Public librarians get to do the cool job of readers’ advisory. Academic librarians rarely do; and definitely not academic acquisitions librarians. Even though I don’t have the opportunity to recommend books particularly often, I have a few books that are favorites that I would like to recommend.
In the series “A Few of My Favorite Things,” I’ll perform some readers’ advisory and give some reading recommendations.
In this iteration of “A Few of My Favorite Things,” I’ll discuss 3 of my favorite nonfiction books.
Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (Bart D. Erhman). This book is fabulous – it’s easy to read and follow; and it’s almost like a mystery novel. Biblical historian Bart D. Ehrman examines archaeological and textual evidence in order to create an image of Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, a man who believed the end days would come in his lifetime or that of his followers. Even though I was assigned this book for a college course, I could not put the damned thing down. If you have even the slightest interest in religion or Christianity, this is a great book to look into.
Arms: The Culture and Credo of the Gun (A.J. Somerset). Yet another book in this list that I seriously could not put down. Journalist (and former army reservist) A.J. Somerset examines North American gun culture – primarily of the United States and Canada. The gun culture in North America is highly gendered (in particular, masculine) and this book seems written in a much more masculine style – but it’s a read that readers of all genders will like. Readers learn about how the military fostered gun culture in order to train snipers and sharpshooters for WWI and WWII, how most pro-gun rhetoric is aimed towards men only, how the gun is a symbol that divides communities.
Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany (Hans J. Massaquoi). This book has moments that are slower than the above two books, but Hans J. Massaquoi’s Destined to Witness is not a real life story that anyone wants to miss. In this autobiography, Massaquoi details his experience growing up as biracial with a German mother in Hamburg, Germany during the Nazi regime. At the end of the World War, he travels to Liberia to find his father and his Liberian family, then finally to the United States. It’s a book I will recommend to anyone.
BONUS: If you find yourself stuck in a college-level poetry class and have no idea what your professor is talking about, then A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry (Annie Finch) might be a good bet. It’s also excellent for teaching an aspiring poet a little bit more about the craft.