Childfree by Choice by Dr. Amy Blackstone

A deeply evidence-based look at the real experiences of those who choose not to have children, 2019’s Childfree by Choice is an honest and empowering look at the many ways of creating lives of meaning and fulfillment.

A childfree woman herself, Dr. Blackstone has always been interested in the way childfree people live in a world that doesn’t really support them. In this book, she pulls together years of research – her own and that of others – to dive deep into what it really means to be childfree. She addresses the numerous myths and threats childfree people face (“You’ll regret it!” “You’re selfish!” “You hate kids!”, etc.) and debunks them all with her own experience alongside verifiable facts drawn from numerous research studies.

What I really liked about this book – aside from her hardcore commitment to evidence and citations supporting her every claim – was the way she carefully explained the difference between what our culture might say, where those assumptions come from, and what is actually true. It’s easy to accept common wisdom at face value, but it’s far more interesting to understand the issue in a nuanced way. Perhaps more importantly, Blackstone maintains an honest, calm and reasonable tone throughout and never comes across condescending or defensive. She never claims that either choice is better or worse, but only states the facts: some people have kids, some people don’t, and either way is a good way to live, as long as it works for you.

If you want to learn about an invisible population, feel empowered to create your own future, or have your eyes opened to the many wonderful ways to make a family, you might be interested in Childfree by Choice.

Best Sellers Club October Nonfiction Picks

Have you joined the Best Sellers Club? If not, you’re missing out! Four times a year, our librarians choose four nonfiction titles for our Best Sellers Club to read: a biography, a cookbook, a social justice, and a true crime title. Below you will find information provided by the publishers on the four titles our selectors have picked for October.

Social Justice pick

Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement by Tarana Burke

From the founder and activist behind the largest movement of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Tarana Burke shares her never never before revealed life story of how she first came to say me too and launch one of the largest cultural events in American history.

After a long, difficult day working with young Black girls who had suffered the unimaginable, Tarana tossed in her bed, unable to sleep as a fit of memories intruded into her thoughts. How could she help these girls if she couldn’t even be honest with herself and face her own demons. A fitful night led to pages and pages of scribbled notes with two clear words at the top: Me too.

Tarana Burke is the founder and activist behind the largest social movement of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the me too movement, but first she had to find the strength to say me too herself. Unbound is the story of how she came to those two words, after a childhood growing up in the Bronx with a loving mother that took a terrible turn when she was sexual assaulted. She became withdrawn and her self split, there was the Tarana that was a good student, model kid, and eager to please young girl, and then there was the Tarana that she hid from everyone else, the one she believed to be bad. The one that would take all the love in her life away if she revealed.

Tarana’s debut memoir explores how to piece back together our fractured selves. How to not just bring the me too movement back to empathy, but how to empathize with our past selves, with out bad selves, and how to begin to love ourselves unabashedly. Healing starts with empowerment, and to Tarana empowerment starts with empathy. This is her story of finding that for herself, and then spreading it to an entire world.

Librarian Anna has the following to say about her Social Justice pick:

‘I primarily selected this title for the BSC due to the anticipated high demand, several positive reviews it received from acclaimed journals and reader communities upon publication, and its heightened significance in today’s culture. I also selected this title due to the intersectionality of identity presented in this memoir. While the “Me Too” movement was created to be representative of and empowering for every woman impacted by sexual assault, this was especially born out of an effort to support black women in this struggle. One heart wrenching and powerful quote denoting this reads: “Standing and fighting against the diminishment and destruction of Black bodies had become a proxy for the diminishment and destruction of my own Black body.” The sheer strength of sharing such traumatic experiences, as well as Burke’s liberation of them, is sure to validate, empower, and resonate with those who have experienced similar situations, while also drawing empathy and advocacy from others who share in the fight for social justice.’

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True Crime pick

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer by Dean Jobb

“When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals,” Sherlock Holmes observed during one of his most baffling investigations. “He has nerve and he has knowledge.”

In the span of fifteen years, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream poisoned at least ten people in the United States, Britain, and Canada, a death toll with almost no precedents. Structured around Cream’s London murder trial in 1892, when he was finally brought to justice, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream exposes the blind trust given to medical practitioners, as well as the flawed detection methods, bungled investigations, corrupt officials, and stifling morality of Victorian society that allowed Cream to prey on vulnerable and desperate women, many of whom had turned to him for medical help.

Dean Jobb vividly re-creates this largely forgotten historical account against the backdrop of the birth of modern policing and newly adopted forensic methods, though most police departments still scoffed at using science to solve crimes. But then most police departments could hardly imagine that serial killers existed—the term was unknown at the time. As the Chicago Tribune wrote then, Cream’s crimes marked the emergence of a new breed of killer, one who operated without motive or remorse, who “murdered simply for the sake of murder.”

Librarian Anna has the following to say about this pick:

‘I primarily selected this title for the BSC due to its highly anticipated demand, as well as due to the positive reviews it received from acclaimed journals and reader communities upon publication. Another major reason I selected this title is because of the relatively forgotten status of this killer; while many have heard of Jack the Ripper and H.H. Holmes, this figure who preceded them is often lost to history, despite his equally wicked crimes. Finally, I selected this title due to its interesting historical lens, as several of our previous selections have been focused on contemporary true crime accounts.’

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Biography pick

Tarantino: A Retrospective by Tom Shone

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Reservoir Dogs by diving into the brilliant, twisted mind of Quentin Tarantino and discover the artistic process of an Oscar-winning legend.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1963, Quentin Tarantino spent many Saturday evenings during his childhood accompanying his mother to the movies, nourishing a love of film that was, over the course of his life, to become all-consuming. The script for his first movie took him four years to complete: My Best Friend’s Birthday, a seventy-minute film in which he both acted and directed. The script for his second film, Reservoir Dogs (1992), took him just under four weeks to complete. When it debuted, he was immediately hailed as one of the most exciting new directors in the industry.

Known for his highly cinematic visual style, out-of-sequence storytelling, and grandiose violence, Tarantino’s films have provoked both praise and criticism over the course of his career. They’ve also won him a host of awards—including Oscars, Golden Globes, and BAFTA awards—usually for his original screenplays. His oeuvre includes the cult classic Pulp Fiction, bloody revenge saga Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and historical epics Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained, and The Hateful Eight . This stunning retrospective catalogs each of Quentin Tarantino’s movies in detail, from My Best Friend’s Birthday to The Hateful Eight. The book is a tribute to a unique directing and writing talent, celebrating an uncompromising, passionate director’s enthralling career at the heart of cult filmmaking.

Librarian Rachel has the following to say about her selection:

“Quentin Tarantino is one of the most popular directors of the modern era. His film career started thirty years ago and he has been popular ever since. Tarantino has stated that he is only going to direct ten films and so far, he has directed nine. With only one film left, this biography will shed light on the man behind the camera that has directed such films as ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’.”

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Cookbook Pick

Baking for the Holidays: 50+ Treats for a Festive Season by Sarah Kieffer

A charming holiday baking cookbook brimming with delicious, indulgent recipes, cozy winter photography, and lots of holiday cheer from Sarah Kieffer.

Here’s a festive holiday baking book to celebrate this very special time of year. Sarah Kieffer, author of 100 Cookies, beloved baker behind The Vanilla Bean Blog, and creator of the “bang-the-pan” method offers more than 50 delicious recipes for seasonal brunches, cookie swaps, and all those Christmas, Hanukah, and New Year’s Eve parties.

Delight family and friends with edible gifts and whip up some delicious baked goods to treat yourself through the long winter months after the holidays have ended. Recipes include: Triple Chocolate Peppermint Bark, Meyer Lemon–White Chocolate Scones, Pear-Almond Danish Bread, Hot Chocolate Cake, and Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pepita Streusel.

With cozy holiday imagery, a lovely, clean aesthetic, and easy yet innovative recipes, this is a go-to cookbook for baking enthusiasts, anyone who loves the holiday season, and, of course, fans of Sarah Kieffer and her hugely popular cookie book, 100 Cookies.

GREAT GIFT OPPORTUNITY: With happy, festive photography and anyone-can-do-it recipes, this is a perfect holiday gift alongside a cute apron or baking product. It’s sure to please anyone in your life who loves to while away the winter months in their warm and cozy kitchen.

BELOVED, ACCOMPLISHED BLOGGER AND AUTHOR: Sarah Kieffer is the beloved blogger behind The Vanilla Bean Baking Blog, which won the SAVEUR Reader’s Choice Best Baking & Desserts Blog in 2014. Her pan-banging cookie technique went viral on the New York Times website. She has written two cookbooks and been featured by Food52, The Today Show, Mashable, The Kitchn, America’s Test Kitchen, Huffington Post, and more.

Perfect for:

• Bakers of all ages
• Holiday bakers
• Fans of Sarah’s bang-the-pan cookies, 100 Cookies, and The Vanilla Bean Blog
• Holiday gift givers

Librarian Ann says the following about her newest pick:

‘Filled with inspiration for the winter holidays, Baking for the Holidays by Sara Keiffer offers a wide range of delicious treats, from cakes and pies to cookies to breakfast pastries all beautifully presented in this gorgeous cookbook. This book also includes a chapter on gifting home baked goods for friends and family. Recipes range from beginner friendly to more challenging.’

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Join the Best Sellers Club to have the new nonfiction picks automatically put on hold for you four times a year.

Best Sellers Club July Nonfiction picks

Have you joined the Best Sellers Club? If not, you’re missing out! Four times a year, our librarians choose three nonfiction titles for our Best Sellers Club to read: a biography, a cookbook, and a true crime title. Below you will find information provided by the publishers on the four titles our selectors have picked for July.

