American prison : a reporter's undercover journey into the business of punishment book cover

American prison : a reporter's undercover journey into the business of punishment

Shane Bauer

365.973 /Bauer

"A ground-breaking and brave inside reckoning with the nexus of prison and profit in America: in one Louisiana prison and over the course of our country's history. IIn 2014, Shane Bauer was hired for $9 an hour to work as an entry-level prison guard at a private prison in Winnfield, Louisiana. An award-winning investigative journalist, he used his real name; there was no meaningful background check. Four months later, his employment came to an abrupt end. But he had seen enough, and in short order he wrote an expose about his experiences that won a National Magazine Award and became the most-read feature in the history of the magazine Mother Jones. Still, there was much more that he needed to say. In American Prison, Bauer weaves a much deeper reckoning with his experiences together with a thoroughly researched history of for-profit prisons in America from their origins in the decades before the Civil War. For, as he soon realized, we can't understand the cruelty of our current system and its place in the larger story of mass incarceration without understanding where it came from. Private prisons became entrenched in the South as part of a systemic effort to keep the African-American labor force in place in the aftermath of slavery, and the echoes of these shameful origins are with us still"--

Meredith's picture

Reporter Shane Bauer wrote this book after going undercover as a corrections officer within a Louisiana prison. Included with his experience is the history and development of the country's penal system. It was clearly wrong from the beginning and it hasn't improved with time; capitalism at its best means the worst for humanity. This isn't an easy book to read, but it's a subject that shouldn't be ignored. Breaking the law has consequences, but we rarely know how extreme those consequences are behind bars. -Meredith

Indecency book cover


Justin Phillip Reed

811.6 /Reed
Nonfiction, Poetry

"Indecency is boldly and carefully executed and perfectly ragged. In these poems, Justin Phillip Reed experiments with language to explore inequity and injustice and to critique and lament the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order. Political and personal, tender, daring, and insightful―the author unpacks his intimacies, weaponizing poetry to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into which society sorts us."

Jason's picture

Winner in the Poetry category -Jason

The new Negro : the life of Alain Locke book cover

The new Negro : the life of Alain Locke

Jeffrey C. Stewart

BIOGRAPHY Locke, Alain
Nonfiction, Biographies

"A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro--the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness. In The New Negro : The Life of Alain Locke, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance, based on the extant primary sources of his life and on interviews with those who knew him personally. He narrates the education of Locke, including his becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD in philosophy at Harvard University, and his long career as a professor at Howard University. Locke also received a cosmopolitan, aesthetic education through his travels in continental Europe, where he came to appreciate the beauty of art and experienced a freedom unknown to him in the United States. And yet he became most closely associated with the flowering of Black culture in Jazz Age America and his promotion of the literary and artistic work of African Americans as the quintessential creations of American modernism. In the process he looked to Africa to find the proud and beautiful roots of the race. Shifting the discussion of race from politics and economics to the arts, he helped establish the idea that Black urban communities could be crucibles of creativity. Stewart explores both Locke's professional and private life, including his relationships with his mother, his friends, and his white patrons, as well as his lifelong search for love as a gay man. Stewart's thought-provoking biography recreates the worlds of this illustrious, enigmatic man who, in promoting the cultural heritage of Black people, became--in the process--a New Negro himself"--

Jason's picture

Winner in the Nonfiction category -Jason

Almost everything : notes on hope book cover

Almost everything : notes on hope

Anne Lamott

170.44 /Lamott

"I am stockpiling antibiotics for the Apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen," Anne Lamott admits at the beginning of Almost Everything. Despair and uncertainty surround us: in the news, in our families, and in ourselves. But even when life is at its bleakest--when we are, as she puts it, "doomed, stunned, exhausted, and over-caffeinated"--the seeds of rejuvenation are at hand. "All truth is paradox," Lamott writes, "and this turns out to be a reason for hope. If you arrive at a place in life that is miserable, it will change." That is the time when we must pledge not to give up but "to do what Wendell Berry wrote: 'Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.'" In this profound and funny book, Lamott calls for each of us to rediscover the nuggets of hope and wisdom that are buried within us that can make life sweeter than we ever imagined. Divided into short chapters that explore life's essential truths, Almost Everything pinpoints these moments of insight as it shines an encouraging light forward. Candid and caring, insightful and sometimes hilarious, Almost Everything is the book we need and that only Anne Lamott can write.

Kara's picture

I like listening to Anne Lamott books. When I'm not feeling very grounded, her vignettes give me hope and make me think. -Kara

The little book of hygge : Danish secrets to happy living book cover

The little book of hygge : Danish secrets to happy living

Meik Wiking

158.1 /Wiking

"The Danes are famously the happiest people in the world, and hygge is a cornerstone of their way of life. Hygge (pronounce Hoo-ga) loosely translates as a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on the sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right. It is about gratitude and savoring the simple pleasures in life. In short, it is the pursuit of everyday happiness." --

Kara's picture

I like the concept of Hygge - comfort, togetherness and well-being. I want to listen to this book too! -Kara

Leadership in turbulent times book cover

Leadership in turbulent times

Doris Kearns Goodwin

973.099 /Goodwin

"In this culmination of five decades of acclaimed studies in presidential history, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an illuminating exploration into the early development, growth, and exercise of leadership. Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the man make the times or do the times make the man? In Leadership in Turbulent Times, Goodwin draws upon four of the presidents she has studied most closely--Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)--to show how they first recognized leadership qualities within themselves, and were recognized by others as leaders. No common pattern describes the trajectory of leadership. Although set apart in background, abilities, and temperament, these men shared a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience that enabled them to surmount uncommon adversity. At their best, all four were guided by a sense of moral purpose. At moments of great challenge, they were able to summon their talents to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others. This seminal work provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field. In today's polarized world, these stories of authentic leadership in times of apprehension and fracture take on a singular urgency."--Provided by publisher.

