A romance book recommendation: Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2xueaS4.
It’s a breathtaking novel by one of the world’s most fascinating young writers, and it arrives at an urgent time.
Book description from Google Books:
Longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize “It was as if Hamid knew what was going to happen to America and the world, and gave us a road map to our future… At once terrifying and … oddly hopeful.” -Ayelet Waldman, The New York Times Book Review “Moving, audacious, and indelibly human.” -Entertainment Weekly, “A” rating “A breathtaking novel…[that] arrives at an urgent time.” -NPR.org As featured in the Skimm, on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Fresh Air, PBS Newshour, the cover of the New York Times Book Review, and more, an astonishingly visionary love story that imagines the forces that drive ordinary people from their homes into the uncertain embrace of new lands. In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet–sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors–doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . . Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
The book is rated 3.82/5 at goodreads.com, from 20774 ratings. See 3489 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xtT1Y1.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wMkn89.

A nature book recommendation: You Belong to Me by Mamoru Suzuki

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uLhkwc.
The illustrations are all as lovely and simple as the cover and I think even young children would easily grasp and understand them. The universal message here is of acceptance and total love, whenever or wherever.
Book description from Google Books:
The simple text of love, caring and protection is accompanied by adorable illustrations of animals and dinosaurs that hug, help, and protect a human child. The comforting text is ideal for a soothing bedtime story. This beautiful book is a perfect gift for parents with a newborn baby.
The book is rated 3.59/5 at goodreads.com, from 58 ratings. See 38 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uLrnRP.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2utrUN8.

A self-help book recommendation: The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2mVCZPw.
The thickly bound format is ideally read in bed. This is just the kind of book to shut out the world with a sense of Scandinavian comfort.
Book description from Google Books:
The Sunday Times bestseller The New York Times bestseller The Danish word hygge is one of those beautiful words that doesn’t directly translate into English, but it more or less means comfort, warmth or togetherness. Hygge is the feeling you get when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, in warm knitted socks, in front of the fire, when it is dark, cold and stormy outside. It that feeling when you are sharing good, comfort food with your closest friends, by candle light and exchanging easy conversation. It is those cold, crisp blue sky mornings when the light through your window is just right. Denmark is the happiest nation in the world and Meik puts this largely down to them living the hygge way. They focus on the small things that really matter, spend more quality time with friends and family and enjoy the good things in life. The Little Book of Hygge will give you practical steps and tips to become more hygge: how to pick the right lighting, organise a dinner party and even how to dress hygge, all backed up by Meik’s years’ of research at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. This year live more like a Dane, embrace hygge and become happier.
The book is rated 3.72/5 at goodreads.com, from 14216 ratings. See 1660 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mKHIa1.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s6nyGu.

A children book recommendation: When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2ux6j6w.
Like “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” and “Starry River of the Sky” before it, “When the Sea Turned to Silver” is a classic quest novel…The first book in the series was a Newbery Honor winner. This last one is a National Book Award finalist.
Book description from Google Books:
A New York Times Bestseller A National Book Award FinalistAn IndieBound BestsellerThis breathtaking, full-color illustrated fantasy is inspired by Chinese folklore, and is a companion to the Newbery Honor winner Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.A fast-paced adventure that is extraordinarily written and beautifully illustrated, When the Sea Turned to Silver is a masterpiece companion novel to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.
The book is rated 4.33/5 at goodreads.com, from 1442 ratings. See 354 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uOJFS5.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uwnc0W.

A fiction book recommendation: Fever Dream: A Novel by Samanta Schweblin

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wHwiE8.
The slow creeping menace of her fear, soaked in superstition and local folklore – transforms into the all too real danger posed by the toxic pesticides leaching into the water and the soil from the surrounding soy fields. Masterfully, McDowell captures every nauseating drop of Schweblin’s increasingly frantic text. Truly terrifying.
Book description from Google Books:
“Genius.” –Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker “Samanta Schweblin’s electric story reads like a Fever Dream.” –Vanity Fair Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize! Experience the blazing, surreal sensation of a fever dream… A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.         Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.
The book is rated 3.72/5 at goodreads.com, from 3772 ratings. See 792 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xnZNP8.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xoeLof.

An arts book recommendation: Testimony by Robbie Robertson

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2lAgql7.
Mr. Robertson, in “Testimony,” occasionally leans too heavily on mythopoeticism. But just as often his writing is wonderfully perceptive.
Book description from amazon.com:
The New York Times BestsellerOn the 40th anniversary of The Band’s legendary The Last Waltz concert, Robbie Robertson finally tells his own spellbinding story of the band that changed music history, his extraordinary personal journey, and his creative friendships with some of the greatest artists of the last half-century.      Robbie Robertson’s singular contributions to popular music have made him one of the most beloved songwriters and guitarists of his time. With songs like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “Up on Cripple Creek,” he and his partners in The Band fashioned a music that has endured for decades, influencing countless musicians.      In this captivating memoir, written over five years of reflection, Robbie Robertson employs his unique storyteller’s voice to weave together the journey that led him to some of the most pivotal events in music history. He recounts the adventures of his half-Jewish, half-Mohawk upbringing on the Six Nations Indian Reserve and on the gritty streets of Toronto; his odyssey at sixteen to the Mississippi Delta, the fountainhead of American music; the wild early years on the road with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks; his unexpected ties to the Cosa Nostra underworld; the gripping trial-by-fire “going electric” with Bob Dylan on his 1966 world tour, and their ensuing celebrated collaborations; the formation of the Band and the forging of their unique sound,  culminating with history’s most famous farewell concert, brought to life for all time in Martin Scorsese’s great movie The Last Waltz.       This is the story of a time and place–the moment when rock ‘n’ roll became life, when legends like Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley criss-crossed the circuit of clubs and roadhouses from Texas to Toronto, when The Beatles, Hendrix, The Stones, and Warhol moved through the same streets and hotel rooms. It’s the story of exciting change as the world tumbled through the ’60s and early 70’s, and a generation came of age, built on music, love and freedom. Above all, it’s the moving story of the profound friendship between five young men who together created a new kind of popular music.     Testimony is Robbie Robertson’s story, lyrical and true, as only he could tell it.
The book is rated 4.13/5 at goodreads.com, from 1208 ratings. See 237 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2l1aXka.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tskZ5n.

