2022 Staff Picks: Nonfiction

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • Girls Can Kiss Now: Essays

    2022 by Gutowitz, Jill

    I love this funny yet honest collection of essays/memoir. It is full of insightful observations and meaningful personal stories, along with wonderful 2000's and 2010's pop culture and niche Taylor Swift references. Suggested by Elise.

    Get this item
  • Time Is a Mother

    2022 by Vuong, Ocean

    This collection of poetry shows us again that Ocean Vuong is a master of language. This collection deals mainly with grief, and we love how each poem is simultaneously heartbreaking and beautiful. Suggested by Becca and Paul.

    Get this item
  • Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge

    2022 by Gies, Erica

    It was refreshing (no pun intended) to read this surprisingly optimistic overview of humanity's relationship with water. Gies argues that we already have the knowledge to avoid a zero-sum future--if we choose to use it. Suggested by Andrew.

    Get this item
  • The Nineties: A Book

    2022 by Klosterman, Chuck

    This is a book filled with mixed-feelings, nostalgia, and potential misremembering. Gen X, of which I am a member, has recordings of most of their history, but we lived a fair portion of our lives unable to consult the internet every time we had a question, and we had to go to Blockbuster if we wanted to watch a movie on demand. There is a teenage part of me that still longs for the transparent phone on the cover despite no longer having a landline. Suggested by Becca.

    Get this item
  • The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness

    2022 by O'Rourke, Meghan

    Following O'Rourke on her journey left me feeling frustrated and sad, and that's ok. I hope that her journey doesn't have to be a roadmap for other people suffering from chronic illness, but that folks will find signposts to direct them. I hope that doctors read this and start trying more holistic approaches. Suggested by Rachael.

    Get this item
  • You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation

    2022 by Arce, Julissa

    I was utterly captivated by Arce's personal essays that dismantle the myth of assimilation as a pathway to belonging and success for people of color, while arguing that people of color should embrace their culture without any restrictions. Suggested by Rummanah.

    Get this item
  • The Modern Bestiary: A Curated Collection of Wondrous Wildlife

    2022 by Bagniewska, Joanna

    For biology lovers, this book is as delightful and varied as a box of chocolates. Joanna Bagniewska describes 100 weird and wonderful creatures with enthusiasm, wit, and charm while revealing the amazing diversity of life on this planet. Perfect bedtime reading for the scientifically inclined. Suggested by Steven.

    Get this item
  • Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity

    2022 by Price, Devon

    We love the ways that the book celebrates the unique strengths of autistic people and encourages all of us to embrace them exactly as they are without the need for a mask. Price has written an important, intersectional book that anyone trying to comprehend neurodiverse life should read. Suggested by Andrew and Becca.

    Get this item
  • Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas

    2022 by Raff, Jennifer

    Though the technical details occasionally stymied me, I'm glad to have this guide for the rapidly changing prehistory of our hemisphere. Origin also has a great deal else on its itinerary, such as debunking racist pseudoscience and showing how a new generation of researchers from Native communities are transforming the field. Suggested by Andrew.

    Get this item
  • Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure

    2022 by Nelson, Bryn

    Bryn Nelson explains where feces comes from and describes surprising potential uses. Rare for an environmental author, Nelson leaves his readers hopeful for the future. Suggested by Steven.

    Get this item
  • Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell

    2022 by Miller, Tim

    I was super curious about what the author had to say about why so many went to work in the Trump White House or for Trump PACs, etc. I found Miller's self-reflection to be really informative. Suggested by Rachael.

    Get this item
  • The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER

    2022 by Fisher, Thomas

    Fisher brings firsthand experience of being on the frontlines of the Covid pandemic at the University of Chicago Medicine ER and his other various work experiences (such as a White House fellow and an executive at a health insurance start-up) to this collection of essays. The essays are full of the things he wishes he had said to his patients. Suggested by Andrew.

    Get this item
  • Otherlands: Journey's in Earth's Extinct Ecosystems

    2022 by Halliday, Thomas

    This book transports its readers deeper into the history of life on earth with extraordinarily detailed descriptions of vanished flora, fauna, and landscapes. It provides the perfect combination of deep learning in all aspects of paleontology with vivid prose that any novelist would envy. Suggested by Steven.

    Get this item
  • Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor

    2022 by Kelly, Kim

    Kelly quite effectively fills in the gaps of American labor that are not occupied by cisgendered white men. I was particularly fascinated by the chapter on the history of disabled people fighting for dignified employment. Suggested by Andrew.

    Get this item
  • Making History: The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past

    2022 by Cohen, Richard

    This history of historical writing is the rare long book that I wish would be longer. Richard Cohen seems to have something interesting and occasionally gossipy to say about every historian from Herodotus to Ken Burns, making this book a great way to revisit old friends among some of the world’s best writers and thinkers. Suggested by Steven.

    Get this item
  • Overdue: Reckoning with the Public Library

    2022 by Oliver, Amanda

    I winced several times during this clear-eyed love letter to libraries, which are being asked to compensate for more and more of our society's failings. Suggested by Andrew.

    Get this item
  • Fen, Bog & Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis

    2022 by Proulx, Annie

    This is a very personal book, born of the author's lifelong love of wetlands as well as her voluminous reading. Suggested by Andrew.

    Get this item
  • Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People

    2021 by Magoon, Kekla

    I was impressed by this thorough, well-researched, critically acclaimed work. Magoon offers an in-depth, corrective, and honest look at the Black Panther Party that I wish I had in school. Suggested by Rummanah.

    Get this item
  • How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery across America

    2021 by Smith, Clint

    How do you tell a story that has been told the wrong way for so long? I was amazed by the poetic language and journalistic rigor Smith brings to this question as he visits places of importance to American slavery and its aftermath. Suggested by Andrew.

    Get this item
  • Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman's Fight to End Ableism

    2021 by Sjunneson, Elsa

    I found this collection of personal essays to be eye-opening and illuminating. Sjunneson effectively melds her own personal narrative and shrewd examination of the ways in which society and media shape our perceptions of disability. Suggested by Rummanah.

    Get this item
  • The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

    2021 by Graeber, David

    In a kaleidoscopic work ranging across six continents and tens of thousands of years, archeologist Wengrow and anthropologist Graeber argue that societies that don't follow the "laws" discerned by later philosophers (and historians) are more the rule than the exception. I found it riveting and thought-provoking. Suggested by Andrew.

    Get this item
  • The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture

    2022 by Mate, Gabor

    I'm a huge fan of Gabor Maté's compassionate take on how we all do our best to navigate a world and cultures that, while "normal," are frequently not healthy. Full of heart, he addresses how trauma and stress combine with a health system that often fails to treat the whole person. He finishes with a guide for healing. Suggested by Christie.

    Get this item