Monday, September 26, 2016

September 2016 Staff Book Recommendations

Before the Fall
By Noah Hawley 


Have you ever considered what it would be like to be the center of a media firestorm? Before the Fall by Noah Hawley tells the story of painter Scott Burroughs, a struggling artist who accepts a ride on a private jet from Martha’s Vineyard to New York along with an influential media titan, his wife and young son, and a number of other wealthy and famous power-players. Minutes after take-off, the plane crashes and Scott and the young boy are the only survivors. Scott swims the young child miles to the beach and into instant media notoriety. 

The book interweaves a number of narrative threads, including Scott’s attempts to deal with his newfound celebrity, his dealings with the family members of the victims, and suspicion and personal attacks from a powerful news commentator who worked for the media executive. The book also includes flashbacks to the backstories of the people on the plane and describes the efforts of the detectives investigating the mystery of the plane crash. 

Hawley does an amazing job making the reader understand what it might be like to have overnight notoriety and the disorientation that it would bring. The characters are also interestingly flawed and compelling. Hawley has been a producer and writer for a number of television shows, including the excellent Fargo, and Before the Fall definitely has the feel of a really good drama in how it slowly lays out character and plot details piece by piece. 

As a word of warning, from reviews I’ve seen, it seems that how the mystery of the plane crash resolves has been polarizing to some readers. In fairness, Before the Fall has been compared by many to a mystery-thriller along the lines of Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, and that isn’t quite how I would describe it. Without getting into spoiler territory, I loved how the eventual explanation for the plane crash played perfectly into the themes with which Hawley layered his entire book. However, readers looking for a complex and convoluted solution should realize that Before the Fall is ultimately more about the psychology of the characters than the mystery of the plane crash. 

Anyone searching for a great character-based dramatic story would be well advised to check this one out. I highly recommend it.

--Alex

Heat Exchange: Boston Fire
By Shannon Stacey


This is a lively, fast-paced, contemporary romance set in Boston that pulled me out of my prolonged book rut. Still, even though the book was engrossing,I found myself critiquing it more than enjoying it. 

Main character Lydia, who comes from a long line of firefighters, and Aidan, firefighter and best friends with Lydia’s brother Scotty, are not supposed to be together. Even though Lydia thinks Aidan is as hot as a stack of pancakes, she loathes being involved with a firefighter (her cheating ex-husband was a firefighter, and she spent her childhood feeling as though her father put his job and fellow firefighters above the needs of his own family). Likewise, Aidan, who is clearly smitten with Lydia, can’t even think of dating his best friend’s sister without the repercussions to his friendship, as well as the possibility of serious bodily harm if Scotty ever found out about their relationship. Thus, Stacey sets the stage for an intricately plotted, in-depth forbidden romance, with lots and lots of steamy sessions between the sheets (trust me, these were not lacking). So why the lukewarm review? 

The not so bad: 
  • I have never read a romance with a firefighter as a main character and it was really interesting to learn about the challenges and rewards of the profession. 
  • There is quite a lot of dysfunction among the families of the different characters which adds a different dimension to the plot and the story. Although I wished this could have been more central in the lives of the main characters rather than just background information, it did keep me more engaged than if it had not been part of the book. 
The not so good: 
  • The characters, while well-fleshed out, were not always particularly likeable. Lydia was often mean to Aidan and frequently forced him to see things from her point of view without ever dealing with her own hang-ups. Meanwhile, Aidan stood idly by while his best friend Scotty (who is pretty much an all-around scummy character) belittled and shamed a fellow firefighter for trying to rescue a dog from a burning house.. Although I have no point of reference for how challenging it is to be a firefighter, I can’t help but imagine that any decision to try and save a life (including the four-legged ones) has to be extremely heart-wrenching and not to be taken lightly. 
  • A very quick, unsatisfying wrap-up towards the end. Without giving anything away, I was very close to throwing my book across the room  and smacking myself on the head! (don’t worry, no paperbacks, or readers, were actually harmed!)
Verdict? 
Hey, I’m just one reviewer! Give it a try and perhaps Heat Exchange: Boston Fire will be more enjoyable for you than it was for me. At the very least, you get to hang out in Boston for awhile.

