John Allen, cyclist-county employee:
“The Grand Chessboard” by Zbigniew Brzezinski (BasicBooks).
“Brzezinski argues that the U.S. should be globally active on the Euro-Asian continent, but he has a very Eurocentric way of looking at global strategy. Combined with the book’s dense prose, this makes for a slow but fascinating read.”
Susan Celentano, social worker:
“Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).
“Robinson’s story about two young girls who lose their mother and are raised by their eccentric aunt is so strangely uplifting. We are all transformed by the circumstances of life, especially by tragedy and our connections to one another.”
Avis Frazier-Thomas, attorney:
“In the Meantime” by Iyanla Vanzant (Simon and Schuster).
“This book is a treasure of information about the importance that self-love plays in achieving happiness. Vanzant uses a house metaphor to describe the various ‘floors’ people must move through to finally realize their goals.”
Lee Chirillo, business executive:
“Indonesian Cuisine” by Esly van de Weerdt-Schieffelers (Pulido Publications).
“This is more than a cookbook of exotic recipes; it’s a monument to the celebration of family. The author welcomes us not only into her kitchen, but also into her home with delightful, charming stories.”