A Book on a Topic You Know Nothing About: Staff Picks for the 2019 Reading Challenge

July 29, 2019 | Book Buzz

Comments (2)

Library Reading Challenge-Blog banner

Are you participating in our reading challenge? So are library staff all across the city. Here are some of their recommendations for the category "A book on a topic you know nothing about," to expand their knowledge and yours!

Myrna's Pick

Bad blood

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

Why did Myrna pick it?

"I didn't read it this year, but it fits the category and was one of my favourite books of 2018. The book focuses on Theranos, a fraudulent biotech startup whose founder managed to deceive many prominent investors. I knew nothing about blood testing before I read the book, but Carreyrou does an excellent job of explaining the science behind it and why Theranos lies were so dangerous."


Reagan's Pick

Act natural

Act Natural: A Cultural History of Misadventures of Parenting by Jennifer Traig

Why did Reagan pick it?

"A wickedly funny exploration of what we have done to our [poor] children throughout history from ancient Rome to Puritan New England to the Dr. Spock craze of mid-century America. Like why do we read our kids fairy tales about homicidal stepparents? This book is a critical look at traditional, Western parenting advice from a witty and sarcastic mom; I would legitimately love to have Traig in my close circle of friends for the breath of fresh air she brings to the parenting game. Full of amazing facts, backed up by footnotes and a great bibliography, this book will surely bring your [parent] party trivia to a new level. For example, did you know in Medieval Europe there were institutions for unwanted children that installed a lazy-Susan-like portal for parents to just swing their babies into and walk away? Horrible yet told with such wit I lol'd."


Amy's Pick

Mending Matters

Mending Matters: Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favorite Denim & More by Katrina Rodabaugh

Why did Amy pick it?

"I read Mending Matters, which is a book about using boro and sashiko stitching to do visible mending on your clothes, turning flaws into features. I didn't know anything about sashiko stitching before I started reading, and I've always felt mends needed to be invisible, so I was looking for both techniques and inspiration. With fast fashion and the trend toward trashing clothes rather than repairing them, I wanted to be able to make my wardrobe choices more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. It's a very approachable book, and all you need is an iron, needle and thread.

I've only put a little bit into practice so far (on an open cardigan in linen that I wear so much right now), but I'm pretty happy with it and can't wait for my next project! (Although I am not looking forward to wearing out another pair of jeans...)

I just read an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail that says Prince Charles wears clothes with visible mending, too!"


Grace's Pick

Girls auto clinic glove box guide

Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide by Patrice Banks

Why did Grace pick it?

"So having purchased a "new-ish" vehicle, I'm thinking I should know what's happening if anything were to go wrong. And then this book came across the desk as a return. It's a non-fiction book for women to know the basics of your vehicle and not being afraid of it; as well as not being a pushover when going to a mechanic. Half of the time I have no idea what my mechanic says, I just nod and say "ok" as I pay my bill."


Marie's Pick

Surely you're joking

"Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character and other books by Richard Feynman

Why did Marie pick it?

"I didn't pay quite enough attention to the Challenger disaster and the "O-Ring" issues (I was like, you know, busy...), and sadly I became aware of Richard Feynman only in 1989, a year after his death. I read his book "Surely You're Joking..." in a cursory but not really engaged way a few years later. I rued that I had not known about him during my high school years, when I would run screaming from the science classroom with a tension headache at the least sense of "what are you talking about???"... Time to rediscover Mr. Feynman. The world is only physics, after all."


Eunice's Pick

The wristwatch handbook

The Wristwatch Handbook: A Complete Guide to Mechanical Wristwatches by Ryan Schmidt

Why did Eunice pick it?

"This book is about the dual simplicity and complexity of time manifested in the divergence of form and function. I'm interested in anything horological. The book provides insight and understanding of movement, mechanism and innovation encompassed within a timepiece. It is for the newbie, enthusiast and everyone in between , interested in the collection, maintenance or sheer appreciation of the cadence of time. Mechanical movements are beautiful to behold... Next on my to-read list is Watch Repair for Beginners: An Illustrated How-To-Guide for the Beginner Watch Repairer by Harold Caleb Kelly."


Books from the Facebook Discussion Group

Here are just some of the picks from our Facebook discussion group. Visit the group to see the full list!


Sometimes it's hard to know what you don't know. With so many books and so much to learn, which book did you choose? Please share in the comments below!