Nonfiction

Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

The Yellow House tells the story of a family home in New Orleans East, specifically the lower Ninth Ward, a part of New Orleans which once promised a booming economic expansion eastward but instead, through neglect, became the poorest part of the city. The story follows the yellow house from its construction up through hurricane Katrina and its eventual destruction in the aftermath. More than the house though, this explores the family that lived in the house for most of that time, and it raises questions about home, family, race, and poverty among others. Unique to this memoir, it tells the story of hurricane Katrina as part of a larger story of neglect of this almost exclusively black part of New Orleans. It doesn’t just focus on the devastation, but also looks at the disruption to life, family, and home for people who stayed put, those who fled and returned, and those who left permanently. Back to Book Reviews

Switch by Chip Heath

Due to COVID-19, most of us have experienced a great deal of unanticipated and, sometimes unwelcome, change. This book explored why change is hard and, even more importantly, how to help lead a group through the change process by understanding what people need to be successful at changing. I appreciated the research cited in the book as well as the actionable ideas shared by the author. Back to Book Reviews

Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

This inspiring resource for middle-grade readers is organized as a dictionary; each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect. For each word, there is a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a "try it" prompt for an activity. This is a book I love because it’s so accessible, and allows the reader to explore all aspects of each concept.  Beautiful illustrations are the key to what makes this book a successful introduction to concepts children need to know about today. Back to Book Reviews

As You Wish by Cary Elwes

From Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film. William Goldman’s incredibly inventive yet grounded-in-fable novel, The Princess Bride, is truly a top fave book for me! The movie is now a cult classic and is enjoyed by all ages. This fun behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie is easy to read, and a must for fans of the story, as well as those who enjoy reading about the positive experiences of others. Back to Book Reviews

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

The author,  a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, shows how all living beings, plant and animal, have gifts and lessons to share. Kimmerer guides us through an exploration of our connection to nature and the consciousness of our relationship with the Earth.  She shares her indigenous background and heritage, and advocates a return to the things most precious to her. While she is a scientist by career, her indigenous roots connect her to the spirit of the science. I loved this book. Back to Book Reviews

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

This book discusses therapy from many angles: a therapist with her clients, a therapist as a broken person, a therapist in therapy.  Lori Gottlieb gives a thoughtful and compassionate look at life in a time of crisis and the work that it takes to come back. I enjoyed this funny, poignant and wise book about life passages, and the interesting peek behind the curtain of therapy. Back to Book Reviews

A Beginner’s Guide to the End by BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger

Death and dying are not always pleasant topics to discuss, but important nonetheless.  From a mindful passage for the dying, to compassionate insight for those helping along the way, this book covers many topics of interest.  I found this book helpful for planning for myself and will use this information as a conversation starter for my loved ones as we all approach the final goodbye. Back to Book Reviews

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer

You might never think about your genes and their effects on your past, present and future. Your biological inheritance could be life-saving gifts from your ancestors or even a curse. Carl Zimmer takes you on an awe-inspiring journey through the world of genes that is steeped richly in history and wonder. My mother is my “crystal ball” – whatever medical calamities befall her eventually happen to me. For this reason, I avoided books on genetics, until this title caught my eye. I knew it would help me cope with and even appreciate this topic but I never expected it to bring amusement and joy. Back to Book Reviews

Nerve by Eva Holland

This book examines a feeling that unifies us all: fear. It explores it from historical, physical, emotional, and very personal angles. This book invites you to get to know fear on an intimate level and acknowledge the vital role it plays in your life. This book surprised me by being more than a dry scientific look at fear. While the facts are there, they are wrapped in the heart-felt memoir of the author’s own personal struggles and triumphs over deeply rooted fears, both real and imagined. Back to Book Reviews

The Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman

This engaging book invites you into the fascinating world of birds. The author’s own love and knowledge of birds is evident. She expertly highlights familiar and peculiar species and research from around the world to chronicle how they care for young, journey home, forage, and more. This book is a love poem to birds and bird lovers. It is bright and charming and glowing with admiration for our feathered friends. I loved this ode to their immense diversity and quirky birdly behaviors. I dare say I love birds even more now than I did before reading this book. Back to Book Reviews