Book Discussion KitsBook Discussion Kit Home
Sno-Isle Libraries and the Sno-Isle Foundation are proud to offer book discussion kits.
Each kit includes 10 copies of a single title. Resources for book discussions may be found at publishers' websites, bound into some editions of the book, or at www.bookreporter.com or www.readinggroupguides.com (Download a printer friendly list of book kits.)
Alan TuringHodges, Andrew
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This acclaimed biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing's royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life...
All the Single LadiesTraister, Rebecca
In 2009 the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890-1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven.
Over the course of Traister's research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change--temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. Today, only twenty percent of Americans are married by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960.
A New York Times Notable Book
American Prometheus: The Inspiration for the Major Motion Picture OppenheimerBird, Kai; Sherwin, Martin J
J. Robert Oppenheimer is one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, a physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb for his country in a time of war, and who later found himself confronting the moral consequences of scientific progress. In this biography twenty-five years in the making, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin capture Oppenheimer's life and times, from his early career to his central role in the Cold War. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography
Atoms and Ashes: a Global History of Nuclear DisastersPlokhy, Serhii
A chilling account of seventy years of nuclear catastrophes, by the author of the "definitive" (Economist) Cold War history, Nuclear Folly. Nuclear energy was embraced across the globe at the height of the nuclear industry in the 1960s and 1970s; today, there are 440 nuclear reactors operating throughout the world, with nuclear power providing 10 percent of world electricity. Yet as the world seeks to reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change, the question arises: Just how safe is nuclear energy? Atoms and Ashes recounts the dramatic history of nuclear accidents that have dogged the industry in its military and civil incarnations since the 1950s. Through the stories of six terrifying major incidents-Bikini Atoll, Kyshtym, Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima-Cold War expert Serhii Plokhy explores the risks of nuclear power, both for military and peaceful purposes, while offering a vivid account of how individuals and governments make decisions under extraordinary circumstances. Atoms and Ashes provides a crucial perspective on the most dangerous nuclear disasters of the past, in order to safeguard our future.
Bees, ThePaull, Laline
Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen. A feat of bravery grants her access to the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.
Being MortalGawande, Atul
A prominent surgeon argues against modern medical practices that extend life at the expense of quality of life while isolating the dying, outlining suggestions for freer, more fulfilling approaches to death that enable more dignified and comfortable choices. A moving rumination of the limitations of science and the needs of loved ones.
Booklist Editors' Choice
Indies' Choice Book Awards
New York Times Notable Books
Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved AmericaEgan, Timothy
Narrates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire of August, 1910, and Teddy Roosevelt's pioneering conservation efforts that helped turn public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, though it changed the mission of the forest service with consequences felt in the fires of today.
Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, TheKamkwamba, William
A resonant, hopeful, engaging memoir showing the power of the human spirit through the author’s difficult life in Malawi and his quest to bring electricity to his village by building a windmill from scraps.
Boy Who Loved Too Much, The: A True Story of Pathological FriendlinessLatson, Jennifer
A journalist describes the story of a twelve-year-old boy suffering from Williams syndrome, a genetic, developmental disorder that makes him impervious to social inhibitions and incapable of distrust, putting him at an extreme disadvantage for life in modern times. In a vivid and sympathetic telling based on three years of immersive reporting, Jennifer Latson intertwines Eli and Gayle's story with a look a the genetic basis of behavior, revealing how insights drawn from this rare condition shine a light on what makes us all human.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of PlantsKimmerer, Robin Wall
Professor and botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer shares memories of her past mixed with legends from her Potawatomi ancestors in this engaging and meditative collection of essays that invites readers to express gratitude for everyday gifts.
Braving the WildernessBrown, Brené
There is evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality. Social scientist Brown has conducted exhaustive research into loneliness and failed relationships. Through interviews, case studies, and surveys, she shows how many people long for - but struggle to achieve - connection with others. She investigates the things that prevent this: distractions of daily life, self doubts, even perfectionism. And she shares her own history of self-destructive and unstable behavior, and her own efforts to combat fear of rejection and find togetherness. With enthusiasm and compassion, she urges readers to venture forth into the "wilderness" of relationships and to have the courage to believe in ourselves and to reach out to others.
