RHC Nightstand Titles

Posted on October 3, 2013. Filed under: Fiction, Nonfiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

During this Fall’s “What’s on Your Nightstand” event at the Skokie campus, the following fiction and nonfiction books were discussed.

Remember, if Oakton doesn’t own the book or our copy is checked out, you can order a copy to be sent from one of our consortium libraries for FREE! Most books take less than a week to arrive.

Fiction

book cover for The Art ForgerThe Art Forger
by B. A. Shapiro

“Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—still the largest unsolved art theft in history—one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery.

But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece—the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years—may itself be a forgery” (descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Beauty of Humanity MovementThe Beauty of Humanity Movement
by Camilla Gibb

“Raised in the United States but Vietnamese by birth, Maggie has come to Hanoi seeking clues to the fate of her father, a dissident artist who disappeared during the war. Her search brings her to Old Man Hu’ng’s pho stall. The old man once had a shop frequented by revolutionary artists, but now Tu’, a hustling young entrepreneur, is his most faithful customer.

Maggie, Hu’ng, and Tu’ come together during a highly charged season that will mark them forever. Exploring the indelible legacies of war and art, as well as love’s power to renew, The Beauty of Humanity Movement is a stellar achievement by a globally renowned literary light” (descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Cinder EdnaCinder Edna
by Ellen Jackson

“Once upon a time there were two girls who lived next door to each other. Cinder Edna was forced to work for her wicked stepmother and stepsisters, just as her neighbor, Cinderella, was. But Edna had learned a thing or two from doing all that housework, such as how to make tuna casserole sixteen different ways and how to get spots off everything from rugs to ladybugs. And she was strong and spunky and knew some good jokes. Now, one day the king announced that he would give a ball…

Ellen Jackson and Kevin O’Malley team up to bring young readers the delightful story of what can be done without the help of a fairy godmother” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Crossing CaliforniaCrossing California
by Adam Langer

This is “a novel about two generations of family and friendship in Chicago from November 1979 through January 1981. In 1979 California Avenue, in Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood, separates the upper-middle-class Jewish families from the mostly middle-class Jewish residents on the east of the divide. This by turns funny and heartbreaking first novel tells the story of three families and their teenage children living on either side of California, following their loves, heartaches, and friendships during a memorable moment of American history.

Langer’s captivating portraits, his uncanny and extraordinarily vivid re-creation of a not-so-past time and place, and his pitch-perfect dialogue all make Crossing California certain to evoke memories and longing in its readers—as well as laughter and anxiety” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Cuckoo's CallingCuckoo’s Calling
by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym for J. K. Rowling)

“After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Elegance of the HedgehogThe Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery
translated by Alison Anderson

“We are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Renée, the concierge, is witness to the lavish but vacuous lives of her numerous employers. Outwardly she conforms to every stereotype of the concierge: fat, cantankerous, addicted to television.

Yet, unbeknownst to her employers, Renée is a cultured autodidact who adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With humor and intelligence she scrutinizes the lives of the building’s tenants, who for their part are barely aware of her existence. Then there’s Paloma, a twelve-year-old genius. She is the daughter of a tedious parliamentarian, a talented and startlingly lucid child who has decided to end her life on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue behaving as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter.

Paloma and Renée hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Paloma’s trust and to see through Renée’s timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her. This is a moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Elijah DoorThe Elijah Door: A Passover Tale
by Linda Leopold Strauss

“For years the Galinskys and Lipas have shared Seder, the special Passover dinner. But no more! Mama Lippa shuts her windows tight against the Galinsky voices. Papa Galinsky cuts a new side door to avoid seeing the Lippas. But David Lippa and Rachel Galinsky love each other, and fortunately, they have a trick up their sleeves.

This charming folktale and stunning woodcuts celebrate the joys of love, freedom, and family” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for EventideEventide
The Days of Redemption Series, Book Three
by Shelley Shepard Gray

“A young Amish woman harbors a difficult secret. Does she dare share the truth with the man she hopes to marry?

