Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

By Pema Chodron. An American Buddhist nun explains how to become compassionate and fearless by accepting the pain in individual lives in their present state through the study of fifty-nine traditional Tibetan Buddhist sayings.

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Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

By Condoleezza Rice.

From the former secretary of state and bestselling author — a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy and why America must continue to support the cause of human freedom.

“This heartfelt and at times very moving book shows why democracy proponents are so committed to their work…Both supporters and skeptics of democracy promotion will come away from this book wiser and better informed.” —The New York Times
From the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union to the ongoing struggle for human rights in the Middle East, Condoleezza Rice has served on the front lines of history. As a child, she was an eyewitness to a third awakening of freedom, when her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, became the epicenter of the civil rights movement for black Americans.

In this book, Rice explains what these epochal events teach us about democracy. At a time when people around the world are wondering whether democracy is in decline, Rice shares insights from her experiences as a policymaker, scholar, and citizen, in order to put democracy’s challenges into perspective.

When the United States was founded, it was the only attempt at self-government in the world. Today more than half of all countries qualify as democracies, and in the long run that number will continue to grow. Yet nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. Using America’s long struggle as a template, Rice draws lessons for democracy around the world — from Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, to Kenya, Colombia, and the Middle East. She finds that no transitions to democracy are the same because every country starts in a different place. Pathways diverge and sometimes circle backward. Time frames for success vary dramatically, and countries often suffer false starts before getting it right. But, Rice argues, that does not mean they should not try. While the ideal conditions for democracy are well known in academia, they never exist in the real world. The question is not how to create perfect circumstances but how to move forward under difficult ones.

These same insights apply in overcoming the challenges faced by governments today. The pursuit of democracy is a continuing struggle shared by people around the world, whether they are opposing authoritarian regimes, establishing new democratic institutions, or reforming mature democracies to better live up to their ideals. The work of securing it is never finished.

Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump

By Dan Pfeiffer. A former White House director of communications and current co-host of Pod Save America explores how politics, the media and the internet changed during the Obama administration and how Democrats can fight back in the Trump era. 

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The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

By Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin. A man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he did not commit describes how he became a victim of a flawed legal system, recounting the years he shared with fellow inmates who were eventually executed before his exoneration.

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The Weather Detective: Rediscovering Nature’s Secret Signs

By Peter Wolleben. Demonstrates how to decipher nature’s secret signs by studying the weather, exploring the relationship between weather and natural phenomena.

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The Traveling Feast: On the Road and at the Table with my Heroes

By Rick Bass. A transformative journey written in gratitude to the award-winning author’s mentors describes his midlife attempt to recapture the passions of his youth, an effort marked by encounters with famous contemporaries and a variety of colorful mishaps.

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Tin Can Homestream: The Art of Airstream Living

By Natasha Lawyer. Offers inspiration and detailed instructions for those interested in living small by following the story of a couple who build a new life for themselves in an old silver Airstream trailer, including information on buying, decorating and running electric and plumbing in one.

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Mindfulness, Day by Day: How to find peace in the present moment

By Josh Baran.

If you think that enlightenment is reserved for only a chosen few and requires decades of spiritual practice–think again. The awakened state–that place of peace and bliss–is present and available to you, right here, right now, and this is the book that can point you to it.

This themed collection of passages by ancient Buddhist sages, Christian and Jewish mystics, contemporary teachers, philosophers, and poets celebrates the perfection of the present moment.

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Life After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings

By Michelle Knight. A memoir about healing and resilience shares insights into the decade the author spent as a captive as well as the resolve that has led her to become a volunteer and advocate for changes to prevent her experiences from happening to others.

How to Eat a Peach: Menus Stories and Places

By Diana Henry. When Diana Henry was sixteen she started a menu notebook (an exercise book carefully covered in wrapping paper). Planning a menu is still her favorite part of cooking.

Menus can create very different moods; they can take you places, from an afternoon at the seaside in Brittany to a sultry evening eating mezze in Istanbul. They also have to work as a meal that flows and as a group of dishes that the cook can manage without becoming totally stressed. The 24 menus and 100 recipes in this book reflect places Diana loves, and dishes that are real favorites.

The menus are introduced with personal essays in Diana’s now well-known voice- about places or journeys or particular times and explain the choice of dishes. Each menu is a story in itself, but the recipes can also stand alone.

The title of the book refers to how Italians end a meal in the summer, when it’s too hot to cook. The host or hostess just puts a bowl of peaches on the table and offers glasses of chilled moscato (or even Marsala). Guests then slice their peach into the glass, before eating the slices and drinking the wine.

That says something very important about eating – simplicity and generosity and sometimes not cooking are what it’s about.

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