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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: 'Provecho: 100 Vegan Mexican Recipes to Celebrate Culture and Community'

"Provecho: 100 Vegan Mexican Recipes to Celebrate Culture and Community" by Edgar Castrejon

★★★★★ The cover filled with beautiful pictures of delicious food first pulled me to check out this new cookbook, and when I realized it was a vegan cookbook as well, it was even better! Packed with recipes that I can't wait to try, this is not only a celebration of vegan food but also of the Mexican culture and community. Every single recipe had a...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'Roaming America: Exploring the National Parks'

"Roaming America: Exploring the National Parks" by Renee Hahnel, Matthew Hahnel

★★★★★ The cover alone enticed me to check out this travel resource, which promises readers information on all 59 National Parks in the United States. This has some of the most beautiful travel photography I think I’ve ever seen, and just enough info on each location to spark your wanderlust! It includes suggested itineraries, recommendations and planning tips,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Home Baked'

"Home Baked" by Alia Volz

★★★★ In the years following the Summer of Love in 1967, San Francisco saw a steady influx of hippies, outcasts and other free sprits flock to its streets, eager to call the city home. One of those transplants was Milwaukee native Meridy Volz, who left behind her studies at UW-Madison in the name of pursuing spiritual enlightenment and adventure. Not long after...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography & memoir

Cover: 'The Hummingbirds' Gift: Wonder, Beauty, and Renewal on Wings'

"The Hummingbirds' Gift: Wonder, Beauty, and Renewal on Wings" by Sy Montgomery

★★★★ I immediately snagged this book because of my own love of hummingbirds. I remember growing up and watching them next my grandmother, our faces both looking at them with awe and wonder.  They were my grandmother’s favorite bird, and she passed that love down to me before her passing. When I read how the book describe them as “…air wrapped with...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Linda McCartney's Family Kitchen: Over 90 Plant-Based Recipes to Save the Planet and Nourish the Soul'

"Linda McCartney's Family Kitchen: Over 90 Plant-Based Recipes to Save the Planet and Nourish the Soul" by Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney, Mary McCartney

★★★★★ This new cookbook packs a punch with delicious recipes along with knowledge on the ethical, environmental, and health reasons behind why a plant-based diet is vitally important now more than ever. It was also a love letter and dedication from the family to the memory of Linda McCartney, which really struck me throughout the cookbook. I appreciated that this...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'London Curiosities: The Capital's Odd & Obscure, Weird and Wonderful Places'

"London Curiosities: The Capital's Odd & Obscure, Weird and Wonderful Places" by John Wade

★★★★ This new travel book takes readers through the unique quirks that London holds. From tiny houses to weird buildings to lighthouses and tunnels, readers find out all sorts of oddities that pop up around one of my favorite cities in the world. From a nose popping out of the Admiralty Arch to why there are fake houses in West London's Bayswater, this is packed...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Unforgettable Journeys: Slow Down and See the World'

"Unforgettable Journeys: Slow Down and See the World" by DK Eyewitness

★★★★★ In this beautifully-illustrated travel book, readers are guided through unforgettable journeys that are sure to inspire wanderlust! Trips are organized by mode of travel: on foot, by road, by bike, by water, and by rail, and then further by continent. As someone who loves (and misses travel, especially abroad), I found myself marking many trips I'd love to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing'

"What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing" by Bruce D. Perry, Oprah Winfrey

★★★★★ This informative resource hooked me from the very beginning, as Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Perry started to speak on their own experiences with trauma, along with the effects traumatic experiences have on the human brain. I learned just how much trauma can affect the actual biology of the brain, and how vital loving caregivers are to the actual development of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Is This Anything?'

"Is This Anything?" by Jerry Seinfeld

★★★★★ If you're a child of the 80's and 90's like I am, you might enjoy catching up with Jerry Seinfeld by reading Is This Anything? The first chapter begins with him explaining his passion for comedy and how even though he had other hobbies and interests growing up, they meant nothing to him after his first stand-up experience. Lots of "bits" for which...

