MCPL logo

Marathon County Public Library

Skip Navigation ATTENTION: (1) all MCPL locations open by appointment only; (2) curbside pickup is available: [Details.]

Staff Reviews: Adult nonfiction

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring books DVDs for adults! (For reviews of books for all ages, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates. The book reviews on this website represent the personal opinions of the individuals who created them and do not represent any official views of the Marathon County Public Library.


Cover: 'Notes from an Apocalypse'

"Notes from an Apocalypse" by Mark O'Connell

★★★ Author Mark O’Connell writes that he’s always had a pessimistic outlook, and nothing has reinforced that attitude more than the events of recent years. O’Connell writes that an increase in extreme weather events due to climate change, the growing gap between poverty and wealth, and intense division and societal unrest in the United States and other...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death'

"From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death" by Caitlin Doughty

★★★★★ Caitlin Doughty is one of my favorite nonfiction authors, Her writing is easily digestible, funny, clever, and fascinating. Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, and From Here to Eternity is a chronicle of her adventures around the world learning about other cultures relationship with death and funeral practices. Sectioned by location, the book starts in...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Great Successor'

"The Great Successor" by Anna Fifield

★★★★★ Kim Jong Un is known the world around as the leader of North Korea. Some view him as a ruthless dictator who keeps the people of his country under harsh, suffocating control while others see him as a power-hungry – though mostly harmless – ruler who strives for more respect and standing on the international stage. In The Great Successor, journalist Anna...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography

Cover: 'Death in Mud Lick'

"Death in Mud Lick" by Eric Eyre

★★★★★ This fascinating book details not only the flood of opioids into West Virginia and its impact on the state's citizens, but also shows the power of investigative journalism to bring that information to light and affect change. Journalist Eric Eyre spent years writing hundreds of stories on the opioid crisis for the Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness'

"Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness" by Qing Li

★★★★ A book full of beautiful photographs, this talks about the Japanese science and art of forest bathing, shinrin-yoku. As someone who’s always felt a connection to any forest and craves daily doses of nature, I was instantly intrigued by this. The author describes the science behind forest bathing, how to practice it, and tips on bringing the outside in, all...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Big Bing'

"The Big Bing" by Stanley Bing

★★★ This is a book about office politics and uses humor and self-help recommendations. The author uses information from his own experiences and, although this is an older book, it still has information that can be used today. The author writes about climbing the corporate ladder and how you should observe your surroundings. Listen to your colleague’s advice...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, business

Cover: 'American Prison'

"American Prison" by Shane Bauer

★★★★ Investigative journalist Shane Bauer spent four months making $9 an hour as a guard at a privately-run prison in Louisiana and documented his experience - and the history of the for-profit prison industry - in this interesting book. Bauer used his real name to work at the prison but was otherwise "undercover" because no one knew he planned to write about...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Dear Girls'

"Dear Girls" by Ali Wong

★★★★ Comedian Ali Wong is perhaps best known for her Netflix comedy specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife, or for her romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe. In this hilarious, side-splitting memoir, Wong recounts her youth, getting started as a comedian, and her adventures in parenting through a series of letters addressed to her two young daughters (with the...

Audience: adults | Genre: memoir, nonfiction

Cover: 'A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, far Away...'

"A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, far Away..." by Paul Hirsch

★★★★ Oscar-winning editor Paul Hirsch breaks down his career movie-by-movie, and in the process provides an inside look at an integral part of making movies, but one that seldom receives much attention. Directors, actors, score composers and even cinematographers receive praise (or criticism) for movies they make, but the editor is the one responsible...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, movies

Cover: 'Acid for the Children'

"Acid for the Children" by Flea

★★★★★ Flea, a musician and actor best known as the bassist for the rock/funk band Red Hot Chili Peppers, has written a memoir covering his early years growing up in Australia, New York City and eventually Los Angeles. His love of literature had a positive impact on Flea's own writing abilities, and his memoir is well-written, funny, sad, moving, poetic and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, music

Cover: 'The Plant Based Diet for Beginners: 75 Delicious, Healthy Whole Food Recipes'

"The Plant Based Diet for Beginners: 75 Delicious, Healthy Whole Food Recipes" by Gabriel Miller

★★★★★ Looking for healthy and plant-based options for your next meal? Or are you interested in the reasons why many are choosing to eat more plant-based meals? This cookbook is packed with delicious recipes along with information on the the health, environmental, and ethical reasons to eat more plant-based meals.  It has all your favorites in it,...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'Unfollow'

"Unfollow" by Megan Phelps-Roper

★★★★ From the time she was five years old, Megan Phelps-Roper would stand alongside her parents, siblings and other members of the Westboro Baptist Church and protest various parks, government buildings and religious institutions around the city of Topeka, Kansas. As she got older, the church grew in notoriety thanks in part to its controversial picket signs,...

Audience: adults | Genre: memoir, nonfiction

Cover: 'Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties'

"Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties" by Tom O'Neill

★★★★★ Most true crime fans like a new Charles Manson book. Often, they tell the same story. Creepy-crawly. Sharon Tate. The Family. Drugs and Helter Skelter. But so often, those books have a timeless, placeless kind of quality; the crimes shrouded in a haze of smoke and lies. Meet Tom O’Neill. As a freelance journalist, he was approached in 1989 to write an...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, true crime

Cover: 'Me'

"Me" by Elton John

★★★★★ If you’re an inhabitant of planet Earth, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Elton John. Maybe you’re familiar with some of the wild outfits and costumes he’s worn over the years, or you know a couple of his (many) hit songs. Perhaps you know him from his work on Disney’s The Lion King, or you’ve seen the 2019 biopic Rocketman. If you know anything about...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, memoir, biography and memoir, celebrities

Cover: 'Toil & Trouble'

"Toil & Trouble" by Augusten Burroughs

★★★★ Augusten Burroughs, well-known writer and memoirist of such books as Running with Scissors and Lust & Wonder, has been keeping a secret from almost everyone in his life. But in his latest work, Toil & Trouble, Burroughs finally comes clean and reveals a part of himself that he’s never shared with the world before – the fact that he’s a witch....

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Cover: 'The Fate of Food'

"The Fate of Food" by Amanda Little

★★★★★ In today’s world, more and more people want to know about the food they eat, where it comes from, and how it’s grown. But what does the future hold for consumers – and the food on their plates – in a world that’s getting increasingly hotter, drier and that has more extreme weather? In The Fate of Food, author Amanda Little explores the different...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Hungry'

"Hungry" by Jeff Gordinier

★★★★ Step inside the restless, forward-thinking mind of one of the best chefs in the world with author Jeff Gordiner's account of years spent on-and-off with Rene Redzepi. Redzepi is the owner and head chef of Noma, the Copenhagen, Denmark restaurant consistently ranked one of the best (sometimes the best) restaurants in the world. It's difficult to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, memoir

Cover: '101 Ways To Go Zero Waste'

"101 Ways To Go Zero Waste" by Kathryn Kellogg

★★★★★ Are you tired of taking out the trash? Does it bother you that only nine percent of plastic is actually recycled? That it takes three liters of water to produce once liter of bottled water? Everyone is familiar with the saying: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. What Kathryn Kellogg emphasizes in this guide is that recycle comes last. First, what can you do...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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

Pages