Breath of A Whale, TheCalvez, Leigh
An exploration of the elusive lives of whales in the Pacific Ocean. Leigh Calvez has spent a dozen years researching, observing, and probing the lives of the giants of the deep.
Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, A: The Human Story Retold Through Our GenesRutherford, Adam
In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species--births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away--until now. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story--from 100,000 years ago to the present. This book will upend your thinking on Neanderthals, evolution, royalty, race, and even redheads. Plus, here is the remarkable, controversial story of how our genes made their way to the Americas--one that's still being written, as ever more of us have our DNA sequenced. Rutherford closes with "A Short Introduction to the Future of Humankind," filled with provocative questions that we're on the cusp of answering: Are we still in the grasp of natural selection? Are we evolving for better or worse? And . . . where do we go from here?
Book Critics Circle Award Nominee
Wellcome Book Prize Nominee
Confidence Game, TheKonnikova, Maria
Think you can't get conned? Think again. The New York Times bestselling author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes explains how to spot the con before they spot you. How do they do it? Why are they successful? And what keeps us falling for it, over and over again? These are the questions that journalist and psychologist Maria Konnikova tackles in her mesmerizing new book. From multimillion-dollar Ponzi schemes to small-time frauds, Konnikova pulls together a selection of fascinating stories to demonstrate what all cons share in common, drawing on scientific, dramatic, and psychological perspectives. Insightful and gripping, the book brings readers into the world of the con, examining the relationship between artist and victim. The Confidence Game asks not only why we believe con artists, but also examines the very act of believing and how our sense of truth can be manipulated by those around us.
Crow PlanetHaupt, Lyanda Lynn
There are more crows now than ever. Their abundance is both a sign of ecological imbalance and a generous opportunity to connect with the animal world. CROW PLANET is a call to experience the wildlife in our midst, reminding us that we don't have to head to faraway places to encounter "nature." Even in the cities and suburbs where we live we are surrounded by wildlife such as crows. Through observing them we enhance our appreciation of the world's natural order, and find our own place in it. Haupt, a trained naturalist, uses science, scholarly research, myth, and personal observation to draw readers into the "crow stories" that unfold around us every day, culminating in book that transforms the way we experience our neighborhoods and our world.
Death and Life of the Great Lakes, TheEgan, Dan
The Great Lakes--Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior--hold 20 percent of the world's supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan's compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.
Booklist Editors' Choice
LA Times Book Prize
Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. HelensOlson, Steve
For months in early 1980, scientists, journalists, sightseers, and nearby residents listened anxiously to rumblings in Mount St. Helens, part of the chain of western volcanoes fueled by the 700-mile-long Cascadia fault. Still, no one was prepared when an immense eruption took the top off of the mountain and laid waste to hundreds of square miles of verdant forests in southwestern Washington State. The eruption was one of the largest in human history, deposited ash in eleven U.S. states and five Canadian providences, and caused more than one billion dollars in damage. It killed fifty-seven people, some as far as thirteen miles away from the volcano’s summit. Shedding new light on the cataclysm, author Steve Olson interweaves the history and science behind this event with page-turning accounts of what happened to those who lived and those who died.
Feather Thief, The: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the CenturyJohnson, Kirk Wallace
On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London's Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin's obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins--some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin's, Alfred Russel Wallace, who'd risked everything to gather them--and escaped into the darkness. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man's relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man's destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.
Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the LawRoach, Mary
Join Mary Roach on an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet. What's to be done about a jaywalking moose? A grizzly bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? As New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology. Roach tags along with animal attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller-blasters. She travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter's Square in the early hours before the Pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. Along the way, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature's lawbreakers. Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and mugging macaques, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.
Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and GreedVaillant, John
When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Northwest, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.As vividly as John Krakauer puts readers on Everest, John Vaillant takes us into the heart of North America's last great forest.
BC Book Prizes: Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize
Governor General's Literary Awards: English-Language Nonfiction
Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize
H is for HawkMacdonald, Helen
When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer-Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood-she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White's chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself "in the hawk's wild mind to tame her" tested the limits of Macdonald's humanity and changed her life. Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer's eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.
