History and Current Events
The Family Next Door: The Heartbreaking Imprisonment of the 13 Turpin Siblings and... by John GlattWhat it is: the disturbing story of seemingly picture-perfect couple David and Louise Turpin, who for years brutalized and imprisoned their 13 children in their suburban California home.
What happened: In January 2018, the Turpins' 17-year-old daughter Jordan made a daring escape to successfully alert the authorities.
Is it for you? True crime fans will appreciate this timely account of a gruesome case that's still making headlines -- in April 2019, David and Louise received life sentences for their crimes.
On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane by Emily GuendelsbergerWhat it's about: journalist Emily Guendelsberger's experiences working in the service industry after losing her job at a Philadelphia newspaper.
What she did: Guendelsberger held jobs as a "picker" at an Amazon fulfillment center in Louisville, an AT&T call center representative in North Carolina, and a cashier at a San Francisco McDonald's.
Why you might like it: Reminiscent of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, this eye-opening account offers ample context for the grueling (and often inhumane) working conditions of today's low-wage jobs.
The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison's Ten-Year Road Trip by Jeff GuinnWhat it's about: Every year between 1914 and 1924, inventor pals and "autocamping" enthusiasts Henry Ford and Thomas Edison embarked on a cross-country summertime jaunt through America.
Why it matters: The pair's highly-publicized adventures contributed to the car industry boom, spurred the improvement of roadways, and inspired the concept of the road trip.
Read it for: a quirky blend of history, biography, and travelogue.
The Liberation of Paris: How Eisenhower, de Gaulle, and von Choltitz Saved the City of Light by Jean Edward SmithWhat it is: a dramatic account of the August 1944 liberation of Paris, which left the city miraculously unscathed.
What sets it apart: the lesser-known story of Dietrich von Choltitz, the German general who defied Hitler's orders to destroy the city.
Don't miss: a moving new perspective on the relationship between Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle.
The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time by Keith HoustonWhat it is: a witty deep dive into the evolution of the book that explores how technological advancements, entrepreneurial trial and error, and shifting artistic and cultural conventions resulted in the bound tomes today's readers know and love.
What's inside: chapters surveying the history of elements that make up a book, including paper, ink, type, illustration, and binding.
Chapters include: "Etching a Sketch: Copperplate Printing and the Renaissance;" "Size Matters: The Invention of the Modern Book."
When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill ManningWhat it's about: how the War Department, publishing industry, and librarians collaborated to distribute 120 million pocket-sized Armed Services Edition paperbacks to American soldiers during WWII.
Featuring: intrepid librarian Althea Warren, the American Library Association's first director of the National Defense Book Campaign.
Why it matters: the morale-boosting Armed Services Editions were many soldiers' introduction to literature, inspiring them to correspond with authors or seek higher education after their service.
Printer's Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History by J. P. Romney and Rebecca RomneyWhat it is: a collection of humorous (and occasionally strange) anecdotes about famous books, authors, and printers throughout history.
Read it for: a lively narrative and lighthearted tone.
Did you know? Since Johannes Gutenberg did not keep records of his life, it took nearly 300 years for scholars to prove that he invented the printing press.
Part of Our Lives: A People's History of the American Public Library by Wayne A. WiegandWhat it is: a compelling history of public libraries that centers on the experiences of patrons rather than staff.
What sets it apart: Though this is a mostly celebratory account, author Wayne A. Wiegand also notes the ways that libraries have denied access to their patrons, whether by censoring materials or prohibiting members of marginalized communities from obtaining library cards.
Reviewers say: "eminently readable...a must-have" (Booklist).
The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and... by Edward Wilson-LeeStarring: Hernando Colón, thrill-seeking bibliophile and illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus.
What it's about: how Colón endeavored to build a library collecting every book in the world, which he meticulously cataloged in a system of his own making that is now considered the first "search engine."
Try this next: for another engaging account of Renaissance-era bibliophilia, check out Stephen Greenblatt's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Swerve, about Poggio Bracciolini's 1417 discovery of a lost Roman text.