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For the love of books

When you experience life through the eyes of another, you encounter diverse angles on life’s most common situations. Talented authors will naturally inspire empathy for their characters, and empathizing with viewpoints different from your own can feel uncomfortable. Extremely uncomfortable. While reading doesn’t mean that you’ll agree with different perspectives, it does offer you the opportunity to understand them.

The Fact of a Body. A Murder and a Memoir. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes—the moment she hears him speak of his crimes — she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, THE FACT OF A BODY is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed — but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe — and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

Theory U. Leading from the future as it emerges. C. Otto Scharmer

We live in a time of massive institutional failure that manifests in the form of three major divides: the ecological, the social, and the spiritual. Addressing these challenges requires a new consciousness and collective leadership capacity. In this groundbreaking book, Otto Scharmer invites us to see the world in new ways and in so doing discover a revolutionary approach to learning and leadership.

In most large systems today, we collectively create results that no one wants. What keeps us stuck in such patterns of the past? It’s our blind spot, that is, our lack of awareness of the inner place from which our attention and intention originate. By moving through Scharmer’s U process, we consciously access the blind spot and learn to connect to our authentic Self—the deepest source of knowledge and inspiration. Theory U offers a rich diversity of compelling stories, examples, exercises, and practices that allow leaders, organizations, and larger systems to cosense and coshape the future that is wanting to emerge.

This second edition features a new preface in which Scharmer identifies five transformational trends and describes U process case stories around the world. There are also eight color drawings by Kelvy Bird that capture U journey applications and illustrate the concepts in the book, as well as new resources for applying the principles and practices.

Recursion. Blake Crouch

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author of Dark Matter and the Wayward Pines trilogy comes a relentless thriller about time, identity, and memory—his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date, and the inspiration for Shondaland’s upcoming Netflix film.

Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

Against all Odds. Paul Connolly

It had been years since I had seen any of the children with whom I had grown up. When I left the children’s home, I promised myself that I would have nothing to do with them, I was sure that my only chance of living a good life would be to put the past behind me, even though that meant saying goodbye to some of the people I loved the most – as well as the ones I hated…it turned out that six of us had died, several by slow suicide in the form of heroin abuse, and at least two by faster means. When two police officers arrived out of the blue at Paul Connolly’s door, he learned the shocking news that, out of the eight children with whom he shared a dormitory in care, only two were still alive. The revelation unearthed painful memories of a childhood that, until this point, Paul had tried desperately to put behind him. Abandoned at two weeks old, Paul came of age in the infamous St Leonards’s Children’s Home in East London. The children there were routinely abused, often over the course of many years. All were underfed and unloved and told that they would amount to nothing. Angry and frustrated, Paul channelled his rage into boxing – but when an accident shattered his ambition to turn professional, he found his true calling and became a successful trainer, even working as a consultant on the pilot of a top model’s fitness video. Paul has finally found peace and fulfilment beyond anyhing he could have imagined all those years ago. He has found happiness with his wife and children and now helps to heal broken bodies, build confidence and transform lives – but he will never forget his past and the unnecessary victims of broken society…

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