Travel the World with Your Library Resources

Despite the limited possibilities of a real escape due to the ongoing pandemic, thanks to the Internet and resources offered by your library, you can explore the world and enjoy travel – virtually!

Lately, the travel industry has cooperated with government agencies to create a wonderfully appealing virtual experience for travelers who might enjoy exploring the world from the comfort of their homes. 

Explore and discover five National Parks, a series Hidden Worlds of the National Parks created by the National Park Service with Google Arts & Culture.

You will find even more National Parks to tour virtually here.

Travel book publishers were also exploring beyond travel guide books. Here is their new product—a series called Passenger.

Greece: Passenger for Explorers of the World is the second book in the series, tailored to the tastes of armchair travelers. It concentrates on the best writing, photography, and arts of the region. Greece can be reserved in print for Curbside Pickup, or you can check out the ebook on hoopla.

America the Beautiful by the National Geographic Society is a book of gorgeous photography that celebrates the unique beauty of all the 50 states. The book offers an alternative way to see the country in the time of limited travel. It is a gratifying and very worthwhile visual journey.

Blue Sky Kingdom: An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of Himalayas by Bruce Kirby shares the author’s account of a journey that his family undertook, chartering an absolutely new and unfamiliar territory by travelling to a distant Tibetan locale, staying at the Buddhist monastery, and backpacking in the Himalayas at high altitudes.

The book is a mixture of local history, culture, travelogue, and personal experience, and very well reviewed. You can reserve it in print for Curbside Pickup or check out the ebook on hoopla.

The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Pamela Roberts is aware of and inspired by the huge role that music, and pianos in particular, played in Russian culture. The British travel writer follows the ways pianos travelled from major Russian cities to distant Russian locales, and explores and portrays Siberia – the part of Russia that has long intrigued foreigners, though it is not much travelled and understood.

The book combines a travelogue with Russian history and culture, as well as music history. You will find a New York Times review here. Reserve the book in print for Curbside Pickup or read the ebook on Overdrive or hoopla

Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery by Wendy Lesser is another oeuvre by the author – a fan of Scandinavian mysteries – who has been sharing her enthusiasm and reviews with the public for almost four decades. 

Her deep interest in Scandinavian mysteries and voracious reading of numerous books written by writers from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark lead to her deep knowledge of those countries: their geography, history, culture, social norms, and laws.

When she traveled to Scandinavia, the author said she found it “even lovelier than she expected.”

Part literary criticism and part travelogue, the book was well regarded in The New York Times review.


As always, these books are available through the library catalog, either in print or digital format, sometimes both. 

Digital downloads are available through Overdrive/Libby or hoopla with your library card. 

To obtain a print copy, please carefully read the instructions for ordering and Curbside Pickup.

New in Nonfiction: Books on WWII

World War Two ended in Europe on May 7th, 1945. In the Pacific, Japan formally surrendered four months later, on September 2nd, ending the war in Asia. This year, as the world celebrated the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, numerous books on the history of the war were published.

In May, we posted a list of recently published books on military history and WWII in Europe. Here are some recent books about the Pacific front. 

Ian Toll’s Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific 1944-1945 is the final volume of the trilogy on WWII in the Pacific. It begins with a historical meeting between President Roosevelt and major American military leaders, during which strategy and tactics for the rest of the war against Japan were decided.

Other books in the Pacific War Trilogy by Ian Toll are Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 and The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944 (in print and ebook format). It took the author nine years after the publication of the first volume to finish the trilogy. 

All books were extremely well researched, informed by primary documents and official reports, and powerfully written; they have all earned high praise. You can read a New York Times review here.

Operation Vengeance by Dan Hampton (in large print and ebook format) recounts a very secret US operation to assassinate Admiral Yamamoto, a Japanese admiral who was a major force behind the attack on Pearl Harbor. The US Air Force pilots carried out this mission.

The author, a decorated combat pilot who served 20 years in the US Air Force and flew numerous combat missions, became a military historian and writer. He is very well-equipped to recreate the dramatic events in the air moment-by-moment.

