Check It Out Category: Nonfiction

Nonfiction: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

50 Days of Summer Reading Banner

There are 48 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

It seems appropriate to highlight Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime during the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to ban laws prohibiting interracial marriage. While that ruling certainly did not completely resolve all our troubles, South Africa wouldn’t even begin to enact their legal resolution to end racial discrimination in relationships until 1991, with the end of apartheid. Thus it is that 33 year old Trevor Noah can tell his story of growing up under the cruel, state-mandated discrimination that truly made his birth, the son of a black mother and white father, illegal. Noah is an able comedian, and there are many parts of this story that will have you laughing out loud. But the painful, piercing evil of segregation that permeates the book is never far from the humor. This too is a work of love, as Noah pays tribute to his incredibly strong and loving mother, whose intentionally strict parenting style was cultivated to ensure he knew he was different, special, and destined for something beyond their small home.

Read this for summer reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This could count as a book that everyone’s talking about or a nonfiction book.

For the Master Class Designers…
This could count as a book with a person of color as the main character and as a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

Staff Pick- Andy Warhol was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities by Claudia Kalb

Picture of LarryAndy Warhol was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities is an account of how the possible mental illness of high-profile historical figures may have affected their lives and had an impact on their fame and success. The lives of Andy Warhol, Princess Diana, Abraham Lincoln, Betty Ford and others are reviewed from a psychological perspective revealing how their maladies may have impacted their accomplishments. With the help of experts, biographers, and historical records, Claudia Kalb has written an intriguing narrative that mixes biography and psychology, providing a fascinating perspective on creativity and the human condition.


Staff Pick- The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd by Mary Rose O’Reilly

Carla from Admin suggests The Barn at the End of The World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd by Mary Rose O’Reilly

The Barn at the End of the World book coverThe Barn at the End of The World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd, by Mary Rose O’Reilly, is a rich narrative of the author’s midlife journey into sheep barns and spirituality.

In 98 short vignettes, O’Reilly lets us into her life. She gives us a look at raising sheep in Minnesota and a glimpse of monastery life at Plum Village in France. We are introduced to some of her teachers: a young barn worker who says “Never turn your back on a buck ram” and a spiritual director who shares “It’s nice to be calm, but the real purpose of meditation if to obtain wisdom”.

Quotes from poets find their way into the book.  We hear from Robert Frost, Mary Oliver, Walt Whitman and others. We learn that the author relishes the Augustinian phrase “the tranquility of order”. The Barn at the End of the World is highly recommended as an oasis for busy lives.

For more spiritual memoirs, try…

Traveling Mercies book coverTraveling Mercies
by Anne Lamott
Combining elements of spiritual study and memoir, Anne Lamott describes her odyssey of faith, drawing on her own sometimes troubled past to explore the many ways in which faith sustains and guides one’s daily life.

by Radhanath Swami
Following Richard Slavin from the suburbs of Chicago to the caves of the Himalayas as he transforms from young seeker to renowned spiritual guide, The Journey Home is a glimpse into the heart of mystic traditions.


The Sound of Gravel book coverThe Sound of Gravel
by Ruth Wariner

An account of the author’s coming-of-age in a polygamist Mormon Doomsday cult describes her childhood as one of her father’s more than 40 welfare-dependent children, the extreme religious beliefs that haunted her daily life and her escape in the aftermath of a devastating tragedy.
Seeking Englightment Hat by Hat book coverSeeking Enlightenment– Hat by Hat: A Skeptic’s Path to Religion
by Nevada Barr
Nevada Barr recounts her spiritual quest for meaning in her life, describing her experiences as an actor, writer, and adventure-seeker, and sharing her transition from atheism toward a sense of being part of something greater than herself.
Autobiography of a Yogi
by Paramahansa Yogananda
An autobiographical account of an early nineteenth-century yogi as he reaches self-realization, identification with his larger self, mankind, and union with his God.


Graphic Novel: Scenes From an Impending Marriage by Adrian Tomine

Scenes from an Upending Marriage book coverAptly titled Scenes from an Impending Marriage, writer and artist Adrian Tomine episodically illustrates snippets of his prenuptial experience. The black and white sketches pack a punch as he shares in the ridiculous, D. J. Buttercream, and heartening moments, volunteering to get out of the “black hole of nuptial narcissism,” that went along with planning his wedding with his now wife.

A notable element of the short strips is while Tomine doesn’t put his relationship  front and center, their dynamic is vividly portrayed making it easy to invest oneself in sharing the joys and tribulations that come with wedding planning, whether you’ve done it or not.

Nonfiction: Geek Knits by Joan of Dark aka Toni Carr

Geek Knits Book CoverHappy Star Wars Day!

