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From the incomparable Anne Tyler comes a wise, gently humorous and deeply compassionate novel about a schoolteacher who has been forced to retire at 61.

Liam Pennywell, who set out to be a philosopher and ended up teaching fifth grade, never much liked the job at that run-down private school, so early retirement doesn't bother him. But he is troubled by his inability to remember anything about the first night that he moved into his new, spare and efficient condominium on the outskirts of Baltimore. All he knows when he wakes up on the next day in the hospital is that his head is sore and bandaged.

We all know a Liam. In fact, there may be a little of Liam in each of us. This is why Anne Tyler's lovely novel resonates so deeply.

"Noah's Compass" is on the Reserve Shelf at Walla Walla Public Library.

Featured books will be available for the public today. They can also be placed on hold online at wallawallapubliclibrary,org or call the library for assistance at 527-4550. Other books include:

"Days of Gold," by Jude Deveraux

In 1766 Scotland, the laird of the clan, Angus McTern, has everything he wants in life. Although his grandfather lost the family's land and castle in a card game when Angus was just a boy. Angus takes his duties seriously and is respected by all the men and adored by the women. That is, until Edilean Talbot shows up.

Breathtakingly beautiful and born of privilege, Edilean represents everything Angus despises. When she rejects him he is deeply wounded and, worse, humiliated before his clan.

But the day comes when Edilean need Angus's help to reclaim the gold that she inherited from her father. At first he refuses, but her beauty - and her tears - so haunt him that he puts aside his pride and decides to aid the heiress. Despite all that keeps them apart, Angus and Edilean find a love as wild and free as the land itself.

Nonfiction

"Dawn Light," by Diane Ackerman

In an eye-opening sequence of personal meditations through the cycle of seasons, celebrated storyteller-poet-naturalist Diane Ackerman awakens us to the world at dawn, bringing into stunning focus a time of day that many of us literally or metaphorically sleep through.

Humans might luxuriate in the idea of being "in" nature, Ackerman points out, but often forget that we are nature - for "no facet of nature is as unlikely as we, the tiny bipeds with the giant dreams." In prose so rich and evocative that you can feel the earth turning beneath your feet, Ackerman's thrilling observations - of things ranging from cloud glories to endangered whooping cranes - urge us to live in the moment, to wake up to nature's everyday miracles.

"At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream," by Wade Rouse

Finally fed up with the frenzy of city life and a job he hates, Wade Rouse decided to make either the bravest decision of his life or the worst mistake since his botched Ogilvie home perm: to uproot his life and try, as Thoreau did some 160 years earlier, to "live a plain, simple life in radically reduced conditions."

In this memoir, Wade and his partner, Gary, leave culture, cable and consumerism behind and strike out for rural Michigan - a place with fewer people than their former spinning class. There, Wade discovers the simple life isn't so simple. Battling blizzards, bloodthirsty critters and nosy neighbors equipped with night-vision goggles, Wade and his spirit, sanity, relationship and Kenneth Cole pointy-toed boots are sorely tested with humorous and humiliating frequency.

And though he never does learn where his well water actually comes from or how to survive without Kashi cereal, he does discover some things in the woods outside his knotty-pine cottage in Saugatuck, Mich., that he always dreamed of but never imagined he'd find - happiness and a home.

Others

"Hard Stop," by Chris Knopf; "Evil for Evil," by James R. Benn

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