A parenting-relationships book recommendation: Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2bd1y6v.
The book is a fast, light read, but it is made poignant by the understanding that Isabel’s life is still on an upward swing — things get better, she finds love, she begins to move on — while Edward is heading toward his slow decline.
Book description from Google Books:
“Over mouthwatering dinners, an odd couple–a nonagenarian and a recently divorced reporter–engage in a series of discussions, from the importance of beauty, to living after loss, to the power of love to redeem and renew, to how to make a succulent duck breast. I loved every moment of this book . . . Everyone deserves her own Edward–and everyone deserves to read this book.” –Susannah Cahalan, bestselling author of Brain on Fire   When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life. As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.Dinner with Edward is a book about sorrow and joy, love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, “sustain us against the hungers of the world.” “A dinner with Edward is nothing to demur. Although the food (I am partial to the roast chicken, lovingly described) is excellent, it is the charming, sweet, and effortlessly wise company that makes this sweet read a charming way to pass a day.” –George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville: A Memoir  
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 1875 ratings. See 408 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2bd0L5G.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pPdvVq.

A nature book recommendation: The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2essGxr.
When you’re done with “The Home Place,” it won’t be done with you. Its wonders will linger like everything luminous.
Book description from Google Books:
“In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. All of these hues are me; I am, in the deepest sense, colored.” From these fertile soils of love, land, identity, family, and race emergesThe Home Place, a big-hearted, unforgettable memoir by ornithologist and professor of ecology J. Drew Lanham. Dating back to slavery, Edgefield County, South Carolina–a place “easy to pass by on the way somewhere else”–has been home to generations of Lanhams. InThe Home Place, readers meet these extraordinary people, including Drew himself, who over the course of the 1970s falls in love with the natural world around him. As his passion takes flight, however, he begins to ask what it means to be “the rare bird, the oddity.” By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking,The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South–and in America today.
The book is rated 4.33/5 at goodreads.com, from 86 ratings. See 21 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dA8vjh.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sqUbig.

A self-help book recommendation: Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2bd1y6v.
The book is a fast, light read, but it is made poignant by the understanding that Isabel’s life is still on an upward swing — things get better, she finds love, she begins to move on — while Edward is heading toward his slow decline.
Book description from Google Books:
“Over mouthwatering dinners, an odd couple–a nonagenarian and a recently divorced reporter–engage in a series of discussions, from the importance of beauty, to living after loss, to the power of love to redeem and renew, to how to make a succulent duck breast. I loved every moment of this book . . . Everyone deserves her own Edward–and everyone deserves to read this book.” –Susannah Cahalan, bestselling author of Brain on Fire   When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life. As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.Dinner with Edward is a book about sorrow and joy, love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, “sustain us against the hungers of the world.” “A dinner with Edward is nothing to demur. Although the food (I am partial to the roast chicken, lovingly described) is excellent, it is the charming, sweet, and effortlessly wise company that makes this sweet read a charming way to pass a day.” –George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville: A Memoir  
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 1875 ratings. See 408 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2bd0L5G.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pPdvVq.

A sport book recommendation: Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son by Paul Dickson

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wM58w7.
Whether he was brawling on the field or hosting his own television variety show, Leo Durocher was a modern culture shaper, and Paul Dickson tells this complicated story with verve, sympathy and a keen eye.
Book description from Google Books:
From the Casey Award–winning author of Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick, the first full biography of Leo Durocher, one of the most colorful and important figures in baseball history.Leo Durocher (1906–1991) was baseball’s all-time leading cocky, flamboyant, and galvanizing character, casting a shadow across several eras, from the time of Babe Ruth to the Space Age Astrodome, from Prohibition through the Vietnam War. For more than forty years, he was at the forefront of the game, with a Zelig-like ability to be present as a player or manager for some of the greatest teams and defining baseball moments of the twentieth century. A rugged, combative shortstop and a three-time All-Star, he became a legendary manager, winning three pennants and a World Series in 1954. Durocher performed on three main stages: New York, Chicago, and Hollywood. He entered from the wings, strode to where the lights were brightest, and then took a poke at anyone who tried to upstage him. On occasion he would share the limelight, but only with Hollywood friends such as actor Danny Kaye, tough-guy and sometime roommate George Raft, Frank Sinatra, and his third wife, movie star Laraine Day.As he did with Bill Veeck, Dickson explores Durocher’s life and times through primary source materials, interviews with those who knew him, and original newspaper files. A superb addition to baseball literature, Leo Durocher offers fascinating and fresh insights into the racial integration of baseball, Durocher’s unprecedented suspension from the game, the two clubhouse revolts staged against him in Brooklyn and Chicago, and Durocher’s vibrant life off the field.
The book is rated 4.21/5 at goodreads.com, from 77 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wMenMC.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wLKzQh.