True Crime pick

What Happened to Paula by Katherine Dykstra

In July 1970, eighteen-year-old Paula Oberbroeckling left her house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and never returned. A cold case for fifty years, Paula’s story had been largely forgotten when Katherine Dykstra began looking for answers. A woman was dead. Why had no one been held responsible? How could a community give up and move on? Could there ever be justice for Paula?

Tracing the knowns and unknowns, Dykstra discovers a girl who was hemmed in by the culture of the late 1960s, when women’s rights had been brought to the fore but had little practical bearing on actual lives. The more she learns about Paula, the more parallels Dykstra finds in the lives of the women who knew Paula, the lives of the women in her own family, and even in her own life.

Captivating and expertly crafted, What Happened to Paula is a timely, powerful look at gender, autonomy, and the cost of being a woman.

Librarian Anna has the following to say about her True Crime pick:

‘ This brand-new book investigates the 1970 murder of Paula Oberbroeckling, an eighteen-year-old woman who left her home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and never returned. Four months later, her remains were discovered near the Cedar River, but the case was never solved and quickly forgotten by the police and local media. Fifty years later, author and journalist Katherine Dykstra began searching for answers, weaving together the loose threads of this cold case to determine why the crime had been abandoned so quickly. Through police reports and case files, interviews with Paula’s family and friends, and further investigation on the scene, Dykstra discovered the complex circumstances of Paula’s story. As a young white woman in the 1960s, Paula defied many social norms that may have impacted the reception of and actions taken for the case; from having a Black ex-boyfriend to a rumored pregnancy and abortion, Dykstra considers how this particular case was deeply entangled with the social expectations of the time, as well as the overarching question of how much agency women have over their own bodies in our society.

I primarily selected this title for the BSC due to its highly anticipated demand, as well as due to the positive reviews it received from acclaimed journals and reader communities upon publication. Another major reason I selected this title was due to its somewhat local connection – this happened less than two hours away from Davenport! Lastly, I chose this book due to its melding of true crime story, memoir, and social history; one review likened this book to our previous selection of We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper due to its consideration of larger social themes at work in true crime stories.’

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Social Justice pick

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed’s On Juneteenth provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond. All too aware of the stories of cowboys, ranchers, and oilmen that have long dominated the lore of the Lone Star State, Gordon-Reed—herself a Texas native and the descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas as early as the 1820s—forges a new and profoundly truthful narrative of her home state, with implications for us all.

Combining personal anecdotes with poignant facts gleaned from the annals of American history, Gordon-Reed shows how, from the earliest presence of Black people in Texas to the day in Galveston on June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of legalized slavery in the state, African-Americans played an integral role in the Texas story.

Reworking the traditional “Alamo” framework, she powerfully demonstrates, among other things, that the slave- and race-based economy not only defined the fractious era of Texas independence but precipitated the Mexican-American War and, indeed, the Civil War itself.

In its concision, eloquence, and clear presentation of history, On Juneteenth vitally revises conventional renderings of Texas and national history. Especially now that the U.S. recognizes Juneteenth (June 19) as a national holiday, On Juneteenth is both an essential account and a stark reminder that the fight for equality is exigent and ongoing.

Librarian Anna has the following to say about this pick:

‘Published in May, this title delves into the Texan history of Juneteenth, as well as the lived experiences of the author and her family as Texas natives. A Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian and professor at Harvard University, Gordon-Reed presents an elucidating history lesson, while also piecing together her family history, to call attention to the legacy of slavery, her personal experiences of racial injustice, and how we can move forward. Described by Kirkus Reviews as a “concise personal and scholarly history that avoids academic jargon as it illuminates emotional truths,” this book is made up of several short, accessible essays to draw in any and all readers.

I primarily selected this title for the BSC due to several positive reviews it received from acclaimed journals and reader communities upon publication, but also because of the possibility of Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday this year (which it officially has – hooray!). I also had the privilege of watching a webinar in which Gordon-Reed talked about this publication. It was absolutely inspiring to not only hear about what it took to write her family’s history, but also how she hopes readers will realize that the past is a part of who we are today and that we need to truly consider both the human experience and the reality of racism’s past, present, and future impacts to achieve true social justice and freedom for everyone.’

This book is also available in the following format:

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Biography pick

Brat: an ’80s Story  by Andrew McCarthy

Most people know Andrew McCarthy from his movie roles in Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, Weekend at Bernie’s, and Less than Zero, and as a charter member of Hollywood’s Brat Pack. That iconic group of ingenues and heartthrobs included Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Demi Moore, and has come to represent both a genre of film and an era of pop culture.

In his memoir Brat: An ’80s Story, McCarthy focuses his gaze on that singular moment in time. The result is a revealing look at coming of age in a maelstrom, reckoning with conflicted ambition, innocence, addiction, and masculinity. New York City of the 1980s is brought to vivid life in these pages, from scoring loose joints in Washington Square Park to skipping school in favor of the dark revival houses of the Village where he fell in love with the movies that would change his life. Filled with personal revelations of innocence lost to heady days in Hollywood with John Hughes and an iconic cast of characters, Brat is a surprising and intimate story of an outsider caught up in a most unwitting success.

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Cookbook Pick

Zoe Bakes Cakes by Zoe Francois

Cake is the ultimate symbol of celebration, used to mark birthdays, weddings, or even just a Tuesday night. Yet too many people use chemical-laden mixes even though a cake is so easy to make from scratch and infinitely more fun to share. In Zoë Bakes Cakes, bestselling author Zoë François demystifies the craft of cakes with more than 100 easy-to-use recipes, showing how to get gorgeous confections on the table to mark any occasion, big or small.

Librarian Ann says the following about her newest pick:

‘Initially I choose this cookbook for the cover: an exquisite chocolate cake topped with cubes of marbled goodness. Inside are more pictures of beautiful, drool-worthy cakes. But this is more than a picture book – recipes are concise and clear, ingredients are easily found (mostly in your pantry) and the presentation of each cake is fun and innovative. In addition, the opening chapters offer a virtual master class in baking techniques allowing even a beginner baker to master these delicious creations. Finally, I love Zoe’s philosophy, that any day can be made better with cake, even a Tuesday!

Zoe Francois also hosts the television series “Zoe Bakes” which can be seen on the Magnolia Network.’

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Join the Best Sellers Club to have the new nonfiction picks automatically put on hold for you four times a year.

New True Crime Titles

Looking for a new true crime book to read? Here are some titles that hit the shelves in January, February, and March. If any of these titles interest you, you can use the links below to place a hold in our catalog, or you can always give us a call to put one on hold for you. The following descriptions were provided by the publisher.

At Any Cost: A Father’s Betrayal, a Wife’s Murder, and a Ten-year War for Justice by Rebecca Rosenberg

At Any Cost unravels the twisted story of Rod Covlin, whose unrepentant greed drove him to an unspeakable act of murder and betrayal that rocked New York City.

Wealthy, beautiful, and brilliant, Shele Danishefsky had fulfillment at her fingertips. Having conquered Wall Street, she was eager to build a family with her much younger husband, promising Ivy League graduate Rod Covlin. But when his hidden vices surfaced, marital harmony gave way to a merciless divorce. Rod had long depended on Shele’s income to fund his tastes for high stakes backgammon and infidelity–and she finally vowed to sever him from her will. In late December 2009, Shele made an appointment with her lawyer to block him from her millions. She would never make it to that meeting.

Two days later, on New Year’s Eve, Shele was found dead in the bathtub of her Upper West Side apartment. Police ruled it an accident, and Shele’s deeply Orthodox Jewish family quickly buried her without an autopsy on religious grounds. Rod had a clear path to his ex-wife’s fortune, but suspicions about her death lingered. As the two families warred over custody of Shele’s children—and their inheritance— Rod concocted a series of increasingly demented schemes, even plotting to kill his own parents, to secure the treasure. And as investigators closed in, Rod committed a final, desperate act to frame his own daughter for her mother’s death.

Journalists Rebecca Rosenberg and Selim Algar reconstruct the ten years that passed between the day Shele was found dead and the day her killer faced justice in this riveting account of how one man’s irrepressible greed devolved into obsession, manipulation, and murder.

The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan

A chilling true story—part memoir, part crime investigation—reminiscent of Ann Rule’s classic The Stranger Beside Me, about a little girl longing for love and how she found friendship with her charismatic babysitter—who was also a vicious serial killer.

 Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck. He bought them popsicles and together, they visited his “secret garden” in the Truro woods. To Liza, he was one of the few kind and understanding adults in her life. Everyone thought he was just a “great guy.”

But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysitter was a serial killer.

Some of his victims were buried—in pieces—right there, in his garden in the woods. Though Tony Costa’s gruesome case made screaming headlines in 1969 and beyond, Liza never made the connection between her friendly babysitter and the infamous killer of numerous women, including four in Massachusetts, until decades later.

Haunted by nightmares and horrified by what she learned, Liza became obsessed with the case. Now, she and cowriter Jennifer Jordan reveal the chilling and unforgettable true story of a charming but brutal psychopath through the eyes of a young girl who once called him her friend.

Blood Gun Money: How America Arms Gangs and Cartels by Ioan Grillo

From the author of El Narco, a searing investigation into the enormous black market for firearms, essential to cartels and gangs in the drug trade and contributing to the epidemic of mass shootings.

The gun control debate is revived with every mass shooting. But far more people die from gun deaths on the street corners of inner city America and across the border as Mexico’s powerful cartels battle to control the drug trade. Guns and drugs aren’t often connected in our heated discussions of gun control-but they should be. In Ioan Grillo’s groundbreaking new work of investigative journalism, he shows us this connection by following the market for guns in the Americas and how it has made the continent the most murderous on earth.

