National Hispanic Heritage Month

Today marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which will last until October 15. On September 15, Mexico celebrates their independence from Spain, with most Central American countries celebrating on September 16, and Chile celebrating on September 18. It is a time for the United States to acknowledge and commemorate the contributions and achievements of Hispanic Americans. The influence of Central America is everywhere in the United States, from food to culture to language.  

Interested in cooking? Try these Mexican cookbooks: 

Chicano Eats: Recipes from My Mexican-American Kitchen by Esteban Castillo 

Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in México by Ricky Martínez 

Plant Powered Mexican: Fast, Fresh Recipes from a Mexican-American Kitchen by Kate Ramos  

Planning your next vacation? Explore Central America and beyond: 

Lonely Planet’s Best of Central America 

Fodor’s Essential Chile

Footprint: Belize, Guatemala & Southern Mexico

Love history? There’s plenty to learn: 

Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration by Alfredo Corchado 

Diego Rivera by Pete Hamill 

Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States by Felipe Fernández-Armesto 

El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America by Carrie Gibson

And of course, there are plenty of authors with rich bibliographies to further expand our appreciation: 

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova 

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo 

Violeta by Isabel Allende 

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez 

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez 

-Linnea

“Live long and prosper!”

Fifty six years ago, Star Trek made its television debut on NBC. Featuring William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Leonard Nimoy, and a host of other formidable actors, the original show has spawned numerous iterations, including spin-off television series, films, magazines, exhibitions, and books. Love of Star Trek spans generations, creating communities with each new release. Even if you’re not a “Trekkie”, there’s no getting around the fact that Star Trek has had quite the impact on popular culture.  

I’ve compiled a few books that are sure to interest any Trekkie, and hopefully reach the non-Trekkies too! 

The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack 

Interested in the newer generations of Star Trek but not sure how to get started? Try this prequel novel about Star Trek: Picard, from 2020. You’ll be introduced to Picard and a new cast of characters, bringing your Star Trek knowledge up to par.  

Leonard: My Fifty-year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner  

William Shatner expounds upon his professional and personal relationship with Leonard Nimoy in this biography, published about a year after Nimoy’s death.  

Live Long and …: What I Learned Along the Way by William Shatner 

Shatner also wrote an autobiography that goes beyond just his experiences as Captain Kirk. From motorcycle trips to stage productions to grappling with the uncertainty of life, Shatner explores it all in reflections full of humor and vulnerability. 

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei 

George Takei is well-known for his acting roles in Star Trek and as a fierce LGBTQ+ activist. Born to Japanese-American parents, their family was forcibly imprisoned in a Japanese interment camp during World War II. This graphic novel memoir depicts Takei’s experiences in the camp, as a young child trying to make the most of the situation and grappling with horrific atrocities. A must-read for anyone, Trekkie or otherwise. 

Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World by Ryan Britt 

Whether you’ve been with Star Trek since the beginning or you’ve never seen a single episode, Ryan Britt’s in-depth look into the Star Trek phenomenon will provide insight into this illustrious franchise.  

The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay That Became The Classic Star Trek Episode by Scott Tipton 

One of the most beloved episodes of Star Trek, with the original script by Harlan Ellison, adapted into a graphic novel. Fans will love being able to see how the script changed into what is seen on screen. 

-Linnea

Remembering Robin Williams

Today marks eight years since the passing of Robin Williams. An actor, comedian, legend, hero to many, we’ve all experienced Robin Williams in some way through his work. He was first introduced to me as Genie from Aladdin (1992), though I picture him as the English professor from Dead Poet’s Society (1989) more often now. Whether you laughed along to Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) or enjoyed a more dramatic performance in Good Will Hunting (1997), he certainly has left his mark in Hollywood.  

Plenty of biographies have been written about Robin Williams. Here are few books with different perspectives: 

Robin by Dave Itzkoff 

If you’re looking for a definitive biography, this will be the one. 

Robin Williams, American Master: The Movies and Art of a Lost Genius by Stephen J. Spignesi

More interested in facts and trivia about Robin Williams’ films and life? Then you’ll enjoy Spignesi’s biography. 

