AbeBooks is full of avid readers, with interests ranging across the board, from contemporary fiction to politics and spirituality. We're pleased to share some of our favorite books with you.

Thrive Diet

by Brendan Brazier

Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier

As a competitive vegan athlete, I've never seriously considered changing my diet to aid in performance. After all, I've had noticeably more energy simply from eschewing animal products of any kind. When I found out about the Thrive Diet though, essentially a sport nutrition book written by professional vegan Ironman triathlete, Brendan Brazier, my interest was kindled. After reading Thrive Diet, I can easily say my diet will never be the same again. Brendan's explanation of nutritional stress has given me the incentive to eat better, with more purpose than to simply fill my belly. Though I don't plan to conform to the Thrive Diet 100%, the book has brought me closer to a healthier, whole-foods diet than I ever thought I'd be. And I'll certainly make full use of the many great recipes that reside within (especially those nut burgers - yum!).

Five Stars Reviewed by Niilo

Absurdistan: A Novel

by Gary Shteyngart

Absurdistan: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart

Following the mis-adventures of Misha Vainberg, a wonderfully corpulent and naive young member of the Russian wealthy, this book caricatures our corporate world through a hilarious commentary on capitalist excesses. A fantastically entertaining modern satire of our world through the yearnings of an outsider seduced by the American Dream.

If you enjoy this, you might like Microserfs by Douglas Coupland.

Five Stars Reviewed by Patrick

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda

by Philip Gourevitch

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwandaby Philip Gourevitch

I've always felt like I had an excuse to know so little about terrible things in history. Various wars, the Holocaust, Hiroshima. All of these things happened before I was born. I was not alive to witness them, to be outraged, heartbroken, even aware. In 1994, when I was 16 years old, 800,000 Rwandan people were brutally exterminated in just over 3 months. The book taught me the actual meaning of the word decimated. I thought it simply meant significantly reduced by death or violence, but it has a more specific meaning—for a population to be decimated, it must have lost a tenth of its members.
This book made me cry countless times. The obvious absurdity ot the notion of Hutus and Tutsis killing each other over their differences was easy to state from the privileged comfort of my own bed. It was disturbing, disquieting, unbelievable. I was incredulous that this had gone on in my almost-adult life, and that I knew so little about it. Kudos are due to Philip Gourevitch, who writes for The New Yorker, for going to Rwanda to research this terrifying and complicated struggle, and for writing about it with such clarity and compassion. It's funny to say I would recommend a book that completely devastated me, but it was very well-written, and engaging and understandable, and something I felt ashamed to not know more about.

Five Stars Reviewed by Beth

A Thousand Splendid Suns

by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

After The Kite Runner broke my heart, I knew I wanted to read anything else its author wrote. A friend and coworker lent me her copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns on Thursday night, and I finished it on Sunday. Similar to its predecessor, the book details Afghanistan—its people, its landmarks, its geography—vividly, and gives the reader a real understanding of the country. It is impossible to not fall in love with the strength in Mariam and Laila, the women the book follows through childhood, forced adulthood, war, love, grief and more. It is a beautiful book, and similar to Rohinton Mistry's depictions of India, the author's love for his country of origin is evident on every page. I only wish it had been longer.

If you enjoy this, you might like A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

Four Stars Reviewed by Beth

Prodigal Summer

by Barbara Kingsolver

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

I love Barbara Kingsolver. I first discovered her with The Bean Trees, and have tried to read and own everything she has written since. Prodigal Summer may just be my favourite of hers, though it depends what day you ask me. It is a green, lush book that smells of pine needles and cedar bark and sounds like birds and frogs and the wind in the leaves. It tells the story of two women. Lusa's husband has died, and left her with a farm she doesn't understand or know how to run, and a family that seems impenetrable and determined to make her feel more of an outcast than she is. Deanna is a woman who enjoys her own company and mostly keeps to herself. She works as a forest ranger in the woods, researching and protecting coyotes and studying the woods around her. As seasons unfold, each of the women come to see different strengths in themselves, and different vulnerabilities, too. This whole book is such a rich, amazing read, and I loved each page. I can't recommend it highly enough!

If you enjoy this, you might like The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.

Five Stars Reviewed by Beth

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1

by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore

Can comics go here? The Walking Dead series is one of the best graphic novels I've ever read. Perfect for those of us who are frustrated when the zombie movie ends (we want to see how life goes on in a primarily undead world!), The Walking Dead tells the story of a group of people surviving the zombie apocalypse, from the primary perspective of Rick, a police officer who wakes up in the hospital after a shooting to find the world very changed. The books go into every challenge of the new world, from safety, to food, to fuel, to lack of medical care, to the simultaneous threat and promise of other survivors. A lot of attention is given to the psychological effect of their situation on the survivors. The art is well done, particularly the undead - they are realistically and gruesomely depicted. I would recommend these books to comic fans, and definitely to any zombie buff. The 7th Volume, The Calm Before, has just been released in trade paperback.

If you enjoy this, you might like World War Z by Max Brooks.