Her Hidden GeniusBenedict, Marie
Rosalind Franklin knows if she just takes one more X-ray picture--one more after thousands--she can unlock the building blocks of life. Never again will she have to listen to her colleagues complain about her, especially Maurice Wilkins who'd rather conspire about genetics with James Watson and Francis Crick than work alongside her. Then it finally happens--the double helix structure of DNA reveals itself to her with perfect clarity. But what happens next, Rosalind could have never predicted. Marie Benedict's next powerful novel shines a light on a woman who died to discover our very DNA, a woman whose contributions were suppressed by the men around her but whose relentless drive advanced our understanding of humankind.
Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation Into SpaceLee Shetterly, Margot
Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as "Human Computers," calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these "colored computers," as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America's fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Kit donated by the Coupeville "One Thing" Book Group.
Hidden Life of Trees, The: What They Feel, How They Communicate - Discoveries from a Secret WorldWohleben, Peter
Are trees social beings? In The Hidden Life of Trees forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration that he has observed in his woodland.
Highest TideLynch, Jim
One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles OMalley slips out of his house, packs up his kayak and goes exploring on the flats of Puget Sound. But what begins as an ordinary hunt for starfish, snails, and clams is soon transformed by an astonishing sight: a beached giant squid.
Homewaters: a Human and Natural History of Puget SoundWilliams, David B.
Not far from Seattle skyscrapers live 150-year-old clams, more than 250 species of fish, and underwater kelp forests as complex as any terrestrial ecosystem. For millennia, vibrant Coast Salish communities have lived beside these waters dense with nutrient-rich foods, with cultures intertwined through exchanges across the waterways. Transformed by settlement and resource extraction, Puget Sound and its future health now depend on a better understanding of the region's ecological complexities. Focusing on the area south of Port Townsend and between the Cascade and Olympic mountains, Williams uncovers human and natural histories in, on, and around the Sound. In conversations with archaeologists, biologists, and tribal authorities, Williams traces how generations of humans have interacted with such species as geoducks, salmon, orcas, rockfish, and herring. He sheds light on how warfare shaped development and how people have moved across this maritime highway, in canoes, the mosquito fleet, and today's ferry system. The book also takes an unflinching look at how the Sound's ecosystems have suffered from human behavior, including pollution, habitat destruction, and the effects of climate change. Witty, graceful, and deeply informed, Homewaters weaves history and science into a fascinating and hopeful narrative, one that will introduce newcomers to the astonishing life that inhabits the Sound and offers longtime residents new insight into and appreciation of the waters they call home.
House of Hope and Fear, TheYoung, Audrey
Opening with the view of an idealistic young doctor entering her first post-graduate job, The House of Hope and Fear explores not only the personal journey of one doctor's life and career but also the health care system as a whole. The setting is Seattle's Harborview Hospital.
Immense World, An: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around UsYong, Ed
The Earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every animal is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving but a tiny sliver of an immense world. This book welcomes us into a previously unfathomable dimension--the world as it is truly perceived by other animals. We encounter beetles that are drawn to fires (and fireworks), songbirds that can see the Earth's magnetic fields, and brainless jellyfish that nonetheless have complex eyes. We discover that a crocodile's scaly face is as sensitive as a lover's fingertips, that the eyes of a giant squid evolved to see sparkling whales, and that even fingernail-sized spiders can make out the craters of the moon. We meet people with unusual senses, from women who can make out extra colors to blind individuals who can navigate using reflected echoes like bats. Yong tells the stories of pivotal discoveries in the field, and also looks ahead at the many mysteries which lie unsolved. Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, TheSkloot, Rebecca
Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping. Includes reading-group guide. A best-selling book.