Grillo travels to gun manufacturers, strolls the aisles of gun shows and gun shops, talks to FBI agents who have infiltrated biker gangs, hangs out on Baltimore street corners, and visits the ATF gun tracing center in West Virginia. Along the way, he details the many ways that legal guns can cross over into the black market and into the hands of criminals, fueling violence here and south of the border. Simple legislative measures would help close these loopholes, but America’s powerful gun lobby is uncompromising in its defense of the hallowed Second Amendment. Perhaps, however, if guns were seen not as symbols of freedom, but as key accessories in our epidemics of addiction, the conversation would shift. Blood Gun Money is that conversation shifter.

The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story by Kate Summerscale

Internationally bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Kate Summerscale follows a ghost hunter in 1938 London in a case that illuminates changing social attitudes toward psychoanalysis, sexuality, and the supernatural

London, 1938. In the suburbs of the city, a young housewife has become the eye in a storm of chaos. In Alma Fielding’s modest home, china flies off the shelves and eggs fly through the air; stolen jewellery appears on her fingers, white mice crawl out of her handbag, beetles appear from under her gloves; in the middle of a car journey, a turtle materializes on her lap. The culprit is incorporeal. As Alma cannot call the police, she calls the papers instead.

After the sensational story headlines the news, Nandor Fodor, a Hungarian ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical Research, arrives to investigate the poltergeist. But when he embarks on his scrupulous investigation, he discovers that the case is even stranger than it seems.

By unravelling Alma’s peculiar history, Fodor finds a different and darker type of haunting, a tale of trauma, alienation, loss and revenge. He comes to believe that Alma’s past has bled into her present, her mind into her body. There are no words for processing her experience, so it comes to possess her. As the threat of a world war looms, and as Fodor’s obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed.

With characteristic rigor and insight, Kate Summerscale brilliantly captures the rich atmosphere of a haunting that transforms into a very modern battle between the supernatural and the subconscious.

Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green

The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon.

The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.

Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.

Two Truths and a Lie: A Murder, A Private Investigator, and Her Search for Justice by Ellen McGarrahan

In 1990, Ellen McGarrahan was a young reporter for the Miami Herald when she covered the execution of Jesse Tafero, a man convicted of murdering two police officers. When it later emerged that Tafero may have been innocent, McGarrahan was appalled by her unquestioning acceptance of the state’s version of events. The revelation propelled her into a new career as a private investigator.

Decades later, McGarrahan finally decides to find out the truth of what really happened in Florida. Her investigation plunges her back into the Miami of the 1960s and 1970s, a dangerous world of nightclubs, speed boats, and cartels, all awash in violence. She combs through stacks of court files and interviews everyone involved in the case. But even as McGarrahan circles closer to the truth, the story of guilt and innocence becomes more complex, and she gradually discovers that she hasn’t been alone in her need for closure. Because whenever a human life is forcibly taken—by bullet, or by electric chair—the reckoning is long and difficult for all.

A fascinating glimpse into the mind of a private investigator, Two Truths and a Lie is ultimately a deeply personal exploration of one woman’s quest to find answers in a chaotic world.

We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper

You have to remember, he reminded me, that Harvard is older than the U.S. government. You have to remember because Harvard doesn’t let you forget.

1969: the height of counterculture and the year universities would seek to curb the unruly spectacle of student protest; the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and the year that Jane Britton, an ambitious twenty-three-year-old graduate student in Harvard’s Anthropology Department and daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, would be found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment.

 Forty years later, Becky Cooper a curious undergrad, will hear the first whispers of the story. In the first telling the body was nameless. The story was this: a Harvard student had had an affair with her professor, and the professor had murdered her in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology because she’d threatened to talk about the affair. Though the rumor proves false, the story that unfolds, one that Cooper will follow for ten years, is even more complex: a tale of gender inequality in academia, a ‘cowboy culture’ among empowered male elites, the silencing effect of institutions, and our compulsion to rewrite the stories of female victims.

 We Keep the Dead Close is a memoir of mirrors, misogyny, and murder. It is at once a rumination on the violence and oppression that rules our revered institutions, a ghost story reflecting one young woman’s past onto another’s present, and a love story for a girl who was lost to history.

We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption by Justin Fenton

Baltimore, 2015. Riots were erupting across the city as citizens demanded justice for Freddie Gray, a twenty-five-year old black man who had died while in police custody. At the same time, drug and violent crime were surging, and that year, Baltimore would reach its deadliest year in over two decades: 342 homicides in a city of six hundred thousand people. Under intense scrutiny–and a federal investigation over Gray’s death–the Baltimore police department turned to a rank-and-file hero, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, and his elite unit, the Gun Trace Task Force, to help get guns and drugs off the street.

And yet, despite intense scrutiny, what The New York Times would call “one of the most startling police corruption scandals in a generation” was unfolding. Entrusted with fixing the city’s drug crisis, Jenkins and his posse of corrupt cops were instead stealing from its citizens–skimming from the drug busts they made, pocketing thousands in cash found in private homes, and planting fake evidence to throw Internal Affairs off their scent. Their brazen crime spree would go unchecked for years, and would result in countless wrongful convictions, the death of an innocent person–and the mysterious death of one cop who was shot in the head the day before he was scheduled to testify against the Force.

Award-winning investigative journalist Justin Fenton has been relentlessly exposing the scandal since 2017, conducting hundreds of interviews and poring over thousands of court documents. The result is an astounding feat of reportage about a rogue police unit, and the American city they held hostage.

The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough Art Heist by Anthony M. Amore

The extraordinary life and crimes of heiress-turned-revolutionary Rose Dugdale, who in 1974 became the only woman to pull off a major art heist.

In the world of crime, there exists an unusual commonality between those who steal art and those who repeatedly kill: they are almost exclusively male. But, as with all things, there is always an outlier – someone who bucks the trend, defying the reliable profiles and leaving investigators and researchers scratching their heads. In the history of major art heists, that outlier is Rose Dugdale.

Dugdale’s life is singularly notorious. Born into extreme wealth, she abandoned her life as an Oxford-trained PhD and heiress to join the cause of Irish Republicanism. While on the surface she appears to be the British version of Patricia Hearst, she is anything but.

Dugdale ran head-first towards the action, spearheading the first aerial terrorist attack in British history and pulling off the biggest art theft of her time. In 1974, she led a gang into the opulent Russborough House in Ireland and made off with millions in prized paintings, including works by Goya, Gainsborough, and Rubens, as well as Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid by the mysterious master Johannes Vermeer. Dugdale thus became – to this day – the only woman to pull off a major art heist. And as Anthony Amore explores in The Woman Who Stole Vermeer, it’s likely that this was not her only such heist.

The Woman Who Stole Vermeer is Rose Dugdale’s story, from her idyllic upbringing in Devonshire and her presentation to Elizabeth II as a debutante to her university years and her eventual radical lifestyle. Her life of crime and activism is at turns unbelievable and awe-inspiring, and sure to engross readers.

Infused: Adventures in Tea by Henrietta Lovell

According to a few online sources I found, June is National Iced Tea Month in the United States (International Tea Day is April 21). In honor of this observance, I’d like to tell you about a nonfiction book I read recently which is (somewhat) related– Infused: Adventures in Tea by Henrietta Lovell.

Published in 2019, Infused is Lovell’s memoir / travel diary about the global tea industry, highlighting all the places, people, and methods which help to create the amazing teas we (or I, anyway) drink every day. Lovell, also known as “The Rare Tea Lady”, includes recipes and photography to help capture the wonder of tea growing, processing, and of course tea drinking. She starts with her early journeys into China, mixed with meditations on why tea is so meaningful in her everyday life, and also mentions tidbits of tea’s history as a global product. Gradually she traces her growth into The Tea Lady, taking the reader on breathtaking journeys into the hidden places we’ve probably never been in countries like China, Russia, and even the UK.

I’m not a connoisseur by any means, with only a vague sense of ‘that tastes good’ (or not), but I found this book compelling for the care and detail that Lovell put into it. It’s fascinating to meet individual growers and chefs that make the creation of tea their life’s work, especially those that are carrying on deeply rooted local traditions. Lovell also makes a good case for choosing quality, loose-leaf tea over industrially-produced string-and-bag products, though of course the transition is easier said than done (and she can come across as snobbish on this point). Moreover, the writing style is readable, engaging, and thorough, with a restful, poetic level of description. The author’s love for tea and a strong sense of wonder shine through on every page.

For better or worse, I probably won’t change my tea habits too much going forward, but I definitely came away feeling enriched. Tea lovers, history buffs, travel enthusiasts, and devotees of whole, natural food products should try this book.

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter

“One writes such a story not out of the leaves of trees still to be observed, nor by means of botany and soil-science; but it grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mould of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps.”

If you are ever looking for a biography on an absolutely fascinating person, look no further than J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter. After re-reading The Hobbit with intentions of reading The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) for the first time, I decided to read up a bit on the author himself before embarking on the journey. This book provides an extremely detailed and comprehensive insight into the life of one of the most well-known and renowned authors of our time and is the official authorized biography of Tolkien by the Tolkien Society. This authorization stems from Carpenter having unfettered access to Tolkien’s personal papers and letters, as well as permission to interview family members and close friends.

Beginning with the meeting of his parents in England and concluding with his death in 1973, this biography seemingly details every moment in between of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s life with acute clarity. Completely unbeknownst to me, Tolkien was born in South Africa and lived there for five years before moving with his mother, Mabel, and younger brother, Hilary, to Birmingham, England. Shortly thereafter, tragedy and poverty struck the family upon the death of his father (who was still working in South Africa as a bank clerk). Despite this, Mabel did all she could to ensure an education for both of her sons at King Edward’s School. Tragedy struck again, however, when she passed away just nine years after moving back to England. Orphaned at just twelve years old, Tolkien and his younger brother were placed under the guardianship of Father Morgan, a close family friend and local Catholic priest. Under his guidance, aid, and mentorship, Tolkien was able to complete his schooling at King Edward’s School before eventually continuing his education at the University of Oxford.

