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Cross of snow : a life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow book cover
Cross of snow : a life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow book cover

Cross of snow : a life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Nicholas A. Basbanes

BIOGRAPHY Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Biographies

"A biography of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his wife, Fanny Appleton Longfellow"--

Longfellow lived a life of contradictions. In some ways, he has this incredibly charmed life--graduated top of his class at Bowdoin, hired to teach languages as a college professor immediately after graduation on the condition he travel through Europe and learn those languages, and gained the position of college librarian as long as he devoted one hour a day to the library. Of course, he was an internationally beloved poet, able to retire as a professor and devote his time to his literary craft. But he also lived a life of tragedy. His first wife passed away within four years of their marriage while traveling through Europe. He recovered the loss and married the delightful Fanny Appleton, an individual in her own right that deserves a full biography. She passed away prematurely as well (in a terrifying way!). I quietly moved through this book. It was a wonderfully, calming read (aside from poor Fanny's demise). Overall, Basbanes made me appreciate how much Longfellow influenced America's literary culture in ways we can still see today. -Anne M

The four winds book cover
The four winds book cover

The four winds

Kristin Hannah

FICTION Hannah Kristin
Fiction, Historical Fiction

"Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman's only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows. By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa's tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive. In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa - like so many of her neighbors - must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family."--Provided by publisher.

An intriguing historical fiction that demonstrates the total devastation of farmland in the dust bowl, the hardships suffered by the people of the Great Plains, the poverty and disadvantages endured by migrant workers escaping the dust bowl and heading to California in the depression era of the 1930s. A lot of the political unrest and action may resonate for readers of this time as we see some parallels between the depression and our current challenges during a pandemic. -Mari

Successful aging : a neuroscientist explores the power and potential of our lives book cover
Successful aging : a neuroscientist explores the power and potential of our lives book cover

Successful aging : a neuroscientist explores the power and potential of our lives

Daniel J. Levitin

612.82 /Levitin
Health, Science

Recent studies show that our decision-making skills improve as we age, and that our happiness levels peak at age eighty-two. Levitin examines the neuroscientific evidence to challenge many of the beliefs that surround aging. He provides realistic plans for how you can make the most of your seventies, eighties, and nineties today-- no matter how old you are now. -- adapted from jacket

Even though I am physically a couple decades away from the 60+ years developmental stage this book is most applicable to, I found the research done and compiled in this book to be both fascinating and enlightening. For me some key takeaways were; 1. Always try new things for neuroplasticity, for example, new hobbies, travel to new places, try new technologies. 2. Be social, particularly intergenerational, every generation has different qualities to offer. 3 Move your bodies, preferably outside. Survival skills are engaged even on a walk around the neighborhood because of the potential for unknown variables, and it keeps your body and mind sharp. This book is full of resilience strategies and practical, cognitive enhancing tricks everyone should do as they age as well as an appreciation for what we can learn from the wisdom of older generations. -Mari

I love you, baby burrito book cover
I love you, baby burrito book cover

I love you, baby burrito

Angela Dominguez

jE Domingue
Picture Books, Read Woke

"From Pura Belpre honoree Angela Dominguez, Love You Baby Burrito is a modern classic picture book celebrating the act of swaddling a newborn into a baby burrito." -- Provided by publisher.

Angela Dominguez's latest book is beyond adorable. Karen G. and I were "oohing" over it when it first came in. I can't wait to share it in Book Babies soon! Anyone who's ever burritoed a baby owes this one a read. -Casey

All the ways we said goodbye : a novel of the Ritz Paris book cover
All the ways we said goodbye : a novel of the Ritz Paris book cover

All the ways we said goodbye : a novel of the Ritz Paris

Beatriz Williams

FICTION Williams Beatriz
Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery

An heiress, a resistance fighter, and a widow are all joined by one legendary hotel: the Ritz in Paris.

This isn’t just a historic romance, it’s a multi-generational mystery, set in the Ritz Paris, and spanning World War I, World War II, and the late 1960s. At the center of the story are three women: Aurelie, the young demoiselles de Courcelles surviving World War I; Daisy, a quiet housewife married to an odious Nazi sympathizer; and Babs, a recent widow who receives an interesting letter in the mail about a famous French spy. At first glance, these women don’t seem at all connected, but they are brought together by a talisman and the iconic Ritz Paris. Charming characters, amazing settings, and so much culture make this a great read! -Angie

Darius the Great is Not Okay book cover
Darius the Great is Not Okay book cover

Darius the Great is Not Okay

Adib Khorram

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Khorram Adib
Diverse Characters, Young Adult

Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life.

A great story about friendship, finding value, purpose and acceptance of yourself for who you really are at your core. I really loved how this book realistically tackled mental illness and the interactions Darius has with his family and friends about it. Soccer, Iran, bullying, depression, and tea; this book has it all! -Victoria

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