At the start of 2013, the Ferndale Public Library welcomed Jordan Wright, initially as a volunteer, and now, currently, a part-time staffer in Youth Services.
Jordan has only lived in Ferndale for a year, but loves how open-minded and walkable the community is and says he can't imagine being anywhere else.
Jordan is currently enrolled in Wayne State University's Master's of Library and Information Science program and is a Library Assistant in the Ferndale Public Library's Youth Services department.
In his free time he likes to read and is interested in amateur astronomy. When he's not in school or at the library, you'll almost certainly find him walking around downtown Ferndale or relaxing with his three year old beagle, Jacob.
He also plays in a local rock and roll band called Due North, whose new album can be downloaded for free at www.duenorth.bandcamp.com.
His first round of Patch Picks is admirably ambitious: All Non-Fiction! Science, history, geopolitical tension, the economy, evolution, murder, intrigue, statistics... The hard stuff, the mind-expanding memoirs, the deep insights! It's appreciated, Jordan. Come dig through the stacks for his picks.
Jordan's Non-Fiction Picks
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in The Dark
by Carl Sagan (1996)
One of the last books Dr. Sagan published before his untimely passing, The Demon-Haunted World confronts America's growing obsession with all things pseudoscientific, superstitious and the occult. In his characteristically eloquent prose, Sagan (politely as always) argues that in a modern world held hostage by nuclear/chemical weapons, impending catastrophic climate change, as well as an ever increasing dependence on new technologies, the human race cannot afford to slip back into the superstitions and fundamentalisms of generations past. Instead, the author argues that logic, reason, and the scientific process may be our only hope against the problems we've created for ourselves.
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair the Changed America
by Erik Larson (2003)
I can literally not say enough good things about this book. Erik Larson blends two tales together in a beautiful and historical narrative that reads like the best crime novel you've ever read. Set during the preparation for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, the author follows Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed both Central Park and Belle Isle, as he oversees the design and construction of the "white city" which is to house the event. Amongst the bustle and confusion, there is a murder mystery -- a serial killer by the name of Dr. H. H. Holmes is preying on young women throughout the city of Chicago. I promise you won't be able to put this down.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah (2007)
This book is not for the slight of heart.
Ishmael Beah was raised in Sierra Leone and saw the horrors of a bloody civil war firsthand. After losing his family and seeing his childhood village burned to the ground, Beah and a few other children from the village become refugees, making their way through the jungles and trying to avoid detection. Eventually, he is apprehended and given a choice: Fight or be killed. Doped up on drugs and brainwashed to kill, this is a tragic story of loss, warfare, and rehabilitation that is unfortunately all too real for many young people around the world today.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
by John Perkins (2005)
Available on Audiobook
John Perkins was an Economic Hit Man (EHM). If you don't know what that is, don't feel bad, because neither did I. It is the job of an EHM to convince developing countries to hire American corporations to fund and design giant infrastructure construction projects to help these countries "catch up" to the developed world. But there's a catch: EHM intentionally inflate economic predictions to justify egregiously high interest rates that developing countries can rarely afford. Struggling to pay back these loans, countries are often forced to cut social services to their already destitute citizens and sell their natural resources to American corporations in lieu of payment. Overwhelmed by guilt, these are John Perkins' confessions.
A Short History of Nearly Everything
by Bill Bryson (2003)
Available on Audiobook
This book may be my favorite popular science book of all-time. Bill Bryson this time takes on the whole of the history of science and human innovation -- a daunting task, but he nails it (in only 500 pages, no less)! Well written, well researched, and funny, this book is sure not to disappoint anyone with an interest in science or technology.
Ferndale Patch thanks Jordan Wright and Jeff Milo at the Ferndale Public Library for contributing to Patch! Check back soon for more ideas from library staff. Are you looking for recommendations on something specific? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll pass on your questions to the library.