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Spring Reading 2021 Nonfiction Recommendations

See the full list of great reading recommendations for Spring 2021 here.

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

This is the story of the American Dream gone awry. Don and Mimi Gilbert want only the best for their 12 children. But in adolescence their eldest, golden son begins exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia, and it’s only a matter of time before several of his brother’s follow suit. Fascinating and heart-wrenching, Kolker’s interviews with the family and his research on the topic illustrate just how little is understood about an illness that afflicts so many. — Jade

This book is part of our Spring Reading Challenge. Read more here.

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Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525562641
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - March 2nd, 2021

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

The power of Minor Feelings is that it demands to be seen, just as it offers the opportunity to see. A poet first, Cathy Park Hong writes with clarity and lilt, performing a personal dissection of race in America through the lens of the Asian experience. With memoir, essay, and cultural criticism, she gives visibility to a group often overlooked or purposely hiding itself, probing the historical context, its harm and effects, and widening the discourse. Courageous, honest, and at times uncomfortable, Minor Feelings could not be more essential or longer overdue. — Melinda

This book is part of our Spring Reading Challenge. Read more here.

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Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984820389
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - March 2nd, 2021

Four Lost Cities by Annalee Newitz

Much has been written about the destruction of Pompeii, the “discovery” of Angkor; but what of those cities in their prime? What about the people who lived there? Newitz spent years traveling the world, researching, excavating, and speaking with experts in order to glean a deeper understanding of ancient cities and the lives of their citizens. Educational and engaging, Four Lost Cities is both an enjoyable history lesson and a call to take care of the cities of today, before they too fall into ruin. — Jade

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Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393652666
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 2nd, 2021

Speak, Okinawa: A Memoir by Elizabeth Miki Brina

Brina weaves her own life—from a desperate attempt to camouflage herself with a variety of punk hair colors, doomed attempts at relationships, and her first ever conversation with her mother in Japanese as an adult—together with that of her mother, a survivor of the Battle of Okinawa and a war bride living unhappily in America. The deep scars of the battle, and the ongoing US military occupation of Okinawa, show in the trauma and healing between them. — Dave

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Speak, Okinawa: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525657347
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - February 23rd, 2021

The Soul of a Woman / Mujeres del alma mía by Isabel Allende

Best-selling Chilean author Isabel Allende passionately delivers a memoir on what it means to be a feminist woman. Allende carries us through her rebellious childhood and her quick antagonism with the machista culture prevalent in many Latinx households, to her riding the second wave of feminism, to current reflections of love at her now older age. In The Soul of a Woman, Allende illustrates her life through her feminist ideology and proves to us that there are things to continue to fight for. — Andrea
Also available in Spanish as Mujeres del alma mía. Disponible en español titulado Mujeres del alma mía.

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The Soul of a Woman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593355626
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - March 2nd, 2021

Three Ordinary Girls by Tim Brady

Three Ordinary Girls is a comprehensive dive into the Dutch resistance effort against Nazi power told through the story of three rebel teenagers on the frontlines of a shocking and voilent struggle. From young girls assassinating Hilter’s men to details about fuel rationing (and with a typeface that is slightly larger than average!), this is a great read for those who consume every WW2 book they can get their hands on. — Tori

Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad

Young, fun, and ambitious, Jaoud’s entire world was knocked from its axis when she was diagnosed with leukemia at just 22 years old. Thrust into a life of grueling treatment, confinement, and total dependence, her struggle didn’t end with the remission of her disease. Taking to the road, she embarked on a post-cancer road trip to visit people who wrote to her during her illness, looking for a new sense of self along the way. A gifted writer, Jaoud’s story is immersive and her descriptions of grief and loss are profoundly moving. — Jade

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Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399588587
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - February 9th, 2021

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

Piano music and dark corners, the looming spectre of AIDS and the anti-queer violence it flamed high, the struggle for safety and recognition, and simple human connection. Elon Green charts an incredible, underreported decades-long true crime story that lasted into the 21st century, bringing to life not just the hunt for a serial killer, but the lives of his four known victims and the world of piano bars and hustlers amongst queer male New York that he prowled. — Jocelyn

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Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250224354
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Celadon Books - March 9th, 2021

How to Not Die Alone by Logan Ury

This is not your parents’ dating book. Maybe you’re waiting for the right person, the end of the pandemic, or exhausted from trying to connect from behind a screen. Finding love is harder than it has ever been before. Director of Relationship Science at Hinge and freelance dating coach Logan Ury brings dating advice to the 21st century. A scientist and at heart, she embraces research before dating lore. With hilarious and empowering advice, it’s for the “why has everyone found love but me?” readers. How To Not Die Alone is a refreshing take on modern love. — Charlotte

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How to Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982120627
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - February 2nd, 2021

Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology by Jess Zimmerman

As both a Feminist and a Monster Lover, this book immediately called out to me. Critical Feminist engagement with female monsters of Greek antiquity? Heck yeah! Women have long been told that we are something Other, that we are to be feared and reviled and shut away from the eyes of polite society. Why not lean into it? This book is a great jumping point for anyone who wants to embrace their inner (and outer) monstrosity. — Jae


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Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807054932
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - March 9th, 2021

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