Elsie Keim doesn’t want to be left behind. Her twin sister, Viola, and her older brother, Roman, have both found love and are building lives of their own. But Elsie? She’s still stuck at home, being treated like a child. No one seems to consider her a capable woman—all they see are the thick lenses of her glasses, constant reminders that Elsie suffers from keratoconus and is slowly going blind.

Elsie knows there’s much more to her than her disease. That’s why when a new neighbor, Landon Troyer, shows some interest in her, she doesn’t want anything to scare him away . . . even if it means keeping her condition a secret.

Landon is ready to start a new life and feels like Elsie may just be the right woman to start it with. But when Roman steps in and shares the truth about Elsie’s illness, Landon is floored. His job is demanding and takes him away from home, sometimes for days at a time. How could he keep up with his responsibilities and take care of Elsie?” (Barnes and Noble).

book cover for Gone GirlGone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

“On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge.

Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover Hannah's WayHannah’s Way
by Linda Glaser

“After Papa loses his job during the Depression, Hannah’s family moves to rural Minnesota, where she is the only Jewish child in her class.

When her teacher tries to arrange carpools for a Saturday class picnic, Hannah is upset. Her Jewish family is observant, and she knows she cannot ride on the Sabbath. What will she do? A lovely story of friendship and community” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Love Walked InLove Walked In
by Marissa De la Santos

“When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. But little does she know that her newfound love is only the harbinger of greater changes to come. Meanwhile, across town, Clare Hobbs—eleven years old and abandoned by her erratic mother—goes looking for her lost father. She crosses paths with Cornelia while meeting with him at the caf, and the two women form an improbable friendship that carries them through the unpredictable currents of love and life.

Love Walked In, the first novel by award-winning poet Marisa de los Santos, is bursting with keen insight and beautifully rendered prose. Invoking classic movies to illuminate the mystery and wonder of love in all its permutations, Love Walked In is an uplifting debut that marks the entrance of an enchanting literary voice” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Miss Melville RegretsMiss Melville Regrets
by Evelyn E. Smith

“What can a woman do? Susan Melville’s trust fund is dwindling, her teaching job is terminated, her lover is abroad for the season, and her apartment is going co-op. So naturally Miss Melville decides to shoot herself at a posh society party. Unfortunately, she misses—and kills the guest of honor instead.

When she slips out the door, a stranger follows. He thanks her for doing the job for him, and Miss Melville’s new career is born. Of course she has scruples. Miss Melville won’t kill just anybody, but she’s about to face a job that even she will find a challenge of the most dangerous order, an assignment she just might regret—for good . . .” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Paper Bag PrincessPaper bag Princess
by Robert Munsch

“The Princess Elizabeth is slated to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald—who is less than pleased at her un-princess-like appearance” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Red Velvet Cupcake MurderRed Velvet Cupcake Murder
by Joanne Fluke

“It’s a hot summer evening in Lake Eden, Minnesota and the Grand Opening of the refurbished Albion Hotel. Hannah Swensen’s famous Red Velvet cupcakes are being served in the new Red Velvet lounge. The party starts off with a bang with the arrival of Doctor Bev, who left town in shame after she two-timed her fiancé.

But the gossip comes to a screeching halt when another partygoer takes a dive off the hotel’s rooftop garden. As the police investigate, the only one who isn’t preoccupied with the case is Doctor Bev. She’s too busy trying to stir things up with her old flame Norman, who’s reunited with Hannah. Just as Hannah’s patience with Bev runs thin, her rival is found dead at the bottom of Miller’s Pond. To everyone’s shock, Hannah is now the target of a murder investigation and she’s feeling the heat in a way she never has before” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Septembers of ShirazSeptembers of Shiraz
by Dalia Sofer

“In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is arrested, wrongly accused of being a spy. Terrified by his disappearance, his family must reconcile a new world of cruelty and chaos with the collapse of everything they have known.

