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Staff Summer Reading Recommendations - 2016  

Staff recommendations and highly recommended new and forthcoming books for adult readers. Scroll down for quizzes, challenges, graphic novel recommendations, and a calendar of release dates for upcoming movies, television shows, and video games.
Last Updated: Jun 18, 2016 URL: http://jw-libguides.princetonk12.org/SummerReads4JWStaff Print Guide RSS Updates
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New & Recommended Fiction - annotations from Amazon.com

(AUDIO) = Audio version was recommended

(YA) = Young Adult book

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A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
ISBN: 9780143119685
Publication Date: 2011-12-27
First in a trilogy. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

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A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin
ISBN: 0345535529
Publication Date: 2013-10-29
You've seen or heard about the HBO series, it's time to read the books that inspired the show! An immersive entertainment experience unlike any other, A Song of Ice and Fire has earned George R. R. Martin—dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine—international acclaim and millions of loyal readers.

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Career of Evil (AUDIO) - Robert Galbraith (pen name of J.K. Rowling)
ISBN: 0316349895
Publication Date: 2016-04-19
Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott.
When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible--and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on one of the suspects, Strike and Robin delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them...

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Eligible - Curtis Sittenfeld
ISBN: 1400068320
Publication Date: 2016-04-19
This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

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Illuminae (YA) (AUDIO) - Amie Kaufman; Jay Kristoff
ISBN: 0553499114
Publication Date: 2015-10-20
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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NEW FOR AUGUST Another Brooklyn - Jacqueline Woodson
ISBN: 0062359983
Publication Date: 2016-08-09
The acclaimed New York Times bestselling and National Book Award–winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming delivers her first adult novel in twenty years.
Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

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NEW FOR JULY: Truly Madly Guilty - Liane Moriarty
ISBN: 1250069793
Publication Date: 2016-07-26
A typical afternoon barbecue among friends becomes something much bigger when one pivotal moment of inattention leads to repercussions for all in attendance. In trademark Moriarty style, the story flashes back and forth between the day of the barbecue and two months later, slowly revealing the events of the day and its consequences, creating a delicious momentum for the reader as the tension builds and the pieces fall into place. Moriarty has another sure-fire winner with this look at the complexities of friendship, marriage, and familial relationships.

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Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
ISBN: 0307887448
Publication Date: 2012-06-05
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

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Salt to the Sea (YA) - Ruta Sepetys
ISBN: 0399160302
Publication Date: 2016-02-02
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

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The Circle (AUDIO) - Dave Eggers
ISBN: 0345807294
Publication Date: 2014-04-22
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

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The Fishermen (AUDIO) - Chigozie Obioma
ISBN: 0316338370
Publication Date: 2015-04-14
Told from the point of view of nine year old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, THE FISHERMEN is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990's Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their strict father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings.
What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of its characters and its readers.

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The Girl on the Train (AUDIO) - Paula Hawkins
ISBN: 1594633665
Publication Date: 2015-01-13
EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

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The Magicians - Lev Grossman
ISBN: 0452296293
Publication Date: 2010-05-25
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. . . .

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The Nightingale - Kristin Hannah
ISBN: 0312577222
Publication Date: 2015-02-03
This epic love story and family drama set in France at the dawn of World War II is a profound and compelling portrait of two estranged sisters, living in a city under siege and a country at war, where sometimes surviving means doing the unthinkable.

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The Shoemaker's Wife - Adriana Trigiani
ISBN: 0061257109
Publication Date: 2012-08-21
Fans of Trigiani’s sweeping family dramas like Big Stone Gap and Lucia, Lucia will love her latest masterpiece, a book Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, calls “totally new and completely wonderful: a rich, sweeping epic which tells the story of the women and men who built America dream by dream.”

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Tuesday Nights in 1980 - Molly Prentiss
ISBN: 1501121049
Publication Date: 2016-04-05
Welcome to SoHo at the onset of the eighties: a gritty, not-yet-gentrified playground for artists and writers looking to make it in the big city. Among them: James Bennett, a synesthetic art critic for The New York Times whose unlikely condition enables him to describe art in profound, magical ways, and Raul Engales, an exiled Argentinian painter running from his past and the Dirty War that has enveloped his country. As the two men ascend in the downtown arts scene, dual tragedies strike, and each is faced with a loss that acutely affects his relationship to life and to art. It is not until they are inadvertently brought together by Lucy Olliason—a small town beauty and Raul’s muse—and a young orphan boy sent mysteriously from Buenos Aires, that James and Raul are able to rediscover some semblance of what they’ve lost.

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What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty
ISBN: 9780425247440
Publication Date: 2012-04-24
Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…

New and Popular Graphic Novels and Comics for All Ages

Recommended graphic novels for summer reading from Diamond Bookshelf, arranged by age group.

