Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore (FICTION MONTI [AMER]—See New Books Display)
Eighteen-year-old Oona is looking forward to the New Year of 1984. Important life decisions lie ahead of her for the next year, and she is stewing over which path she should take. At midnight, however, she finds herself on an entirely new path as she is transported to the year 2015. She awakes in her fifty-one-year-old body, stunned as she is only nineteen on the inside (her birthday is New Year’s Day). As though in an unbelievable dream, she finds her fifty-one-year-old self is well-to-do, with an assistant willing to help her get through the year. It gets even weirder for her as each New Year’s Day she transports in time again to a different year of her life, not in any order. Sometimes she is in her thirties, another time in her twenties, and on and on. Sometimes she is traveling the world; sometimes she is into the party scene. Always she longs for her 1984 love, but sometimes she also finds someone to love right then. Oona does find a constant, however, in her mother and later a dear friend, as she tries to make sense of life and her choices. Even though Oona travels sporadically through time, she begins to understand what matters most and how love can surpass even her puzzling circumstances. A wacky and fun read, this story will stay with readers long after the last page as it flexes their ideas of time travel and if our lives are already predetermined—or do our choices really make our path?
My Name Is Tru-Purr: One Kitten’s Journey Home by Lynette Nevills (636.809/29 NEV—See New Books Display)
This reviewer fell in love with Tru-Purr while reading this fun, imaginative, and heartfelt book, reminiscent of favorite animal stories from the reviewer’s childhood. This based-on-true-life tale (no pun) follows abandoned kitten Tru-Purr through his loving foster experiences to a forever home with the author, Lynette Nevills, and her large family of humans and animals. Tru-Purr's adventures and his humorous outlook on life will make you laugh out loud—and possibly wipe away a tear or two during the sadder moments. The book is ideal for young readers but can be thoroughly enjoyed by animal lovers of all ages. The author’s love for all her animal companions comes through on every page, making the thoughts and inner lives she creates for them believable, fresh, and funny. The book touches on themes of integrity, the importance of family, and the truth that we all have a purpose in life and plenty of love to share, even if it might seem at times that we are alone or unwanted. As a bonus, there are many delightful pictures of Tru-Purr and his animal friends. Nevills lives in Edmore and promotes animal foster care and adoption in this area.
The Choice: Embrace the Possible—A Memoir by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, 940.531/52 EGE (940.531/52 EGE—See New Books Display)
This is a memoir of a holocaust survivor who endured the evils of Auschwitz and the incomprehensible tragedy of losing her entire family there. Dr. Eger recounts her concentration camp experiences but spends most of this book reflecting on a not-often-written-about element of her experience, survivor guilt. For most of her life, Dr. Eger was unable to move beyond her holocaust experience, and it was the guilt she felt in living, when so many others had died, that held her back. She could deal with the atrocities, but not her survival. In the 1980s, Dr. Eger returned to Auschwitz and finally confronted the demons of her past, and in doing so, found forgiveness for herself. From that point on, she embarked on a lifetime of study and lecture to improve the lives of others who struggle with misplaced guilt, to teach them, by sharing her life story, how to find personal forgiveness and healing and ignite self-love. The book received the Christopher Award as a testament to the positive life-changing power this title can have on those who read it.
The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga (153.8 KIS—See New Books Display)
Unlike almost any other self-help book, this one starts out with a dialogue between a youth and a philosopher. Through this unexpected format, the ideals of Alfred Adler, one of the three most influential psychologists of the 19th century (Freud and Jung being the other two), are shared. Following in the footsteps of Socrates’ public discussions and debates, Adler was a fan of personal dialogue and liked to engage in small group discussions, even holding them in cafés in Vienna, thus the format of this book. The discussion begins with a youth who wants to disprove the elder teacher or philosopher. The philosopher promises the youth that “all [his] doubts will be dispelled through this dialogue” and that he will “[arrive] at answers through dialogue.” As the discussion goes on, they battle the topics of trauma, inferiority, rejection, and the difficulties of interpersonal relationships, all through the framework of Adler’s theories. As the title suggests, however, many find Adler’s ideas challenging due to his assertion that courage (or lack of) is often what most affects an individual’s ability to overcome these difficulties. Though different from other psychology books, the dialogue format allows readers to ponder the ideas and consider how the outcome of their choices influences their own life. Readers can even find their own doubts about Adler’s theories portrayed through the youth’s questioning.