One of the most fascinating parts of this book for me was learning how LOTR came to be. It was such an unmeditated, disorderly, and delayed process, yet that is where the real genius and magic resided. Tolkien had no clear outline of his saga while writing it, let alone any idea that this was to be his masterpiece and legacy. It all began with his love of language. As a young boy, Tolkien was fascinated by the mechanics and workings of words, eventually coming to learn an astounding variety of both ancient and modern languages, including Welsh, Finnish, and Gothic. In fact, he loved languages so much he actually began creating his own – he even wrote journals in languages he invented! After creating these languages, Tolkien felt he had a responsibility to “discover” the history behind them; this history would ultimately become the foundation of an entire mythology (eventually captured in The Silmarillion) and, unbeknownst to Tolkien, the foundation for The Hobbit and LOTR. 

While there is SO much more I could talk about, I have condensed some more interesting tidbits about Tolkien and LOTR in the fun facts below!

  • Tolkien was known for his procrastination on projects; this was in large part due to his perfectionist attitude toward his own work. After reading about his lengthy process of writing and publishing LOTR, it is a miracle anything was ever published at all!
  • LOTR is NOT a trilogy – nor did Tolkien ever want it to be. It was broken into three volumes (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) primarily due to the cost of paper at the time and worries that such a long manuscript would not garner enough sales to be worthwhile.
  • Tolkien was NOT a fan of allegory. He specifically noted his works were not meant to be interpreted in the political context of the time in which they were written; he felt that allegories ultimately limited the reader’s imagination. With that being said, he did admit to the resemblances between his work and his own life experiences – he even acknowledged his close likeness to Bilbo Baggins!
  • Tolkien was an Assistant Lexicographer on the Oxford English Dictionary.
  • Despite knowing Edith Bratt (his future wife) as a teenager, Tolkien was forbidden to spend time with her due to her being three years his senior.
  • One of Tolkien’s most prized works, Beren and Lúthien, was inspired by his love for Edith; these names are even inscribed on their tombstones.

From his early childhood and love story with Edith, to his time serving in WWI and developing dear friendships among fellow intellectuals (including C.S. Lewis), to becoming the father of four and holding several professorships, to creating Middle-Earth and experiencing fame as an author, this biography marks the loves, joys, tragedies, struggles, accomplishments, setbacks, fame, and daily life of the man who would go on to publish the masterpieces we know today, along with a plethora of scholarly work, poems, and short stories. Overall, I would highly recommend this biography to anyone who wants to learn more about Tolkien’s life, as well as those who are general LOTR fans!

*I would also highly recommend checking out https://www.tolkiensociety.org/ for even more information on all things Tolkien!*

Waste-Free World: Recycling and Sustainability

We all know we should be doing more to protect the planet and dispose of waste responsibly. But if you’re like me, you might spend a lot of time wondering what’s recyclable and what’s not, and what sustainability really means. Here are three ways we at the library and in the city of Davenport are here to help you figure out the world of eco-friendly living.

READ: The Waste-Free World by Ron Gonen is a manifesto highlighting what companies can and should do to make recycling and reuse part of their normal daily processes in order to protect the earth and increase sustainability.

Can I Recycle This by Jennie Romer is a more practical guide to reducing plastic waste in your home.

WATCH: Going to green. Volume 1, Towards a more sustainable community is a series of documentary episodes discussing specific environmental and sustainability issues with helpful information for all ages.

PLAY: the Quad City Recycling Quest Game through the City of Davenport Public Works department website is a fun way to test and build your knowledge of waste disposal practices locally. The game allows you to pick whether a given item goes in recycling, compost, trash, a hazardous materials facility, or an electronics facility. It doesn’t take long to play and it will definitely teach you something!

Check out this LibGuide for more resources on how to make an eco-friendly home – and thanks for anything you do to make this world a greener, healthier place.

New Large Print at Fairmount

Looking for a new large print title to read? This blog post is full of new large print titles pulled right from the shelves at our Fairmount branch! If you want to read any of them, click the link or contact the library. All the descriptions are provided by the publisher.

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The Kaiser’s Web by Steve Berry (Cotton Malone #16)

Two candidates are vying to become Chancellor of Germany. One is a patriot having served for the past sixteen years, the other a usurper, stoking the flames of nationalistic hate. Both harbor secrets, but only one knows the truth about the other. They are on a collision course, all turning on the events of one fateful day — April 30, 1945 — and what happened deep beneath Berlin in the Fürherbunker. Did Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun die there? Did Martin Bormann, Hitler’s close confidant, manage to escape? And, even more important, where did billions in Nazi wealth disappear to in the waning days of World War II? The answers to these questions will determine who becomes the next Chancellor of Germany.

From the mysterious Chilean lake district, to the dangerous mesas of South Africa, and finally into the secret vaults of Switzerland, former-Justice Department agent Cotton Malone discovers the truth about the fates of Hitler, Braun, and Bormann. Revelations that could not only transform Europe, but finally expose a mystery known as the Kaiser’s web.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Summer Longing  by Jamie Brenner

Ruth Cooperman arrives in beautiful beachside Provincetown for her retirement, renting the perfect waterfront cottage while she searches for her forever home. After years of hard work and making peace with life’s compromises, Ruth is looking forward to a carefree summer of solitude. But when she finds a baby girl abandoned on her doorstep, Ruth turns to her new neighbors for help and is drawn into the drama of the close-knit community.

The appearance of the mystery baby has an emotional ripple effect through the women in town, including Amelia Cabral, the matriarch who lost her own child decades earlier; Elise Douglas, owner of the tea shop who gave up her dream of becoming a mother; and teenage local Jaci Barros who feels trapped by her parents’ expectations. Ruth, caring for a baby for the first time in thirty years, even reaches out to her own estranged daughter, Olivia, summoning her to Provincetown in hopes of a reconciliation.

As summer unfolds and friends and family care for the infant, alliances are made, relationships are tested, and secrets are uncovered. But the unconditional love for a child in need just might bring Ruth and the women of Provincetown exactly what they have been longing for themselves.

This book is also available in the following format:

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Burden of Proof  by T. Davis Bunn

Three weeks after his twenty-third birthday, Ethan missed the chance to save his brother’s life when he was murdered on the steps of the courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida. Ever since that fateful day, Ethan has sensed a deep disconnect between the man he should have been and the one he has become. His days play out a beat too slow, his mind replaying the scene of his failure again and again.

But when his brother’s widow appears, asking for his help in uncovering what was really behind his brother’s death, Ethan is stunned to hear that she and her late husband were involved in a much larger case than he knew–one that threatens the global power structure. As Ethan joins the search for answers, he will enter into his own past–and discover a means of redeeming his future.

This book is also available in the following format:

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Turning Tide by Melody Carlson (The Legacy of Sunset Cove #4)

As the Great War rages on, Sunset Cove continues to feel its impact. Running the small town newspaper, Anna McDowell can’t escape the grim reports from the other side of the world, but home-front challenges abound as well.

Dr. Daniel is serving the wounded on the front lines. And Katy, expecting her first child, with her husband in the trenches, tries to support the war effort with her Red Cross club. Even as the war winds down the costs are high—and Sunset Cove is not spared.

This book is also available in the following format:

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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

At the dawn of the new millennium, Colombia is a country devastated by half a century of violence. Elena and Mauro are teenagers when they meet, their blooming love an antidote to the mounting brutality of life in Bogotá. Once their first daughter is born, and facing grim economic prospects, they set their sights on the United States.

They travel to Houston and send wages back to Elena’s mother, all the while weighing whether to risk overstaying their tourist visas or to return to Bogotá. As their family expands, and they move again and again, their decision to ignore their exit dates plunges the young family into the precariousness of undocumented status, the threat of discovery menacing a life already strained. When Mauro is deported, Elena, now tasked with caring for their three small children, makes a difficult choice that will ease her burdens but splinter the family even further.

Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself the daughter of Colombian immigrants and a dual citizen, gives voice to Mauro and Elena, as well as their children, Karina, Nando, and Talia—each one navigating a divided existence, weighing their allegiance to the past, the future, to one another, and to themselves. Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality for the undocumented in America, Infinite Country is the story of two countries and one mixed-status family—for whom every triumph is stitched with regret and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Shootout at Sioux Wells by Cliff Farrell

Zack Keech’s business was cattle; railroads were a nuisance, an interloper on the free range and a pain in Zack’s saddle-tanned anatomy. So how did this rootin’-tootin’ cowboy — who only wanted the money he figured was due him for a train-triggerd stampede — find himself working as an undercover agent for two most unusual railroad owners and the notorious Wild Bill Hickok? And furthermore, what was he doing in a situation where not only were a lot of self-declared enemies out to gun him down but even his supposed friends had to pretend that he was an outlaw and a man that Sioux Wells would be better off without?

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The Girl from the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat

The year is 1940, and the world is torn apart by war. In June of that year, Hitler’s army captures the Channel Islands—the only part of Great Britain occupied by German forces. Abandoned by Mr. Churchill, forgotten by the Allies and cut off from all help, the Islands’ situation is increasingly desperate.

Hedy Bercu is a young Jewish girl who fled Vienna for the island of Jersey two years earlier during the Anschluss, only to find herself trapped by the Nazis once more—this time with no escape. Her only hope is to make herself invaluable to the Germans by working as a translator, hiding in plain sight with the help of her friends and community—and a sympathetic German officer. But as the war intensifies, rations dwindle and neighbors are increasingly suspicious of one another. Hedy’s life is in greater danger every day. It will take a definitive, daring act to save her from certain deportation to the concentration camps.

