Friday, August 21, 2009

Book Discussion Kit Titles: Nonfiction and Biography

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it.
Host Library: Concord Public Library, 225-8670.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.
The story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal in Berlin, Germany. The team transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.
Host Library: Hampton Falls Free Library, 926-3682.

Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell by Janet Wallach.
Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) explored, mapped, and excavated the world of the Arabs. Recruited by British intelligence during World War I, she played a crucial role in obtaining the loyalty of Arab leaders, and her connections and information provided the brains to match T. E. Lawrence's brawn. After the war, she played a major role in creating the modern Middle East and was, at the time, considered the most powerful woman in the British Empire.
Host Library: Griffin Free Public Library, Auburn, 483-5374.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Host Library: Derry Public Library, 432-6140.

The Emperor's Guest: Coming of Age Behind Barbed Wire During WW II in Indonesia by Titia Bozuwa.
Gijs, a sixteen-year-old, whose father is Commander of the Royal Dutch Air Force in the Dutch East Indies, is separated from his family and interned by the Japanese for the duration of World War II.
Host Library: Gafney Library, Sanbornville, 522-3401.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.
During her treatment for cancer, Mary Anne Schwalbe and her son Will spent many hours sitting in waiting rooms together. To pass the time, they would talk about the books they were reading. Once, by chance, they read the same book at the same time—and an informal book club of two was born. Through their wide-ranging reading, Will and Mary Anne—and we, their fellow readers—are reminded how books can be comforting, astonishing, and illuminating, changing the way that we feel about and interact with the world around us.
Host Library: Wiggin Memorial Library, Stratham, 772-4346.

Flight of Remembrance: A World War II Memoir of Love and Survival by Marina Dutzmann Kirsch.
Swept along on a tide of dire necessity and circumstance, the Dutzmann family decides to flee to Germany, a country fully under Hitler's domination and already engaged in a brutal war.
Host Library: Jackson Public Library, 383-9731.

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel.
When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965, Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed "Zippy" for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears. In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period–people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards.
Sponsor: READS.
Host Library: Amherst Public Library, 673-2288.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls.
When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
Host Library: Pembroke Town Library, 485-7851.

Here If You Need Me: A True Story by Kate Braestrup.
Ten years ago, Kate Braestrup and her husband Drew were enjoying the life they shared together. They had four young children, and Drew, a Maine state trooper, would soon begin training to become a minister as well. Then early one morning Drew left for work and everything changed. On the very roads that he protected every day, an oncoming driver lost control, and Kate lost her husband. Stunned and grieving, Kate decided to continue her husband's dream and became a minister herself.
Sponsor: One Book One Valley.
Host Library: Nesmith Library, Windham, 432-7154.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.
Sponsor: Manchester City Library Foundation.
Host Library: Manchester City Library, 624-6550 ext 332.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson.
In 1933, William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Dodd, along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha, travel to Berlin. Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence, but, before a year has passed, the Dodds realize that things aren't what they seem.
Sponsor: Philbrick-James Library Book Group.
Host Library: Philbrick-James Library, Deerfield, 463-7187.

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell.
Julie Powell is 30 years old, living in a tiny apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that's going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother's worn, dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes -- in the span of one year.
Host Library: Ossipee Public Library, 539-6390.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain.
When Chef Anthony Bourdain wrote "Don't Eat Before You Read This" in The New Yorker, he spared no one's appetite, revealing what goes on behind the kitchen door. In Kitchen Confidential, he expanded that appetizer into a deliciously funny, delectable shocking banquet that lays out his 25 years of sex, drugs, and haute cuisine.
Host Library: Hollis Social Library, 465-7721.

The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island by Linda Greenlaw.
After seventeen years at sea, Greenlaw decided it was time to take a break from being a swordboat captain. She felt she needed to return home--to a tiny island seven miles off the Maine coast with a population of 70 year-round residents, 30 of whom are her relatives. She would pursue a simpler life; move back in with her parents and get to know them again; become a professional lobsterman; and find a guy, build a house, have kids, and settle down.
Host Library: Hampton Falls Free Library, 926-3682.

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney Poitier.
In this luminous memoir, a true American icon looks back on his celebrated life and career. His body of work is arguably the most morally significant in cinematic history, and the power and influence of that work are indicative of the character of the man behind the many storied roles. Sidney Poitier here explores these elements of character and personal values to take his own measure—as a man, as a husband and a father, and as an actor.
Sponsor: NH's ALA member libraries through the generosity of Oprah's Book Club.
Host Library: Dunbarton Public Library, 774-3546.