Kara's picture

I saw Doris Kearns Goodwin recently talk about this book and it piqued my interest. I'm listening to the eAudio version and it's very good. I'm looking forward to listening to it in the evening while I work on projects around the house. -Kara

Type is beautiful : the story of fifty remarkable fonts book cover

Type is beautiful : the story of fifty remarkable fonts

Simon Loxley

686.224 /Loxley
Art / Art History, Nonfiction

This book traces the history of fifty remarkable fonts. Thoroughly researched and visually exciting, it takes readers through the story of each font's creation and distinct characteristics, as well as why it succeeded or failed. Some of the fonts were commissioned for major commercial or cultural projects. Other fonts became culturally significant unintentionally. This book gives readers an unforgettable cast of characters, including Johannes Gutenberg, William Caslon, Nicolas Jenson, Stanley Morison, William Morris, and Thomas Cobden-Sanderson, the English artist and bookbinder who famously "bequeathed" the unique metal type created for his failed Doves Press to the Thames, casting the type into the river to prevent its future use.

Heidi L's picture

I've been aware of fonts for as long as I've used word processing software, and even though Calibri is the default in what I use at work, every once in a while I see the other choices and am tempted to get fancy. It was so fun to read about some of typefaces whose names I've seen before: Garamond, Baskerville, Goudy Old Style, Times New Roman, Helvetica. And then there were the ones I hadn't heard of but had such intriguing titles that I had to read more: Antique Olive, Bloody Hell, Fat Face Italic, and Cooper Black. There's history here, and art, and quirky personalities. Great book! -Heidi L

The art of logic in an illogical world book cover

The art of logic in an illogical world

Eugenia Cheng

160 /Cheng

"In a world where fake news stories change election outcomes, has rationality become futile? In The Art of Logic in an Illogical World, Eugenia Cheng throws a lifeline to readers drowning in the illogic of contemporary life. Cheng is a mathematician, so she knows how to make an airtight argument. But even for her, logic sometimes falls prey to emotion, which is why she still fears flying and eats more cookies than she should. If a mathematician can't be logical, what are we to do? In this book, Cheng reveals the inner workings and limitations of logic, and explains why alogic--for example, emotion--is vital to how we think and communicate. Cheng shows us how to use logic and alogic together to navigate a world awash in bigotry, mansplaining, and manipulative memes. Insightful, useful, and funny, this essential book is for anyone who wants to think more clearly."

Melody's picture

I was very excited to learn about this book. Haven't read it yet but it's definitely on my to-read list! I love listening to reasonable arguments from different points of view and learning how people think about the world. However, the political tribalism times we are living in are definitely driving people mad. I'm looking forward to reading about how a mathematician balances logical and emotional persuasions. -Melody

Big mushy happy lump : a "Sarah's Scribbles" collection book cover

Big mushy happy lump : a "Sarah's Scribbles" collection

Sarah (Sarah C.) Andersen

COMIC Sarah's
Humor, Nonfiction

Containing illustrated personal essays on the author's real-life experiences with anxiety, career, relationships and other adulthood challenges, this collection of the hugely popular, world-famous Sarah's Scribbles comics are perfect for those of us who boast bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair.

Maeve's picture

The third book in my discovery of Sarah Andersen's Sarah Scribbles collection is a must read. All three books are fast reads, too fast in my opinion, so I think I will check them all out again. Her charming drawings of life as a new adult and funny and poignant at the same time. I especially like that she has a cat and a bunny and that the two of them figure highly in her work. -Maeve

Adulthood is a myth : a "Sarah's scribbles" collection book cover

Adulthood is a myth : a "Sarah's scribbles" collection

Sarah (Sarah C.) Andersen

COMIC Sarah's

Adulthood is a myth confronts head-on the horrors, anxiety, and awkwardness of modern adult life. From the agony of holding hands with a gorgeous guy to the yawning pit of hell that is the wifi gone down to the eye-watering pain of eating too-hot pizza because one cannot stand to wait for it to cool down, Sarah fearlessly documents it all. Like the work of fellow Millennial authors Allie Brosh, Grace Helbig, and Gemma Correll, Sarah's total frankness on extremely personal issues such as body image, self-consciousness, introversion, relationships, and bra-washing makes her comics highly relatable and consistently hilarious.

Maeve's picture

Sarah Andersen's series of books on adulting are so much fun. One need not be a newly aged-in adult to enjoy her take on the world. I eagerly await another of her books. -Maeve