Nonfiction

Staff Picks: We Were Eight Years In Power : an American Tragedy

Reviewed by Bill Koester, Materials Handler

We Were Eight Years In Power : an American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates is also available in eBook, audiobook, and large print formats.

IntegrityIn response to the ongoing protests against police brutality and the ensuing discussions about race in America, there has been a recent trend of book recommendations for White Americans to better understand the experience of Black America. As a White reader myself, some of the most eye-opening work has been that of Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Staff Picks: Flat: Reclaiming My Body From Breast Cancer

Reviewed by Sarah K., Materials Handler

Flat: Reclaiming My Body From Breast Cancer by Catherine Guthrie is also available as an Overdrive eBook.

Integrity

Catherine Guthrie was in her thirties, living in Bloomington, Indiana when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had written extensively about cancer in her work as a health journalist, but quickly learned how different the landscape looks when you are the patient.

Staff Picks: Consent (for kids!)

In this 60 Second Review, Librarian Kim shares the graphic novel Consent (for Kids!) : Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of You by Rachel Brian. It's also available as an ebook through CloudLibrary! For more video reviews subscribe to our YouTube Channel and check the Finding Value: 60 Second Reviews playlist

Mental Health Zines

Mental Health Zines

Due to the prevalence and need for mental health services, and a general lack of them in many communities, zines on mental health serve a special need. Zines can help frame mental health in both a frank and gentle way, while also providing tips and encouragement for self-care. Many mental health zines are based around an individual's personal experience, so they provide a first-hand account of the associated trauma and healing processes. These zines can also acknowledge intersectional issues—issues that speak to the fact that queer individuals, People of Color, and folks who are differently-abled deal with additional institutional forms of oppression, and thus stress. For anyone interested in learning more, here is a selection of zines in the Library’s collection that cover this topic.

Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone

Did you ever dream of being in a tsunami? As a college freshman I did, repeatedly over a course of a couple of months. Luckily, I lived in the mountains then, a few hundred miles from the sea.

Richard Lloyd Parry, an English journalist, who spent over a decade in Japan, did six years of research for this excellent book. In one chapter, he recounts Teruo Konno’s experience being swept and tossed for hours in the great tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. Konno’s tale reads like a thriller.

As a city employee, Teruo opened the doors to evacuees at a city hall branch office next to the Kitakami River, fifteen feet above sea level and inland from the ocean. Everyone in the building survived the severe shaking, but the building lost power. No one knew that officials had revised the tsunami warning to 120 feet.

Love, Africa

This memoir by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist will make you feel as though you have boarded a jet and begun a new life.

Jeffrey Gettleman, nineteen-year old college student, wanders his way into East Africa, does community service work, and falls in love with the landscapes, people, swirl of languages, and colorful clothing there. In fact, he eventually decides he must come back to live in the region, not just visit.

A Short History of DADA

"Beautiful like the chance meeting on a dissection table of a sewing machine and an umbrella." —Compte de Lautréamont

Is it possible for an art movement to be anti-art? What would such a movement (anti-movement?) even look like? For the founders of DADA, which grew out of the aftermath of World War I in Europe, the answer is disruption—of society, of culture, and of art itself. 

Hillbilly Elegy

Many in the media and politics keep trying to figure out why our new President attracts so many Rust Belt and Appalachian voters. This memoir of a young man’s coming of age in both regions may offer some insight.

At only thirty-one, J.D. Vance admits he's way too young to have penned a memoir. He hasn’t done anything extraordinary (though he did graduate from Yale Law School, a major accomplishment for a kid from a single-parent home in a working-class town in Ohio, where many did not finish high school).

Vance writes most vividly of Jackson, his dirt-poor but beautiful ancestral home in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. He also describes his people: a great-grandmother who once killed someone, and his own Mamaw who often threatens to do the same to her husband when he comes home drunk. In fact, J.D. relates, one night he saves his Pawpaw after Mamaw poured gasoline over him and lights a match.

Birds, Art, Life: a Year of Observation

If you love the natural world, this little book about birding will entice you.  It’s also about much more: how to be in the world, parenting, partnering, creativity, and friendship. She also explores the first books people fell in love with, celebrity eyebrows, art, and especially how to make peace with the roaring, anxious self inside you.

Maclear, a Canadian author of children’s books, decides after a heavy stint caring for her aged father after suffering two strokes that she needed to take up a hobby for herself. She is also a mom raising two young boys, the younger of which, has the weird propensity for falling, resulting in emergency room visits.

First, she plans to take up drawing again. But the renowned teacher she interviews about lessons seemed too structured for her. As you can see in the beautiful line drawings, she also spent a year with pen and ink.

One night her husband suggests that she look at some bird photographs taken by the musician who scored his latest film.  These bird pictures wowed Kyo. So much so, that within a few days, she’d contacted the musician and asked if he would be her guide to the world of birding for an entire year. What she liked about her guru, who she simply calls “The Musician” throughout the book was that he was “fervent about birds without being reverential.”

The Hidden Life of Trees: what they feel, how they communicate: discoveries from a secret world

I have always felt a strong connection to trees; I love them in all seasons and am fascinated by their intricacies, their shapes, varieties of bark, leaves and shapes, the patterns they make interplaying with light.

This biography of a forest, so to speak, fills you in on a forester’s own passion for trees. He uses the language of a nature lover and also that of a scientist to describe the myriad connections trees have to each other in a healthy forest.

A connection that made him refuse to bring huge modern machinery into a forest and only use horses and saws when a tree needed cutting, an amazing evolution for a trained forester.

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