The Elephant in the Room is a memoir chronicling what it’s like to live in today’s world as a fat man, from acclaimed journalist Tommy Tomlinson, who, as he neared the age of fifty, weighed 460 pounds and decided he had to change his life.
When he was almost fifty years old, Tommy Tomlinson weighed an astonishing—and dangerous—460 pounds, at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, unable to climb a flight of stairs without having to catch his breath, or travel on an airplane without buying two seats. Raised in a family that loved food, he had been aware of the problem for years, seeing doctors and trying diets from the time he was a preteen. But nothing worked, and every time he tried to make a change, it didn’t go the way he planned—in fact, he wasn’t sure that he really wanted to change.
In The Elephant in the Room, Tomlinson chronicles his lifelong battle with weight in a voice that combines the urgency of Roxane Gay’s Hunger with the intimacy of Rick Bragg’s All Over but the Shoutin’. He also hits the road to meet other members of the plus-sized tribe in an attempt to understand how, as a nation, we got to this point. From buying a Fitbit and setting exercise goals to contemplating the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, America’s “capital of food porn,” and modifying his own diet, Tomlinson brings us along on a candid and sometimes brutal look at the everyday experience of being constantly aware of your size. Over the course of the book, he confronts these issues head-on and chronicles the practical steps he has to take to lose weight by the end.
Read a review by Debra Blunier:
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family's bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came. Now Rachel has returned to the city -- and to the bookshop -- to work alongside the boy she'd rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can't feel anything anymore. She can't see her future. Henry's future isn't looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart. As Henry and Rachel work side by side -- surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages -- they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it's possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.
Read a review by Katie Kruger:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
Read a review by Katie Kruger:
Most teens love to watch movies—whether a young adult fantasy or the latest comic-book-to-screen adaptation. Alongside the usual summer blockbusters, though, are more down to earth fare, movies that best define what it means to be an adolescent. Such films provide insight and depth into the challenges and issues that many teens experience as they move from childhood into adulthood.
In Movies to See before You Graduate from High School, Michael Howarth examines sixty coming-of-age films that are essential viewing for teenagers. Whether serious or silly, scary or profound, the films discussed here comment on the trials and tribulations of adolescence. Each entry provides a plot summary, identifies key themes, and includes other useful details such as running time and MPAA rating. Most important in each entry is the “gist” section—a relaxed and informal discussion of the film’s merits and why teens should add it to their viewing list.
The films discussed here span five decades, but many of the titles are recent features that contemporary teens will appreciate—from Easy A and Edge of Seventeen to Lady Bird and Love, Simon. The films also represent a range of genres, including comedy, horror, animation, and drama. Additional elements include classic lines of dialogue, “double feature” suggestions, and more than 30 photos. And with five dozen titles to choose from, some teens will want to catch up as soon as possible! Movies to See before You Graduate from High School is the guide to some of the best films for young adult audiences.
Read a review by Joan Herron:
Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.
Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.
In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.
Read a review by Katie Kruger:
Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don't get visited by ghosts. Or do they?
When the spirit of Lara's great-aunt Sadie-a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance-mysteriously appears, she has one request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie's possession for more than seventy-five years, because Sadie cannot rest without it.
Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie's necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different "twenties" girls learn some surprising truths from and about each other. Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella's books beloved by millions, Twenties Girl is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family.
Read a review by Cindy O'Neill:
Just as Larry Newton, one of the most notorious inmates at Indiana Federal Prison, was trying to break out of jail, Dr. Laura Bates was trying to break in. She had created the world’s first Shakespeare class in supermax – the solitary confinement unit.
Many people told Laura that maximum-security prisoners are “beyond rehabilitation." But Laura wanted to find out for herself. She started with the prison's most notorious inmate: Larry Newton. When he was 17 years old, Larry was indicted for murder and sentenced to life with no possibility of parole. When he met Laura, he had been in isolation for 10 years.
Larry had never heard of Shakespeare. But in the characters he read, he recognized himself.
In this profound illustration of the enduring lessons of Shakespeare through the ten-year relationship of Bates and Newton, an amazing testament to the power of literature emerges. But it's not just the prisoners who are transformed. It is a starkly engaging tale, one that will be embraced by anyone who has ever been changed by a book.
Read a review by Debra Blunier:
Tom Brokaw had led a lucky life--marrying his childhood sweetheart (they have been married for 51 years), rising to fame in the journalism world on the Today Show and as the NBC Nightly News anchor for 22 years, publishing the world-renowned book The Greatest Generation--when suddenly he took two inexplicable falls. Nagging back pain led him to the doctors at Mayo, who had shocking news: he had multiple myeloma, the treatable but incurable blood cancer. Brokaw leads the readers through his decision to keep a journal of experiences, during a year of denial, acceptance, struggle, and his courageous battle to get the cancer under control and to go on with his life, even as he reflects on the things he thought about, during a year in a life interrupted: news stories of special significance to him, lessons learned about family and friendship, a man coming to terms with aging and his own mortality. Written in Brokaw's natural, warm voice, this candid, intimate book is a memoir of understanding and empowerment, of the importance of a patient taking charge of his or her condition, of understanding aging, the importance of family and relationships, the role of caretakers and coordinated care, of gratitude for a good life.
Read a review by Jill Martin: