The other day, you were cleaning out your wallet, looking for something you needed and you got quite a surprise.
Oh, sure, you found what you were looking for. As well as three outdated coupons, a photo of your niece in seventh grade (she’s 25 now) and a grocery list from who-knows-when.
And you found the bookstore gift certificate you got for Christmas.
OK. You know what to do with all that other stuff (sorry, niece). But what do you do with the gift certificate? Why not go to the bookstore and look for these books?
If you’re looking to buy a house this year … don’t shop before you read “Before You Buy!” by Michael Corbett. This book takes you from dreaming of home ownership to painting your new bedroom and everything in between, and it even addresses your “freaking out” moments.
If you just want the facts … and you’re getting married, look for “Offbeat Bride” by Ariel Meadow Stallings, which will give you lots of ideas and make your Special Day as nontraditional as you are.
If you’ve got a daughter (or if you are one), look for “You’re Grounded Forever … but First, Let’s Go Shopping” by Susan Shapiro Barash, a book that discusses the age-old mother/daughter battles and what can be done to stop them.
For the artist in you, grab “You Can Draw in 30 Days” by Mark Kistler, which will unleash your creativity even if you think you can barely hold a pencil.
If there’s a 20-something in your family, look for “Not Quite Adults” by Richard Settersten, Ph.D. & Barbara E. Ray. It will help you understand why your post-teen is still a kid (to you) and why it’s a good thing. And if you’ve got other challenges in your family, you’ll want to read “Siblings and Autism”, edited by Debra L. Cumberland and Bruce E. Mills, an anthology of true stories from people who have brothers or sisters within the autism spectrum.
I also liked “Yellow Dirt” by Judy Pasternak, which is a chilling historical account of nuclear development and what happened when the government knowingly contaminated an entire tribe of Native Americans. If you’re looking for outrage, this is your book. Another outraging book is “American Plastic” by Laurie Essig. How does our love of plastic money affect our plastic lives? Read on…
For the budding writer who can’t seem to get started on that new novel, look for “Mastering Creative Anxiety” by Eric Maisel. This book can boost your brain and get you to the next level on your book, your artwork, your screenplay, song or skit.
I also loved “The Word: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing”, edited by Marita Golden. This book, filled with interviews of authors such as Pearl Cleage and Edwidge Danticat, will also motivate you to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
If you crave a biography or memoir … then try “My Week at the Blue Angel and Other Stories from the Storm Drains, Strip Clubs, and Trailer Parks of Las Vegas” by Matthew O’Brien. This is a collection of stories — all true — about the people who live on the edges of Vegas. Then look for “Good Behavior: A Memoir” by Nathan L. Henry, a book about the author’s year in jail, what got him there and how he turned his life around.
If you still want more life stories, grab “Learning to Die in Miami” by Carlos Eire, the tale of a man who came from Cuba in 1962 with his older brother and how he adjusted to his new life and his new country.
To make you laugh … look for “Daily Scoldings” by Beryl Barclay. It’s filled with advice and quick wit, and it’s a quick to read, too.
If you want a business book to read … look for “Now… Build a Great Business!” by Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy. Also look for “Black Business Secrets” by Dante Lee, another entrepreneurial book specifically for African Americans who want to make a better business.
If you’re an adventurous soul and you’re planning a vacation on wheels this summer, grab “Across American by Bicycle” by Alice Honeywell and Bobbi Montgomery, the story of two women who biked from Oregon to Maine one summer, the people they met, the sites they saw, the troubles they encountered and the fun they had.
Book reviewer Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 and never goes anywhere without a book. Her columns run in the Business Journal every other week.