Posts Tagged ‘Non-Fiction’


Best of the Best 2017: Non-Fiction

by Amanda on December 29th, 2017

ICPL BEST NON-FICTION BOOKS OF 2017

 

Our favorite non-fiction books this year are very eclectic! Whether you’re interested in American politics, understanding your mind better, feminism, or world history, we’ve got you covered. A lot of these books deal with overcoming extreme adversity, and would make great winter reads!

  • Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire by Kurt Andersen
  • Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg
  • Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat
  • We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
  • Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
  • Women and the Land by Barbara Hall
  • Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves by Kate T. Parker
  • Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 by Helen Rappaport
  • The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin

Winter crafting inspired by the Bookmobile

by Shawna Riggins on December 14th, 2017

When the weather starts to cool, I brush off my crafting supplies and I know it’s time to get started on hand made gifts. I love to make crafts but some years I am stumped about what to make when it comes time to get started. This year, my crafting choice was made easy when the Feminist Icon Cross Stitch book caught my eye during some down time on the Bookmobile. I made two of the patterns for women in my life and I hope to make one for myself next! A new cross stitch book, Really Cross Stitch just arrived on the Bookmobile yesterday, so now I have even more patterns I am itching to make.

 

We like to boast that the Bookmobile is filled with the newest and most popular items. To keep that distinction, we are continually adding new books to the collections on the Bookmobile. Recently our Non Fiction section has been expanding with several new crafting books and cook books. The hardest part of my days on the Bookmobile has to be seeing so many great books and knowing that I don’t have time to read them all.

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Ready to ride after a long winter on the couch?

by Mary Estle-Smith on March 15th, 2016

If you  pretty much take the winter off from riding to assume the position of your horse(s) personal slave once daylight time ends, Goodnight’s Principles of Riding  DVD series may be just what you want to sharpen you up for the new year.

Julie Goodnight is a well known clinician who travels the country giving clinics and assisting people in overcoming issues with their horses as well as honing their skills.  She also has a weekly program on RFD-TV.   Her teaching manner is positive,  clear and concise for anyone from beginner to advanced riders wanting to raise their knowledge and refinement level.

I have been riding most of my life and still find many helpful lessons in this series.  One of the great things about working with horses is that it is an ongoing education.  I would recommend you start with volume 1, Balance and Rhythm and move on from there.  She also gives you some exercises to build strength and balance that can be done as you watch.   The information in these DVDs can be used in any discipline to assist is problem solving and build the skills and confidence of both horse and rider.  Take a look then go forth and prosper in your horse life!

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Fifty Glorious Years

by Mimi on February 4th, 2016

The Christmas frenzy is over and now it’s time to sit back and relax for one of my favorite personal holidays:  Super Bowl Sunday.  This year marks the 50th game and, of course, we have the books to commemorate this momentous occasion.

First Fifty Years cover.phpThe Super Bowl: the First Fifty Years of America’s Greatest Game (2015) by David Fischer talks about most of the games and also includes insets such as “The Best Who Never Won”.  Some highlights are lots of pictures and interesting statistics in the back.  It can be a bit confusing since there is no index and it’s not written chronologically.

Ultimate Super Bowlcover.phpFor that, I recommend The Ultimate Super Bowl Book by Bob McGinn.  Since it was written in 2009, it only goes up to Super Bowl XLIII but in a lot more detail.  Statistics, player and coach rosters, even the weather conditions are all listed.  I especially enjoyed reliving one of my favorites:  the Packers and the Patriots in XXXI.

Game of Their Lives cover.phpSuper Bowl: the Game of Their Lives (1997) by Danny Peary is also consecutive.  Each game is recounted by one of the actual players.  For example, the final chapter in the book is Super Bowl XXXI from the MVP Desmond Howard’s perspective.  Since I’ve missed my chance to be a professional athlete 😉 it’s fantastic to play vicariously through these superstars’ eyes.

Just a Game cover.phpIf you want to learn about how it all began, there’s When It was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl (2015) by Harvey Frommer.  After a brief overview of the beginning of professional football, it moves quickly into how this annual tradition came to pass.  Instead of footnotes, quotes from people who were there are interspersed within the usual text.

Pro Football cover.phpLastly, The Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Book:  Where Greatness Lives (2012) by Joe Horrigan and John Thorn spotlights many outstanding players including those who may not have made it to the Big Game.  This is a coffee table book with a myriad of pictures and quotes.  The reproductions of printed materials is especially fascinating.  Each chapter is a decade so it’s easy to see the changes over the years.

The football season may be over but these books celebrate fandom all year long!

Reading another person’s letters …

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 1st, 2015

An upcoming episode of On Air: The ICPL podcast will feature a Favorite Book segment.

Not books.

Book.

It isn’t easy choosing a favorite book. I have tons of favorites from various stages in life, but there is one title that remains my hands-down favorite: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

84, Charing Cross Road details the 20-year friendship between Hanff, a writer living in New York City, and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co., antiquarian booksellers in London. This lovely non-fiction book is an epistolary book, written entirely in the pair’s letters. (It was later turned into a stage play, TV play and a movie, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.)

I love epistolary novels – books written as a series of documents, such as letters and journal entries. There’s realness with this genre, even in fiction works. Reading something private instantly makes the reader part of the character’s personal life.

Some of my favorite epistolary titles include Stephen Chboksky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (bonus: it’s also a banned 0504_i-will-always-write-backbook; perfect for Banned Books Week reading); Attachments: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell; and Where Rainbows End (previously published as Rosie Dunne) by Cecelia Ahern. Now, I have a new title to add to the list: I Will Always Write Back by Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka.

