Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Poet Warrior

By Joy Harjo
W.W. Norton & Company, 2021. 226 pages. Biography

In the second memoir from the first Native American to serve as US poet laureate, Joy Harjo invites us to travel along the heartaches, losses, and humble realizations of her "poet-warrior" road. A musical, kaleidoscopic meditation, Poet Warrior reveals how Harjo came to write poetry of compassion and healing, poetry with the power to unearth the truth and demand justice. Weaving together the voices that shaped her, Harjo listens to stories of ancestors and family, the poetry and music that she first encountered as a child, the teachings of a changing earth, and the poets who paved her way. 

I loved this memoir by Joy Harjo because she has an expert voice and immerses you into her story. On a whim, I started reading the poetry bits out loud and was amazed at how that brought more depth and meaning to her words. I felt her connection to her family, ancestors, heritage, and beliefs. Her memoir is powerful and a work of art. 

If you like Poet Warrior you might also like: 

By Daniel Nayeri
Levine Querido, 2020. 356 pages. YA Fiction

To Khosrou's classmates, he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny. But Khosrou's stories, stretching back centuries, are beautiful and terrifying. We bounce between a school bus of kids armed with paper clip missiles and spitballs to the heroines and heroes of Khosrou's family's past. Like Scheherazade in a hostile classroom, Khosrou weaves a tale to save his own life, to stake his claim to the truth. 

By Noé Álvarez
Catapult, 2020. 218 pages. Biography

Growing up in Yakima, Washington, Noé Álvarez worked at an apple-packing plant alongside his mother. At nineteen, he learned about a Native American/First Nations movement called the Peace and Dignity Journeys, epic marathons meant to renew cultural connections across North America. He dropped out of school and joined a group of Dené, Secwépemc, Gitxsan, Dakelh, Apache, Tohono O'odham, Seri, Purépecha, and Maya runners, all fleeing difficult beginnings. Telling their stories alongside his own, Álvarez writes about his journey from Canada to Guatemala that pushed him to his limits. Running through mountains, deserts, and cities, and through the Mexican territory his parents left behind, Álvarez forges a new relationship with the land, and with the act of running, carries the dream of a liberated future. 

By Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Milkweed Editions, 2020. 165 pages. Nonfiction

From award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction--a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us. As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted--no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape--she was able to turn to our world's fierce and funny creatures for guidance. 


Monday, November 22, 2021

Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven

Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven 
By Kami Garcia 
DC Comics, 2021. 190 pages. Young Adult Graphic Novel 

While Raven Roth is finding a way to get rid of her demon father Trigon, Garfield Logan is understanding his newly found shapeshifting ability, and when their paths cross in Nashville they both feel a strong connection to one another. 

There are so many things to love about this book. The romance is sweet and develops naturally. The characters are true to their comic book selves while still feeling fresh and contemporary. The story builds slowly, but is action-packed once things start. This is a classic superhero story, but has enough romance, self-discovery, and humor to entertain any reader. 

If you like Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven, you might also like: 
By Brandon Sanderson 
Delacorte Press, 2013. 386 pages. Young Adult Fiction 

At age eight, David watched as his father was killed by an Epic, a human with superhuman powers, and now, ten years later, he joins the Reckoners--the only people who are trying to kill the Epics and end their tyranny. 

By Jason Reynolds Marvel, 2017. 261 pages. Young Adult Fiction 

As a student at Brooklyn Visions Academy, Miles Morales knows he's lucky. Not all kids get this opportunity, especially not kids from his neighborhood. With his quirky best friend Ganke, this school year is gonna be a blast. Right? Wrong. Miles has a secret. He's actually Spider-Man. Well not THE Spider-Man but A Spider-Man. Pretty much the only Spider-Man in town now that Peter Parker is gone. Miles is doing his best to save every little old lady but it's getting to be too much. He's got more important stuff to worry about like homework, girls, family, the perfect Halloween costume, and girls. Did we mention girls? Ok well maybe just one girl. But when Miles accidentally discovers a villainous teacher's plan to turn good kids bad, he will need to come to terms with his own destiny as the new SPIDER-MAN.

