Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

Ask Me Why I Hurt

I first heard of Randy Christensen, MD, when Diane Rehm interviewed him on her show, discussing Ask Me Why I Hurt. “Dr. Randy” is medical director of Crews’n Healthmobile, a mobile medical clinic providing health care for homeless youth in Phoenix, AZ. In this book, Christensen tells the true stories of many of the young people he’s treated on the healthmobile, changing names and identifying characteristics, of course, to protect the privacy of his patients.

We learn early on where the book gets its title, when “Mary” appears outside the van, wearing a beaded bracelet, with the words “ask me why I hurt” spelled out in block letters. Mary nervously avoided the doctor’s direct questions, so it took a while for Dr. Randy to build enough rapport with her to trust he could ask the question, without her running away. When Mary did finally answer him, after several stops to the mobile, he learned she’d been seriously sexually abused by her father. Mary’s and the other teenagers’ stories told in this book are both heartbreaking and heartwarming, as many of them do ultimately find reason to hope and ways to heal.

I take exception to the subtitle: “the Kids Nobody Wants and the Doctor who Heals Them.” To say this book is about the kids nobody wants isn’t the whole truth. Many of the young people seeking health care at Crews’n have experienced serious neglect and/or abuse, often at the hands of family members, that is true. Yet, Mary finds sanctuary and a second chance with her aunt; ultimately, we learn that she goes on to finish her education and complete a master’s degree. Donald—a boy whose father beat him so severely he sustained permanent brain damage--gains a loving family and caring community when Pastor and Mrs. Richardson take him in. Then there are all the workers from HomeBase, a shelter for teens, and UMOM, a shelter for homeless families, who help teens prepare for adult life, via GED and life skills education.

To my mind, the book isn’t really about Randy Christensen. Granted, he shared autobiographical details that help the reader understand the stresses of trying to balance family life with the particular challenges of his chosen career. And yes, as I read the story, I came to care about him, as well as the kids that visit the van. The book is written in first-person narrative, but the main reason for the book is that these young people matter, their stories matter, and Christensen felt they needed to be heard. Christensen shows us that there are a lot of young people suffering, there's a desperate need for more services and protection for them, and yet there are many people who care and are helping teens-at-risk make positive changes in their lives.

Book

Ask Me Why I Hurt
9780307718990
Christine

Download a Little Bit of History

An important academic voice for more than three decades, Manning Marable’s scholarly career was defined by an eclectic and astute collection of books that explored the relationship between racial politics, capitalism, and African American history. His final book prior to his death in April of this year was a controversial biography of Malcolm X (Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention). This National Book Award nominated title can be downloaded to your e-reader device or tablet.

Book

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
9780670022205
RyanG

Bad behavior makes a good read

The nine stories in Mary Gaitskill's first book, Bad behavior, are all about people longing for connection with another human being, and the messed up ways they go about trying to create that connection.  The people in these stories are gritty and real; these tales are at the same time depressing, inspiring, cautionary, entertaining, thought-provoking, and overall, quite compelling.  I have the author's other three books checked out.  Rated R for adult content (drug use, sexual situations, realism).

Note: the movie Secretaryis (very loosely) based on the story of the same name in this book.

Book

Bad behavior
0679723277
EleanoreC

Love Part 23: incredible, pathetic, inspiring, sad and weird American stories

After reading these amazing stories you might agree with Thomas Ouk that love is “not easy to find,” which is what Aristotle and Montaigne said. Or you might agree with 86 year old Fred White that “true love exists. If you make it. It’s a true thing if you make it true.” He was married to Helen 65 years, through the long distance of the Korean War. Or you might agree with Brigitte Aiton that most relationships are “a life of quiet desperation” where “you just keep moving forward,” even though you secretly hate each other—which sounds like Pascal. Or you might agree with Aubrey Reuben (76), who had a great marriage, yet still says “Most husbands hate their wives, and most wives hate their husbands. Or, worse…they’re indifferent.”

Some of these stories are sad. Real sad. Like Russell Gore, who went from gang-member and hustler, saying “Love?...I didn’t care about love!” to saying “That’s what love do—make you want to live…make you want to see your next birthday” and “I don’t think I’ve ever been in love like that before.” He fell in love with “Cynth,” who died in his arms as Katrina filled their house with water. She died of a heart attack. “I stayed with her, a day and a half, dead.” When he finally got rescued, he went straight to where she worked, “I was waiting for her to come out like she was getting out of work. But she never come.” He was devastated:

“I just recently learned how to not cry so much. Because my wife is with me every day of my life…that’s the only thing that keeps me on the straight and narrow and keeps me doing what I’m doing, because one day I’m gonna meet her again.”