As Isaac navigates the terrors of prison, and his wife feverishly searches for him, his children struggle with the realization that their family may soon be forced to embark on a journey of incalculable danger” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Wayward MoonWayward Moon
by Janice Weizman

“The year is 854. Rahel, a 17-year-old Jewish girl, is preparing to meet her fiancé for the first time. She cannot know that even as she stands observing herself in the mirror, an enemy of her father is making his way to her house. In mere minutes, she will have to flee, leaving behind her fiancé, her home, her possessions, and her identity.

Set in the Golden Age of Islam, Rahel’s journey takes her into the lives of wealthy merchants, Islamic theologians, Christian monks, illicit lovers, and shrewd innkeepers. But when she finds herself drawn, against all convention, to a traveler from the Far West, Rahel must confront the difference between what she once was and who she has become” (Barnes and Noble).

book cover for What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne FrankWhat We Talk about When We Talk about Anne Frank
by Nathan Englander

“These eight new stories from the celebrated novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander display a gifted young author grappling with the great questions of modern life, with a command of language and the imagination that place Englander at the very forefront of contemporary American fiction.

The title story, inspired by Raymond Carver’s masterpiece, is a provocative portrait of two marriages in which the Holocaust is played out as a devastating parlor game. In the outlandishly dark “Camp Sundown” vigilante justice is undertaken by a group of geriatric campers in a bucolic summer enclave. “Free Fruit for Young Widows” is a small, sharp study in evil, lovingly told by a father to a son. “Sister Hills” chronicles the history of Israel’s settlements from the eve of the Yom Kippur War through the present, a political fable constructed around the tale of two mothers who strike a terrible bargain to save a child. Marking a return to two of Englander’s classic themes, “Peep Show” and “How We Avenged the Blums” wrestle with sexual longing and ingenuity in the face of adversity and peril. And “Everything I Know About My Family on My Mother’s Side” is suffused with an intimacy and tenderness that break new ground for a writer who seems constantly to be expanding the parameters of what he can achieve in the short form” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The World To ComeThe World to Come
by Dara Horn

“A million-dollar painting by Marc Chagall is stolen from a museum. The unlikely thief is Benjamin Ziskind, a thirty-year-old quiz-show writer. As Benjamin and his twin sister try to evade the police, they find themselves recalling their dead parents ‘the father who lost a leg in Vietnam, the mother who created children’s books’ and their stories about trust, loss, and betrayal.

What is true, what is fake, what does it mean? Eighty years before the theft, these questions haunted Chagall and the enigmatic Yiddish fabulist Der Nister (‘The Hidden One’), teachers at a school for Jewish orphans. Both the painting and the questions will travel through time to shape the Ziskinds’ futures” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

Nonfiction

book cover for The Emperor of All MaladiesThe Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
by Siddartha Mukherjee

“The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane ‘biography’ of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out ‘war against cancer.’ The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.

From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Hare with Amber EyesThe Hare with the Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance
by Edmund de Waal

“Edmund de Waal is a world-famous ceramicist. Having spent thirty years making beautiful pots—which are then sold, collected, and handed on—he has a particular sense of the secret lives of objects. When he inherited a collection of 264 tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings, called netsuke, he wanted to know who had touched and held them, and how the collection had managed to survive.

And so begins this extraordinarily moving memoir and detective story as de Waal discovers both the story of the netsuke and of his family, the Ephrussis, over five generations. A nineteenth-century banking dynasty in Paris and Vienna, the Ephrussis were as rich and respected as the Rothchilds. Yet by the end of the World War II, when the netsuke were hidden from the Nazis in Vienna, this collection of very small carvings was all that remained of their vast empire (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Lean InLean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead
by Sheryl Sandberg

“Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In this book the author examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

She is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune magazine’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

She digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of ‘having it all.’ She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home. The book is a call to action and a blueprint for individual growth; it is designed to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Professor and the MadmanThe Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
by Simon Winchester

“The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary—and literary history.

The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W.C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Sacred HoopsSacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior
by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty

“Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson shares his experience of combining sports and spirituality to lead his team to success, explaining how to nurture a positive group dynamic and detailing the methods he uses to teach his players how to think collectively, overcome anger, and look beyond jealousy” (enriched content provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Gretchen Schneider

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