The Invisible Kingdom, by Meghan O'Rourke

Staff Pick

Writer and critic Meghan O’Rourke is uniquely suited to write a testimonial about what it’s like to live with a chronic illness. In The Invisible Kingdom: Living with Chronic Illness, she recounts the onset of mysterious autoimmune disorders when she was a young woman and the misdiagnoses and imprecise treatments that followed. O’Rourke bravely takes the reader through the array of health problems that left her demoralized and incapacitated, and led to assumptions among her doctors that her illness was due to anxiety, depression, or emotional instability. Relying on her skill as a writer, O’Rourke delivers her story with a message: There are no neat solutions for her or the tens of millions of Americans suffering from auto-immune diseases that doctors routinely ignore or don’t understand. These patients must endure a health care system too specialized and frazzled to find answers to illnesses that require holistic, integrated approaches to diagnoses and treatment. It is no surprise that O’Rourke’s book was a finalist for this year’s National Book Award. Deservedly so. 


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

Why Fish Don't Exist, by Lulu Miller

Staff Pick

NPR science reporter and podcaster Lulu Miller grew up with a scientist father who believed that, in the cosmic scheme of things, human lives were meaningless. Wrestling with this idea, she became fascinated with scientist David Starr Jordan, who in the late 19th and early 20th centuries catalogued more fish species than any other researcher and then withstood professional catastrophes that destroyed years of his work. Probing Jordan’s resilience amid professional tragedy led Miller to a more worrisome discovery: later in life, Jordan became a rabid eugenicist whose racist beliefs exposed a darker side of scientific research. Miller tackles the contradictions of Jordan’s career as she examines the evolution of her own life--and the years she has spent reckoning with how to find meaning and purpose in an inherently chaotic world.


Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life By Lulu Miller Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501160349
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 6th, 2021

Memorial Drive, by Natasha Tretheway

Staff Pick

This extraordinary memoir--a daughter’s memoir, says the subtitle--has been out for a few years but is timeless in its power and message. Tretheway, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former Poet Laureate, returns to a subject that has haunted her since the day it happened: the murder of her mother by her second husband outside the apartment building where they lived in Atlanta. It takes years for Tretheway to fully revisit the pain of that tragedy and explore the underlying contributions of race, gender, class, and historical legacy to her mother’s death, and to the broader subject of violence against women, especially Black women. Tretheway takes the reader on this elegiac journey of discovery, one that plumbs very dark places but finds light and hope at the end. Not surprisingly, Tretheway’s prose is poetic—her book a beautifully written tale of finding oneself, one’s place, and one’s home as society’s cross-currents swirl around you.


Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir By Natasha Trethewey Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062248589
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Ecco - June 1st, 2021