Or Steven Hager, who heard the pump of a shotgun from the closet. It was his wife trying to kill herself. He stuck with her. It happened four more times. She was in pain. She went from a “vibrant, intelligent, fun-loving” super bright lawyer, to someone who fell off a roof, with unbearable, unfixable pain for 18 years. “I felt like it was my job to stop her, but at the same time, I felt like I was prolonging the suffering. I had mixed emotions and mixed beliefs…” Even though “God had put us together,” “He’d given her “something she couldn’t handle.” Eighteen years later (surgery), “my wife was healed…her being able to sleep at night is an amazing thing…she’s enjoying life.”

There is tons of wisdom in these stories, collective wisdom, often reflecting the wisdom of the love-writers I’ve been blogging about. Steven Hager says “I think love is basically about action, about doing something for a person. It’s about choices…She has often said to me, ‘Thanks for sticking with me.’ But that wasn’t a choice. We have a family and we’re committed to each other.”

Marty Edwards says love is about “want, not need.” Samantha Wright says it’s about listening: “When he’s listening to me, he’s really listening with his whole being.” Paul Pesce says it’s about agreeing and giving, “give in to the other.” Kathy Barrett says it’s friendship that kept them together, others think it’s the intellectual connection, but Rebecca Danier thinks it’s about sex: “if you have a good sex life with somebody, there’s a fundamental respect for that person.” Bill Von Hunsdorf says it’s more about having someone around, a physical presence, a person to acknowledge your existence—what Simon May calls “existential grounding.” For Jeremy Vanhaitsma love is about experiencing God: “My definition of love has always been that God is love…The way that I’ve experienced love has radically changed since I met Anne because I never knew that I’d ever be able to experience the fullness of the Father’s love.”

The people who said “we never fought” usually had a sense of humor.

And then there are the bizarre/sad stories, like the man in love with his wife’s sister who lives about them, the couple who fall in loving doing meth together, the lesbian who marries a super-macho born again Republican, the Buddhist monk who was forced to marry someone at the point of a gun (even they sorta fell in love!).

Related Posts
Love Part 1: Platonic Love
Love Part 2: Aristotle
Love Part 3: Epictetus and stoic love 
Love Part 4: Marcus Aurelius
Love Part 5: Plotinus 
Love Part 6: the Buddha
Love Part 7: Christian Love
Love Part 8: Augustine
Love Part 9: Martin Luther King, Jr
Love Part 10: Aquinas 
Love Part 11: Dante
Love Part 12: a Real Love Letter
Love Part 13: Chaucer 
Love Part 14: Hobbes
Love Part 15: Machiavelli 
Love Part 16: Montaigne
Love Part 17: Bacon
Love Part 18: Spinoza
Love Part 19: Your Body
Love Part 20: Milton
Love Part 21: Pascal 
Love Part 22: Locke

book

Us Americans talk about love
9780865479296
MattS

The Art of Fielding

512 pages about baseball? When someone recommended The Art of Fielding to me, I was a little hesitant. But I tell you, those 512 pages flew by!

Yes, it’s a book about baseball, but there’s a lot more here... the community created by a small, liberal arts college, the loves and losses of the characters, growing up of course... sacrifice, integrity, and honor.

Mostly, though, it’s a really, really good book about baseball.

Book

The Art of Fielding
9780316126694
Susan

Give the Gift of a Library

During this busy holiday season, parents and other adults are scrambling about in search of the perfect gift for their children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. Well, look no further!

Consider a gift that will entertain and educate kids of all ages and bring your family closer together. Give the gift that keeps on giving - the gift of reading! Reading with a child/children and encouraging them to read independently are two of the most significant things an adult can do to influence a youngster’s life.

Of course, good books make wonderful gifts. Kids naturally enjoy the magic that a book brings as they go over the story and illustrations, (many times, often more than once), practice their reading skills and perhaps learn something new in the process. Magazine subscriptions also make great recurring reading presents.

