In the stacks: New nonfiction crop hits shelves

Among the offerings: books on prenuptial advice, feminist activism

Posted: Sunday, April 17, 2005

Featured Books

• "what to do before 'i do,' " by nihara k. choudhri.

• "how the earthquake bird got its name," by h.h. shugart.

• "delaying the real world," by colleen kinder.

• "grassroots," by jennifer baumgardner and amy richards.

• "the polysyllabic spree," by nick hornby.

• "bloody falls of the coppermine," by mckay jenkins.

• "unrooted childhoods," edited by faith eidse and nina sichel.

• "easy html for ebay," by nicholas chase.

Here's what's new in nonfiction at the Juneau Public Libraries:

"What To Do Before 'I Do,' " by Nihara K. Choudhri. Hardly a topic on which engaged couples want to dwell, nevertheless, this is solid information on debt, divorce and prenuptial agreements aimed squarely at those about to say "I do." With cautionary stories about those who signed, those who didn't, and those who wish they had or hadn't, this is a fairly balanced view of the ways you can be protected or prosecuted by those you love. Get your questions about shared responsibilities and liabilities answered now and find out how to talk about the future in the ways that matter to lawyers and the government as well as to yourselves.

"How the Earthquake Bird Got Its Name and Other Tales of an Unbalanced Nature," by H.H. Shugart. Change is inevitable in the world: Populations of animals rise and fall, coastlines are worn away, and vegetation creates soil from rock and is, in turn, taken over by other plants that push the first out. What Shugart finds important is the way that one change engenders another, like ripples in a pond. His discussions of how scientists study the changes that arise from the introduction of foreign species of animals and plants, climactic change and predation, are scientific, but clear and interesting.

"Delaying the Real World," by Colleen Kinder. Written for those in their 20s with at least some college under their belts, this is a how-to guide for experimenting with your life. Enthusiasm and curiosity take precedence over funds and credentials for the majority of the adventures. Have the itch to travel abroad? Want to be out in the sun all summer? Does the idea of working to improve the world motivate you? There's something for everyone here!

"Grassroots: A Field Guide For Feminist Activism," by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards. There are plenty of things in this world to wring our hands over, but have you ever wondered if there's anything you could do to help? Here's a book that tells stories of real women who have taken steps to fight against injustice and illegality at the personal, community and national levels. Whether you are interested in working against domestic violence or advocating changes in government policies, this is an inspiring book that not only gives useful ideas, but also the encouragement to get it together and do something.

"The Polysyllabic Spree," by Nick Hornby. Readers of Believer magazine are already familiar with Hornby's monthly column on books he's read, books he's bought and what he may someday read or buy. Along the way, he poses questions like: If there were such a thing as a cultural Boxing League, which would win - "Crime and Punishment" or "The Last Supper"? (He backs the book every time.) Pick this up as a springboard for your own reading list, or to find out what someone else thinks about what you've already read, or even for ideas of what not to read, but if you are a reader, do pick it up.

"Bloody Falls of the Coppermine," by McKay Jenkins. In the winter of 1913, two Catholic priests, unprepared for an arctic winter and unskilled at hunting, set out from their home in the Canadian Arctic to convert a new group of Eskimos. Caught in a clash of cultures, they were both killed. Two years later, news of their death reached Canadian authorities and a police investigation was launched 3,000 miles into the Barren Lands. Eventually, two men were brought in from the murder site, tried, and acquitted... but that wasn't the end of this sad and engrossing story.

"Unrooted Childhoods," edited by Faith Eidse and Nina Sichel. This extraordinary compilation of memories explores the variety of experiences had by children who have grown up nomadic. Where most of us grow up with a national identity, these writers, children of ambassadors, expatriates and military brats, all share a mobile past that has affected their cultural and national ties, for the most part making them feel bound more to the world than a citizen of any one country. Writers include Isabel Allende, Pico Iyer, Pat Conroy, Carlos Fuentes and many more.

"Easy HTML for eBay," by Nicholas Chase. Want to start wheeling and dealing on eBay? Here's what you need to create pages that present your wares in all their glory. Starting out with how to register as a seller on eBay, Chase moves quickly on to explain the basics of HTML and the most-used tags for eBay purposes. There are also chapters on taking good photographs and making mediocre photos better, designing appealing layouts and adding special touches that usually come with lots of experience, but which just might make a sale.

• To place a hold on our material, call the Juneau Public Libraries at 586-5249, or visit our Web site ( To place holds on items featured in this column, look up the column on our Web site, click on the title you want and you will be ready to place a hold.

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