--Cara

The Power of Now
By Eckhart Tolle


Spirituality is a messy business. Every religious and spiritual tradition seems to have its own bewildering set of concepts, deities, and path to "enlightenment", whatever that is. Eckhart Tolle tidies up this mess in The Power of Now, breaking a jumbled pantheon of (mostly Eastern) spiritual traditions down into a simple Zen-like arrangement. 

Tolle’s arrangement centers on the Now, and how staying in the present moment can free us from pain and transform our lives. If you’ve read any Buddhism, Tolle’s concept of Now should sound familiar, but you may know it as ‘mindfulness’ or ‘awareness’. Tolle’s method of harnessing the power of Now will likely sound familiar as well, with Tolle asking us to watch the mind and connect to body sensations like breath. Where Tolle shines is in his ability to make these sometimes difficult and poorly explained concepts into something more easily grasped. 

The appeal of Tolle’s The Power of Now will vary depending on where you are on your path. For anyone already familiar with concepts like mindfulness and awareness, this book may give you another angle on these concepts, but may not help further your practice. Tolle’s own enlightenment experience was of the sudden kind, and it shows. Little mention is made of the long practice most will need to become proficient in staying present, the kind of practice that takes years to grasp. Imagine a virtuoso playing a sublime piece of music for you, then handing you her instrument, and asking you to play the same; you may feel inspired but a little dumbfounded. The ideas presented in this book are solid, but be warned: harnessing the power of Now may be harder than Tolle makes it seem. 

Not many books sell millions of copies without a good reason though, and there is much to be said for The Power of Now. If you tend toward the secular in your spiritual pursuits and avoid the conceptual and ritual trappings of religion, this may be the book for you. Tolle gives new words to a variety of concepts, helping to separate them from the baggage of their parentage. Likewise, if you are beginning a spiritual journey, looking for something to inspire you, or just want to dip your toe in the pool, this little tome may be what you need right now.

--Ben

This One Summer
By Jillian and Mariko Tamaki


Are you in denial that school has started? Yeah, me too. I’m still in summer reading mode, so I’ve been lazing on the porch during these dog days with some breezy young adult graphic novels that capture the essence of summertime. (Technically, it’s still summer until September 22nd, so we’re good for now.) Sometimes, I get lucky with a story that has both the ease and flow of a beach read, and the heart of a timeless classic. 


In This One Summer, Rose is off to Awago Beach again, where her parents have a lake house. She spends most of her time with her BFF there, Windy. They spend their lazy days swimming, biking, and reading – but this summer’s different. For one thing, they’re “tweens” now, gazing from afar at the high schooler and resident bad boy who works at the video store, and predicting the bra sizes they’ll eventually need. Rose is definitely more worried than Windy, and more hung up on the video store guy and whether or not he has a girlfriend. Windy would rather just have fun. (The scene where Windy dances around Rose’s kitchen table is infatuating.) 

And it’s a good thing Rose has Windy to get her out of the house this summer, because her parents seem to be arguing nonstop. The arguing eventually turns into full-blown fights. She’s not sure what they’re even fighting about, but something must have happened long ago that traumatized her mom forever… Slowly, Rose realizes that with all the excitement of growing up, it also means leaving pre-adolescent innocence behind. 

I’m a relatively new reader of graphic novels and this one sets the bar pretty high. I read it in a day but when I say “day” I mean virtually all 24 hours because I lingered on every beautiful page. Long, refined strokes evoke the charm and nostalgia of summer camp and vacation cabins. The Tamaki sisters have created a perfect combo of simplicity and gravitas, both in art and story. The dialogue is delightfully random at times, a fairly accurate representation of the aimless, unstructured nature of summer vacation. I fell in love with both young female heroes. Rose has a quiet dignity about her, and no matter how hard she tries to fit in with the cool crowd, she can’t deny her independent spirit. Windy is far more unapologetic about her free-spirited nature, and she tells it like it is. 

The themes are heavy – teen pregnancy, miscarriage – but treated with delicacy and grace, so I’d say teenagers and even some of our more mature middle-schoolers would be able to handle it swimmingly. Bear in mind Rose and Windy often engage in trash talking, and like virtually all teenage girls, they use some colorful language. Highly recommended for ages 13+.