The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin (FICTION BENJA [AMER]—See New Books Display)
The Children’s Blizzard is gripping historical fiction told by a variety of individuals who endured, or attempted to endure, the legendary blizzard that swept through the Great Plains in January 1888—named the Children’s Blizzard because of the large number of school children who were killed or disfigured by the storm. Author Melanie Benjamin tells their stories. At the time the blizzard occurred, the Plains were being settled by immigrants primarily from Scandinavia or Germany. These youngsters were learning English and their new surroundings, helping their non-English-speaking parents with matters beyond their language skills, while also working in the fields, barns, and gardens. Their parents recognized that to hold onto their new property, not only did their farms have to prove up, but their children would also need an American education, so school was prioritized too. It was during an unusually balmy January day that mothers sent their children across the prairie in lightweight sweaters, caps, and shoes—rather than the boots they’d normally wear at this time. Heavy coats and woolens, boots and bedding were aired outside, and some took a break from gathering in the wood and coal that wouldn’t be needed that day. By midmorning, a stiff wind began to blow and soon a fog settled in, quickly followed by dark clouds and snow and ice shards pelting from the sky. Horses and livestock spooked and scattered into the wilderness. Lonely schoolhouses on the prairie, often under the charge of an inexperienced 15- or 16-year-old girl, were without fuel, suffering winds that broke windows and tore off roofs. The only option for survival was to brave the storm and seek safety elsewhere. This is the story of the children and their teachers who set off across the prairie. The haunting cover art, picturing two small children with worried expressions behind a pane of snow-covered glass, is evocative of the unimaginable fight for survival they’d soon face. Readers who enjoy a winter adventure with historical basis would also be well served by The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder or David Laskin’s outstanding nonfiction work The Children’s Blizzard.
Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculée Ilibagiza (BIO 921 ILI—See New Books Display)
This is one of those few, life-changing books that truly belong on everyone’s bookshelf. In the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Immaculée Ilibagiza lost her entire family, except for one brother who was living outside the country. At the time, she was a 24-year-old college student, and she survived by hiding for three months in a neighbor’s tiny bathroom with seven other women. While trapped in the bathroom, she could often hear the killers in the street outside, laughing about the cruel deaths of her neighbors, including infants and the elderly—most of them chopped apart with machetes while still alive. Many of the killers were also her neighbors, people she had known at school and church while growing up. At one point, she overheard them discussing her personally: “I have killed 399 cockroaches. Immaculée will make 400. It is a good number to kill.” Her family life had always centered around a strong faith in God, so Immaculée turned to prayer to get through the terrifying hours, days, and weeks as the genocide raged outside her hiding place. Often she prayed all day long. But her prayers were mingled with fantasies about death and suffering for the people who were now destroying her country and everyone she loved. As the long days passed, she realized that she couldn’t go on asking God to protect her and her family from the hatred of others when her own heart was full of the same hatred toward them—“I couldn’t ask God to love me if I were unwilling to love His children.” She could not imagine how it would ever be possible not to hate such people, but out of obedience alone, she began reluctantly to pray for them and also for the strength to forgive them. This book is the story of how she discovered the unconditional love she had once thought impossible. After the war, she was able to reach out in forgiveness to one of the imprisoned murderers of her family (and she rejected the offer from a friend to have the man killed for her). Immaculée offers her personal story to people everywhere who struggle with anger and bitterness, no matter how justified, and want to be free.
The MCC Collection’s Best Titles
The U.S. Camel Corps: An Army Experiment by Odie B. Faulk (357 FAU)
Long before ATVs and tanks, the U.S. Army was exploring ways to move soldiers and equipment across vast stretches of treacherous territory. In 1855, then Secretary of War Jefferson Davies petitioned Congress to provide funds to purchase a caravan of camels for the Army to use in the West and Southwest portions of the United States. This is the truth! While camels were well suited to the climate and terrain, being incredibly strong and requiring minimal maintenance, the soldiers assigned to them and the settlers inhabiting those regions resisted the camel, preferring the horse, a more noble, familiar animal, though more expensive to keep and less durable than the knobby kneed, stinky camel. (Can you even imagine any of Frederic Remington’s paintings if the camel were involved?) What became of the seventy-seven dromedaries who were part of this unique experiment? That answer has never quite been revealed. And this reviewer also wondered, did Davies consider camel mounts for the Confederate Army during the Civil War? There are many things to ponder while reading The U.S. Camel Corps.
The Great Chicago Fire: In Eyewitness Accounts and 70 Contemporary Photographs and Illustrations by David Lowe (973.004/621 LOW)
This October marks the 150th anniversary of Mrs. O’Leary’s infamous cow kicking over the lantern that spurred the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Though this book does not attempt to prove or disprove that legend, it does share the experiences of those who were there. It had been a dry summer, and many of the structures on DeKoven Street (in the working-class neighborhood where the O’Learys lived) were made of wood. On that October 8th, the fire department was late getting to DeKoven Street due to another fire the night before that had burned four blocks of Chicago and tired the crew. They did report, but the weather and structure conditions allowed the fire to continue throughout the streets on the south side of town and even jump the Chicago River, heading to the city center. The fire burned for two more days, when rain finally stopped the flames. In the end, 300 were dead, 100,000 without shelter, and a section four miles long was lost. Through the accounts of ten individuals in this book, much is learned about what was happening in the midst of this great fire—as one described it, a “surging sea of flame.” Chaotic stories and narrow escapes were of course reported, such as wet carpets placed on roofs, wagons filled with home goods (while others could only take what they filled their arms with), bridges too full of people to be passable, and clothes catching on fire as people fled down the street. As with most catastrophes, however, there is great recognition of the human spirit exemplified as well, with stories of “resolute helpers” willing to aid their fellow man no matter if rich or poor. Also amazing is the perseverance of the city, as reconstruction started almost immediately, and the entrepreneurship of the city continued forward. This eyewitness account also includes many photographs and illustrations of the time.
