Adults

The history of blacks in the South as seen through the eyes of a 110-year-old former slave. Based on the novel by Ernest J. Gaines.

The story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells were used in the 1950s to create the first immortal human cell line resulting in medical breakthroughs.

Director Spike Lee fashions a bold, flavorful picture of family life in a crowded but cozy Brooklyn neighborhood nicknamed "Crooklyn" by the Carmichaels, who experience one very special summer in their hometown under difficult but often wonderful circumstances.

Ali : a life by Jonathan Eig

This collection ranges from an early 1961 interview in which King describes his reasons for joining the ministry (after considering medicine), to a 1964 conversation with Robert Penn Warren, to his last interview, which was conducted on stage at the convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, just ten days before King's assassination. Timely, poignant, and inspiring.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most devastating global disasters in world history, the Flu Pandemic of 1918. During the fall of the Great War in 1918, an extremely virulent strain of influenza began to spread worldwide. The H1N1 influenza virus also known as the Spanish Flu caused such widespread outbreaks that it killed one fifth of the world's population. This year's influenza strain, the H3N2, is not a new strain, but it's one of the most lethal. Already it has affected every state in the U.S. and is on track for surpassing previous flu seasonal records. What to learn more about viruses? Check out this list!

Also available in: e-audiobook

The history of "the greatest massacre of the twentieth century," an illness that infected more than 500 million people.Between 1918 and 1920, the "Spanish flu" killed more than 50 million people, far more than in the world war then raging. Unlike the familiar flu, which targets infants and the elderly, it killed healthy adults. It was mankind's worst epidemic, writes Paris-based science journalist and novelist Spinney (The Quick, 2007, etc.) in this fine account of influenza's history, its worst attack (so far), and its ominous future. Despite the name, Americans were probably the first to experience the fever, cough, headache, and general miseries of the infection. During spring and summer, it behaved like the usual flu, but in fall 1918, it turned deadly and spread across the world, killing 2.5 to 10 percent of victims, a fatality rate 20 times higher than normal. Scientists have offered countless theories about the illness, but Spinney looks favorably at a recent theory that the 1918 virus provoked a "cytokine storm," a deadly overreaction of the immune system. This may explain why infants and the elderly, with their weaker immune systems, had an easier time. In the middle sections of the book, the author describes how a dozen nations dealt with the epidemic. Heroism was not in short supply, but superstition, racism, ignorance (including among doctors), and politics usually prevailed. In the concluding section, Spinney recounts impressive scientific progress over the past century but no breakthroughs. Revealing the entire viral genome opens many possibilities, but so far none have emerged. Researchers are working to improve today's only modestly protective vaccine; Spinney expresses hope. Readers who worry about Ebola, Zika, or SARS should understand that epidemiologists agree that a recurrence of the 1918 virus would be worse. Short on optimism but a compelling, expert account of a half-forgotten historical catastrophe.

The author unpacks the complex cultural, social and scientific effects of the 1918 influenza epidemic and reveals the American voices that fill the gap of a suppressed national memory. In less than two years, influenza killed more than 50 million people worldwide, shocking existing medical infrastructures and destabilizing the trust that citizens had in science. Physicians were at a loss to prescribe effective treatments; racial and gender divides grew as misunderstandings about the spread of disease exacerbated existing stereotypes; and fear of contagion threatened to collapse the kind of community support that had helped the nation endure past hardships. Simultaneously, the rise of public health care employed the rhetoric of opportunity and optimism, further destabilizing social boundaries as the death rate climbed. A combination of media emphasis on looking toward the future and a public call for increased funding for new scientific research assisted in whitewashing the deep sense of loss and despair that afflicted most Americans as they dealt with the aftermath of the pandemic. Bristow, whose great-grandparents succumbed to influenza in 1920, writes with depth and feeling. By researching dozens of primary sources, she reveals the human circumstances and personal stories behind the history of this tragic era. It's a much-needed addendum to pandemic literature and an important perspective to understand as new and ever-evolving flu strains hover over our collective understanding of disease. 

Nonfiction Book Group March 2018

Please join the Nonfiction Book Group to discuss:

Also available in: e-book

May 1940 was a month like no other, as the German war machine blazed into France while the supposedly impregnable Maginot Line crumbled, and Winston Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain as prime minister in an astonishing political drama as Britain, isolated and alone, faced a triumphant Nazi Germany. Against this vast historical canvas, Michael Korda relates what happened and why, and also tells his own story, that of a six-year-old boy in a glamorous movie family who would himself be evacuated. 

Upcoming sessions

Saturday, March 17 - 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Lunch and a Book March 2018

Please join Lunch and a Book to discuss the 2017-18 Great Michigan Read. 

X : a novel by Ilyasah Shabazz
Also available in: e-book

 No life is set in stone. Malcolm was a young man with boundless potential but with the odds stacked against him. Losing his father under suspicious circumstances and his mother to a mental health hospital, Malcolm fell into a life of petty crime and eventually prison. Instead of letting prison be his downfall, Malcom found a religion, a voice, and the podium that would eventually make him one of the most prominent figures in the burgeoning Civil Rights movement.

Upcoming sessions

Thursday, March 8 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM Community Room

If you are looking for fresh titles to add to your phone, tablet or reader, take a look at some of the newer additions to our OverDrive e-book collection. We add new titles almost every week, so there are many more on OverDrive to explore. If you are new to e-books, you can get learn how to get started on our E-media page.

When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston's most prominent hostesses, to a "Rat Tea," she is understandably intrigued. But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen's entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat. 

Ever since Anna Holcombe inexplicably refused his proposal, Reed Moreland has been unable to set foot in the home that was the backdrop to their romance—Winterset. But when Reed begins having troubling dreams about Anna being in danger, he puts his heartbreak and bitterness aside and directs his carriage back to Winterset, determined to protect the woman he cannot stop loving. 

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” 
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

The left hand of darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

An official from an interplanetary federation is called in to arbitrate peace on a planet whose inhabitants are technically advanced, androgynous, and have telepathic powers.

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