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Biblio File

Books We Are Thankful For


Far From the Tree Cover

 Andrew Solomon spent 10 years of his life interviewing families with "exceptional" children, this work is compiled in Far From the Tree .  Reading this book changed me / made me a better person. If I had a the power, I would make this required reading for all human beings. 

I am also thankful for Grace Lin’s Starry River of the Sky. The plotting in this story woven with Chinese folktale is masterful! I will never forget the look of joy and amazement on my kids' faces when we reached the end and it all *snapped* into place. When it is good, it is really good.  —Lynn Lobash, Readers Services

I'll always be grateful to a librarian at Mid-Manhattan who, when I told her some of the perplexing difficulties I was having with my then 4-year-old son, suggested I read The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz. I knew something was not quite right, but I had never even heard of Sensory Processing Disorder. I recognized my son in the first few pages; noises too loud, clothes too scratchy, lights too bright, difficulty with spatial relations and fine and gross motor skills. Her book suggestion helped me get my son the help he needed and ten years later he's doing fine.  —Maura Muller, Volunteers Office

I am thankful for John Klassen's This Is Not My Hat. For the warm memories of my sons acting the story out repeatedly, for their giggles as the large fish puts two and two together, for their speculation over the little thief's ultimate fate, for the younger one's fascination with the illustration, I will be forever thankful. —Joshua Soule, Spuyten Duyvil Library

God Got a Dog Cover

There are two books for which I am very thankful. The first is God Got a Dog, a collection of remarkably moving poetry by Cynthia Rylant paired with luminous illustrations by Marla Frazee.  This collection of poems by turns joyful, painful, and poignant and funny made me cry and hug the book at the end.  It's been my go-to gift for family and friends and I still break it out to read whenever I'm feeling at my lowest. The second is Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce.  I first read the author's work back as a youngster at a time when there were few great female protagonists to be had in sword and sorcery adventures.   Tamora Pierce's story of a girl who disguises herself as a boy to become a knight and goes on to become a hero was my first real taste of something that saw girls taking on these kinds of roles.  While nowadays there are many more strong female protagonists to choose from, it hasn't always been the case.  These books sparked my love of fantasy adventure, strengthened my joy of reading and made me imagine being a writer myself someday.  I have reread the entire quartet about Alanna (Song of the Lioness quartet) probably close to a hundred times now and hope to pass them on to my son and daughter when they're old enough. —Stephanie Whelan, Seward Park Library

Fool's Progress Cover

I am thankful for the wit and spirit in Edward Abbey's The Fool's Progress. Abbey tells the story of Henry Lightcap, a very semi-autobiographical loner taking one last trip home to his brother in West Virginia, with little but a failing truck, an old mutt named Solstice, and frequent 6-packs of beer. He camps and barbecues. He discusses time, history, fate, and liberty with Sollie the dog. Think Travels with Charley meets A Confederacy of Dunces. Pure Americana. —Charlie Radin, Inwood Library

My father was a warm, intelligent man that I was lucky to call Dad.  When he passed away 5 years ago, I was devastated to lose not only my father, but also a mentor in life.  A friend recommended When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron to help me deal with my sadness.  I am eternally grateful for the excellent, heartfelt suggestion and to Pema Chodron for writing this book.  I have in turn passed along this recommendation to many other friends and acquaintances that have found themselves facing difficult times both large and small. —Karen Ginman, Chatham Square Library

I'm grateful for the fantasy novel The Magicians by Lev Grossman.  It's set in modern day and focuses on characters that grew up reading magical children's books.  The story follows a group of young people who apply to the exclusive Brakebills College and discover that REAL magic isn't as sweet, uplifting, and easy as they'd imagined.  If you grew up reading books like the Narnia series, the Harry Potter series, and The Once and Future King, this book will speak to those memories and will remind you of what you wanted magic to be back when you were a kid. —Andrea Lipinski, Kingsbridge Library

Dinner Cover

I'm grateful for the book Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. Written in three sections, it's part memoir, part cookbook—it begins with Rosenstrach's cooking life when she first married her husband, after they had two little girls, and now when their girls are school age.  Warm, funny, and practical, I've taken so much inspiration from this book in my own life with small children, from both the recipes (play date cookies, roast chicken with veggies, and turkey chili are just a few of my family's favorites) and the author's cheerful approach to family life. I think I've tried more recipes from this cookbook than any other! —Susan Tucker Heimbach, Mulberry Street Library

I am thankful for Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals. A truly delightful book, I read it at a time in my life where I was looking for direction. Durrell tells a spellbinding story about his young life, when his mother uprooted the family from a staid life in England and abruptly moved them to Corfu. Through Gerald's young eyes we follow him as he experiences the world with wonder and curiosity, making friends, discovering the island, and watching his family very closely, and it is all delivered in prose expressive of remarkable humor and warmth. It was in Corfu, exploring the tidal pools in his coracle, which he named the "Bootlebumtrinket," that Durrell began his lifelong commitment to observing and preserving the natural world. Talk about LOL, this book will make you laugh until you weep. —Virginia Bartow, Special Collections Cataloger

Watership Down Cover

I'd recommend Watership Down by Richard Adams. I'd recommend it anyway, but I think, in particular, with Thanksgiving coming up. This book is great for fostering gratitude when the inevitable holiday hectic rush begins. Simply thinking about these brave little rabbits seeking their true homes is heartening. I'm recommending the book, not the animated movie, which may be a bit much at this time of year. Also, Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums and On the Road, mostly for this quotation, which reminds me of Thanksgiving pie: “I ate apple pie and ice cream—it was getting better as I got deeper into Iowa, the pie bigger, the ice cream richer." —Jenny Baum, Jefferson Market Library

I am thankful for two books: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson.  Both books show that no matter how depraved and selfish we are there is hope we can be transformed into loving and kind human beings. —Jean Harripersaud, Bronx Library Center

Swimming to Antarctica cover

I am grateful for Donald Hall's Without, a poetic meditation on his wife Jane Kenyon's illness (leukemia and death.)  The book was published one month after my brother Scott died (also from leukemia).   His eloquence and ability to put into words his feelings of rage, disbelief, love and compassion helped me immensely in being able to absorb (more accurate than "accept") my brother's death. —Wayne Roylance, Selection Team

I am thankful for Lynne Cox's inspirational Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer. Cox lyrically details her adventures in the water from her record-breaking crossings of the English Channel, legendary swims in the Cape of Good Hope and Straits of Magellan and the historic Bering Strait swim in 1987, which opened the border between the United States & Soviet Union. Equal parts memoir, sports book and travelogue, Cox's book broadens one's view of the world. The author encourages readers to fearlessly and joyfully pursue their dreams. —Miriam Tuliao, Selection Team

I am grateful for having read the book, Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur, because as the author explains, her great-grandmother's arrival on an Indenture Ship to then, British Guiana and her own family's arrival in New Jersey made them double-emigrants.  This has personal resonance for me and finally gives me a sense of belonging to more than one place. - Hyacinth Persad, Mid-Manhattan Library



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Books we are thankful for

I am very thankful for Katherine Mansfield's short stories: forme they were a "sentimental education": in her stories characters, events and things are beautiful and frail at the same time. A pleasure for short stories lovers and a lesson for every phase of our life.

Books I'm thankful for

As a child, "the tortoise and the hare". W.E.B Du Bois, "the soul of black folk", Dr. Sues all of them. St. Augustine- "Confession & City of GOD". Most thankful for Bible

Andrew Solomon

Couldn't agree more about Andrew Solomon's book. I've found it to be very insightful, particularly for those that are touched by mental illness.

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