The Race of Aces: WWII’s Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Masters of the Sky by John Bruning (in print and ebook format) is another recent book about the battles in the Pacific theatre. In this one, a group of five American pilots, inspired and motivated by a legendary WWI pilot Eddie Rickenbacker, started a wild race for the title of America’s Greatest Fighter Pilot during combat against the Japanese air force.

Chris Wallace’s and Lesley Blume’s books examine the bombings of Japanese cities in August 1945. 

Wallace’s Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days that Changed the World (print, ebook, and e-audiobook) explores how and why the decision to use the weapon of mass destruction was made.

Blume’s Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed it to the World (print and ebook) is the story about the aftermath of the bombing, and about American journalist John Hersey, who gained access to Hiroshima in 1946 to see for himself and report on the horrible after-effects of radiation. You can read the New York Times’s splendid review here.

As always, all these titles are able to be checked out in multiple formats. You can acquire digital books through Overdrive/Libby using your library card. 

If you prefer books in print, you can reserve them for pick-up with our Curbside Service. Please carefully read our instructions on how to reserve titles and set up an appointment to pick them up, once all your items come in.

What’s New in Nonfiction Books: History

Recently, many distinguished, interesting, or even outstanding nonfiction books have been published; books that received starred reviews in leading newspapers and captured readers’ interest.

Here are some of the latest library acquisitions of history books.

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson is one of those books that is both hailed by the critics and also has attracted numerous readers.

Deeply researched, the book explores and examines the American caste system that has shaped the country through its history and demonstrates the effects of the system on the country’s culture and politics. You can read a splendid review in The New York Times.

Reserve the print book or book on CD for Curbside Pickup, or the ebook or audiobook on Overdrive.

Isabel Wilkerson is also the author of The Warmth of Other Suns (2010), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize. Publication of Caste revived an interest in her previous work and placed The Warmth of Other Suns on hold shelves again.

Reserve the print book or Playaway (audio format) for Curbside Pickup, or read the ebook on Overdrive. 

also available as a hoopla audiobook

Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980 by Rick Perlstein (in print and ebook format) is another book on American history. This is the fourth book by the author, which concludes a saga about the rise of conservatism in modern American politics. The others that come before it are Before the Storm (print and hoopla audiobook), Nixonland, and The Invisible Bridge. The author examines the four years of the Carter administration (1976-1980), and shows how that time period created a Launchpad for conservatism that is still alive today. The New York Times reviewed the book.

The 20TH Annual Massachusetts Book Awards were recently announced, and the books below received nonfiction Honors:

American Radicals: How 19th-Century Protest Shaped the Nation by Holly Jackson explores the turbulent history of the nineteenth-century political activism and activists. Many names are forgotten today, but those people were influential in their time, and their work is associated with reformers such as Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cody Stanton.

The book was named one of Ten Best History Books of 2019. Check it out in ebook or audiobook format. 

Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter by Kerri K. Greenidge is a very well researched, meticulously documented, and well-written biography of William Monroe Trotter, a Harvard-educated Black radical, and the founder, editor, and publisher of the weekly Boston Guardian that launched in 1901. Written by a Tufts University professor, the book offers a fresh perspective on African-American history.

Check out Black Radical in print, Overdrive ebook, Overdrive audiobook, or hoopla ebook

And here is yet another history book, which explores a fascinating subject: the history of hurricanes.

It is a particular pleasure to introduce this book, written by Eric Dolin, who is a successful nonfiction writer and resident of Marblehead. The Abbot Public Library has hosted several of his book presentations, including talks about his books Black Flags, Blue Waters and Brilliant Beacons.

A Furious Sky is Dolin’s latest book, which earned him very positive reviews, including from The New York Times. The author chronicles the history of American hurricanes from the 16th century through 2017, discusses their nature, and traces the development of hurricane science. He reflects on the American history and shows how hurricanes impacted it.

Reserve A Furious Sky in print, book on CD, or ebook format. He will be speaking about this book at the local Jewish Book Month, sponsored by the JCCNS, which will be held online starting on Tuesday, October 6th!

Other books by Eric Dolin include:

All books are available in print format or digital, very frequently both. Browse Dolin’s books in the library catalog or on Overdrive or hoopla

The library’s digital nonfiction collection has grown significantly in the last few years, and even more so in the past 6 months. You can access the collection through Overdrive/Libby or hoopla with your library card.

