Go beyond the headlines with these reads

Catherine Coles
Coles Notes

If you are a reader caught up in all of the hot topics and big social issues of the day, why not delve a little bit deeper than a news article? There are so many timely non-fiction titles available for you to dig into in order to gain a better grasp of a particular subject or perspective. The following are a few examples of non-fic books that I recently read and you may find interesting too.

In Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIS, journalist, academic and writer Azadeh Moaveni chronicled years in the lives of women who joined the Islamic State. Why were so many young women (often Westerners) persuaded to leave their families and risk everything to journey to Syria? Some had men in their lives who they had hoped to follow, while others thought it would ideal to live in a country ruled by Islamic law, failing to recognize the extent of the atrocities being committed. Even more of these women and girls were simply naïve, lost souls who were groomed over the internet. They come from all different classes, backgrounds, and countries but they all had something in common: they would soon realize their mistake. This complicated, thought-provoking read begs the question: where do we draw the line between victim and conspirator?

Highway of Tears is a timely book by journalist Jessica McDiarmid that focuses on a stretch of road in Northern British Columbia that connects the communities of Prince Rupert and Prince George. Once known as Hwy 16, it is now referred to as the Highway of Tears, where hundreds of Indigenous women and girls have gone (and continue to go) missing and/or wound up murdered. McDiarmid focuses on a large number of victims, telling their stories, and humanizing the horrific statistics. Unfortunately, at times it felt like there were too many stories being told, making the book feel a bit cobbled together. That said, this is an important topic that could certainly use more attention.

Written with the author’s trademark sardonic wit, The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West is a series of essays tackling a number of timely topics. Some are serious (e.g. climate change, the #metoo movement), others less so (e.g. Adam Sandler movies, dresses with pockets and those who love them) but all are approached with a sharp tongue. I don’t think there is anything particularly novel for readers to find here, but if you are a choir that loves being preached to then give it a whirl.

Speaking of #metoo, She Said by two Pulitzer Prize winning journalists is all about the authors’ investigation that eventually brought down infamous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. This book follows how they initially began investigating the story, discovered their sources (including several very famous women), and convinced them to go on the record. It also shows the devilish lengths Weinstein went to in order to try to cover up his crimes and halt their story. If thrilling investigative journalism narratives are your thing, you are sure to enjoy She Said as well as Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill, which covers the same topic.

Love Lives Here by Amanda Jett Knox is a memoir written from the perspective of a woman whose partner and child came out as transgender in quick succession. Knox is very candid in her story; she does not attempt to paint herself in a positive light or claim that her family’s journey was without bumps in the road. The reader joins her as she initially experiences shock and discomfort, but gradually gets to a point of acceptance and peace. This is a very engaging memoir that is surprisingly witty in spite of its serious subject matter.

All of these titles can be reserved from your branch of the County of Lennox & Addington Libraries or online at www.CountyLibrary.ca.


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