By Pittacus Lore 
Harper, 2010. 440 pages. Young Adult Fiction 

In rural Ohio, friendships and a beautiful girl prove distracting to a fifteen-year-old who has hidden on Earth for ten years waiting to develop the Legacies, or powers, he will need to rejoin the other six surviving Garde members and fight the Mogadorians who destroyed their planet, Lorien. 

By Rodney Barnes 
Oni-Lion Forge Publishing, 2021. 144 pages. Young Adult Graphic Novel 

Quinton West went from being a small guy getting beaten up to a small guy with the superpower of invulnerability. To supplement his only superpower, he realizes he can use his hobby of creating Rube Goldberg devices to outsmart opponents.


Friday, November 19, 2021

Fade Out

Fade Out
By Nova Ren Suma
Simon & Schuster, 2009. 272 pages. YA Fiction. 

Imaginative thirteen-year-old Dani feels trapped in her small mountain town with only film noir at the local art theater and her depressed mother for company, but while trying to solve a real mystery she learns much about herself and life.

Dani Callanzano is a spitfire teen engrossed in the melodramatic world of noir film and teenage feelings. Dani is navigating changes that many young people experience; changes in her friendships, changes in her family, and changes within herself. Not unlike her noir film stars, Dani's story is fraught with betrayal, boys, and big feelings. Though Dani does have a flair for the dramatics (what noir star doesn't), and does not always make the best choices when navigating her changing life, she feels completely relatable in the context of her story. This is a great read for anyone who feels or remembers the high-stakes angst of teenage life. anyone who has wished they could lock themselves away from their problems in a dark movie theater (with lots of popcorn, obviously), and anyone who needs a reminder to stay true to themselves and embrace their (albeit over-the-top dramatic) feelings sometimes. 

If you like Fade Out, you might also like....
By Sarah Everette 
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021. 359 pages. YA Fiction

Jessi is caught between two brothers as the three navigate family, loss, and love over the course of her seventeenth and eighteenth summers.

One Great Lie
By Deb Caletti
Atheneum, 2021. 375 pages. YA Fiction.

Charlotte's dream of a summer writing workshop in Venice with her favorite author brings the chance to investigate the mysterious poet in her family's past, meet fascinating new people, and learn truths about her idol.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Creepy Cat Volume 1

Creepy Cat Volume 1 
By Cotton Valent 
Seven Seas Entertainment, 2021. 180 pages. Young Adult Graphic Novel 

Flora moves into a mysterious mansion and finds it inhabited by a strange creature--Creepy Cat! Thus begins her strange and sometimes dangerous life with a feline roommate. This Gothic comedy brings the chuckles...and the chills! With full-color illustrations, this graphic novel originated as a webcomic by Thai artist Cotton Valent. 

This is an absolutely hilarious comic about living with cats and the creepy things they do. There is romance, humor, mystery, all wrapped up in a gothic setting. This is a great read for anyone who loves cats, paranormal adventures, or funny comic books. 

If you like Creepy Cat, you might also like: 
By Sarah Andersen 
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2020. 100 pages. Graphic Novel 

Elsie the vampire is three hundred years old, but in all that time, she has never met her match. This all changes one night in a bar when she meets Jimmy, a charming werewolf with a wry sense of humor and a fondness for running wild during the full moon. Together they enjoy horror films and scary novels, shady strolls, fine dining (though never with garlic), and a genuine fondness for each other's unusual habits, macabre lifestyles, and monstrous appetites. 

