AAUW Wytheville 2017 Book List

Pretending to Dance     Diane Chamberlain

Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can’t have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly’s past and her family—the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison’s Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father’s death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?

The Good Girl         Mary Kubica

I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will. One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life. When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd         Jim Fergus

May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the US government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians.  The covert ad controversial “Brides for Indians” program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians.

At the Water’s Edge        Sara Gruen

Philadelphia, New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis are cut off financially by Ellis’ father after embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year. Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and publicly failed.  Ellis will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and will restore his father’s good name.

Hidden Figures      Margot Lee Shetterly

The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program—and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now. Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these was a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Calico Joe     John Grisham

In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen. The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records. Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever…

In John Grisham’s new novel the baseball is thrilling, but it’s what happens off the field that makes CALICO JOE a classic. This is a surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball.

Racketeer    John Grisham

Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the Judge Fawcett’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, MD. On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why.

Madam President             William Hazelgrove

After President Woodrow Wilson suffered a paralyzing stroke in the fall of 1919, his wife, First Lady Edith Wilson, began to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of the Executive Office. She assumed the authority of the office of the president, reading all correspondence intended for her bedridden husband and assuming his role for 17 months. Though her Oval Office presence was acknowledged in D.C. circles at the time one senator called her “the Presidentress who had fulfilled the dream of suffragettes by changing her title from First Lady to Acting First Man”.
This is a vivid, engaging portrait of the woman who became the acting President of the United States in 1919, months before women officially won the right to vote.

Factory Man           Beth Macy

How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local – and Helped Save an American Town. The Bassett Furniture Company was once the world’s biggest wood furniture manufacturer. Run by the same powerful Virginia family for generations, it was also the center of life in Bassett, Virginia. But beginning in the 1980s, the first waves of Asian competition hit, and ultimately Bassett was forced to send its production overseas. One man fought back: John Bassett III, a shrewd and determined third-generation factory man, now chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, which employs more than 700 Virginians and has sales of more than $90 million. In FACTORY MAN, Beth Macy brings to life Bassett’s deeply personal furniture and family story, along with a host of characters from an industry that was as cutthroat as it was colorful. As she shows how he uses legal maneuvers, factory efficiencies, and sheer grit and cunning to save hundreds of jobs, she also reveals the truth about modern industry in America. The instant New York Times bestseller about one man’s battle to save hundreds of jobs by demonstrating the greatness of American business.

The Bassett Furniture Company was once the world’s biggest wood furniture manufacturer. Run by the same powerful Virginia family for generations, it was also the center of life in Bassett, Virginia. But beginning in the 1980s, the first waves of Asian competition hit, and ultimately Bassett was forced to send its production overseas.

One man fought back: John Bassett III, a shrewd and determined third-generation factory man, now chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, which employs more than 700 Virginians and has sales of more than $90 million. In FACTORY MAN, Beth Macy brings to life Bassett’s deeply personal furniture and family story, along with a host of characters from an industry that was as cutthroat as it was colorful. As she shows how he uses legal maneuvers, factory efficiencies, and sheer grit and cunning to save hundreds of jobs, she also reveals the truth about modern industry in America.

The instant New York Times bestseller about one man’s battle to save hundreds of jobs by demonstrating the greatness of American business.

The Bassett Furniture Company was once the world’s biggest wood furniture manufacturer. Run by the same powerful Virginia family for generations, it was also the center of life in Bassett, Virginia. But beginning in the 1980s, the first waves of Asian competition hit, and ultimately Bassett was forced to send its production overseas.

One man fought back: John Bassett III, a shrewd and determined third-generation factory man, now chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, which employs more than 700 Virginians and has sales of more than $90 million. In FACTORY MAN, Beth Macy brings to life Bassett’s deeply personal furniture and family story, along with a host of characters from an industry that was as cutthroat as it was colorful. As she shows how he uses legal maneuvers, factory efficiencies, and sheer grit and cunning to save hundreds of jobs, she also reveals the truth about modern industry in America.

Circling the Sun     Paula McLain

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. The intensity of a new love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

The Gentle Art of Blessing        Pierre Pradervand

How can a blessing change the world? Making the conscious choice to bless every person or being around you can truly make a world of difference in yourself and in others around you. A blessing is genuinely wishing the best for another person through seeing their individual worth and honoring them for it. By looking at several different perspectives — providing spiritual inspiration from Hinduism, Taoism, the Koran, the Bible, and other important spiritual sources — The Gentle Art of Blessing explores the potential in shifting one’s attitude from confrontation and negativity to acceptance and enthusiasm. A powerfully simple way of perceiving and shaping our surroundings, blessings can reflect the unconditional love and acceptance that is necessary for world — and inner — peace

Memory Man         David Baldacci

Amos Decker’s life changed forever twice. The first time was on the gridiron. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect–he can never forget anything. The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare–his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.
His family destroyed, their killer’s identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can. But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them.