A sweeping tale of bravery and love under impossible circumstances, Hedy’s remarkable story reminds us that it’s often up to ordinary people to be quiet heroes in the face of injustice.

This book is also available in the following format:

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Lizzie’s Heart by Susan Lantz Simpson (The Amish of Southern Maryland #5)

Fall in Southern Maryland’s Amish country is a time of fiery falling leaves, a bountiful harvest, and bracing, frost-touched days. It’s the perfect season for one irrepressible maidel to try an unexpected match.

Good-hearted and impulsive, twenty-year-old Lizzie Fisher has many chores—and secrets. She’s caring for kittens abandoned by their mother and practicing her drawing talent away from disapproving eyes. So the last thing she needs is someone like handsome Stephen Zimmerman constantly “helping” her out of trouble. But when she discovers they both have lovelorn siblings, she has an idea: why can’t she and Stephen bring his older brother and her older sister together? After all, how hard could matchmaking be?

Even though he’s the youngest son of an Old Order Mennonite family, Stephen is used to looking out for everyone else. Yet somehow the romantic schemes he and Lizzie cook up keep going awry—in ways that hint they may suit each other. But their deepening bond is both delightful and complicated. For bridging their differences will take bravery, compromise—and faith in their hopes and dreams.

This book is also available in the following format:

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The Affair by Danielle Steel

When Rose McCarthy’s staff at Mode magazine pitches a cover shoot with Hollywood’s hottest young actress, the actress’s sizzling affair with a bestselling French author is exposed. The author happens to be Rose’s son-in-law, which creates a painful dilemma for her. Her daughter Nadia, a talented interior designer, has been struggling to hold her marriage together, and conceal the truth from their young daughters, her family, and the world. But Nicolas, her straying husband, is blinded by passion for a younger woman—and not only that, she is pregnant with his child.

Nadia’s three sisters close ranks around her, flying to Paris from Los Angeles and New York to lend support and offer their widely divergent advice. Athena, a jovial celebrity chef with her own TV show in Los Angeles, is leery of marriage. Olivia, a stern conservative New York superior court judge, is haunted by a shocking secret of her own. Venetia, a zany fashion designer, happily married with three kids, has the gentlest, most realistic point of view. Despite their well-meaning advice, Nadia needs to figure out what she herself thinks, and what to do next.

The Affair is about the painful journey to discover who you are, what you want, and how much forgiveness and compromise you are capable of in order to be loved. It’s about finding yourself at the crossroads of life when everything is on the line. It’s about the hard lessons we are forced to learn about others and ourselves. Right up until its final twist, this gripping novel is full of powerful insights about who we love, how much—and even how much we love ourselves.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Tropic of Stupid  by Tim Dorsey (Serge Storms #24)

Devoted Floridaphile Serge Storms is a lover of history, so he’s decided to investigate his own using one of those DNA services from late-night TV. Excited to construct a family tree, he and Coleman hit the road to meet his kin. Along the way, he plans to introduce Coleman to the Sunshine State’s beautiful parks where he can brush up on his flora, fauna, and wildlife, and more importantly, collect the missing stamps for his park passport book.

But as the old saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far . . .  Serge is thrilled to discover he may be related to a notorious serial killer who’s terrorized the state for twenty years and never been caught. Which one of his newfound relatives will be the one to help him hunt down this deranged maniac? Serge doesn’t know that a dogged investigator from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also hot on the trail.

Then Serge meets a park ranger who’s also longing to make a family re-connection. But all is not as it appears on the surface, and Serge’s newfound friendship in the mysterious swamps of Florida may lead to deadly results. Finding his own relatives has made Serge understand the importance of family. Of course he’ll do anything to help.

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Pianos and Flowers: Brief Encounters of the Romantic Kind by Alexander McCall Smith

A delightful compendium of short stories inspired by images in the renowned photographic archive of The Sunday Times. A picture can paint a thousand words, but what about a vintage photograph?

In 2015 Alexander McCall Smith wrote a book entitled Chance Developments: Unexpected Love Stories, in which he imagined the stories behind five chanced-upon black and white photographs. Who were those people, why were they smiling, what made them sad? He so enjoyed the experience that when The Sunday Times generously offered him access to their early 20th century photograph archive he jumped at the opportunity.

In Pianos and Flowers we are invited, through the medium of sepia images, to glimpse a world long departed. In these stories, inspired by long-lost photographs, the lives of the people in the frame are imagined and then explored, layer by layer. What must have it like to be them? We hold our breath for them. Our heart beats faster for them. We look again at the photograph in a new light, and say Yes, it might have happened just like that. This journey of exploration takes us to some exotic places. We share the lives of three sisters, brought up in Penang. We read of what happened to them, and to their Chinese neighbors caught in the tides of war. We see a group of small boys in a Glasgow slum, their young lives stunted by poverty, and hear how life worked out in contrasting ways for them. We follow a young woman’s search for love in the unlikely realm of Egyptian antiquities. And through all of these photographs, and all of these stories, there runs the same refrain: the possibilities of love, of friendship, of happiness lie before us. There are big stories in these simple pictures. At first glance the photographs may seem unexceptional: the mere freezing of a moment in time. But delve deeper and you will realize that these photographs speak volumes.

This book is also available in the following format:

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She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh

The National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Heartland focuses her laser-sharp insights on a working-class icon and one of the most unifying figures in American culture: Dolly Parton.

Growing up amid Kansas wheat fields and airplane factories, Sarah Smarsh witnessed firsthand the particular vulnerabilities—and strengths—of women in working poverty. Meanwhile, country songs by female artists played in the background, telling powerful stories about life, men, hard times, and surviving. In her family, she writes, “country music was foremost a language among women. It’s how we talked to each other in a place where feelings aren’t discussed.” And no one provided that language better than Dolly Parton.

Smarsh challenged a typically male vision of the rural working class with her first book, Heartland, starring the bold, hard-luck women who raised her. Now, in She Come By It Natural, originally published in a four-part series for The Journal of Roots Music, No Depression, Smarsh explores the overlooked contributions to social progress by such women—including those averse to the term “feminism”—as exemplified by Dolly Parton’s life and art.

Far beyond the recently resurrected “Jolene” or quintessential “9 to 5,” Parton’s songs for decades have validated women who go unheard: the poor woman, the pregnant teenager, the struggling mother disparaged as “trailer trash.” Parton’s broader career—from singing on the front porch of her family’s cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains to achieving stardom in Nashville and Hollywood, from “girl singer” managed by powerful men to leader of a self-made business and philanthropy empire—offers a springboard to examining the intersections of gender, class, and culture.

Infused with Smarsh’s trademark insight, intelligence, and humanity, She Come By It Natural is a sympathetic tribute to the icon Dolly Parton and—call it whatever you like—the organic feminism she embodies.

This book is also available in the following format:

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The Unwilling by John Hart

Gibby’s older brothers have already been to war. One died there. The other came back misunderstood and hard, a decorated killer now freshly released from a three-year stint in prison.

Jason won’t speak of the war or of his time behind bars, but he wants a relationship with the younger brother he hasn’t known for years. Determined to make that connection, he coaxes Gibby into a day at the lake: long hours of sunshine and whisky and older women.

But the day turns ugly when the four encounter a prison transfer bus on a stretch of empty road. Beautiful but drunk, one of the women taunts the prisoners, leading to a riot on the bus. The woman finds it funny in the moment, but is savagely murdered soon after.

Given his violent history, suspicion turns first to Jason; but when the second woman is kidnapped, the police suspect Gibby, too. Determined to prove Jason innocent, Gibby must avoid the cops and dive deep into his brother’s hidden life, a dark world of heroin, guns and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

What he discovers there is a truth more bleak than he could have imagined: not just the identity of the killer and the reasons for Tyra’s murder, but the forces that shaped his brother in Vietnam, the reason he was framed, and why the most dangerous man alive wants him back in prison.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz (Orphan X #6)

Forced into retirement, Evan Smoak gets an urgent request for help from someone he didn’t even suspect existed.

As a boy, Evan Smoak was pulled out of a foster home and trained in an off-the-books operation known as the Orphan Program. He was a government assassin, perhaps the best, known to a few insiders as Orphan X. He eventually broke with the Program and adopted a new name – The Nowhere Man―and a new mission, helping the most desperate in their times of trouble. But the highest power in the country has made him a tempting offer – in exchange for an unofficial pardon, he must stop his clandestine activities as The Nowhere Man. Now Evan has to do the one thing he’s least equipped to do—live a normal life.

But then he gets a call for help from the one person he never expected. A woman claiming to have given him up for adoption, a woman he never knew—his mother. Her unlikely request: help Andrew Duran—a man whose life has gone off the rails, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, bringing him to the deadly attention of very powerful figures. Now a brutal brother & sister assassination team are after him and with no one to turn to, and no safe place to hide, Evan is Duran’s only option. But when the hidden cabal catches on to what Evan is doing, everything he’s fought for is on the line—including his own life.

This book is also available in the following format:

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The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly

Present day: Emma Lovett, who has dedicated her career to breathing new life into long-neglected gardens, has just been given the opportunity of a lifetime: to restore the gardens of the famed Highbury House estate, designed in 1907 by her hero Venetia Smith. But as Emma dives deeper into the gardens’ past, she begins to uncover secrets that have long lain hidden.

1907: A talented artist with a growing reputation for her ambitious work, Venetia Smith has carved out a niche for herself as a garden designer to industrialists, solicitors, and bankers looking to show off their wealth with sumptuous country houses. When she is hired to design the gardens of Highbury House, she is determined to make them a triumph, but the gardens—and the people she meets—promise to change her life forever.

