Nonfiction Nightstand Titles

Posted on August 21, 2012. Filed under: Nonfiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

During Fall Orientation week for the faculty at Oakton Community College, we met yet again to discuss what’s on people’s nightstands. Here are the nonfiction books we discussed. Travel memoirs seem to be the most popular this semester for our nonfiction selections. Check out our blog next week for the fiction books on people’s nightstands.

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.

book cover for Becoming OdyssaBecoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail
by Jennifer Pharr Davis

“After graduating from college, Jennifer isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Though her friends and family think she’s crazy, she sets out alone to hike the trail, hoping it will give her time to think about what she wants to do next.

The next four months are the most physically and emotionally challenging of her life. She quickly discovers that thru-hiking is harder than she had imagined: coping with blisters and aching shoulders from the 30-pound pack she carries; sleeping on the hard wooden floors of trail shelters; hiking through endless torrents of rain and even a blizzard. With every step she takes, Jennifer transitions from an over-confident college graduate to a student of the trail, braving situations she never imagined before her thru-hike. The trail is full of unexpected kindness, generosity, and humor. And when tragedy strikes, she learns that she can depend on other people to help her in times of need” (Enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for EarthingEarthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?
by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., and Martin Zucker

“Throughout most of evolution humans walked barefoot and slept on the ground, largely oblivious that the surface of the Earth contains limitless healing energy. Science has discovered this energy as free-flowing electrons constantly replenished by solar radiation and lightning. Few people know it, but the ground provides a subtle electric signal that maintains health and governs the intricate mechanisms that make our bodies work-just like plugging a lamp into a power socket makes it light up. Modern lifestyle, including the widespread use of insulative rubber or plastic-soled shoes, has disconnected us from this energy and, of course, we no longer sleep on the ground as we did in times past.

Earthing introduces the planet’s powerful, amazing, and overlooked natural healing energy and how people anywhere can readily connect to it. This eye-opening book describes how the physical disconnect with the Earth creates abnormal physiology and contributes to inflammation, pain, fatigue, stress, and poor sleep. By reconnecting to the Earth, symptoms are rapidly relieved and even eliminated and recovery from surgery, injury, and athletic overexertion is accelerated.

This never-before-told story-filled with fascinating research and real-life testimonials- chronicles a discovery with the potential to create a global health revolution” (Amazon.com).

book cover for Engines of ChangeEngines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars
by Paul Ingrassia

“From the assembly lines of Henry Ford to the open roads of Route 66, from the lore of Jack Kerouac to the sex appeal of the Hot Rod, America’s history is a vehicular history—an idea brought brilliantly to life in this major work by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Paul Ingrassia.

Ingrassia offers a wondrous epic in fifteen automobiles, including the Corvette, the Beetle, and the Chevy Corvair, as well as the personalities and tales behind them: Robert McNamara’s unlikely role in Lee Iacocca’s Mustang, John Z. DeLorean’s Pontiac GTO , Henry Ford’s Model T, as well as Honda’s Accord, the BMW 3 Series, and the Jeep, among others.

Through these cars and these characters, Ingrassia shows how the car has expressed the particularly American tension between the lure of freedom and the obligations of utility. He also takes us through the rise of American manufacturing, the suburbanization of the country, the birth of the hippie and the yuppie, the emancipation of women, and many more fateful episodes and eras, including the car’s unintended consequences: trial lawyers, energy crises, and urban sprawl. Narrative history of the highest caliber, Engines of Change is an entirely edifying new way to look at the American story” (Enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Enslaved by DucksEnslaved by Ducks: How One Man Went from Head of the Household to Bottom of the Pecking Order
by Bob Tarte

“When Bob Tarte left the Michigan suburbs for the country, he was thinking peace and quiet. He’d write his music reviews in the solitude of his rural home on the outskirts of everything. Then he married Linda. She wanted a rabbit. How much trouble, he thought, could a bunny be?

Well, after the bunny chewed its way through their electrical wires and then hid inside the wall, Bob realized that he’d been outwitted. But that was just the beginning. There were parrots, more rabbits, then ducks and African geese. The turkeys, stranded on a nearby road, fighting for their lives. The starlings. The sad, ugly duck for sale for 25 cents.

One day Bob looked around and saw he was not only outnumbered, but that he’d become a servant to an extremely demanding family: Stanley Sue, a gender-switching African grey parrot; Hector, a cantankerous shoulder-sitting Muscovy duck; Howard, an amorous ring-necked dove; Chloe, a mallard who learned to limp; and a host of others. And, against every instinct in him, Bob became their slave.

He read all the classic animal books–The Parrot Who Owns Me, The Dog Who Rescues Cats, Arnie the Darling Starling, That Quail Robert, The Cat Who Came for Christmas–about the joys of animals, the touching moments. But none revealed what it was really like to live with an unruly menagerie. This hilarious memoir gives us the other side–about a man who, against all bets, was converted to a doting and proud animal lover” (Enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Lots of CakeLots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
by Anna Quindlen

“In this irresistible memoir, the New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Anna Quindlen writes about looking back and ahead—and celebrating it all—as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more…

From childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, Quindlen uses the events of her own life to illuminate our own. Along with the downsides of age, she says, can come wisdom, a perspective on life that makes it satisfying and even joyful. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life” (Enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Tales fo a Female NomadTales of  a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World
by Rita Golden Gelman

“Tales of a Female Nomad is the story of Rita Golden Gelman, an ordinary woman who is living an extraordinary existence. At the age of forty-eight, on the verge of a divorce, Rita left an elegant life in L.A. to follow her dream of connecting with people in cultures all over the world.

In 1986 she sold her possessions and became a nomad, living in a Zapotec village in Mexico, sleeping with sea lions on the Galapagos Islands, and residing everywhere from thatched huts to regal palaces. She has observed orangutans in the rain forest of Borneo, visited trance healers and dens of black magic, and cooked with women on fires all over the world. Rita’s example encourages us all to dust off our dreams and rediscover the joy, the exuberance, and the hidden spirit that so many of us bury when we become adults” (Enriched content provided by Syndetics).

Additional book by author: Female Nomad and Friends.

book cover for UpUp: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure
by Patricia Ellis Herr

“When Trish Herr became pregnant with her first daughter, Alex, she and her husband, Hugh, vowed to instill a bond with nature in their children. By the time Alex was five, her over-the-top energy levels led Trish to believe that her very young daughter might be capable of hiking adult-sized mountains.

In Up, Trish recounts their always exhilarating–and sometimes harrowing–adventures climbing all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s highest mountains.  Readers will delight in the expansive views and fresh air that only peakbaggers are afforded, and will laugh out loud as Trish urges herself to “mother up” when she and Alex meet an ornery–and alarmingly bold–spruce grouse on the trail. This is, at heart, a resonant, emotionally honest account of a mother’s determination to foster independence and fearlessness in her daughter, to teach her ‘that small doesn’t necessarily mean weak; that girls can be strong; and that big, bold things are possible'” (barnesandnoble.com).

book cover for WildWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed

“A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her” (Enriched contents provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Gretchen Schneider

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