Robin Williams: A Singular Portrait, 1986-2002 by Arthur Grace

Arthur Grace has created a biography told in a series of photographs, taken over decades. 

And of course, here are a few of his films to remember him by: 

Popeye (1980) 

Hook (1991) 

Jumanji (1995) 

Happy Feet (2006)

Happy Feet Two (2011)

No-Bake Treats for the Dog Days of Summer

Beat the heat and the boredom with these no-bake cookbooks! It can be hard to gather the motivation to cook in these hot summer months but good thing we don’t always have to. There’s plenty of sweet treats to make without turning the oven on. Here are a few cookbooks to try out and remember, when it comes to dessert, sharing is caring! 

No Bake Makery by Cristina Suarez Krumsick has over 80 recipes for small bite treats that you can make without using an oven! Learn how to make key lime pie, peanut brittle, marshmallow pretzel bars, and more, and learn baking techniques such as decorating your treats and tempering chocolate. 

Haven’t you always wanted to eat a cheeseburger made from rice crispies? Look no further than Jessica Siskin’s Treat Yourself!: How to Make 93 Ridiculously Fun No-Bake Crispy Rice Treats. Making food look like other foods or objects is “in” right now and you too can be a part of the action and make rice crispy treats into a camera, sushi, even a menorah. Siskin provides all the tips and tricks, so don’t worry if you’ve only made rice crispy treats shaped like rice crispy treats. Definitely a fun, creative way to fill your day! 

And what is summer without ice cream? But who wants to deal with churning and ice cream makers? Fortunately, No-Churn Ice Cream by Leslie Bilderback has our back and has compiled over 100 recipes without any special equipment. You’ll learn the basics (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry) and tons of variations, so no need to keep buying pints at the store! 

Enjoy all your new-found techniques for these no-bake treats to satisfy your sweet tooth all summer long! 

-Linnea

Find a New Hobby!

Been interested in learning a new hobby? The library is the perfect place to pick up a book before committing to something, so the books and how-to guides and supplies don’t gather dust in the corner when you realize macramé isn’t *really* your thing. But if you want it to be your thing, there’s a book for that!  

I’ve compiled a list of a few different hobby books to peruse while trying to keep boredom at bay, whether you want to learn a new skill or just occupy your brain for a little while. 

Why not try your hand at hand embroidery?  

Doodle-Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners by Aimee Ray 
Complete Guide to Embroidery Stitches: Photographs, Diagrams, and Instructions for Over 260 Stitches by Jennifer Campbell 

Finally beat your overly competitive family member at chess. 

Devious Chess: How to Bend the Rules and Win by Amatzia Avni 
Discovering Chess Openings: Building Opening Skills from Basic Principles by John Emms 

Impress your friends with all the cool card tricks you learned. 

Dazzling Card Tricks by Norm Barnhart 
Simple Sleight-of-Hand: Card and Coin Tricks for the Beginning Magician by Paul Zenon

Or try some brain teasers and puzzles to keep your brain sharp during television commercials.  

The Scotland Yard Puzzle Book: Test Your Inner Detective by Solving Some of the World’s Most Difficult Cases by Sinclair McKay 
Are You as Smart as You Think?: 150 Original Mathematical, Logical, and Spatial-Visual Puzzles for All Levels of Puzzle Solvers by Terry Stickels 

Have fun! 

(And here’s that macramé book I promised!) 

-Linnea

Listen With Pride

June is both Pride Month and Audiobook Month. Let’s get you listening to some fabulous stories starring LGBTQ characters!

A few of my favorite Fiction Titles-an exciting space opera, a whirlwind romance, a heartwarming fantasy, and a charming tale of family and grief.

Check out these nonfiction titles, a mixed bag of humor and heartbreak.

A Look at Some New Children’s Books

I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be in a profession where my colleagues and I share book recommendations with one another almost daily. And, even better, I regularly also hear about titles that aren’t even out yet.

A couple of weeks ago, my good fortune was rewarded once again when I attended Cuyahoga County Public Library’s “Youth Book Buzz”. This virtual event offered several publishers, including Norton Books, Penguin Random House, Workman and Baker and Taylor, an opportunity to share some of their new Summer and Fall children and teen book releases. Librarians all over Ohio were invited to learn about hundreds of forthcoming books to be prepared to recommend that “perfect” new title to patrons and parents.

