A parenting-relationships book recommendation: Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations by Ron Fournier

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/29iD7ny.
Affluent parents may be able to afford an extensive road trip to bond with their children, however, the overall message of learning to accept one’s children as gifts will touch all parents, whether they have toddlers or teenagers.
Book description from Google Books:
Tyler and I inch toward the Green Room, in line with blow-dried TV anchors and stuffy columnists. He’s practicing his handshake and hello: “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President.” When the couple in front of us steps forward for their picture, my teenager with sky-blue eyes and a soft heart looks up at me and says, “I hope I don’t let you down, Dad.” What kind of father raises a son to worry about embarrassing his dad? I want to tell Tyler not to worry, that he’d never let me down. That there’s nothing wrong with being different. That I actually am proud of what makes him special. But we are next in line to meet the president of the United States in a room filled with fellow strivers, and all I can think about is the real possibility that Tyler might embarrass himself. Or, God forbid, me. LOVE THAT BOY is a uniquely personal story about the causes and costs of outsized parental expectations. What we want for our children–popularity, normalcy, achievement, genius–and what they truly need–grit, empathy, character–are explored by National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who weaves his extraordinary journey to acceptance around the latest research on childhood development and stories of other loving-but-struggling parents.
The book is rated 3.97/5 at goodreads.com, from 1441 ratings. See 318 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/29Jznd0.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sgD0j6.

A children book recommendation: Booked by Kwame Alexander

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/1TJinm5.
“Booked” is certainly not ragabash, and Nick is having too much fun with this stuff to make his claim about hating words believable. You might even say it’s a load of codswallop.
Book description from Google Books:
National Book Award Long ListNew York Times Bestseller Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can’t nobody stop you/can’t nobody cop you…In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER, soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read. This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!
The book is rated 4.21/5 at goodreads.com, from 6153 ratings. See 1189 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1TJiFcL.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tzettr.

A travel book recommendation: The Glamour of Strangeness: Artists and the Last Age of the Exotic by Jamie James

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2ctQov6.
In this esoterically learned and ­always entertaining book, Jamie James offers biographical sketches of aesthetic extremists who decided to settle somewhere foreign to them…
Book description from Google Books:
According to Paul Bowles, a tourist travels quickly home, while a traveler moves slowly from one destination to the next. In The Glamour of Strangeness, Jamie James describes “a third species, those who roam the world in search of the home they never had in the place that made them.” From the early days of steamship travel, artists stifled by the culture of their homelands fled to islands, jungles, and deserts in search of new creative and emotional frontiers. Their flight inspired a unique body of work that doesn’t fit squarely within the Western canon, yet may be some of the most original statements we have about the range and depth of the artistic imagination. Focusing on six principal subjects, Jamie James locates “a lost national school” of artists who left their homes for the unknown. There is Walter Spies, the devastatingly handsome German painter who remade his life in Bali; Raden Saleh, the Javanese painter who found fame in Europe; Isabelle Eberhardt, a Russian-Swiss writer who roamed the Sahara dressed as an Arab man; the American experimental filmmaker Maya Deren, who went to Haiti and became a committed follower of voodoo. From France, Paul Gauguin set sail for Tahiti; Victor Segalen, a naval doctor, poet, and novelist, immersed himself in classical Chinese civilization in imperial Peking. In The Glamour of Strangeness, James evokes these extraordinary lives in portraits that bring the transcultural artist into sharp relief. Drawing on his own career as a travel writer and years of archival research uncovering previously unpublished letters and journals, James creates a penetrating investigation of the powerful connection between art and the exotic.
The book is rated 3.53/5 at goodreads.com, from 17 ratings. See 5 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ctRh6K.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sgMif8.

A self-help book recommendation: Siddhartha’s Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment by James Kingsland

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1sR1foo.
Whether you are comfortable with being alone with your wandering mind or avoid it at all costs, you’ll learn something useful from this book.
Book description from Google Books:
By the longtime Guardian science journalist, a groundbreaking exploration of the science of enlightenment and mental wellness, illuminated by twin perspectives, ancient and modern: the spiritual wisdom of Siddhartha Gautama and the revelations of today’s scientists, who are confirming the Buddha’s profound insights into the human mindIn the fifth century BCE, in northern India, Siddhartha, the wandering sage who became the Buddha, developed a program, rooted in meditation and mindfulness, for mastering the mind and achieving lasting peace and contentment. Twenty-five centuries later, humans have transformed everything about our world—except our brains, which remain the same powerful yet flawed instruments possessed by our ancestors. What if the solution we seek to the psychological problems of life in the digital age—distraction, anxiety, addiction, loss of deep meaning—had already been worked out by the Buddha in ancient India? Appealing to readers of Eastern wisdom and Jon Kabat-Zinn, as well as to fans of bestsellers by Oliver Sacks and Malcolm Gladwell, acclaimed science writer and practicing Buddhist James Kingsland reveals how scientists are now unlocking the remarkable secrets of Siddhartha’s brain.Moving effortlessly between science and scripture, Kingsland charts Siddhartha’s spiritual journey and explains how new research by leading neuroscientists and clinical psychologists—many of whom are interviewed in these pages—suggests that mindfulness practice reconfigures our brains to make us sharper, smarter, healthier, and happier, and that it can help treat stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, hypertension, and substance abuse. There have even been hints that meditation can enhance immune function, slow cellular aging, and keep dementia at bay. Featuring six guided meditations, Siddhartha’s Brain is a practical and inspiring odyssey of mind and spirit.“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.”—Siddhartha
The book is rated 4.14/5 at goodreads.com, from 194 ratings. See 34 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1OOveRX.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tzljiC.

