Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña

photographic

Originally published in: 2018

What’s it about: A biography telling the story of Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide’s life and work in the format of a graphic novel.

What made me pick it up:  As always, I find it impossible to resist a graphic biography.

My favorite things: I love that the many illustrations mirror Iturbide’s original image-which are often included on the opposite page. I also found the first-person voice compelling.

Who it’s great for: Fans of Iturbide’s work. Readers interested in the stories and experiences behind the work of contemporary artists.

Abby’s rating: four shells


Find this in your local library or on Amazon.


 

Squeezed by Alissa Quart

queezed

Originally published in: 2018

What it’s about: The disappearance of the middle class in America, or as the subtitle puts it: Why our families can’t afford America.

What made me pick it up: Because I saw the author was coming to our beloved book festival in a couple months. And also because I had to work for a decade after earning two degrees to even be considered mathematically middle class based on income and I know so many others struggling as much or worse than I am.

My favorite parts: The best parts are honestly the hardest to read about because affirmation of a bad situation doesn’t improve it. Wages have not really grown in 40 years for the working and middle classes of America, while wealth at the top has grown exponentially. That math is making just living untenable. College is more expensive, full time benefited work is harder to come by, and housing rates are simply unaffordable in many areas. Social safety nets are underfunded, or failing, and basic needs like universal child and healthcare and support of working parents are missing entirely. This book will spark some tough conversations about the way forward, but that will probably involve following the lead of our European neighbors and raising taxes to support our people.

Who it’s great for: Anyone working hard just to stay afloat and wondering why.

Erica’s rating: four shells

Calm the F*ck Down by Sarah Knight

calm

Originally published in: 2018

What it’s about: Tackling anxiety’s penchant for overthinking and spiraling by focusing on what you can control.

What made me pick it up: I’ve tried in the past to get into these books and not managed it but turns out the key was the audio! This came up on OverDrive and I checked it right out.

My favorite parts: The author as narrator, honestly. Her brand of humor is just my style and I appreciate her advice to use logic to organize and tackle the parts of whatever problem you have that are within your control. She understands the struggles of those with overactive minds or diagnosed general anxiety disorder and genuinely wants to give you some big sisterly advice that will maybe help. If you also need drugs or want to try mindfulness, good on you. Mostly, I think the more books we have openly discussing mental health issues, the more normalized they can be – and that can sometimes be half the battle. If you don’t know many others are struggling the same way you are it can really compound your suffering. We’re all in this together, so let’s learn some tools to help us through.

Who it’s great for: Anyone who struggles with anxiety and rumination and wants some effective solutions.

Erica’s rating: four shells

How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir is Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery

creature.jpg

Originally published in: 2018

What’s it about: A memoir told through reflections on life-shaping relationships and interactions with animals.

What made me pick it up:  This book is SO CUTE!

My favorite things: I was pleasantly surprised by how effortlessly readable this was. Montgomery’s anecdotes vary between heartwarming and heartbreaking, but always highlight the importance of connection and family – even when your family doesn’t fit the traditional mold. I also found Rebecca Green’s illustrations to be absolutely charming.

Who it’s great for: Fan’s of Sy Montgomery’s other work. Readers interested in memoirs with unusual structures.

Abby’s rating: four shells


Find this in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).