Nonfiction

This month's selections include a variety of formats and topics, fiction and non-fiction.

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense and generous hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante's inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her two protagonists.

Brotherhood in death by J. D. Robb
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | large print

Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather's magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head. Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD's top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there's nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze. As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed-- and locked-- doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can't go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming.

The  Agatha Christie Awards nominees for best mysteries published in 2015 reflect a wide range of authors, publishers, styles, and themes. In the contemporary category, award-winning favorites Margaret Maron, Louise Penny, and Hank Phillipi Ryan share the honoree podium with newcomer Annette Dashofy and Catriona McPherson. The winners will be announced at Malice Domestic 28, which will be held April 29-May 1, 2016.  Check out what is available at Canton Public Library.

Best Contemporary Novel

Long upon the land by Margaret Maron
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | large print

On a quiet August morning, Judge Deborah Knott's father Kezzie makes a shocking discovery on a remote corner of his farm: the body of a man bludgeoned to death. Investigating this crime, Deborah's husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, soon uncovers a long-simmering hostility between Kezzie and the slain man over a land dispute. The local newspaper implies that Deborah's family may have had something to do with the murder-and that Dwight is dragging his feet on the case. Meanwhile, Deborah is given a cigarette lighter that once belonged to her mother. The cryptic inscription inside rekindles Deborah's curiosity about her parents' past, and how they met. For years she has wondered how the daughter of a wealthy attorney could have married a widowed, semi-illiterate bootlegger, and this time she's determined to find the answer. But why are Deborah's brothers so reluctant to talk about the dead man? Is the murder linked to Kezzie's illegal whiskey business? And could his courtship of Deborah's mother have something to do with the bad blood between the two families? Despite Deborah's promise not to interfere in Dwight's work, she cannot stop herself from doing everything she can to help clear her brothers and her father from suspicion.

Bats sometimes get a bad rap, but these fuzzy creatures have a lot of positive things to offer! Most bats don't drink blood, and many bats love to eat fruit. Insect-eating bats eat their own body weight in insects every night! They naturally pollinate hundreds of plants around the world, spread seeds which allow plants to grow, and eat bugs at farms so that farmers don't have to use as many pesticides.

However, bats have had a difficult time lately, and many North American bat colonies have been devastated by white-nose syndrome, a disease caused by a white fungus on affected bats' wings and noses. 

You can learn more about bats and white-nose syndrome by checking out the resources below.

Additionally, you can visit the Organization for Bat Conservation to learn how to #savethebats, and you can even visit the Bat Zone at their new, expanded home to see live bats, sloths, flying squirrels, and more!

[Photo of a local big brown bat courtesy of the Organization for Bat Conservation]

Suggested Reads for Kids

Umberto Eco, the Italian author and scholar most know for his 1980 book turned movie "The Name of the Rose," passed away at the age of 84 in Milan, Italy on February 19th, 2016. We have a number of his fiction and nonfiction titles available as well as the 1986 film adaptation starring Sean Connery.

Investigating the deaths of two monks, a visiting brother discovers a secret library containing rare books considered lost to the world and dangerous to the Catholic faith.

The name of the rose by Umberto Eco
Also available in: e-audiobook

"The life and times of the wealthiest man who ever lived--Jacob Fugger--the Renaissance banker who revolutionized the art of making money and established the radical idea of pursuing wealth for its own sake. Jacob Fugger lived in Germany at the turn of the sixteenth century, the grandson of a peasant. By the time he died, his fortune amounted to nearly two percent of European GDP. Not even John D. Rockefeller had that kind of wealth. Most people become rich by spotting opportunities, pioneering new technologies, or besting opponents in negotiations. Fugger did all that, but he had an extra quality that allowed him to rise even higher: nerve. In an era when kings had unlimited power, Fugger had the nerve to stare down heads of state and ask them to pay back their loans--with interest. It was this coolness and self-assurance, along with his inexhaustible ambition, that made him not only the richest man ever, but a force of history as well. Join us Saturday, March 19 at 10 AM.

There are a number of books that deal with similar stories or events in history that have been adapted for younger audiences. Several other topics are covered by multiple ages for multiple age ranges. Pick one of these for yourself and one for your child, and discuss aspects of history as a family.

 

 

Extraordinary Zoo Stories During WWII

When Germany invaded Poland, bombers devastated Warsaw-- and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants and refusing to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, even as Europe crumbled around her.

Enjoy a few books about goats!

A visit to the state fair cements the friendship between a boy and a goat who are very different from one another.

A big bully, afflicted with Random Hostility Syndrome, terrorizes all of the forest animals until a clever young troll gets his goat.

Many of these nonfiction titles include actual digging, but others just dig up the facts. Many could be used to earn your Make History badge instead. 

True stories can be especially compelling, but if nonfiction's not your thing, try a different format. Graphic novels can put a new spark in real life events. The following suggestions are either straight nonfiction or based on true stories. 

Human body theater by Maris Wicks

A humorous and informative skeleton introduces each system of the human body, gaining a layer of her "costume" by the end of each act, becoming a fully formed human by the end of the play.

Journey into Mohawk Country by Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert

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