Category Archives: Non-fiction

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Image result for hillbilly elegyHillbilly Elegy offers a fascinating look into the lives of white rural Americans. Author J.D. Vance uses his own personal experiences to describe and illuminate current social issues among working-class Americans. It is a quick, engrossing read, especially in light of the current political situation in the United States. I would recommend this book for anyone wanting to get an insight into the lives and hopes and dreams of those who feel so let down by their failure to achieve the “American Dream.” (Submitted by Claire).

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Furiously Happy: a funny book about horrible things by Jenny Lawson

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I listened to this book as an audiobook. The subtitle describes the book perfectly – it is both very funny and very sad. Lawson suffers from depression and various other mental and physical issues. The title comes from her deciding to be “furiously happy” and live life to the fullest during the times when she’s able. I found the funny and horrible to be mixed very well–a serious chapter about depression followed by something bizarre about taxidermy raccoons.

Lawson isn’t for everyone; she has a very odd sense of humour and a rather foul mouth and is very frank about depression. But if you enjoy quirky humour and live with depression yourself or in a loved one, this is a great listen. Lawson is a true advocate for mental illness and she provides a very real look at depression – I was particularly interested in her description of how people with mental illness just don’t have the same amount of energy as “normal” people (she calls it the “spoon theory”) and how it is not treated like a disease–sufferers are told to get over it or just be happy while we would never say such things to people with physical ailments.  I laughed a lot and I really admire her philosophy of being furiously happy, I plan to try it myself! (Submitted by Gayle).

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Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images by Terence Dickinson

Image result for hubble's universe book coverHubble’s Universe is a feast for the eyes with stunningly beautiful images of space and just as stunning facts about our universe.

The book will quench the thirst for knowledge and details about cosmos for science-oriented individuals and it will be entertaining and not daunting for those who only want to dip their toes into space matters. There is a fine balance between the written information and spectacular visuals; so, at the end, you don’t get tired of either one. If you would like to explore the universe and see new galaxies, meet new planets,  learn about the dark matter, and see places you have never seen – all at no cost, come to Surrey Libraries and borrow the Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images(Submitted by Mariya T)

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The Golden Spruce: a true story of myth, madness, and greed by John Vaillant

Image result for golden spruceThis book was excellently written – it made a topic that I wasn’t too sure was all that interesting into a fascinating and page-turning true tale. Highly recommended. (Submitted by JF).

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Gorge, my journey up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds by Kara Richardson Whitely

Image result for Gorge, my journey up KilimanjaroTo hike Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, is already an accomplishment. To do it twice is a triumph, but to do it while weighing 300 pounds, well, that was thought to be impossible. Kara’s struggling story of food addiction, family problems, low self-image, and her raw feelings of failure and shame are honest and unforgettable. The way that she was able to overcome these challenges are an inspiration. (Submitted by YR.)

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Sophia: princess, suffragette, revolutionary by Anita Anand

This was a fantastic biography with great writing. It was super interesting–I absolutely loved it! If you want to read about an interesting life, this is a great choice. Sophia was born into Indian royalty and raised in an English palace. She surprised everyone when she returned to India as a revolutionary battling injustice.  Highly recommended. (Submitted by JF).

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Reeva: A Mother’s Story by June Steenkamp

In 2012, during the London Olympics, the Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius inspired the world by becoming the first para-athlete to compete in both Paralympic and Olympic Games as a sprinter. Several months later he made the news headlines again, this time for fatally shooting his model girlfriend of three months, Reeva Steemkamp, in the middle of the night in his posh Pretoria villa.

Reeva’s mother, June Steenkamp, wrote this fascinating memoir describing the long months after she received the phone call that her beautiful, youngest daughter had been killed. In this painfully honest and unflinching account of Reeva’s life, she talks about Reeva’s wonderful childhood and what really went on in her mind as she sat in the packed Pretoria court room day after day and how she is coping in the aftermath of the verdict. Reeva is an amazing and very well written true insider’s account of this tragic story. (Submitted by Monika).

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