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Welcome to Books R Us, a recommended reading blog from InfoSoup librarians and users and home to A Year of Listening Dangerously, the 2014 InfoSoup Reading Challenge! Find a great book to read next, add your own reviews, and check out our book related resources such as NoveList and BookLetters.

Best Reads 2008

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Author: Michael Pollan

'Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.' This is the basis for Pollan's food manifesto. Pollan recommends treating meat as a side dish and eating whole foods. He provides some rules for eating which will lead to better health and pleasure in eating.

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Author: Annie Leibovitz

This photographic 'work' biography of Annie Leibovitz goes back to her days with Rolling Stone magazine and covers the various celebrities she has photographed over the years. She includes touching accounts of her family and how photography was a passion from the beginning.

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Author: Kao Kalia Yang

Yang recounts her family?s struggle in Laos, escape to Thailand (where she was born in 1980), detainment in refugee camps, and their eventual arrival in Minnesota and the promise of America. Yang tells the story of the Hmong in a compelling fashion.

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Author: Wally Lamb

After surviving the Columbine shooting, Maureen and Caelum Quirk move back to Connecticut to the Quirk family farm. Here they discover a trove of family memorabilia that reveals painful truths about Caelum's pasts. As usual, Wally Lamb has many different story lines going on throughout the book.

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Author: Kris Radish

The book deals with the life and almost death of a marriage. The couple has been married for 20+ years and the marriage has evolved from being best friends with much passion to roommates you work to avoid. Lucky, the husband, has won a vacation to Mexico and Addy and he are going, searching to put paradise back into their lives. Addy has been questioning her life with Lucky for a while and decides to give the trip a chance. As Lucky is loading the car, he does damage to his back. Now, they no longer are going on the trip, and Addy is forced to be a caregiver to someone she's not sure she even cares about a little. Friends help out and Lucky moves next door with Bob #1. Addy deals with the things in her life cause her stress, like cleaning and chores, and finds she has heart problems even after their split and her new helpers. More hot tub discussions with her girl support group follow and the divorce word is finally spoken. Lucky's not ready to give up on their marriage and reinvents himself. Soon all of Parker's married are watching the relationship chance and their own lives jump started. Radish uses language beautifully and shows every married person how to put some life back into their love.

Victory Conditions

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Author: Elizabeth Moon

Victory Conditions is the fifth book of the fast-paced Vatta's War series.  Young Kylara Vatta was thrown out of the Space Academy and though she disappointed her merchant family by becoming a privateer, in this volume she has risen to command of a multi-system Space Defense force.  

Political intrigues, personal conflicts with company-oriented cousin Stella and former spy turned CEO Rafe Dunbarger, and front-line views of battles contribute to the complexity and depth of this space opera. 

Excellent plotting, technical details, and well-developed characters are found in this military series.  Elizabeth Moon has degrees in history and biology, and was formerly a Marine, which contributes to the realistic portrayal of battle and it's psychological toll.

The Other Half

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Author: Tom Buk-Swienty

Danish-born, Jacob Riis, was an investigative reporter who was considered to be the inventor of modern photo journalism. He emigrated to New York City, experienced dire poverty, worked closely with Theodore Roosevelt who was serving as New York City?s Police Commissioner, exposed the horrible conditions in the tenement slums of the City, and made a name for himself. Written in the narrative non-fiction style, this is an engrossing read. (Character, Setting)

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Author: Mary Ann Shaffer

Yippee! A terrific, terrific book! Who knew that Germany invaded the islands off the coast of England during World War II, in this case Guernsey? The relationship between the islanders and the invaders is presented to us in this work of fiction. The entire story is told through a series of letters that are being written between all sorts of different characters. One pivotal character is Juliet, an author in London, who decides to write a book about the island's book club (& its inception) which is called the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. The other pivotal character is Elizabeth who lived on the island and had a strong positive influence on all of the characters in the book. She also left a wonderful legacy (but you'll have to read the book to learn about that!). This was a wonderful book that celebrated friendship, simplicity, kindness, and embracing the obvious! I read this in one day--I could not put it down. :) The format and historical content drew me in. Also, the wit and cleverness of the writing. This is one of my favorites of 2008--Hurrah! Thanks to Holly C. for recommending it!