Ready, set, go… to A.K. Smiley Public Library for some adventurous memoirs to transport you away from the comforts (confinement?) of your home. Nature lovers, animal conservationists, space enthusiasts, and armchair adventurers will be carried off to far-away places in some of our new book selections.
“An Elephant in My Kitchen: What the Herd Taught Me about Love, Courage and Survival” will whisk you to Africa and a wildlife rescue center. Francoise Malby-Anthony with Katja Willemsen continue the story where “The Elephant Whisperer” by Francoise’s late husband, Lawrence Anthony, left off. Unexpectedly widowed by Lawrence’s early death, Francoise tries to carry on the work they started protecting an elephant herd on a game preserve in Africa. She faces many struggles as she manages to subsequently build a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center for elephants and rhinos. Her engrossing narrative brings to light the happiness and heartbreak of caring for orphaned and injured animals, the relationships and communication between the animals themselves and their human caretakers, plus the grim realities of poaching, even within the confines of the preserve. It would be difficult not to become emotionally involved in this memoir.
“Wild Life: Dispatches from a Childhood of Baboons and Button-Downs” by Keena Roberts, takes the reader to the author’s divided childhood growing up between two distinctively different worlds. Part of each year is spent in Botswana in Baboon Camp with her primatologist parents and younger sister studying baboon interactions and living a free and independent life. Dealing with the wild animals in their remote camp is where Keena feels most at home and alive in spite of the constant danger. The other part of the year is spent back in Philadelphia attending a private school when her parents must return to the university which enables them to continue their grant to study in Africa. Imagine having to try and fit into a structured academic setting with peers who can’t even begin to understand her experiences and realizing she prefers to be in the unpredictable wild than with the teasing and lack of acceptance she endures. Keena’s descriptions put you in the midst of all of her adventures and this is a memoir that is captivating and hard to put down.
Astrophysicist Sara Seager was captivated by the stars at a young age. She shares her career and life journey in “The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir.” Readers with an interest in space exploration will relish this selection as there are plenty of details on her research and discoveries in searching for exoplanets and another Earth. Time magazine listed her as “one of the twenty-five most influential people in space.” Her personal life has not been without struggles and heartbreak which she also openly shares. Her adult diagnosis of autism gives her some clarity and being widowed with two young boys does not stop her from continuing to pursue her passion.
These memoirs and others await you in the New Book section of the A.K. Smiley Public Library, available either by Books-to-Go reservation or an in-person visit. The hours for public access are Mondays and Tuesdays 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.