Below I’m highlighting some nonfiction books coming out in March. All of the mentioned titles are available to put on hold in our catalog and will also be made available via the library’s Overdrive website on the day of publication in eBook and downloadable audiobook format (as available). For a more extensive list of new nonfiction books coming out this month, check our online catalog.
“Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult: A Memoir” by Michelle Dowd (Mar 7)
As a child, Michelle Dowd grew up on a mountain in the Angeles National Forest. She was born into an ultra-religious cult — or the Field as they called it — started in the 1930s by her grandfather, a mercurial, domineering, and charismatic man who convinced generations of young male followers that he would live 500 years and ascend to the heavens when doomsday came. Comfort and care are sins, Michelle is told. As a result, she was forced to learn the skills necessary to battle hunger, thirst, and cold; she learned to trust animals more than humans; and most importantly, she learned how to survive in the natural world. At the Field, a young Michelle lives a life of abuse, poverty, and isolation, as she obeys her family’s rigorous religious and patriarchal rules — which are so extreme that Michelle is convinced her mother would sacrifice her, like Abraham and Isaac, if instructed by God. She often wears the same clothes for months at a time; she is often ill and always hungry for both love and food. She is taught not to trust Outsiders, and especially not Quitters, nor her own body and its warnings. But as Michelle gets older, she realizes she has the strength to break free. Focus on what will sustain, not satiate you, she tells herself. Use everything. Waste nothing. Get to know the intricacies of the land, like the intricacies of your body. And so she does. Using stories of individual edible plants and their uses to anchor each chapter, “Forager” is both a searing coming-of-age story and a meditation on the ways in which understanding nature can lead to freedom, even joy. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: March 2023”
Posted on Monday, March 6, 2023 by patron reviewer
“The Sweeney Sisters” is the story of three sisters navigating the loss of their father, who was a famous author. After his passing, they discover a fourth sister born out of an affair and have to come to terms with how this blemishes their father’s legacy and form a relationship with their new sister. It was a very light-hearted take on a heavy topic. The relationship between the sisters is funny, sweet and complicated, much like real life. It was a quick fun read.
Three words that describe this book: Family, Funny, Sweet
You might want to pick this book up if: Want an entertaining quick read.
This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading 2022. We will continue to share these throughout the year.
Here are just a select few of the many promising debut titles coming out in March 2023. These have all received multiple positive reviews from library journals. If you’re interested in seeing a longer list of titles, please visit our catalog.
2019: Under cover of darkness, Kate flees London for ramshackle Weyward Cottage, inherited from a great aunt she barely remembers. With its tumbling ivy and overgrown garden, the cottage is worlds away from the abusive partner who tormented Kate. But she begins to suspect that her great-aunt had a secret. One that lurks in the bones of the cottage, hidden ever since the witch hunts of the 17th century.
1619: Altha is awaiting trial for the murder of a local farmer who was stampeded to death by his herd. As a girl, Altha’s mother taught her their magic, a kind not rooted in spell casting but in a deep knowledge of the natural world. But unusual women have always been deemed dangerous, and as the evidence for witchcraft is set out against Altha, she knows it will take all of her powers to maintain her freedom.
1942: As World War II rages, Violet is trapped in her family’s grand, crumbling estate. Straitjacketed by societal convention, she longs for the robust education her brother receives — and for her mother, long deceased, who was rumored to have gone mad before her death. The only traces Violet has of her are a locket bearing the initial W and the word “weyward” scratched into the baseboard of her bedroom.
When the first Kentucky Derby ran in May of 1875, 13 of the 15 jockeys were Black Americans. Oliver Lewis, a 19-year-old Black man rode the winning horse. The horse’s trainer Ansel Williamson had been born into slavery in the mid-19th century. In 1864, Williamson had been purchased by Robert Alexander, owner of Woodburn Stud in Kentucky, where he worked as a trainer for the Woodburn horses. After emancipation, Williamson continued training horses. After his win at the first Kentucky Derby Williamson trained many more stakes winners.