Edited by TheOatmeal.com 
Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2012. 130 pages. Graphic Novel 

A hilarious, brilliant offering of cat comics, facts, and instructional guides from the creative wonderland at TheOatmeal.com 

By Caitlin Doughty 
W. W. Norton & Company, 2019. 222 pages. Nonfiction 

Best-selling author and licensed mortician Caitlin Doughty answers real questions from kids about death, dead bodies, and decomposition. Every day, funeral director Caitlin Doughty receives dozens of questions about death. What would happen to an astronaut's body if it were pushed out of a space shuttle? Do people poop when they die? Can Grandma have a Viking funeral? In the tradition of Randall Munroe's What If?, Doughty's new book blends her scientific understanding of the body and the intriguing history behind common misconceptions about corpses to offer factual, hilarious, and candid answers to thirty-five urgent questions posed by her youngest fans. Readers will learn what happens if you die on an airplane, the best soil for mummifying your dog, and whether or not you can preserve your friend's skull as a keepsake. Featuring illustrations from Dianne Ruz, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? will delight anyone interested in the fascinating truth about what will happen (to our bodies) after we die. 

By Kaiu Shirai 
Viz Media, 2017. 183 pages. Young Adult Graphic Novel 

Emma, Norman and Ray are the brightest kids at the Grace Field House orphanage. And under the care of the woman they refer to as 'Mom, ' all the kids have enjoyed a comfortable life. Good food, clean clothes and the perfect environment to learn-- what more could an orphan ask for? One day, though, Emma and Norman uncover the dark truth of the outside world they are forbidden from seeing.


The Body: A Guide for Occupants

The Body: A Guide for Occupants
By Bill Bryson
Doubleday Book, 2019. 450 pages. Nonfiction

This book walks the reader through each system in the human body, noting how it functions and recounting short histories of how discoveries were made in that particular area.  Bryson is well-known for taking nonfiction subjects and making them both understandable and entertaining, and this book didn't disappoint, in fact it might be one of his best.  

Some aspects of anatomy, biology, and medicine can be dry or difficult to understand, but Bryson successfully repackages them into basic but compelling understandings of how the human body works and how many medical breakthroughs have been discovered.  One gains a deeper appreciation of our amazing bodies while reading, as well as a deeper desire to care for them as they care so well for us, to ensure we have a little more time with them comfortably while we are here on this earth.


If you liked The Body: A Guide for Occupants, you might also like: 

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
By Mary Roach
Norton & Company, 2013. 336 pages. Nonfiction

The humor scientist behind Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife takes a tour of the human digestive system, explaining why the stomach doesn't digest itself and whether constipation can kill you.

Idiot Brain: What Your Head is Really Up To
By Dean Burnett
Norton & Company, 2016. 336 pages. Nonfiction

A delightful tour of our mysterious, mischievous gray matter from neuroscientist and massively popular Guardian blogger Dean Burnett.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Beyond the Mapped Stars

Beyond the Mapped Stars 
By Rosalyn Eves
Alfred A Knopf, 2021. 371 pages. Young Adult Fiction 

Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Bertelsen dreams of becoming an astronomer, but those dreams feel as far away as the stars she so deeply adores. When she unexpectedly finds herself in Colorado, she's tempted by the total eclipse of the sun that's about to happen--and maybe even meeting up with the female scientists she's long admired. Elizabeth must learn to navigate this new world of possibility: with her familial duties and faith tugging at her heartstrings, a new romance on the horizon, and the study of the night sky calling to her, she can't possibly have it all ... can she?

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a richly detailed story about Elizabeth’s struggles to follow dreams that were rarely realized by women like her in 1878. She has been raised with very set views of what a woman’s roles are, and her desire to study astronomy challenges those preconceptions head-on. Can she pursue the sciences while also being true to her faith? Does she have to give up being a wife and mother like so many other female scientists? Elizabeth’s story will inspire and serve as a reminder to follow your dreams. 