Girl on the Train    Paula Hawkins

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, 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?

Christmas Tree Lane        Debbie Macomber

Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best. Her small Christmas tree farm is prospering, her daughters and her dogs are happy and well, and her new relationship with local vet Ted Reynolds is showing plenty of romantic promise. But…someone recently left a basket filled with puppies on her doorstep, puppies she’s determined to place in good homes. That’s complication number one. And number two is that her daughters, Bailey and Sophie, have invited their dad, Beth’s long-divorced husband, Kent, to Cedar Cove for Christmas. The girls have visions of a mom-and-dad reunion dancing in their heads.

Love, Greg, and Lauren               Laura Manning

Early on the morning of September 11, 2001, Lauren Manning-a wife, the mother of a ten-month-old son, and a senior vice president and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald-came to work, as always, at One World Trade Center. As she stepped into the lobby, a fireball exploded from the elevator shaft, and in that split second her life was changed forever. Lauren was burned over 82.5 percent of her body. As he watched his wife lie in a drug-induced coma in the ICU of the Burn Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Greg Manning began writing a daily journal. In the form of e-mails to family, friends, and colleagues, he recorded Lauren’s harrowing struggle-and his own tormented efforts to make sense of an act that defies all understanding. This book is that e-mail diary: detailed, intimate, inspiring messages that end, always, as if a prayer for a happy outcome:

To Capture What We Cannot Keep     Beatrice Colin

Set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young Scottish widow and a French engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth. In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris, France–a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. Seamlessly weaving historical detail and vivid invention, Beatrice Colin evokes the revolutionary time in which Cait and Émile live–one of corsets and secret trysts, duels and Bohemian independence, strict tradition and Impressionist experimentation. To Capture What We Cannot Keep, stylish, provocative, and shimmering, raises probing questions about a woman’s place in that world, the overarching reach of class distinctions, and the sacrifices love requires of us all.

Think Better, Live Better           Joel Osteen

Your mind has incredible power over your success or failure. THINK BETTER, LIVE BETTER offers a simple yet life-changing strategy for erasing the thoughts that keep you down and reprogramming your mind with positive thinking to reach a new level of victory. As a child of the Most High God, you are equipped to handle anything that comes your way. To claim your destiny, start thinking about yourself the way God does and delete the thoughts that tear down your confidence. When you train yourself to tune out the negativity and tune into your calling, you’ll begin to live the wonderful plans God has made for you.

The Importance of Living            Lin Yutang

LIN YUTANG was born in 1895 to a mission family and became one of the best-known Chinese scholars and writers. This is a wry, witty antidote to the dizzying pace of the modern world. Lin Yutang’s prescription is the classic Chinese philosophy of life: Revere inaction as much as action, invoke humor to maintain a healthy attitude, and never forget that there will always be plenty of fools around who are willing-indeed, eager-to be busy, to make themselves useful, and to exercise power while you bask in the simple joy of existence. At a time when we’re overwhelmed with wake-up calls, here is a refreshing, playful reminder to savor life’s simple pleasures.

The Light Between the Oceans                        M.L. Stedman

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. Returning to the mainland, they are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

Women Who Runs with Wolves          Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman, but she is an endangered species. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller shows how women’s vitality can be restored through what she calls “psychic archeological digs” into the ruins of the female unconscious. Using multicultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, Dr. Estes helps women reconnect with the healthy, instinctual, visionary attributes of the wild woman archetype. Dr. Estes has created a new lexicon for describing the female psyche. Fertile and life-giving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul.

Alexander Hamilton        Ron Chernow

Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.
Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the new nation. Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.
Orhan’s Inheritance        Aline Ohanesian

When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather Kemal—a man who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs—is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But Kemal’s will raise more questions than it answers. He has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in an Armenian retirement home in Los Angeles. Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan’s grandfather willed his home in Turkey to an unknown woman rather than to his own son or grandson. Left with only Kemal’s ancient sketchbook and intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles. There he will not only unearth the story that eighty-seven-year-old Seda so closely guards but discover that Seda’s past now threatens to unravel his future. Moving back and forth in time, between the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, Orhan’s Inheritance is a story of passionate love, unspeakable horrors, incredible resilience, and the hidden stories that can haunt a family for generations.

Hillbilly Elegy     J. D. Vance

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. We learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.