What’s HOT: Top 10 Nonfiction Books at the Library Right Now! (Jan. 2016)

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1.) Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford

They were the most prominent American family of the twentieth century. The daughter they secreted away made all the difference.

Joe and Rose Kennedy’s strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the Queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet, Rosemary was intellectually disabled — a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.

Major new sources — Rose Kennedy’s diaries and correspondence, school and doctors’ letters, and exclusive family interviews — bring Rosemary alive as a girl adored but left far behind by her competitive siblings. Kate Larson reveals both the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave to Rosemary and then — as the family’s standing reached an apex — the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly intractable in her early twenties. Finally, Larson illuminates Joe’s decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age twenty-three, and the family’s complicity in keeping the secret.

Rosemary delivers a profoundly moving coda: JFK visited Rosemary for the first time while campaigning in the Midwest; she had been living isolated in a Wisconsin institution for nearly twenty years. Only then did the siblings understand what had happened to Rosemary and bring her home for loving family visits. It was a reckoning that inspired them to direct attention to the plight of the disabled, transforming the lives of millions.

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2.) The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy & the Secret Bonds of Four Women by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff

Rosemary (Rosie) Kennedy was born in 1918, the first daughter of a wealthy Bostonian couple who later would become known as the patriarch and matriarch of America’s most famous and celebrated family. Elizabeth Koehler was born in 1957, the first and only child of a struggling Wisconsin farm family.

What, besides their religion, did these two very different Catholic women have in common?

One person: Stella Koehler, a charismatic woman of the cloth who became Sister Paulus Koehler after taking her vows with the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi.

Sister Paulus was Elizabeth’s Wisconsin aunt. For thirty-five years indeed much of her adult life Sister Paulus was Rosie Kennedy’s caregiver.

And a caregiver, tragically, had become necessary after Rosie, a slow learner prone to emotional outbursts, underwent one of America’s first lobotomies an operation Joseph Kennedy was assured would normalize Rosie’s life. It did not. Rosie’s condition became decidedly worse.

After the procedure, Joe Kennedy sent Rosie to rural Wisconsin and Saint Coletta, a Catholic-run home for the mentally disabled. For the next two decades, she never saw her siblings, her parents, or any other relative, the doctors having issued stern instructions that even the occasional family visit would be emotionally disruptive to Rosie.

Following Joseph Kennedy’s stroke in 1961, the Kennedy family, led by mother Rose and sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, resumed face to face contact with Rosie.

It was also about then that a young Elizabeth Koehler began paying visits to Rosie.

In this insightful and poignant memoir, based in part on Sister Paulus’ private notes and augmented by over one-hundred never-before-seen photos, Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff recalls the many happy and memorable times spent with the missing Kennedy.

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3.) In This Together: My Story by Ann Romney

When Mitt and Ann Romney met in their late teens, a great American love story began. And their life together would be blessed: five healthy sons, financial security, and a home filled with joy. Despite the typical ups and downs, they had a storybook life.

Then, in 1998, Ann was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She couldn’t believe it was real; there were no therapies or treatments to help her. Mitt told her that day that they would tackle the diagnosis as a team: They were in it together. “As long as it isn’t fatal, we’re fine. If you have to be in a wheelchair, I’ll be right there to push it,” he told her. And Ann thought, “But I’ll be the one in the wheelchair.” A caregiver and helper her whole life, she’d crossed a terrible invisible line. She wouldn’t be able to care for her family anymore. She was the patient. Ann and Mitt would face the most frightening and humbling experience of their lives.

From reflections on her early life, her marriage, and her diagnosis and recovery, the sources of her faith, and the stories of others who overcame adversity and inspired her to keep going, In This Together is a brave and deeply honest portrait of a family facing an unexpected blow, often in the most public of circumstances.