If you liked Beyond the Mapped Stars, you might also like: 

Under a Painted Sky 
By Stacey Lee
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015. 374 pages. Young Adult Fiction 

In 1845, Sammy, a Chinese American girl, and Annamae, an African American slave girl, disguise themselves as boys and travel on the Oregon Trail to California from Missouri. 

The Shakeress 
By Kimberley Burton Heuston
Front Street, 2002. 207 pages. Young Adult Fiction 

While searching for her true self and for the way to meet the needs of her personal sense of spirituality, an orphaned teenaged girl joins a Shaker community in mid-nineteenth century New England and learns about a new religion called Mormonism. 


Friday, November 12, 2021

Tokyo Ever After

Tokyo Ever After 
By Emiko Jean
Flatiron Books, 2021. 322 pages. Young Adult Fiction 

After learning that her father is the Crown Prince of Japan, Izumi travels to Tokyo, where she discovers that Japanese imperial life--complete with designer clothes, court intrigue, paparazzi scandals, and a forbidden romance with her handsome but stoic bodyguard--is a tough fit for the outspoken and irreverent 18-year-old from northern California. 

This book was incredibly hard for me to put down. I loved it! Izumi has a hard time feeling like she fits in anywhere. Her Japanese ancestry makes her stand out from others in her small town of Mount Shasta, and when she travels to Japan she stands out because she doesn’t know the language or much of the culture. Despite trying to meet the expectations of those around her, it’s not until she accepts her own uniqueness that she’s really able to flourish. 

While the plot doesn’t break new ground in the YA romance genre, it was still charming and I loved the setting. First in a planned series, I will definitely be looking for #2 when it comes out next year. 

If you liked Tokyo Ever After, you might also like: 

The Princess Diaries 
By Meg Cabot
Harper Avon, 2000. 238 pages. Young Adult Fiction 

Fourteen-year-old Mia, who is trying to lead a normal life as a teenage girl in New York City, is shocked to learn that her father is the Prince of Genovia, a small European principality, and that she is a princess and the heir to the throne. 

American Panda 
By Gloria Chao
Simon Pulse, 2018. 310 pages. Young Adult Fiction 

A freshman at MIT, 17-year-old Mei Lu tries to live up to her Taiwanese parents' expectations, but no amount of tradition, obligation, or guilt prevent her from hiding several truths--that she is a germaphobe who cannot become a doctor, she prefers dancing to biology, she decides to reconnect with her estranged older brother, and she is dating a Japanese boy. 




by E.K. Johnston

Dutton Books, 2021. 244 pages. Young Adult Fiction.

After escaping her abusive family's interstellar merchant ship, seventeen-year-old Pendt lands on a remote space station run by the Brannick twins, and together they make plans to thwart the destinies they never wanted.

Johnston packs a lot of world building into a really small space with this book. Each thread of point of view adds to the history of the Pendt’s galaxy, like the brutality of long spacer missions and the unfair gene manipulation of the Staevenger Empire. The characterization is solid; each character shows growth as Johnston reveals facets of their personalities. The story is fast paced and compelling; it will keep you thinking long after you have finished the book.  

If you liked Aetherbound you might also like:

Aurora Rising

by Amie Kaufman

Alfred A. Knopf, 2019. 470 pages. Young Adult Fiction

2380. The graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch, from a sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates to an alien warrior with anger management issues. But Ty's biggest problem is Aurora Jie-Lin O'Malley, who he just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time-- but she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making.

The Darkness Outside of Us

by Eliot Schrefer

Katherine Teegan Books, 2021. 397 pages. Young Adult Fiction.


Two boys, alone in space. Sworn enemies sent on the same rescue mission. Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor with no memory of a launch. There's more that doesn't add up: evidence indicates strangers have been on board, the ship's operating system is voiced by his mother, and his handsome, brooding shipmate has barricaded himself away. But nothing will stop Ambrose from making his mission succeed--not when he's rescuing his own sister. In order to survive the ship's secrets, Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust each other . . . especially once they discover what they are truly up against.


