Is getting healthier this year part of your New Year's resolutions? U.S. News & World Report ranked the best diet plans based on their expert panel's analysis of long-term weight loss results, the impact on overall health and well-being, and how easy it is to follow. Here's a list of books to help you get started on your pathway to better health!

An ultimate guide to common sense-lifestyle changes that will improve the health of the entire family. With a special emphasis on prevention, this book is written for parents, teachers, and anyone concerned about protecting themselves and their children from the health risks of obesity.The DASH Diet has soared in popularity because not only does it allow people to take charge of their own health and that of their families, they can do it while eating delicious food. The plan emphasizes seasonings, spices, healthy oils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other flavorful food choices. But unlike a mere recipe book, The DASH Diet explains the science and psychology of how to find success with the DASH approach. Author Dr. William Manger and his three distinguished colleagues have crafted a reader-friendly book geared to motivate people to make healthy, informed changes in their daily lives. The book offers in-depth information about fats, cholesterols, vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and more. An entire section is devoted to the role of salt and the dangers of consuming too much salt, especially for people who are overweight. 

Proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol without medication, the DASH diet now is combined with cutting-edge research to develop a program that can halt and even reverse many of the effects of aging. Heller shows you how enjoying a diet of antioxidant rich superfoods, satisfying plant-based meals, and foods that promote healthy gut bacteria will provide visible and measurable results.

Shares the story of the author's family and upbringing, describing how they moved from poverty to an upwardly mobile clan that included the author, a Yale Law School graduate, while navigating the demands of middle class life and the collective demons of the past.

proof that the dying are the ones who have the most to teach us about life."--Atul Gawande "Thanks to When Breath Becomes Air, those of us who never met Paul Kalanithi will both mourn his death and benefit from his life. This is one of a handful of books I consider to be a universal donor--I would recommend it to anyone, everyone."--Ann Patchett"--.

" ''One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read . . . Every word is near perfect.' -- David Baldacci. A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper. After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets. "--.

Faith. Trust. Triumph. "I trust Roselle with my life, every day. She trusts me to direct her. And today is no different, except the stakes are higher." Michael Hingson. First came the boomthe loud, deep, unapologetic bellow that seemed to erupt from the very core of the earth. Eerily, the majestic high-rise slowly leaned to the south. On the seventy-eighth floor of the World Trade Centers north tower, no alarms sounded, and no one had information about what had happened at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001 what should have been a normal workday for thousands of people. All that was known to the people inside was what they could see out the windows: smoke and fire and millions of pieces of burning paper and other debris falling through the air. Blind since birth, Michael couldnt see a thing, but he could hear the sounds of shattering glass, falling debris, and terrified people flooding around him and his guide dog, Roselle. However, Roselle sat calmly beside him. In that moment, Michael chose to trust Roselles judgment and not to panic. They are a team. Thunder Dog allows you entry into the isolated, fume-filled chamber of stairwell B to experience survival through the eyes of a blind man and his beloved guide dog. Live each moment from the second a Boeing 767 hits the north tower, to the harrowing stairwell escape, to dodging death a second time as both towers fold into the earth. Its the 9/11 story that will forever change your spirit and your perspective. Thunder Dog illuminates Hingsons lifelong determination to achieve parity in a sighted world, and how the rare trust between a man and his guide dog can inspire an unshakable faith in each one of us.

A poignant first memoir of how the author's relationship with her dog saved her from suicidal depression describes her unsuccessful work with therapists and loved ones before she adopted a Golden Retriever puppy who became a loyal companion throughout her difficult recovery.

At loose ends with her daughter leaving home and her husband on the road, Sue Halpern decided to give herself and Pransky, her under-occupied Labradoodle, a new leash-err, lease-on life by getting the two of them certified as a therapy dog team. Smart, spirited, and instinctively compassionate, Pransky turned out to be not only a terrific therapist but an unerring moral compass. In the unlikely sounding arena of a public nursing home, she led her teammate into a series of encounters with the residents that revealed depths of warmth, humor, and insight Halpern hadn't expected. And little by little, their adventures expanded and illuminated Halpern's sense of what virtue is and does-how acts of kindness transform the giver as well as the given-to. Funny, moving, and profound, A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home is the story of how one faithful, charitable, loving, and sometimes prudent mutt-showing great hope, fortitude, and restraint along the way (the occasional begged or stolen treat notwithstanding)-taught a well-meaning woman the true nature and pleasures of the good life.

The painful and courageous journey toward adoption made by several of her clients forces Maya Lange, founder of The Red Thread, an adoption agency that specializes in placing baby girls from China with American families, to confront the lost daughter of her past.

LAPD investigators Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard find themselves enthralled with the mysterious and brutal murder of a beautiful young woman, Elizabeth Short. Their obsession takes a dark turn as they delve into the underbelly of Hollywood and the heart of the dead woman's tortured and twisted past. It is a case that will test their mettle and their sanity.

Eight linked stories tracing the history of a painting by the 17th century Dutch artist, Vermeer. In one, he paints his daughter to pay off debts, a second story describes the loss of the ownership papers, a third takes place on the eve of its theft by the Nazis.

better than that."--Minneapolis Star Tribune"Exquisitely evocative. This absorbing, illuminating book gives us an intimate view of a sympathetic and perceptive woman, the striving writer she married, the glittering and wounding Paris circle they were part of. McLain reinvents the story of Hadley and Ernest's romance with the lucid grace of a practiced poet."--The Seattle Times"A novel that's impossible to resist. It's all here, and it all feels real."--People"Powerful and devastating. McLain pulls off a delicate balancing act, making the macho Hemingway of myth a complex and sympathetic figure."--USA Today"A sweet love story with surprising emotional impact."--Chicago Sun-Times"--.