Posted on Friday, February 24, 2023 by Reading Addict
I can admit it: I’m slow to adopt new trends, but I have recently (finally?) become enthralled with podcasts. I have always just had so many books I wanted to read that it was really hard for podcasts to break through to my awareness. Although, in my defense, I was actually listening to podcasts before they were called podcasts on NPR with shows like “This American Life,” “Radiolab” and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” A lot of podcasts remind me of my favorite books of conversational essays. The podcasts I have recently found have been highly entertaining and engaging — like sitting with a friend and enjoying a cup of coffee while catching up on interesting tidbits. Some of the podcasts follow true crime cases. Some take a deeper look at cultural moments or things we may not remember fully (or correctly) from history. And some just talk of random things. Continue reading “Books That Read Like a Podcast”
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2023 by Jason Delpire
Recently, I watched the movie “The Menu.” I loved it: I saw bits of myself in a few of the characters on either side of the pass. Here is a short synopsis of the film: an ultra-exclusive restaurant prepares a special menu for a select clientele. Essentially, “The Menu” is a horror/comedy/satire piece on the fine dining experience. Between this movie, other recent stories spilling secrets on the culture of restaurant work, and the recent announcement of Noma’s impending closure (Noma is a many-times named Best Restaurant in the World and is planning to close in 2024), some have started calling for the end of fine dining, whatever that means. The issue for many is the impression that all fine dining restaurants are hyper-competitive, intense, toxic workplaces that can destroy people. Though those accusations are damning, the idea of “free labor” was the final straw. In some high-profile places, like Noma, talented and ambitious cooks are hired, but not paid. According to “The Sorcerer’s Apprentices” by Lisa Abend (a book about the now-shuttered restaurant named el Bulli), the cooks are paired with a host family and generally they eat at the restaurant (the “family meal”). My view has been these types of positions are for a special few, and the sacrifice is repaid through contacts made and through future earnings. Generally, these types of situations are only found at high-end places, but the pressures and expectations can find their way to “regular” establishments. You might have dined in a place that suffers from the same problems, even here in Mid-Missouri. Continue reading “Read the Recipe: Noma 2.0”
Evelyn Kominsky Kumamoto is the adult daughter of a distant Japanese father and a dead Jewish mother. When we meet her, she is preparing to start a new job at a large internet company, having set aside her philosophy dissertation in search of a change.
Evelyn is somewhat anchorless — in identity, in work and in her relationships. But it is clear her ambivalence does not come from a lack of depth. Evelyn is a philosopher, who traces the movements of her own mind with the curiosity of a scientist. If she seems stuck between two points, it’s only because she is taking her time mapping the troubled landscape of the liminal space. Continue reading “Staff Review: Happy for You by Claire Stanford”
Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 by Katherine
Here are a few of the most notable debut fiction titles being published this month. These have all received positive review from library journals. For a longer list of titles, please visit our catalog.
Eric Ross is on the run from a mysterious past with his two daughters in tow. Having left his wife, his house, his whole life behind in Maryland, he’s desperate for money — it’s not easy to find steady, safe work when you can’t provide references, you can’t stay in one place for long, and you’re paranoid that your past is creeping back up on you.
When he comes across the strange ad for the Masson House in Degener, Texas, Eric thinks they may have finally caught a lucky break. The Masson property, notorious for being one of the most haunted places in Texas, needs a caretaker of sorts. The owner is looking for proof of paranormal activity. All they need to do is stay in the house and keep a detailed record of everything that happens there. Provided the house’s horrors don’t drive them all mad, like the caretakers before them.
The job calls to Eric, not just because there’s a huge payout if they can make it through, but because he wants to explore the secrets of the spite house. If it is indeed haunted, maybe it’ll help him understand the uncanny power that clings to his family, driving them from town to town, making them afraid to stop running.