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Cloud Cuckoo Land
by Anthony Doerr
Scribner, 2021. 626 pages. Fiction

From 1453 Constantinople to present-day Lakeport, Idaho, to a spaceship bound for a distant exoplanet sometime in the future, the lives of dreamers and outcasts are connected by their involvement in preserving a little-known work of Greek fiction called Cloud Cuckoo Land. In 1453, Anna and Omeir are two teens on different sides during the fall of Constantinople, where they unwittingly work together to save the little-known Greek manuscript from destruction. In present-day Lakeport, Idaho, a senior uses his knowledge of Greek to translate the tale, and in the process he enriches the lives of the teens at the local library. On a spaceship in the future, Konstance staves off the psychological effects of isolation by trying to record the tale, as it was told to her long ago by her father.

This much-anticipated novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See is beautifully written and captivating. Although the book jumps between about six different timelines, along with snippets of the Greek tale that binds each story together, the book flows with relative ease and doesn't get too bogged down or confusing. The result is a story that focuses on finding hope during times of darkness, and on how little actions can have big impacts far into the future.

If you liked Cloud Cuckoo Land you might also like:

by Monica Byrne
HarperCollins, 2021, 608 pages. Science Fiction

Jumping between the years 1012, 2012, and 3012, travel forward and backward in time, among a pair of twins who ruled a Maya kingdom; a young American woman on a trip of self-discovery; and two dangerous charismatics in a conflict that will determine the fate of the few humans left on Earth after massive climate change. Among entanglements of tradition and progress, sister and stranger, love and hate, age-old questions about existence and belonging and identity converge deep underground. Because only in complete darkness can one truly see the stars.
by Alex Landrigan
St. Martin's Press, 2019. 359 pages. Fiction

Crossings is a novel in three parts, designed to be read in two different directions, spanning 150 years and seven lifetimes. On the brink of the Nazi occupation of Paris, a German-Jewish bookbinder stumbles across a manuscript called Crossings. It has three narratives, each as unlikely as the next. And the narratives can be read one of two ways: either straight through or according to an alternate chapter sequence. With each new chapter, the stunning connections between these seemingly disparate stories grow clearer and more extraordinary. 


Monday, November 8, 2021

The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld

The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld
By Jamie Bartlett
Melville House, 2015. 320 pages. Nonfiction

Beyond the familiar online world that most of us inhabit — a world of Google, Facebook, and Twitter — lies a vast and often hidden network of sites, communities, and cultures where freedom is pushed to its limits, and where people can be anyone, or do anything, they want. This is the world of Bitcoin and Silk Road, of radicalism and pornography. This is the Dark Net. In this important and revealing book, Jamie Bartlett takes us deep into the digital underworld and presents an extraordinary look at the internet we don't know.

This is honestly a hard book to read at times.  While some aspects of the Dark Net can be liberating, it's hard to read how people's worst instincts and inclinations can be manifested as well. And yet, there is something to be said for being aware of what is happening in "the Dark Net."  If we live in ignorance of it, we risk never being equipped to deal with how it can impact our lives offline.  A challenging but thought-provoking read.


 If you liked The Dark Net you might also like:

The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data
By Kevin Mitnick with Robert Vamosi
Little, Brown and Company, 2017. 320 pages. Nonfiction

A world-famous hacker reveals unsettling truths about information vulnerability while outlining affordable online and offline strategies for maximizing privacy and computer security.

Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It
By Marc Goodman
Doubleday, 2015. 392 pages. Nonfiction

An FBI futurist and senior advisor to Interpol analyzes the digital underground to reveal the alarming ways criminals, corporations and countries are using emerging technologies to target individuals and wage war.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Rakes and Roses

Rakes and Roses 
by Josi S. Kilpack 
Shadow Mountain, 2020. 303 pages. Romance 

When Harry Stillman finds himself deep in debt after a losing streak at the gambling tables, he turns to Lord Damion, a generous nobleman whose agrees to pay off Harry's debt, provided Harry turns his life around. Unbeknownst to Harry, Lord Damion is actually Lady Sabrina in disguise. Keeping her secret identity hidden from Harry proves difficult when she starts to lose her heart to the handsome rake. 

