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 Middle Ages : a graphic guide book cover

The Middle Ages : a graphic guide

Eleanor Janega

940.1 /Janega
Nonfiction, History

"The Middle Ages: A Graphic Guide busts the myth of the 'Dark Ages', shedding light on the period's present-day relevance in a unique illustrated style. This history takes us through the rise and fall of empires, papacies, caliphates and kingdoms; through the violence and death of the Crusades, Viking raids, the Hundred Years War and the Plague; to the curious practices of monks, martyrs and iconoclasts. We'll see how the foundations of the modern West were established, influencing our art, cultures, religious practices and ways of thinking. And we'll explore the lives of those seen as 'Other' - women, Jews, homosexuals, lepers, sex workers and heretics. Join historian Eleanor Janega and illustrator Neil Max Emmanuel on a romp across continents and kingdoms as we discover the Middle Ages to be a time of huge change, inquiry and development - not unlike our own."--

Melody's picture

Illustrations are my jam. Any creatively rendered true story is going to grab my attention. I've been reading a lot of business and conflict management books lately, so this one is a nice reprieve where I can sit and enjoy an artist interpreting history. -Melody

A self-help guide for copywriters : a resource for writing headlines and building creative confidence book cover

A self-help guide for copywriters : a resource for writing headlines and building creative confidence

Dan Nelken

659.132 /Nelken
Nonfiction, Self Help

"From aspiring to expiring copywriters, this book will help you become a more efficient, more confident creative. In other words, you'll make more money. And friends. It's a little about the creative process and a lot about the craft of writing headlines, with over two hundred example ads. If you’re looking for “killer headline formulas that can’t fail,” “data-driven headline conversion hacks,” “SEO secrets (Google doesn’t want you to know),” or “can’t-miss clickbait headlines,” you can find everything you need in a search bar. If you want to learn how to come up with a crap ton of ideas and turn them into headlines that bring personality to your writing, click add to cart. Oh, and as much as the title of this book, A Self-Help Guide for Copywriters, was meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek, it takes the subject of creative self-doubt as seriously as takes creativity. It will help you whack-a-mole self-doubting thoughts before they can even get a word in. Note: This is also a great resource for people who dislike copywriters. Read this book and soon you’ll be able to casually point out flaws in their work, making the fragile copywriter in your life feel even more insecure.--

Melody's picture

I stumbled upon this book while browsing the New Nonfiction shelves. And while I haven't done much copywriting in some time now, I still appreciate writers who treat it like an art or a fun game. Cracking the book open in the aisles, I found myself chortling along as Nelken constructively critiqued the sample ads in his book. These are ad writing gems. Anyone in or out of the marketing field will get a kick out of this book. -Melody

Autism in heels : the untold story of a female life on the spectrum book cover

Autism in heels : the untold story of a female life on the spectrum

Jennifer Cook O'Toole

618.9285882 /O'Toole
Diverse Characters, Memoir, Nonfiction

"Autism in Heels, an intimate memoir, reveals the woman inside one of autism's most prominent figures, Jennifer O'Toole. At the age of thirty-five, Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, and for the first time in her life, things made sense. Now, Jennifer exposes the constant struggle between carefully crafted persona and authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power. Her journey is one of reverse-self-discovery not only as an Aspie but--more importantly--as a thoroughly modern woman. Beyond being a memoir, Autism in Heels is a love letter to all women. It's a conversation starter. A game changer. And a firsthand account of what it is to walk in Jennifer's shoes (especially those iconic red stilettos). Whether it's bad perms or body image, sexuality or self-esteem, Jennifer's is as much a human journey as one on the spectrum. Because autism "looks a bit different in pink," most girls and women who fit the profile are not identified, facing years of avoidable anxiety, eating disorders, volatile relationships, self-harm, and stunted independence. Jennifer has been there, too. Autism in Heels takes that message to the mainstream."--Page [2] of cover.

Hanna's picture

This book let me see a different side of Autism. The author is an adult woman with a psychology degree who can quote scientific studies as well as she can reflect on her own autistic childhood. It was eye-opening, to say the least. -Hanna

Pizza! : a slice of history book cover

Pizza! : a slice of history

Greg Pizzoli

j641.82 Pizzoli
Nonfiction, Picture Books

From Geisel Award-winning author Greg Pizzoli comes a hilarious and mouth-watering history of pizza. Do YOU like PIZZA? Because right now, somewhere in the world, someone is eating it. Did you know that in the United States we eat 350 slices of pizza every second? Or that in Sweden they serve pizza with bananas and peanuts? All over the world, people love pizza-but where did it come from? And who made the first pizza? Join award-winning author and illustrator Greg Pizzoli as he travels through time and around the globe to discover the mouth-watering history of pizza. Bursting with color, flavor, and fun facts, Pizza!: A Slice of History reveals the delicious story of the world's best food.

Mari's picture

This book was added to the collection just in time for a Pizza-riffic storytime with preschoolers this week! Greg Pizzoli's bold-colored (and only the colors of pizza, I might add) and adorable illustration accompany pretty much all of the information about pizza anyone could want or imagine knowing, including the history of the ingredients, the different styles of pizza across the world and factoids like we eat 350 slices of pizza every second in the US. I got so hungry flipping through the pages! -Mari

The Anthropocene reviewed : essays on a human-centered planet book cover

The Anthropocene reviewed : essays on a human-centered planet

John Green

814.6 /Green

"The Anthropocene is the current geological age, in which human activity has profoundly shaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet-from the QWERTY keyboard and Staphylococcus aureus to the Taco Bell breakfast menu-on a five-star scale. John Green's gift for storytelling shines throughout this artfully curated collection that includes both beloved essays and all-new pieces exclusive to the book"--

