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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: 'Food Cures: Fight Disease with Your Fork'

"Food Cures: Fight Disease with Your Fork" by Reader's Digest Association

★★★★★ This is the best resource I've found so far for anyone looking for natural and healthy ways to fight and prevent numerous health issues. As someone with four health issues that very much affect my everyday life, I'm always looking for books that touch on the nutrition factor of foods to fight disease or help with ailments, or, sometimes even more important...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Forgotten Bones:  Uncovering a Slave Cemetery'

"Forgotten Bones: Uncovering a Slave Cemetery" by Lois Miner Huey

★★★★★ I'm always curious about the past and how important it is recognize the impact the past has on the present. This book, "Forgotten Bones: Uncovering a Slave Cemetery" really piqued my curiosity. I enjoy reading about how these relics from the past are discovered and analyzed. In this case, the cemetery is located near Albany, NY, and discovered during an...

Audience: teens | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Home Remedies: An A-Z Guide of Quick And Easy Natural Cures'

"Home Remedies: An A-Z Guide of Quick And Easy Natural Cures" by Meredith Hale

★★★★ Looking for chemical-free, safe ways to remedy common illnesses and problems? This is a great, illustrated resource packed full of information for anyone looking for safe (and cheaper) home remedies to common problems like headaches, toothaches, nausea, burns, and allergies. This also includes helpful tips on most topics, like how to prevent certain...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, health

Cover: 'The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism'

"The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism" by Naoki Higashida, K. A. Yoshida

★★★★★ There are books written by adults with autism and from the perspective of family members, educators, and others who work with children with autism, but this book is unique because it is written by a thirteen-year-old boy with autism. Higashida retains the perspective of a child but has the introspection of an early teen. It’s a rare look into the thoughts...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, differing abilities

Cover: 'Wildflower'

"Wildflower" by Drew Barrymore

★★★★★ I loved this book! Reading it is like sitting down with a good friend over a cup of cocoa and listening to their stories. Drew writes with such emotion and honesty that you feel like she is in the room with you. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me realize what a beautiful soul she is. This book is written as a collection of stories from...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, celebrities

Cover: 'Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption'

"Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson

★★★★★ As a twenty-three-year-old Harvard law student, Stevenson had his first encounter with an inmate on death row. That meaningful encounter led him to commit his law career to representing the legally underrepresented: death row inmates, children sentenced to life without parole, and others marginalized by the system. He founded and currently serves as the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Black Earth:  The Holocaust as History and Warning'

"Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning" by Timothy Snyder

★★★★★ Timothy Snyder's book "Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning" attempts to place Hitler and Nazi Germany within a political and cultural context. Starting with Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and tracing how Hitler's opinions expressed there found fruition in the Nazi state, Snyder explains how Hitler's negative views of Jews became one of the main thrusts...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide'

"Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn

★★★★★ This book was amazing! It brought the issue of oppression to the forefront and made doing something to combat it attainable. Women make up half of the global population and yet they still face daily oppression and adversity. While many across the globe are standing up, there is still much work to be done. From big activism like fighting for education...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, gender issues

Cover: 'The Great British Bake Off: Christmas'

"The Great British Bake Off: Christmas" by Lizzie Kamenetzky

★★★★ Who doesn't love a Christmas cookbook? This particular Christmas cookbook comes with recipes from participants of a British reality TV cooking program. The food is somewhat different that what we are used to seeing here in the United States, however it is not too different that you would not enjoy all of the recipes. The Shepherd's Pie looks great, as well...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook, holiday

Cover: 'The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2016: The Year's Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings'

"The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2016: The Year's Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings" by America's Test Kitchen

★★★★★ Straight from the America's Test Kitchen comes their newest collection of recipes from the last year. They are known for their precise recipes, having tested each recipe a variety of ways in order to get the best possible outcome for each dish. This book does a superb job explaining why you make each dish a certain way and includes illustrations for more...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Chocolate-Covered Katie: Over 80 Delicious Recipes That Are Secretly Good for You'

"Chocolate-Covered Katie: Over 80 Delicious Recipes That Are Secretly Good for You" by Katie Higgins

★★★★★ This is a must read for anyone with a sweet tooth! Plus, the author of the popular blog, "chocolatecoveredkatie.com," created these recipes with a healthy goal in mind. As a woman who wanted treats that satisfied her sweet tooth without using artificial sweeteners and unhealthy ingredients, the recipes in this cookbook use natural sweeteners and real...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Happy Cooking'

"Happy Cooking" by Giada De Laurentiis

★★★★ This is my favorite cookbook so far from chef Giada De Laurentiis! There's something here for everyone, even a few vegan recipes, which made me super happy to see! Giada included vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free recipes for all of us allergy sufferers, as well as recipes to be enjoyed by those without allergy concerns. Included in this cookbook are main...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Modern Romance'

"Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg

★★★★★ For those of you who aren’t familiar with Aziz Ansari, he is an actor (perhaps best known from Parks & Recreation) and a stand-up comedian, but this isn’t a typical book by a comic. The book was inspired in part by a segment of his stand-up routine and is filled with humor throughout, but it’s actually a carefully researched book that examines the state...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Main Street Vegan'

"Main Street Vegan" by Victoria Moran, Adair Moran

★★★★ Have you been thinking of going vegan? Or, are you already vegan (or mostly vegan) and would like more information on the reasons why this lifestyle is helpful to you and the environment? I found this book to be packed full of helpful information! As someone who eats vegan at least 90% of the time, I enjoyed gaining more specific information than what I...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, health, cookbook

Cover: 'Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis'

"Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis" by Robert D. Putnam

★★★★★ Americans like to believe that anyone, regardless of background, has the opportunity for a fair start in life through education and hard work. This book explores the “opportunity gap” that exists between children of “working- class” parents (defined as those with whose education did not go beyond high school) and children of “upper-middle-class” parents (...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'I'm Trying to Love Spiders'

"I'm Trying to Love Spiders" by Bethany Barton

★★★★★ For the record, I do not like spiders. However, I am trying to pass on a better view of them to my daughter. This book is very helpful for any young reader who would like to unmask the mystery of these sometimes creepy insects. The writing is simple so that anyone can learn about spiders in a fun way. Not only that, but the illustrations do a great job to...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer'

"Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer" by Antonia Murphy

★★★★★ Meet Antonia and Peter, a couple who move from America to New Zealand and end up becoming farmers of a sort. This is the story of how this couple traveled to New Zealand in a sail boat, how they started a family and then became hobby farmers. The hobby farm grew one animal at a time as their family constantly fell in love with the idea of a new animal to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers'

"Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers" by Nick Offerman

★★★★ Anyone familiar with Nick Offerman or his on-screen alter ego, Ron Swanson, will not be surprised to learn that he values gumption and those who embody it. In this book, Offerman provides profiles twenty-one Americans who inspire him with their gumption-fueled actions across a wide range of professions. For example, he includes founding fathers, writers (...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'A Field Guide to Awkward Silences'

"A Field Guide to Awkward Silences" by Alexandra Petri

★★★★ Washington Post columnist and twenty-something Alexandra Petri has never been afraid to embrace the awkward and to march to beat of her own eccentric drummer. This humorous memoir is composed of essays on a number of experiences that explore varying types and degrees of awkwardness. Experiences include participation in an international pun championship,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Cover: 'You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)'

"You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)" by Felicia Day

★★★★ For those of you out there who are wondering who Felicia Day is, once you see her picture you will wonder where you know her from. Many are familiar with her online presence from various geek-doms and others will know her from television and commercials. She reveals a lot about why she became a gamer and how she grew to love that culture. Let's get real...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Cover: 'Cooking Light The Good Pantry: Homemade Foods & Mixes Lower in Sugar, Salt & Fat'

"Cooking Light The Good Pantry: Homemade Foods & Mixes Lower in Sugar, Salt & Fat" by Cooking Light Magazine

★★★★ This new cookbook is packed full of homemade mixes, meals, doughs, snacks, and jams utilizing pantry items. I appreciated that each recipe is fully illustrated and is marked if nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free for all of us allergy sufferers. I was surprised that even though I can't have soy, dairy, or egg, I was still able to find a few...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Little Author in the Big Woods'

"Little Author in the Big Woods" by Yona Zeldis McDonough, Jennifer Thermes

★★★★★ This new children's biography of perhaps Wisconsin’s most well known and loved author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, is a great addition for all her fans. Written in a plain, simple style it includes most of the facts we know about her and her family. The illustrations by Yona Zeldis McDonough are simple, warm and homey, reminiscent of the illustrations by Garth...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: nonfiction, biography

Cover: 'So You've Been Publicly Shamed'

"So You've Been Publicly Shamed" by Jon Ronson

★★★★★ Has social media, particularly Twitter, become the modern day equivalent of the stocks or pillory as public shamings become commonplace on the web? That question leads Jon Ronson to explore the history of public shaming and its current manifestations on social media, where an admittedly ill-advised or inappropriate comment or photo can turn into a wave of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Stolen, Smuggled Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures'

"Stolen, Smuggled Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures" by Nancy Moses

★★★★ Moses is a woman intimately familiar with museums and the world of art. In this book she explores the rather shadowy world of art, ownership by individuals and museums, and acquisitions of spectacularly famous and valuable items under sometimes questionable methods. The book is divided into eight separate chapters covering the discovery, ownership,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, printz award winner, award-winning

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