The Animal’s Companion: People & Their Pets, a 26,000-Year Love Story

By Jacky Colliss Harvey. A unique, compelling exploration of the universal human need for animal companions — from dogs and cats to horses, birds, house-rabbits, and even exotica such as lizards and snakes — through the eyes of an historical detective and devoted pet-lover.
The earliest evidence of a human and a pet can be traced as far back as 26,000 BC in France, where a boy and his “canid” took a walk through a cave. Their foot and paw prints were preserved together on the muddy cave floor, and smoke from the torch the boy carried was left on the walls, allowing archaeologists to carbon-date their journey. Our innate and undeniable need to live in the close company of animals is evident since pre-historic times.

In The Animal’s Companion, bestselling author, acclaimed cultural detective and lifelong pet owner Jacky Colliss Harvey uses her compelling storytelling skills and keen eye for historical investigation to examine our role as animals’ companions, in this exploration of the history not of the pet, but of us as pet owners.

Drawing on literary, artistic, and archaeological evidence over thousands of years of human experience, she examines the when, the how, and the why of our connection to those animals we take into our lives, assessing these against the latest scientific thinking, and suggesting new insights into this most long-standing of all human love affairs.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Life Lessons from the Dog: 101 Tales of Family, Friendship & Fun

By Amy Newark. (Bethel’s Sharon Struth has a story in the book!) You can’t help but be changed when you have a dog. They teach us about devotion, loyalty, and the value of living in the moment. They show us how to appreciate every day, and somehow, in those deep eyes, we learn about ourselves as well, becoming better humans.Our canine companions teach us many lessons, from their puppy days to their quiet senior years. Along the way they keep us company, provide unconditional love, and share in the ups and downs of our lives. These 101 real-life stories will delight dog lovers of all kinds. You’ll laugh a lot, tear up at times, and nod your head in recognition as you read these tales about the wonderful experience of sharing life with a dog. Part of the proceeds go to support the work of American Humane, providing a better life for dogs everywhere.

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays

By Esmé Weijun Wang

Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award

An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.

Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

By Pam Houston. The author of Contents May Have Shifted draws on her travels and homestead life in the Colorado Rockies in an essay collection on her ties to nature that explores the symbiotic relationship between humans and the earth.

Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing As We Age

By Mary Pipher. The best-selling author of Reviving Ophelia presents a guide to wisdom, authenticity and bliss for women as they age, exploring how the myriad roles and challenges of women can help promote balance and a transcendent sense of well-being.

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

By Dani Shapiro. The author of distinguished fiction but perhaps best known for her memoirs (most recently Hourglass), Shapiro surprises us again with her latest meditation. In a goofy mood in spring 2016, she submitted her DNA to a website for analysis and discovered that her father was not her biological father. What results is an exploration of family secrets, a painful rebuilding of her sense of self, and an understanding of how we manage whatever life tosses our way.

Churchill: Walking With Destiny

By Andrew Roberts. The best-selling author of The Storm of War draws on extensive new materials, from private letters to war cabinet meetings, in a revisionist portrait of the iconic war leader that discusses Churchill’s motivations and unwavering faith in the British Empire.

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1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List

A celebration of the reading life by the co-founder of the acclaimed A Common Reader presents a cross-genre, historically representative compendium of 1,000 forefront works of literature, complemented by essays on each book’s particular relevance.

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The Fifth Risk

By Michael Lewis. The best-selling author of Liar’s Poker presents a narrative account of the post-2016 election chaos that took over Washington to reveal how a small number of uninformed Trump appointees are triggering devastating world consequences.

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

By Maxwell King. Fred Rogers (1928–2003) was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. As the creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was a champion of compassion, equality, and kindness. Rogers was fiercely devoted to children and to taking their fears, concerns, and questions about the world seriously.

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