This book has a great message about second chances and not giving up on someone when they have nothing. Harry goes through a beautiful metamorphosis as he starts overcoming his gambling and alcoholism. Lady Sabrina is strong character who helps Harry become a better man by giving him opportunities to change and not giving up on him but not going easy on himself either. The love story between the two is sweet and natural. The only thing I wish the story had more of was seeing Harry reconcile with some of his friends and family members. 

 If you liked Rakes and Roses, you might also like: 

by Sian Ann Bessey 
Covenant Communications, 2020. 246 pages. Romance 

Despite living at her father's inn her entire life, Elizabeth Doyle has always managed to avoid involvement with the smugglers who frequently gather there. Until now. When a handsome smuggler is brought to her with dire injuries, Elizabeth risks everything to hide him--completely unaware that the wounded man is not who he appears to be. When an opportunity arises to infiltrate the notorious smuggling gang he believes caused his father's death, Jonas Ainsworth, the Viscount Langton, pretends to be one of them. But when he is wounded mid-charade, Jonas's life is placed in the hands of an unlikely savior: a smuggler's daughter. Forced to flee before his wounds have fully healed, he does not think he will ever see her again--until she appears on his doorstep, seeking safe haven. Divided by their social standings yet united in their mutual desire to expose the leader of the smuggling ring, Jonas and Elizabeth are undeniably drawn to each other. Neither realizes, however, that they are dangerously close to uncovering explosive secrets from the past--secrets that will alter the course of their lives forever. 

by Nancy Campbell Allen 
Shadow Mountain, 2016. 248 pages. Romance 

In this Regency twist of My Fair Lady, Jack would rather be at sea than fixing the mistakes of his grandfather, the late Earl of Stansworth. Instead, he finds that inheriting his grandfather's wealth and title--and securing the welfare of his sister and mother--means joining the ranks of high society and living with the aristocracy. Luckily, Ivy Carlisle, the granddaughter of a dear friend of Jack's late grandmother, is willing to teach him etiquette and properly introduce him into society. Jack soon learns that his challenge isn't surviving his new lifestyle but surviving the conspiracies against him--as well as keeping himself from falling madly in love with his new tutor. 


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Hunt, Gather, Parent

Hunt, Gather, Parent : What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans
by Michaeleen Doucleff
Avid Reader Press, 2021. 341 pages. Nonfiction

The oldest cultures in the world have mastered the art of raising happy, well-adjusted children, so why don't these cultures have the same problems with children that Western parents do? 

Michaeleen Doucleff, an NPR Science Desk correspondent and working mother, challenges the misleading child-rearing practices commonly recommended to parents in the United States by outlining alternatives grounded in international ancestral traditions that are being used effectively throughout the modern world. She finds that parents build a relationship with young children that is vastly different from the one many Western parents develop—it's built on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones.

By breaking down the bias surrounding current "common sense" parenting practices in the United States, as well as the recent history of the majority of these suggestions, Hunt, Gather, Parent provides a wealth of perspectives and comprehensive research about how we relate to our children and actionable methods that can be applied immediately. Easy to read with a wealth of information, I definitely recommend this book for parents looking for more cross-cultural information, as well as readers of anthropology and family science.

If you liked Hunt, Gather, Parent, then you may also like:
Rowman & Littlefield, 2021. 169 pages. Nonfiction

Most modern parents work. We are seldom at our best at the end of a long working day when the parenting shift kicks in. This book suggests ways to tune in to the needs of our children and families by focusing on the quality of time (not the quantity) needed to cultivate better family wellbeing. Written by an expert in child development, the book walks you through strategies for maximizing what time you have with your family to best meet your family's needs.

