It’s Not All Bad: The Search for Rational Optimism in a World Saturated with Sensational Pessimism

Sometimes the world can be a worrisome, scary place. But maybe it is not as bad as politicians, pundits and news networks make it seem.

Good News

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Here’s a quick list of books that highlight to good things, both in the world as it is right now and into the future that we will all be making and experiencing together.

Read and feel better about things.

34890015. sy475 35696171. sy475 13543093. sy475 31694126. sy475
7776209 26031232 25571952 10483171
22320454 33785338 9062872 35960123
10000613 25111080. sy475 8876803 11650945

 

One small step for man…

Happy Moon Day, everyone!

Image result for neil armstrong moon

Fifty years ago, on July, 20 1969, the crew members of Apollo 11 became the first human beings to land on the Moon. 

Just in case that puts you in the mood to read about our closest celestial neighbor, here is a small selection of moon books for your consideration:

16690 40538718 34928122 6424902
896458 41940282 42193752 536478
282086 41887398 1366423 31848288

Best Sellers List: July Update

NYT BEST SELLERS: Combined Print & E-Book Fiction

  1. SUMMER OF ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand (NEW)

42283286Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, is caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests, a passion which takes her to Martha’s Vineyard with her best friend, Mary Jo Kopechne. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother who is hiding some secrets of her own. As the summer heats up, Teddy Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a man flies to the moon, and Jessie experiences some sinking and flying herself, as she grows into her own body and mind.

  1. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens
  2. THE RECKONING by John Grisham
  3. CITY OF GIRLS by Elizabeth Gilbert
  4. EVERYTHING by Jennifer Weiner
  5. BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate
  6. UNSOLVED by James Patterson and David Ellis
  7. LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng
  8. THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Heather Morris
  9. GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  10. TOM CLANCY: ENEMY CONTACT by Mike Maden
  11. THE ORACLE by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell
  12. COTTAGE BY THE SEA by Debbie Macomber
  13. THERE GOES MY HEART by Bella Andre (NEW)
  14. PAST TENSE by Lee Child

What Else We Found…

What We Find Shelf End Ditto.jpg

Want more recommendations about what to read, watch or listen to based upon what you have already liked? Click here to get a list of personalized recommendations.

Best Sellers Update: June

New York Times Best Sellers: Combined Print & E-Book Fiction

  1. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens

36809135For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

  1. A GAME OF THRONES by George R.R. Martin
  2. THE 18TH ABDUCTION by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  3. CARI MORA by Thomas Harris (NEW)
  4. PAST TENSE by Lee Child
  5. REDEMPTION by David Baldacci
  6. BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate
  7. SUNSET BEACH by Mary Kay Andrews
  8. LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng
  9. THE MISTER by E L James
  10. THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Heather Morris
  11. THE GUEST BOOK by Sarah Blake
  12. A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles
  13. SECURING SIDNEY by Susan Stoker (NEW)
  14. FIRE AND BLOOD by George R.R. Martin

Lewis and Clark Hit the Road

Image result for lewis and clark expedition

From Wikimedia Commons: Detail of “Lewis & Clark at Three Forks”, mural in lobby of Montana House of Representatives

The Corps of Discovery Expedition (Clark wanted to call it the Magical Mystery Tour but was out-voted*) set off 115 years ago today. The expedition, commissioned by Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly expanded frontier (thanks to the Louisiana Purchase) and find a way through to the west coast, rode, walked and floated (rivers are incredibly handy when they aren’t flooded) it’s way across the continent from the Illinois side of the Mississippi and back. All told, it took two year, four months and ten days!

Can’t. Even. Imagine.

It is hard to comprehend such an undertaking, committing that much time and effort to a potentially dangerous enterprise with no certain conclusion. Boldly going, et cetera, et cetera. Just amazing. Recognizing that, the Corps of Discovery and explorers in general, here is a list of some our favorite books about explorers and their adventures, successful and otherwise.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

139069In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

 

 

Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose

45546In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a pioneering voyage across the Great Plains and into the Rockies. It was completely uncharted territory; a wild, vast land ruled by the Indians.

 

 

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

18600Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death. The next three days were an impossibly grueling ordeal for both men.

 

Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

8837Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française, Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying.

 

 

The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard

48503The Worst Journey in the World recounts Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the youngest member of Scott’s team and one of three men to make and survive the notorious Winter Journey, draws on his firsthand experiences as well as the diaries of his compatriots to create a stirring and detailed account of Scott’s legendary expedition.

 

Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger

825419“Arabian Sands” is Wilfred Thesiger’s record of his extraordinary journey through the parched “Empty Quarter” of Arabia. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Thesiger was repulsed by the softness and rigidity of Western life-“the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets.” In the spirit of T. E. Lawrence, he set out to explore the deserts of Arabia, traveling among peoples who had never seen a European and considered it their duty to kill Christian infidels.

 

Into Thin Air by  Jon Krakauer

1898A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that “suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.” He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more–including Krakauer’s–in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer’s epic account of the May 1996 disaster.

 

Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

790171Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure — a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage. On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft.

 

Over the Edge of the World by  Laurence Bergreen

174354Ferdinand Magellan’s daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled with sex, violence, and amazing adventure. Now in Over the Edge of the World, prize-winning biographer and journalist Laurence Bergreen entwines a variety of candid, firsthand accounts, bringing to life this groundbreaking and majestic tale of discovery that changed both the way explorers would henceforth navigate the oceans and history itself.

 

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

1845In April, 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, a party of moose hunters found his decomposed body. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

 

Did we miss one of your favorites? Feel free to comment below and add to the list.

*This is categorically false. We know you knew that already, but librarians have a really hard time giving incorrect information.