Here are just a few books that caught my fancy from that day:

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill is a fantasy for readers aged 10 and up and is about the power of generosity and love, and how a community suffers when it loses sight of those things. Already published in March, it’s technically not a forthcoming title, but I still can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho will be published in November. In this romantic comedy, Lari Ramires falls hard for Pedro Molina, but knows, as the grandchildren of two rival Brazilian bakeries, their love can never be. With a beautiful setting, a star-crossed romance and amazing-sounding food, this new teen novel will be one to devour.

A Library is a lyrical picture book by poet Nikki Giovanni with illustrations by fine artist Erin Robinson. Together they have crafted a love letter to the magic places that libraries are. A Library will be published in September this year, and while it might seem obvious, I will be sure to check it out.

The Flamingo by Guojing is my kind of illustrated book. This wordless, graphic novel/chapter book follows an imaginative girl who becomes obsessed with flamingoes while on a beach vacation with her grandmother. I can already tell that this title, out in September, will make a great holiday gift.

Elephants Remember by Jennifer O’Connell is a nonfiction picture book that tells the story of Lawrence Anthony and his animal reserve in South Africa. There, he developed a deep bond he with the matriarch of an elephant herd that he helped to save. Look for it in October.

Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholk and illustrated by Khoa Le is picture book that will be published in September. It is heartwarming, slightly spooky tale about two very different sisters, Beatrice and Roo, who learn to celebrate their individuality, understanding that love runs deeper than their differences. I’m looking forward to reading this one to my favorite four-year-old.

While these titles are (almost) all too new to be in our catalog. Make sure you look for them starting this Summer. In the meantime, visit us at Rocky River Public Library and we’ll suggest some other great books for you to read.

-Carol

Infinite Goodness: Pi Day

Lemon, peach, apple, 3.14159, oh my! Pi Day, which falls on Monday, March 14, is fast approaching! Pi day is an annual holiday devoted to celebrating the infinite mathematical constant π, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter that starts off as 3.14. This Pi Day, indulge with a slice (or two, or three!) of your favorite pie and some of the books below.

How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics by Eugenia Cheng: What is math? How exactly does it work? And what do three siblings trying to share a cake have to do with it? Using insights from the kitchen, professor Eugenia Cheng provides an accessible introduction to the logic and beauty of mathematics.

Pie Academy: Mastering the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings by Ken Haedrich: Here’s the only pie cookbook you’ll ever need. Novice and experienced bakers will discover the secrets to baking a pie from scratch with step-by-step photos and recipes, advice about tools and ingredients, tips for gorgeous fluted and lattice pie tops, and more.

The Book on Pie: Everything You Need to Know to Bake Perfect Pies by Erin Jeanne McDowell: Start with the basics, including ways to mix pie dough for extra flaky crusts, storage and freezing, and tips for decorating, before diving into dozens of recipes for all different kinds of pies: fruit, custard, cream, chiffon, cold set, savory, and mini.

Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World by Matt Parker: Exploring and explaining a litany of glitches, near misses, and mathematical mishaps involving the Internet, big data, elections, street signs, lotteries, an Olympic team, and even the Roman Empire, stand-up comedian Matt Parker uncovers the ways math trips us up and how essential math is in everyday life.

One Poison Pie by Lynn Cahoon: What’s a kitchen witch to do when her almost-financé leaves her suddenly single and unemployed? For Mia Malone, the answer’s simple: move to her grandmother’s quirky Idaho hometown, where magic is an open secret and witches and warlocks are (mostly) welcome. But when her first catering job takes a distasteful turn, Mia must find out which of the town’s eccentric residents has an appetite for murder before her fresh start comes to a sticky end.

The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman: When her efforts to pursue a professional culinary life away from her family’s northern Michigan orchard end in disappointment, Sam spends a summer working for the family pie shop and begins to understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food as she prepares beloved ancestral recipes.

