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BorrowBox Recommendations

New eReads every month! Check out some of our May BorrowBox highlights.

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Western Lane by Chetna Maroo, available in eBook & eAudio

Eleven-year-old Gopi has been playing squash since she was old enough to hold a racket. When her mother dies, her father enlists her in a quietly brutal training regimen, and the game becomes her world. Slowly, she grows apart from her sisters. Her life is reduced to the sport, guided by its rhythms: the serve, the volley, the drive, the shot and its echo.

But on the court, she is not alone. She is with her pa. She is with Ged, a thirteen-year-old boy with his own formidable talent. She is with the players who have come before her. She is in awe.

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What happened to you? By Bruce Perry/ Oprah Winfrey, available in eBook & eAudio

Through wide-ranging and often deeply personal conversation, Oprah Winfrey and Dr Perry explore how what happens to us in early childhood – both good and bad – influences the people we become.

A simple change in perspective can open up a new and hopeful understanding about why we do the things we do, why we are the way we are – and provide a road map for repairing relationships, overcoming what seems insurmountable, and ultimately living better and more fulfilling lives.

Many of us experience adversity and trauma during childhood that has lasting impact on our physical and emotional health. And as we’re beginning to understand, we are more sensitive to developmental trauma as children than we are as adults. ‘What happened to us’ in childhood is a powerful predictor of our risk for physical and mental health problems down the road, and offers scientific insights into the patterns of behaviours so many struggle to understand.

A survivor of multiple childhood challenges herself, Oprah Winfrey shares portions of her own harrowing experiences because she understands the vulnerability that comes from facing trauma at a young age.

Throughout her career, Oprah has teamed up with Dr Bruce Perry, one of the world’s leading experts on childhood trauma. He has treated thousands of children, youth, and adults and has been called on for decades to support individuals and communities following high-profile traumatic events.

Now, Oprah joins with Dr Perry to marry the power of storytelling with the science and clinical experience to better understand and overcome the effects of trauma.

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Dust Child by Nguyen Phan Que Mai, available in eBook & eAudio

In 1969, sisters Trang and Quỳnh, desperate to help their parents pay off debts, leave their rural village to work at a bar in Sài Gòn. Once in the big city, the young girls are thrown headfirst into a world they were not expecting. They learn how to speak English, how to dress seductively, and how to drink and flirt (and more) with American GIs in return for money. As the war moves closer to the city, the once-innocent Trang gets swept up in an irresistible romance with a handsome and kind American helicopter pilot she meets at the bar.

Decades later, an American veteran, Dan, returns to Việt Nam with his wife, Linda, in search of a way to heal from his PTSD; instead, secrets he thought he had buried surface and threaten his marriage. At the same time, Phong–the adult son of a Black American soldier and a Vietnamese woman–embarks on a mission to find both his parents and a way out of Việt Nam. Abandoned in front of an orphanage, Phong grew up being called “the dust of life,” “Black American imperialist,” and “child of the enemy,” and he dreams of a better life in the United States for himself, his wife Bình, and his children.

Past and present converge as these characters come together to confront decisions made during a time of war–decisions that reverberate throughout one another’s lives and ultimately allow them to find common ground across race, generation, culture, and language. Immersive, moving, and lyrical, Dust Child tells an unforgettable story of how those who inherited tragedy can redefine their destinies with hard-won wisdom, compassion, courage, and joy.

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The Colony by Audrey Magee, available in eBook

Maraid watches her son, James, striding out across the grass, a bottle of milk for each of their visitors in hand. His father, grandfather and uncle are all lost to the sea; her mother-in-law still knits socks for men who will never wear them.

The visitors are here to paint, to record, to celebrate – so they say – this island and its purity, the language all but vanished across the water. They pay of course but what, some wonder, will they cost?

Maraid has lost so much already it’s hard to know what she might still have to lose. And yet, as fathers are shot at their kitchen tables and grandmothers are killed at the bus stop how do you even ask such a question – let alone answer it? Some think Maraid may be giving what they can’t afford. At the end of the summer, as the visitors head home, there will be a reckoning.

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Unforgettable by Steve Thompson, available in eAudio

In 2003, England won the Rugby World Cup. Steve Thompson was there, in England’s front row, at the heart of the match, and at the heart of the scrum – one of sport’s most destructive, repetitive impacts.

But the triumphs came at a cost. When rugby union turned professional, Steve was plunged into a game where raw power meant everything. Today, he remembers nothing about playing in that final. In his words, watching the tape back is like watching a ghost.

The years of hurt in an era of professional meat shields, and the culture of sucking up punishment and coming back for more, have taken a terrible toll. Steve has been diagnosed with early onset dementia, and probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He is in his early forties. There are days when he doesn’t remember the names of his wife and four kids.

Unforgettable is part sports memoir – with stories contributed by his world-cup winning teammates and his former manager, Sir Clive Woodward – and part raw human storytelling. In it, Steve will make memories for himself and for his children, and will relive the biggest battle of his life, with his toughest opponent – his own mind.

Despite the constant reminders of what has been lost, and what is still to lose, Steve’s powerful story is one of hope and courage. Unforgettable stands as testament to the ultimate strength of the human mind – and to a man no longer pushing himself to the limit for competition, but for his own place in the world.

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Feel Good Reads

Chosen by our customers and reading group members during Mental Health Awareness Weeks – if you’re in need of a pick-me-up try these suggestions!

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