Nonfiction

Evicted : poverty and profit in the American city book cover

Evicted : poverty and profit in the American city

Matthew Desmond

339.46 /Desmond
Nonfiction

"[The author] takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the 20 dollars a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, "Love dont pay the bills." She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas. Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America's vast inequality-- and to people's determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible"--Amazon.com.

Meredith's picture

Food. Clothing. Shelter. We’ve been taught that these are our three basic needs, but what many people don’t realize — myself included — is that for most of the country’s poverty-stricken individuals, paying for one of those necessities — Shelter — leaves little money leftover for the other two. That’s where trouble begins. This is an amazing book. The stories of the individuals featured are heart-breaking and gut wrenching, but they are honest. For too long, we’ve closed our eyes to the country’s eviction crisis, convinced such acts were isolated. They’re not. And losing ones home can be the first step in a lifetime of struggles. -Meredith

Lab girl book cover

Lab girl

Hope Jahren

570.92 /Jahren
Nonfiction, Science, Memoir

"An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world,"--Amazon.com.

Jason's picture

Added by Jason

Destiny of the Republic : a tale of madness, medicine and the murder of a president book cover

Destiny of the Republic : a tale of madness, medicine and the murder of a president

Candice Millard

973.84 /Millard
Nonfiction, History

A narrative account of the twentieth president's political career offers insight into his background as a scholar and Civil War hero, his battles against the corrupt establishment, and Alexander Graham Bell's failed attempt to save him from an assassin's bullet.

Jason's picture

Highly readable history covering the political life, assassination attempt, and subsequent slow death of President James A. Garfield. Multiple story lines follow the mental health of the assassin, the various medical blunders that hasten Garfield's decline, and Alexander Graham Bell's attempt to create a device to detect the bullet buried in Garfield's body. -Jason

Liar, temptress, soldier, spy : four women undercover in the Civil War book cover

Liar, temptress, soldier, spy : four women undercover in the Civil War

Karen Abbott

COMPACT DISC 973.708 Abbott
Nonfiction, History

"The never-before-told story of four real-life women who risked everything to take on a life of espionage during the Civil War"--Provided by publisher.

Morgan's picture

This was a great listen on my recent road trip, combining my interest in strong women with my husband's interest in the Civil War. Karen White did a fantastic job bringing individuality to the voices of Union and Confederate female spies. Emma Thompson's story was my favorite, but all four women were interesting, larger than life characters. -Morgan

The boys in the bunkhouse : servitude and salvation in the heartland book cover

The boys in the bunkhouse : servitude and salvation in the heartland

Dan Barry

362.384 /Barry
Nonfiction

A full-length account of the author's prize-winning New York Times story chronicles the exploitation and abuse case of a group of developmentally disabled workers, who for 25 years, were forced to work under harrowing conditions for virtually no wages until tenacious advocates helped them achieve their freedom,"--NoveList.

Maeve's picture

This 2018 All Iowa Reads selection in an examination what happened to the men who worked at Louis Rich in West Liberty and lived in a former school house in the very small Iowa town of Atalissa. It can be a difficult read at times, but Dan Barry's well crafted expose. -Maeve

So you want to talk about race book cover

So you want to talk about race

Ijeoma Oluo

305.8 /Oluo
Nonfiction

"A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today's racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide. In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment, Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans. Oluo is an exceptional writer with a rare ability to be straightforward, funny, and effective in her coverage of sensitive, hyper-charged issues in America. Her messages are passionate but finely tuned, and crystalize ideas that would otherwise be vague by empowering them with aha-moment clarity. Her writing brings to mind voices like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, and Jessica Valenti in Full Frontal Feminism, and a young Gloria Naylor, particularly in Naylor's seminal essay "The Meaning of a Word.""--

Heidi K's picture

This should be required reading, particularly for white people...but ultimately, it's just a great book. Each chapter highlights a different question related to race and racism in the USA. Ijeoma Oluo does a great job of keeping it concise, and offering plenty of passion and humor about the subject. Chapter titles include, "What is the school-to-prison pipeline?" "Why can't I say the N-word?" and "What are microaggressions?" Definitely check it out! -Heidi K

The highly sensitive person in love : how your relationships can thrive when the world overwhelms you book cover

The highly sensitive person in love : how your relationships can thrive when the world overwhelms you

Elaine Aron

155.232 /Aron
Nonfiction, Self Help

Amanda's picture

Wow, this book! If you've gone through life feeling like you're different than other people, I highly recommend reading this. Great tips on how to build and maintain relationships. -Amanda

The boys in the bunkhouse : servitude and salvation in the heartland book cover

The boys in the bunkhouse : servitude and salvation in the heartland

Dan Barry

362.384 /Barry
Nonfiction

A full-length account of the author's prize-winning New York Times story chronicles the exploitation and abuse case of a group of developmentally disabled workers, who for 25 years, were forced to work under harrowing conditions for virtually no wages until tenacious advocates helped them achieve their freedom,"--NoveList.

Susan C's picture

This year's AIR selection is another non-fiction book -- this one set in Iowa. The Library's book discussion is July 21 -- lots of time to get it read. Much to talk about. -Susan C

Splendid solution : Jonas Salk and the conquest of polio book cover

Splendid solution : Jonas Salk and the conquest of polio

Jeffrey Kluger

614.549 /Kluger
Nonfiction

For children today, the word "polio" means little more than a series of shots, a mundane part of health care. Fifty years ago, however, polio was a dark shadow that arrived every summer, a deep fear hanging over every child and parent. Every year, the disease left tens of thousands of children crippled, paralyzed or, worse, reliant on an iron lung to aid them in breathing. Time magazine senior writer Kluger, coauthor of the bestselling book that was the basis for the movie Apollo 13, tells how polio was beaten 50 years ago in one of the triumphs of modern medicine. The narrative naturally centers on Jonas Salk, whose lab developed the first polio vaccine, but this is by no means a simple biography. Kluger is best when describing science as a team enterprise, and this account offers a keen understanding of the vast machine of people and resources mobilized to combat polio. The book is well researched and accessible, made all the more tense and gripping by the author's depiction of the pre-vaccine world-by describing what it was like to live in fear of polio, Kluger reminds us how joyous and heroic an event its conquest was.. PW, Jan, 2005

Susan C's picture

The first nonfiction All Iowa Reads. Growing up in the 50's and early 60's polio was a very important concern and this story of developing the vaccine is fascinating. -Susan C

Underground book cover

Underground

Haruki Murakami

363.320952 /Murakami
Nonfiction, Literary Nonfiction

In this haunting work of journalistic investigation, Haruki Murakami tells the story of the horrific terrorist attack on Japanese soil that shook the entire world. On a clear spring day in 1995, five members of a religious cult unleashed poison gas on the Tokyo subway system. In attempt to discover why, Haruki Murakmi talks to the people who lived through the catastrophe, and in so doing lays bare the Japanese psyche. As he discerns the fundamental issues that led to the attack, Murakami paints a clear vision of an event that could occur anytime, anywhere.

Anne M's picture

Novelist Murakami interviews both victims of the 1995 Tokyo Subway Sarin Attack, as well as members of the cult, Aum Shinrikyo, which was responsible for the attack. It is a pretty amazing work--one that captures an historical moment--what happened and the aftermath both for the individuals and the attack's meaning to Japanese society. -Anne M