The Information & Reader Services Staff have compiled our choices for the 2015 Nonfiction Staff Recommends.
Bell, Gertrude and Howell, Georgina. A Woman in Arabia: the writings of the Queen of the Desert.
Writings of the brilliant and multifaceted Gertrude Bell, an English woman who devoted her life to traveling and understanding the Arab world. Her exceptional grasp of the difficult Arabic language made her a valuable agent for the British dealing with early 20th century Arabs. Sometimes referred to as "the female Lawrence of Arabia".
Cavolo, Ricardo. 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die.
I have an uneven relationship with graphic novels, but this one is not only visually stimulating, it's fun and informative too (and I picked up several new artists to try out as well).
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me.
In this heartfelt memoir/letter to his teenage son, Coates reflects on racial identity, its impact on his life and on his son's future. A stirring message for all people that black lives matter.
Cornwell, Bernard. Waterloo: the history of four days, three armies, and three battles.
Cornwell, normally a historical fiction writer, authors a compelling work of nonfiction in Waterloo. The book takes the reader through the grueling four days of the Battle of Waterloo from the perspective of Napoleon and Wellington. It is fascinating to learn these two leaders, known as the best military minds of their time, took small missteps on each of their parts that could have led to a different outcome. A great book for history buffs.
Day, Felicia. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost).
A delightful, smart, and funny book about the one of a kind Ms. Day, who had a quirky upbringing, which probably helped her navigate an even more unusual career.
Edin, Kathryn J. $2.00 a Day: living on almost nothing in America.
An examination about extreme poverty in America; why has poverty increased over the past 20 years, how do these families survive on little or no income, and how can the country address the issue of income inequality.
Goldberg, Daniel and Larsson, Linus. The State of Play: creators and critics on video game culture.
As a non-gamer, I was enthralled by the 14 essays in this book that explored and discussed issues of gaming entertainment, such as race, gender, violence, death, sex, and fantasy. It raised points that I'll be thinking about for quite awhile.
When Simon Goodman's father passed away, he left behind boxes of files revealing he was not the quintessential British gentleman they thought he was. Born Bernard Guttman, primary heir of a prominent German banking family, Bernard had been trying to recover the family's extensive art collection plundered during World War II. Simon and his brother take up the search and learn their heartbreaking family history in the process.
After the Brown v the Board of Education decision, Prince Edward County, VA., closed its public schools and opened private, all-white schools. The author examines the effect of the closure on the community and her family's role in the decision.
Larson, Eric. Dead Wake: the last crossing of the Lusitania.
Larson does it again! The suspenseful dual narrative of Dead Wake captures the looming disaster as experienced by those who lived it, the sad reckoning of lives lost, and the inevitable "if only" we could reach across time to send a warning.
Lyndsey, Anna. Girl in the Dark: a memoir.
Imagine being allergic to light. That is Anna's reality. Once an ambitious young woman, she is now confined to live most of her days in a completely blacked-out room. Fascinatingly, she continues on with her life, fighting against the unbearable loneliness and instead finding the beauty in her new existence. A resonating and brave story.
Marsh, Henry. Do No Harm: stories of life, death, and brain surgery.
Marsh, one of Britain's foremost neurosurgeons, shares stories from the surgery in this riveting memoir, an examination of the exhilaration of successful operations and the despair of failure. Candid and compassionate.
McCullough, David. The Wright Brothers.
McCullough is a master storyteller at his best in relating the amazing story of two "ordinary" men whose genius, courage, innovation, and perseverance achieved human flight.
Who was John Maynard Keynes and why does it still matter? An innovative economist and a bold president introduced a monetary policy with far-reaching effects that continues to influence the global economy. Worth more that the paper it's printed on.
Turkle, Sherry. Reclaiming Conversation: the power of a talk in a digital age.
Wonderful book. Amazing as it touches on so many aspects of our lives that are interlinked with technology. If you keep your smart phone on the table during dinner... read this.
Wulf, Andrea. The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's new world.
An attractive and engaging biography of Alexander von Humboldt, a somewhat forgotten 19th century giant in the field of natural sciences. A native of Germany, he spent time as a young man on scientific expeditions in Latin America, where began his vision of the natural world as holistic and interdependent, a foundation of the modern concept of environmentalism.