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Books to read this January

Bryan Uecker from The Book Nook and Java Shop shares his top books for January 2020.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — My West Michigan January 2020 Book Selections

Adult Fiction -- BOOK CLUB BOOK: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

“A true classic of world literature . . . A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world.”  —Barack Obama 

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Things Fall Apart is the first of three novels in Chinua Achebe's critically acclaimed African Trilogy. It is a classic narrative about Africa's cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent. Told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior of Umuofia in the late 1800s, Things Fall Apart explores one man's futile resistance to the devaluing of his Igbo traditions by British political andreligious forces and his despair as his community capitulates to the powerful new order.

With more than 20 million copies sold and translated into fifty-seven languages, Things Fall Apart provides one of the most illuminating and permanent monuments to African experience. Achebe does not only capture life in a pre-colonial African village, he conveys the tragedy of the loss of that world while broadening our understanding of our contemporary realities.

Adult Non-Fiction: Traction-Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you?

All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations—personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 2,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do.

In Traction , you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.

For an illustrative, real-world lesson on how to apply Traction to your business, check out its companion book, Get A Grip.

Local:  Travel Light by Laura R. Holmes

What does it mean to travel light?

Lighten up and find balance in life, work, and play. Traveling light means much more than cramming a ton of clothing into a carry-on. To travel light is to be carefree, without the cell phone and burden of stress. It's OK to leave work behind. Instead, let the light of your soul shine out into the world. Exceptional people and travelers are patient, humble, kind, and open to new people and experiences.

Dive in with chapter 1 "the Year of 40" a rollicking romp to celebrate a milestone birthday, culminating on a canoe trip encounter with a pissed-off alligator. “The Paris Power Tour” details a three-day tromp through France's most visited city, followed by five days perched high in the Alps. "Bomb Threats and Champagne Powder" chronicles a grand misadventure in airports, on airlines, and eventually, on mountains and snow. "Taste It with Passion" highlights a nerve-racking cooking lesson in Tuscany. "Five Hos and a Bro" brings six friends together for epic snow, songwriting, and clubbing. "Trunk's Full" is a chapter featuring four girlfriends scampering from Madrid to the Pyrenees, almost running down a mysterious creature on the roadways. "In the Mitten" covers the author's home state and how backyard adventures reward the soul and benefit the pocketbook. "Flat Alaska" features an epic state full of bear, moose, whales, and eagles. "Vortexes and the Big Ditch" explores a "petrified hike" into the Grand Canyon. Finally, "The Liver Dance" in Ireland shows off 50 shades of green on the Links, in Connemara National Park, and on a hike with no ropes!

Author Happy Hour with Laura R. Holmes – 5:30 p.m. Thursday, February 6

Young Adult: It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah 

 A New York Times Bestseller

The host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, tells the story of growing up half black, half white in South Africa under and after apartheid in this young readers' adaptation of his bestselling adult memoir Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.


Trevor Noah, the funny guy who hosts The Daily Show on Comedy Central, shares his remarkable story of growing up in South Africa with a black South African mother and a white European father at a time when it was against the law for a mixed-race child to exist. But he did exist—and from the beginning, the often-misbehaved Trevor used his keen smarts and humor to navigate a harsh life under a racist government.

This fascinating memoir blends drama, comedy, and tragedy to depict the day-to-day trials that turned a boy into a young man. In a country where racism barred blacks from social, educational, and economic opportunity, Trevor surmounted staggering obstacles and created a promising future for himself, thanks to his mom's unwavering love and indomitable will.

It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime not only provides a fascinating and honest perspective on South Africa's racial history, but it will also astound and inspire young readers looking to improve their own lives.

Children: Why the Face? by Jean Jullien

A hilarious guessing game of facial reactions created by the author of bestselling This Is Not A Book

Jean Jullien tickles the funnybone once again with a book of facial overreactions. Faces are presented first, allowing the reader to wager predictions of what may have prompted such an expression, before the dramatic answer is revealed. Why the face? reads the text alongside an agitated boy with eyes and nose scrunched up. Pick up the full-page flap to reveal a whole mess of smelly items, from stinky socks to an oozing trash can, and the text, Whoa, that stinks. Jullien masterfully provides enough clues for the reader to piece together the narrative, including both predictable and surprising scenarios. Based on young children's natural fascination with faces, this book encourages readers to practice empathy and build emotional intelligence, with cleverly simplified and humorously satisfying vignettes. A brilliant addition to Phaidon's growing Jean Jullien board book library.

Ages 2-4

For more information, please visit:

The Book Nook & Java Shop

8744 Ferry Street

Montague, Michigan 49437



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