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Tuesdays at the Castle

Tuesdays at the Castle

This middle grade novel has a bit of Hogwarts magic to it: every Tuesday, Castle Glower rearranges itself, growing a new room or adding a new hallway. The royal family is accustomed to its eccentricities. When disaster strikes, Princess Celie and her siblings team up to save the day. One of my 12 terrific books for tween girls. Their pranks will make you giggle even as the story deals with serious themes like grief and fear. More info →
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Tracks: One Woman’s Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback

Tracks: One Woman’s Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback

In 1977, Robyn Davidson, who had "never changed a light bulb, sewn a dress, mended a sock, changed a tyre, or used a screwdriver," set out to cross Australia with her dog and four camels. Equal parts travel writing and adventure story, with humor and ruminations on the pleasures of solitude thrown in. The publisher describes this as "a cult classic." More info →
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Life of Pi

Life of Pi

James Mustich picked this as one of his 1,000 Books To Read Before You Die and calls this "a cross between Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories and Gabriel Garcia Marqeuz's One Hundred Years of Solitude." This is the story of Piscene Patel, a teenage boy from India who survives a shipwreck and subsequently spends 227 on a life raft with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Years later, Pi tells his own story, but a surprise at the end leaves the reader wondering if they really understand what happened on that raft. If you turn immediately back to page 1 and start reading again looking for clues, you're in good company. More info →
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So Good They Can’t Ignore You

So Good They Can’t Ignore You

I love Cal Newport’s work, and have been thinking of reading since this I inhaled his last one. From the publisher: "With a title taken from the comedian Steve Martin, who once said his advice for aspiring entertainers was to "be so good they can't ignore you," Cal Newport's clearly written manifesto is mandatory reading for anyone fretting about what to do with their life, or frustrated by their current job situation and eager to find a fresh new way to take control of their livelihood." More info →
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The Confusion of Languages

The Confusion of Languages

A 2017 Summer Reading Guide novel. The book begins with an accident. It was just a fender-bender, and it wasn't their fault, but after two years in Jordan as an Army wife, Cass has learned it doesn't matter—as Americans, they're always the guilty party. Newly arrived Margaret, whose husband is also stationed at the Embassy, chafes at these local "customs," and all the other cultural pressures she feels as an American living in a country that's becoming increasingly dangerous. But Margaret determines to go pay the "guilt tax" anyway, and asks Cass to babysit her child while she tends to her quick errand. When Margaret doesn't return, Cass becomes annoyed, then increasingly worried.... as it dawns on Cass that she never understood her friend at all. This close look at two women, two marriages, and two worlds is dark and broody in the best kind of way. More info →
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Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence

From the publisher: "Laura Brandon's promise to her dying father was simple: to visit an elderly woman she'd never heard of before. A woman who remembers nothing—except the distant past. Visiting Sarah Tolley seemed a small enough sacrifice to make. But Laura's promise results in another death. Frantic and guilt ridden, Laura contacts the only person who may be able to help. A man she's met only once—six years before. Guided only by a child's silence and an old woman's fading memories, the two unravel a tale of love and despair, of bravery and unspeakable evil. A tale that's shrouded in silence…and that unbelievably links them all." More info →
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