Recommended Reads's blog

what if?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

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The first question in Randall Munroe's book what if?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions may bring to mind R.E.M.'s song, "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine."; you know you're contemplating ultimate death and destruction, but strangely, you're okay with it. So what would happen if the Earth and all terrestrial objects suddenly stopped spinning, but the atmosphere retained its velocity? Why should we care - or worry?

The Real Food Revolution: Healthy Eating, Green Groceries, and the Return of the American Family Farm by Tim Ryan

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During the past decade, many individuals have worked to raise awareness about our corrupt and unhealthy corporate food system.

The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic & the Endangered by Michele Raffin

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It all started with the rescue of one bird; a good deed that led to a passion and a calling. Michele Raffin didn't know much about birds when she helped save a small bird from a busy freeway and get it to a vet. Despite the vet's best attempts to save it, the bird died several days later. Raffin was heartbroken.

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills

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Despite the enduring legacy of the 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, its author, Harper Lee, who never wrote another book, for years remained one of the most enigmatic writers to the public.

Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta

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When children's authors mention their profession to inquiring strangers, they often hear, "Oh, that's so sweet!" or something equally cloying. The reality is far from the stereotypical image of cute little animals and happily ever after: Scandal, violence, subversion, rebellion, parody, censorship, and controversy abound.

A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community by Sister Simone Campbell

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Sister Simone Campbell has spent virtually her entire life advocating for social justice. In third grade, for example, after her teacher denied a classmate a part in the class play, Sister Simone wrote and directed her own play in which everyone had a part.

I'll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist by Betty Halbreich with Rebecca Paley

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Sometimes, you have a plan for your life, and it plays out exactly as you imagined. More often, you experience unexpected twists, and you either make the best of them and move forward or regret them and live forever in the past.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

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Thanks to advances in medicine and technology, humans are living longer than ever before. But is that necessarily a good thing?

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg

The Underground Girls of Kabul book coverTo be born female in many countries is to be born an outcast, stripped of rights and freedom, abused, exploited, and, often, marked for death. Afghanistan, one such country in which girls have little or no value, serves as the setting for award-winning investigative journalist Jenny Nordberg's book The Underground Girls of Kabul.

Last Chain on Billie: How One Extraordinary Elephant Escaped the Big Top by Carol Bradley

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For decades, elephants have been a primary attraction at circuses, performing impressive stunts to spellbound audiences. Out of the spotlight, however, elephants (and other trained animals) endure a bleak, oftentimes abusive, existence. Last Chain on Billie by Carol Bradley highlights one such elephant's experience that fortunately has a rare happy ending.