Staff Picks: Great Reads in Non-Fiction

Posted by Aaron on

nonfictionThink the nonfiction section is just for research?  Think again!  There are lots of fun and fascinating reads, great works of literature, histories and how-to’s to be found in the nonfiction section just to name a few.  Here are some of our recent favorites.

Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis

The story of these teenagers falls right at the divide over what to do about undocumented children who are brought to the United States by their parents who are hoping to give them a better life.  While illegal aliens may be a drain on resources, it was heartbreaking to read about these brilliant youngsters unable to fulfill their potential and contribute to society.
– Muriel

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

To borrow a bit from Kermit the Frog, it’s not easy being quiet.  We’re urged from childhood to speak up, speak out, be forceful, outgoing, charismatic, the life of the party.  But what about the 25 percent of Americans who don’t quite fit the mold?  Are we introverts superfluous to modern society?  Not so claims author Susan Cain.  Quiet examines what it means to be an introvert in America today, explains the science and psychology of introversion and illuminates the ways that introverts improve society.  It’s not often that a book positively changes how I see myself and my role in the world, but this one did just that.  A great read for introverts and those living and working with them.
– Frances

Setting up Themed Aquariums: Fish and Plants in Harmony by Axel Gutjahr

Aquatically speaking, I currently just have a lone Betta fish who lives in a small bowl.  But my secret yearning is to someday set up a beautiful large aquarium to enjoy in my home!  If you have a similar desire, I recommend “Setting Up Themed Aquariums, Fish and Plants in Harmony” by Axel Gutjahr.  From selecting a proper size tank and equipment, setting it up correctly, to carefully selecting the right fish — the author gives practical information and good advice on how to achieve displaying a glorious “piece of nature” in your home. This book also has sections to explore on several geographical regions from which a “theme” to the aquarium can be chosen if desired. What I love about aquariums is that they are so vibrant, yet peaceful.  And aren’t fish fascinating to watch?  I believe I could stare at them for hours!  Read this book and join me in one day relaxing while gazing at your own exotic, tropical aquarium.
– Carol

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin

This April marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and seems a fitting time to read Drew Gilpin Faust’s “This Republic of Suffering.” Faust examines the effects that the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War had on the United States’ collective psyche and how it changed the way 19th century Americans viewed and dealt with death culturally, psychologically and materially. Published in 2008, this excellent and important work was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
– Ellie

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & show Your Home Some Love by Sherry & John Petersik

Sherry and John Petersik, married authors of the popular Young House Love blog, have packed this book with more than two hundred home improvement ideas. Great photographs accompany a variety of budget friendly home projects from painting furniture to making curtains.
– Jennifer

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