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Books among greatest influences on educational success

As we celebrate our country’s independence and its unique freedoms on July 4, this may be a good time to make a case for books — and their profound influence on our nation’s youth.

What influences how far a child will advance in his or her education? The parents’ level of education would seem like a strong indicator. But it turns out that there’s an even more concrete one — the number of books in the home. has just published results of a recent study by University of Nevada sociologists, who analyzed 20 years of data on 73,000 people in 27 countries, including the U.S. It found that a child born into a family of average income and education but with 500 books in the house would, on average, attain 12 years of education — three years more than the equivalent child with no books at home.

The more books are present, the greater the educational benefit.

“Even a little bit goes a long way,” says study author Mariah Evans. The presence of books, in fact, was twice as important to children’s progress in school as the father’s level of education.

“You get a lot of bang for your books,” Evans promises.

Books on CD

“The 9th Judgment” by James Patterson is the latest in the Women’s Murder Club series.

“The Pacific” by Hugh Ambrose is the official companion audiobook to the HBO miniseries. “Too Big To Fail” by Andrew Ross Sorkin is a behind-the-scenes account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami. “13 Bankers” by Simon Johnson and James Kwak looks at the power of megabanks in America today even after the financial meltdown. “The Promise” by historian and author Jonathan Altar reviews President Obama’s first year in office. “Women Food and God” by Geneen Roth explores women’s relationships with food and what it means for their lives. “Oprah” is the unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey by Kitty Kelley.


“Steinbrenner” by Bill Madden is the biography of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. “Master Your Workday Now!” by Michael Linenberger offers strategies to control chaos, create outcomes and connect your work to who you really are. “The Invisible Gorilla” by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons uses stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate that our minds don’t work the way we think they do. “Crisis Economics” by Stephen Mihm provides a crash course in the future of finance by looking at how one economist foretold the current crisis. “Operation Mincemeat” by Ben Macintyre explores a plan conceived by two brilliant intelligence officers to deceive the Nazis about the Allied forces plans. “Helmet For My Pillow” by Robert Leckie is a first-person account of a Marine in World War II.

Large print

“Better Safe Than Sorry” is a Pennsylvania Dutch mystery with recipes by Tamar Myers.

“Aunt Dimity Down Under” by Nancy Atherton is a mystery that takes the sleuth to New Zealand.

New novels

“Heart of the Matter” by Emily Giffin tells of two young mothers thrown together after a tragic accident.

“The Outer Banks House” by Diann Ducharme follows the life of a young girl as the wounds of the Civil War are just beginning to heal.

Mysteries and suspense

“The Spy” by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott is an adventure in the Isaac Bell series. “The Lion” by Nelson DeMille features Special Agent John Corey and is the sequel to “The Lion’s Game.” “The Passage” by Justin Cronin follows a world forever altered after a security breach at a U.S. government facility unleashes the product of a chilling military experiment. “Death Echo” by Elizabeth Lowell features a pair of former CIA operatives trying to stop a deadly plot. “Cross Roads” by Fern Michaels is the latest in the Sisterhood series.

Magic and vampires

“The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” by Aimee Bender explores the life of a girl who can tell of others’ thoughts and moods by the taste of their food. “My Name is Memory” by Ann Brashares is about a young man who has the ability to recall past lives and recognize the souls of those he’s previously known. “Changes” by Jim Butcher is a mystery in the series featuring Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. “Bullet” is an Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novel by Laurell K. Hamilton, who was praised by U.S.A. Today: “What ‘The Da Vinci Code’ did for the religious thriller, the Anita Blake series has done for the vampire novel.”

Quotable quote

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but rather with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” — American humorist and author Erma Bombeck.

Thanks to our donors

For books and materials this week, we thank Carole Bode, Sheila and Jim Lane, and many anonymous donors.

Web site

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