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December 2006

Librarians’ Choice 2006 · Nonfiction

cover of Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life
Deborah Blum
In response to the frenzy of interest in the paranormal that gripped the nation at the turn of the 20th century, a group of intellectuals and scientists staked their reputations on a quest to find scientific proof for the existence of spiritualism. Blum’s well-researched and sympathetic account of their experiments and research is also a fascinating portrait of the Victorian obsession with mediums, séances, and the occult.

cover of Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas
Tom Callahan
This outstanding sports biography of the legendary quarterback of the old Baltimore Colts also sheds light on bygone era in pro football. Callahan is a former sports columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer.

cover of Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen
Cullen, a journalist from Time magazine, explores the many ways Americans personalize and customize the rites of death and burial. Her observations are fascinating and surprisingly entertaining.

cover of Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back
Norah Vincent
Intrigued by the “unspoken codes of male experience,” newspaper columnist Norah Vincent spent eighteen months disguised as a man. Her experiences—joining a bowling league, participating in an all-male retreat, dating women, entering a monastery—provide a unique perspective on the difficulties (“It was hard being a guy. Really hard.”) of being a American man.

cover of The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade
Anne Fessler
Between 1945 and 1973, 1.5 million single women gave up babies for adoption rather than bear the stigma of being an unwed mother. Through interviews conducted with more than one hundred of these women, Fessler reveals the devastating emotional consequences of their experiences and examines the moral attitudes that influenced their decisions.

cover of The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006 The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006
Dave Eggers, Editor
With the help of his San Francisco writing lab, Dave Eggers brings together an eclectic (to say the least!) mix of short fiction, essays, and excerpts from screenplays, transcripts, television scripts, and graphic novels for the 2006 edition of this long-running series. Don’t miss the introduction by Matt Groenig and the roundup of “notable words and sentences” from the past year.

cover of The Kentucky Anthology: Two Hundred Years of Writing in the Bluegrass State The Kentucky Anthology: Two Hundred Years of Writing in the Bluegrass State
Wade Hall, Editor
Take a fascinating tour of the history, literature, and culture of Kentucky with this collection of fiction, essays, diaries, poems, and speeches from writers such as John James Audubon, Abraham Lincoln, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Hunter S. Thompson, Muhammad Ali, and Bobbie Ann Mason.

cover of We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction
Joan Didion
Although Joan Didion won the 2005 National Book Award for The Year of Magical Thinking, a memoir about the death of her husband, her work has been dazzling critics for decades. Now for the first time, seven books of her nonfiction (published between 1968 and 2003) have been brought together in one collection. If you haven’t discovered the pleasures of Didion’s spare, sharply-observed essays about politics and culture, now is the perfect time.

cover of Innocent When You Dream: The Tom Waits Reader Innocent When You Dream: The Tom Waits Reader
Mac Montandon, editor
Fans of Tom Waits music have come to savor the relentlessly entertaining interviews that infrequently appear. Here, finally, is a gathering of those creative conversational gems.

cover of Wicked: The Grimmerie Wicked: The Grimmerie
David Cote
Packaged to resemble an ancient book of spells used by Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, The Grimmerie offers a fascinating glimpse into the hive of activity that goes on behind-the-scenes of Wicked. In addition to profiles of cast and crew and details about the staging and costumes, Cote includes the libretto and an Ozian glossary. A must for fans of the musical!

cover of Spacemen 3 & The Birth of Spiritualized Spacemen 3 & The Birth of Spiritualized
Erik Morse
Morse profiles Spacemen 3, a late 80’s/early 90’s British guitar-centric band who, despite their influence on popular music, remain relatively unknown. This whirlwind tour of a book touches on all the clichés of the rock-n-roll life: eccentric yet talented musicians, arguments, girlfriend troubles, drugs, altercations with the police, betrayal, success, and, of course…the inevitable breakup.

cover of Where Rivers and Mountains Sing: Sound, Music, and Nomadism in Tuva and Beyond Where Rivers and Mountains Sing: Sound, Music, and Nomadism in Tuva and Beyond
Theodore Levin
An authority on Central Asian music, Levin provides a thought-provoking examination of the work of musicians and sound artists who live among the nomadic people of the region. Includes artist profiles and a fascinating introduction to the techniques of Tuvan throat singers, with an accompanying CD/DVD.

cover of Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign; 1941 - 1945 Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign; 1941 - 1945
Evan Thomas
The assistant managing editor of Newsweek examines the Battle of Leyte Gulf from the perspective of four commanders (two Japanese and two American) involved in what would turn out to be one of the largest and most complicated naval engagements in history.

cover of I Wish I’d Been There: Twenty Historians Bring to Life Dramatic Events That Changed America I Wish I’d Been There: Twenty Historians Bring to Life Dramatic Events That Changed America
Have you ever fantasized about traveling back in time to witness a pivotal moment in history? Find out how twenty distinguished historians responded when asked to write an essay explaining which scene or incident in American history they would like to have witnessed.

cover of Seven Fires: The Urban Infernos that Reshaped America Seven Fires: The Urban Infernos that Reshaped America
Peter Charles Hoffer
Hoffer offers a vivid account of seven catastrophic fires that shaped the course of American history and urban development.

cover of State of Denial State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III
Bob Woodward
The third volume in Woodward’s series (Bush at War, Plan of Attack) about the Bush presidency delivers a stinging critique of the administration’s mismanagement of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

cover of Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
Nathaniel Philbrick
Philbrick, winner of the 2000 National Book Award for In the Heart of the Sea, delivers a “vivid and remarkably fresh retelling” (NYTBR) of one of our most cherished national myths—the journey of the Mayflower and the establishment of Plymouth Colony. Highly recommended for those interested in American history.

cover of New York Botanical Garden New York Botanical Garden
Beautiful photographs, colorful illustrations, and essays detailing the history of the New York Botanical Garden celebrate the beauty and scientific importance of one of our national treasures. A must read for horticultural researchers, landscape designers, and gardening enthusiasts!

cover of Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess
Gael Greene
Those who enjoyed Green’s breezy, irreverent restaurant reviews for her long-running column (“The Insatiable Critic”) in New York magazine will enjoy this equally lively memoir about savory meals and unforgettable lovers she encountered during her remarkable career.

cover of Ludlow Images of America
Acadia’s Images of America series relies heavily on striking vintage photographs from libraries, historical societies, archives, etc. to document the history and development of hundreds of communities from around the country. Titles of local interest recently added to our collection include: The Shaker Communities of Kentucky: Pleasant Hill and South Union, Hamilton County’s Green Township, Fort Thomas, Norwood, and Ludlow.

cover of Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest
Gerard J. De Groot
De Groot poses the argument that the Apollo Program conned taxpayers and provided a lavish, risky ego trip for technocrats and politicians. The accomplishments of the Apollo moon landings are set against lies, massive spending, short cuts, risk taking, and extreme competitiveness of NASA and the government to beat the Russians to the moon. The author’s stance presents another side to the great space race.

cover of The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
John Grisham
John Grisham takes the reader through the true story of a wrongful murder conviction. Grisham's background in law and experience as a fiction writer combine to produce a book that reads like a best selling thriller while revealing the real-life flaws in our legal system.