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National Geographic

Tara Isabella Burton’s Debut and Deadly Relationships

in Thrillers by

This year, we’ve seen a lot of books that seem to just raise the bar on what we can expect from literature in terms of mesmerizing plots, spellbinding characters and twists no one ever saw coming. But debut novel Social Creature, with its eye-catching cover that stops you in your tracks may just have raised the bar above all the others. Equally hypnotic and provocative, the novel focuses on the friendship between two women: Louise living on her own, barely making rent with no real relationships with anyone, not even her own family; and Lavinia, living in an apartment on the Upper East Side, funded by her parents, and taking part in everything the high life in New York has to offer.…

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The Man Who Brought Cherry Blossoms to D.C., and Other Fun Facts

in Non-Fiction by

Each spring, thousands of tourists travel to our nation’s capital to see the Tidal Basin swathed in clouds of cherry blossom pink. Peak bloom this year is predicted to be March 17-20 but festivities will continue for the following four weeks. The first flowering cherry trees were planted more than 100 years ago when a Department of Agriculture employee ordered 125 of them from a Japanese plant nursery, because his new wife liked them. This man, David Fairchild was a shy country boy from Kansas, but he became one of the most adventuresome botanists of all time. His story is told in The Food Explorer (Dutton, 2018), a new book by Daniel Stone that reads like a travelogue, a novel,…

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Can pickles cure your social anxiety? The experts say, “yes!”

in Potpourri by

Crowds put you on edge. Walking down a crowded sidewalk can make you anxious. Even hanging out with a large group of your peers might be a little uncomfortable. Well, maybe the problem is that you’re not eating enough pickles. Yeah, you read that right. Pickles and other fermented foods offer a variety of health benefits and a recent study – as cited by Rebecca Rupp for National Geographic – indicates a link between fermented vegetables and the easing of social anxiety. According to the study, published in the August issue of Psychiatry Research, foods like pickles, sauerkraut and yogurt specifically target a person’s neuroticism. William and Mary psychologist and co-author of the study Matthew Hillimire said: “It is likely that the…

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‘Life is Good’ Book Wants You to Enjoy the Ride

in Non-Fiction by

It may be the quintessential American success story. But for entrepreneurs, clothing manufacturers and authors Bert and John Jacobs, their business plan, their brand and their very lifestyle boils down to three simple words: Life is Good. With those three words, the Jacobs brothers stumbled upon not just success and a $100 million clothing company—they found the principle that governs their lives. And, they say, if you let this kind of optimism govern yours, you can live a life of better health, resilience and fun. Life is Good, The Book: How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy the Ride (National Geographic Books, September 2015) is not simply the story of how the Jacobs brothers turned $78 and a used minivan…

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