Currently, almost every book published on paper is also available in digital format, as the library strives to satisfy public demand, and purchase books to appease diverse tastes and interests.

If you have a choice between print and digital formats, please know that digital books circulate much faster, since they cannot be kept overdue, and do not need to be quarantined. You can reserve print books to pick up in our Curbside Service – please read our instructions carefully about how to reserve titles and set up an appointment once all your items come in.

History of Pandemics and Medicine

Sometimes the best way to learn about something is to study the history of it. And in this time of quarantine and social distancing, the history of pandemics and medicine may be one to catch your interest. So, if this applies to you, check out some of the YA titles below. The physical copies of these books can be reserved for Curbside Pickup. Please carefully read the instructions about this service to receive print books and other tangible library materials. 

*All book descriptions are from the publisher.

Very, Very, Very Dreadful by Albert Marrin

In spring of 1918, World War I was underway, and troops at Fort Riley, Kansas, found themselves felled by influenza. By the summer of 1918, the second wave struck as a highly contagious and lethal epidemic and within weeks exploded into a pandemic, an illness that travels rapidly from one continent to another. It would impact the course of the war, and kill many millions more soldiers than warfare itself.

Of all diseases, the 1918 flu was by far the worst that has ever afflicted humankind; not even the Black Death of the Middle Ages comes close in terms of the number of lives it took. No war, no natural disaster, no famine has claimed so many. In the space of eighteen months in 1918-1919, about 500 million people—one-third of the global population at the time—came down with influenza. The exact total of lives lost will never be known, but the best estimate is between 50 and 100 million.

In this powerful book, filled with black and white photographs, nonfiction master Albert Marrin examines the history, science, and impact of this great scourge—and the possibility for another worldwide pandemic today.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook and physical book.

Vaccination Investigation by Tara Haelle

Vaccines are biological substances that cause the human immune system to build up its defenses against specific diseases. Public health officials recommend a series of vaccines for all children, as well as some vaccines for teenagers and adults. But not everyone gets the vaccines they need. Many poor nations don’t have the resources to deliver vaccines to every community. Some parents refuse to have their children vaccinated because they don’t believe the evidence proving that vaccines are safe.

The effort to wipe out diseases using vaccines continues. Vaccine Investigation recounts the fascinating history of vaccines, their important role in protecting community health, and the excitement of cutting-edge research.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, hoopla ebook, and physical book.

Pandemic: How Climate, the Environment, and Superbugs Increase the Risk by Connie Goldsmith

How close are we to having another worldwide health crisis? Epidemiologists predict that another pandemic is coming—one that could kill hundreds of millions of people. Learn about factors that contribute to the spread of disease by examining past pandemics and epidemics. Examine case studies of potential pandemic diseases, and discover how scientists strive to contain and control the spread of disease both locally and globally. See how human activities such as global air travel and the disruption of animal habitats contribute to the risk of a new pandemic. And investigate the challenges we face with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and mutating viruses. Can scientists control the spread of disease and prevent the next pandemic?

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, hoopla ebook, and physical book

For the Good of Mankind? By Vicki Oransky Wittenstein

Experiment: A child is deliberately infected with the deadly smallpox disease without his parents’ informed consent. Result: The world’s first vaccine.

Experiment: A slave woman is forced to undergo more than thirty operations without anesthesia. Result: The beginnings of modern gynecology.

Incidents like these paved the way for crucial, lifesaving medical discoveries. But they also harmed and humiliated their test subjects. How do doctors balance the need to test new medicines and procedures with their ethical duty to protect the rights of humans? Take a journey through some of history’s greatest medical advances—and its most horrifying medical atrocities—to discover how human suffering has gone hand in hand with medical advancement.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook and hoopla ebook

Outbreak! By Bryn Barnard

Did the Black Death destroy medieval Europe? Did cholera pave the way for modern Manhattan? Did yellow fever help end the slave trade? Remarkably, the answer to all of these questions is yes. Time and again, diseases have impacted the course of human history in surprisingly powerful ways. From influenza to smallpox, from tuberculosis to yellow fever, Bryn Barnard describes the symptoms and paths of the world’s worst diseases—and how the epidemics they spawned have changed history forever.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook.

