Breznitz and Collins Hemingway
Psychology & Psychiatry – Cognitive Psychology; Health & Fitness; Self-Help
We all understand the importance of daily exercise in keeping physically fit. But mental exercise is just as essential to our health and well-being—especially when it comes to defending against forgetfulness, memory loss, and even dementia. These and other age-associated afflictions were once regarded as all but inevitable, but in fact, as this eye-opening, inspiring book shows, there is much we can do to protect ourselves as we grow older. With the right tools, we can all maximize our brainpower and keep our minds sharp, healthy, and cognitively fit throughout life.
Written by internationally renowned cognitive psychologist Shlomo Breznitz and technologist Collins Hemingway, Maximum Brainpower provides both an in-depth look at how the brain works and proven methods to increase its capabilities. Armed with the results of cutting-edge research, Breznitz and Hemingway champion in compelling detail the challenge and stimulus of continual change over the deadening effects of comfortable routine. They show how to separate good mental stress from bad, and demonstrate how hope and socialization can help delay or even fight off the worst symptoms of dementia.
Did you know that experts are often less mentally agile than jacks-of-all-trades? That mental exercises such as crossword puzzles and sudoku are of minimal help in building brainpower? That multitasking poses unique dangers to the brain by presenting us with an environment in which we never evolved enough to thrive? Breznitz knows—and what’s more, he knows what to do about it.
Filled with colorful real-life stories and fascinating psychological experiments, many published here for the first time, this revelatory work will help adults of any age build and retain their mental acuity. Think better, live better, be better with Maximum Brainpower. Really, it’s a no-brainer!
By Kurt Andersen
Fiction – Literary – Contemporary Women – Political
In True Believers, Kurt Andersen—the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Heyday and Turn of the Century—delivers his most powerful and moving novel yet. Dazzling in its wit and effervescent insight, this kaleidoscopic tour de force of cultural observation and seductive storytelling alternates between the present and the 1960s—and indelibly captures the enduring impact of that time on the ways we live now.
Karen Hollander is a celebrated attorney who recently removed herself from consideration for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her reasons have their roots in 1968—an episode she’s managed to keep secret for more than forty years. Now, with the imminent publication of her memoir, she’s about to let the world in on that shocking secret—as soon as she can track down the answers to a few crucial last questions.
As junior-high-school kids back in the early sixties, Karen and her two best friends, Chuck and Alex, roamed suburban Chicago on their bikes looking for intrigue and excitement. Inspired by the exotic romance of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, they acted out elaborate spy missions pitting themselves against imaginary Cold War villains. As friendship carries them through childhood and on to college—in a polarized late-sixties America riven by war and race as well as sex, drugs, and rock and roll—the bad guys cease to be the creatures of make-believe. Caught up in the fervor of that extraordinary and uncanny time, they find themselves swept into a dangerous new game with the highest possible stakes.
Today, only a handful of people are left who know what happened. As Karen reconstructs the past and reconciles the girl she was then with the woman she is now, finally sharing pieces of her secret past with her national-security-cowboy boyfriend and Occupy-activist granddaughter, the power of memory and history and luck become clear. A resonant coming-of-age story and a thrilling political mystery, True Believers is Kurt Andersen’s most ambitious novel to date, introducing a brilliant, funny, and irresistible new heroine to contemporary fiction.
By: Kelly Rand, Christine Ernest, Sara Dick and Kimberly Dorn
Crafts & Hobbies
Business advice for enterprising crafters, by crafters
No one knows more about helping handmade businesses than Hello Craft, the nonprofit trade association for crafty entrepreneurs. Written by the directors of Hello Craft, Handmade to Sell is the most complete, up-to-date, and authoritative guide for DIYers seeking to learn every aspect of selling, marketing, and branding. Based on the Summit of Awesome, Hello Craft’s annual business conference, this book covers topics including:
• Developing successful product lines
• Copyrights and trademarks
• Taking perfect product shots
• Using analytics to boost your online sales
• Selling at fairs, shows, and other retail outlets
• Diversifying income through licensing and teaching
• Hiring and outsourcing
Throughout, you’ll find expert tips and invaluable strategies and advice from some of the most successful indie crafters and artisans. Whether you’ve only contemplated selling your crafts or want to grow an existing handmade business, Handmade to Sell offers essential guidance for anyone who has ever dreamed of making a living from what they create.
By Cheryl Strayed
Self-Help; Family & Relationships; Body, Mind & Spirit
Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice.
Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond. Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.
OUR RELAXING READS OF THE MONTH
By Karen Thompson Walker
From a stunning new literary voice comes a brilliant debut novel that created an international auction frenzy, with sales in twenty-seven countries to date, about a young girl growing up in extraordinary times.
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday morning, Julia and her family wake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. Set against this threat to normal life, The Age of Miracles maps the effects of catastrophes big and small on the lives of ordinary people, and in particular, one young girl. Extraordinary for its original concept, unforgettable characters, and the grace, elegance and beauty of Karen Thompson Walker’s prose, The Age of Miracles is a mesmerizing story of family turmoil, young love, and coming-of-age set against an upending of life as we know it.
By Tanis Rideout
Fiction – Literary
The Paris Wife meets Into Thin Air in this breathtaking debut novel of obsession and divided loyalties, which brilliantly weaves together the harrowing story of George Mallory’s ill-fated 1924 attempt to be the first man to conquer Mount Everest, with that of a single day in the life of his wife as she waits at home in England for news of his return.
A captivating blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction, Above All Things moves seamlessly back and forth between the epic story of Mallory’s legendary final expedition and a heartbreaking account of a day in the life of Ruth Mallory. Through George’s perspective, and that of the newest member of the climbing team, Sandy Irvine, we get an astonishing picture of the terrible risks taken by the men on the treacherous terrain of the Himalaya. But it is through Ruth’s eyes that a complex portrait of a marriage emerges, one forged on the eve of the First World War, shadowed by its losses, and haunted by the ever-present possibility that George might not come home.
Drawing on years of research, this powerful and beautifully written novel is a timeless story of desire, redemption, and the lengths we are willing to go for honour, glory, and love.