--Helen

Sweetbitter
By Stephanie Danler
Restaurant folk, this book’s for you.  Author Stephanie Danler, member of the as-yet-unorganized but omnipresent League of Literate Waitresses (you know who you are), has made good with a captivating tale that is both a coming-of-age story and a sumptuous feast for the senses.
Sweetbitter, Danler’s debut novel, describes a pivotal year in the life of twenty-two year old Tess, beginning with her arrival in New York City where she knows not a soul. Determined to leave her small town past behind and “start” her life, she succeeds in charming her way into a job at one of Manhattan’s toniest, most respected restaurants as a back waiter.  Despite lack of experience, Tess’s potential rapidly transforms into knowledge and skill as she trains in fine dining service, fancy food, and, of course, wine.  While receiving this unparalleled hands-on education, “new girl” also falls in love with the familial yet sexually charged atmosphere of the famous restaurant, forming dangerously strong emotional attachments to both her mentor Simone and Jake, a mysterious bartender. 
Beyond Danler’s razor sharp insight, what shines about her writing is how she brilliantly captures the rhythms and theater of restaurant work:  the way time zooms during a busy shift, the physical pain and manic energy  incurred from lifting, standing, running, and serving for hours without a break that can take hours to dissipate, the strain of upholding the adage “the customer is always right,” and the intense communal dynamic that makes or breaks a night and makes you feel like you are in the center of the universe. Within the narrative, Danler provides a few poetic streams of overheard conversation from both guests and staff, illustrating how Tess isn't just a food server; she's immersed in the best and worst of humanity as she moves around the floor.
Despite a somewhat predictable conclusion, the arc of Tess’s sensual journey will keep you engaged. Salud!

--Christina

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Superfoods, Super You! Summer Recipe Series: Easy Turkey Chili

As summer starts to wind down, I would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who participated in our summer reading program and submitted recipes to share! We hope you had a super summer and enjoyed our Superfoods, Super You! Summer Recipe Series. If you are looking for more healthy recipe ideas, come visit the second floor reference desk and our librarians will show you our recipe table or help you to find some healthy cookbooks.


For the last installment of our Superfoods, Super You! Summer Recipe Series, we are featuring our patron Jeanne G.’s deliciously easy turkey chili recipe. This recipe will warm you up as fall approaches and the nights become cool and mild. Enjoy!




Ingredients:


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 30 oz can diced tomato (salt free)
  • ½ cup of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato paste


Directions:


  1. In a big pot, brown ground turkey along with the onion and garlic
  2. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, canned diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, and tomato paste
  3. Cook on medium heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally
  4. Serve with fresh steamed veggies and whole wheat or multigrain bread
  5. Top with shredded cheese if desired

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 2016 Staff Book Recommendations

American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division
By Michael A. Cohen

 

Every four years during election season, people typically mention how the current election is particularly combative and lament the breakdown of political discourse. Anyone who thinks that the 2016 election is uniquely eventful, however, should check out Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen’s account of the 1968 presidential election, one of the most contentious in American history. In American Maelstrom, Cohen describes how 1968 would see President LBJ decide not to run for reelection, the assassination of RFK, anti-war riots at the Democratic National Convention, and Richard Nixon’s development of the Southern Strategy to stir up racial resentment. All this took place against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Cohen’s account is quite readable and fast-paced, and despite the scholarly nature of the book, makes for an exciting read. Cohen’s experience as a newspaper columnist makes him particularly good at describing events clearly and succinctly. While Cohen does a great job explaining various events and concepts however, he does assume a certain prior knowledge of the American political system that could leave some readers confused. Still, the book should be understandable to a political novice, though politics aficionados will likely get more out of it. 

Beyond a simple retelling of the events of the election, Cohen lays out a compelling case that the events of 1968 created reverberations in American politics that linger to this day. The year 1968 sent the Democratic Party into a tailspin that they wouldn’t fully recover from for years, and changed the way that both Democrats and Republicans campaign. In the closing chapter of the book, Cohen goes through a timeline of presidential elections from 1968 to the present day and clearly shows how events from those elections echo what took place in 1968. As Cohen quotes one presidential aide saying, “It’s never stopped being 1968.”

