On The Shelf: New Adult Nonfiction titles to explore and expand your mind

Published 8:00 am Sunday, July 16, 2023

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

This week the library is featuring titles from our New Adult Nonfiction.

Legendary Jeopardy champion, Ken Jennings has written a hilarious guide to the afterlife with his new book “100 Places to See After You Die.” Written in the style of iconic bestselling travel guides, he explores the destinations of death from literature, mythology and pop culture. Ever wonder which circles of Dante’s Inferno have the best accommodations? Where’s the best place to grab a bite to eat in the ancient Egyptian underworld? How does one dress like a local in the heavenly palace of Hinduism’s Lord Vishnu? Want to know how to avoid the flesh-eating river serpents in the Klingon afterlife? The answers to all those questions and more about the world (s) to come in the eternally entertaining book. From 5,000 years of human history comes an index of  100 different afterlife destinations that have been meticulously researched from sources like the Epic of Gilgamesh to modern-day pop songs, video games, and episodes of The Simpsons. This irreverent and funny light-hearted memento mori will help you create your own bucket list for after you’ve kicked the bucket.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“For the Love of Mars” by Matthew Shindell is a tour of Mars in the human imagination, from ancient astrologers to modern explorers. With its vivid color and visibility and geologic similarity to Earth — not to mention its potential as the best hope for settlement — Mars represents everything that inspires us about space and exploration. This book surveys the red planet’s place in the human imagination from the ancient astrologers and skywatchers to our present moment of exploration and virtual engagement. We meet Mayan astrologer priests who incorporated Mars into seasonal calendars and religious ceremonies and Babylonian astrologers predicted bad omens with Mars’s appearance in the sky. Then there were the figures of the Scientific Revolution who struggled to comprehend Mars as another world and Victorian astronomers sought to find signs of intelligent life on the planet and 20th- and 21st-century scientists have managed to establish a technological presence on its surface. The exploration of Mars has evolved in ways that have also expanded knowledge about other facets of our universe.

“How Biology Works” is by DK Publishing. Discover everything you need to know about biology with this simple visual guide to the science of life. If you want to know how vaccines work or what is so special about stem cells, this may be the book for you. Biology can be dauntingly complex, and it can be difficult to separate the “good” science from the “bad.” This book sets out to demystify both core biological principles you may have missed in school, and the cutting-edge science that is making new daily. Each concept is illustrated entirely by specially commissioned, boldly colored, distinctive graphics that explain each topic clearly and make the complex science easier to understand. This book covers topics from school biology, such as how plants work and how animals (including humans) work, and it also explains topics in ecology and biotechnology. You will also learn how gene therapy works, what stem-cell research is achieving, and how our immune systems are in a race with the ever-mutating viruses and other pathogens that surround us.

“The Mayo Clinic’s Guide to High Blood Pressure” is by Gary L. Schwartz. It is estimated that 1.28 billion adults around the world have hypertension and approximately half don’t know it. That’s because high blood pressure doesn’t develop with recognized signs or symptoms until it causes serious damage. This book offers information and tools to help you keep your blood pressure from rising to dangerous levels and how to live well even if you have hypertension. You’ll learn how high blood pressure can develop, what puts you at risk, how it’s diagnosed and treated, and how to reduce your risk of symptoms. While blood pressure rises naturally with age, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll develop hypertension — even if it runs in your family. If you have high blood pressure already, you can take action to correct it and improve your health using the steps outlined in the book to get and keep your hypertension under control.

Andy Dunn tells his journey of how he launched a successful startup in “Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind.” At 28, fresh from Stanford’s MBA program, Dunn was on top of the world. He was building a new kind of startup — a digitally native, direct-to-consumer brand — right from his Manhattan apartment. Bonobos was a new-school approach to selling an old-school product: men’s pants. Dunn raised tens of millions of dollars to grow his fledgling company, but as he did the boundaries between work and life evaporated. He was haunted by his diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He thought his diagnosis meant unspeakable shame that should be locked away. As Dunn’s business was taking off, however, some of the very bipolar traits that had powered his success as a founder — relentless drive, confidence bordering on hubris, and ambition bordering on delusion — were threatening to undo him. This unconventional entrepreneurial memoir is a parable for the 21st-century economy and a look at the prevalence of mental illness in the startup community. Dunn manages to shine a light on the dark side of success and challenges us to have a deeper conversation about creativity, performance and disorder.