Vancouver Public Library and V.I.A. have teamed up to help you discover new reads, hidden book gems and surprising literary finds.
Netflix queue run dry? Caught up on all your podcasts? Why not turn to the original bingeable medium – books. Clear your schedule, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, put on your reading socks and settle in with these non-fiction reads you won’t be able to put down.
The State of Affairs by Esther Perel
During the tour of her first book “Mating in Captivity,” Perel noticed a trend in audience questions: everyone wanted to know more about cheating. So she made it the focus of her next book, The State of Affairs. Perel is not here to pass judgement, but instead uses her insatiable curiosity to explore the topic from both sides. The book’s research comes from Perel’s extensive work as a couple’s therapist, and presents emotional and intellectual challenges to anyone who seeks success in their long-term relationships.
The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris
Not everyone has the stomach for graphic tales of grisly executions, especially when perpetrated by the very establishment appointed to guard health. Welcome to the world of Victorian surgery: when anesthetic and antiseptic were non-existent, and those without the means to be cured at home had no alternative but to risk the knife in the public operating theatre. Fitzharris uses her engaging voice to combine exhaustive research with irresistibly gruesome details to tell the story of how an unassuming Quaker changed medical history.
The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson
A compelling account of a bookish young man that becomes a rock star of the fly-tying world while still in his teens. The British Museum of Natural History is horrified when they realize a valuable and rare collection of Victorian bird specimens, gathered by Charles Darwin’s contemporary Alfred Russell Wallace, is missing. Before long the contraband plumage is being used to supply wealthy fly-tying enthusiasts with never-before seen lures, who quietly keep their questionable dealings hidden from authorities. Sound familiar? You may have heard it on NPR’s This American Life. Dive even deeper into this thrilling true tale by reading the book.
The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman
Vladimir Nabokov wrote his licentious novel Lolita in 1955, and it became an immediate literary classic. Little did anyone realize at the time that it was based on the real life of Sally Horner and events that transpired just seven years earlier. Weinman expands on her original 2014 article about this discovery to bring us the full account of this inconceivable, tragic crime.
How to Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price
Did you know that Facebook users collectively spend nearly 40,000 years’ worth of time on the site every single day? Coming in under 200 pages, Price’s book is perfect for those seeking to understand more about our complex relationship with technology, particularly if the goal is to regain control and become more engaged with what is happening offline.
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
For those who believe libraries will become obsolete, think again. Orlean is a master storyteller who takes readers on a journey that delves into the changing roles libraries have played in our communities over time, starting with the recounting of a tragic 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire. While confessed bibliophiles will no doubt give a thumbs up, Orlean’s stories will resonate with anyone with a thirst for history and shared cultural experiences. Vive les bibliothèques!