The Curse of the Cherry Pie by Amy Patricia Meade: When Tish Tarragon’s friend pulls out of the prestigious Virginia Commonwealth Bake-Off, an anxious Tish reluctantly takes her place. As the bake-off gets underway, Tish learns that her signature bake, a frangipane cherry pie, has played a deadly role in the previous two competitions. Is the curse of the cherry pie about to strike again?

Pieometry: Modern Tart Art and Pie Design for the Eye and the Palate by Lauren Ko: Whether you want to impress at the holidays or just spruce up a family meal, Pieometry is your guide to transforming a traditional dessert into a modern masterpiece. The pie-making genius behind the popular Instagram account @lokokitchen reveals how to build 50 sweet and savory pies from crust to top. Look for butternut bacon macaroni and cheese pie, lavender blackberry cream pie, honey ricotta tart, grilled cinnamon pineapple pie, and more.

Pie all the Time: Elevated Sweet and Savory Recipes for Every Occasion by Taylor Harbin: Whether you’re craving comfort food, an exciting new flavor, a quick treat, or a celebratory indulgence, the answer is always pie. Taylor Harbin, the creator behind the blog “All Purpose Flour Child,” offers familiar classics, inventive flavors, and easy methods for flawless pies every time.

Sweet as Pie by Alicia Hunter Pace: The path to true love isn’t quite as easy as pie, but it sure is sweet in the end. Jake Champagne is looking forward to a new team, new town, and clean slate in Laurel Springs. After a disastrous year, the hockey hotshot is leaving his past behind – even betting his best friend that he can stay away from women. But he’s happy to reconnect with a piece of home when he visits childhood friend and now successful baker Evie. Between slices of Mississippi mud pie and chicken potpie, Jake starts to remember what a fool he was to let Evie get away.

March is Women’s History Month

From pioneering scientists to determined suffragists to avant-garde artists to mothers, Women’s History Month celebrates the accomplishments of ordinary and trailblazing women in American society. You can celebrate by reading the works of female authors throughout the month. Below is a list of 31 inspiring, empowering, and entertaining titles by some of the most current female authors. Read one each day this month or throughout the year!

Matrix by Lauren Groff: Cast out of the royal court, 17-year-old Marie de France, born the last in a long line of women warriors, is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey where she vows to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects.

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters: A trans woman, her detransitioned ex and his cisgender lover build an unconventional family together in the wake of heartbreak and an unplanned pregnancy.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: This reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion.

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry: Nearly three centuries after their coastal community’s witch trials, the women athletes of the 1989 Danvers Falcons hockey team combine individual and collective talents with 1980s iconography to storm their way to the state finals.

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs: Much has been written about Berdis Baldwin’s son James, about Alberta King’s son Martin Luther, and Louise Little’s son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them, who were all born at the beginning of the 20th century and forced to contend with the prejudices of Jim Crow as Black women.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson: The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns identifies the qualifying characteristics of historical caste systems to reveal how a rigid hierarchy of human rankings, enforced by religious views, heritage and stigma, impact everyday American lives.

Dog Flowers by Danielle Geller: Drawing on archival documents in a narrative account, Geller explores how her family’s troubled past and the death of her mother, a homeless alcoholic, reflect the traditions and tragic history of her Navajo heritage.

Love and Fury by Samantha Silva: In August of 1797, as her midwife struggles to keep her and her fragile daughter alive, Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother of the famous novelist Mary Shelley, recounts the life she dared to live amidst the impossible constraints and prejudices of the late 18th century.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante: Beginning in the 1950s, Elena and Lila grow up in Naples, Italy, mirroring two different aspects of their nation.

Circe by Madeline Miller: Circe follows the banished witch daughter of the Titans as she practices her powers for an inevitable conflict with one of Olympus’ most vindictive gods.

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia: An affluent Cuban immigrant reckons with her daughter’s drug addiction and her own culpability in their self-destructive choices.

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich: Based on the life of Erdrich’s grandfather, The Night Watchman traces the experiences of a Chippewa Council night watchman in mid-19th century rural North Dakota who fights Congress to enforce Native American treaty rights.

