Staff Picks: Books To Be Thankful For
As we enter this season of thanksgiving, many of us look forward to family time, pumpkin pies, falling leaves, warm fires and the anticipation of Christmas. We fondly envision a holiday season similar to a Norman Rockwell painting or something Martha Stewart might throw together with ease and elegance complete with perfect gifts, perfect table settings and perfect … everything! In all probability, however, the holidays will have a variety of imperfect moments and a few ups and downs with our own lovable cast of characters. For some, the season might prove to be more like a scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie.
Happily, somewhere in between these two extremes is reality: we laugh, we stress over the details, we grieve, and if we are lucky, we laugh some more and find joy in the little things that matter most.
The library is a great place to begin planning for this joyous, yet hectic, time. You’ll find recipes, decorating ideas, holiday traditions, local advertisements and happenings and so much more. Your local library also offers many books about keeping it all in perspective, enjoying the moment and maintaining balance amid the chaos. If you find yourself stuck in traffic, try listening to an inspirational book on CD. Or give yourself the gift of time to read an uplifting memoir or work of fiction.
Here are a few recent recommendations from the Warrenton circulation staff to start you on your way to a blissful holiday season.
I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda with Liz Welch.
This book is a wonderful example of how a simple act can have a major impact. It began with a school assignment to choose a country and write a letter to a pen pal for Caitlin, an average young girl in the U.S. She chose Zimbabwe because it sounded exotic and was different from her classmates’ choices. Little did she know that it would be received by Martin, the top student in his class who was very, very poor. Through the span of six years, Caitlin learns to look beyond her own very small world to the world at large….worrying about her new friend being kicked out of school because of an inability to pay, civil unrest, cholera outbreaks, family starvation and more. While for her, school is at times an unpleasant requirement, for Martin it is a critical necessity for a future…for his and his family’s survival. She learns to view the world differently and to appreciate her life and all her blessings- especially her parents.
∼Donna @ Warrenton Circulation
Find The Good — how’s that for a motto by which to live?
Heather Lende inspires us to intentionally seek what is positive in our lives each and every day. This small-town obituary writer in Haines, Alaska, tells many humorous anecdotes in her new book “Find the Good” that demonstrate how one’s attitude in daily living makes all the difference. When you spill a glass of milk, do you gripe and groan OR do you cheerfully refill it? The author gives many examples of how frustrating, and even tragic, events are always followed by many good deeds. Join me in finding encouragement and counting your blessings despite the pits and valleys of life by reading this good-natured and uplifting book.
∼Carol @ Warrenton Circulation
The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan
Kaplan shares how keeping a gratitude journal for one year changed her life. It begins at a New Year’s Eve party when the author becomes keenly aware that she has much to be thankful for yet she always feels that something is missing. Gratitude! So, each day, rather than grumbling about trivial happenings, the author focused on the positive and searched for three good things to write in her daily journal. Almost immediately, Kaplan began to see transformation sweep over her life and many of her relationships. Kaplan’s new focus raised her awareness of the good that surrounds her and she soon found herself appreciating what was there rather than what was missing in her life.
∼Julia @ Warrenton Circulation
At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
This delightful story is set in the quaint small town of Mitford, North Carolina, and revolves around Mitford’s colorful collection of residents. At its heart is Father Tim, a middle-aged rector and Mitford transplant who’s reluctant to change, but who discovers that when change finds him, it brings surprisingly pleasant blessings. Through life’s ups and downs, Mitford’s residents are shining examples of everything that’s right in the world – compassion, friendship, and spirituality. This gentle, uplifting read is the first in a lengthy series, so if you fall in love with the Mitford folks, you can follow their story for many books to come.
∼Emily @ Warrenton Circulation