|Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter, Nina MacLaughlin
Nina MacLaughlin spent her twenties working at a Boston newspaper, sitting behind a desk and staring at a screen. Yearning for more tangible work, she applied for a job she saw on Craigslist—Carpenter’s Assistant: Women strongly encouraged to apply—despite being a Classics major who couldn’t tell a Phillips from a flathead screwdriver. She got the job, and in Hammer Head she tells the rich and entertaining story of becoming a carpenter.
|Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, Jane Hawking
Stephen Hawking’s first wife, Jane, relates the inside story of their marriage. As Stephen’s academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of a motor neuron disease. Jane’s candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family reveals her inner strength, while the self-evident character and achievements of her husband make for an incredible tale presented with unflinching honesty.
|The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World, Leon Logothetis
Follow the inspirational journey of a former stockbroker who leaves his unfulfilling desk job in search of a meaningful life. He sets out from Los Angeles on a vintage motorbike, determined to circumnavigate the globe surviving only on the kindness of strangers. Again and again, he’s won over by the generosity of humanity, from the homeless man who shares his blanket to the poor farmer who helps him with his broken down bike, and the HIV-positive mother who takes him in and feeds him. At each stop, he finds a way to give back to these unsuspecting Good Samaritans in life-changing ways, by rebuilding their homes, paying for their schooling, and leaving behind gifts big and small.
|The Bookseller, Cynthia Swanson
The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who wrestles to reconcile her daily life as a single bookstore owner with the alternate reality she suddenly begins to dream about each night, in which she is a happily-married wife and mother.
|The Martian, Andy Weir
Mark Whitney was nearly killed by a dust storm on Mars and was abandoned by his crew who thought him dead. Now he’s all alone with no way of letting Earth know he’s alive, which doesn’t matter because his supplies would run out before they’d get there. Either way, the environment or human error will likely kill him first. Not giving in, Mark works to survive, battling obstacle after obstacle, but will it be enough?
|Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds, Carmine Gallo
By revealing the top nine secrets of the most successful TED Talks ever given, bestselling author and communications guru Carmine Gallo gives readers the ultimate guide to public speaking.
|Last One Home, Debbie Macomber
Growing up, Cassie Carter and her sisters, Karen and Nichole, were incredibly close — until one fateful event drove them apart. After high school, Cassie ran away from home to marry the wrong man, throwing away a college scholarship and breaking her parents’ hearts. Now thirty-one, Cassie is back in Washington after ending an abusive marriage, living in Seattle with her daughter and hoping to leave her past behind. And as Cassie opens herself up to new possibilities — making amends with her sisters, finding love once more — she realizes the promise of a fresh start.
|Emma: A Modern Retelling, Alexander McCall Smith
Emma Woodhouse arrives home in Norfolk ready to embark on adult life. Not only has her sister, Isabella, been whisked away on a motorcycle up to London, but her astute governess, Miss Taylor is at a loose end, abandoned in the giant family pile, Hartfield, alongside Emma’s anxiety-ridden father. Someone is needed to rule the roost and young Emma is more than happy to oblige. But there is only one person who can play with Emma’s indestructible confidence, her old friend and inscrutable neighbor George Knightly — this time has Emma finally met her match?
|The Fifth Gospel, Ian Caldwell
A murder on Vatican property begins this tale of religion, politics, and family. Two brothers, both priests, struggle to make sense of their friend’s murder. When one is accused, the other must go to extreme lengths to prove his brother’s innocence. Caldwell’s second novel is a book to savor. This is a heart-wrenching book you will want to read more than once.