I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

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A fateful accident draws three strangers together over the course of a single day:
 
Freya who has lost her voice while recording her debut album.
Harun who is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved. 
Nathaniel who has just arrived in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. 
 
As the day progresses, their secrets start to unravel and they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs. 

An emotionally cathartic story of losing love, finding love, and dis­covering the person you are meant to be, I Have Lost My Way is best­selling author Gayle Forman at her finest.

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In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham

Advice for graduates and reflections on staying true to yourself from the beloved Gilmore Girls actress and New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Talking as Fast as I Can and the novel Someday, Someday, Maybe.
 
“If you’re kicking yourself for not having accomplished all you should have by now, don’t worry about it. Even without any ‘big’ accomplishments yet to your name, you are enough.” 
 
In this expansion of the 2017 commencement speech she gave at her hometown Langley High, Lauren Graham, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, reflects on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here and now. “Whatever path you choose, whatever career you decide to go after, the important thing is that you keep finding joy in what you’re doing, especially when the joy isn’t finding you.” In her hilarious, relatable voice, Graham reminds us to be curious and compassionate, no matter where life takes us or what we’ve yet to achieve. Grounded and inspiring—and illustrated throughout with drawings by Graham herself—here is a comforting road map to a happy life.
 
“I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had successes and senior slumps. I’ve been the girl who has the lead, and the one who wished she had the bigger part. The truth? They don’t feel that different from each other.”

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Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness by Rick Hanson and Forrest Hanson

These days it’s hard to count on the world outside. So it’s vital to grow strengths inside like grit, gratitude, and compassion—the key to resilience, and to lasting well-being in a changing world. 
 
True resilience is much more than enduring terrible conditions. We need resilience every day to raise a family, work at a job, cope with stress, deal with health problems, navigate issues with others, heal from old pain, and simply keep on going. 
 
With his trademark blend of neuroscience, mindfulness, and positive psychology, New York Times bestselling author Dr. Rick Hanson shows you how to develop twelve vital inner strengths hardwired into your own nervous system. Then no matter what life throws at you, you’ll be able to feel less stressed, pursue opportunities with confidence, and stay calm and centered in the face of adversity. 
 
This practical guide is full of concrete suggestions, experiential practices, personal examples, and insights into the brain. It includes effective ways to interact with others and to repair and deepen important relationships.
 
Warm, encouraging, and down-to-earth, Dr. Hanson’s step-by-step approach is grounded in the science of positive neuroplasticity. He explains how to overcome the brain’s negativity bias, release painful thoughts and feelings, and replace them with self-compassion, self-worth, joy, and inner peace.

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The Enchantment of Emma Fletcher by L.D. Crichton

A young woman desperate to outrun her nightmare reluctantly falls straight into the arms of the one boy who might be able to wake her up in this sweet and sexy debut about finding love while confronting your demons. 

After Emma Fletcher is viciously attacked and left for dead, she flees to her old childhood hometown where she’s confronted with bitter memories of her damaged past and alcoholic mother. Emma is determined to make her stay temporary and get out with minimal emotional damage. What she doesn’t count on is Tristan Banks: auto mechanic, coffee addict, and town hottie with dark secrets of his own. 

Tristan’s track record of saving girls has historically led to failure. The last thing he needs is trouble in the form of a leggy brunette with an attitude, but when he starts to fall for Emma, Tristan realizes the only way he can save her is to help her save herself.

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Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

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Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era.

A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes.

Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous—from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids’ backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide—while others are devastatingly poignant—a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture.

Thompson-Spires fearlessly shines a light on the simmering tensions and precariousness of black citizenship. Her stories are exquisitely rendered, satirical, and captivating in turn, engaging in the ongoing conversations about race and identity politics, as well as the vulnerability of the black body. Boldly resisting categorization and easy answers, Nafissa Thompson-Spires is an original and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.

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The Secret to Southern Charm (Book #2 of The Peachtree Bluff Series) by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Leaving fans “practically [begging] for a sequel” (Bookpage), critically acclaimed author Kristy Woodson Harvey returns with the second novel in her beloved Peachtree Bluff series, featuring a trio of sisters and their mother who discover a truth that will change not only the way they see themselves, but also how they fit together as a family.

After finding out her military husband is missing in action, middle sister Sloane’s world crumbles as her worst nightmare comes true. She can barely climb out of bed, much less summon the strength to be the parent her children deserve.

Her mother, Ansley, provides a much-needed respite as she puts her personal life on hold to help Sloane and her grandchildren wade through their new grief-stricken lives. But between caring for her own aging mother, her daughters, and her grandchildren, Ansley’s private worry is that secrets from her past will come to light.

But when Sloane’s sisters, Caroline and Emerson, remind Sloane that no matter what, she promised her husband she would carry on for their young sons, Sloane finds the support and courage she needs to chase her biggest dreams—and face her deepest fears. Taking a cue from her middle daughter, Ansley takes her own leap of faith and realizes that, after all this time, she might finally be able to have it all.

Harvey’s signature warmth and wit make this a charming and poignant story of first loves, missed opportunities, and second chances and proves that she is "the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author).

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American Histories Stories by John Edgar Wideman

In this singular collection, John Edgar Wideman, the acclaimed author of Writing to Save a Life, blends the personal, historical, and political to invent complex, charged stories about love, death, struggle, and what we owe each other. With characters ranging from everyday Americans to Jean-Michel Basquiat to Nat Turner, American Histories is a journey through time, experience, and the soul of our country.

