Mikki - Customer Service Specialist Substitute

Philosophy, Natural Sciences, Science Fiction, and History

I have an MA in Social Anthropology, and I studied English, Spanish, and religion as well as an undergrad. My family always has pets, usually one dog and one cat, for whom I have at least 10 names. I will be reading at least one fiction and one non-fiction book at all times. Sometimes I throw philosophy into the mix. Libraries are havens for individuals and communal space for all; I love being a part of a library. I also support reading in the community as a volunteer through the library, a remedial reading program at the elementary school, and through Dr. Seuss Night events. I teach yoga and fitness classes.

Salamat, Hermana

Inspired to learn more about my best friend, I am reading a number of Filipino and Filipino-American authors. She suggested all of these authors, who have won national and international awards.

<p>This book helps us understand a little of the history of the Filipines, the first wave of Filipino immigrants to the US, and the kinds of psychological struggles these realities engender.</p>
<p>This YA novel covers many bases in a believable portrayal of a young girl through arresting language. It is worth the read for the language, history lessons, story, and language itself.</p>
<p>Stapleton delivers stories that are at once believable and upending of typical perception. Her concise language delivers blows like a sculptor--hard, but artful. The collection also has one of the best pieces I have read on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.</p>
<p>"World of Wonders" delivers beautifully written reflections on astonishing creations and their intersections with Nezhukumatathil's family history. The reflections prove both inspiring and thought-provoking.</p>

First Voices

This list contains books and DVDs that are written by or feature Indigenous voices. Right now, most of the materials all come from North America, but later more might include those from Australia and New Zealand.

<p>Truer shares and documents facts clearly and calmly. He clarifies that his opinions do not reflect the opinions of all Indigenous people, and points out that not only do not all Indigenous people have the same opinions, but many individuals from the same tribes do not have the same opinions.</p>
<p>This documentary focuses on an important figure in recent U.S. history who many of us have not heard of, John Trudell. This award-winning film features interviews with Trudell, a few iconic European American performers, Robert Redford, Kris Kristofferson, and Bonnie Raitt, to name a few, and fellow Indigenous activists who knew Trudell as well as beautiful scenery and the occasional factual tidbit on screen.</p>
<p>This award-winning DVD offers a revelation in every segment about the vital role Indigenous people have had in the creation of and innovations within rock-n-roll. I often exclaimed, "What?! How come I never heard of that?" Learn how Indigenous Americans influenced rock-n-roll here and in Great Britain.</p>
<p>Fascinating cover to cover, this book left me wanting to read many of the featured artists more, including the editor, Grace Dillon, who teaches at Portland State University. The preface and introductions to each featured segment educate not only about Indigenous characters in science fiction, but also about sci-fi and science itself. In fact, one preface documents that a few physicists, such as David Peat, have consulted with Blackfoot in particular because their conceptions mesh with quantum physics.</p>

Out-of-This-World Women: Strong Females in Science Fiction

Science fiction has its share of women and girls who give a glimpse into how women can manage difficult circumstances while maintaining integrity and humanity in ingenious ways.

Holly Sykes goes through very difficult circumstances while never giving up on herself or losing her compassion. Holly makes mistakes, but she is honest and hopeful in a hard-working and clear-seeing, not Pollyanna, way.
"A Wrinkle in Time" is one of the first books that offered us a wonderful female protagonist, Meg Murray. She is smart, determined, curious, and brave. Preteen girls couldn't ask for a better role model. L'Engle won numerous prestigious awards for this ground-breaking book.
This novel offers several strong characters. One woman, Bronca, is indigenous to Manhattan Island. Another, Brooklyn, is a former rapper turned politician. Both have distinct voices and manifest their strength in different ways.
Maybe we cannot consider this book science fiction, but it is speculative fiction. Cassiopeia Tun holds onto her dignity and in doing so helps a Mayan god act with greater dignity as well.

Shining a Light on the Dark Night: Depression

These authors examine depression or bipolar disorder from a personal perspective: religious, scientific, and/or literary and philosophical. All illumine in their unique fashion.

Farrington gives a brief and poetic exploration of depression within the context of spirituality.
From a personal and psychiatric perspective, Jamison offers insights and anecdotes that help us understand how bipolar disorder challenges individuals.
MacDonald writes an eloquent account of how her father's death plunged her into depression and how she tried to heal herself through a relationship with a hawk. Her writing prowess combined with her literary acumen and societal observations make the book memorable and deep.
Solomon gives an exhaustive and helpful view into depression based on research, anecdotes, and personal experience. If you know anyone who struggles with depression, this book can give you some compassion for their struggle and a glimpse into therapies that might be of assistance.

So What Makes You So Special: What Other Animals Appear to Think

These books allow us to get a glimpse into how other creatures commnicate, what they know how to do, and what they might think.

Godfrey-Smith gives examples from research and extrapolates the origins of consciousness and the implications of other creatures having similar and dissimilar consciousness in reference to humans.
Montgomery's scientific knowledge and personal experience make an already interesting creature mind-blowing.
Through different mammals, Safina shows us how their lives can look just as socially complex as ours.
"The Gifts of the Crow" uses funny and touching stories as well as interesting research to illustrate how crows and ravens exhibit eight intelligence traits: language, delinquency, insight, frolic, passion, wrath, risk-taking, and awareness. The writing makes this book move quickly, and the illustrations are peerless.

Dirt: It's What's for Dinner

How we treat the soil affects the nutrients, microbes, crop yields, and even aquatic food. Learn how to choose the healthiest food for you and the planet.

"The Third Plate" will make you hungry for good food.
This MacArthur Genius Fellowshiop award winner writes clearly and engagingly.
Pollan finds ways to make food ever more interesting and adds a philosophical flavor.
Sheldrake writes engagingly about fungi, what we know about humans in relation to them, and recent discoveries about lichen and fungi. It is mind blowing.