Celebrate our "Pale Blue Dot" with these Captivating Books and Movies

From the frozen tundra in the north to the dry forests of the equator, Sir David Attenborough narrates a compelling view of the planet. In addition to exploring the wilderness with improved technology that has made it possible to capture further details, the series examines urban dwellings, focusing on animals that have adapted to city life.

A global study of Earth’s imperiled environment explores a wide range of ecological disasters and examines the role of scientists and the public in reversing environmental degradation, restoring despoiled areas, and protecting endangered species, habitats, and biodiversity.

Ben Rawlence’s The Treeline takes us along this critical frontier of our warming planet from Canada to Sweden to meet the scientists confronting huge geological changes. It is a journey of wonder at the mysterious workings of the forest upon which we rely for the air we breathe. The Treeline is a story of what might soon be the last forest left on earth.

Natterson-Horowitz employs fascinating case studies to present a revelatory understanding of what animals can teach us about the human body and mind. “Zoobiquity” is the term the authors have coined to refer to a new, species-spanning approach to health. Delving into evolution, anthropology, sociology, biology, veterinary science, and zoology, they break down the walls between disciplines, redefining the boundaries of medicine.

Thalassa was a paradise, home to one of the small colonies founded centuries before by robot Mother Ships when the Sun had gone nova and mankind had fled Earth. Its beauty and vast resources seduce its inhabitants into a feeling of perfection. But then the Magellan arrives, carrying with it one million refugees from the last mad days of earth. Paradise looks indeed lost. 

Where are we? Who are we? Are our emotions, our beliefs, and our hopes and dreams ultimately meaningless out there in the void? Does human purpose and meaning fit into a scientific worldview? In short chapters filled with intriguing historical anecdotes, personal asides, and rigorous exposition, readers learn the difference between how the world works at the quantum level, the cosmic level, and the human level–and then how each connects to the other.

Presently in Yellowstone there are almost 200 active research permits involving over 500 investigators, but only a small fraction of this scientific work is reported in the popular press. Knowing Yellowstone explains the general issues associated with the region and how science is done to understand those issues, and how the nature of the scientist’s work enables or limits future plans for managing the park.

Wilczek’s groundbreaking work in quantum physics was inspired by his intuition to look for a deeper order of beauty in nature. In fact, every major advance in his career came from this intuition: to assume that the universe embodies beautiful forms, forms whose hallmarks are symmetry–harmony, balance, proportion–and economy. There are other meanings of “beauty,” but this is the deep logic of the universe–and it is no accident that it is also at the heart of what we find aesthetically pleasing and inspiring.

In Underland, Macfarland takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through “deep time,” he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk “hiding place” where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come.

New Nonfiction from the Libby App

Focusing on the years 1971 to the present, Questlove finds the hidden connections in the American tapes- try, whether investigating how the blaxploitation era reshaped Black identity or considering the way disco took an assembly-line approach to Black genius. And these critical inquiries are complemented by his own memories as a music fan, and the way his appetite for pop culture taught him about America.

During one week in January 2021, a motley crew of retail traders on Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets forum had seemingly done the impossible—they had brought some of the richest players on Wall Street to their knees. Their weapon was GameStop, a failing retailer whose shares briefly became the most-traded security on the planet. This is the riveting story of how the meme stock squeeze unfolded, and of the real winners of the GameStop rally.

Behind every triumph, every expression of his gifts, Acho has had to ignore what everyone around him called “logic”: the astronomical odds against making it, the risks of continuing to dream bigger or differently. Instead of playing it safe, at every turn Acho has thrown conventional wisdom—logic—out the window. Now, in this revelatory book, he’s empowering us all to do the same and become change-makers ourselves. 

Public awareness of mental illness has been transformed in recent years, but our understanding of how to define it has yet to catch up. A narrative has taken hold that a mental health crisis has been building among young people. Psychologist Lucy Foulkes argues that the crisis is one of ignorance as much as illness. Have we raised a ‘snowflake’ generation? The real question in need of answering is: how should we distinguish between ‘normal’ suffering and actual illness?

Lewis R. Gordon, one of the leading scholars of Black existentialism and anti-Blackness, takes the reader on a journey through the historical development of racialized Blackness, the problems this kind of consciousness produces, and the many creative responses from Black and non-Black communities in contemporary struggles for dignity and freedom.  

We are in the midst of a global reckoning on race, and corporations are on high alert. But conventional approaches have fallen short, leaving nagging questions about next steps. Why do diversity trainings fail? What’s so wrong with a company’s “colorblind” workplace culture? In Inclusion Revolution, Daisy Auger-Domínguez provides frank answers to why popular efforts fail and presents the definitive roadmap for revolution.

Nicolas Cage is many things, but love him, or laugh at him, there’s no denying two things: you’ve seen one of his many films, and you certainly know his name. But who is he, really, and why has his career endured for over forty years, with more than a hundred films, and birthed a million memes?
Age of Cage is a smart, beguiling book about the films of Nicolas Cage, as well as a sharp-eyed examination of the changes that have taken place in Hollywood over the course of his career.