Audience: adults | Genre: biography, celebrity, comedy, nonfiction

Cover: 'Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man'

"Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man" by Emmanuel Acho

★★★★★ An absolute must-read for anyone committed to their anti-racist journey, Emmanuel Acho takes readers through so many important topics in this book. From whether Black or African American is the appropriate term, to white privilege, to systematic racism and reverse racism, to how to be an ally, and so many more crucial topics, I found this to be an extremely...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Hot for Food All Day: Easy Recipes to Level Up Your Vegan Meals'

"Hot for Food All Day: Easy Recipes to Level Up Your Vegan Meals" by Lauren Toyota

★★★★ The tantalizing vegan ragu bolognese on the cover attracted my attention to this new cookbook packed with delicious vegan recipes for all your favorites (and soon to be new favorites)! I'm excited to make a black forest loaf cake, corn chowder, and enchiladas in the near future, as well as a couple delicious looking international recipes like cacio e pepe...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré'

"Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré" by Anika Aldamuy Denise, Paola Escobar

★★★★★ This was a really impactful story about the life of Pura Belpré, author, puppeteer, and librarian from Puerto Rico. Not only was this a story about the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York, this is a heartwarming story about the impact librarians have on their community. I really enjoyed learning about the life of Pura Belpré, and appreciated the...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Tea Time Around the World'

"Tea Time Around the World" by Denyse Waissbluth

★★★★★ Take a trip around the world with tea! This traditional, yet diverse beverage can be warm or cold, sweet or tart. Did you know that tea can also contain yak butter or tapioca bubbles? Tea can also steep in a samovar and be prepared as an entertaining show!  Learn about tea in various cultures with the poetic rhythm of a...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson'

"On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson" by Jennifer Berne, Becca Stadtlander

★★★★★ Beautifully illustrated with just the right amount of text to a page, this picture book biography is great to share with young poets. It tells how Emily lived a secluded life enjoying her family, close friends, and the natural world. In books and in her mind she experienced much that she described in her poems. Though she published few in her lifetime, her...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Plant-Powered Protein'

"Plant-Powered Protein" by Nava Atlas

★★★★ In this fully illustrated new cookbook, the author combined over 100 recipes that work with the ever growing (and delicious!) meat alternatives that are available today for consumers. Including soups, baked dished, pastas, sandwiches, and breakfast recipes, this cookbook is packed full of tantalizing recipes that work with not only meat alternatives, but...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'How to Be Fine'

"How to Be Fine" by Jolenta Greenberg, Kristen Meinzer

★★★★ Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer, co-hosts of the podcast "By the Book," decided to live by self-help books for two weeks each, to determine what personally worked for them and what didn't. This book is the result of that experiment, and as the authors say, readers can try some of the tips along with the authors, or just read along for pure...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'If You Want a Friend in Washington'

"If You Want a Friend in Washington" by Erin McGill

★★★★ Explore a wackier side of life in the White House in this fun and entertaining book about presidential pets!  The President of the United States has a lot of responsibility and has to make hard decisions. Citizens and fellow politicians might agree, or disagree with these decisions, making friends hard to come by. Many presidents hoped for...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice'

"Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice" by Mahogany L. Browne, Theodore Taylor III, Elizabeth Acevedo, Olivia Gatwood

★★★★★ This is an absolutely beautiful collection of thought-provoking poems by an amazing collection of talented poets that tackles topics from discrimination to immigration to intersectionality to privilege ("What's in my Toolbox" and "A Me-Shaped Box" are both must reads on the topic of privilege and stereotypes). It is a beautifully illustrated reflection on...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times'

"Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times" by Katherine May

★★★★ I was drawn to this book by the very title, the promise that it would give the readers ways in which we can care for our wellbeing when life is truly difficult, and how to build ourselves back up. Is there really a more fitting book to read after 2020? This book takes readers through the author's own personal journey with difficult times, where she...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Oh She Glows for Dinner'

"Oh She Glows for Dinner" by Angela Liddon

★★★★ Looking for healthy recipes that will support your immune system as well as taste delicious? This is a wonderful new cookbook from Angela Liddon, full of plant based meals that will support your health while also satisfying your taste buds!  Her sneaky protein-packed mashed potatoes and creamy mushroom, green bean, and wild rice casserole were...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Norse Mythology'

"Norse Mythology" by Neil Gaiman

★★★★★ Neil Gaiman’s excellent retelling of the chief stories of Norse mythology is perfect as a first introduction to the material and well worth reading for those familiar with other versions of these tales.  The setting remains the ancient time of the gods, so in that respect it is not a modern retelling. Gaiman does, however, significantly develop the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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

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