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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: 'Africa, Amazing Africa'

"Africa, Amazing Africa" by Atinuke, Mouni Feddag

★★★★★ The colorful Africa, Amazing Africa by Atinuke is a fun way to get familiar with African geography. Atinuke and Mouni Feddag present each African country with a short description and illustrations. Southern, eastern, western, central, and northern countries are grouped regionally with a hand-drawn map for reference. The wording is concise and...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Hello, Molly!'

"Hello, Molly!" by Molly Shannon

★★★★★ Actress Molly Shannon broke onto the national scene in the mid-1990s after joining the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. During her six-year stint on the show, she introduced the world to such iconic characters as the high-kicking, jumpsuit wearing Sally O’Malley; licensed “joyologist” Helen Madden; and the awkward, clumsy, armpit-smelling Mary Katherine...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography and memoir

Cover: 'Yours Cruelly, Elvira'

"Yours Cruelly, Elvira" by Cassandra Peterson

★★★★★ You probably don’t know the name “Cassandra Peterson” yet she’s likely someone you’ve seen numerous times over the last several decades on TV, in movies or in advertisements, especially around Halloween. Peterson is better known as her alter ego Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She first rose to fame in the early 1980s after adopting her stage personae and...

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

Cover: 'Marshmallow Clouds'

"Marshmallow Clouds" by Ted Kooser, Connie Wanek, Richard Jones

★★★★★ A collaboration between distinguished poets Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek is definitely a book to be read and reread! These are gentle poems that have a calming effect. While these poems are short and use simple words, they also contain numerous similes and metaphors for readers to consider and enjoy. A harp is “a great golden moth.” A book’s a sandwich, a...

Audience: children | Genre: poetry, nonfiction

Cover: 'Neurotribes'

"Neurotribes" by Steve Silberman

★★★★★ This book is an incredibly thorough and surprisingly easy-to-read medical and social history of autism spectrum disorders.  From the early years in horrifying institutions, to 20th century efforts of autistic extinction by both Nazi Germany and America, to modern day misinformation wars versus acceptance movements, this book thoroughly and fairly...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, psychiatry, psychology, diversity, history

Cover: 'How To Go Vegan'

"How To Go Vegan" by veganuary

★★★★★ Whether you’re thinking of going vegan one meal a day or you're a seasoned vegan (or somewhere in between), this has everything you need to know about veganism. Included are sections on how to go vegan in all parts of life including home items, traveling, nutrition, with your kids and more. This book lays out all the reasons a person may have for going...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Wanderess'

"Wanderess" by Elise Fitzsimmons, Nikki Vargas

★★★★ While not an in-depth travel guide, this is a fantastic starting point for travelers who identify as female and/or are traveling alone and want extra tips on staying safe. This brightly formatted book includes concise tips, packing lists, resources, travel quotes, and more. Included is everything from how to pack light to managing anxiety while traveling to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Proven Winners Garden Book'

"The Proven Winners Garden Book" by Thomas Christopher, Ruth Rogers Clausen

★★★★★ This nonfiction book was a perfect fit to spark ideas for the gardening season, and I loved the format as well. There are introductory sections for beginner gardeners who need help picking a spot and deciding on what plants to use, as well as sections on soil preparation, pruning, and maintenance like pest and weed control. My favorite sections were the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, gardening

Cover: 'Unbelievably Vegan'

"Unbelievably Vegan" by Charity Morgan

★★★★ Private chef to athletes and from the excellent documentary "The Game Changers", Charity Morgan packs a punch with this new vegan cookbook. I have so many recipes I want to try from this, from garlic ramen noodles to the spicy crab dip to the no-bake peanut butter cheesecake. I also really appreciated the opening chapter on sauces and dressings to add to my...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'Lost and Found Cat'

"Lost and Found Cat" by Doug Kuntz, Amy Shrodes, Sue Cornelison

★★★★★ This heartwarming and true story about the beloved cat of a refugee family is sure to tug on the heart strings of any reader.  Readers meet an Iraqi family who is forced to leave their home to the safety of another country. After a perilous journey through mountains, forests, and the Aegean Sea, the fluffy white cat called Kunkush is terrified at...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction, picture book

Cover: 'Giannis'

"Giannis" by Mirin Fader

★★★★★ If you are a basketball, Milwaukee Bucks, or Giannis Antetokounmpo fan, this book is a must read.   An incredible story of hard work, sacrifice, family, and humbleness, this biography showcases Giannis's rise to the top from starting at an incredible low. You read about how Giannis and his brother shared shoes while growing up (...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, celebrities

Cover: 'Crashing Through'

"Crashing Through" by Robert Kurson

★★★★★ “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”---Soren Kierkegaard.  This quote embodies this suspenseful and highly insightful look in to the inspiring life of Mike May. At three years of age, May’s sight is instantly taken from him in an explosive accident. From the beginning, he doesn’t let that stop him from...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Vegan At Times'

"Vegan At Times" by Jessica Seinfeld

★★★★★ Looking for healthy recipes for you and the planet? Classics like flaky biscuits for breakfast, sloppy joes for lunch, bolognese for dinner, and chocolate pudding for dessert? This new cookbook is packed with all your favorite classics, along with recipes I already know will be new favorites for me, like the potato and caramelized onion tart and the peanut...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'Losing Eden'

"Losing Eden" by Lucy Jones

★★★★ This book was not only a powerful call to action, but also a memoir of one women’s experiences in nature, and really, the author Lucy Jones wrote a love letter to the natural world itself. I found so many fascinating tidbits throughout, like how interaction with soil or walking through a forest actually raises the immune system. Or how looking at ferns has...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Little Kid, Big City!'

"Little Kid, Big City!" by Beth Beckman

★★★★★ If you could travel through London for a day, where would you go? Would you visit the London Zoo? Or peruse the toys at Hamleys? Don't forget to grab a bite to eat at Borough Market! In this fun and interactive new children's book, kids get to learn all about one of my favorite cities in a unique way. Kids can decide where they want to visit next...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Yearbook'

"Yearbook" by Seth Rogen

★★★★★ You probably know actor Seth Rogen from comedy films like Superbad, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, and Neighbors. What you probably didn’t know is what an unconventional adolescence he had prior to making it big in Hollywood. It’s these stories (and others he tells about his life post-success) that make Yearbook such a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, celebrities

Cover: 'Provecho'

"Provecho" 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 and memoir

Cover: 'The Hummingbirds' Gift'

"The Hummingbirds' Gift" 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'

"Linda McCartney's Family Kitchen" 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

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