The snow man : a true story book cover

The snow man : a true story

Jonah Winter

Science, Biographies

"Discover the true story of a man who lived alone in the mountains with a hobby of measuring snowfall that led to groundbreaking data tracking in climate change studies"--

Anne W's picture

I am obsessed, I tell you, OBSESSED with this new picture book biography of billy barr, who moved alone to a rustic, isolated cabin in the Rocky Mountains and ended up doing some of the earliest and most groundbreaking tracking related to the heating of the planet when he measured snowfall over time. Jonah Winter has penned more than forty picture book biographies related to environmental, social, and racial justice. Jeannette Winter's illustrations in predominately shades of purple and blue are a phenomenal accompaniment. Check it out! -Anne W

Impossible people : a completely average recovery story book cover

Impossible people : a completely average recovery story

Julia Wertz

362.292092 /Wertz
Graphic Novels, Biographies

"Celebrated cartoonist Julia Wertz chronicles her haphazard attempts at sobriety and the relentlessly challenging, surprisingly funny, and occasionally absurd cycle of addiction and recovery"--

Mari's picture

I love graphic memoirs, and Julia Wertz is just too good at drawing her life. Come for an honest graphic memoir about the journey of recovery from a drinking problem, stay for the immature but witty observations on life, beautiful drawings of New York architecture, and the fart jokes. Lots of fart jokes. -Mari

The lost sons of Omaha : two young men in an American tragedy book cover

The lost sons of Omaha : two young men in an American tragedy

Joe Sexton

364.1523 /Sexton
Nonfiction, Black Lives Matter, Biographies, History

"On May 30, 2020, in Omaha, Nebraska, amid the protests that rocked our nation after George Floyd's death at the hands of police, thirty-eight-year-old white bar owner and Marine veteran Jake Gardner fatally shot James Scurlock, a twenty-two-year-old Black protester and young father. What followed were two investigations of Scurlock's death, one conducted by the white district attorney Don Kleine, who concluded that Gardner had legally acted in self-defense and released without a trial, and a second grand jury inquiry conducted by African American special prosecutor Fred Franklin that indicted Gardner for manslaughter and demanded he face trial. Days after the indictment, Gardner killed himself with a single bullet to the head. The deaths of both Scurlock and Gardner gave rise to a toxic brew of misinformation, false claims, and competing political agendas. The two men, each with their own complicated backgrounds, were turned into grotesque caricatures. Between the heated debates and diatribes, these twin tragedies amounted to an ugly and heartbreaking reflection of a painfully divided country. Here, Joe Sexton masterfully unpacks the whole twisting, nearly unbelievable chronicle into a meticulously reported and nuanced account of the two deaths, explaining which claims were true and which distorted or simply false. The Lost Sons of Omaha carefully examines some of the most pressing issues facing America today, including our country's dire need for gun control and mental health reform; the dangerous spread of fake news, particularly on social media; and the urgent call to band together in the collective pursuit of truth, fairness, and healing"--

Melody's picture

This is really an incredible book--the best long-form journalism I've read in a while. It's not just that the sentences are smooth, direct, and propel the story forward, it's the heart-wrenching story itself. And while technically a true crime narrative, this book goes deep into the histories of two men brought into conflict during a Black Lives Matter protest. Author Joe Sexton masterfully details the little things in these men's lives that made each of them human; a Lion King tattoo for one, war-induced PTSD for another. Both men lost their lives that night, one literally, and the tragedy extends by political factions using them as martyrs for their causes. Read this book to remember to scrutinize every "black and white" story on the internet. Given the divisiveness and tribalism of online political discourse, and the multiple lies we'll all be reading in the run-up to the 2024 election, I consider this a must-read book for the year. -Melody

Life on delay : making peace with a stutter book cover

Life on delay : making peace with a stutter

John (Atlantic senior editor) Hendrickson

616.8554 /Hendrickson

"An intimate and revealing memoir of a lifelong struggle to speak"--

Tom's picture

This book is for anyone who stutters or who wants to know better the mind of a stutterer. -Tom