Inheritance, The: A Family on the Front Lines of the Battle Against Alzheimer's DiseaseKapsambelis, Niki
"Every 69 seconds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. For most people, there is nothing that they can do to fight back. But one family is doing all they can. The DeMoe family has the most devastating form of the disease that there is: early onset Alzheimer's, an inherited genetic mutation that causes the disease in 100 percent of cases. Of the six DeMoe children whose father had it, five have inherited the gene; the sixth, Karla, has inherited responsibility for all of them. But rather than give up in the face of such news, the DeMoes have agreed to spend their precious, abbreviated years as part of a worldwide study that could utterly change the landscape of Alzheimer's research and offers the brightest hope for future treatments--and possibly a cure. This incredible narrative redefines courage in the face of one of the most pervasive and mysterious pandemics of our time"-- Provided by publisher.
Island of Missing Trees, TheShafak, Elif
Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. In the taverna, hidden beneath garlands of garlic, chili peppers and creeping honeysuckle, Kostas and Defne grow in their forbidden love for each other. A fig tree stretches through a cavity in the roof, and this tree bears witness to their hushed, happy meetings and eventually, to their silent, surreptitious departures. The tree is there when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, and when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns. He is a botanist looking for native species, but really, he's searching for lost love. Years later a Ficus carica grows in the back garden of a house in London where Ada Kazantzakis lives. This tree is her only connection to an island she has never visited -- her only connection to her family's troubled history and her complex identity as she seeks to untangle years of secrets to find her place in the world.
Kissing Bug, The: A True Story of a Family, An Insect, and a Nation's Neglect of a Deadly DiseaseHernández, Daisy
Growing up in a New Jersey factory town in the 1980s, Hernández only knew that her aunt had died of a rare illness called Chagas. Digging deeper, she discovered more than three hundred thousand Americans have Chagas-- or the kissing bug disease. Why do some infectious diseases make headlines and others fall by the wayside? Hernández interviews patients, epidemiologists, and even veterinarians with the Department of Defense. Outside of Latin America, the United States is the only country with the native insects that carry the Chagas parasite. Hernández show how poverty, racism, and public policies have conspired to keep this disease hidden. Winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award National Book Foundation Science + Literature Selection
Lab GirlJahren, Hope
"In Lab Girl, Jahren traces her path from an early infatuation with the natural world to her hard-earned triumphs as a scientist recognized for breakthrough contributions to her field. She braids together stories of her emotional and professional challenges, of the bond with her odd and brilliant lab partner who helped her persevere, and descriptions of plant life that, at once lyrical and precise, reveal the unseen processes driving the natural world. Through these different perspectives, she draws unexpected connections between plants and the people whose lives depend on them that will make you see both realms in a new light." -from the publisher
National Book Critics Circle Award
New York Times Notable Book
Science Books and Films Prize for Excellence in Science Books
Life in the GardenLively, Penelope
Written like a conversation with a friend, this is a charming and poetic memoir delighting in all things gardening, from history to literature to psychology to the simple joy of a day’s labor.
Lost City of the Monkey God, ThePreston, Douglas J.
"Since the days of Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. In 1940 journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City-- but then committed suicide without revealing its location. In 2012 Preston joined a team of scientists using classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. They found evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization-- and returned carrying a horrifying, sometimes lethal-- and incurable-- disease." -Provided by the publisher
Music of Bees, TheGarvin, Eileen
Three lonely strangers in a rural Oregon town, each working through grief and life's curveballs, are brought together by happenstance on a local honeybee farm where they find surprising friendship, healing--and maybe even a second chance--just when they least expect it.
Whidbey Reads Selection
Good Morning America Buzz Picks
My Old Man and the MountainWhittaker, Leif
Growing up in a mountaineering family in Port Townsend, Leif explores his relationship to his legendary father, Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest in 1963. Leif also describes his process of discovering his own path. Filled with descriptions of local places and peaks, this climbing story focuses on family and relationships. How do we define ourselves when a larger than life person is leading the way?
2017 Washington State Book Award finalist
On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert EyesHorowitz, Alexandra
On Looking begins with inattention. It is about attending to the joys of the unattended, the perceived 'ordinary.' Horowitz encourages us to rediscover the extraordinary things that we are missing in our ordinary activities. Even when engaged in the simplest of activities like taking a walk around the block, we pay so little attention to most of what is right before us that we are sleepwalkers in our own lives.
