MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reading nonfiction is a great way to step outside of your own life and consider things from another perspective. A good nonfiction book like the ones below can expand your horizons or cause you to rethink beliefs you've held forever. You might learn something you never even knew you were curious about--genealogical testing, the economy or women's suffrage.

One of these books is Solitary by Albert Woodfox. Those of us struggling with the current shelter in place rules caused by the COVID-19 pandemic might wish to reflect on Woodfox's extraordinary memoir (which won BookBrowse's 2019 BookBrowse Debut Author Award), in which he describes how he spent more than four decades in solitary confinement - in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in the notorious Angola prison in Louisiana - for a crime he did not commit. It is estimated that there are more than 80,000 prisoners in solitary confinement in the USA at this time, despite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture concluding that solitary confinement beyond 15 days constitutes cruel and inhumane punishment.

Discussing nonfiction can be a particularly worthwhile adventure when you're in a book club with a good group of people committed to both challenging and supporting one another. You'll probably all have different opinions, and different backgrounds that informed those opinions, and it can be both fun and constructive to talk through the weighty issues that come up when discussing a powerful memoir, a book about a culture you're not a part of, or a sociopolitical issue you've never experienced personally.

We personally recommend all five of these books; all are recently released in paperback and all but one has a discussion guide. Most importantly, each should spark interesting and spirited discussion.

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