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The Giver
Lois Lowry
Elizabeth Allen ardently advocated for Lois Lowry’s dystopian classic at a recent Battle in Bethel, CT. The Giver came a close second to Ms. Bixby's Last Day, making it runner-up in the competition and securing Elizabeth a spot in the next 1,000 Books Battle of the Books at Byrd's Books.
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Ms. Bixby's Last Day
John David Anderson
This novel for middle grade readers, about the difference between boring teachers and good teachers, and the powerful bond that can develop between the latter kind and their pupils, is also about life and death and all the things that really matter. It’s as funny as it is poignant, as Kara DiBartolo...show more
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Zen Master Poems
Dick Allen
At a recent Battle in Bethel, CT, Cortney Davis chose an American distillation of Buddhist wisdom composed—with wit, ingenuity, and poetic command—by a former poet laureate of the state of Connecticut. Allen's poems make one ponder life a little more carefully, putting a spring in one’s spiritual st...show more
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The Elements of Style
William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
Championed by Nancy LoBalbo, who shares our sentiment that while there are many excellent (and a lot more not-so-good) guides to writing, none is as beloved as this little book, originally written and privately published by Cornell University professor William Strunk Jr. in the early twentieth centu...show more
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The Witch Elm: A Novel
Tana French
Rick Magee used his experience in front of a classroom to illustrate, with riveting animation, the suspense a twisty plot can build in his artful description of Tana French’s latest novel and first standalone mystery. Did he give anything away? Nope. But he did make it clear why booksellers and libr...show more
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The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
Michael A. Singer
Despite its status as a New York Times bestseller, this book about spiritual practice and the power of the present moment was unknown to us until Regina Brett spoke so movingly about its profound influence on her own life at our Ohio event. She spoke forcefully enough about its wisdom to convince th...show more
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Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting— over and over announcing your place in the family of things. Those are the closing lines of Mary Oliver’s majestic poem, “Wild Geese.” I first heard them at the f...show more
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The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker
Robert Mankoff, David Remnick, Adam Gopnik
Amy Macartney Freidenrich offered her reasons why The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker belongs not only on our coffee tables, but on our TBR lists at the Ridgefield Battle of the Books on 11/14/19. If, as some say, laughter is the best medicine, there's plenty to be had spending time between thes...show more
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The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
Dave Griffith, who is head of the Reading Department at Ridgefield High School, argued that The Fault in Our Stars in particular—and more young adult fiction in general—belong on the list of books to read before you die.
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The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe
Rich Cohen took issue with the choice of Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities for 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die at the Ridgefield Battle of the Books on 11/14/19. He thought The Right Stuff was the more significant contribution of Wolfe's work to the landscape of 20th-century American writing.
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The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood
Suzanne Nelson brought an unorthodox approach to her presentation of The Handmaid's Tale, employing actors in costume and handheld signs underscoring the hypocrisy of the patriarchal society at the center of Atwood's novel at the Ridgefield Battle of 11/14/19.
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Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"
Zora Neale Hurston
At the 11/6/19 Battle at Cuyahoga Public Library, Rick Jackson made the case for adding Zora Neale Hurston's Barracoon, an account of the story of the last "Black Cargo" of African slaves to arrive on our shores, as told to her by Cudjoe Lewis, the last living survivor of the passage, to the list of...show more
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Parable of the Sower
Octavia E. Butler
Dr. Leah Lewis told the Cuyahoga Public Library audience at our 11/6/19 battle why this novel by Octavia E. Butler belongs on our TBR lists.
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From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death
Caitlin Doughty
Not everyone's favorite subject (death), but this book came in second at our Cuyahoga County Public Library Battle of the Books on 11/6/19, after bookseller Rosa Ransom, of Mac's Backs-Books on Coventry, assured the audience that, in addition to exploring the economics of the funeral industry in Ame...show more
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Watchmen (2019 Edition)
Alan Moore
Watchmen is a comic book that Brad Ricca told the audience at our Cuyahoga County Public Library Battle on 11/6/19 belongs on everyone's TBR list, no matter which side of "the aisle" you're on. It may have originally been published in the 1980s, but Brad argued persuasively that it's every bit as re...show more
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What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers across America
Ted Dintersmith
Tom Scarice, Superintendent of Schools in Madison, CT, told a rapt (really!) audience why we should all read Dintersmith's book. An unusual choice for Battle of the Books, What School Could Be turned out to be an audience favorite (R. J. Julia sold every copy of the book they stocked for the event)....show more
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Dalva: A Novel
Jim Harrison
Chris Durante tied for runner-up in the December 13, 2019 Battle at Byrd's Books in Bethel, CT with his eloquent argument for putting Harrison's novel on everyone's TBR list.
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Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem
Marilyn Nelson
Brian Clements won the Battle at Byrd's Books in Bethel,CT on December 13, 2019, keeping the audience rapt for the full five minutes, talking about Marilyn Nelson's extraordinary poem honoring the life and death of a slave named Fortune.
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The Glass Castle: A Memoir
Jeannette Walls
Elizabeth Allen made a good case for this memoir of resilience and redemption at the December 13, 2019 Battle at Byrd's Books in Bethel, CT.
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A Place for Us
Fatima Farheen Mirza
Cyndi Gaffney shared her reasons why this book, about family, identity, and belonging, should be on the list of the next 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die at the December 13, 2019 Battle at Byrd's Books in Bethel, CT.
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