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We Recommend — Books to Help You See Big Picture

These are challenging times, and these titles might help, whether you’re anxious about the future, or just want to benefit from the wisdom of others. These books are all available on our shelves, on the Libby App or Hoopla. Look out for a few current or former locals among the authors, too!

Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss

To the world, George and Barbara Bush were America’s president and first lady. To Hager, they were her beloved Gampy and Ganny, who taught her about respect, humility, kindness, and living a life of passion and meaning, timeless lessons that continue to guide her. In Midland, Texas, her maternal grandparents, Harold and Jenna Welch—Pa and Grammee—lived a quieter life, yet their influence was no less indelible to their granddaughter. Now the mother of three young children, Hager pays homage to her grandparents, capturing the joyous and bittersweet nature of life itself, uplifted by their sage advice and incomparable spirits

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful

(also available on Hoopla)

The Chinese believe that before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful. Sarah Wilson first encountered this proverb in psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison’s memoir An Unquiet Mind, and it became the key to understanding her own lifelong struggle with anxiety. In First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, Wilson directs her intense focus and fierce investigating skills onto her lifetime companion, looking at the triggers and treatments, the fashions and fads. She reads widely and interviews fellow sufferers, mental health experts, philosophers, and even the Dalai Lama, processing all she learns through the prism of her own experiences. Wilson offers readers comfort, humor, companionship, and practical tips to embrace anxiety as a part of who they are, and to explore the possibilities it offers for a richer, fuller life.

Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You

Before he inspired the world with Hamilton and was catapulted to international fame, Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspiring his Twitter followers with words of encouragement at the beginning and end of each day. He wrote these original sayings, aphorisms, and poetry for himself as much as for others. But as Miranda’s audience grew, these messages took on a life on their own. Now Miranda has gathered the best of his daily greetings into a beautiful collection illustrated by acclaimed artist (and fellow Twitter favorite) Jonny Sun. Full of comfort and motivation, Gmorning, Gnight! is a for anyone who needs a quick lift.

Just Show Up: and Other Enduring Values from Baseball’s Iron Man

(also available on Hoopla)

Cal Ripken Jr. is a baseball legend. But legends aren’t born, they’re made. Throughout his career, Ripken was admired for his consistency, hard work, and loyalty. There were successes and failures, but above all was an old-fashioned sense of doing what’s right, every single day. Since retiring in 2001, Ripken has enjoyed a successful career as a baseball analyst, entrepreneur, and author. Now, he reflects on his life and career to offer lessons for the next generation and those to come. Ripken speaks eloquently about the values he has lived by: Life is a streak, play the long game; Success and money are not the same; Play fair, win fair. Cal Ripken’s message is simple yet poignant; wisdom essential to anyone trying to forge a successful life in times that are often chaotic.

Let Love Have the Last Word

Common believes that the phrase “let love have the last word” is not just a declaration; it is a statement of purpose, a daily promise. Love is the most powerful force on the planet and ultimately, the way you love determines who you are and how you experience life. Courageous, insightful, brave, and characteristically authentic, Let Love Have the Last Word shares Common’s own unique and personal stories of the people and experiences that have led to a greater understanding of love and all it has to offer. It is a powerful call to action for a new generation of open hearts and minds, sure to resonate for years to come. 

The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose

Growing up in a tough Washington, D.C., neighborhood, Chris Wilson was so afraid for his life he wouldn’t leave the house without a gun. One night, defending himself, he killed a man. At eighteen, he was sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole. But what should have been the end of his story became the beginning. Deciding to make something of his life, Chris embarked on a journey of self-improvement—reading, working out, learning languages, even starting a business. He wrote his Master Plan: a list of all he expected to accomplish or acquire. He worked his plan every day for years, and in his mid-thirties he did the impossible: he convinced a judge to reduce his sentence and became a free man. Today Chris is a successful social entrepreneur who employs returning citizens; a mentor; and a public speaker. He is the embodiment of second chances, and this is his unforgettable story.

More than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)

Throughout her life and career, Elaine Welteroth has had to contend with the notion that she wasn’t enough. As a young girl: not pretty enough, not smart enough. As a mixed race person: not Black enough, not White enough. As a professional: not old enough, not ‘fashion’ enough. But now she’s had enough of the world telling women they are not enough. In her riveting and timely debut, the groundbreaking journalist—the youngest and only the second Black editor-in-chief in Condé Nast history when she took the helm at Teen Vogue—packs profound lessons on race, identity, power, ambition, and love. Brimming with vulnerability, humor, and hard-earned wisdom, More Than Enough is, fittingly, much more than a memoir. It is a moving affirmation for anyone who’s ever faced fear–and persevered anyway.

Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day

Instead of attending his college graduation ceremony, Jay Shetty headed to India to become a monk, to meditate every day for four to eight hours, and devote his life to helping others. After three years, one of his teachers told him that he would have more impact on the world if he left the monk’s path to share his experience and wisdom with others. Moving back home to north London, Shetty found his old friends were experiencing tremendous stress, pressure, and unhappiness. He began coaching them on well-being, purpose, and mindfulness. Here he shows readers how we can clear the roadblocks to our potential and power.



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