“A lot of people talk about a transformation that happens when life throws you a curve ball, and the big one in my life was my MS diagnosis. With all the blessings I’ve had, MS has been my greatest teacher: It has taught me about faith, compassion, and serving others. I’ve met many people along the way who’ve shared advice and demonstrated enormous resilience in the face of challenges; their stories gave me strength. In sharing my story, I want to give others hope as I’ve been given hope on this journey.”

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4.) 100 Recipes: The Absolute Best Ways to Make the True Essentials

We have countless recipes at our disposal today but what are the real keepers, the ones that don’t just feed us when we’re hungry or impress our friends on Saturday night, but inspire us to get into the kitchen? At the forefront of American cooking for more than 20 years, the editors at America’s Test Kitchen have answered this question in an essential collection of recipes that you won’t find anywhere else: 100 Recipes Everyone Should Know How to Make. Organized into three recipe sections—Absolute Essentials, Surprising Essentials, and Global Essentials—each recipe is preceded by a thought-provoking essay that positions the dish. For example, Treating Pasta Like Rice Simplifies Everything; A Covered Pot Is a Surprisingly Good Place to Roast a Chicken; and Re-imagine Pie in a Skillet to Simplify the Process. You’ll find useful workday recipes like a killer tomato sauce that’s almost as easy as opening a jar of the store-bought stuff; genius techniques for producing amazing flavor—try poaching chicken breasts over a garlic-and-soy- spiked brine (trust us, it’s that good); and familiar favorites reinvigorated—the best beef stew comes from Spain (and it’s even easier to make than the stateside stew you’ve been eating for years). Gorgeous photography (shot right in the test kitchen) accompanies every recipe, revealing the finished dish as well as highlights of its preparation. Likely to stir debate among anyone interested in food and cooking, 100 Recipes Everyone Should Know How to Make provides a snapshot of how we cook today and will galvanize even the most jaded cook to get into the kitchen.

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5.) I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction by Bob Beckel with John David Mann

From popular TV personality Bob Beckel, a deeply moving, redemptive memoir about his life as a political operative and diplomat, his long struggle with alcohol and drugs, and his unlikely journey to finding faith.

Growing up poor in an abusive home, Bob Beckel learned to be a survivor: to avoid conflict, mask his feelings, and to lie–all skills that served him well in Washington, where he would become the youngest-ever Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and manage Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign.

But Beckel was living a double life. On January 20, 2001–George W. Bush’s first Inauguration Day–he hit rock bottom, waking up in the psych ward. Written with captivating honesty, Beckel chronicles how his addictions nearly killed him until he found help in an unexpected ally, conservative Cal Thomas, who helped him find faith, get sober, and get his life back on track.

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6.) My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl

In the fall of 2009, the food world was rocked when Gourmet magazine was abruptly shuttered by its parent company. No one was more stunned by this unexpected turn of events than its beloved editor in chief, Ruth Reichl, who suddenly faced an uncertain professional future. As she struggled to process what had seemed unthinkable, Reichl turned to the one place that had always provided sanctuary. “I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened,” she writes. “I disappeared into the kitchen.”

My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons—and Reichl’s emotions—as she slowly heals through the simple pleasures of cooking. While working 24/7, Reichl would “throw quick meals together” for her family and friends. Now she has the time to rediscover what cooking meant to her. Imagine kale, leaves dark and inviting, sautéed with chiles and garlic; summer peaches baked into a simple cobbler; fresh oysters chilling in a box of snow; plump chickens and earthy mushrooms, fricasseed with cream. Over the course of this challenging year, each dish Reichl prepares becomes a kind of stepping stone to finding joy again in ordinary things.

The 136 recipes collected here represent a life’s passion for food: a blistering ma po tofu that shakes Reichl out of the blues; a decadent grilled cheese sandwich that accompanies a rare sighting in the woods around her home; a rhubarb sundae that signals the arrival of spring. Here, too, is Reichl’s enlivening dialogue with her Twitter followers, who become her culinary supporters and lively confidants.