 

New & Recommended Nonfiction and Memoir - annotations from Amazon.com

(AUDIO) = Audio version was recommended

(YA) = Young Adult book

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A House of My Own - Sandra Cisneros
ISBN: 038535133X
Publication Date: 2015-10-06
From the author of The House on Mango Street, a richly illustrated compilation of true stories and nonfiction pieces that, taken together, form a jigsaw autobiography—an intimate album of a beloved literary legend.

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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (AUDIO) - Barbara Kingsolver; Richard A. Houser (Illustrator); Steven L. Hopp; Camille Kingsolver
ISBN: 0060852569
Publication Date: 2008-04-29
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

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Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates
ISBN: 0812993543
Publication Date: 2015-07-14
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER | NAACP IMAGE AWARD WINNER | PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST | NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

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Columbine (AUDIO) - Dave Cullen
ISBN: 9780446546928
Publication Date: 2010-03-03
What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we "know" is wrong. It wasn't about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world's leading forensic psychologists, and the killers' own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix.

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Etched in Sand (AUDIO) - Regina Calcaterra
ISBN: 0062218832
Publication Date: 2013-08-06
Regina’s Calcaterra memoir, Etched in Sand, is an inspiring and triumphant coming-of-age story of tenacity and hope.
Regina Calcaterra is a successful lawyer, New York State official, and activist. Her painful early life, however, was quite different. Regina and her four siblings survived an abusive and painful childhood only to find themselves faced with the challenges of the foster-care system and intermittent homelessness in the shadows of Manhattan and the Hamptons.

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Outliers (AUDIO) - Malcolm Gladwell
ISBN: 0316017930
Publication Date: 2011-06-07
Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?
His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

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The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu - Joshua Hammer
ISBN: 1476777403
Publication Date: 2016-04-19
In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world’s greatest and most brazen smugglers.

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The Omnivore's Dilemma (AUDIO) - Michael Pollan
ISBN: 0143038583
Publication Date: 2007-08-28
What should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species.

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The Road to Little Dribbling - Bill Bryson
ISBN: 0385539282
Publication Date: 2016-01-19
A loving and hilarious—if occasionally spiky—valentine to Bill Bryson’s adopted country, Great Britain. Prepare for total joy and multiple episodes of unseemly laughter.

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Troublemaker (AUDIO) - Leah Remini
ISBN: 110188696X
Publication Date: 2015-11-03
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching thirty-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology.

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Why Not Me? (AUDIO) - Mindy Kaling
ISBN: 0804138141
Publication Date: 2015-09-15
The audio version is read by the author. In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

 

Positivity & Inspiration

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Better Than Before - Gretchen Rubin
ISBN: 0385348630
Publication Date: 2015-12-15
So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?

Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation.

Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions—oddly, questions that other writers and researchers tend to ignore:

• Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do?
• Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can’t change a habit, no matter how hard I try. Why?
• How quickly can I change a habit?
• What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit?
• How can I help someone else change a habit?
• Why can I keep habits that benefit others, but can’t make habits that are just for me?

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Gratitude Works! - Robert A. Emmons
ISBN: 1118131290
Publication Date: 2013-04-01
Recent dramatic advances in our understanding of gratitude have changed the question from "does gratitude work?" to "how do we get more of it?" This book explores evidence-based practices in a compelling and accessible way and provides a step-by-step guide to cultivating gratitude in their lives. Gratitude Works! also shows how religious, philosophical, and spiritual traditions validate the greatest insights of science about gratitude.

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Grit - Angela Duckworth
ISBN: 1501111108
Publication Date: 2016-05-03
Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.

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Learned Optimism - Martin E. P. Seligman
ISBN: 1400078393
Publication Date: 2006-01-03
Known as the father of the new science of positive psychology, Martin E.P. Seligman draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to demonstrate how optimism enchances the quality of life, and how anyone can learn to practice it. Offering many simple techniques, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I—give-up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue. These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier.. With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school, at work and in children, Learned Optimism is both profound and practical–and valuable for every phase of life.

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The Geography of Bliss - Eric Weiner
ISBN: 044669889X
Publication Date: 2009-01-05
Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness." The book uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is. Are people in Switzerland happier because it is the most democratic country in the world? Do citizens of Qatar, awash in petrodollars, find joy in all that cash? Is the King of Bhutan a visionary for his initiative to calculate Gross National Happiness? Why is Asheville, North Carolina so damn happy? With engaging wit and surprising insights, Eric Weiner answers those questions and many others, offering travelers of all moods some interesting new ideas for sunnier destinations and dispositions.

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The Resilience Factor - Karen Reivich; Andrew Shatte
ISBN: 0767911911
Publication Date: 2003-10-14
Resilience is a crucial ingredient–perhaps the crucial ingredient–to a happy, healthy life. More than anything else, it's what determines how high we rise above what threatens to wear us down, from battling an illness, to bolstering a marriage, to carrying on after a national crisis. Everyone needs resilience, and now two expert psychologists share seven proven techniques for enhancing our capacity to weather even the cruelest setbacks.

 

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