Middlemarch by George Eliot (823.8 ELIOT [BRIT])
Generally considered George Eliot’s masterpiece, Middlemarch is a literary classic that is just as engaging today as when it was first published in 1871. The characters are so well drawn that they soon feel like real people we know and care about. The many interwoven storylines of Middlemarch explore the lives of villagers in a rural England town in the mid-19th century, especially the life of Dorothea Brooke. At the beginning of the novel, Dorothea is a nineteen-year-old orphan with a large inheritance, intelligent, beautiful, full of dreams for great spiritual and intellectual achievements and for making the world a better place. She is very compassionate toward the needy and wants to devote her life to social reform—despite the limitations placed on her as a woman in Victorian England. She meets Casaubon, an old-at-heart, dreary clergyman in his forties, whom everyone but Dorothea finds tiresome and self-absorbed. Obsessed with studying old mythologies for the great book he plans to write, Casaubon pores over obscure research that is a hundred years outdated. But to Dorothea, he seems like the embodiment of her own intellectual and moral ideals. She decides to devote her life and her passionate nature completely to him and the writing of his great book—a once-in-a-lifetime chance, she thinks, to attain her own dreams vicariously. After their marriage, Dorothea soon understands that—while he is not a bad man—his book is a scholarly dead end that will never be written, he feels contempt for her intelligence as a female, and he is embarrassed by her affection for him. Dorothea’s struggle to remain faithful to her youthful idealism despite a painful marriage, temptations to infidelity, and the strictures of her rigid society, comprises just one of the novel’s many intertwined plots, as the lives of numerous colorful characters from widely different backgrounds intersect in surprising ways. Middlemarch was adapted for television by the BBC in 1994 and in 2017 was produced as a 70-episode web series.
More New Books (See New Books Display)
- And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall, FICTION HALL [AMER]
- Becoming Leidah by Michelle Grierson, FICTION GRIER [AMER]
- The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult, FICTION PICOU [AMER]
- Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn, FICTION QUINN [AMER]
- The Cousins by Karen M. McManus, FICTION MCMAN [AMER]
- Dear Justyce by Nic Stone, companion novel to Dear Martin, FICTION STONE [AMER]
- The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon, FICTION MCMAH [AMER]
- Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie, FICTION LEMMI [AMER]
- The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth, FICTION HEPWO [AUST]
- Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka, GN KROSO [AMER]
- Later by Stephen King, FICTION KING [AMER]
- The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, FICTION PENNE [AMER]
- The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth Winthrop, FICTION WINTH [AMER]
- A Million Reasons Why by Jessica Strawser, FICTION STRAW [AMER]
- One, Two, Three by Laurie Frankel, FICTION FRANK [AMER]
- Raft of Stars by Andrew J. Graff, FICTION GRAFF [AMER]
- The Rose Code by Kate Quinn, FICTION QUINN [AMER]
- Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly, FICTION KELLY [AMER]
- The Tower of Nero, book 5 of Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan, FICTION RIORD [AMER]
- Winter Street series by Elin Hilderbrand, FICTION HILDE [AMER]
- Active Listening Techniques by Nixaly Leonardo, 152.154 LEO
- The Amazing Afterlife of Animals by Karen A. Anderson, 636.69 AND
- Bring Back Our Girls: The Untold Story of the Global Search for Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls by Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw, 297.733/4 PAR
- The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson, 575.211 ISA
- Das Kapital by Karl Marx, 335.41 MAR
- Disability Visibility, edited by Alice Wong, 362.409 DIS
- Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations, 5th edition, 795.416 ENC
- The Genius Habit by Laura Garnett, 153.8 GAR
- Good Morning, Monster: A Therapist Shares Five Heroic Stories of Emotional Recovery by Catherine Gildiner, 153.84 GIL
- Graphic Design Rules by Sean Adams, 759.012 ADA
- Hear All Creatures! The Journey of an Animal Communicator by Karen A. Anderson, 636.69 AND
- The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town by Brian Alexander, 362.11 ALE
- How Design Makes Us Think by Sean Adams, 759.012 ADA
- Leadership Strategy and Tactics by Jocko Willink, 650.59 WIL
- Lost on the Appalachian Trail by Kyle Rohrig, BIO 921 ROH
- The Minority Experience: Navigating Emotional and Organizational Realities by Adrian Pei, 305.8 PEI
- My Southern Journey by Rick Bragg, BIO 921 BRA
- The Next Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move by Sonia Shah, 305.81 SHA
- Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology by Nina Brown, 301.21 BRO
- The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers by Mark Gevisser, 306.766 GEV
- The Son I Knew Too Late by Sally Raymond, 179.6 RAY
- The Stranger As My Guest by Michel Agier, 155.232 AGI
- What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon, 305.43 GOR
- You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy, 152.154 MUR