Brian's picture

John Green is silly and serious with his non-fiction debut. He meditates on our human centered planet through essays that review a wide variety of things: from Diet Dr. Pepper to sunsets to the movie "Harvey." I enjoyed the "positive" reviews far more than the "negative" ones, but it was interesting and enjoyable throughout. -Brian

Meet me by the fountain : an inside history of the mall book cover

Meet me by the fountain : an inside history of the mall

Alexandra Lange

381.11 /Lange
Nonfiction, Business, History

Since their birth in the 1950s, malls have been temples of commerce. Amid the aftershocks of financial crises, a global pandemic, and the rise of online retail, abandoned shopping centers have become one of our era's defining images. Lange chronicles the postwar invention of the mall, and shows how the design of these marketplaces played an integral role in the cultural ascent. She shows that they are environments of both freedom and exclusion, of consumerism but also of community. --

Candice's picture

Oh wow, when I first saw this title, every remnant of my teenaged self reached for the Aqua Net and whatever dayglo clothing I could find! The mall was such a feature of my adolescent years, the word was synonymous with both fashion and social life. Now that I'm older and the wants and ways of people and buying have changed, the mall takes on a bittersweet/wasted space element. Lange's book, however, not only looks back at what the mall was, but also forward, finding ways to repurpose and make equitable the space and resources they provide. Is there hope for the mall yet?? Find out! -Candice

Pandora's jar : women in Greek myths book cover

Pandora's jar : women in Greek myths

Natalie Haynes

292.211 /Haynes

The Greek myths are among the world's most important cultural building blocks and they have been retold many times, but rarely do they focus on the remarkable women at the heart of these ancient stories. Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, from the Trojan War to Jason and the Argonauts. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women's stories. And when they do, those women are often painted as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil. But Pandora--the first woman, who according to legend unloosed chaos upon the world-- was not a villain, and even Medea and Phaedra have more nuanced stories than generations of retellings might indicate. Now, in Pandora's Jar, Natalie Haynes--broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist-- redresses this imbalance. Taking Pandora and her jar (the box came later) as the starting point, she puts the women of the Greek myths on equal footing with the menfolk. After millennia of stories telling of gods and men, be they Zeus or Agamemnon, Paris or Odysseus, Oedipus or Jason, the voices that sing from these pages are those of Hera, Athena and Artemis, and of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Eurydice and Penelope.

Anne M's picture

I love Haynes' novel "A Thousand Ships" as well as her podcast, "Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics." This book is also a delight. Haynes provides an incredibly engaging and enjoyable relook at the women of Greek myths, from Medea to Pandora to Clytemnestra to the Amazons. She goes back to the original texts, shows the differences in how their stories are told, how later authors and artists intepreted these women, and how their stories echo into the 21st century. -Anne M

Last call at the Hotel Imperial : the reporters who took on a world at war book cover

Last call at the Hotel Imperial : the reporters who took on a world at war

Deborah Cohen

070.922 /Cohen
Nonfiction, Biographies, History

"Married foreign correspondents John and Frances Gunther intimately understood that it isn't only impersonal, economic forces that propel history, bringing readers so close to the front lines of history that they could feel how personal pathologies became the stuff of geopolitical crises. Together with other reporters of the Lost Generation--American journalists H.R. Knickerbocker, Vincent Sheean, and Dorothy Thompson--the Gunthers slipped through knots of surveillance and ignored orders of expulsion in order to expose the mass executions in Badajoz during the Spanish Civil War, the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, the millions of dollars that Joseph Goebbels salted away abroad, and the sexual peccadillos of Hitler's brownshirts. They conjured what it was like to ride with Hitler in an airplane ("not a word did he say to any soul"); broke the inside story about Mussolini's claustrophobia and superstitions (he "took fright" at an Egyptian mummy that had been given to him); and verified the hypnotic impression Stalin made when he walked into a room ("You felt his antennae"). But just as they were transforming journalism, it was also transforming them: who they loved and betrayed, how they raised their children and coped with death. Over the course of their careers they would popularize bringing the private life into public view, not only in their reporting on the outsized figures of their day, but in what they revealed about their own (and each other's) intimate experiences as well. What were intimate relationships, after all, but geopolitics writ small?"--

Anne M's picture

I thought this book had a slow start, but as soon as we got to Europe and in the thick of war reporting, I was hooked. Learning about Dorothy Thompson, Frances Gunther, John Gunther, H.R. Knickerbocker, and Vincent Sheean and how they reported on Europe in the 1930s and 1940s showed how important journalists are. -Anne M

Hell's half-acre : the untold story of the Benders, a serial killer family on the American frontier book cover

Hell's half-acre : the untold story of the Benders, a serial killer family on the American frontier

Susan Jonusas

364.1523 /Jonusas
Nonfiction, True Crime, History, Literary Nonfiction

"In 1873 the people of Labette County in Kansas made a grisly discovery. Buried on a homestead seven miles south of the town of Cherryvale, in a bloodied cellar and under frost-covered soil, were countless bodies in varying states of decay. The discovery sent the local community and national newspapers into a frenzy that continued for over two decades, and the land on which the crimes took place became known as 'Hells Half-Acre.' When it emerged that a family of four known as the Benders had been accused of the slayings, the case was catapulted to infamy."

Candice's picture

Sometimes, when summer comes, you just want a good, historical true crime book to get lost in. This book does the trick. The author does a good job of telling the eerie story of the Benders and their crimes, while giving context through the descriptions of burgeoning frontier towns, the hardworking people who populated them, the political schemes of the day, and the lawlessness that pervaded an environment that was created by taking the land from one people and giving it to another. A great mix of crime and solid history. -Candice