Part cookbook, part memoir, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year may be Ruth Reichl’s most stirring book yet—one that reveals a refreshingly vulnerable side of the world’s most famous food editor as she shares treasured recipes to be returned to again and again and again.

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7.) Paula Deen Cuts the Fat: 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up by Paula Deen and Melissa Clark

Paula Deen has lost over 40 pounds and has maintained her weight loss for over two years by swapping out ingredients to reduce fat and calories. Paula’s key to weight loss is moderation and accountability and one day a week she still enjoys good old southern cooking with biscuits and all. Only now she will have one biscuit instead of three. One does not have to give up taste when reducing calories and these recipes are a testament to that. Paula shares 250 of her favorite recipes lightened up. This brand new cookbook presents lightened up versions of fifty of her classic southern recipes and presents new recipes that cuts the calories but not the delicious taste.

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8.) Casseroles, Slow Cookers & Soups by Taste of Home Books

One-pot cooking has become the latest trend according to readers’ submissions to Taste of Home.When your family craves home-style meals, this collection featuring three classic methods-meal-in-one casseroles, bubbling slow- cooked specialties, and thick, hearty soups-it is all a cook needs. With 384 pages containing 536 recipes, three different methods of one-pot slow cooking, plus 397 full-color photographs-this is one cookbook that belongs in every kitchen’s library.

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9.) Boys in the Trees: A Memoir by Carly Simon

Simon’s memoir reveals her remarkable life, beginning with her storied childhood as the third daughter of Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster, her musical debut as half of The Simon Sisters performing folk songs with her sister Lucy in Greenwich Village, to a meteoric solo career that would result in 13 top 40 hits, including the #1 song “You’re So Vain.” She was the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, for her song “Let the River Run” from the movie Working Girl.

The memoir recalls a childhood enriched by music and culture, but also one shrouded in secrets that would eventually tear her family apart. Simon brilliantly captures moments of creative inspiration, the sparks of songs, and the stories behind writing “Anticipation” and “We Have No Secrets” among many others. Romantic entanglements with some of the most famous men of the day fueled her confessional lyrics, as well as the unraveling of her storybook marriage to James Taylor.

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10.) A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction by Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried

Patrick J. Kennedy, the former congressman and youngest child of Senator Ted Kennedy, details his personal and political battle with mental illness and addiction, exploring mental health care’s history in the country alongside his and every family’s private struggles.

On May 5, 2006, the New York Times ran two stories, “Patrick Kennedy Crashes Car into Capitol Barrier” and then, several hours later, “Patrick Kennedy Says He’ll Seek Help for Addiction.” It was the first time that the popular Rhode Island congressman had publicly disclosed his addiction to prescription painkillers, the true extent of his struggle with bipolar disorder and his plan to immediately seek treatment. That could have been the end of his career, but instead it was the beginning.

Since then, Kennedy has become the nation’s leading advocate for mental health and substance abuse care, research and policy both in and out of Congress. And ever since passing the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act–and after the death of his father, leaving Congress–he has been changing the dialogue that surrounds all brain diseases.

A Common Struggle weaves together Kennedy’s private and professional narratives, echoing Kennedy’s philosophy that for him, the personal is political and the political personal. Focusing on the years from his ‘coming out’ about suffering from bipolar disorder and addiction to the present day, the book examines Kennedy’s journey toward recovery and reflects on Americans’ propensity to treat mental illnesses as “family secrets.”

Beyond his own story, though, Kennedy creates a roadmap for equality in the mental health community, and outlines a bold plan for the future of mental health policy. Written with award-winning healthcare journalist and best-selling author Stephen Fried, A Common Struggle is both a cry for empathy and a call to action.

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About Avalon Free Public Library

Avalon is a bustling little shore town in southern NJ. Our small population of 1800 expands to about 30,000 at the height of summer. We like to think that we serve them all and then some! Our goal is to make our library available to our patrons wherever they may roam.

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