"the story follows Hetty "Handful" Grimke, a Charleston slave, and Sarah, the daughter of the wealthy Grimke family. The novel begins on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership over Handful, who is to be her handmaid. "The Invention of Wings" follows the next thirty-five years of their lives. Inspired in part by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke (a feminist, suffragist and, importantly, an abolitionist), Kidd allows herself to go beyond the record to flesh out the inner lives of all the characters, both real and imagined"--.

"This visionary novel. in which God and Government are joined, and America is run as a Puritanical Theoracy, can be read as a companion volume to Orwell's 1984-its verso, in fact. It gives you the same degree of chill, even as it suggests the varieties of tyrannical experience; it evokes the same kind of horror even as its mordant wit makes you smile." E.L.Doctorow.

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As the new year begins in 1945, the war in Europe is in its end stages as German forces are beaten back by the Allied armies. To escape the Soviet advance on the eastern front, thousands of refugees flee to the Polish coast. In this desperate flight for freedom, four young people-each from very different backgrounds and each with dark secrets-connect as they vie for passage on the Willhelm Gustloff, a former pleasure cruiser used to evacuate the refugees. Packed to almost ten times its original capacity, the ship is hit by Soviet torpedoes fewer than 12 hours after leaving port. As the ship sinks into the icy waters of the Baltic Sea, what was supposed to be an avenue for escape quickly becomes another fight to survive the randomness of war. Monday, January 15. 

A man called Ove : a novel by Fredrik Backman
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A stereotypical grumpy old man, Ove, finds his quiet life of solitude slipping away when a young family moves in next door. Ove is the kind of man who yells at kids to get off his lawn and is the bane of the local residents' association. He may come across as gruff and bitter, but behind the unpleasant exterior is a dignified man with a story of love and heartbreak. The new neighbors and a scruffy cat may be the perfect combination to break Ove out of his shell and help him truly to start living. Monday, February 19.

Midwives : a novel by Chris Bohjalian
Also available in: audiobook

During her hippie days, Sibyl Danforth delivered a friend's baby on a blizzardy night. From this emergency delivery grew her calling as a midwife. Over the years, she had great success, helping with more than 500 home births. But on March 4, 1981, Charlotte Fugett Bedford died under Sibyl's care. Severe weather conditions treacherously iced the roads and downed phone lines, making contact with her backup physician impossible. After hours and hours of arduous labor, Charlotte seemed to suffer a stroke and die. To save the yet-unborn child, Sibyl performed a cesarean section. However, since she was not trained for this procedure and since witnesses thought perhaps Charlotte was not actually dead, Sibyl was charged with involuntary manslaughter and practicing medicine without a license. Monday, March 19.

Adult Contemporary Book Discussion

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From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior-such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce-no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children of Francie’s neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry.

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Adult Contemporary Book Discussion

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A timely account of how modern Americans cope with decline and mortality. He points out that dying in America is a lonely, complex business. Before 1945, people could count on spending their last days at home. Now, most die in institutional settings, usually after trying every medical procedure possible to head off the inevitable. Quality of life is often sacrificed, in part because doctors lack the ability to help patients negotiate a bewildering array of medical and nonmedical options. Many, like Gawande's mother-in-law, Alice, find that they must take residence in senior housing or assisted care facilities due to the fact that no other reasonable options exist. But even the most well-run of these "homes" are problematic because they can only offer sterile institutional settings that restrict independence and can cause psychological distress. Moving in with adult children is also difficult due to the tensions and conflicts that inevitably arise. Yet the current system shows signs of reform. Rather than simply inform patients about their options or tell them what to do, some doctors, including the author, are choosing to offer the guidance that helps patients make their own decisions regarding treatment options and outcomes.

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Adult Contemporary Book Discussion

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Thomas Edison's billion-dollar patent infringement lawsuit against George Westinghouse is merely one salvo in the late 19th-century "current wars." In a surprising move, Westinghouse hires novice lawyer Paul Cravath to handle his defense, and Cravath quickly discovers that Edison will go to any lengths to ensure that his direct current (DC) system becomes the standard over the alternating current (AC) promoted by Westinghouse. Caught between the two rivals is eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla, driven by visionary ideas, not money. Assisted by Agnes Huntington, a celebrated actress with a shadowy past, Cravath manages to protect Tesla from external pressures and internal demons. Burglary, arson, corporate espionage, and other unscrupulous political and business deals raise questions about who can be trusted and fuel Cravath's desire to defeat Edison. But will the personal price be too high?

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Adult Contemporary Book Discussion

Lilac girls : a novel by Martha Hall Kelly
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On a September day in Manhattan in 1939, twenty-something Caroline Ferriday is consumed by her efforts to secure the perfect boutonniere for an important French diplomat and resisting the romantic advances of a married actor. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish Catholic teenager, is nervously anticipating the changes that are sure to come since Germany has declared war on Poland. As tensions rise abroad - and in her personal life - Caroline's interest in aiding the war effort in France grows and she eventually comes to hear about the dire situation at the Ravensbruck all-female concentration camp. At the same time, Kasia's carefree youth is quickly slipping away, only to be replaced by a fervor for the Polish resistance movement. Through Ravensbruck - and the horrific atrocities taking place there told in part by an infamous German surgeon, Herta Oberheuser - the two women's lives will converge in unprecedented ways and a novel of redemption and hope emerges that is breathtaking in scope and depth.

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