-Alex

The Girls
By Emma Cline


At a 2002 parole board hearing, Manson family member Leslie Van Houten said: “I take very seriously not just the murders, but what made me make myself available to someone like Manson.”
Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2016 

Much has been made about the fact that this summer's bestselling novel The Girls is about the Charles Manson’s "family” and their notorious crimes of August 1969. And while it is fictional rendering of those real events, what is most compelling about this work is that its answers to the answerable, i.e., "Why would those young women commit such atrocities, based only on Manson’s say-so, without him even present? How did they fall under his influence in the first place?", ring so very true.

Cline’s answers are conveyed through the past and present psyche of her protagonist Evie Boyd. Lulled by a hum-drum summer and feeling adrift since her parents’ recent divorce and breakup with her best friend, Evie’s curiosity is instantly peaked when she spies a group of bohemian girls boldly making their way around a local park: “They were messing with an uneasy threshold, prettiness and ugliness at the same time, and a ripple of awareness followed them.”  Before too long, she has an opportunity to impress the alpha female among them by shoplifting food for her. A chance encounter a few days later, after a fight with her increasingly distant mother places Evie into a dangerous state of rebellion, inspires Evie to follow this group back to their ranch. All it takes after that is a few hours alone with magnetic leader Russell and she’s spiritually committed to “the family”. 

The vulnerability incurred merely by existing as an adolescent female in the world, the stubborn overconfidence of teenagers, and perhaps more than anything else, the very human, overarching need to belong (as so adeptly described in Sebastian Junger’s latest work Tribe), are the weaknesses through which Russell exploits his loyal followers. However, the book is very little about him; it’s all about The Girls. 

--Christina

Listen, Slowly
By Thanhhà Lại 


Mai’s a regular Cali girl — she swims, she surfs, and spends most of her time goofing off with her superficial best friend. At school her friends call her Mia, an American variant on her given Vietnamese name. It’s indicative of the way she generally feels about her heritage; it definitely doesn't fit her lifestyle. But this summer, her plans to get a boyfriend and a tan are thwarted when her Ba (grandmother) finds out about her long lost husband who went MIA during the Vietnam War. Mai’s parents are making her go with Ba, not only because they don’t want Ba going by herself but because they think it’s about time Mai experiences her culture. Mai’s bummed, but she doesn’t have the heart to say no to her beloved grandmother. So she leaves to spend her summer on the beach -- just not Laguna Beach. 

Vietnam is hot, humid, insanely buggy, and much of the food upsets her stomach. She’s lonely, tired, and nauseous, and can’t really communicate with anyone besides her Ba. But then she meets a few friends — one with a Texas accent, even — and slowly she begins to understand more Vietnamese. As she becomes more and more familiar with the language, the rest falls into place. She finds dishes she enjoys, cute clothes for sale in markets and friends to hang out with. She travels to Saigon and Hanoi, catches frogs, gets muddy and creates a particularly special bond with her quirky cousin. But the mystery of her grandfather, the underlying reason for her trip, is truly what helps her immerse into Vietnamese culture. 

What I especially love is Mai’s voice. She’s got a kind of swagger to her that’s distinctly pre-adolescent. She’s funny, sarcastic, confident (at times cocky), but she’s not immune to getting crushed by a crush, being embarrassed or insecure, so she's definitely relatable. It's a lot different from Lại's debut novel Inside Out & Back Again, which is written in free verse and set during the Vietnam War. Listen, Slowly is much less intense and more identifiable for a child or young adult reader. 

I was inspired to read this book after a young patron at the Goddard Branch Library checked it out - sans enthusiasm - with her Vietnamese father smiling by her side. I think that finding your cultural roots often begins with parents’ direction, like how Mai’s parents made her go on the trip. Eventually, though, you discover a part of yourself you never knew about. Maybe this patron will feel the same after she reads it, and others like it. 

--Helen


Alpine for You
by Maddy Hunter


Looking for a fun, LOL, travel murder mystery? Look no further than Maddy Hunter’s Alpine for You, the first book in her quirky Passport to Peril mystery series, starring Emily Andrews and her Nana from Iowa. Five exciting attractions that await you!

