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In the stacks: New nonfiction

Posted: December 15, 2011 - 12:04am

We’re putting out lots of new nonfiction on subjects ranging from biographies (Spencer Tracy) to cookbooks and graphic novels. Browse the new books shelves at each library or go to our online catalogue search page, scroll down, and browse the lists of new books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, large print, and Alaskana.

“Tokyo on Foot,” by Florent Chavouet.

When Chavouet accompanied his girlfriend to Japan for a six-month internship, he took along his sketchpad, colored pencils, and his sharp curiosity in people, everyday events, and fruit and vegetable stickers. This collection of his sketches is grouped by neighborhood, and all feature apparently ubiquitous police officers, puzzling store signs, and, to Western eyes, equally puzzling people. Sprinkled with “sociology studies” (how to tell the math nerd girl from the physics nerd girl, for example), visuals comparisons of Japanese men’s facial hair (there’s the Johnny Depp, the Miyazaki, and the Macaque, to name a few), and personal maps of Chavouet’s neighborhood haunts, this has the feel of a friend’s scrapbook. (Pair this with “A Year in Japan” by Kate Williamson for another, broader, visual exploration of Japan.)

“Axe Cop,” by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle.

What happens when a 29-year-old comic book artist collaborates with his 5-year-old brother? Axe Cop! This is beautifully-drawn absurdist humor straight from the mind of a kid who’s trying to work out how the world works, and it’s funny stuff! (Also violent and sometimes unintentionally unsettling, as anyone who has spent much time around little boys might expect.) Find out how Axe Cop came to be, who his sidekicks are, what it takes to kill Vampire Man Baby Kid, and how Dr. Doo Doo’s doody soldiers came to be.

“Rad Dad,” edited by Tomas Moniz and Jeremy Adam Smith.

A “best of” collection of essays from the ‘zine Rad Dad and the blog Daddy Dialectic in which Moniz and Smith write about how being fathers has changed their lives in the whole — the politics of being a dad, whether it’s being the only guy on the playground, marveling at the effortless way kids pick up on benefits and detriments of various skin tones, trying to avoid the pink and blue divide, or working on the balancing of “dad” and “mom” responsibilities and options. There are plenty of books out there from women examining their experiences being a parent — here’s one by the men. Thoughtful, passionate, and intelligent, these essays will make readers consider their own thoughts about parenthood and what it means in our society today.

“Small Green Roofs,” by Nigel Dunnett, Dusty Gedge, John Little, and Edmund C. Snodgrass.

Intrigued by the new transit center’s sedum and sea thrift roof? Wondering whether there’s more to it than simply not scraping the moss off? The authors of (and therefore many of the examples in) this groundbreaking book are from the UK and New England, whose climates are similar to Juneau, and so the ideas in this book won’t require much adaptation for us here in Southeast. Following a discussion of the basics (whether to do it yourself or find a contractor, how to tell whether your contractor has the right expertise, maintenance issues, and other crucial considerations), there’s a roundup of projects ranging from flowering garden sheds, grassy garages, and vegetable houses, down to small buildings like wood and bike sheds and even a tiny cat shelter.

“How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less,” by Sarah Glidden.

Glidden has argued with herself and others about the role of Israel and Judaism in her own life, and jumps at the chance to go on a Birthright Tour sponsored by the Israeli government. She’s determined to be open-minded on the trip and come back “crystal clear” on the topic, and to her credit, she works hard to overcome the biases against Israel that have crept up despite her Jewish background. But as she visits historic sites and learns their deeper history with the rest of her group, she realizes there cannot be any easy answers to the centuries-old conflicts. Presented in graphic novel form, this is not only a fascinating travelogue, but a step-by-step look into issues surrounding the conflict in the area.

“Serve Yourself,” by Joe Yonan.

If you’re looking for interesting one-person recipes with a somewhat Southwest leaning, pick up this cookbook that’s full of delicious and healthy recipes and mouthwatering photographs. Everything is scaled down for the solo cook (some recipes make leftovers, but nothing unmanageable), and Yonan notes which ones can be scaled up to serve more or to be frozen for later. His chapter groupings are a little unusual: he devotes entire chapters to tacos, pizza, and sandwiches, in addition to a chapter on condiments, one on desserts, and one on eggs. Look for recipes for Cabbage and Pear Kimchi, Strawberry Vanilla Jam, a Sweet Potato Soup Base (to be frozen in 1 cup increments) and several ways to use it, and Roasted Chile Relleno. Dessert includes Spicy Coconut Sorbet and Cappuccino Tapioca Pudding with Cardamom Brulee.

• For information about upcoming programs, or to place a hold, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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