My Life in France by Julia Child.
In her own words, here is the captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found "her true calling." From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre in the fall of 1948 and Julia watched the well-muscled stevedores unloading the cargo to the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband, Paul, savored in Rouen en route to Paris, where he was to work for the USIS, Julia had an awakening that changed her life.
Host Library: Ossipee Public Library, 539-6390.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi.
In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.
Host Library: Tracy Memorial Library, New London, 526-4656.

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson.
For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. In the fall of 1991, not even they were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–-all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.
Host Library: Lane Memorial Library, Hampton, 926-3368.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.
Elisabeth Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her uncommon encounter with a Neohelix albolabris--a common woodland snail.

While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater under standing of her own confined place in the world.
Host Library: Hampstead Public Library, 329-6411.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.
For 2,000 years, cadavers---some willingly, some unwittingly---have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and, in so doing, tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.
Host Library: Nesmith Library, Windham, 432-7154.

The Story of Charlotte's Web by Michael Sims.
Michael Sims chronicles White’s animal-rich childhood, his writing about urban nature for the New Yorker, his scientific research into how spiders spin webs and lay eggs, his friendship with his legendary editor, Ursula Nordstrom, the composition and publication of his masterpiece, and his ongoing quest to recapture an enchanted childhood.
Host Library: Howe Library, Hanover, 643-4120.

Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder.
Deo arrives in the United States from Burundi in search of a new life. Having survived a civil war and genocide, he lands at JFK airport with two hundred dollars, no English, and no contacts. He ekes out a precarious existence delivering groceries, living in Central Park, and learning English by reading dictionaries in bookstores. Then Deo begins to meet the strangers who will change his life, pointing him eventually in the direction of Columbia University, medical school, and a life devoted to healing.
Host Library: Howe Library, Hanover, 643-4120. (Please note: Howe will take holds if it’s checked out, but will not take advance bookings.)

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations--One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson.
Three Cups of Tea is the true story of one of the most extraordinary humanitarian missions of our time. In 1993, a young American mountain climber named Greg Mortenson stumbles into a tiny village high in Pakistan’s beautiful and desperately poor Karakoram Himalaya region. Sick, exhausted, and depressed after a failing to scale the summit of K2, Mortenson regains his strength and his will to live thanks to the generosity of the people of the village of Korphe. Before he leaves, Mortenson makes a vow that will profoundly change both the villagers’ lives and his own—he will return and build them a school.
Kit #1 Sponsor: Hillstown Co-op.
Host Library: Bedford Public Library, 472-2300.

Truth and Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett.
Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and after enrolling in the Iowa Writer's Workshop began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work. In her critically acclaimed memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about the first half of her life. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life but the parts of their lives they shared together. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans 20 years, from the long cold winters of the Midwest to surgical wards to book parties in New York.
Host Library: Nashua Public Library, 589-4600.

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer.
At the core of Krakauer's book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence, and unyielding faith. Along the way he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America's fastest growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.
Sponsor: Wilmot Library Book Group.
Host Library: Wilmot Public Library, 526-6804.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson.
Jeanette Winterson, an acclaimed British novelist, turns to memoir. Adopted as a baby, Winterson, a lesbian, is raised in a Pentecostal church. Her memoir reveals a search for belonging--for love, identity, home, and a mother.
Host Library: Rochester Public Library, 333-7550.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.
After a particularly trying period in her life, Cheryl Strayed made an impulsive decision. Alone, with no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she hiked more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State.
Host Library: Rodgers Memorial Library, 886-6030.

Without a Map: A Memoir by Meredith Hall.
Meredith Hall’s moving but unsentimental memoir begins in 1965, when she becomes pregnant at sixteen. Shunned by her insular New Hampshire community, she is then kicked out of the house by her mother. Her father and stepmother reluctantly take her in, hiding her before they finally banish her altogether. After giving her baby up for adoption, Hall wanders recklessly through the Middle East. She returns to New England and stitches together a life that encircles her silenced and invisible grief. When he is twenty-one, her lost son finds her. Hall learns that he grew up in gritty poverty with an abusive father—-in her own father’s hometown. Their reunion is tender, turbulent, and ultimately redemptive.
Host Library: Lane Memorial Library, Hampton, 926-3368.

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.
On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did?
Host Library: Host Library: Rochester Public Library, 333-7550.

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