I Will Always Write Back is the true story of two lives changed by a letter. Caitlin wrote to Martin as part of an English assignment, choosing Zimbabwe because she liked the name of the country. Her letter arrived with nine others, at a poor school with 50 students. Martin was lucky enough to receive one because he was the top student.

Caitlin and Martin had very little in common, but somehow they struck up a friendship that transcended their differences, eventually changing both of their lives. I Will Always Write Back is a great story of generosity, inner strength, and friendship. I could not put it down, finishing it in one afternoon.

I Will Always Write Back is cataloged as for ages 12 and up, but I see it as one of those books everyone should read, no matter if you are 15 or 50. It will make you smile, make you cry, and make you better for having experienced how truly amazing people can be.

A Budding Hobby

by Shawna Riggins on September 25th, 2015

When my husband and I were looking for new places to live this past spring our top priority was finding a place with a fenced in yard for our pugs to romp in and enjoy. After living in our new location for almost three months now I have realized that the yard is almost as exciting for me as it is for the pugs.

Frank and Fifi are not the only ones excited to have a yard!

Frank and Fifi are not the only ones excited to have a yard!

Over the past few weeks I noticed mums being sold all around town and walked past them with longing. Then it dawned on me; I have a lawn, I can plant flowers! I immediately searched the Iowa City Public Library catalog and found some books to help me as I began thinking about what to plant and how to go about creating my first flower bed. I knew I wanted to plant mums because I love how they look and I read that they are pretty hardy so hopefully I wouldn’t kill them. Additionally, I decided to plant tulips so I would have flowers to enjoy as soon as winter ends, as well as some hostas that I was able to split and transplant from an abandoned bunch in the back yard.

Luckily I will have plenty of reading material over the Winter!

Luckily I will have plenty of reading material over the Winter!

Now the flowers are in the ground and the mulch has been spread, but my new obsession has just begun! I am already scoping out other parts of the yard and wondering what more I can do. Luckily for me, ICPL subscribes to several home and garden magazines to keep me thinking about new and different projects I can begin. What lawn or house project have to undertaken recently with the help of library resources?

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War

by Katherine Habley on September 16th, 2015
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy:  Four Women Undercover in the Civil War Cover Image

The New York Times best-selling author, Karen Abbott, who wrote Sin in the Second City and American Rose, published another book that readers will love.  My Book Group read Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy for our September gathering.  It was a great evening because we got to Skype with Abbott for about 30 minutes and she was just so funny and personable.  We felt like she was right there with us having a great evening drinking a glass of wine and talking about her work of non-fiction that reads like a novel.  The four heroines in the story, two Union supporters and two Confederate sympathizers, each made a unique contribution to the war effort.  Young Belle Boyd shot a Union soldier in her home and became a spy for the Confederacy by using her feminine charm with soldiers on both sides of the war.  Emma Edmonds disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the Union army as Frank Thompson while infiltrating enemy lines. The widow, Rose O’Neal Greenhow, had affairs with powerful politicians and then sent information she learned through her daughter to assist the rebel cause.  And Elizabeth Van Lew, a rich spinster lady from Richmond who supported the Abolitionists, organized a spy ring with successful results.  Each of their narratives is a true story based on the author’s meticulous research using primary source materials and interviews with the spies’ descendants.  These four courageous women risked everything by becoming involved in espionage during the Civil War and yet we’ve never heard of them!  For an unconventional angle to further understanding of this bloodiest of wars, take a look at Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War.  The black and white photos and 3 maps add to the reader’s enjoyment of the text.  For more information, go to Karen Abbott’s website: karenabbott.net.  She would be a great addition to the 2016 Festival of Books authors.

Moving Season

by Mimi on August 18th, 2015

This one is for you, Mom.  As Iowa City residents know, it’s that time of year and, this time, I was going to be part of the chaos.  As I was talking about how stressful things were, my mom said, “You should write about this in your blog.”  At that time I thought, “Ugh!  I’m calling you as a procrastination or avoidance technique.”  But now that I have “settled” into my new place, I realized she was right so here you are.

 

39 Apartments cover.phpMoving Day cover.phpAccording to Jonah Winter, Beethoven had to change his address 39 times, including 5 pianos.  This picture book (2006) is filled with interesting facts and whimsical illustrations.  Reading it will make most moves seem quite easy in comparison.  The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day (1981) by Stan and Jan Berenstain depicts a more realistic undertaking.

 

Bromeliad Trilogy cover.phpThe Bromeliad Trilogy (1998) by Terry Pratchett features 4-inch tall creatures called nomes who originated from another planet; consider them to be alien Littles or Borrowers.  In the beginning, they live Outside but too many predators and a scarcity of food convince them to migrate to the Store.  Other nomes already reside there and allow the immigrants to stay.  Soon, through a “great and powerful” object dubbed the Thing, they discover the Store is to be demolished and they must all move again.  This trilogy consists of Truckers (1989), Diggers (1990), and Wings (1990).

 

From the Mixed Up Files cover.phpIn the classic book From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1967) by E. L. Konigsburg, Claudia Kincaid is bored with her life and decides to run away from home and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She recruits her brother Jamie, primarily as a roommate to help with expenses.  They quickly settle into a routine when, one day, a mysterious marble statue of an angel arrives.  Jamie is ready to return home but Claudia is intrigued and refuses until she resolves the enigma.

 

How to Survive cover.phpHow to Survive a Move (2005) is an advice book that I had not actually read before my relocation, but should have done.  It is comprised of recommendations from everyday people who have already undergone that experience.  Some are amusing and some are “what not to do” but most are beneficial.  Keep this book in mind for the residence reshuffle next year.

 

Whether you are already established in your home or still unpacking boxes, take a break to read about various moves.  Finally, a humongous thank you to all my friends and family who helped me change my residence so I would still have enough sanity to write this blog.