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Staff Reviews: Nonfiction

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


Cover: 'Grave's End'

"Grave's End" by Elaine Mercado

★★★★★ This book is an account of the actual terrors the author and her family experienced while living in a home they bought in Brooklyn New York.  While I can’t say that the story is incredibly well-written, the fear that was felt is credible, even to someone that doesn’t believe in the paranormal. I found myself not reading it at night, as I usually do....

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Horror

Cover: 'Furious Hours'

"Furious Hours" by Casey Cep

★★★★★ Author Casey Cep takes a page out of Harper Lee's book to recreate her own fact-checking non-fiction title. The book starts out by detailing the tale of Reverend Willie Maxwell, a man accused of murdering multiple family members in order to claim insurance policies he held in their names. This causes quite the stir as the public starts to believe Maxwell to...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, True Crime

Cover: 'Ladies Who Punch'

"Ladies Who Punch" by Ramin Setoodeh

★★★★★ The View has been a staple of daytime television for more than 20 years. Since debuting in the summer of 1997, the show has seen 23 co-hosts come and go, and has had its fair share of high-profile arguments and controversies. For creator and executive producer Barbara Walters, the show started as a labor of love. For years leading up to the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Celebrities

Cover: 'Maybe You Should Talk to Someone'

"Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb

★★★★★ For most people, a breakup can be a difficult life event to process. Sometimes, it can even cause folks to seek out help in the form of talk therapy. But what if you’re a therapist and you’re the one who’s being broken up with? As a therapist, Lori Gottlieb has helped clients with a myriad of problems, from cheating spouses to adults who were abused or...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help

Cover: 'What the Health'

"What the Health" by Kip Andersen, Keegan Kuhn, Eunice Wong

★★★★★ Based on the Netflix documentary of the same name, this is an absolute must read for anyone looking for the truth behind the Standard American Diet and information on what the healthiest way of eating actually is. Backed by scientific studies and packed with recipes, this is an eye-opening resource for anyone looking to take control of their health. As...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Freak Kingdom'

"Freak Kingdom" by Timothy Denevi

★★★★ Hunter S. Thompson was an American journalist who wrote for Rolling Stone and other magazines, and is best known for this books Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. He was one of the pioneers of an immersive style of journalism in which he inserted himself into the events around him and included his own...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Cover: 'The Faithful Spy'

"The Faithful Spy" by John Hendrix

★★★★★ This creative, colorful, biography tells the life story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor, a member of the German Resistance, and double agent working for the Abwehr during World War II. Bonhoeffer opposed Hitler’s ideology of Aryan supremacy early on in his rise to power, long before the outbreak of the second world war. He watched with...

Audience: Children, Teens, Tweens | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'My Struggle, Book 1'

"My Struggle, Book 1" by Karl Ove Knausgaard

★★★★ My Struggle is a very serious book; if you couldn’t guess as much from the title, you will find out from the first pages of book one, which are a reflection on death. The author returns to this theme of death—specifically the death of his father—throughout the book in seamless passages, recollections that touch on his childhood, his adolescence, and his...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'The Travel Atlas'

"The Travel Atlas" by Lonely Planet

★★★★★ If you love to travel the world, you will love this book!  This travel atlas covers the entire globe, providing highlights for each country or region, along with sample itineraries to help jump start a trip. As an atlas, there are maps and pictures provided for a reference point as you go through the book. I found the book to be half...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Delish: Eat Like Every Day's the Weekend'

"Delish: Eat Like Every Day's the Weekend" by Joanna Saltz, the Editors of Delish

★★★★★ Total honesty?  I judged his book by it's delicious looking cover and boy am I glad that I did!  I had never heard of the online sensation that is Delish, but will now start to follow them on social media.  Their recipes don't cater to a special diet, nor do they require special skills in the kitchen.  All of the ingredients are easy to...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Becoming'

"Becoming" by Michelle Obama

★★★★★ Would you like to learn how a little girl from the South Side of Chicago rose above her circumstances to attend Princeton, become a successful lawyer, and eventually the First Lady of the United States?  Michelle Obama did a great job writing her first book about her upbringing, who made her who she is today, and how she stays true to herself through...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography And Memoir

Cover: 'The Road Ahead'

"The Road Ahead" by Jane Seymour

★★★★★ Do you need inspiration to be a better version of yourself? What if you could find it in a book?  In Jane Seymour’s book, The Road Ahead, real-life stories are shared, with  inspirational messages at the beginning of each section.  The stories give you hope and encouragement during difficult situations that we all have in our everyday lives....