Part WildTerrill, Ceiridwen
An "introspective and lyrical" ( Booklist ) memoir about a woman and her wolfdog hybrid-a powerful combination of storytelling and science that is as informative as it is moving. When Ceiridwen Terrill adopts a wolfdog-part husky, part gray wolf- named Inyo to be her protector and fellow traveler, she is drawn to Inyo's spark of wildness and compelled by the great responsibility, even danger, that accompanies the allure of the wild.
Plover, TheDoyle, Brian
Declan O Donnell has sailed out of Oregon and deep into the vast, wild ocean, having had just finally enough of other people and their problems. He will go it alone, he will be his own country, he will be beholden to and beloved of no one. No man is an island, my butt, he thinks. I am that very man . . . . But the galaxy soon presents him with a string of odd, entertaining, and dangerous passengers, who become companions of every sort and stripe. The Plover is the story of their adventures and misadventures in the immense blue country one of their company calls Pacifica. Hounded by a mysterious enemy, reluctantly acquiring one new resident after another, Declan O Donnell's lonely boat is eventually crammed with humor, argument, tension, and a resident herring gull.
Poisoner's Handbook, The: murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New YorkBlum, Deborah
The untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. A pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Chief medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies, and many others. Each case presents a deadly new puzzle and Norris and Gettler create revolutionary experiments to tease out even the wiliest compounds from human tissue. From the vantage of their laboratory it also becomes clear that murderers aren't the only toxic threat--modern life has created a kind of poison playground, and danger lurks around every corner.
Demonstrates how introverted people are misunderstood and undervalued in modern culture, charting the rise of extrovert ideology while sharing anecdotal examples of how to use introvert talents to adapt to various situations.
Radium Girls, TheMoore, Kate
As World War I raged across the globe, hundreds of young women toiled away at the radium-dial factories, where they painted clock faces with a mysterious new substance called radium. Assured by their bosses that the luminous material was safe, the women themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered from head to toe with the glowing dust. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" were considered the luckiest alive--until they began to fall mysteriously ill. As the fatal poison of the radium took hold, they found themselves embroiled in one of America's biggest scandals and a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights. The Radium Girls explores the strength of extraordinary women in the face of almost impossible circumstances and the astonishing legacy they left behind.
ALA Notable Books
Booklist Editors' Choice
Goodreads Choice Awards7
Soul of an Octopus, TheMontgomery, Sy
Scientists have only recently accepted the intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees but now are watching octopuses solve problems and are trying to decipher the meaning of the animal’s color-changing techniques. With her “joyful passion for these intelligent and fascinating creatures” (Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick), Montgomery chronicles the growing appreciation of this mollusk as she tells a unique love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.
National Book Award Finalist
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee
American Library Association Notables
Booklist Editor's Choice
Sound of A Wild Snail Eating, TheBailey, Elisabeth Tova
While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of her own confined place in the world. Told with wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence and provides an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.
John Burroughs Medal
William Saroyan International Prize
Wanderers, TheHowrey, Meg
A private space exploration company is mounting a manned mission to Mars. To prepare for the actual event, the company plans an elaborate training program to match the conditions and potential problems the team might face. The ordeal, though simulated, is no less dramatic for the astronauts, their families, and the crew. The lines cross between fiction and reality and none of the participants is left unchanged. Part literary fiction, part sci-fi, all amazing. -- Marie Byars
West with GiraffesRutledge, Lynda
Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave. It's 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to deliver Southern California's first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world's first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes. Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, West with Giraffes explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, the kindness of strangers, the passing of time, and a story told before it's too late.
White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest AvalancheKrist, Gary
In February 1910, a monstrous blizzard centered on Washington State hit the Northwest, breaking records. Near the tiny town of Wellington, high in the Cascade Mountains, two trainloads of cold, hungry passengers and their crews found their railcars gradually being buried int eh rising drifts. For days, an army of railroad employees worked to rescue the trains. Panic and rage set in as snow accumulated on the cliffs overhanging the trains. Finally, just when escape seemed possible, the earth shifted and an avalanche tumbed from the high pinnacles. Donated by the East County Senior Center.