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall: In this collection of essays, Kendall explores how feminism has not acknowledged the many ways in which race, class, and sexual orientation intersect with gender. Through a biographical lens, Kendall examines how issues like food security, access to education, safe housing, and healthcare connect to feminist concerns, and ponders why they continue to be ignored by mainstream feminists.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay: The best-selling author of Bad Feminist presents a frank memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed one’s hunger in healthy ways.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore: Moore recounts the struggles of hundreds of women who were exposed to radium while working factory jobs during World War I, describing how they were mislead by their employers and became embroiled in a battle for workers’ rights.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel: In this memoir graphic novel, Bechdel offers a darkly funny family portrait that details her relationship with her father, a historic preservation expert dedicated to restoring the family’s Victorian home, a funeral home director, a high school English teacher, and a closeted gay man.

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach: Join Roach on an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet. What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A grizzly bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? As Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh: In a four-color, illustrated collection of stories and essays, Brosh’s debut chronicles the many “learning experiences” she has endured as a result of her own character flaws, and the horrible experiences that other people have had to endure because she was such a terrible child. Possibly the worst child. For example, one time she ate an entire cake just to spite her mother.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: Fighting an ugly custody battle with an artistic tenant who has little regard for the strict rules of their progressive Cleveland suburb, a straitlaced family woman who is seeking to adopt a baby becomes obsessed with exposing the tenant’s past, only to trigger devastating consequences for both of their families.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: In early 1900s Korea, prized daughter Sunja finds herself pregnant and alone, bringing shame on her family, until a minister offers to marry her and move with her to Japan in the saga of one family bound together as their faith and identity are called into question.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen: Coming out of exile to ascend her rightful throne, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, with a cadre of soldiers and the magical Tearling sapphire to protect her, makes a daring decision that evokes that wrath of the evil Red Witch, forcing her to embark on a quest to save her kingdom and fulfill her destiny.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Separated by respective ambitions after falling in love in occupied Nigeria, beautiful Ifemelu experiences triumph and defeat in America while exploring new concepts of race, while Obinze endures an undocumented status in London until the pair is reunited in their homeland 15 years later, where they face the toughest decisions of their lives.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn: In an effort to keep himself footloose and single in spite of the efforts of the town’s matchmakers, Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, begins a sham courtship with Daphne Bridgerton.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean: Orlean reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution: our libraries.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: Two half-sisters, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th century Ghana and experience profoundly different lives and legacies throughout subsequent generations marked by wealth, slavery, war, coal mining, the Great Migration, and the realities of 20th century Harlem.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner: The Japanese Breakfast indie pop star presents a full-length account of her viral New Yorker essay to share poignant reflections on her experiences of growing up Korean-America, becoming a professional musician, and caring for her terminally ill mother.

The Other Wind by Ursula K. Le Guin: Haunted by dreams of the dead who seek to invade Earthsea through him, the sorcerer Alder enlists the aid of Ged, a former Archmage, who advises him to find the holiest place in the world, which holds the key to preserving Earthsea.

The Flowering: The Autobiography of Judy Chicago by Judy Chicago: In this provocative and resonant autobiography, world-renowned artist and feminist icon Judy Chicago reflects on her extraordinary life and career.

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado: Women and their bodies, and the violence done to them, occupy the center of Machado’s inventive, sensual, and eerie debut horror collection. These stories use situations at once familiar and completely strange to reveal what it is like to inhabit the female body.

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life: Essays by Samantha Irby: Sometimes you just have to laugh, even when life is a dumpster fire. In her second collection of essays, Irby explores what it means what it means to be “fat and black.”

Call Us What We Carry: Poems by Amanda Gorman: The presidential inaugural poet and unforgettable new voice in American poetry presents a collection of poems that includes the stirring poem she read at the inauguration of President Biden.

New Nonfiction

From true crime to history to art, there are some excellent nonfiction books coming out this year. I thought I’d share a few of the titles I’ve added to my endless TBR pile.

Treasured: How Tutankhamun Shaped a Century by Christina Riggs
Publication Date: February 1, 2022. Request a copy from the Library here.
When it was discovered in 1922, the 3,300-year-old tomb of Tutankhamun sent shockwaves around the world, turning the boy-king into a household name overnight and kickstarting an international obsession with Egyptology that endures to this day. Professor of Visual Culture Christina Riggs offers a bold account of the tomb’s excavation, archeology and colonialism, tourism and cultural exhibitions, politics, and more – and all just in time for the discovery’s centennial anniversary. Get ready to have Steve Martin’s “King Tut” stuck in your head for weeks. How’d you get so funky? Funky Tut!

Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth by Elizabeth Williamson
Publication Date: March 8, 2022. Request a copy from the Library here.
On December 14, 2012, a gunman killed twenty first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A decade later, the Sandy Hook killings have been lumped into a messy cycle of conspiracy theories involving the JFK assassination, 9/11, the 2020 President election, and other events. Some people have insisted the tragedy never occurred or was staged by the government to prompt the passage of gun control legislation. Drawing on hours of extensive research, New York Times reporter Elizabeth Williamson provides a definitive account of the school shooting and the aftermath, including the work of Sandy Hook parents who fought to defend themselves and the legacies of their children against the frenzied distortions of conspiracy theorists.

Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation by Maud Newton
Publication Date: March 29, 2022. Request a copy from the Library here.
Maud Newton’s ancestors have vexed and fascinated her since she was a girl. Her mother’s father, who came of age in Texas during the Great Depression, was said to have married thirteen times and been shot by one of his wives. Her mother’s grandfather killed a man with a hay hook and died in a mental institution. Maud’s father, obsessed with the “purity” of his family bloodline, traced his family back to the Revolutionary War. Diving headfirst into her genealogy, Maud Newton exposes the secrets and contradictions of her ancestors to show the transformational possibilities that reckoning with ancestors has for all of us.

Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments by Erin L. Thompson
Publication Date: February 8, 2022. Request a copy from the Library here.
Since 2020, we’ve witnessed heated debates and outright protests and violent clashes over public monuments. Why do we care so much about hunks of marble? How do we decide which monuments should stay up and which ones need to come down? Erin L. Thompson, Professor of Art Crime at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, takes readers on a journey through America’s turbulent relationship with statues, particularly monuments concerning the Confederacy, slavery, and America’s founding fathers, and how we can better navigate the legal, political, and social concerns involved in our public monuments.

Gentrifier: A Memoir by Anne Elizabeth Moore
Publication Date: October 19, 2021. Request a copy from the Library here.
In 2016, a Detroit arts organization granted writer and artist Anne Elizabeth Moore a free house in Detroit’s Bangladeshi “Banglatown.” Accompanied by her cats, Moore moves to the bungalow where she gardens, befriends the neighborhood youth, and grows to intimately understand civic collapse and community solidarity. When the troubled history of her house comes to light, Moore finds her life destabilized by the aftershocks of the housing crisis and governmental corruption.

All the Living and the Dead: From Embalmers to Executioners, an Exploration of the People Who Have Made Death Their Life’s Work by Hayley Campbell
Publication Date: August 16, 2022. It’s still a little too early to request a copy of this gem, but keep checking back with the Library as we move closer to summer!
Inspired by a her longtime fascination with death, Hayley Campbell embarked on a three year trip across the US and the UK to met with a variety of professionals in the death industry to see how they work. She encountered funeral directors, embalmers, former executioners, anatomy students, homicide detectives, and more, and asked them the same question: Why choose a life of working with the dead? Campbell is already getting comparisons to Mary Roach so don’t miss this one.

A Taste for Poison: Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers Who Used Them by Neil Bradbury
Publication Date: February 1, 2022. Request a copy from the Library here.
As any true crime fan can tell you, poison is one of the most enduring and popular weapons of choice for a scheming murderer. It can be slipped into a drink, smeared onto the tip of an arrow or the handle of a door, or even filtered through the air we breathe. But how exactly do these poisons work to break down our bodies, and what can we learn from the damage they inflict? In a fascinating blend of popular science, medical history, and true crime, Dr. Neil Bradbury examines this most morbidly captivating method of murder from a cellular level.

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith
Publication Date: June 1, 2021. Request a copy from the Library here.
Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads readers through an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history and ourselves. From Monticello to Whitney Plantation to Angola Prison to Blandford Cemetery, Smith shows how some of our country’s most essential stories are hidden in plain sight and how we can better reflect on the roles of memory and history.