Jax Stacks Book Recommendations: A book with a non-human protagonist

Monday, August 28, 2023

Jax Stacks Reading Challenge

#Jax Stacks - September 2023

Welcome to a new month of the 2023 Jax Stacks Reading Challenge! We are going to give you suggestions for each* category in the challenge every month so that you always have a great library book waiting for you when you need it. Check our blog every month for a new round of ideas, and feel free to share your progress and recommendations on social media using #jaxstacks.

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Jax Stacks Book Club

Share what you're reading with other Jax Stacks readers at our monthly Jax Stacks Reading Challenge Book Club. Each month we will highlight and discuss one or two categories at the book club. You are welcome to share whatever books you’re reading as long as they count for the challenge.

On Wednesday, September 13 @ 7 p.m., join us at Southeast Regional Library to discuss "A book with a non-human protagonist." 

Connect with other readers!

The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts by Arthur Miller

A book written before 2000:

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Based on historical people and real events, Miller's classic play about the witch hunts and trials in 17th-century Salem, Massachusetts, is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror that Miller uses to reflect the anti-Communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy's "witch-hunts" in the U.S.

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

A book in a genre you don't usually read: 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

In fantasy, anything is possible! This #BookTok darling features magic, faeries, beasts, and romance in one wildly popular novel. When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world...

Crucible of Gold, by Naomi Novik

A historical book set in Africa: 

Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik

The French have invaded Spain, forged an alliance with Africa’s powerful Tswana empire, and brought revolution to Brazil. Captain Will Laurence and his indefatigable fighting dragon, Temeraire, must travel to South America to negotiate with the Incas, who are also being wooed by the French. If they fail, Napoleon may conquer yet another continent in his campaign for world domination, and the tide of the war may prove impossible to stop.

The Memory Police, written by Yoko Ogawa and translated by Stephen Snyder

A book in translation:

The Memory Police was written by Yoko Ogawa and translated by Stephen Snyder (originally published in Japanese)

On an unnamed island, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses... Most of the inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few able to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.

Stay with Me, by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

A book written by an author when they were under 30:

Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
This novel was published in 2017, when Adébáyọ̀ was 29

Ilesa, Nigeria. Ever since they first met and fell in love at university, Yejide and Akin have agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage—after consulting fertility doctors and healers, and trying strange teas and unlikely cures—Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time—until her in-laws arrive on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife.

Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel

A book set in a place you want to visit: 

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

This classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch in Mexico, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother's womb, her daughter-to-be weeps so violently that she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef.

Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly

A book read by a Library Book Club in 2023: 

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Explores the previously uncelebrated but pivotal contributions of NASA's African-American women mathematicians to America's space program, describing how Jim Crow laws segregated them from their white counterparts despite their groundbreaking successes.

Selected for the From Books to Film Book Club at Southeast Library. Come talk about it on October 19 at 6 p.m.

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, by Dan Santat

A book by a 2023 Lit Chat author: 

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

An imaginary friend waits a long time to be imagined by a child and given a special name, and finally does the unimaginable--he sets out on a quest to find his perfect match in the real world.

Appearing live at the Main Library as part of Jax Book Fest on September 23 at 12 p.m. Register for this and other September Lit Chats here!

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, by Jenny Odell

A self-improvement, how-to or DIY book: 

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

When the technologies we use every day collapse our experiences into 24/7 availability, platforms for personal branding, and products to be monetized, nothing can be quite so radical as... doing nothing. Here, Jenny Odell sends up a flare from the heart of Silicon Valley, delivering an action plan to resist capitalist narratives of productivity and techno-determinism, and to become more meaningfully connected in the process.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, by David Sedaris

A book with a non-human protagonist: 

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris

Featuring David Sedaris's unique blend of hilarity and heart, this new collection of keen-eyed animal-themed tales is an utter delight. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of everyday life.

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation, by Anne Frank with Ari Folman, David Polonsky

A book banned in the last 10 years:

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation by Anne Frank with Ari Folman, David Polonsky

The Diary continues to capture the remarkable spirit of Anne Frank, who for a time survived the worst horror the modern world has seen—and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal. The only graphic biography of Anne Frank's diary that has been authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation. Includes extensive quotations directly from the definitive edition.

The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing

A book by a Nobel Prize winner:

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Written by the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature

Anna is a writer, author of one very successful novel, who now keeps four notebooks. In one, with a black cover, she reviews the African experience of her earlier years. In a red one she records her political life, her disillusionment with communism. In a yellow one she writes a novel in which the heroine relives part of her own experience. And in a blue one she keeps a personal diary. Finally, Anna resolves to bring the threads of all four books together in a golden notebook.

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh

A book with illustrations:

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

Every time Allie Brosh posts something new on her hugely popular blog Hyperbole and a Half the internet rejoices. This collection of autobiographical, illustrated essays and cartoons humorously and candidly deals with her own idiosyncrasies and battles with depression. Features ten never-before-seen essays as well as classics like “Adventures in Depression,” and “Depression Part Two,” which have been hailed as some of the most insightful meditations on the disease ever written.

Hiroshima, by John Hersey

A book under 300 pages:

Hiroshima by John Hersey

Hiroshima is the story of six human beings who lived through the greatest single manmade disaster in history. John Hersey tells what these six -- a clerk, a widowed seamstress, a physician, a Methodist minister, a young surgeon, and a German Catholic priest -- were doing at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, when Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atomic bomb ever dropped on a city. Then he follows the course of their lives hour by hour, day by day.

Reward Yourself

Are you close to completing the Jax Stacks Reading Challenge? You now have your choice between a Jax Stacks-branded tumbler or sunglasses (while supplies last). Be sure to send a picture with your completed bookmark to us at jplprograms@coj.net to claim your prize!

Photo of Jax Stacks tumbler and sunglasses sitting on the edge of a water fountain

More Recommendations

Note: We can’t help you with “A book you’ve read and loved before”, but we’re happy to have you share them with us on social media! We love to see what folks are reading.

Second note: All of these recommendations can fit in the category “A book recommended by a library staff member," and we encourage you to seek out your local branch staff or request a personalized booklist for more recommendations.