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READ MY MIND © Book Reviews

Dec 07, 2014 12:07PM ● By Jennifer Neys

by Michael G. Harris, OD

If you get time over the holidays to catch up on your reading, or you’re looking for the perfect gift, here are some books you should put on your holiday reading list.

When film critic Gene Siskel asked Oprah Winfrey what she knew for sure, she was stumped. That question prompted her to write a monthly column in O magazine on this topic. Her book, What I Know For Sure, is a compilation of columns she's written over the past 14 years. Full of wisdom and sage advice, this little book was a joy to read. Listening to the audiobook in Oprah's own words is even better!

Imagine you're on the first manned space trip to land on Mars. Now imagine that the rest of the crew is forced to evacuate the planet and leave you behind. Well, that's what happens to Mark Watley in Andrew Weir's bestseller, The Martian. Watley is the first person to walk on Mars. Now he may become the first person to die there. Because of a dust storm, he is stranded and unable to contact Earth or his shipmates to let them know he’s still alive. But Watley is no quitter. Through his ingenuity and perseverance, he manages to stay alive against unbelievable odds. The only question is: Can he be rescued before it's too late? This combination thriller–sci-fi novel will keep you in suspense to the very end.

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns is a wonderful companion to the PBS series that chronicled the lives of three truly remarkable 20th-century heroes. We follow the lives and careers of Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Whether or not you've seen the TV series, you'll find this book chock-full of wonderful photos and stories of a family that was at the center of American life and politics for almost half a century. This makes a great gift, especially for those who were alive when FDR was President.

One of my favorite authors, Isabel Allende, has moved into a new genre with her latest bestseller, Ripper. Allende is best known for her books about heroines in Chile and Argentina. Her new book takes place in modern-day San Francisco and follows a group of misfits who play an online game called “Ripper.” They must use the skills they learned from the game to solve a series of real murders.

 Do these murders have a connection? Were they all committed by the same murderer, as in the original Jack the Ripper serial killings? It will take all the skills and talents of our intrepid sleuths to solve this series of crimes.

Scott Adams has failed at almost everything he’d every tried. Yet, at the age of 32, he hit it big with his Dilbert comic strip. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big is his story of grabbing success after a world of failures. Should be of interest to any Dilbert fan.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, are on a crusade for "responsible gun ownership." Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence documents their efforts to get Congress to find sensible solutions to gun violence while upholding the Second Amendment. They have a unique perspective for seeing both sides of the gun issue. Both gun owners, they experienced firsthand the tragic consequences of guns getting into the hands of the wrong people. Regardless of your side on this issue, you will find their story engaging and compelling. 


Happy holidays and happy reading!


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