NOBLE Libraries Most Popular Adult Nonfiction 2020
Educated : a memoir
Summary:Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Too much and never enough : how my family created the world’s most dangerous man
Summary:In this portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary L. Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man is.
The splendid and the vile : a saga of Churchill, family, and defiance during the blitz
Summary:"On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold the country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally-and willing to fight to the end. Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people "the art of being fearless." Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports, Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family and the close advisers who comprised Churchill’s "Secret Circle."
Summary:When she was a little girl, Michelle Robinson’s world was the South Side of Chicago, where she and her brother shared a bedroom in their family’s apartment and where her parents raised her to be outspoken and unafraid. But life soon took her much further afield, from the halls of Princeton, where she learned for the first time what if felt like to be the only Black woman in a room, to the office tower where she worked as a high-powered corporate lawyer, and where a law student named Barack Obama appeared in her office and upended all her carefully made plans. In this memoir she describes the early years of her marriage as she struggles to balance her work and family with her husband’s fast-moving political career and takes us inside their private debate over whether he should make a run for the presidency, and her subsequent role as a popular but oft-criticized figure during his campaign. Narrating with grace, good humor, and uncommon candor, she provides a vivid, behind-the-scenes account of her family’s launch into the global limelight as well as their life inside the White House over eight years, as she comes to know her country and her country comes to know her.
Born a crime : stories from a South African childhood
Summary:Noah’s path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. As he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist, his mother is determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. With an incisive wit and unflinching honesty, Noah weaves together a moving yet funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time.
Talking to strangers : what we should know about the people we don’t know
Summary:In this thoughtful treatise spurred by the 2015 death of African-American academic Sandra Bland in jail after a traffic stop, New Yorker writer Gladwell aims to figure out the strategies people use to assess strangers, to "analyze, critique them, figure out where they came from, figure out how to fix them," in other words: to understand how to balance trust and safety. He uses a variety of examples from history and recent headlines to illustrate that people size up the motivations, emotions, and trustworthiness of those they don’t know both wrongly and with misplaced confidence.
The body : a guide for occupants
Summary:As compulsively readable as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner’s manual for everybody. Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body — how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, this book will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular.
Maybe you should talk to someone : a therapist, HER therapist, and our lives revealed
Summary:Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice when a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist. As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives -— a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys — she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell: about desire and need, guilt and redemption, meaning and mortality, loneliness and love.
Catch and kill : lies, spies, and a conspiracy to protect predators
Summary:In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family. All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance they could not explain — until now. This is the untold story of the tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse, and the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.
The library book
Summary:“On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. Raging through the stacks, the fire reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. It was the largest library fire in the history of the United States: it destroyed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more, and shut the library down for seven years. The mystery remains: did someone purposefully set fire to the library -— and if so, who?