Do Parents Matter?: Why Japanese Babies Sleep Well, Mexican Siblings Don't Fight, and American Parents Should Just Relax
by Robert A. LeVine
Public Affairs, 2016. 238 pages. Nonfiction

When we're immersed in news articles and scientific findings proclaiming the importance of some factor or other, we often miss the bigger picture: that parents can only affect their children so much. Robert and Sarah LeVine, married anthropologists at Harvard University, have spent their lives researching parenting across the globe-starting with a trip to visit the Hausa people of Nigeria as newlyweds in 1969. Their decades of original research provide a new window onto the challenges of parenting and the ways that it is shaped by economic, cultural, and familial traditions. Their ability to put our modern struggles into global and historical perspective should calm many a nervous mother or father's nerves. 

It has become a truism to say that American parents are exhausted and overstressed about the health, intelligence, happiness, and success of their children. But as Robert and Sarah LeVine show, this is all part of our culture. And a look around the world may be just the thing to remind us that there are plenty of other choices to make


Monday, November 1, 2021

K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches

K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches
by Tyler Kepner
New York; Doubleday 2019. 302 pages. Nonfiction

The baseball is an amazing plaything. We can grip it and hold it so many different ways, and even the slightest calibration can turn an ordinary pitch into a weapon to thwart the greatest hitters in the world. Each pitch has its own history, evolving through the decades as the masters pass it down to the next generation. From the earliest days of the game, when Candy Cummings dreamed up the curveball while flinging clamshells on a Brooklyn beach, pitchers have never stopped innovating. 

I really enjoyed the flow of this book. Kepner does a great job of introducing the pitches and then tying them to the pitchers who who made history with them. I think seasoned baseball fans and those who are new to the game will enjoy this book. It is simple, yet very informative. 

If you like K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches might also like... 

by Paul Goldberger
New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2019. 364 pages. Nonfiction
An exhilarating, splendidly illustrated, entirely new look at the history of baseball: told through the stories of the vibrant and ever-changing ballparks where the game was and is staged, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic. From the earliest corrals of the mid-1800s (Union Grounds in Brooklyn was a 'saloon in the open air'), to the much mourned parks of the early 1900s (Detroit's Tiger Stadium, Cincinnati's Palace of the Fans), to the stadiums we fill today, Paul Goldberger makes clear the inextricable bond between the American city and America's favorite pastime.

by Jason Turbow
Pantheon Books, 2010. 294 pages. Nonfiction

Hilarious, surprising, and vastly entertaining, "The Baseball Codes" uncovers the hidden rules of baseball. Players talk about the game as never before, breaking the code of secrecy that surrounds so much of baseball, both on the field and in the clubhouse.

by Derek Gentile
Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. 2009. 256 pages. Nonfiction

This fascinating and totally original take on baseball history, packaged in simulated baseball material with red stitching, is a richly illustrated, lively examination of the evolution of the plays, moves, rules, equipment, and strategies that make up the game.


Más allá del invierno

book cover image
Más allá del invierno
Por Isabel Allende 
Vintage Español, 2017. 749 páginas. Ficción

Isabel Allende parte de la célebre cita de Albert Camus -"en medio del invierno aprendí por fin que había en mí un verano invencible"- para urdir una trama que presenta la geografía humana de unos personajes propios de la América de hoy que se hallan "en el más profundo invierno de sus vidas": una chilena, una joven guatemalteca indocumentada y un maduro norteamericano. Los tres sobreviven a un terrible temporal de nieve que cae en pleno invierno sobre Nueva York y acaban aprendiendo que más allá del invierno hay sitio para el amor inesperado y para el verano invencible que siempre ofrece la vida cuando menos se espera. 
«Más allá del invierno» es una de las historias más personales de Isabel Allende: una obra absolutamente actual que aborda la realidad de la emigración y la identidad de la América de hoy a través de unos personajes que encuentran la esperanza en el amor y en las segundas oportunidades.

