On the Shelf: Exploring new adult nonfiction titles

Published 8:00 am Sunday, September 10, 2023

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

This week we are featuring some of our new nonfiction titles in the Adult Collection.

Nedra Glover Tawwab provides a road map for understanding and moving past family struggles with her new book “Drama Free: A Guide to Managing Unhealthy Family Relationships.” Every family has its story. For some, family is a solid foundation that feeds our confidence and helps us to navigate life’s challenges. For others, however, family is a source of pain, hurt, and conflict that can feel like a lifelong burden. In this guide, Tawwab offers clear advice for identifying dysfunctional family patterns and choosing the best path to breaking the cycle and moving forward. The topics covered range from the trauma of emotional neglect to the legacy of addict or absent parents to mental health struggles in siblings and other relatives. This is a clear and compassionate guide that will help you take control of your own life and honor the person you truly are.

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From DK Publishers comes “The Herb Book: The Stories, Science and History of Herbs.” Herbs have been used by humans throughout history for cooking, medicine, rituals, and more. They are also a huge part of the modern world, from gardening, food, and cosmetics to medicines that fight diseases. This close-up look at the wide range of herbs from around the world showcases their characteristics, medicinal properties and cosmetic and culinary uses. You will find detailed original photos along with historical and contemporary images. The in-depth coverage of more than 80 herb species from around the world features key scientific facts along with historical and mythological stories. This is a valuable book for gardeners, horticulturalists and amateur herbalists alike, as well as anyone interested in natural remedies, cooks and foodies.

“The Blue Zones: Secrets for Living Longer” is by Dan Buettner. This beautifully illustrated and informative guide to the places on Earth where people live the longest including lessons learned, top longevity foods, and the behaviors to help you live to 100: blue zones. Buettner goes to Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula and Loma Linda, California, to observe the super-agers living in the blue zones. He also interprets the importance of purpose, faith, community, downtime, natural movement and plant-based eating that has powered the additional years of healthy living in these regions. Buettner’s two decades of research and his work with some of the top National Geographic photographers illustrate the healthy habits of these communities as well as an all-new blue zone — the first man-made blue zone to be explored.

From Slow Food USA and author David S. Shields comes “The Ark of Taste.” This living catalog of our nation’s food heritage preserving treasures passed down for generations — some rare, some endangered, all of which are delicious. It explores heritage foods that give the United States its culinary identity, from heirloom tomatoes to Tupelo honey. You’ll also find recipes for Carolina Gold rice, Wellfleet oysters, Cherokee Purple tomatoes, the Moon and Stars watermelon, Black Republican cherries, Candy Roaster squash and more. These foods reflect the country’s diversity and champion them to keep them in production and on our plates. This vital resource is for everyone who spends the summer searching for that perfectly ripe peach or heirloom tomato. It’s also a good resource for those simply looking for the next good thing to eat.

“Why We Love Baseball” is by Joe Posnanski. This countdown of 50 of the most memorable moments in baseball’s history will make you fall in love with the sport all over again. Posnanski writes of major moments that created legends, and of forgotten moments almost lost in time. It includes Willie Mays’s catch, Babe Ruth’s called shot and Kirk Gibson’s limping home run; the slickest steals; the biggest bombs and the most triumphant no-hitters. But these are also moments filled with the humanity of the game, the unheralded heroes, the mesmerizing mistakes soaked in pine tar, and every story, from the immortal to the obscure, is told from a unique perspective. These fresh takes of the game come from real fans who witnessed it or the pitchers, umpires, coaches, and opposing players. From 19th-century pitchers’ duels to breaking the sport’s color line in the ‘40s, all the way to the greatest trick play of the last decade and the slide home that became a meme. This illuminating book allows everyone to rediscover the sport we love and thought we knew.

Shane McCrae shares his story of domestic kidnapping in his memoir, “Pulling the Chariot of the Sun.” McCrae is an award-winning poet who was kidnapped from his Black father and raised by his white supremacist grandparents. When he was 3 years old, his grandparents took him to suburban Texas and hid his Blackness from him. In the years that followed, they manipulated and controlled him, refusing to acknowledge his heritage — all the while believing they were doing what was best for him. For their own safety and to ensure the kidnapping remained a success, McCrae begins to reconstruct his own story and forge his own identity. Gradually, the truth reveals itself, and with the truth, comes a path to reuniting with his father and finding his own place in the world.