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Book Reviews

Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home

Pope Francis's encyclical letter ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME: LAUDATO SI brought people to tears as a Mary Evelyn Tucker read from it at the annual Prairie Festival gathering last weekend at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. Because he has a substantial science background coupled with compassion and bravery, his call for humans to address the climate crisis and other ravages of our planet articulates what many other religious and political leaders have neglected to say.

On Care for Our Common Home: Laudato Si' Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781593252830
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Word Among Us Press - July 20th, 2015

Addressed not only to Catholics but to "every person living on this planet," Pope Francis' second encyclical is a challenging call for a "bold cultural revolution" in how we think about technological progress and economic growth.


Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day

Written as a guide for people enrolled in the SNAP program, this cookbook by Leanne Brown offers easy recipes and helpful hints about pantry essentials, what to buy when, and not only  how to make do with what you can afford but also to thrive on it. Beautiful illustrations with each recipe make the book a feast for the eyes as well. Best yet, with the purchase of each copy, the publisher will donate a copy to someone who really needs it. -- Recommended by Kelly

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Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780761184997
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Workman Publishing - July 14th, 2015

By showing that kitchen skill, and not budget, is the key to great food, Good and Cheap will help you eat well--really well--on the strictest of budgets.


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

STAFF REVIEW: Kate Atkinson's novel, Life After Life, tells many stories all revolving around the lives of a upper-middle-class English family of seven who live in an idyllic rural home named Fox Corner. The reader follows the family from 1911 to the 1950s, tumultuous years in England. But wait–some characters, especially Ursula the middle daughter, have many different narratives, some contradictory to what has been told before.

Life After Life Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316176491
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - January 7th, 2014

"One of the best novels I've read this century. Kate Atkinson is a marvel. There aren't enough breathless adjectives to describe LIFE AFTER LIFE: Dazzling, witty, moving, joyful, mournful, profound."--Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?


The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret

Near the beginning of Israeli writer Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret’s son is born in the same hospital that’s treating the victims of a terrorist attack. A reporter approaches Keret for a quote, thinking a writer would be a good source. The reporter is disappointed to hear that Keret was “merely” there for the birth of his son, not injuries sustained in a terrorist attack. It’s a funny story, and it is simultaneously political and delicately personal.

The Seven Good Years: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781594633263
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 16th, 2015

A brilliant, life-affirming, and hilarious memoir from a "genius" (The New York Times) and master storyteller. With illustrations by Jason Polan.


Secondhand Souls

STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Christopher Moore, author of amongst other books, Lamb, the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, has entered into another world, this time of dead souls.

Secondhand Souls Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780061779787
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: William Morrow & Company - August 25th, 2015

In San Francisco, the souls of the dead are mysteriously disappearing--and you know that can't be good--in New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore's delightfully funny sequel to A Dirty Job.


Fourth of July Creek

A man with two last names better be a tough writer, and Smith Henderson doesn’t disappoint. In fact, his debut novel Fourth of July Creek resembles some of American Lit’s toughest writers, namely Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner. A large part of the toughness comes from Fourth of July Creek’s rural Montana setting, equal parts menacing and lovely.

Fourth of July Creek Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062286444
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - May 27th, 2014

In this shattering and iconic American novel, PEN prize-winning writer, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion and anarchy, brilliantly depicting our nation's disquieting and violent contradictions.


Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast

Give yourself a few hours when you start this one; I couldn’t tear myself away until I had read it all in one sitting. Chast’s comic memoir (and I mean “comic” as in “funny” and as in “composed of words and pictures”) tells the story of her parents’ deaths. Certainly it gets harrowing at points—Chast’s mother’s decline in particular is not smooth.

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781608198061
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury USA - May 6th, 2014

#1 New York Times Bestseller

2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST


Under This Beautiful Dome by Terry Mutchler

In a heartbreaking new memoir, UNDER THIS BEAUTIFUL DOME, former AP journalist, Terry Mutchler, recounts the story of her closeted marriage to Illinois Democratic Senator Penny Severns, mentor to then young Senator, Barack Obama. After Severns' death from breast cancer, her family locked Mutchler out of their home and appropriated their mutual possessions.

Under This Beautiful Dome: A Senator, a Journalist, and the Politics of Gay Love in America Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781580055086
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Seal Press (CA) - September 23rd, 2014

One of the greatest love stories I have ever heard played out right here, under this beautiful dome. But it was a secret. . . . Penny and Terry just wanted what so many people wantto express their love through marriage. Illinois Representative Ann Williams


The Gentle Barn

THE GENTLE BARN, Ellie Laks' memoir, is in part a story of overcoming a difficult childhood through her positive relationship to animals. As an adult, she felt called to rescue animals she found in abusive situations. Her earliest intervention was persuading an uncaring "petting zoo" owner to let Ellie buy a malnourished goat, Mary, after a week of daily visits.

My Gentle Barn: Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780385347662
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harmony Books - March 25th, 2014

My Gentle Barn is a wonderful book. You'll love Ellie Laks and the animals she rescued--and who rescued her back. Sy Montgomery, The Good Good Pig


Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms

A crackling, marvelous voice in young adult fiction appears in Katherine
Rundell's book CARTWHEELING IN THUNDERSTORMS. The wilds of Africa seem
made for young Wilhelmina who roams her widowed father's ranch with her
friend Simon. When the powers that be decide she should live in an
English boarding school, she must muster all her confidence and

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442490611
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - August 26th, 2014

Even a life on the untamed plains of Africa can't prepare Wilhelmina for the wilds of an English boarding school in this lovely and lyrical novel from the author of Rooftoppers, which Booklist called "a glorious adventure."


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