Friday, January 18, 2013

New bestsellers!! Check them out for the long weekend.

A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homeless by Danielle Steel

Kirkus Reviews –

Mega-selling novelist Steel (Friends Forever, 2012, etc.) reveals a hidden chapter from her life: the time she spent assisting the homeless on the streets of San Francisco. Overwhelmed by grief after her oldest son committed suicide, the author prayed for "something to make me hold on." Within minutes, she heard a voice in her head: "It came to me simply: Help the homeless." Steel admits to being frightened initially, but the first time she distributed supplies to those in need (accompanied by an employee who agreed to join her), she felt uplifted by their response. The people she met were deeply grateful and undemanding, and she felt a deep connection to them. Although she thought this would be a one-time experience, she returned on a monthly basis over a period of 11 years. She assembled a small team of helpers, all the while protecting her anonymity in order to avoid the celebrity scene. Concerned for their safety in potentially dangerous neighborhoods, she recruited four off-duty policemen as helpers, but in fact, they were never threatened. Steel offers inspiring stories of the people she encountered: a mother in a wheelchair with her daughter, who was receiving chemotherapy, who shunned the shelters because they found conditions inside more dangerous than those on the street; street people whose meager belongings and makeshift shelters were treated as trash by the city sanitation department; and many more. Their outreach group would call out the street salute, "Yo," to announce their presence, and they became known as "Yo! Angel." With poverty programs shutting down, while at the same time, more people are homeless, Steel has felt the need to drop her anonymity and go public. A simple but moving call for action.

The Giving Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts Series #20) by Jennifer Chiaverini

From Booklist –

Chiaverini delivers another satisfying Elm Creek Quilst story in the latest title in this excellent series. “Quiltsgiving,” held after Thanksgiving for Elm Creek campers, is tied this year to Project Linus, the organization that makes blankets for critically ill children. Updates on the recurring characters, including Sarah and Sylvia, are present but take a backseat to the engrossing stories of six women attending the retreat. A young woman uses the camp for a college service project while recovering from a leg injury. A librarian camper recounts her fight to keep her branch open amid censorship and budget cuts. Others deal with loss, including one woman who missed out on a job at Elm Creek. This volume features the series at its best, with warm, fully realized characters and powerful themes. The Project Linus and quilting details provide a nice overlay but do not overpower the story, making it enjoyable even for nonquilters. Debbie Macomber fans will enjoy this series. --Amy Alessio

Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks

Kirkus Reviews –

Acclaimed British neurologist Sacks (Neurology and Psychiatry/Columbia Univ.; The Mind's Eye, 2010, etc.) delves into the many different sorts of hallucinations that can be generated by the human mind. The author assembles a wide range of case studies in hallucinations--seeing, hearing or otherwise perceiving things that aren't there--and the varying brain quirks and disorders that cause them in patients who are otherwise mentally healthy. In each case, he presents a fascinating condition and then expounds on the neurological causes at work, drawing from his own work as a neurologist, as well as other case studies, letters from patients and even historical records and literature. For example, he tells the story of an elderly blind woman who "saw" strange people and animals in her room, caused by Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a condition in with the parts of the brain responsible for vision draw on memories instead of visual perceptions. In another chapter, Sacks recalls his own experimentation with drugs, describing his auditory hallucinations. He believed he heard his neighbors drop by for breakfast, and he cooked for them, "put their ham and eggs on a tray, walked into the living room--and found it completely empty." He also tells of hallucinations in people who have undergone prolonged sensory deprivation and in those who suffer from Parkinson's disease, migraines, epilepsy and narcolepsy, among other conditions. Although this collection of disorders feels somewhat formulaic, it's a formula that has served Sacks well in several previous books (especially his 1985 bestseller The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat), and it's still effective--largely because Sacks never turns exploitative, instead sketching out each illness with compassion and thoughtful prose. A riveting look inside the human brain and its quirks.

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Here Come the Black Helicopters!: UN Global Governance and the Loss of Freedom by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

BookRabbit -
In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 24, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton taunted opponents of the controversial Law of the Seas Treaty (one of liberals' top agenda items), saying, Of course, that means the black helicopters are on their way, a reference to conspiracy theories about a world government. Ironically, as Dick Morris and Eileen McGann argue, Clinton's sarcastic remarks were strikingly close to the truth. In "Here Come the Black Helicopters!", Morris and McGann detail the liberal plan to remove decision-making power from the U.S. government and vest it in the United Nations, establishing a one-world government that would sublimate America's national interests, subsume our democratic values, and subvert the power and sovereignty of our national government. Regulated by the U.N.- a governing body that polls show two-thirds of Americans say they don't approve of - these global superagencies would have no accountability to American voters and would have no input from elected officials, yet would have power to censor the Internet and control international communications, to levy international taxes, and to otherwise undermine and circumvent our jurisprudence and constitutional protections by dictating law from non - U. S. bodies. Morris and McGann introduce and explain the upcoming international agreements President Obama will be championing in the last few months of his term, including the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Law of the Child Treaty, and the International Criminal Court Treaty. Here "Come the Black Helicopters!" is filled with shocking information and heavy-hitting conclusions and offers a concrete plan to push back against the formation of world government-ideas that no American can afford to ignore as we head into the next presidential election.

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