Bleed, Blister, Puke, and Purge: The Dirty Secrets Behind Early American Medicine by J. Marin Younker

Riots over the medical use of cadavers. Public access to institutions for the insane. And full-blown surgeries without the aid of anesthetics or painkillers. Welcome to the middle ages of American medicine. Bleed, Blister, Puke, and Purge exposes the extraordinary practices and major players of American medical history, from the colonial era to the late 1800s. It’s hard to believe that today’s cutting-edge medicine originated from such crude beginnings, but this book reminds us to be grateful for today’s medical care, while also raising the question: what current medical practices will be the horrors of tomorrow?

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, hoopla ebook, and physical book.

A Trip In Time – YA Historical Fiction

A great way to learn about history is to read stories set during times past. From 1955 Virginia to 18th century Europe, the books listed below will take you on a trip exploring people’s yesterdays.

*All book descriptions are from the publisher.

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, Overdrive audiobook, and hoopla audiobook

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography—and fate—introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War—as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook and Overdrive audiobook.

Flygirl by Sheryl Smith

Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot, and being black didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy’s gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her.

When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots—and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won’t accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of “passing,” of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one’s racial heritage, denying one’s family, denying one’s self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook and hoopla audiobook.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this year long escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, Overdrive audiobook, hoopla ebook, and hoopla audiobook.

Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell

In 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, two teenagers fell in love. Their life together broke the law, but their determination would change it. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races, and a story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, hoopla ebook, and hoopla audiobook.

Happy Pride! – Nonfiction and True Stories of the LGBTQ Community

Celebrate and commemorate the LGBTQIA+ Pride Month with the library’s resources and a curated reading list. Here, you will find books on the tumultuous history of the LGBT+ community’s struggle for equal rights, its disappointments and victories; you will learn about the evolving perspectives on homosexuality, and about pivotal events in the LGBT+ movement. 

All books are free and accessible through Overdrive/Libby:

A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski, winner of the Stonewall Award in nonfiction, covers the entire LGBT+ history from 1492 (!) to the present. Based on primary cultural and historical sources, the author shows how the American culture affected the LGBT+ experience, and how the LGBT+ experience shaped the cultural and societal history of the country. The starred review calls it “equally intellectually rigorous and entertaining.”

The Stonewall Reader, edited by New York Public Library, came out last year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, the epoch-making event in the fight for equality in the LGBTQ movement that began in the early hours of June 28, 1969. A collection of first accounts, diaries, and periodic literature that came from LGBTQ magazines and newspapers in the library’s archives, the book carefully chronicles the tumultuous fight for LGBTQ rights from five years leading up to through five years following the riots. The book was named one of the best books of 2019 on the subject.

The Stonewall uprising of 1969 was pivotal in the history of the LGBTQ+ community, and marks the start of the Gay Liberation Movement. Before Stonewall is a 1984 documentary about the LGBT community in America prior to 1969, decade by decade, and events that led to the Stonewall uprising.

A companion documentary, made fifteen years later in 1999, After Stonewall captures the lives of the LGBTQ community after the event through the end of the century.

You will find these documentaries in hoopla, free of charge and accessible at any time with your library card.

We Are Everywhere by Matthew Riemer is another book that came out in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The book is a photographic history of the LGBTQ+ movement and features the turbulent history of queer activism from its start at the end of the 19th century in Europe to the present. The book contains more than 300 images from various photographers and archives.

The Deviant’s War by Eric Cervini is the story of resistance and a secret fight for gay rights that started more than a decade before Stonewall. Franklin Kameny, a brilliant astronomer working for the U.S. Defense Department, was fired on suspicion of being a homosexual, like so many men and women before him. He fought back.

The book demonstrates a huge intellectual role that Kameny played in the gay liberation movement that triggered fundamental social changes in the post-war America.

Very well-researched and brilliantly written, the book received starred reviews in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

How to Survive a Plague by David France is another story of civil activism, this one taking place during the AIDS epidemic. It is a social and scientific history of AIDS, and a story of the AIDS movement and its activists who took their salvation into their own hands. Not only did their work expedite drug development, but it also transformed the entire medical system and cardinally changed the direction of the movement.