Si le gusta Más allá del invierno, le recomendamos:

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Por Jorge Galán
Editorial Planeta Mexicana, 2015. 255 páginas. Ficción

1989. La sociedad salvadoreña vive sumida en el horror de la Guerra Civil. Una fatídica madrugada de noviembre, un grupo de hombres armados entra en las instalaciones de la Universidad Católica y asesina a seis jesuitas y dos mujeres a sangre fría. El padre Tojeira se ve entonces obligado por las circunstancias a tomar las riendas de la Compañía en esos días siniestros tras la masacre, con el deseo y la obligación de descubrir la verdad que se esconde detrás de estas muertes. Sin embargo, la única testigo que podría ayudar a resolver el caso es acallada por las autoridades. ¿Quiénes son realmente los culpables de esta terrible matanza? Inspirada en los trágicos sucesos que conmovieron a El Salvador y Latinoamérica, Noviembre es una emotiva y turbadora novela sobre el miedo, el odio y la impunidad. Un libro que vierte por primera vez un poco de luz sobre los hechos nunca esclarecidos de 1989 y que se adentra en la historia de otros crímenes, como el de Monseñor Romero. Una reivindicación de la necesidad de levantar la voz como hicieron los jesuitas asesinados, en defensa de los más desfavorecidos.

book cover imageEl odio que das
Por Angie Thomas
Océano exprés, 2019. 438 páginas. Ficción Juvenil

Starr es una chica de dieciséis años que vive entre dos mundos: el barrio pobre de gente negra donde nació, y su escuela situada en un elegante barrio residencial blanco. El difícil equilibrio entre ambos se hace añicos cuando ella es testigo de la muerte a tiros de su mejor amigo, Khalil, a manos de un policía. A partir de ese momento, todo lo que Starr diga acerca de la aterradora noche que cambió su vida podrá ser usado de excusa por unos y como arma por otros. Y lo peor de todo es que, tanto los de un lado como los de otro, la tienen en el punto de mira y amenazan con poner en riesgo su vida.


Saturday, October 30, 2021



by Lisa Fipps

Nancy Paulsen Books, 2021. 244 pages. Young Adult

Ellie is tired of being fat-shamed and does something about it in this poignant debut novel-in-verse.

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she's been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules-like "no making waves," "avoid eating in public," and "don't move so fast that your body jiggles." And she's found her safe space-her swimming pool-where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It's also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie's weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life--by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

This book should be required reading for all middle school and high school students. It beautifully handles so many issues and not just about body positivity. It talks about bullying, emotional abuse, family dynamics, poverty, and immigration. I loved this book because it gave voice to many of the things that I have experienced in my own life and gave me words to help those who are going through them right now. Ellie is my hero.


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by Jill Baguchinsky

Turner Publishing Company, 2018. 333 pages. Young Adult Fiction

Paleontology geek and plus-size fashion blogger Natalie Page lands an internship working with a celebrated paleontologist, but she realizes that in order to stand out in a field dominated by men, she must first learn to stand up for herself.



by Anna Garcia Schaper

Piñata Books, an imprint of Arte Público Press, 2020. 317 pages. Young Adult Fiction

Told in alternating timelines, fifteen-year-old overweight Pilar ignores her persistent bullies and pursues her dream of acting in the school production of "Our Town," while in 1976 her grandmother finally finds the strength to leave her abusive husband.

 Now, stick with me on this one. It is worth it. 

Eat Your Heart Out

by Kelly DeVos

Razorbill, 2021. 348 pages. Young Adult Fiction

Six disgruntled teens are forced to spend their winter break at fat camp during Flagstaff, Arizona's worst blizzard in a century, only to find that Camp Featherlite is even worse than expected because it is crawling with genetically-modified monsters.