A Better Tomorrow: 3 Books that Can Change the World

in Nonfiction by

In the words of the musical that wowed America Thursday night, “Don’t bring me no bad news.” It seems like that’s all we see in the headlines lately, but Odyssey Bookshop has the balm that heals: their selection of “Books that Can Change the World.”

First opened in 1963, Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Massachusetts is known throughout the state as a “unique place to look for books.” They even survived two major fires in the 1980s thanks to the assistance of the community and Mount Holyoke College and today, the anchor store of the Village Commons is still going strong. Manager and Fiction Buyer Emily Crowe turned to her knowledgeable staff for these selections:

Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape by Lauret Savoy (Counterpoint, November 10, 2015)

Pick made by store owner Joan Grenier:

TraceBook“This book is a brilliant and unique musing on American history and landscape; Lauret Savoy is a multiracial woman and professor of geology and environmental studies. Her search for her ancestors leads her to landscapes, including borderlands of the southwest, the Grand Canyon, Washington D.C., and her birthplace in California. Inevitably the role of race in American history is part of her family’s history. Savoy details the inaccuracies, silences, and omissions throughout American history, including the Black Codes in Washington D.C. and South Carolina, land grabs from Mexico and Native peoples, and the disappearance of African-American towns.

“This is an important book that explores the intersection of landscape and race, and as we struggle to understand and overcome the wrongs of history and the impact on our current lives, it can change the world one reader at a time.”

George by Alex Gino (Scholastic Press, 2015)

Pick made by bookseller Niki Marion:

George“One book that is currently changing the world of children’s literature is George, a monumental, pioneering novel by genderqueer author Alex Gino. George’s titular character is a transgender fourth-grade girl whose unwavering faith in herself inspires and delights not only the LGBTQ audience but anyone who likes a hearty story about friendship, bravery, acceptance, and being true to who you are no matter what anyone else might say. The supportive relationship that George has with her best friend Melissa drives this book forward and reassures readers that with friends who encourage you to be your true self, anything is possible.”


Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate our Shared Humanity by Barbara Abdeni Massaad (Interlink Pub Group, 2015)

Pick made by bookseller Ann Childs:

SoupforSyria“Soup really is the workhorse of the culinary world and this book goes to show that no matter where in the world you are, from Armenia to Zimbabwe, tasty soup is always nearby. Bringing the soups—each recipe donated by an accomplished chef, some of whom like Anthony Bourdain are world-famous household names—together shows just how flexible of a food group it is, and this collection showcases flavors for any palate with enough ingredient diversity to satisfy the nutritional requirements of even the pickiest diner.

“But when this book is given as a gift, it’s more than a glossy book of delicious recipes and Massaad’s striking photography: it is doubly gracious because Massaad and the publisher are donating all profits to the UN for food relief, to ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Change the world by making soup—what could be better?”

figured it all out too late. He got his degree in Psychology and realized years later that he wanted to write for a living. He now has 16+ years of digital and print journalism experience and currently entertains an ongoing love affair with the greatest literary classics (he savored every page of "War and Peace" and thought it could've been longer, and he will finish Proust's "In Search of Lost Time"). He also loves crossword puzzles, tennis, the outdoors, and working on numerous novels. One of these days, one will get picked up...and when it does, the world will make a little more sense.

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