But maybe the best option for a reading themed gift is to bring a child to the Kalamazoo Public Library sometime during their holiday break. If you time it right, you can attend one of many programs planned for children. Then you can sign up the little guys for their own library cards, which come complete with plastic carrying cases and lanyards. And even though it is free of charge, the amount of pride and joy you’ll see in the little ones’ faces when first presented with it, will form a pleasurable, lasting memory for all gift givers.

kpl-childrens-card-598.jpg

Once armed with the card, the child has the entire library’s collection at his or her disposal. They can choose their own books, audiobooks, magazines, CDs, and DVDs. Of course, librarians are always on hand to aid your young ones in the selection process, helping to match the child with books covering their particular interests, and on their reading level as well. Best of all, this process can be repeated again and again. Just return the items and pick out new ones as many times as you like. Truly the best gift of all. And one that will keep on giving for a lifetime!

Book

Library Card
kpl-library-card-160
/account/card.aspx
TeresaM-R

Smokin Seventeen

Smokin" Seventeen by Janet Evonavich

The Stephanie Plum novels are a fun quick read. Leave reality, immerse in the characters and have fun.

Take a look at the back cover and you tell me who Stephanie is modeled after. I was very upset when it was announced that they were making a Stephanie Plum book into a movie. I love that they will make it a movie I hated that they chose Katherine Heigel for the role of Stephanie Plum. My fellow CAMP workers at the library tend to agree with me on that aspect. They do think that the person picked to play Ranger is definitely drool able. Ranger is a major hunk so this actor has an almost impossible task ahead of him. In this novel there are a bunch of bodies being buried in shallow graves at Vincent Plum Bail Bonds temporary location. Not good for business to have police roping off crime scene areas right in front of your trailer which is your office. Yeah the killer of these victims is sought but the greater thrust is Who will Stephanie pick; will it be the Hunky Ranger who can send her into orgasmic heaven or will it be Morelli who was Mr. Bad boy but is now a cop and can give her a night of passion that has her passing out from delight. These books have a rough plot of solve the crime and Stephanie has colorful friends like Lulu but mostly the book is about Stephanie's urges. Her quandary about which man to hook up with solely. She wants them both and has them both. As do we vicariously as the author describes the mounting passion and the trip to heaven. Personally I think she needs to settle down and choose Morelli, but she is still in the have your cake and eat it too phase. So she sleeps with both, mostly Morelli kinda in the roll of husband (or steady lover) but she also keeps taking a trip on the wild side with Ranger as he has the ability to blast her into outer space. There is debate in CAMP as to who she should choose. But there is not debate that even the thought of being with Ranger makes you weak in the knees. But Ranger is so transient that he is only good for a roll in the hay. Morelli is the one she should marry but not until she has the ability to quit getting it on with Ranger. She has to choose someday but the longer she puts it off the longer she has the best of both worlds and lives in orgasmic bliss. As to the story, it's incidental but yes she solves the mystery. I love the Stephanie Plum novels. I love the quirky way she brings in a bond jumper and I love her internal debate over who to choose and I love her descriptions of her trips to the heavenly delights.

Books

 Smokin" Seventeen
9780345527684
Gary

Love Part 22: Locke, toleration as love

Locke defines love as “the delight which any present or absent thing is apt to produce in him…Thus the being and welfare of a man’s children…producing constant delight in him, he is said constantly to love them. But it suffices to note, that our ideas of love and hatred are but the dispositions of the mind, in respect of pleasure and pain in general, however caused in us.” This is how Spinoza defined love too, and sound’s a lot like Mill’s Utilitarianism. It’s all very simple: love is the thought of something that causes you pleasure; hatred, pain. It's all relative to the individual; you might think something causes you pleasure that really harms you in the long run. 

On the Love of Truth:

“He that would seriously set upon the search of truth ought…to prepare his mind with a love of it…one may truly say, that there are very few lovers of truth, for truth’s sake, even amongst those who persuade themselves that they are so. How a man may know whether he be so…I think there is one unerring mark of it…the not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant. Whoever goes beyond this measure…loves not truth for truth’s sake, but for some other bye-end.”

People think they love "the truth," but they really don't. They like what it could do for them.

It is a natural fact, says Locke, that we are all equals, and from this follows a duty to love each other, even in the “State of Nature” (without government): “The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one…that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.” Sounds a lot like our Constitution, right?

In his A Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke argues that toleration is the “chief characteristic mark” of true Christianity:

“The toleration of those that differ from others in matters of religion is so agreeable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to the genuine reason of mankind, that is seems monstrous for men to be so blind as not to perceive the necessity and advantage of it in so clear a light.”

