Bird Brother, by Rodney Stotts

Staff Pick

The look exchanged between man and bird in the cover photo speaks of mutual trust, strength, and respect—and it says everything about Stott’s deeply insightful, compelling, and moving book. Part memoir (dual tracking the 1990s and 2004 to 2021) and part primer on raptors, it charts the evolution of a DC drug dealer into a Master Falconer. Stotts always enjoyed being outdoors, but nature took a backseat to his urban hustling, until he needed a legit job in order to rent an apartment. He signed on with the Earth Conservation Corps to help clean up the Anacostia, and as he saw the difference his activities could make, and as he bonded with the people and animals he worked with, his life turned around. He began taking an active role in nurturing wildlife, then used rehabilitated creatures to reach out to young people, showing them that “once we understand the wild things, we understand ourselves,” and founding several organizations devoted to conservation and youth mentoring.


Bird Brother: A Falconer's Journey and the Healing Power of Wildlife By Rodney Stotts, Kate Pipkin (Contributions by) Cover Image
By Rodney Stotts, Kate Pipkin (Contributions by)
ISBN: 9781642831740
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Island Press - February 3rd, 2022

In Love, by Amy Bloom

Staff Pick

When it became clear that Bloom’s husband had Alzheimer’s and not just a case of Mild Cognitive Impairment, he insisted that he’d “rather die on my feet than live on my knees, “and it became Bloom’s job “to figure out how.” Her powerful, clear-eyed, and often remarkably funny memoir reports the inexorable stages of this terrifying disease and the attendant magical thinking, along with the couple’s somewhat race-the-clock efforts to let Brian exit while still the “loving, goofy, candy-sharing, soft-touch Babu” they wanted the grandchildren to remember. Bloom quickly exhausted the possibilities of U.S. right-to-die laws, frustrated at the deliberately narrow provisions of physician-assisted suicide, which didn’t match their goals at all. A better fit was with the Swiss organization, Dignitas, which offers “accompanied suicide” for those wishing to escape old age, or terminal illness, or some unbearable pain or disability. Since 1988 it has helped more than 3,000 end their lives as they wished. In what is at once a victory and a loss, Bloom’s husband met the stringent requirements—“sad…kinda angry...but not afraid.”   

In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss By Amy Bloom Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593243947
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - March 8th, 2022

The Invisible Kingdom, by Meghan O'Rourke

Staff Pick

O’Rourke’s exhaustive—and at times, fittingly, exhausting—memoir and cultural history examines chronic illness from every angle. She traces her own experience from the first mysterious night sweats and shooting pains in her 20s through the years of escalating and unpredictable fatigue, rashes, brain fogs, and insomnia, against the larger story of the ever-changing conceptions of what “disease” is and how to treat it. Each loop back brings her bang up against today’s rising numbers of the chronically ill and these (mostly) women’s growing demands on a health-care system ill-equipped to help, let alone heal them (not to mention those less privileged than O’Rourke, which she does, albeit in passing). Often the system, with its harried providers, fails even to hear these patients whose profiles defy the usual (male-based) checklists. Determined not to be dismissed as “inauthentic,” O’Rourke spends years seeking out specialists, procuring esoteric foods, trying experimental treatments, and obsessively charting the arc of her various conditions. At last, though test results are inconsistent, a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease, complicated by endometriosis, Hashimoto’s disease, and POTS, among other things, opens the way to a lasting improvement in her quality of life, allowing her to regain her lost sense of inner life, mother two healthy sons, teach, write poetry and a memoir remarkable not only for its important narrative but for its visceral evocations of the land of the ill.


The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness By Meghan O'Rourke Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594633799
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - March 1st, 2022