Teacher Book Club

Book Choices
 
 
America the Beautiful - Dr. Ben Carson
 
What is America becoming? Or, more importantly, what can she be if we reclaim a vision for the things that made her great in the first place? In America the Beautiful, Dr. Ben Carson helps us learn from our past in order to chart a better course for our future. From his personal ascent from inner-city poverty to international medical and humanitarian acclaim, Carson shares experiential insights that help us understand ... what is good about America ... where we have gone astray ... which fundamental beliefs have guided America from her founding into preeminence among nations Written by a man who has experienced America's best and worst firsthand, America the Beautiful is at once alarming, convicting, and inspiring. You'll gain new perspectives on our nation's origins, our Judeo-Christian heritage, our educational system, capitalism versus socialism, our moral fabric, healthcare, and much more. An incisive manifesto of the values that shaped America's past and must shape her future, America the Beautiful calls us all to use our God-given talents to improve our lives, our communities, our nation, and our world.
 
 
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
A fascinating memoir as well as riveting medical mystery, this book chronicles reporter Cahalan's monthlong descent into mental illness and her extraordinary journey back - a recovery that wouldn't happened without the intervention of a maverick doctor who followed a hunch and diagnosed her with a new, rare autoimmune disease.
 
 
The Feminine Mystique 50 years by Betty Friedan, Gail Collins (Introduction), Anna Quindlen (Afterward)
Landmark, groundbreaking, classic—these adjectives barely do justice to the pioneering vision and lasting impact of The Feminine Mystique. Published in 1963, it gave a pitch-perfect description of “the problem that has no name”: the insidious beliefs and institutions that undermined women’s confidence in their intellectual capabilities and kept them in the home. Writing in a time when the average woman first married in her teens and 60 percent of women students dropped out of college to marry, Betty Friedan captured the frustrations and thwarted ambitions of a generation and showed women how they could reclaim their lives. Part social chronicle, part manifesto, The Feminine Mystique is filled with fascinating anecdotes and interviews as well as insights that continue to inspire. This 50th–anniversary edition features an afterword by best-selling author Anna Quindlen as well as a new introduction by Gail Collins.
 
Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
Catherine Bailey has been enjoying the single life long enough to know a catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell.

But what begins as flattering attentiveness and passionate sex turns into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon learns there is a darker side to Lee. His increasingly erratic, controlling behaviour becomes frightening, but no one believes her when she shares her fears. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine--now Cathy--compulsively checks the locks and doors in her apartment, trusting no one. But when an attractive upstairs neighbour, Stuart, comes into her life, Cathy dares to hope that happiness and love may still be possible . . . until she receives a phone call informing her of Lee's impending release. Soon after, Cathy thinks she catches a glimpse of the former best friend who testified against her in the trial; she begins to return home to find objects subtly rearranged in her apartment, one of Lee's old tricks. Convinced she is back in her former lover's sights, Cathy prepares to wrestle with the demons of her past for the last time.

Utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, Into the Darkest corner is an ingeniously structured and plotted tour de force of suspense that marks the arrival of a major new talent.
 
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.  (Linda Myers)
14 year old Alma Singer is trying to cure her mother's loneliness. Believing that she might discover the cure in an old bookher mother is translating, she searches for the author. Across New York an old man is trying to survive a little longer.  He dreams of the lost love who, sixty years ago in Poland, inspired him to write a book.  He doesn't know it yet, but the book survived, crossing oceans and generations, and changing lives.
 
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
 
One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.
 
Open House
by Eizabeth Berg
In this superb novel by the beloved author of Talk Before Sleep, The Pull of the Moon, and Until the Real Thing Comes Along, a woman re-creates her life after divorce by opening up her house and her heart.
Samantha's husband has left her, and after a spree of overcharging at Tiffany's, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her eleven-year-old son. Her eccentric mother tries to help by fixing her up with dates, but a more pressing problem is money. To meet her mortgage payments, Sam decides to take in boarders. The first is an older woman who offers sage advice and sorely needed comfort; the second, a maladjusted student, is not quite so helpful. A new friend, King, an untraditional man, suggests that Samantha get out, get going, get work. But her real work is this: In order to emerge from grief and the past, she has to learn how to make her own happiness. In order to really see people, she has to look within her heart. And in order to know who she is, she has to remember--and reclaim--the person she used to be, long before she became someone else in an effort to save her marriage. Open House is a love story about what can blossom between a man and a woman, and within a woman herself.
 