On a day celebrating fandom and pop culture, how about starting an extremely unique knitting project? Projects in this collection range from easy to difficult and cover a large array of books, TV series, and nerd culture interests. Joan of Dark in Geek Knits will teach you how to make projects such as six-sided dice pillows, a blue box scarf from Doctor Who, and a Baker Street Hat. Plus, as a bonus you may see some special guest models that look strangely like George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and John and Kristin Scalzi.

May the Fourth be with you!

Getting Down with The Get Down

Get Down poster image“You hear that? That is life. And destiny. That is the get down.”

Part two of Netflix series The Get Down recently dropped, and though it isn’t yet available through the Library, we know some of you are already primed to lose yourselves in the music, the style, the art, and the drama of the Bronx in the late 1970s.

The fascinating world of early hip hop is one born of frustrations, passions, and even activism. To experience more of this electric era, try one of these:

Hip Hop Family Tree vol 1 cover


Hip Hop Family Tree 1: 1970s – 1981 by Ed Piskor

The early days of hip hop have become the stuff of myth, so what better way to document this epic true story than in an explosively entertaining, encyclopedic history presented in graphic format? Piskor’s exuberant cartooning takes you from the parks and rec rooms of the South Bronx to the night clubs, recording studios, and radio stations where the scene started to boom. The Hip Hop Family Tree is an exciting and essential cultural chronicle for hip hop fans, pop-culture addicts, and anyone who wants to know how it went down back in the day.

Wild Style DVD cover


Wild Style, directed, produced, and written by Charlie Ahearn

A perfect point of contrast to a series that recreates the emergence of hip hop is one that was created during the era in question! Wild Style is a 1983 docudrama that celebrates the colorful lives of teens who live in the South Bronx (sound familiar?). There they are seen break dancing, creating graffiti art, and listening to raucous rap. One focus is on the figure of Zoro, who likes to spray-paint subway cars, another reference point from The Get Down in the character of Dizzee, played by Jaden Smith.

Adventures of Grandmaster Flash book cover


The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats by Grandmaster Flash with David Ritz

In the 1970s Grandmaster Flash pioneered the art of break-beat DJing–the process of remixing and thereby creating a new piece of music by playing vinyl records and turntables as musical instruments. In this powerful memoir, Flash recounts how music from the streets, much like rock ‘n’ roll a generation before, became the sound of an era, as well as his own rise to stardom, descent into addiction, and ultimate redemption.


Get Down soundtrack cover

The Get Down: Original Soundtrack from the Netflix Original Series

Whether you’ve seen the series and can’t let it go or you want to experience it vicariously, the series soundtrack will satisfy your yen. Featuring both original songs and era classics, the line up includes artists such as Miguel, Christina Aguilera, Michael Kiwanuka, Janelle Monae, and Donna Summer, as well as the talented cast. Consider this your hot summer soundtrack!

Nonfiction: Where the Water Meets the Sand by Tyra Manning

Where the Water Meets the Sand book coverOne of Tyra Manning’s biggest fears comes true when she is in the hospital seeking help with her addiction and depression: her husband is killed in the Vietnam War. A wrenchingly open memoir, Manning digs deep to share her journey of perseverance in the Where the Water Meets the Sand.

On Thursday, May 18th at 7pm you will have the chance to meet and hear from Tyra Manning herself as she joins us at Mount Prospect Public Library in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)/Cook County North Suburban chapter. The mission of NAMI Cook County North Suburban is to improve the lives of individuals with serious mental illness and those who love and care for them through education, support, and advocacy.

Click here to register.

Staff Pick: Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

Picture of NancyWill Schwalbe’s Books for Living is a celebration of reading and how worthwhile it is, even if you have a full plate of responsibilities. He thoughtfully explores more than twenty of his favorite books and what each has meant to him. This is a wonderful book for sparking your own thoughts on reading and discovering what you’ll want to read next.

The Sobbing School by Joshua Bennett

The Sobbing School book cover“Who can be alive today
and not study grief?”

Poetry can be a powerful medium to share emotional truths, which is exactly what Joshua Bennett’s collection of poems, The Sobbing School, does as he writes about his life in contemporary America. Writing on a myriad of topics, Bennett is able to funnel his insight into striking turns of phrases, taking the breath of his readers away due to their beauty and somber truths.

While Joshua Bennett offers a personal window into his world as he writes about his relationships with friends, his family, and his experience as a black man in today’s society,  he also pays homage to historical figures, shedding light on the added weight history brings to the modern day. If you’re looking to read poetry for National Poetry Month, this would be a strong collection to start with!