Fall Nightstand Event Titles

Posted on November 7, 2018. Filed under: Event, Fiction, Nonfiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

During the Fall  “What’s on Your Nightstand” event at the Des Plaines campus, the following  books were discussed.

Remember, if Oakton doesn’t own the book or our copy is checked out, you can order a copy to be sent from one of our consortium libraries for FREE! Most books take less than a week to arrive.

9780062105721_p0_v2_s550x406The Almost Sisters
by Joshilyn Jackson

“Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780062369659_p0_v2_s550x406Breakthrough: How One Teen Innovator Is Changing the World
by Jack Andraka (Author), Matthew Lysiak

Smithsonian Magazine article about Jack Andraka

“When a dear family friend passed away from pancreatic cancer, Jack was inspired to create a better method of early detection. At the age of fifteen, he garnered international attention for his breakthrough: a four-cent strip of paper capable of detecting pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers four hundred times more effectively than the previous standard.

Jack’s story is not just a story of dizzying international success; it’s a story of overcoming depression and homophobic bullying and finding the resilience to persevere and come out.

His account inspires young people, who he argues are the most innovative, to fight for the right to be taken seriously and to pursue our own dreams. Do-it-yourself science experiments are included in each chapter, making Breakthrough perfect for STEM curriculum.

But above all, Jack’s memoir empowers his generation with the knowledge that we can each change the world if we only have the courage to try” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9781455592340_p0_v6_s550x406Cheech Is Not My Real Name: But Don’t Call Me Chong!
by Cheech Marin

“Cheech Marin writes candidly about growing up as a wisecracking kid in south central LA, resisting the draft, and his chance meeting with Tommy Chong—and how they formed one of the most successful comedy acts of all time, breaking up, reuniting, and still performing together to this day.

Cheech the storyteller takes the reader on a wild ride along his strange and wonderful path to fame that saw the son of a policeman become the face of the recreational drug movement. He describes his early artistic aspirations to become a potter, his brief stint as a magazine reporter when he interviewed Little Richard, and his surreal and unlikely ascent to the top of the comedy world.

Cheech also details how his passion for Chicano art led him to assemble the world’s finest private collection, and how he bested the likes of Anderson Cooper to win Celebrity Jeopardy! Written with his trademark comedic flair and replete with colorful characters both famous and obscure, this is a fresh, funny, and unstintingly honest account of an incredible life and career…” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9781440582196_p0_v4_s550x406Dead Angler
A Loon Lake Mystery, #1
by Victoria Houston

“Retired dentist Paul Osborne hasn’t fly-fished since his wife died. He hasn’t had a woman tell him what to do since then either. But in the company of Lewellyn Ferris, he’s relearning both. And when he and his lady instructor find a well-dressed body floating in the moonlight, Paul adds ‘deputy’ to his list of experiences…

Whether the death is accidental—or accidentally on purpose—Lewellyn is determined to reel in the truth. She enlists Paul and his walleye-expert buddy, Ray, to help her get to the bottom of the murky mystery” (Amazon).

9780393340662_p0_v3_s550x406The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
by Eric Foner

“Eric Foner gives us the history of Lincoln and the end of slavery in America. Foner begins with Lincoln’s youth in Indiana and Illinois and follows the trajectory of his career across an increasingly tense and shifting political terrain from Illinois to Washington, D.C.

Although ‘naturally anti-slavery’ for as long as he can remember, Lincoln scrupulously holds to the position that the Constitution protects the institution in the original slave states. But the political landscape is transformed in 1854 when the Kansas-Nebraska Act makes the expansion of slavery a national issue.

A man of considered words and deliberate actions, Lincoln navigates the dynamic politics deftly, taking measured steps, often along a path forged by abolitionists and radicals in his party. Lincoln rises to leadership in the new Republican Party by calibrating his politics to the broadest possible antislavery coalition.

As president of a divided nation and commander in chief at war, displaying a similar compound of pragmatism and principle, Lincoln finally embraces what he calls the Civil War’s ‘fundamental and astounding’ result: the immediate, uncompensated abolition of slavery and recognition of blacks as American citizens. Foner’s Lincoln emerges as a leader, one whose greatness lies in his capacity for moral and political growth through real engagement with allies and critics alike. ” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780062300553_p0_v5_s550x406Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
by J. D. Vance

“From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were ‘dirt poor and in love,’ and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.

But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780451520883_p0_v1_s550x406Peter Pan
by J. M. Barrie

“One night Peter is spotted and, while trying to escape, he loses his shadow. On returning to claim it, Peter wakes Mary’s daughter, Wendy Darling. Wendy succeeds in re-attaching his shadow to him, and Peter learns that she knows lots of bedtime stories. He invites her to Neverland to be a mother to his gang, the Lost Boys, children who were lost in Kensington Gardens. Wendy agrees, and her brothers John and Michael go along.

Their magical flight to Neverland is followed by many adventures. The children are blown out of the air by a cannon and Wendy is nearly killed by the Lost Boy Tootles. Peter and the Lost Boys build a little house for Wendy to live in while she recuperates (a structure that, to this day, is called a Wendy House.) Soon John and Michael adopt the ways of the Lost Boys.” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780062490421_p0_v4_s550x406The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World
by Steve Brusatte

“The dinosaurs. Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their extraordinary, 200-million-year-long story as never before. In this captivating narrative, Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field—naming fifteen new species and leading groundbreaking fieldwork—masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy.

Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers—themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period—into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. He re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a ‘sixth extinction.’

Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research—which he calls ‘a new golden age of discovery’—and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780979587153_p0_v2_s550x406Varney the Vampire
by James Malcom Rymer

“Before there was Dracula, there was Varney the Vampyre, the most famous of the sensational penny dreadfuls issued by Victorian-era publishers. Printed anonymously in serial form in 1847, these gripping tales recount the exploits of a deathless creature with an insatiable appetite for blood. A succession of exciting episodes chronicle the horrible fates of Varney’s victims as well as the terrifying experiences of the band of comrades sworn to destroy the vampire.

Varney the Vampyre not only thrilled countless eager readers but also established many of the conventions and ideas associated with vampirism. Scarcely any copies of the original edition survive, yet this legendary ‘feast of blood’ continues to captivate readers with its inexplicable deaths, impossible escapes, revivifications, and graveyard rituals.” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780812988406_p0_v3_s550x406When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi

“At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity—the brain—and finally into a patient and a new father.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away? Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Gretchen Schneider

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