1.      A lovely locale: Take a nine-day trip to Switzerland, brought to you exclusively by Golden Swiss Triangle Tours!

2.       Delightfully eccentric characters: Emily Andrews, recent divorcée whose ex-husband stole her underwear; “Nana” Marion Sippel, Emily’s grandmother, who just won the lottery and enjoys solving mysteries based on her knowledge of reality TV; a host of Iowan retirees from Nana’s travel group; and, Mr. Nunzio, a resident of Switzerland who bares his bare bottom to unsuspecting fellow senior citizens!

3.       Kills: Triangle Tour escort Andy Simon, a man who was “as randy as a mountain goat on Viagra, hitting on every miss—Swiss or otherwise—within striking distance” (back cover of book) has been snuffed out and the murderer is still on the loose!

4.       Thrills and chills: Will Emily Andrews ever find true love again or will she die having only a can of air freshener and a very high-tech Swiss Army knife with 29 different functions as her weapons of defense?!

5.       No stress: Have all the fun of travel without the added headaches (such as paying for an exorbitantly expensive room that has no windows, hotel staff losing luggage, or having to eat something from “a bowl that was filled with Elmer’s Glue with raisins” (p. 41) because a big group of Iowan retirees ate all the eggs and bacon for breakfast.

Cost?  FREE!! (at your local library) Try out Maddy Hunter’s Passport to Peril mystery series today!
Book 1: Alpine for You
Book 2: Top o’ the Mournin'
Book 3: Pasta Imperfect
Book 4: Hula Done It
Book 5: G’ Day to Die
Book 6: Norway to Hide
Book 7: Dutch Me Deadly
Book 8: Bonnie of Evidence
Book 9: Fleur de Lies
Book 10: From Bad to Wurst

--Cara

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Superfoods, Super You! Summer Recipe Series: Chilled Edamame with Star Anise

Here is a tasty twist on a simple edamame snack. This week’s recipe in our Superfoods, Super You Summer Recipe Series is chilled edamame with star anise. The flavor of the star anise adds a delightful flavor to this protein packed snack. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen edamame (in the husks)
  • 3-4 cups of water, enough to cover the edamame in the pot
  • 1-1 1/2 tablespoons salt (to taste)
  • 3 star anise

Directions:
  1. In a small pot, boil 3-4 cups of water along with the edamame, salt, star anise
  2. Boil for 5-6 minutes without the lid
  3. Drain and serve or put in the fridge overnight to serve

Have a healthy recipe you enjoy and would like to recommend? Submit it through our Summer Reading Program and complete the “Share Your Favorite Recipe” challenge or email me at jmarien@mywpl.org and perhaps your recipe will be featured on this blog!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Superfoods, Super You! Summer Recipe Series: Easy Chickpea Snack

Looking for a quick and healthy snack? This week’s recipe in our Superfoods, Super You Summer Recipe Series is an easy chickpea snack that is high in fiber and protein, submitted by Colleen!




Ingredients:


  • One 16 oz can of chickpeas
  • Coconut oil or olive oil
  • ½ to 1 tsp of seasoning, such as ras el hanout, curry powder, fennel powder, or garlic powder


Directions:


  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas
  2. Saute over medium-high heat with a little coconut oil or olive oil until warmed through and toasty on the outside. They will start jumping in the pan when they are ready.
  3. Stir in 1/2 to 1 tsp of your favorite dried seasoning and serve.


Have a healthy recipe you enjoy and would like to recommend? Submit it through our Summer Reading Program  and complete the “Share Your Favorite Recipe” challenge or email me at jmarien@mywpl.org and perhaps your recipe will be featured on this blog!

Patron Review: A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

Share YOUR review on our summer reading site, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a WPL Book Bag!



A Murder in Time 
By Julie McElwain 

This was my first time reading a book by this author. A Murder in Time is a very interesting and had me on the edge of my seat. I could not figure out who the murderer was and it kept me guessing through the whole book. The characters were funny and engaging.
--Joan M.





By Rick Yancy
The story starts out very action packed which originally made me very confused; however, it backtracks throughout the book, explaining each character's perspective, and explaining the plot thoroughly. Once I understood the story line, it instantly became a fast read and motivated me to finish the trilogy within a week. I would recommend this series to anyone who is into alien invasions.
--Joyce L.