 

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

 

     Lulu and Merry's childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu's tenthbirthday it became a nightmare.  Mama warns Lulu not to let her father in,but he bullies his way past her.  She runs for help, but discovers uponher return that he's murdered her mother, stabbed 5-year-old Merry, and triedto kill himself. 

    Effectively orphaned by their mother's death and father's imprisonment, thegirls' relatives abandon them to a terrifying group home.  Even as theyplot to be taken in by a well-to-do family, they come to learn that all theyhave to hold on to is each other. 

    As the sisters spend 30 years trying to make sense of what happened, theirjailed father shadows their every choice.  One spends her life pretendinghe's dead, while the other feels compelled to keep him close.  Both dreadthat someday he'll win parole. 

     Abeautifully written, compulsively readable story is a testament to the power offamily and the ties that bind us together and tear us apart. 
A Place at the Table  by Susan Rebecca White  -
 
For fans of The Help, a tale of Southern exiles - an older black woman (based on legendary chef Edna Lewis) and a young, gay man - who find each other in New York City through their love of downhome cooking.
 
The Secrets of Mary Boswer by Lois Leveen

Based on a remarkable true story, The Secrets of Mary Bowser is an inspiring tale of one daring woman's willingness to sacrifice her own freedom to change the course of history

All her life, Mary has been a slave to the wealthy Van Lew family of Richmond, Virginia. But when Bet, the willful Van Lew daughter, decides to send Mary to Philadelphia to be educated, she must leave her family to seize her freedom.

Life in the North brings new friendships, a courtship, and a far different education than Mary ever expected, one that leads her into the heart of the abolition movement. With the nation edging toward war, she defies Virginia law by returning to Richmond to care for her ailing father--and to fight for emancipation. Posing as a slave in the Confederate White House in order to spy on President Jefferson Davis, Mary deceives even those who are closest to her to aid the Union command.

Just when it seems that all her courageous gambles to end slavery will pay off, Mary discovers that everything comes at a cost--even freedom.
 

Transatlantic by Colum McCann

 

Newfoundland,1919. Two aviators—Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown—set course for Ireland as theyattempt the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, placing their trustin a modified bomber to heal the wounds of the Great War.
 Dublin,1845 and ’46. On an international lecture tour in support of his subversiveautobiography, Frederick Douglass finds the Irish people sympathetic to theabolitionist cause—despite the fact that, as famine ravages the countryside,the poor suffer from hardships that are astonishing even to an American slave.

NewYork, 1998. Leaving behind a young wife and newborn child, Senator GeorgeMitchell departs for Belfast, where it has fallen to him, the son of anIrish-American father and a Lebanese mother, to shepherd Northern Ireland’snotoriously bitter and volatile peace talks to an uncertain conclusion.
Thesethree iconic crossings are connected by a series of remarkable women whosepersonal stories are caught up in the swells of history. Beginning with Irishhousemaid Lily Duggan, who crosses paths with Frederick Douglass, the novelfollows her daughter and granddaughter, Emily and Lottie, and culminates in thepresent-day story of Hannah Carson, in whom all the hopes and failures ofprevious generations live on. From the loughs of Ireland to the flatlands ofMissouri and the windswept coast of Newfoundland, their journeys mirror the progressand shape of history. They each learn that even the most unassuming moments ofgrace have a way of rippling through time, space, and memory.

 

Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes

 

Fromthe best-selling author of CrossingOceans comesa heartrending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp ofadulthood, eighteen-year-old Penny Carson is swept off her feet by a handsomefarmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like PrinceCharming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign town, Penny'shappily-ever-after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before theink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time.It isn't the last, yet the bruises that can't be seen are the most painful ofall.
When Trent is injured in a welding accident andhis paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a jobcleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who willteach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just longenough for her to find her own.

 

 
 
 

 
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (One Book, One Community 2012 choice)
 
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the days after, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. 
 
But, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared. Eggers’s riveting nonfiction book, three years in the making, explores Zeitoun’s roots in Syria, his marriage to Kathy—an American who converted to Islam—and their children, and the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun became possible. 
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