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Dirty Love by Andres Dubus III

Four loosely connected short stories bring the simplicity and necessity of love forward with all its complications. Once again, Dubus creates deeply flawed characters and challenges the reader to identify with their common humanity.

 

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

This is one story where you want to avoid spoilers.  Fowler introduces the troubled Cooke family in bits and pieces before revealing the jaw dropping surprise. Rosemary is a college student acting on dangerous impulses.  And it is through those impulses that Fowler explores memory, the mind and human development.

 

The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley 

Eve Lattimore’s teenage son Tyler has Xeroderma Pigmentosum, a rare condition that makes any exposure to sunlight fatal. Eve is devoted to keeping Tyler safe, but the rest of her family is suffering for it. One night Eve is distracted while driving and a terrible accident occurs, and is then covered up. How far will Eve go to keep her family safe? 

 

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead 

We first meet ballet dancer Joan Joyce in the summer of 1977. Joan’s dance career is floundering  and she’s been discarded by Arslan Ruskov her former lover whom she helped to defect from the Soviet Union. We then follow Joan, her husband Jacob, and their son Harry and their lives in California. As Harry also becomes a dancer, we reconnect with Arslan and the ballet world. 

 

And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass 

Kit Noonan is an unemployed art history professor, the father of twins, and is stuck in a rut. Kit’s wife Sandra thinks if Kit discovers the identity of his unknown biological father it will give him the impetus he needs to move on with his life. This engaging book is filled with interesting characters and intertwining stories, and asks what really makes up a family. 

 

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in my Head, Reduced Stress without Losing my Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Works: A True Story by Dan Harris

After having a panic attack while hosting Good Morning AmericaNightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help.  Along the way Harris takes a serious look at mindfulness and meditation and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.
 
 
 
 
Gladwell uses his unique talent of observation to probe the age old theories of underdogs versus top dogs.  As usually he rewards readers with moving stories, surprising insights and consistently provocative ideas.  Gladwell compares the biblical story of David and Goliath (the battle between the underdog and the giant) to events from everyday life that question how people think about disadvantages and obstacles. 
 
 
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
 
 The Signature of All Things is an old-fashioned saga that spans continents and a century.  The story begins with Henry Whitaker, poor but determined, as he amasses a fortune in the world of botany.  Gilbert then follows Henry's daughter, Alma, as she takes over her father's business and searches for her place life.  It has an omniscient narrator who can deploy a significant amount of research into the interconnected fields of late 18th- and early 19th-century botany, botanical drawing, spiritual inquiry, exploration, and, eventually, the development of the theory of evolution.  Gilbert is both knowledgeable and entertaining as she takes the reader from Philadelphia to Tahiti to Holland in this intelligent novel.