Prior to writing the book How to Survive a Plague, journalist David France created a documentary with the same title. The film received numerous awards and became the 2012 Academy Award nominee in documentary feature.

Reading on the High Seas: Maritime Books For World Ocean Month!

In honor of National Ocean Month, check out these books from different genres featuring an ocean theme! Included are mysteries, historical fiction, historical nonfiction, and a classic in fiction you may recognize! Check them out for free on Overdrive with your library card.

Mysteries

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

In this novel of psychological suspense, journalist Lo Blackwood is embarking on a luxury cruise ship on assignment. The cruise ship Aurora is sailing its maiden voyage to the Norwegian Fjords. Suffering from the tramatic aftershock of recently being the victim of a home invasion, Blackwood witnesses a murder on board ship.

Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen

Number eight of the enjoyable Royal Spyness cozy mystery series set in the 1930s, Queen of Hearts features Lady Georgiana Rannoch who, despite being of Rannoch Castle in Scotland, lives in gentile poverty and often finds herself embroiled in mysteries, aided by love interest and detective Darcy O’Mara. In Queen of Hearts, Georgiana’s actress mother takes her on a transatlantic cruise to New York so her mother can obtain a divorce and marry yet another lover. The first book in the series is Her Royal Spyness. The latest book will come out in August 2020; The Last Mrs. Summers. Rhys Bowen has been a recipient of the Agatha Award.

Fiction

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea was written by Ernest Hemingway in 1952. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Nobel Prize for Literature. In this story, an older fisherman named Santiago has been not catching fish of late. His young friend, Manolin, wants to go out fishing with him but his parents said to fish with a more successful fisherman. One day Santiago takes his boat out into the Gulf Stream, north of Cuba and finally catches a great marlin, and a terrific battle ensues.

History

Mayflower: A Story of Courage Community and War by Nathaniel Philbrick

As well as writing In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, Philbrick writes the history of the pilgrims arriving in Plymouth, Massachusetts aboard the ship the Mayflower, and their relationship with the Wampanoag people. There is the first Thanksgiving, where the pilgrims and the Wampanoag join together to celebrate, and also the tragic King Philip’s War, which marked the eventual conflict between the indigenous people and the pilgrims. This historical account is brought to life by Nathanial Philbrick’s skillful writing.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken is the heroic story of Louis Zamperini, a World War II veteran. Written by the brilliant writer Lauren Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscuit). When Zamperini in his Army Air Forces bomber flies over the Pacific Ocean, his plane crashes into the water and he is stranded at sea. When he finally gets to land on the coast of Japan, he becomes a prisoner of war. 

Historical Fiction

The Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light between Oceans is a historical fiction novel set in the early 1900s. Tom Sherbourne became a lighthouse keeper in Australia after serving in World War I. Marrying Isabel Graysmark, he unhappily tried to conceive a child with her, only to suffer miscarriages and a stillbirth. Then a small boat washes to shore carrying a deceased man and a surviving baby. Isabel is blissfully happy to think of having a baby at last and wants to keep the child as their own. Tom agrees until they find out about the baby’s biological mother still grieving for the child and her husband, who she thinks are dead. The novel was adapted into a film and released in 2016.

More Features of NoveList To Help You Choose What To Read Next!

Here are more exciting features of NoveList Plus for the avid reader! We first mentioned this useful book selection tool in a blog post back in April. Here are some features you may not know about!

NoveList has a wide variety of Book Lists. There are fiction lists and narrative nonfiction lists, each separated by age groups. You can browse through different genres such as Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery, and Historical Fiction. You can also check out forthcoming titles as well as many specific subgenres.

For example, if you are interested in reading cozies, search under Adult > Fiction > Mysteries > Getting Cozy, where you will find such titles as M. C. Beaton’s The Witch’s Tree (which happens to be in Overdrive and hoopla) and Buried in Books by Kate Carlisle (available as an audiobook on hoopla).

There are extensive lists of Award Winners, which are also separated by age and include fiction and nonfiction. The most recent Pulitzer Prize winner, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, is one of the books displayed under Recent Awards, and it can be checked out on Overdrive.

As we mentioned in the previous NoveList blog post, when you see a book you like and click on the title, a wonderful feature is that you can click on the Series and get a list of the whole series in order, as well as Read-alikes listed on the side.