A tulip in winter : a story about folk artist Maud Lewis book cover

A tulip in winter : a story about folk artist Maud Lewis

Kathy Stinson

j759.11 Lewis
Art / Art History, Kids, Biographies

"A celebration of a beloved folk artist, and her artistic expression of joy and beauty. Known for her vibrant and cheerful paintings of landscapes, plants, and animals, Maud Lewis' iconic folk art is celebrated around the world. Despite her beautiful art, she spent much of her life living in poverty with rheumatoid arthritis. In this stunning picture book, author Kathy Stinson and illustrator Lauren Soloy bring Maud's world to life: how she captured in her art what she loved most, while navigating the mobility issues caused by her condition. From bright paintings of the sea and countryside, to the flowers and birds she painted on the walls of the small house she shared with her husband, Maud's work continues to delight and inspire viewers young and old."--

Anne W's picture

Maud Lewis' lively, colorful paintings were inspired by the countryside around her tiny house in Nova Scotia. Disabled by severe rheumatoid arthritis, and with options further limited by poverty, Lewis lived in a tiny house she decorated by painting flowers all over the stairs, walls, and many of her belongings, along with creating landscapes on scraps of wood and cardboard from the dump. Today, her house can be seen, in its entirety, inside the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, where it was moved after her death in 1970. -Anne W

The untold story of Larry Itliong : labor rights hero book cover

The untold story of Larry Itliong : labor rights hero

Cristina Oxtra

j331.88 Itliong
Biographies, History

"You may have read about Cesar Chavez's leadership in organizing the well-known Delano Grape Strike and Boycott of the 1960s. But did you know it began as a strike led by Larry Itliong? He was a Filipino labor organizer who had also been working with grape pickers in California at the time. With key biographical information and related historical events, this Capstone Captivate book will uncover Itliong's story and show how it connects to Chavez's story"--

Anne W's picture

Take this opportunity to learn about an unsung hero of history and glean more information about where your food comes from! -Anne W

The revolutionary : Samuel Adams book cover

The revolutionary : Samuel Adams

Stacy Schiff

BIOGRAPHY Adams, Samuel
History, Biographies

"Thomas Jefferson asserted that if there was any leader of the Revolution, "Samuel Adams was the man." With high-minded ideals and bare-knuckle tactics, Adams led what could be called the greatest campaign of civil resistance in American history. Stacy Schiff returns Adams to his seat of glory, introducing us to the shrewd and eloquent man who supplied the moral backbone of the American Revolution. He employed every tool available to rally a town, a colony, and eventually a band of colonies behind him, creating the cause that created a country. For his efforts he became the most wanted man in America: When Paul Revere rode to Lexington in 1775, it was to warn Samuel Adams that he was about to be arrested for treason. In The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams, Schiff brings her masterful skills to Adams's improbable life, illuminating his transformation from aimless son of a well-off family to tireless, beguiling radical who mobilized the colonies"--

Anne M's picture

I really enjoy Schiff’s biographies and histories. She wrote one on Cleopatra and another called "The Witches," which chronicles the New England witchcraft hysteria of the 17th century. Both I recommend highly. Schiff is a great storyteller. She knows how to set the scene, provides interesting context, and then introduces her subject. This time it is founding father and known trouble-maker Samuel Adams. Now sort of a footnote in Revolutionary history, Adams played a huge role in providing unrelenting criticism of the king and parliament, leading to our country’s independence from Britain. Why was his legacy buried? Schiff's take is pretty interesting, especially through our 21st century lens. -Anne M