What is the role of literature in an era when one political party wages continual war on writers and the press? Drawing on her experiences as a woman and voracious reader living in the Islamic Republic of Iran, her life as an immigrant in the United States, and her role as literature professor in both countries, Nafisi crafts an argument for why, in a genuine democracy, we must engage with the enemy, and how literature can be a vehicle for doing so.

Selected for Navy flight training in 1972, Mariner and her five fellow graduates from the inaugural group of female Naval Aviators racked up an impressive roster of achievements, and firsts. Leading by example, they challenged deep skepticism within the fleet and blazed a trail for female aviators wanting to serve their country equally with their male counterparts. This is the story of their struggles and triumphs as they earned their Wings of Gold.

Elementary, My Dear Watson: Mysteries Hidden in the Stacks

Bonnie Wheeler reluctantly agrees to meet with her husband’s ex-wife after the woman cautions her against an unknown danger, but when Bonnie arrives, she finds Joan has been murdered and learns to her horror that she is not only the main suspect, but that the dead woman’s warning was true.

A minor road accident lands county prosecutor Katie DeMaio in Westlake Hospital, and, that night, from her window, she thinks she saw a man load a woman’s body into the trunk of a car…or was it just a sleeping pill-induced nightmare?

U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner Chuck Aule begin to fear for their own lives and sanity when their investigation on Shutter Island into how a patient escaped the Ashcliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane yields more questions than answers.

When a skeleton is unearthed in the Martellos’ garden, Jane Martello is shocked to learn it’s that of her childhood friend, Natalie, who went missing twenty-five years ago. Encouraged by a therapist to recover lost memories, Jane hopes to find out what really took place when she was a child – and what happened to Natalie. But in learning the truth about hers and Natalie’s past, is Jane putting her own future at terrible risk?

Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant, but then Lo witnesses a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for–and so, the ship sails on despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he finds himself investigating a case chillingly similar to his unsolved mystery.

Matthew Tierney unexpectedly discovers his wife’s strangled body on the living room floor, and after long minutes of numbing shock, he phones the police — and quickly learns that his less-than-perfect marriage has made him the perfect suspect. To get away from it all, he travels to the lovely seaside resort where his wife often vacationed. But Matthew did not travel alone. His companion was murder number two — and all the evidence again points toward Matthew Tierney.

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Detective Reuben ‘Diego’ Montoya returns to New Orleans to find a serial killer that’s turning the Big Easy into his personal playground. The victums are killed in pairs and have no connection, no apparent motive and no real clues. Thanks to years working with the dark side of society, his youthful swagger is gone, replaced by a determined, take-no prisoners stride. He’ll need every bit of it as somebody is playing a sick game, and Montoya intends to beat him at it.

You have Bewitched me, Body and Soul: Love Stories Lost in the Stacks

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell. Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

When Juniper’s husband, John, vanishes, surviving in a ghost town requires trusting the kindness of a few remaining souls. Juniper pens letters to her husband but fears she is waiting on a ghost. Present day, Johnny Sutherland throws himself into restoring an abandoned farmhouse and he uncovers Juniper’s letters. He is moved by the handwritten accounts that bear his name, as a love story from the past touches his own world.

Interior designer, Dani Porter, buys the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancé’s house…the house they were supposed to live in before he cheated on her with their Realtor. Dani plans to a) mess with his view and b) prove that she is not someone to be stepped on. That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm. The closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter.

Yinka’s Nigerian aunties frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, and her girlfriends think she needs to get over her ex already.  But Yinka believes that true love will find her when the time is right. Still, when her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences Operation Find-A-Date for Rachel’s Wedding. Aided by a spreadsheet and her best friend, Yinka is determined to succeed. Will Yinka find herself a huzband?

Owen Callahan, an aspiring writer, moves back to Kentucky to live with his Trump-supporting uncle and grandfather. He takes a job as a groundskeeper at a small local college, in exchange for which he is permitted to take a writing course. Here he meets Alma Hazdic, a writer in residence. They begin a secret relationship, and as they grow closer, Alma—who comes from a liberal family of Bosnian immigrants—struggles to understand Owen’s fraught relationship with family.

Reeling in the aftermath of her husband’s infidelity, Violet Covington uses her usually tame advice column as an outlet for her pain, becoming a viral sensation. Firefighter Dez recognizes her suffering, as he too has been through great loss, and he’s more than happy to become her distraction. Both expect their relationship to be a temporary fling, but Dez’s chivalrous gestures and enduring patience captivate Violet. But she must get a grip on her grief before she loses her career, and her first chance at true happiness.

Nova Huston’s job is to help terminally ill people make peace with their impending death. When as the indie-favorite singer-songwriter, Mason Shaylor, shows up at her door, Nova doesn’t recognize him. Helping him is Nova’s biggest challenge yet. She knows she should keep clients at arm’s length. But she and Mason have more in common than anyone could guess, and meeting him might turn out to be the best, and hardest, thing that’s ever happened to them both.

Bee’s given up on finding love, but that’s fine. There’s always Tinder. Nick’s marriage is on the rocks, but that’s fine. There’s always gin. So when one of Nick’s emails intended for a client, accidentally pings into Bee’s inbox, they decide to keep the conversation going. After all, they never have to meet. But the more they get to know each other, the more Bee and Nick realize they want to. With a universe between them, Bee and Nick will discover how far they’ll go to beat impossible odds.

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