There are a wide variety of narrative nonfiction book lists, including Biography and Memoir, History, Travel Writing, and Nature and Science. These are also broken down into subcategories.

If you find a title you like, you can visit Overdrive/Libby or hoopla to see if the library has an electronic version of it.

Click here to access NoveList, and feel free to email the Reference Staff at mar@noblenet.org for assistance with using this resource, as well as getting further book recommendations.

Race Relations: Historical Resources

In light of current events, we would like to remind you that the Abbot Public Library offers a multitude of resources with current, reliable, regularly updated information, which is easily accessible and available at any time.

Salem Press (introduced in a previous post) is the latest acquired reference database, with a very large history section, where you can search for particular events or names, or just browse through American history, decade by decade, learning about critical events and influential people.

You can browse through another section, Milestones Documents of American History, to get a better understanding of the most important documents and primary sources.

In addition to browsing and searching, Salem Press offers curated content to explore current events, which is a unique feature of this database. 

To help explore and better understand current events, you can browse through selected essays on several subjects, which are, presently: race relations, social justice, violent demonstration, civil disobedience, and others.

EBSCO History Reference Center, a database which you will find listed under the EBSCOhost, offers full text from reference books, encyclopedia, leading history periodicals, and biographies. The database also has historical photos and maps, as well as archival videos to offer.

Gale Biography is a well-organized database, where you can browse or search for biographies of influential people of their time. 

All these digital databases are free and accessible with your library card through the Digital Resources page on the library blog.

The New York Times published a list of the most influential books on race and the black experience, created by Ibram X. Kendi, a professor of history at the University of Florida and a published author. Here are some of the titles mentioned in that NYT list:

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi won the national Book Award. In his deeply researched book, the author gives an account of the history of racist ideas and thoughts and shows their power through the course of American history.

The New Jim Crow was named the most influential book of the last decade and collected numerous awards, inspiring criminal justice reform activists and organizations. Its tenth anniversary edition was reprinted recently.

Dreams from My Father, published in 1995, is a memoir by Barack Obama that looks at the problem of race, class, and color.

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award; it is also on the PBS Great American Read Top 100 list.

Beloved by Toni Morrison also won the Pulitzer and was adapted as a movie with the same title.

You can also check out the following titles from the list (click the cover image):

The ebook format
The audiobook format

All these ebooks and audiobooks are available through Overdrive/Libby with your card.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Acknowledging Personal Struggle During Global Crisis

The month of May, designated Mental Health Awareness Month in 1949, gives us the opportunity to remember that well-being means mental as well as physical health. Most of us are feeling a bit more stressed and anxious than usual: what about those whose struggles are chronic or even life-long? Perhaps now is a good time to try to understand and empathize with the challenges faced by those suffering from long-stigmatized mental illnesses.

Our e-collections can support this quest! Two specially-curated collections in hoopla offer audio-visual perspective on some specific mental health issues, from bipolar disorder to eating disorders to manic depression to obsessive-compulsive disorder to schizophrenia and even postpartum depression. 2020 APL Mental Health Awareness Month: Audio offers a sample reading list from medical professionals, biographers, memoirists, and historians.

For a compelling autobiography written by a medical expert who, in the throes of fighting brain cancer, experienced symptoms similar to those suffered by dementia and schizophrenia patients, you might try the well-regarded book The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind by Barbara K. Lipska. Talk about learning empathy from the inside out!

The companion film collection in hoopla (2020 APL Mental Health Awareness Month: Film) features a number of documentary approaches to mental illness. By observing and acknowledging others’ struggles with mental health, we can individually and collectively remove the age-old stigma and fear of “madness” and strive to make the world a kinder place for sufferers.

Some of the bravest and most affecting writing about mental illness comes from those who have been there themselves. Amazingly, some of these writers have been able to wring humor and hope from otherwise harrowing experiences. For searingly honest but strangely uplifting–and yes, even funny–listens, try Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things and the newly-released The Hilarious World of Depression by radio announcer and podcaster John Moe. Both audio titles are available in Overdrive/Libby.

And remember that your awareness and concern support those who might otherwise be suffering almost invisibly during these difficult times.