He ties toleration to charity, and he especially attacks those who hate people in the name of religion, who “pretend” that their actions somehow spring from love:

“I appeal to the consciences of those that persecute, torment, destroy, and kill other men upon pretence of religion, whether they do it out of friendship and kindness towards them or no? And I shall then indeed, and not until then, believe they do so, when I shall see those fiery zealots correcting, in the same manner, their friends and familiar acquaintance for the manifest sins they commit against the precepts of the Gospel…persecute with fire and sword the members of their own communion…and when I shall see them thus express their love and desire of the salvation of their souls by the infliction of torments and exercise of all manner of cruelties.”

In other words, love never causes hatred: “nobody, surely, will ever believe that such a carriage can proceed from charity, love, or good will.” To think otherwise is hypocrisy or deluded thinking. Remember when Dalia,in Milton’s poem, asks Sampson “And what if Love…caused what I did? (betrayal).” To which Sampson replies: No! love never causes evil—that’s irrational!

Furthermore, Locke thinks that it is the minister’s duty to preach toleration:

“He that pretends to be a successor of the apostles, and takes upon him the office of teaching, is obliged also to admonish his hearers of the duties of peace and goodwill towards all men…towards those that differ from them in faith…as well as…those that agree.” And, if this happened, “how happy and how great would be the fruit, both in Church and State, if the pulpits everywhere sounded with this doctrine of peace and toleration…”

This focus on tolerance also reminds me of the Unitarian movement.

Related Posts
Love Part 1: Platonic Love
Love Part 2: Aristotle
Love Part 3: Epictetus and stoic love 
Love Part 4: Marcus Aurelius
Love Part 5: Plotinus 
Love Part 6: the Buddha
Love Part 7: Christian Love
Love Part 8: Augustine
Love Part 9: Martin Luther King, Jr
Love Part 10: Aquinas 
Love Part 11: Dante
Love Part 12: a Real Love Letter
Love Part 13: Chaucer 
Love Part 14: Hobbes
Love Part 15: Machiavelli 
Love Part 16: Montaigne
Love Part 17: Bacon
Love Part 18: Spinoza
Love Part 19: Your Body
Love Part 20: Milton
Love Part 21: Pascal 

book

Locke an Introduction
johnlocke
http://www.catalog.kpl.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5?searchdata1=locke+introduction{TI}&library=BRANCHES&language=ANY&format=ANY&item_type=ANY&location=ANY&match_on=KEYWORD&item_1cat=ANY&item_2cat=ANY&sort_by=-PBYR
MattS

Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes

Even if you do not make a single thing from Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes it’s a great title to browse. You may be tempted to try something, though, just from the photos alone.

The author’s aim is to show busy readers how to put a full course meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. Oliver groups together recipes for an entire meal for 4-6 people, from main course to simple dessert. His method is to give the recipes, and then he provides a unique, easy-to-follow plan for putting everything together fast.

Jamie Oliver began his career in 1999 with the UK series “Naked Chef.” His food shows have been airing on Food Network since 2001, and he won an Emmy in 2010 for his show “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.”

In a fast paced world, our meals often get short shrift. Who can resist at least looking at a book that includes this intriguing, mouth watering offering, just one example of 50 menus: Cheat’s Pizza, 3 Delish Salads, Squashed Cherries, and Vanilla Mascarpone Cream?

Book

Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes
9781401324421
NancyS

Shock Wave

Shock Wave by John Sandford.

John Sandford is one of myBook My Favorites authors. If you are a resident you too can sign up for Book My Favorites. This book is one of his Virgil Flowers series. Virgil Flowers is a spinoff of the Lucas Davenport books. Virgil Flowers is a detective in the Minneapolis area and works for Lucas Davenport. In this mystery someone is blowing up stuff and people, with bombs. Virgil is called in to solve the mystery. The readability of the book is more of an immersion than a finding out who did it. Yeah, Virgil solves the crime but the author brings Virgil to life. When Virgil will be up late at night he takes a nap in the afternoon, he eats breakfast (and you get to read what he orders). You feel like you are there, an unseen watcher. Virgil is a holdover from the 60's person, always wears a t shirt from some band. The people he interacts with always comment on his penchant for wearing these t shirts. Women for some reason desire him and he usually winds up woo'ing one of them. 

PyeMart is planning to open a store in a small town. By opening this store it will destroy many small businesses, they just will not be able to compete. The rain runoff from the huge parking lot is threatening the river. PyeMart is a made up name but when Walmart came to Portage we had some of the same issues. There were lots of articles about how the runoff ruined Portage Creek. So, I'm thinking some of this is a change the name so we don't get sued, make a statement about big business and the environment, take a what if scenario and make a mystery of it. It's a good read.

Book

Shock Wave
9780399157691
 
Gary
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