“JB & FD” reimagines conversations between John Brown, the antislavery crusader who famously raided Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, and Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist and orator, conversations that belie the myth of race and produce a fantastical, ethically rich correspondence that spans years and ideologies. “Maps and Ledgers” eavesdrops on a brother and sister today as they ponder their father’s killing of another man. “Williamsburg Bridge” sits inside a man sitting on a bridge who contemplates his life before he decides to jump. “My Dead” is a story about how the already-departed demand more time, more space in the lives of those who survive them.

Navigating an extraordinary range of subject and tone, Wideman challenges the boundaries of traditional forms, and delivers unforgettable, immersive narratives that touch the very core of what it means to be alive. An extended meditation on family, history, and loss, American Histories weaves together historical fact, philosophical wisdom, and deeply personal vignettes. More than the sum of its parts, this is Wideman at his best—emotionally precise and intellectually stimulating—an extraordinary collection by a master.

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This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide by Geneen Roth

From the beginning, Geneen Roth was told she was too sensitive, too emotional, too curious, too demanding, too intense, and too big. Yet gaining and losing weight for decades did not improve her self-worth or reduce other people’s criticisms. Like most women who struggle with their weight, she believed that if she could resolve what seemed to be the source of her self-hatred—how and what she ate—she would be thin, happy, and free. That belief, she discovered, was false.

When her struggle with food ended—and didn’t change anything except the size of her thighs—she kept trying to fix other broken parts of herself with therapy, intensive meditation retreats, and rigorous spiritual practices. Yet it was only when Geneen stopped trying to change or fix herself—that she was at last able to feel at home in her mind, body, and life. Now, she shares the wisdom of giving up what Geneen calls "the Me Project," and finding the freedom, peace and power that await us just beyond it.

With humor, compassion, and insight, This Messy Magnificent Life explores the personal beliefs, hidden traumas, and social pressures that shape not just women’s feelings about their bodies, but also their confidence, choices, and relationships. This provocative, enchanting, and sometimes laugh-out-loud look at the imperfect path women take to step into their own power, presence, and ownership is based on the author’s personal journey and her decades of work with thousands of women around the country.

Roth embraces everyone’s unique and often unsung potential and shows us how to be open, curious, and kind with ourselves; how to say no to people and ideas that hold us back; how to let go of grudges and anxieties; how to pick ourselves up after setbacks; how to say a resounding yes to the world; how to move from fixing ourselves to finding ourselves; how to find joy in the ordinary; and how to experience the extraordinary right here and now in our bodies.

With a foreword by Anne Lamott, This Messy Magnificent Life is a compelling and often quirky look at what it means to be an imperfect but unapologetic woman living a (mostly) magnificent life.

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The River of Kings by Taylor Brown

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In The River of Kings, bestselling author of Fallen Land Taylor Brown artfully weaves three narrative strands—two brothers’ journey down an ancient river, their father’s tangled past, and the buried history of the river’s earliest people—to evoke a legendary place and its powerful hold on the human imagination.

The Altamaha River, Georgia’s “Little Amazon,” is one of the last truly wild places in America. Crossed by roads only five times in its 137 miles, the black-water river is home to thousand-year-old virgin cypress, direct descendants of eighteenth-century Highland warriors, and a staggering array of rare and endangered species. The Altamaha is even rumored to harbor its own river monster, as well as traces of the oldest European fort in North America.

Brothers Hunter and Lawton Loggins set off to kayak the river, bearing their father’s ashes toward the sea. Hunter is a college student, Lawton a Navy SEAL on leave; they were raised by an angry, enigmatic shrimper who loved the river, and whose death remains a mystery that his sons are determined to solve. As the brothers proceed downriver, their story alternates with that of Jacques le Moyne, the first European artist in North America, who accompanied a 1564 French expedition that began as a search for riches and ended in a bloody confrontation with Spanish conquistadors and native tribes.

Twining past and present in one compelling narrative, and illustrated with drawings that survived the 1564 expedition, The River of Kings is Taylor Brown’s second novel: a dramatic and rewarding adventure through history, myth, and the shadows of family secrets.

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Let's No One Get Hurt by Jon Pineda

With the cinematic and terrifying beauty of the American South humming behind each line, Jon Pineda’s Let’s No One Get Hurt is a coming-of-age story set equally between real-world issues of race and socioeconomics, and a magical, Huck Finn-esque universe of community and exploration.

Fifteen-year-old Pearl is squatting in an abandoned boathouse with her father, a disgraced college professor, and two other grown men, deep in the swamps of the American South. All four live on the fringe, scavenging what they can—catfish, lumber, scraps for their ailing dog. Despite the isolation, Pearl feels at home with her makeshift family: the three men care for Pearl and teach her what they know of the world.

Mason Boyd, aka “Main Boy,” is from a nearby affluent neighborhood where he and his raucous friends ride around in tricked-out golf carts, shoot their fathers’ shotguns, and aspire to make Internet pranking videos. While Pearl is out scavenging in the woods, she meets Main Boy, who eventually reveals that his father has purchased the property on which Pearl and the others are squatting. With all the power in Main Boy’s hands, a very unbalanced relationship forms between the two kids, culminating in a devastating scene of violence and humiliation.

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