Four Stars Reviewed by Beth

The Garden of Vegan

by Sarah Kramer

The Garden of Vegan by Sarah Kramer

This is a 'must have' cookbook for any vegans, vegetarians, or aspiring chefs. In addition to fabulous recipes, it has useful tips on food in general. The ingredients required are almost all very basic, and very straight forward. The descriptions are very witty, and interesting to read even in a non-baking atmosphere. Personally, my favorite recipe is the Decadent Brownies. These brownies are impossible to ruin, which is a bonus for me. They are the standard I bring to all bake sales and pot lucks!

If you enjoy this, you might like How It All Vegan series by Sarah Kramer.

Five Stars Reviewed by Meredith

A Bird in the House

by Margaret Lawrence

A Bird in the House by Margaret Lawrence

This book is an interesting collection of stories from the point of view of a young girl growing up in Saskatchewan. Hillarious, touching and very easy to relate to, the characters make this book. Grouchy grandpa and his rocking chair, saucy aunt and her lipstick; the imagery used in this book pulls you in and brings you right back to those strange childhood years when you're just old to enough to understand what's happening around you.

If you enjoy this, you might like Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro.

Four Stars Reviewed by Anna

365 Knitting Stitches A Year Perpetual Calendar

by Martingale & Co.

365 Knitting Stitches A Year Perpetual Calenda by Martingale & Co.r

Are you a freestyle knitter? Don't respect patterns, or the rules they make you adhere to? Me too, and that's why I love this calendar. This is a great example of the non-book items for sale on AbeBooks. What's better than learning a new stich everyday? Making a project your way!

If you enjoy this, you might like Stitch & Bitch by Debbie Stoller.

Five Stars Reviewed by Anna

The Magician's Assistant

by Ann Patchett

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett

Oh, I love this book so much. After reading (and adoring) Bel Canto, I wanted to read all the Ann Patchett I could get my hands on, and this is my favourite so far. I read it around the same time as watching the films The Illusionist and The Prestige quite by accident, and found myself steeped in magic. The Magician's Assistant tells the story of Sabine, a Jewish Magician's Assistant living in Los Angeles, mourning the loss of her magician, who was also her husband (of convenience and affection; he was gay) and her best friend, and as she learns quickly after his death, someone she didn't know as well as she thought. Like Bel Canto, the writing is so strong and brilliant, and manages to show the reader, rather than tell the reader the story. I adore everyone in this book and wish they were real so I could visit them.

If you enjoy this, you might like Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

Four Stars Reviewed by Beth

Little Children

by Tom Perrotta

Little Children by Tom Perrotta

I read Little Children because I knew the movie was coming out, and I wanted to read the book first. I really liked the story. The title hints at so much of what goes on in the story. Todd and Sarah, two parents in two unsatisfying marriages, use their own children as excuses to get to know each other, eventually having an affair, in an obvious attempt to recapture their own youth away from the lives they find themselves in. The book also details Ronnie, a pedophile recently out of prison, whose sexual attraction to and abuse of children is met with an outcry of protestation from the community, and in one man's case, childlike bullying, intimidation and cruelty. I can't say really liked any of the characters in this book, much, but I think I could identify with parts of almost all of them. It was a quick read, and one I enjoyed.

Three Stars Reviewed by Beth

The Long Walk

by Slavomir Rawicz

The Long Walk

An incredible true story of prisoners of war who escape a Soviet prison camp in Siberia and trek to their freedom in India. It’s a quick easy read, and the adrenalin quotient is high. What most impressed me is the camaraderie that develops between the group of diverse individuals, and that they never give up on each other despite overwhelming adversity. Probably one of the greatest documented feats of human endurance in modern times particularly since they cross the Gobi Desert with almost no water. It's also interesting reading about their interactions with different cultures along the journey. Best of all it’s not about explorers who often have been motivated by fame who are making this journey, it’s a group of individuals seeking their freedom.

Four Stars Reviewed by Marc

The Eat-Clean Diet: Fast Fat-Loss That Lasts Forever!

by Tosca Reno

The Eat-Clean Diet by Tosca Reno

The title implies another weight-loss plan but this book offers much more – it presents a way of life when it comes to eating. Basically to eat clean means to consume only high quality food free of unnatural additives and eating the right kinds of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. So no foods with man-made sugars, hydrogenated fats, trans-fats and other unnecessary ingredients, no matter how tasty! Author Tosca Reno is proof that eating clean is a good way to lose weight healthily but if you're wanting to get fit or take your fitness to the next level, it's a good book to help you get started with an eating plan that is and has been followed by athletes, body-builders and fitness professionals. You're also not just left floundering with information – the book includes recipes to put principle into practice.

Five Stars Reviewed by Kathleen

A Town Like Alice

by Nevil Shute

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

The epic story A Town Like Alice is a book to savour! Romance, war and triumph of the human spirit - who could ask for more! This fabulously written tale spans decades and thousands of miles. Amazingly inspirational and heart-wrenching at the same time, this book is a treasure for all types of readers. Originally recommended to me by my mother, this book has become my all-time favourite read... so far!

If you enjoy this, you might like The Beach by Nevil Shute.

Five Stars Reviewed by Anna

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