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Inspiration, Self-Help

Cover: 'Pandemic'

"Pandemic" by Connie Goldsmith

★★★★★ I love a good book about pandemics. For whatever reason, they fascinate me. Learning the reasons behind the Black Death or Ebola can be an adventure story and "Pandemic" covers everything you need to know.  This book was very readable, with great pictures of viruses, bacteria and  insects, as well as interesting side notes that help clarify...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Nonfiction, Epidemics, Health

Cover: 'One-Dish Vegan'

"One-Dish Vegan" by Robin G. Robertson

★★★★★ This new vegan cookbook has a plethora of scrumptious-sounding recipes for anyone looking for healthy, satisfying meals. I literally want to make about 90% of the recipes in this book, and don't know which one I want to make first! Some of the recipes have a longer ingredient list, but there's a lot of flavorful spices included, so don't be daunted by that...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook

Cover: 'The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History'

"The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History" by Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman

★★★★ Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, stars of Will and Grace and Parks and Recreation respectively, open up about their successful Hollywood relationship.  This is an opportunity to learn about Megan and Nick's upbringings, morals, what brought them together, as well as what keeps them together.  They share advice on life and love...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Sex and the City and Us'

"Sex and the City and Us" by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

★★★ Are you a Carrie, a Samantha, a Charlotte or a Miranda? If you know the answer to that question, chances are you’re a fan of Sex and the City. Airing on HBO from 1998-2004, Sex and the City followed the lives of four women living in New York City as they navigated the worlds of dating, sex and relationships. The show became beloved for its witty dialog...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants'

"David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants" by Malcom Gladwell

★★★★ This non-fiction selection is really a discussion about the art of winning (success). The author starts with a description and analysis of the original (Biblical) "battle" between David and Goliath.  The author hypothesizes that, seemingly weaker David, won over the giant (in physical respects) Goliath because quite actually, he used his already...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'The Soup & Bread Cookbook'

"The Soup & Bread Cookbook" by Beatrice Ojakangas

★★★★★ 'Whether you love hearty stews and warm bread in the winter or cold soups in the summer, this is the book for you. This cookbook is subdivided into chapters for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter based on what fresh produce is available. The soups are impressive and sophisticated (like my favorite the apple-brie soup) but may not appeal to everyone; children...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook

Cover: 'Jack The Ripper: The Terrible Legacy'

"Jack The Ripper: The Terrible Legacy" by The Whitechapel Society

★★★★★ Many know of the five women brutally killed by Jack the Ripper in London in 1888. However, the failure to bring the killer to justice left many unintentional victims in its wake. Conspiracies abounded about who was responsible for the crime. Numerous men were falsely accused of being Jack the Ripper. Many more were tainted by connections, however tenuous,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, History, True Crime

Cover: 'The Far Away Brothers'

"The Far Away Brothers" by Lauren Markham

★★★★★ Author Lauren Markham's deeply reported book tells the story of identical twins, the Flores brothers, who migrate from their home in El Salvador to California, not only to escape the violence of their native land but also in an effort to help their parents and siblings who stay behind in El Salvador. A mix of Markham's own firsthand accounts and...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Cover: 'Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering'

"Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering" by Joanna Gaines

★★★★★ This is a cookbook straight out of the very real kitchen of Joanna Gaines with recipes you know that she has made many times!  I am, in general, a fan of the Gaines Family and have watched several installments of their TV show Fixer Upper.  I picked up this cookbook more out of curiosity than anything else.  These days I have found that many...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook

Cover: 'Calypso'

"Calypso" by David Sedaris

★★★★ In David Sedaris’ latest compilation of observational essays, he and his longtime partner have purchased a beach house on the coast of North Carolina. Many of the essays in the book take place at this house, which Sedaris and his family use as a place to vacation in the summer or to gather during the holidays. The book contains 21 vastly different essays...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Humor, Essays

Cover: 'Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story'

"Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story" by Chris Nashawaty

★★★ Nearly 40 years after its theatrical release, the film Caddyshack has an established spot in the history of pop culture through memorable quotes (“Did somebody step on a duck?”) and memorable characters like groundskeeper Carl Spackler, played by Bill Murray. Author Chris Nashawaty sets out to share not only the history of how the film was made and how...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Hillbilly Elegy'

"Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance

★★★ Author J.D. Vance grew up among what he refers to as “hillbillys” – white, working class (and mostly poor) folks in Appalachia. Vance spent his adolescence split between extended family in Jackson, Kentucky and in Middleton, Ohio, a town in a state of decline after its main source of local jobs closes, leaving thousands without a job. In this memoir,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

Cover: 'Love Warrior'

"Love Warrior" by Glennon Doyle Melton

★★★ Since she was 10 years old, Glennon Doyle Melton didn’t feel at home in her body. Due to the pressures of society, she never felt she could be thin enough, pretty enough, accepted enough, or loved enough. So, she turned to bulimia, binge drinking and casual sex to mask her fears and insecurities. In her twenties, Glennon finds herself pregnant and at a...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

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