A good library will bend your heart almost to breaking and then put you back together again.
It’s time for another snapshot of what’s new on our non-fiction shelves. Almost 1,400 new titles were added over January and February–this blog post could have had you scrolling forever!
I love putting these posts together. I head on over to our New Titles lists and then, click, click, click. I skip from page 1 of the results to page 58, 36, 17, 42… new, new, new. In this post I traveled to the body, considered possible joy in being really bad at something–like, seriously sucking–veered into the world of “alternative facts”, was inspired by community organizing, dreamt of summer months in tallgrass prairie, considered the power of patience, spent time with the reclusive Harper Lee and took in the impossibly colourful wingspan of a tropical bird (a perfect salve for late winter).
I think lots of people are feeling a little tired and worn down this time of year. This librarian’s prescription? Come browse the shelves. You never know just what will put you back together again.
Gush: Menstrual manifestos for our times
Co-edited by Rosanna Deerchild, Ariel Gordon, and Tanis MacDonald, GUSH offers menstrual manifestos for our time that question the cultural value and social language of monthly blood loss, with rage, humour, ferocity, and grief, and propose that the ‘menstrual moment’ is as individualized, subjective, personal, political, and vital as the ‘feminist click’. With work from emerging and established writers in poetry, cartoons, flash fiction, personal essays, lyric confessions, and experimental forms, this anthology features the voices of Indigenous writers, writers of colour, writers with disabilities, rural writers and urban writers, representing four generations of menstruators: writers who call down their bloodiest muses.
It’s Great to Suck at Something : The exceptional benefits of being unexceptional
(It’s Great to) Suck at Something reveals that the key to a richer, more fulfilling life is finding something to suck at. Drawing on her personal experience sucking at surfing (a sport she’s dedicated nearly two decades of her life to doing without ever coming close to getting good at it) along with philosophy, literature, and the latest science, Rinaldi explores sucking as a lost art we must reclaim for our health and our sanity and helps us find the way to our own riotous suck-ability. She draws from sources as diverse as Anthony Bourdain and surfing luminary Jaimal Yogis, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Jean-Paul Sartre, among many others, and explains the marvelous things that happen to our mammalian brains when we try something new, all to discover what she’s learned firsthand: it is great to suck at something.
Truth in Our Times : Inside the fight for press freedom in the age of alternative facts
In Truth in Our Times, McCraw recounts the hard legal decisions behind the most impactful stories of the last decade with candor and style. The book is simultaneously a rare peek behind the curtain of the celebrated organization, a love letter to freedom of the press, and a decisive rebuttal of Trump’s fake news slur through a series of hard cases.
Fighting for Space: How a group of drug users transformed one city’s struggle with addiction
It tells the story of a grassroots group of addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside who waged a political street fight for two decades to transform how the city treats its most marginalized citizens. Over the past twenty-five years, this group of residents from Canada’s poorest neighborhood organized themselves in response to the growing number of overdose deaths and demanded that addicts be given the same rights as any other citizen; against all odds, they eventually won.But just as their battle came to an end, fentanyl arrived and opioid deaths across North America reached an all-time high. The “genocide” in Vancouver finally sparked government action. Twenty years later, as the same pattern plays out in other cities, there is much that advocates for reform can learn from Vancouver’s experience.
The Tallgrass Prairie: An introduction
Like a walking tour with a literate friend and expert, Cindy Crosby’s Tallgrass Prairie prepares travelers and armchair travelers for an adventure in the tallgrass. Crosby’s engaging gateway assumes no prior knowledge of tallgrass landscapes, and she acquaints readers with the native plants they’ll discover there.
Late Bloomers: The power of patience in a world obsessed with early achievement
Based on several years of research, personal experience, and interviews with neuroscientists and psychologists, and countless people at different stages of their careers, Late Bloomers reveals how and when we achieve our full potential – and why today’s focus on early success is so misguided, and even harmful.
Furious Hours: Harper Lee and an unfinished story of race, religion, and murder in the deep South
Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.
Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case.
Parrots of the Wild: A natural history of the world’s most captivating birds
Parrots of the Wild explores recent scientific discoveries and what they reveal about the lives of wild parrots, which are among the most intelligent and rarest of birds. Catherine A. Toft and Tim Wright discuss the evolutionary history of parrots and how this history affects perceptual and cognitive abilities, diet and foraging patterns, and mating and social behavior. The authors also discuss conservation status and the various ways different populations are adapting to a world that is rapidly changing.