To Beguile a Beast
By Elizabeth Hoyt


A quick, light read. This romance proceeds along the expected path, with (given the genre) likable and believable-enough characters. The problems that arise in the main couple's relationship are quickly dealt with rather than drawn out in fanciful plot twists. Overall, a fun read with no surprises.

--Victoria D.





Elantris
by Brandon Sanderson

Review by patron Frances F. 


I read Elantris, a novel by fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson, based on recommendations from several friends. Although my friends had actually recommended Sanderson's Mistborn series, I was too daunted by that kind of commitment, so I decided to cut my teeth on Elantris. This story, which begins with the fall of the magical city Elantris and its residents, details Elantris' resurrection, led by the prince of a neighboring kingdom. 

Although this book was on the long side, it was a very fast read. In Elantris, Sanderson combines watertight, original worldbuilding with compelling characterization. This is sometimes a difficult-to-find mix in fantasy novels, but Sanderson pulls it off really well. This was a great, quick summer read.



Everybody’s Fool
By Richard Russo 
Review by patron Lori C. 

If you only read one book this summer, Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo should be your pick! This book continues the story of Sully and the other characters in Russo's prequel entitled Nobody's Fool. You do not have to read the books in order to become immersed in the small town of North Bath located in upper New York state. The story is written from the heart and Russo's insight and humor will make you want to meet these fictional people in real life.



Longbourn
By Jo Baker

Review by library patron Lex P. 


As someone who reads Jane Austen novels and their variations often, I have to admit this was something completely different. Jane Austen’s characters take the backseat while the Longbourn staff are the stars of the show, especially Hill. This version truly demonstrates the less glamorous life of the Regency era and how hard domestic staff needed to work to keep the house in order. Normally, we don’t think "Oh, while Hill is taking care of Mrs. Bennet's nerves, she must not be able to get any of her chores done!" or "Gosh, a maid is going to have to scrub hard to take out all those mud stains out of Elizabeth's petticoat." I really enjoyed this different perspective. 

Many of the characters are likable and I had a hard time putting the book down. My only complaint is that Elizabeth is a bit of a drag in this book. She comes off as selfish, self-centered, and a bit insecure, not at all like the Elizabeth we all know and love. Of course, from a maid’s point-of-view, this may more realistic. 

What I liked most about this book is that it is like taking apart a beautiful functional clock to see how all the grimy gears move. We get to peek behind the stage curtains and observe the stagehands, the theatrical  illusion gone.



by RJ Palacio
Review by library patron Helen O.
I work in an elementary school – how have I not read this book by now?! This novel is an absolute gem, and has been extremely popular among elementary school-aged children since its release in 2012. In my library, there’s rarely a copy available to check out due to demand. 
In the story, August “Auggie” is a 10-year-old about to enter fifth grade. He’s going to a real school for the first time – up until now, he’s been homeschooled. Auggie isn’t like the rest of the kids, he’s a wonder. He’s intelligent, funny, kind, talented, tough, brave, and a major Star Wars expert. Oh yeah, and he has a rare facial deformity. This is why he’s been homeschooled for so long, but he’s more than ready for middle school when his parents make this decision. 
Even though the principal arranges three students to show him around the school and “hang out” with him, one of the kids, Jack Will, sticks around well after they fulfill the principal’s request. Also, a quirky girl named Summer sits with Auggie at lunch – that was her own decision. Summer is my third favorite character next to Auggie and Auggie’s sister Olivia. Via, as they call her, is such an interesting character. If there’s one thing about the book I wish were different, it’s that we learn more about her. It’s not easy growing up with such a unique brother: the ongoing medical trauma, the bullying, the constant attention from parents. Via is academically gifted, but often feels overlooked in the family next to her brother. She’s sympathetic toward her brother and sticks up for him each time he’s bullied, but she admits to these struggles too.
Speaking of perspective, the edition of Wonder I enjoyed included “The Julian Chapter,” a section at the end of the novel written from the point of view of the fifth grade’s biggest bully. It doesn’t exactly make him any more likeable, but it’s interesting to see how crazy his parents are, especially his mother, who pretty much single-handedly tries to kick Auggie out of school because she disagrees with the way he looks. What a beautiful story. Despite incessant bullying, mostly from Julian, Auggie overcomes obstacles to graduate with honors and a special award. Turns out, everyone realizes what a wonder he’s always was.