Number one is walking : my life in the movies and other diversions book cover

Number one is walking : my life in the movies and other diversions

Steve Martin

791.43028092 /Martin
Biographies, Humor

"Number One Is Walking is Steve Martin's cinematic legacy-an illustrated memoir of his legendary acting career, with stories from his most popular films and artwork by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss. Steve Martin has never written about his career in the movies before. In Number One Is Walking, he shares anecdotes from the sets of his beloved films-Father of the Bride, Roxanne, The Jerk, Three Amigos, and many more-bringing readers directly into his world. He shares charming tales of antics, moments of inspiration, and exploits with the likes of Paul McCartney, Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford, and Chevy Chase. Martin details his forty years in the movie biz, as well as his stand-up comedy, banjo playing, writing, and cartooning, all with his unparalleled wit. With gorgeously illustrated cartoons and single-panel "diversions" in Steve and Harry's signature style, Number One Is Walking is full of the everyday moments that make up a movie star's life, capturing Steve Martin's singular humor and acclaimed career in film. The perfect gift from the team who brought you the #1 New York Times bestseller A Wealth of Pigeons"--

Melody's picture

I am a sucker for graphic novel style memoirs. As a Gen-Y'er, I grew up with the Steve Martin movies from the '80s--Little Shop of Horrors, Roxanne, L.A. Story. L.A. Story remains one of my all-time favorites, and Roxanne got me started on my Cyrano de Bergerac kick in high school. (I made it a point to read every translation and watch every adaptation that I could get my hands on.) This illustrated memoir of his time in Hollywood offers his delightful and comedic behind-the-scenes take on working in the biz. This book is sure to be one of the best celebrity memoirs of 2022. -Melody

The swerve : how the world became modern book cover

The swerve : how the world became modern

Stephen Greenblatt

940.21 /Greenblatt
Nonfiction, History, Philosophy, Biographies

In this work, the author has crafted both a work of history and a story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius, a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions. The copying and translation of this ancient book, the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age, fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.

Candice's picture

I'm a little late to this book, but I am so glad that I am reading it (on the recommendation of Natalie Haynes, for you podcast lovers!). This book so eloquently relays an important aspect of the humanism movement--that of finding and preserving and making known again--works from the Romans and Greeks. In this case, our questing hero goes by the name of Poggio, and he re-discovers a text by the Roman thinker Lucretius, who had been heavily influenced by Greek philosopher Epicurus. It's a layer cake of scrumptious meditation on how to live, combined with juicy details of the lives of Romans and Florentines--a real treat! -Candice

The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I book cover

The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I

Lindsey Fitzharris

OverDrive Audiobook
Literary Nonfiction, History, Biographies

From the moment the first machine gun rang out over the Western Front, one thing was clear: mankind's military technology had wildly surpassed its medical capabilities. Bodies were battered, gouged, hacked, and gassed. The First World War claimed millions of lives and left millions more wounded and disfigured. In the midst of this brutality, however, there were also those who strove to alleviate suffering. The Facemaker tells the extraordinary story of such an individual: the pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies, who dedicated himself to reconstructing the burned and broken faces of the injured soldiers under his care. Gillies, a Cambridge-educated New Zealander, became interested in the nascent field of plastic surgery after encountering the human wreckage on the front. Returning to Britain, he established one of the world's first hospitals dedicated entirely to facial reconstruction. There, Gillies assembled a unique group of practitioners whose task was to rebuild what had been torn apart, to re-create what had been destroyed. At a time when losing a limb made a soldier a hero, but losing a face made him a monster to a society largely intolerant of disfigurement, Gillies restored not just the faces of the wounded but also their spirits. .

Anne M's picture

This book is devastating and hopeful at the same time. It is a story that starts out harrowing, but after hard work and ingenuity by a few individuals, things change for the better. The Facemaker, a history of World War I facial reconstruction, sets the scene: how World War I was fought in new and horrific ways. It was industrial. There were a lot of advancements in weapons of war. (And of course, for what?) Lindsey Fitzharris describes this moment in time very well. Then there are the people put in the trenches and at sea and in the air, not to mention the civilians, facing this new weaponry. Fitzharris makes these stories personal and individual, the pain experienced both inside and out. She picks a number of individuals that came home with significant facial injuries and how they viewed their lives as over. Enter Harold Gillies, an ears, nose, and throat doctor, who is about to become the leading expert in facial reconstruction. If you love compelling histories of war or medicine, I recommend this book. As an aside, the audio version was excellently narrated. -Anne M