Heather's Picks

Heather found her way to Phoenix Books after retiring from full-time teaching. Her primary interest is in fiction, but she also ventures into poetry, nature, gardening, biography, history, and mystery. Lately, she has been reading some middle grade fiction to help young people.

Reviewed by: 
Heather
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781556438806
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: North Atlantic Books - January 5th, 2010

In the state of the state address, Governor Peter Shumlin opened the conversation on how the opiate problem in our state is affecting public health and public safety. As Mate states, “If the goal of the War on Drugs is to discourage or prevent drug use, it has failed.”(289) From 1980 to 1999 the number of Americans arrested for drug offenses has nearly tripled, from 580,00 to 1,532,200….The United States contains less than 5 percent of the world’s population but houses nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners.” (290) Mate’s book awakens readers to consider a better approach to dealing with and treating addiction. Based on extensive neuroscience research and clinical practice, Mate argues for a more humane and medical approach to treating addicts, shifting profits away from drug cartels and huge sums spent on prisons. As our legislature examines the problem, we can be better informed by reading Mate’s book.


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Heather
The Steady Running of the Hour Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781476704586
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 15th, 2014

With a title from Wilfred Owen’s “Strange Meeting”, Justin Go weaves two tales, one of young American Tristan who will inherit the sizable estate of Ashley Walshington a British mountaineer who died on Mt. Everest in 1924, if he can prove his grandmother was related to Imogen Soames-Anderson, and  the other, a love story of Imogen and Ashley, who is deployed to the Western Front in WWI, and never marries the love of his life. Go writes a haunting love story set against the darkness of war.


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Heather
Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance Cover Image
$32.48
ISBN: 9780805098075
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Times Books - February 25th, 2014

What would you do to regain your privacy in the information age? Are you aware of the pervasiveness of data mining of your personal habits and information each time that you use a website, visit Facebook, buy online or use your cell phone? Would you want to know how your name appeared on the “No Fly” list or be freaked out if a microphone could record your every keystroke? After a rigorous attempt to  remove information about her from more than 90 data collection groups, Angwin asserts the need for commercial privacy legislation governing data collection.


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Heather
The Lowland Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307265746
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - September 24th, 2013

As gripping as her earlier books.  Lahiri recounts the tale of two brothers, Subhash and Udayan, who are extreme opposites.  Set first in Calcutta in the 1960s.  Udayan is drawn to the rebellious Naxalite movement.  Subhash pursues a scientific research career in the United States.  Subhash returns to India to pick up the pieces of his family, and takes Gauri to the United States, raising his brother's child as his own.  Complex characters.


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Heather
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781590514634
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Other Press (NY) - January 31st, 2012

A story of epic quality showing an Eastern philosophical approach to life.  A young woman travels to rural Burma to discover why her father returned to the place of his youth.  In discovering that Tin Win was blind for the first 14 years of his life, she learns of his special gift of knowing people through the sounds of their voices and their heartbeats.  Remarkable use of language.


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Heather
The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781451654424
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 13th, 2013

Former investigative Time reporter Amanda Ripley explores what a quality education is made of by following three American exchange students from Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, who spent a year in Finland, Poland, and South Korea. The students compare their experience in their home school to that of their host school abroad. Ripley focuses on what works for them and includes an appendix for parents to think about what matters in choosing a school for their children. The book inspires us to consider how we can improve schools for our children.


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Heather
Dear Life: Stories Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307743725
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - July 30th, 2013

Winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature, Canadian writer Alice Munro has spent a lifetime writing short stories. I am always spellbound by her storytelling. She captures characters' lives fully-understanding the journey of life-departures and beginnings, accidents and dangers, outgoings and homecomings. The last four stories are somewhat autobiographical. As with a Chekhov story, everything matters in each story.


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Heather
The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385337007
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dial Press - July 30th, 2013

This narrative nonfiction book explores the mystery surrounding a rare
artisan cheese and its maker Ambrosio  from a rural town on Castilian,
Spain. Paterniti is caught up with a character (Ambrosio) who has the
larger than life characteristics of a Don Quixote. Eventually, Paterniti
realizes that Ambrosio's charismatic qualities and pride as a Casitlian
hid his weaknesses as a businessman.  The book is rich with Spanish
history and culture and a love of place.


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Heather
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780544102767
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - August 6th, 2013

What a life Edward Curtis led. He devoted 25 years to photographing and
cataloguing the lives of vanishing American Indian tribes.  While he was
shunned by scholars and ethnologists, Curtis convinced JP Morgan to
finance a 26 volume collection for $250,000. Curtis pumped all of the
money into field work. Both JP Morgan and Edward Curtis would be content
to know that Curtis' collection is next in value to a Gutenberg Bible. 
The biography is a tribute to a remarkable photographer and recorder of
American Indian history.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution Cover Image
$19.72
ISBN: 9780812981704
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - March 19th, 2013

By the time Darwin published the 4th edition of his theory of evolution, he realized the need to acknowledge the predecessors who helped to establish the evidence to assert the theory of natural selection. Fascinting study-enjoyable read. We can see the sacrifice scientists made to advance new ideas.


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