ON THE SHELF: New Adult Nonfiction brings nostaglia and intrigue

Published 8:00 am Sunday, February 27, 2022

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

The following titles are available in our New Adult Nonfiction section. Also, we would like to remind patrons that we will begin our new, temporary hours on Mar. 1: 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Author Chuck Klosterman takes us on a nostalgic walk through the last decade of the 20th century in his latest “The Nineties.” In the beginning, almost every name and address were listed in a phone book, and everyone answered their landlines until caller ID came along. Otherwise, how would you know who was calling? Both Ross Perot and Ralph Nader ran as third-party presidential candidates against the traditional two-party system. The Nineties gave us pop culture like the song “Cop Killer,” the movie “Titanic” and the television show about nothing: “Seinfeld.” This was the last decade when pop culture accelerated despite the internet still being in its infancy. There was an odd comfort in not being certain of everything because there was no machine to remember every detail. We sat around on Friday nights and watched TGIF for laughs. Michael Jordan’s basketball prowess had everyone wanting to “be like Mike” and the United States dominated Olympic basketball with its “Dream Team.” Klosterman brings it all to us: music, television, film, politics and sports. He documents the changes that defined Gen X and brought us kicking and screaming into a new millennium.

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Neil Bradbury reveals how eleven notorious poisons affect the body by recounting the murders in which they were used in his book “A Taste for Poison.” Those fans of murder mysteries know that poison is one of the most abiding and popular weapons of choice for the scheming murderer. Poisons can be slipped into food and drink, smeared onto the tip of an arrow or the handle of a door. Some poisons can even be filtered into the air we breathe when in gaseous form. Dr. Bradbury explores the effects of different poisons on the cells of the body and uses real-life accounts of murderers and their crimes — some notorious, some forgotten, some still unsolved. From the deadly origins of the gin & tonic cocktail to the arsenic-laced wallpaper in Napoleon’s bedroom, this book takes readers on an engrossing tour of the intricate and complex body systems that keep us alive — or not.

“In Invisible Child” by Pulitzer Prize winner Andrea Elliott, we get a glimpse of eight dramatic years in the life of Dasani, a girl with an imagination as magnificent as the skyline of the city surrounding her Brooklyn shelter. Elliott weaves the story of Dasani’s childhood with the history of her ancestors, tracing their passage from slavery to their Great Migration north. New York City’s homeless crisis has exploded as Dasani comes of age. The chasm between the rich and the poor grows ever wider. Dasani must guide her siblings through the world marked by hunger, violence, racism, drug addiction, and the threat of foster care. She becomes a fierce fighter on the streets so that she can protect the ones she loves. Dasani finally gets the opportunity to escape city life by enrolling in a boarding school, but this brings up a heart-wrenching question: What if leaving poverty means abandoning your family and yourself?

“Accidental Gods” is a book by Anna Della Subin. This provoking history tells the story of men who were worshipped as gods and illuminates the connection between power and religion and the role of divinity in a secular age. Ever since Christopher Columbus made landfall in the Caribbean in 1492 and was hailed as a heavenly being by the natives, the accidental god has bewitched the modern age. From Haile Selassie who was acclaimed as the Living God in Jamaica, to Britain’s Prince Philip, who became the unlikely center of a new religion on a South Pacific Island, men made divine have appeared on every continent. It seems these deifications emerge in moments of crisis — civil wars, imperial conquest, revolutions — they may have much to teach us. Subin discusses the questions of how our modern concept of “religion” was invented; why religion and politics are usually entangled; and how the power to call someone divine has been used and abused by both oppressors and the oppressed.

Bestselling author and biographer Laurence Leamer reveals the complex web of relationships and scandalous true stories behind Truman Capote’s never-published final novel is his latest work, “Capote’s Women.” The book, “Answered Prayers,” revealed the dark secrets, tragic glamour and Capote’s ultimate betrayal of the group of female friends he called his “swans.” Barbara “Babe” Paley, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli, Slim Hayward, Pamela Churchill, C.Z. Guest and Lee Radziwill (Jackie Kennedy’s sister) were all the toast of midcentury New York’s high society. Each was beautiful and distinguished in her own way and Capote befriended each of them and received their deepest confidence while ingratiating himself into their lives. After the publication of his two wildly successful books — “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood” — Capote suffered a crippling case of writer’s block. While enjoying the fruits of success, he came up with the idea for a novel based on the remarkable and quite racy lives of his very rich friends. For years, he attempted to write “Answered Prayers” because he believed it to be his magnum opus, but when he eventually published a few chapters in Esquire, the thinly veiled lives and scandals of his closest female confidantes were laid bare. Capote was banished from their high society world forever.