1944: When land girl Beth Pedley arrives at a farm on the outskirts of the village of Highbury, all she wants is to find a place she can call home. Cook Stella Adderton, on the other hand, is desperate to leave Highbury House to pursue her own dreams. And widow Diana Symonds, the mistress of the grand house, is anxiously trying to cling to her pre-war life now that her home has been requisitioned and transformed into a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers. But when war threatens Highbury House’s treasured gardens, these three very different women are drawn together by a secret that will last for decades. 

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Hammer to Fall by John Lawton (Joe Wilderness #3)

It’s London, the swinging sixties, and by all rights MI6 spy Joe Wilderness should be having as good a time as James Bond. But alas, his postings are more grim than glamorous. Luckily, Wilderness has a knack for doing well for himself even in the most unpromising postings, though this has gotten him into hot water in the past. A coffee-smuggling gig in divided Berlin was a steady money-maker but things went pear-shaped when he had to smuggle a spy back to the KGB instead.

In the wake of what became an embarrassing disaster for MI6, Wilderness is reprimanded with a posting to remote northern Finland, under the guise of a cultural exchange program to promote Britain abroad. Bored by his work, with nothing to spy on, Wilderness finds another way to make money, this time by smuggling vodka across the rather porous border into the USSR. He strikes a deal with his old KGB pal Kostya, who explains to him there is, no joke, a vodka shortage in the Soviet Union, following a grain famine caused by Khrushchev’s new agricultural policies. But there is something fishy about why Kostya has suddenly turned up in Finland–and MI6 intelligence from London points to a connection to the mining of cobalt in the region, a critical component in the casing of the atomic bomb. Wilderness’s posting is getting more interesting by the minute, but more dangerous too.

Moving from the no-man’s-land of Cold War Finland to the wild days of the Prague Spring, and populated by old friends (including Inspector Troy) and old enemies alike, Hammer to Fall is a gripping tale of deception and skullduggery, of art and politics, a page-turning story of the always riveting life of the British spy.

This book is also available in the following format:

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Vesper Flights by Helen MacDonald

Animals don’t exist in order to teach us things, but that is what they have always done, and most of what they teach us is what we think we know about ourselves.

Helen Macdonald’s bestselling debut H is for Hawk brought the astonishing story of her relationship with goshawk Mabel to global critical acclaim and announced Macdonald as one of this century’s most important and insightful nature writers. H is for Hawk won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction and the Costa Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, launching poet and falconer Macdonald as our preeminent nature essayist, with a semi-regular column in the New York Times Magazine.

In Vesper Flights Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best loved essays, along with new pieces on topics ranging from nostalgia for a vanishing countryside to the tribulations of farming ostriches to her own private vespers while trying to fall asleep. Meditating on notions of captivity and freedom, immigration and flight, Helen invites us into her most intimate experiences: observing songbirds from the Empire State Building as they migrate through the Tribute of Light, watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary, seeking the last golden orioles in Suffolk’s poplar forests. She writes with heart-tugging clarity about wild boar, swifts, mushroom hunting, migraines, the strangeness of birds’ nests, and the unexpected guidance and comfort we find when watching wildlife. By one of this century’s most important and insightful nature writers, Vesper Flights is a captivating and foundational book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make sense of the world around us.

This book is also available in the following formats:

New Nonfiction at Fairmount

Looking for a new nonfiction title to read? This blog post is full of new nonfiction titles pulled right from the shelves at our Fairmount branch! If you want to read any of them, click the link or contact the library. All the descriptions are provided by the publisher.

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Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova

A fascinating exploration of the intricacies of how we remember, why we forget, and what we can do to protect our memories, from the Harvard-trained neuroscientist and bestselling author of Still Alice.

Have you ever felt a crushing wave of panic when you can’t for the life of you remember the name of that actor in the movie you saw last week, or you walk into a room only to forget why you went there in the first place? If you’re over forty, you’re probably not laughing. You might even be worried that these lapses in memory could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia. In reality, for the vast majority of us, these examples of forgetting are completely normal. Why? Because while memory is amazing, it is far from perfect. Our brains aren’t designed to remember every name we hear, plan we make, or day we experience. Just because your memory sometimes fails doesn’t mean it’s broken or succumbing to disease. Forgetting is actually part of being human.

In Remember, neuroscientist and acclaimed novelist Lisa Genova delves into how memories are made and how we retrieve them. You’ll learn whether forgotten memories are temporarily inaccessible or erased forever and why some memories are built to exist for only a few seconds (like a passcode) while others can last a lifetime (your wedding day). You’ll come to appreciate the clear distinction between normal forgetting (where you parked your car) and forgetting due to Alzheimer’s (that you own a car). And you’ll see how memory is profoundly impacted by meaning, emotion, sleep, stress, and context. Once you understand the language of memory and how it functions, its incredible strengths and maddening weaknesses, its natural vulnerabilities and potential superpowers, you can both vastly improve your ability to remember and feel less rattled when you inevitably forget. You can set educated expectations for your memory, and in doing so, create a better relationship with it. You don’t have to fear it anymore. And that can be life-changing.

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We Need to Hang Out: A Memoir of Making Friends by Billy Baker

In this comic adventure through the loneliness epidemic, a middle-aged everyman looks around one day and realizes that he seems to have misplaced his friends, inspiring him to set out on a hilarious and ultimately moving quest to revive old tribes and build new ones, in his own ridiculous way.

At the age of forty, having settled into his busy career and active family life, Billy Baker discovers that he’s lost something crucial along the way: his friends. Other priorities always seemed to come first, until all his close friendships had lapsed into distant memories. When he takes an assignment to write an article about the modern loneliness epidemic, he realizes just how common it is to be a middle-aged loner: almost fifty million Americans over the age of forty-five, especially men, suffer from chronic loneliness, which the surgeon general has declared one of the nation’s “greatest pathologies,” worse than smoking, obesity, or heart disease in increasing a person’s risk for premature death. Determined to defy these odds, Baker vows to salvage his lost friendships and blaze a path for men (and women) everywhere to improve their relationships old and new.

In We Need to Hang Out, Baker embarks on an entertaining and relatable quest to reprioritize his ties with his buddies and forge more connections, all while balancing work, marriage, and kids. From leading a buried treasure hunt with his old college crew to organizing an impromptu “ditch day” for dozens of his former high school classmates to essentially starting a frat house for middle-aged guys in his neighborhood, he experiments with ways to keep in touch with his friends no matter how hectic their lives are—with surprising and deeply satisfying results.

Along the way, Baker talks to experts in sociology and psychology to investigate how such naturally social creatures as humans could become so profoundly isolated today. And he turns to real-life experts in lasting friendship, bravely joining a cruise packed entirely with crowds of female BFFs and learning the secrets of male bonding from a group of older dudes who faithfully meet up on the same night every week. Bursting with humor, candor, and charm, We Need to Hang Out is a celebration of companionship and a call to action in this age of alone.

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The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free by Paulina Bren

Liberated from home and hearth by World War I, politically enfranchised and ready to work, women arrived to take their place in the dazzling new skyscrapers of Manhattan. But they did not want to stay in uncomfortable boarding houses. They wanted what men already had—exclusive residential hotels with daily maid service, cultural programs, workout rooms, and private dining.

Built in 1927 at the height of the Roaring Twenties, the Barbizon Hotel was intended as a safe haven for the “Modern Woman” seeking a career in the arts. It became the place to stay for any ambitious young woman hoping for fame and fortune. Sylvia Plath fictionalized her time there in The Bell Jar, and, over the years, its almost 700 tiny rooms with matching floral curtains and bedspreads housed Titanic survivor Molly Brown; actresses Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Ali MacGraw, Jaclyn Smith, Phylicia Rashad, and Cybill Shepherd; writers Joan Didion, Diane Johnson, Gael Greene, and Meg Wolitzer; and many more. Mademoiselle magazine boarded its summer interns there, as did Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School its students and the Ford Modeling Agency its young models. Before the hotel’s residents were household names, they were young women arriving at the Barbizon with a suitcase and a dream.

Not everyone who passed through the Barbizon’s doors was destined for success—for some it was a story of dashed hopes—but until 1981, when men were finally let in, the Barbizon offered its residents a room of their own and a life without family obligations or expectations. It gave women a chance to remake themselves however they pleased; it was the hotel that set them free. No place had existed like it before or has since.

Beautifully written and impeccably researched, The Barbizon weaves together a tale that has, until now, never been told. It is both a vivid portrait of the lives of these young women who came to New York looking for something more, and an epic history of women’s ambition.

This book is also available in the following format:

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The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Petal of the Sea comes a passionate and inspiring meditation on what it means to be a woman.

“When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating,” begins Isabel Allende. As a child, she watched her mother, abandoned by her husband, provide for her three small children without “resources or voice.” Isabel became a fierce and defiant little girl, determined to fight for the life her mother couldn’t have.

As a young woman coming of age in the late 1960s, she rode the first wave of feminism. Among a tribe of like-minded female journalists, she for the first time felt comfortable in her own skin, as they wrote “with a knife between their teeth” about women’s issues. She has seen what has been accomplished by the movement in the course of her lifetime. And over the course of three passionate marriages, she has learned how to grow as a woman while having a partner, when to step away, and the rewards of embracing one’s sexuality.

So what do women want? To be safe, to be valued, to live in peace, to have their own resources, to be connected, to have control over their bodies and lives, and above all, to be loved. On all these fronts, there is much work to be done, and this book, Allende hopes, will “light the torch of our daughters and granddaughters with mine. They will have to live for us, as we lived for our mothers, and carry on with the work still left to be finished.”

This book is also available in the following format:

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Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World by Simon Winchester

The author of The Professor and the Madman and The Perfectionists explores the notion of property—our proprietary relationship with the land—through human history, how it has shaped us and what it will mean for our future.

