The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars Received: Raincoast Books Published: March 27th, 2018 Publisher: St-Martin’s Press Recommended Age: 14+ Pacing: Slow Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, True Crime
In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015. Continue reading →
Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success by Steve Harvey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Bought Published: 2014 Publisher: Amistad Recommended Age: 13+ Pacing: Fast Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Self Help, Business, Inspirational
When Steve Harvey was thirtysomething, he was living in his car. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make to give it his best shot at becoming a comedian. After several months of this lifestyle-washing in public bathrooms, eating fast food-he had considered giving up. Before calling his mother to ask if he could stay with her, he checked his voicemail. The Apollo Theatre wanted him to perform! Great opportunity, but Steve did not have enough money for gas to get from Tennessee to New York. He prayed about it, as he was too proud to ask for money. The following day he had a message from a club in Florida. The audience loved him so much they asked Steve back for a second night. The gig provided him enough money to fly to New York. Although he had no place to stay, walking around all night with a bag that held everything that he owned, it did not get him down. Continue reading →
How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Publisher Published: March 28th, 2017 Publisher: Ballantine Books Recommended Age: 14+ Pacing: Fast Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Self-Help, Life Experiences, Motivational & Inspiring, Celebrity Life
From actress, comedian, and YouTube sensation Lilly Singh (aka ||Superwoman||) comes the definitive guide to being a bawse—a person who exudes confidence, reaches goals, gets hurt efficiently, and smiles genuinely because they’ve fought through it all and made it out the other side. Told in her hilarious, bold voice that’s inspired over nine million fans, and using stories from her own life to illustrate her message, Lilly proves that there are no shortcuts to success. Continue reading →
In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars Received: Publisher Published: April 3rd, 2018 Publisher: Ballantine Books Recommended Age: 12+ Pacing: Normal Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Motivational Speech, Life & Goals, Education & Careers, Experiences
Advice for graduates and reflections on staying true to yourself from the beloved Gilmore Girls actress and New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Talking as Fast as I Can and the novel Someday, Someday, Maybe. Continue reading →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Borrowed Published: October 2017 Publisher: Day Street Books Recommended Age: 14+ Pacing: Normal Genres & Themes: Memoir, Essays, Race, Growing Up, Abuse, Celebrity Life, Beauty Standards, Relationships
In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support. Continue reading →
Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Borrowed Published: March 2017 Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group Recommended Age: 13+ Pacing: Normal Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Feminism, Gender Stereotypes, Education, Short essays
A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of responseHere are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today. Continue reading →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Publisher First Published: January 19th, 2016 Publisher: Random House Recommended Age: 16+ Pacing: Normal Genres & Themes: Adult, Nonfiction, Memoir, Medicine, Philosophy, Life
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. Continue reading →
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Raincoast Books First Published: April 4th, 2015 Publisher: HMH BFYR Recommended Age: 10+ Pacing: Normal Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Nonfiction, Environment, Middle Grade, History
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. The tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage—and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality.Continue reading →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Hachette Book Group Publication Date: August 19th, 2014 Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine Recommended Age: 11+ Pacing: Normal Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Nonfiction, Memoir, Education, Women’s Rights, Religion
Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren’t allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn’t go to school.
Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for the cause: She was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school.
Now she is an international symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest- ever Nobel Peace Prize nominee. In this Young Readers Edition of her bestselling memoir, which includes excessive photos and material, we hear firsthand the remarkable story of a girl who knew from a young age that she wanted to change the world-and did. Continue reading →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Hachette Book Group Canada Publication Date: May 17th, 2016 Publisher: Hachette Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine Recommended Age: 14+ Pacing: Fast Genres & Themes: NonFiction, Memoir, Feminism, Body Image, Sexuality
Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible–like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you–writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.
From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.
With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss–and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps. Continue reading →