On The Shelf: A smorgasbord of knowledge awaits you in these new Adult Nonfiction titles

Published 2:45 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

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 Adult Nonfiction titles.

Jonathan Blitzer’s book, “Everyone Who is Gone is Here,” reports on the disastrous humanitarian crisis at the southern U.S. border. Told through the lives of the migrants who risk everything as well as the policymakers who determine their fate, this book attempts to highlight the impossible choices made by the hundreds of thousands of people who arrive every year at the US-Mexico border. A vast majority of the migrants come from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, although others come from farther away. Some are fleeing persecution and others are fleeing crime and malnutrition. Many times, it is not their first attempt at crossing. Their homes have become uninhabitable and they have decided to take their chances in the hope of gaining safety and prosperity. This crisis did not pop up overnight. It is the result of decades of misguided and poor policy and corruption.

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Doug Melville has penned, “Invisible Generals,” to honor his great uncle and great-grandfather, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. and Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. This father and son helped to integrate the American military and created the Tuskegee Airmen. Though Georg Lucas immortalized the Tuskegee Airmen in his film Red Tails, Melville’s relatives we written out of the story and replaced with fictional characters. This book is the author’s journey to rediscover his family’s story across five generations, from post-Civil War America to modern-day Asia and Europe. In life, the Davises were denied the recognition and reward they’d earned, but they still showed incredible dedication and self-sacrifice to move proverbial mountains and keep alive the belief in the American dream.

“Poverty, By America,” is by sociologist Matthew Desmond. The United States is the richest country on the planet, but one in every eight children goes without necessities, thousands of citizens live and die on the streets and corporations are allowed to pay poverty wages. Desmond attempts to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. We prioritize the subsidization of our wealth over the alleviation of poverty, designing a welfare state that gives the most to those who need the least. Opportunity is concentrated in exclusive communities, creating areas of concentrated riches alongside those of concentrated despair. Desmond also helps us imagine solutions by building an original and ambitious case for ending poverty. He encourages us to become “poverty abolitionists” and to engage in the politics of
“collective belonging” to create a new age of shared prosperity.

The latest book from garden journalist Felder Rushing is called, “Maverick Gardeners: Dr. Dirt and Other Determined Independent Gardeners.” Felder explores the psychology of what motivates and sustains those who are “Keepers of the Garden Flame.” For thousands of years a loosely connected network of nontraditional gardeners has bonded people across racial, cultural, linguistic and social classes by sharing unique plants and stories. There are “determined independent gardeners” found worldwide and are usually non-joiners who garden simply and throw horticultural standards and conventions to the wind in pursuit of their own personal satisfaction. This book also includes classic “pass-along plant” lists, a bit of how-to knowledge, essays on quintessential tools, how to share with others through plant swaps and how to get away with wildflowers in suburbia. At the center of this book is the story of a decade long, cross- cultural collaboration between Felder and an ostentatious and rebellious gardener who called himself Dirt.

Christopher Kimball’s latest cookbook is called, “Milk Street Vegetables.” This collection of 250 flavorful recipes will move the humble vegetable from the realm of sides and salads to the stars of your plate. In the U.S. meat is cheap and has been the center of the plate for centuries. The rest of the world, however, knows how to approach vegetables and grains so that they are transformed into extraordinary dishes. From Athens, we learn how winter vegetable stews taste light and bright, not heavy. In Cairo, eggplant and potatoes are punched up with flavor with whole spices. From Puglia, Italy we learn how to enrich the flavor of zucchini with ricotta cheese and lemon. Cauliflower can become Cauliflower Shawarma, cabbage morphs into Butter-Roasted Cabbage with Citrus, Hazelnuts and Mustard and mushrooms are transformed into Miso Soup with Mixed Vegetables and Tofu. This vegetable cookbook is a world filled with high-heat roasts, braises, drizzles of honey and aromatic stir-fries.

Finally, we have Joyce Vanden Goor’s, “The Beginner’s Guide to Cosplay Armor and Props.” Are you looking to up your cosplay game? Would you like costumes that are comfortable and props that are functional? Joyce van den Goor from Pretzle Cosplay gives you ideas on the best tools, materials and techniques to craft standout armor and lightweight props from EVA foam. You’ll learn to sand, shape, detail and paint your creations like a pro. There are 22 different projects to improve your skills and impress at your next comic-con, Renaissance faire, or live-action role-playing event. Make a medieval warrior’s armor, a woodland elf’s ears, or a sorcerer’s spell
book. Individually, you can add these to your own work-in-progress costumes or combine them all for a complete look. Joyce provides traceable patterns for each project, images for step-by-step assembly and ideas for variations. Use this comprehensive guide to step-up your cos-play game and bring your nerdiest dreams to life.