A teenage book recommendation: Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1SSxiek.
Such an exciting follow up to Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare has indeed done it again! I cannot wait to read the final instalment- a must read trilogy!
Book description from Google Books:
True love is shrouded in secrets and lies in the enchanting second book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices Trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series.In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends. With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them. Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do? As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
The book is rated 4.46/5 at goodreads.com, from 320803 ratings. See 17560 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1SSxk5R.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tznFOR.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A bio-memoir book recommendation: Tong Wars: The Untold Story of Vice, Money, and Murder in New York’s Chinatown by Scott D. Seligman

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2qKiVRz.
“Tong Wars” is a well-researched and well-written story that will interest crime aficionados, as well as those interested in American history.
Book description from Google Books:
A ripsnorting true story of money, murder, gambling, prostitution, and opium: the Chinese gang wars that engulfed New York’s Chinatown from the 1890s through the 1930s. Nothing had worked. Not threats or negotiations, not shutting down the betting parlors or opium dens, not house-to-house searches or throwing Chinese offenders into prison. Not even executing them. The New York DA was running out of ideas and more people were dying every day as the weapons of choice evolved from hatchets and meat cleavers to pistols, automatic weapons, and even bombs. Welcome to New York City’s Chinatown in 1925.             The Chinese in turn-of-the-last-century New York were mostly immigrant peasants and shopkeepers who worked as laundrymen, cigar makers, and domestics. They gravitated to lower Manhattan and lived as Chinese an existence as possible, their few diversions–gambling, opium, and prostitution–available but, sadly, illegal. It didn’t take long before one resourceful merchant saw a golden opportunity to feather his nest by positioning himself squarely between the vice dens and the police charged with shutting them down.            Tong Wars is historical true crime set against the perfect landscape: Tammany-era New York City. Representatives of rival tongs (secret societies) corner the various markets of sin using admirably creative strategies. The city government was already corrupt from top to bottom, so once one tong began taxing the gambling dens and paying off the authorities, a rival, jealously eyeing its lucrative franchise, co-opted a local reformist group to help eliminate it. Pretty soon Chinese were slaughtering one another in the streets, inaugurating a succession of wars that raged for the next thirty years.              Scott D. Seligman’s account roars through three decades of turmoil, with characters ranging from gangsters and drug lords to reformers and do-gooders to judges, prosecutors, cops, and pols of every stripe and color. A true story set in Prohibition-era Manhattan a generation after Gangs of New York, but fought on the very same turf.
The book is rated 3.45/5 at goodreads.com, from 85 ratings. See 24 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2s474ln.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s3qmr0.

A science book recommendation: Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alastair Bonnett

A critic review (source LA Times) can be read at: http://lat.ms/2cAHGuK.
Bonnett is more than an armchair traveler, but his information is as likely to come from maps and libraries as it is from primary research…In general, however, Bonnett is an excellent guide and literary companion.
Book description from Google Books:
A tour of the world’s hidden geographies—from disappearing islands to forbidden deserts—and a stunning testament to how mysterious the world remains todayAt a time when Google Maps Street View can take you on a virtual tour of Yosemite’s remotest trails and cell phones double as navigational systems, it’s hard to imagine there’s any uncharted ground left on the planet. InUnruly Places, Alastair Bonnett goes to some of the most unexpected, offbeat places in the world to reinspire our geographical imagination.Bonnett’s remarkable tour includes moving villages, secret cities, no man’s lands, and floating islands. He explores places as disorienting as Sandy Island, an island included on maps until just two years ago despite the fact that it never existed. Or Sealand, an abandoned gun platform off the English coast that a British citizen claimed as his own sovereign nation, issuing passports and crowning his wife as a princess. Or Baarle, a patchwork of Dutch and Flemish enclaves where walking from the grocery store’s produce section to the meat counter can involve crossing national borders.An intrepid guide down the road much less traveled, Bonnett reveals that the most extraordinary places on earth might be hidden in plain sight, just around the corner from your apartment or underfoot on a wooded path. Perfect for urban explorers, wilderness ramblers, and armchair travelers struck by wanderlust, Unruly Places will change the way you see the places you inhabit.
The book is rated 3.51/5 at goodreads.com, from 1610 ratings. See 283 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2d6jhLj.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sgceYq.
Google Books preview available in full post.