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WHAT WE'RE READING

Catherine’s Picks

Catherine has long been a fan of literary fiction, especially when it comes to Southern authors and titles published by smaller presses. She also enjoys reading memoirs as well as non-fiction including books about gardening, nutrition, music, cooking, and beekeeping. It’s a pretty good day when she can sit on the porch swing and read to her son.

The Alzheimer's Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life

Gary Small, Gigi Vorgan
Hardcover/December 17, 2011
Workman Publishing Company

Catherine’s Thoughts: This is a research-based guide offering ways to optimize brain health to help prevent or stave off Alzheimer’s. Backed by science, Small describes ways to strengthen memory through nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, & social interaction.

Want to keep Alzheimer’s at bay for years—ideally, forever? Prevention is the way, and this is the guide. Now in paperback and updated throughout, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program is essential for everyone with a family history of Alzheimer’s, and for the 80 million baby boomers who worry whenever they forget someone’s name. It’s the book that shows how to strengthen memory and avoid everyday lapses. How to incorporate the top ten brain-protecting foods into your diet. How to cross-train your brain, exercising both the right and left hemisphere. And how to reduce stress, a risk factor for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s, through meditation and 11 other relaxation strategies.

Written by the New York Times bestselling authors of The Memory Bible, this book is an easy-to-follow regimen based on the latest comprehensive research into Alzheimer’s disease, and especially the critical connection between lifestyle and susceptibility. The paperback edition is updated with a brand-new section that answers the most compelling questions asked of Dr. Small after publication of the first edition, including: the power of exercise to offset a genetic predisposition; antibodies that can clear Alzheimer’s plaques from the brain; and promising new treatments, from drugs to deep brain stimulation.

It’s the science-based, breakthrough program that will bring mental clarity to every day and help you take control of your brain’s health.

Bearmouth

Liz Hyder
Hardcover/September 8, 2020
Norton Young Readers

Catherine’s Thoughts: This young adult fantasy debut is a suspenseful, grim thriller perfect for reading during cool, spooky fall nights. It is a coming of age story featuring Newt, who since the age of four has been imprisoned in the dark trenches of a coal mine. Along with others, Newt is subject to harsh slave labor & wretched conditions. Hyder pulls the reader into this harrowing, violent world in a unique way as the story is narrated by Newt’s phonetic spelling of the ongoings. When a new character, Devlin, befriends Newt & urges a revolt against the brutal leaders of the mine, tension escalates & challenges unfold as the longtime inhabitants meet with uncertainty & the hope of freedom.

Life in Bearmouth is one of hard labor and isolation, the sunlit world far above the mine a distant memory. Newt has lived in the mine since the age of four, and accepts everything from the harsh working conditions to the brutality of the mine’s leaders—until the mysterious Devlin arrives and dares to ask the question, “Why?” As tensions rise, Newt is soon looking at Bearmouth with a fresh perspective—challenging the system and setting in motion a change of events that could destroy their entire world.

An utterly distinctive voice, propulsive and page-turning storytelling, high stakes, heart-stopping twists, and a sense of moral purpose make Bearmouth an unforgettable and unparalleled debut.

Any Other Place by Michael Croley

Any Other Place: Stories

Michael Croley
Paperback/
Blair

A Korean woman in rural Kentucky clings to the love found in her new marriage as the mountain above her washes away.

A dutiful daughter struggles to help her father navigate their shared grief—and the sudden release of dangerous, exotic animals.

A new father driven by his pride confronts Japanese soldiers in a harrowing raid on his home.

In his debut collection, Michael Croley takes us from the Appalachian regions of rural Kentucky and Ohio to a village in South Korea in thirteen engaging stories in which characters find themselves, wherever they are, in states of displacement. In these settings, Croley guides his characters to some semblance of home, where they circle each other’s pain, struggle to find belonging, and make sense of the mistakes and bad breaks that have brought them there. Croley uses his absorbing prose to uncover his characters’ hidden disquiet and to bring us a remarkable and unique collection that expands the scope of modern American literature.

Tiny Love by Larry Brown

Tiny Love: The Complete Stories

Larry Brown
Paperback/November 26, 2019
Algonquin

A career-spanning collection, Tiny Love brings together for the first time the stories of Larry Brown’s previous collections along with those never before gathered. The self-taught Brown has long had a cult following, and this collection comes with an intimate and heartfelt appreciation by novelist Jonathan Miles. We see Brown’s early forays into genre fiction and the horror story, then develop his fictional gaze closer to home, on the people and landscapes of Lafayette County, Mississippi. And what’s astonishing here is the odyssey these stories chart: Brown’s self-education as a writer and the incredible artistic journey he navigated from “Plant Growin’ Problems” to “A Roadside Resurrection.” This is the whole of Larry Brown, the arc laid bare, both an amazing story collection and the fullest portrait we’ll see of one of the South’s most singular artists.

Metabolical: The Lure and Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition and Modern Medicine by Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL

Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine

Robert Lustig
Hardcover/May 4, 2021
Harper Wave

Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric neuroendocrinologist who has long been on the cutting edge of medicine and science, challenges our current healthcare paradigm which has gone off the rails under the influence of Big Food, Big Pharma, and Big Government.

You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know what the problem is. One of Lustig’s singular gifts as a communicator is his ability to “connect the dots” for the general reader, in order to unpack the scientific data and concepts behind his arguments, as he tells the “real story of food” and “the story of real food.”

Metabolical weaves the interconnected strands of nutrition, health/disease, medicine, environment, and society into a completely new fabric by proving on a scientific basis a series of iconoclastic revelations, among them:

  • Medicine for chronic disease treats symptoms, not the disease itself
  • You can diagnose your own biochemical profile
  • Chronic diseases are not “druggable,” but they are “foodable”
  • Processed food isn’t just toxic, it’s addictive
  • The war between vegan and keto is a false war—the combatants are on the same side
  • Big Food, Big Pharma, and Big Government are on the other side

Making the case that food is the only lever we have to effect biochemical change to improve our health, Lustig explains what to eat based on two novel criteria: protect the liver, and feed the gut. He insists that if we do not fix our food and change the way we eat, we will continue to court chronic disease, bankrupt healthcare, and threaten the planet. But there is hope: this book explains what’s needed to fix all three.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society (Mysterious Benedict Society #01)

Trenton Lee Stewart
Paperback/April 1, 2008
Little, Brown

“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children–two boys and two girls–succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they’ll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you’re gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.