Library Column: New Adult Nonfiction

Published 8:00 am Sunday, August 15, 2021

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features New Adult Nonfiction.

Author James Rebanks paints a portrait of the regeneration of a traditional English farm in “Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey.” Growing up, James Rebanks’s grandfather taught him to work the land the old-fashioned way. Their family farm was part of the ancient agricultural landscape in England’s Lake District. It was a patchwork of crops and meadows, of pastures grazed with livestock and hedgerows teeming with wildlife, but by the time James inherited it, it was barely recognizable. The men and women had vanished from the fields; the old stone barns had fallen down; the skies had emptied of birds and their song. James recounts how rural landscapes around the world were brought close to collapse, and the ancient rhythms of work, weather, community and wild things were lost. Yet, there is the hope of how, guided by the past, one farmer began to salvage a tiny corner of England that is now his. He is doing his best to restore the life that had vanished and to leave a legacy for future generations.

“The Soul of Genius: Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and the Meeting That Changed the Course of Science” is by Jeffrey Orens. In 1911, some of the greatest minds in science convened at the First Solvay Conference in Physics. It was a meeting like no other: almost half of the attendees had won or would go on to win the Nobel Prize. There was a seismic shift happening in the world of physics — from classical physics to quantum theory. This shift would not only change the history of physics, but also how we understand our world. Marie Curie and a young Albert Einstein emerged at the center of this meeting. Madame Curie had faced the death of her soul mate, Pierre, in the years preceding, yet she was on the cusp of being awarded her second Nobel Prize. Scandal erupted around her, however, when the French press revealed that she was having an affair with a fellow scientist. Curie found herself a target of the misogynist and xenophobic French press which threatened her scientific legacy. Einstein, recognizing this grave injustice, proved a supporter in her tribulations. Their mutual admiration and respect, born of this incident, would go on to serve them in their paths forward to making history.

In “Kennedy’s Avenger: Assassination, Conspiracy, and the Forgotten Trial of Jack Ruby,” authors Dan Abrams and David Fisher bring to life the incredible story of one of America’s most publicized — and most surprising — criminal trials. On Nov. 24, 1963, two days after the killing of President Kennedy, a troubled nightclub owner named Jack Ruby quietly slipped into the Dallas police station and assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald. This killing was witnessed by millions of Americans on live television, yet this event would lead to more questions for years to come and spark some of the most persistent conspiracy theories in American history. Few would remember Ruby’s trial three months later in Dallas because of the long shadow cast by the murder of such a beloved president. How exactly does one defend a man who was seen pulling the trigger in front of millions? And how did Jack Ruby, who fired point blank into Oswald live on television, die an innocent man? This trial not only pitted the nation’s most flamboyant lawyer against a tough-as-nails Texas prosecutor, but it also put the American legal system under scrutiny from the entire world.

Author Francine Russo gives us a comprehensive and intimate guide to finding, keeping, and enjoying love after fifty with “Love After 50: How to Find It, Enjoy It, and Keep It.” There are studies that show that love after 50 is more satisfying than any other stage in life. It makes sense if you think about it: at this stage, you are more emotionally stable and more focused on the present; you know what you absolutely have to have, but also what you can live without; partnering is no longer about building a family and fortune — it’s about sharing intimacy as grounded individuals. Russo interviewed the best experts in the field and dozens of couples to help show the way. Her practical advice includes:

  • How to recover from the emotional damage of divorce, the grief of widowhood or a history of unfulfilling relationships
  • How to build realistic requirements for a partner
  • How to overcome the physical challenges of sex and embrace your sensual selves
  • How to evaluate the financial, emotional, and practical results of marrying, living together or living apart
  • How to deal with (hostile) adult kids to safeguard your relationship and family

This book is full of stories of real people who have overcome their pasts to form healthy and nurturing partnerships.

“Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship” is by biologist Catherine Raven. After completing her PhD, Catherine built herself a tiny cottage on an isolated plot of land in Montana. She was both physically and emotionally isolated and viewed her cottage as a way station, a temporary rest stop where she could gather her nerves and fill out applications for what she hoped would be a real job. In the meantime, she taught remotely and led field classes in nearby Yellowstone National Park. One day, she realized that a mangy-looking fox was showing up on her property every day at 4:15 pm. She had never had a regular visitor before. Can you even talk to a fox? She brought out her camping chair and began reading from “The Little Prince.” Though, as a biologist, she was taught not to anthropomorphize animals, the personality of the little creature began to peek through. From the fox, Catherine learned a most important lesson: we are never alone when we are connected to the natural world.