Land—whether meadow or mountainside, desert or peat bog, parkland or pasture, suburb or city—is central to our existence. It quite literally underlies and underpins everything. Employing the keen intellect, insatiable curiosity, and narrative verve that are the foundations of his previous bestselling works, Simon Winchester examines what we human beings are doing—and have done—with the billions of acres that together make up the solid surface of our planet.

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World examines in depth how we acquire land, how we steward it, how and why we fight over it, and finally, how we can, and on occasion do, come to share it. Ultimately, Winchester confronts the essential question: who actually owns the world’s land—and why does it matter? 

This book is also available in the following format:

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Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City by Rosa Brooks

Journalist and law professor Rosa Brooks goes beyond the blue wall of silence in this radical inside examination of American policing

In her forties, with two children, a spouse, a dog, a mortgage, and a full-time job as a tenured law professor at Georgetown University, Rosa Brooks decided to become a cop. A liberal academic and journalist with an enduring interest in law’s troubled relationship with violence, Brooks wanted the kind of insider experience that would help her understand how police officers make sense of their world–and whether that world can be changed. In 2015, against the advice of everyone she knew, she applied to become a sworn, armed reserve police officer with the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department.

Then as now, police violence was constantly in the news. The Black Lives Matter movement was gaining momentum, protests wracked America’s cities, and each day brought more stories of cruel, corrupt cops, police violence, and the racial disparities that mar our criminal justice system. Lines were being drawn, and people were taking sides. But as Brooks made her way through the police academy and began work as a patrol officer in the poorest, most crime-ridden neighborhoods of the nation’s capital, she found a reality far more complex than the headlines suggested.

In Tangled Up in Blue, Brooks recounts her experiences inside the usually closed world of policing. From street shootings and domestic violence calls to the behind-the-scenes police work during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential inauguration, Brooks presents a revelatory account of what it’s like inside the blue wall of silence. She issues an urgent call for new laws and institutions, and argues that in a nation increasingly divided by race, class, ethnicity, geography, and ideology, a truly transformative approach to policing requires us to move beyond sound bites, slogans, and stereotypes. An explosive and groundbreaking investigation, Tangled Up in Blue complicates matters rather than simplifies them, and gives pause both to those who think police can do no wrong–and those who think they can do no right.

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Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty by Maurice Chammah

In 1972, the United States Supreme Court made a surprising ruling: the country’s death penalty system violated the Constitution. The backlash was swift, especially in Texas, where executions were considered part of the cultural fabric, and a dark history of lynching was masked by gauzy visions of a tough-on-crime frontier. When executions resumed, Texas quickly became the nationwide leader in carrying out the punishment. Then, amid a larger wave of criminal justice reform, came the death penalty’s decline, a trend so durable that even in Texas the punishment appears again close to extinction.

In Let the Lord Sort Them, Maurice Chammah charts the rise and fall of capital punishment through the eyes of those it touched. We meet Elsa Alcala, the orphaned daughter of a Mexican American family who found her calling as a prosecutor in the nation’s death penalty capital, before becoming a judge on the state’s highest court. We meet Danalynn Recer, a lawyer who became obsessively devoted to unearthing the life stories of men who committed terrible crimes, and fought for mercy in courtrooms across the state. We meet death row prisoners–many of them once-famous figures like Henry Lee Lucas, Gary Graham, and Karla Faye Tucker–along with their families and the families of their victims. And we meet the executioners, who struggle openly with what society has asked them to do. In tracing these interconnected lives against the rise of mass incarceration in Texas and the country as a whole, Chammah explores what the persistence of the death penalty tells us about forgiveness and retribution, fairness and justice, history and myth.

Written with intimacy and grace, Let the Lord Sort Them is the definitive portrait of a particularly American institution.

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The Young Crusaders: The Untold Story of the Children and Teenagers Who Galvanized the Civil Rights Movement by V.P. Franklin

An authoritative history of the overlooked youth activists that spearheaded the largest protests of the Civil Rights Movement and set the blueprint for future generations of activists to follow.

Some of the most iconic images of the Civil Rights Movement are those of young people engaged in social activism, such as children and teenagers in 1963 being attacked by police in Birmingham with dogs and water hoses. But their contributions have not been well documented or prioritized. The Young Crusaders is the first book dedicated to telling the story of the hundreds of thousands of children and teenagers who engaged in sit-ins, school strikes, boycotts, marches, and demonstrations in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other national civil rights leaders played little or no part.

It was these young activists who joined in the largest civil rights demonstration in US history: the system-wide school boycott in New York City on February 3, 1964, where over 360,000 elementary and secondary school students went on strike and thousands attended freedom schools. Later that month, tens of thousands of children and teenagers participated in the Freedom Day boycotts in Boston and Chicago, also demanding quality integrated education.

Distinguished historian V. P. Franklin illustrates how their ingenuity made these and numerous other campaigns across the country successful in bringing about the end to legalized racial discrimination. It was these unheralded young people who set the blueprint for today’s youth activists and their campaigns to address poverty, joblessness, educational inequality, and racialized violence and discrimination. Understanding the role of children and teenagers transforms how we understand the Civil Rights Movement and the broader part young people have played in shepherding social and educational progress, and it serves as a model for the youth-led reparatory justice campaigns seen today mounted by Black Lives Matter, March for Our Lives, and the Sunrise Movement.

Highlighting the voices of the young people themselves, Franklin offers a redefining narrative, complemented by arresting archival images. The Young Crusaders reveals a radical history that both challenges and expands our understanding of the Civil Rights Movement.

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Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World by Matt Parker

The book-length answer to anyone who ever put their hand up in math class and asked, “When am I ever going to use this in the real world?”

“Fun, informative, and relentlessly entertaining, Humble Pi is a charming and very readable guide to some of humanity’s all-time greatest miscalculations–that also gives you permission to feel a little better about some of your own mistakes.” –Ryan North, author of How to Invent Everything

Our whole world is built on math, from the code running a website to the equations enabling the design of skyscrapers and bridges. Most of the time this math works quietly behind the scenes . . . until it doesn’t. All sorts of seemingly innocuous mathematical mistakes can have significant consequences.

Math is easy to ignore until a misplaced decimal point upends the stock market, a unit conversion error causes a plane to crash, or someone divides by zero and stalls a battleship in the middle of the ocean.

Exploring and explaining a litany of glitches, near misses, and mathematical mishaps involving the internet, big data, elections, street signs, lotteries, the Roman Empire, and an Olympic team, Matt Parker uncovers the bizarre ways math trips us up, and what this reveals about its essential place in our world. Getting it wrong has never been more fun.

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The Disappearance of Butterflies by Josef H. Reichholf

In the last fifty years our butterfly populations have declined by more than eighty per cent and butterflies are now facing the very real prospect of extinction. It is hard to remember the time when fields and meadows were full of these beautiful, delicate creatures – today we rarely catch a glimpse of the Wild Cherry Sphinx moths, Duke of Burgundy or the even once common Small Tortoiseshell butterflies. The High Brown Fritillary butterfly and the Stout Dart Moth have virtually disappeared.

The eminent entomologist and award-winning author Josef H. Reichholf began studying butterflies in the late 1950s. He brings a lifetime of scientific experience and expertise to bear on one of the great environmental catastrophes of our time. He takes us on a journey into the wonderful world of butterflies – from the small nymphs that emerge from lakes in air bubbles to the trusting purple emperors drunk on toad poison – and immerses us in a world that we are in danger of losing forever. Step by step he explains the science behind this impending ecological disaster, and shows how it is linked to pesticides, over-fertilization and the intensive farming practices of the agribusiness.

His book is a passionate plea for biodiversity and the protection of butterflies.

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The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America’s Unburied Dead by Ann Fabian

When Philadelphia naturalist Samuel George Morton died in 1851, no one cut off his head, boiled away its flesh, and added his grinning skull to a collection of crania. It would have been strange, but perhaps fitting, had Morton’s skull wound up in a collector’s cabinet, for Morton himself had collected hundreds of skulls over the course of a long career. Friends, diplomats, doctors, soldiers, and fellow naturalists sent him skulls they gathered from battlefields and burial grounds across America and around the world.

With The Skull Collectors, eminent historian Ann Fabian resurrects that popular and scientific movement, telling the strange—and at times gruesome—story of Morton, his contemporaries, and their search for a scientific foundation for racial difference. From cranial measurements and museum shelves to heads on stakes, bloody battlefields, and the “rascally pleasure” of grave robbing, Fabian paints a lively picture of scientific inquiry in service of an agenda of racial superiority, and of a society coming to grips with both the deadly implications of manifest destiny and the mass slaughter of the Civil War. Even as she vividly recreates the past, Fabian also deftly traces the continuing implications of this history, from lingering traces of scientific racism to debates over the return of the remains of Native Americans that are held by museums to this day.

Full of anecdotes, oddities, and insights, The Skull Collectors takes readers on a darkly fascinating trip down a little-visited but surprisingly important byway of American history.

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What Doesn’t Kill You: A Life with Chronic Illness – Lessons from a Body in Revolt by Tessa Miller

The riveting account of a young journalist’s awakening to chronic illness, weaving together personal story and reporting to shed light on living with an ailment forever.

Tessa Miller was an ambitious twentysomething writer in New York City when, on a random fall day, her stomach began to seize up. At first, she toughed it out through searing pain, taking sick days from work, unable to leave the bathroom or her bed. But when it became undeniable that something was seriously wrong, Miller gave in to family pressure and went to the hospital—beginning a yearslong nightmare of procedures, misdiagnoses, and life-threatening infections. Once she was finally correctly diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, Miller faced another battle: accepting that she will never get better.

