A well-written atmospheric thriller, Depraved by Harold Schechter (1994) is all true! You won't want to put it down. The story follows the hard-to-believe life of Herman Mudgett aka H. H. Holmes, a cold-blooded serial killer active at the end of the 19th century. A contemporary of Jack the Ripper, Mudgett seems to have been more prolific. He confessed to 27 murders. Others have placed the number over 200. The true number may never be known.
The investigation that finally tracked him down is as exciting as the best TV detective shows. It reminded me of Harker and Van Helsing chasing down the Count at the end of Dracula. And you might recognize H. H. Holmes as one of the men profiled by Erik Larson in The Devil in the White City.
Schlechter is also the author of Deviant and Fiend, two more true crime stories. I haven't read them yet but they're on my list.
The possible evolution of the anatomical relationship between fish and mammals is examined in this 2008 bestseller, Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin . I'm curious about evolution, so it's good the author mostly uses popular language even I can understand.
Dr. Neil Shubin starts by telling of the hardships of doing paleontology in the arctic. He found a fossil fish 387 million years old and hints this may be a piece of the missing link puzzle. Recently discovered animal footprints in Poland have been dated back 395 million years—but I wasn't interested in that part of his story anyway.
The winner for me was the part comparing fish anatomy to mammals. That was absolutely fascinating and worth the wait. I can recommend Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body to any layperson interested in evolution, paleontology, or genetics. The book inspired a PBS episode in 2014: watch it on Hoopla today.
In a world where romantic and familial relationships are at the center of conversations about meaningful connections between people, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman posit that friendships can be just as vital and enriching, if not moreso. Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close reveals the highs and lows of the "big friendship" shared by the two writers and offers strategies for how other friends can cultivate fulfilling long-term friendships. This book is conversational and reflective, and is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever participated in a big friendship of their own.
Laila Lalami, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, interweaves her personal experiences as a Muslim immigrant from Morocco with the realities that all migrants to this country must face. She argues that people who do not look the right way or do not practice the right religion have their citizenship called into doubt.
The library will have a book discussion on this nonfiction title on February 3, 2022.
Physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow bring the latest thinking about the nature of reality to the general, non-scientific public in this interesting and entertaining book. The Grand Design (2010) traces mankind's progress from mythology to science. And do we really have free will? Observer created reality, quantum, string, and M theory are presented. The big bang and multiple universes are discussed.
There is no math in this book, which helps by making the theoretical concepts accessible to those without a masters in physics. The authors have presented much to think about in a very brief book (200 pages or 4.5 hours). In the end, the explanations of our reality in The Grand Design are only theories. And those theories are, so far, unprovable.
In May 1945, a plane took off from an American military base on the perimeter of Netherlands New Guinea en route to buzz the interior. Recently, they had discovered a civilization lost to time that had not had contact with the outside world in thousands of years. To boost morale, one of the officer's greenlighted this sightseeing tour, loaded up the plane with curious personnel, and embarked. Unfortunately, after dipping low into a valley, the plane failed to climb over the next ridge and crashed. Only two men and a woman survived. Injured and surrounded by unfriendly natives, they were stranded. This is the true-life story of the daring rescue mission to extract them from the land that time forgot.
Check out Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II (2011) by Mitchell Zuckoff today. Find the ebook and audiobook on Overdrive. Also browse of list of True Adventure titles.
If you are interested in World War II or the aftermath of World War II in Japan, then this is a great in depth look at all levels of Japan's reconstruction. From how the Americans and Japanese worked together to restructure the government to how the public managed from day to day, John W. Dower covers it all. It includes how American influence changed Japanese daily life and how the public viewed these changes. It even includes individuals with memorable stories, such as a soldier who sent money back to the government so he would owe them nothing and would take nothing from them because they surrendered.
Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (2005) is lengthy and in depth, but the information it holds is fantastic if you are interested in Japan after World War II.
Listen to Embracing Defeat on Hoopla today.
Gene Luen Yang is a comic author and writer who has written award-winning graphic novels as well as for the most iconic comic book character Superman. In Dragon Hoops (2020), Yang follows his local high school basketball team, telling their stories and comparing their athletic feats to those of the comic heroes who inspired him when he was young. Yang proves that it is the story of the hero that matters most, not the fancy cape or superpowers.
You can also read Dragon Hoops on Overdrive today.
Take a fascinating and frightening look at the early years of Germany under Nazi rule. The perspective is from the Dodd family. The Dodds moved from Chicago to Berlin when Professor William Dodd became the U.S. ambassador.
1933 Berlin is a glittering, exciting, and prosperous capital. The Dodds are expected to make connections with Berlin's elite by hosting lavish dinner parties at their own expense. And Dodd is supposed to get Hitler to be less vocal about the Jews.
While America turns a blind eye, Dodd slowly begins to see what's really going on behind the scenes in Berlin. His warnings and reports to the State Department are ignored. Then, Dodd's daughter, Martha, a free spirit, starts dating Rudolph Diels. He's handsome, cultured, important, and the head of the Gestapo!
This book is nonfiction but reads like a riveting suspense thriller once it gets going. Check out In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin (2011) by Erik Larson on Overdrive today: read the ebook or listen to the audiobook. Then, check out our list: we've got more titles of nonfiction that reads like fiction.
This is a great in-depth look at how George Washington and American troops emerged victorious and gained independence in the American revolution. 1776 (2005) looks at both sides of the war, both English and American, through journals, diaries, articles, and other war documents to paint a vivid picture of what happened.
David McCullough even puts in clarifications to some of the facts that were written by soldiers at the time so they more accurately reflect what happened in battles. The writing is very accessible and easy to follow compared to some historical books that are bogged down by dated language. If you are a fan of history, this is a great book to look at for more information on the American revolution.