Human Nature

Staff PicksPalisades Library

Human Nature

Titles that examine challenging lives and stories

These books all explore controversial and emotionally charged themes and experiences. Some stories are personal while others are more socially broad. But each one confronts matters that are often swept under the rug.

The Art of Leaving by Ayelet Tsabari
This memoir chronicles the life of Ayelet Tsabari, an Israeli woman whose childhood was darkened under the cloud of her father's death. She struggled to emerge from her past to embrace who she truly felt meant to be and a life she could feel confident about. Tsabari recounts how she felt alienated in Israel as a person of Yemeni descent. Her angst and restlessness took her around the world, through struggles with drugs and alcohol, and more.

Perfectly You by Mariana Atencio
Mariana Atencio explores where our real power comes from -- which is in being authentically oneself and embracing what makes us unique. She explores contemporary issues ranging form immigration to poverty and how we can find our place in a confusing world and make an impact. She brings us through her own story starting with her childhood in Venezuela and through immigrating to the United States and graduating from Columbia University. 

Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan
Rolling Stone magazine was founded by Jann Wenner at the height of the counterculture era, 1967, and in its epicenter, San Francisco. Sticky Fingers follows Wenner's journey from rebellious rock and roll fan to founder of the iconic magazine, and his life looked like a microcosm of the movement itself, exploding with creativity, clouded with drugs, and accentuated with sanctioned and unsanctioned love and sex.

The Family Tree: A Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth by Karen Branan
This story struck a deep chord because it is a white American woman being completely forthcoming and open about her family's history in regards to racism and racial violence against people of color. Truly fascinating. Karen Branan, originally from Georgia but living and working as a journalist in Washington, D.C., said she had a dream-like experience in which a "ghost" told her to go back home, to Georgia, and uncover what can only be described as her family's "skeletons in the closet."

The Common Wind by Julius S. Scott
Unfortunately we don't learn or know enough about the incredible resistance events and movements that occurred during the enslavement of people of African descent by Europeans. There were maroon movements and communities throughout not just South America and the Caribbean but also right here in the United States. The Haitian revolution was the greatest instance of enslaved black people rising up and fighting an organized and relentless struggle for liberation.