Today, an astonishing three in five adults in the United States suffer from a chronic disease—a percentage expected to rise post-Covid. Whether the illness is arthritis, asthma, Crohn’s, diabetes, endometriosis, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, or any other incurable illness, and whether the sufferer is a colleague, a loved one, or you, these diseases have an impact on just about every one of us. Yet there remains an air of shame and isolation about the topic of chronic sickness. Millions must endure these disorders not only physically but also emotionally, balancing the stress of relationships and work amid the ever-present threat of health complications.

Miller segues seamlessly from her dramatic personal experiences into a frank look at the cultural realities (medical, occupational, social) inherent in receiving a lifetime diagnosis. She offers hard-earned wisdom, solidarity, and an ultimately surprising promise of joy for those trying to make sense of it all.

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Kill Shot: A Shadow Industry, A Deadly Disease by Jason Dearen

An award-winning investigative journalist’s horrifying true crime story of America’s deadliest drug contamination outbreak and the greed and deception that fueled it.

Two pharmacists sit in a Boston courtroom accused of murder. The weapon: the fungus Exserohilum rostratum. The death count: 100 and rising. Kill Shot is the story of their hubris and fraud, discovered by a team of medical detectives who raced against the clock to hunt the killers and the fungal meningitis they’d unleashed.

Bloodthirsty is how doctors described the fungal microbe that contaminated thousands of drug vials produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Though NECC chief Barry Cadden called his company the Ferrari of Compounders, it was a slapdash operation of unqualified staff, mold-ridden lab surfaces, and hastily made medications that were injected into approximately 14,000 people. Once inside some of its human hosts, the fungus traveled through the tough tissue around the spine and wormed upward to the deep brain, our control center for balance, breath, and the vital motor functions of life.

Now, investigative journalist Jason Dearen turns a spotlight on this tragedy–the victims, the heroes, and the perpetrators–and the legal loopholes that allowed it to occur. Kill Shot forces a powerful but unchecked industry out of the shadows.

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Parenting While Working from Home by Karissa Tunis and Shari Medini

As more parents work from home than ever before, there are unique challenges when it comes to meeting the demands of their job, helping their kids thrive, and finding even five minutes to take care of themselves. Parenting While Working from Home offers tips, strategies, and reflections to help parents balance their careers, connect with their kids, and establish their inner strength over the course of a year. Parenting experts and founders of the popular website, Adore Them Parenting, Karissa Tunis and Shari Medini share actionable tips, heartfelt insight, and planning strategies to help you enjoy your own parenting journey while working from home.

Building on the authors’ own experiences and the most common challenges they hear parents voicing today, Parenting While Working from Home encourages parents to make intentional changes that will result in happier families and thriving careers. This practical guide will teach you how to:
Manage your time so that both your kids and your job get the attention they need
Build a professional network and maintain your productivity from home
Create a kid-friendly environment that encourages independence and strong sibling bonds
Consistently tune in to your own needs so that you can meet your true potential
And so much more
While it isn’t always easy, working from home while raising a family can (and should) be an incredible experience. Parenting While Working from Home offers comfort in shared struggles, new solutions, and calmer days ahead!

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Coming Back: How to Win the Job You Want When You’ve LosT the Job You Need by Fawn Germer

Millions of mid- to late-career professionals are wondering why our careers are dying. We’ve been fired, downsized, job-eliminated, or we’ve left work voluntarily to raise children, care for loved ones, or go to school. It takes twice as long to get hired, and usually for far less money than we were making. Is it age discrimination? Maybe. But it’s not that simple.

So many of us have lagged on skills and technology, shrugged off social media, or ignored the rate of change and let younger people become the face of our profession’s future. Our “track record” really doesn’t matter. We want to come back, but we aren’t ready. Coming Back offers clear advice, including:

• STOP PLAYING THE VICTIM, even if you are one.
• BRAND YOURSELF AS A CHANGE DRIVER who studies trends and studies independently so you are diving into change, not reacting to it.
• CALL IN THE CHITS. It is time to go guerrilla and bluntly ask for help from people who can get you what you want and need.
• TELL INTERVIEWERS about what you will do—don’t rely on what you have done.
• STOP GROUSING about “those millennials” and start working with them.
• BOUNCE BACK from a layoff or firing.

Coming Back shows how you can save a career if still employed or get one back if cast out. Fawn Germer, one of the nation’s most popular leadership experts and global motivational speakers, has personally interviewed more than three hundred CEOs, senior executives, professors, lawyers, organizational experts, industry leaders, and professionals. The result is a tactical, tough-love call to action: to learn, re-tool, connect, grow, and get ready to work again.

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The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest by Ed Caesar

An extraordinary true story about one man’s attempt to salve the wounds of war and save his own soul through an audacious adventure.

In the 1930s, as official government expeditions set their sights on conquering Mount Everest, a little-known World War I veteran named Maurice Wilson conceives his own crazy, beautiful plan: he will fly a plane from England to Everest, crash-land on its lower slopes, then become the first person to reach its summit—all utterly alone. Wilson doesn’t know how to climb. He barely knows how to fly. But he has the right plane, the right equipment, and a deep yearning to achieve his goal. In 1933, he takes off from London in a Gipsy Moth biplane with his course set for the highest mountain on earth. Wilson’s eleven-month journey to Everest is wild: full of twists, turns, and daring. Eventually, in disguise, he sneaks into Tibet. His icy ordeal is just beginning.

Wilson is one of the Great War’s heroes, but also one of its victims. His hometown of Bradford in northern England is ripped apart by the fighting. So is his family. He barely survives the war himself. Wilson returns from the conflict unable to cope with the sadness that engulfs him. He begins a years-long trek around the world, burning through marriages and relationships, leaving damaged lives in his wake. When he finally returns to England, nearly a decade after he first left, he finds himself falling in love once more—this time with his best friend’s wife—before depression overcomes him again. He emerges from his funk with a crystalline ambition. He wants to be the first man to stand on top of the world. Wilson believes that Everest can redeem him.

This is the tale of an adventurer unlike any you have ever encountered: complex, driven, wry, haunted, and fully alive. He is a man written out of the history books—dismissed as an eccentric, and gossiped about because of rumors of his transvestism. The Moth and the Mountain restores Maurice Wilson to his rightful place in the annals of Everest and tells an unforgettable story about the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

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Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, with Charlotte McTavish; foreword by Diana Gabaldon

Two Men. One Country. And a lot of whisky.

As stars of “Outlander”, Sam and Graham eat, sleep and breathe the Highlands on this epic road trip around their homeland. They discover that the real thing is even greater than fiction.

“Clanlands” is the story of their journey. Armed with their trusty campervan and a sturdy friendship, these two Scotsmen are on the adventure of a lifetime to explore the majesty of Scotland. A wild ride by boat, kayak, bicycle and motorbike, they travel from coast to loch and peak to valley and delve into Scotland’s history and culture, from timeless poetry to bloody warfare.

With near-death experiences, many weeks in a confined space together, and a cast of unforgettable characters, Graham and Sam’s friendship matures like a fine Scotch. They reflect on their acting careers in film and theatre, find a new awestruck respect for their native country and, as with any good road trip, they even find themselves.

Hold onto your kilts … this is Scotland as you’ve never seen it before.

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The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America by Bradford Pearson

The impeccably researched, deeply moving, never-before-told tale about a World War II internment camp in Wyoming and its extraordinary high school football team—for fans of The Boys in the Boat and The Storm on Our Shores.

In the summer of 1942, the United States government forced 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes in California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, and sent them to internment camps across the West. Nearly 14,000 of them landed on the outskirts of Cody, Wyoming, at the base of Heart Mountain.

Behind barbed wire fences, they faced racism, cruelty, and frozen winters. Trying to recreate comforts from home, they built Buddhist temples and sumo wrestling pits. They grew Chinese cabbage and daikon radishes—yet there was little hope.

That is, until the fall of 1943, when the camp’s high school football team, the Eagles, started its first season and finished it undefeated, crushing the competition from nearby predominantly white high schools. Amid all this excitement, American politics continued to disrupt their lives as the federal government drafted men from the camps for the front lines—including some of the Eagles. The young men faced a choice to either join the Army or resist the draft. Teammates were divided, and some were jailed for their decisions.

Set during a complex political and cultural moment in America, The Eagles of Heart Mountain honors the resilience of unlikely heroes and the power of sports in a sweeping and inspirational portrait of one of the darkest moments in American history.

This book is also available in the following format:

Humans by Brandon Stanton

Humans by Brandon Stanton is a coffee table-style book worth the time it takes to examine its large, full color photos featuring people of all kinds. I read this book a while back but it has stuck with me so much I felt it worth sharing. The author approached people while traveling all over the world and asked them to share something about themselves. Anything.

It amazes me how freely the people profiled opened up to the author, revealing their joys, heartbreaks, hopes, and vulnerabilities. One person shared how the abuse perpetrated by their father throughout a lifetime led to a chain of events that resulted in homelessness and amputation. Another shared his hopes for his tween son and the self-doubt that keeps him awake at night wondering if he is doing right by him as a father. One woman shared how her faith brought her a level of joy and success that she never anticipated.  One exquisitely dressed person happily shared their love for people-watching in the park and how accepting others just the way they are has brought peace. Some lamented about smoking too much, eating too much, worrying too much, loving too much.

I found it beautiful, both visually and emotionally. It served as a reminder that we all have doubts, insecurities, worries and troubles but that we also can share and celebrate one another’s joys and triumphs. Plus, in this time when many of us are not socializing much due to Covid-19, reading this book was a unique way to experience some form of human intimacy and expand my capacity for empathy. The takeaway for me was that humans seek connection in inventive and fascinating ways- sometimes painful, sometimes delightful, but always beautiful.