Downton Shabby: One American's Ultimate DIY Adventure Restoring His Family's English... by Hopwood DePreeMidlife crisis: After two deaths in his family, a 40-something Hollywood actor/producer reexamined his life and researched his ancestors.
True story: When he saw an article about a Lord Hopwood, he realized that his grandfather's tales about a family castle were actually real. With little money, he moved to England to renovate the derelict 600-year-old home, getting help from a colorful cast of locals and neighbors.
Critics say: "marvelous" (Publishers Weekly); "delightful" (Booklist).
Pig Years by Ellyn GaydosWhat it's about: Drawn to the job despite low pay, Ellyn Gaydos became an itinerant farmhand in New England while still a teen, continuing the work through college and after.
Is it for you? Without ignoring the stark realities of raising animals for food, she lyrically chronicles several years of seasonal farm life and ponders her future as she falls for a man and dreams of kids.
Want a taste? "Elderflowers scent the farmer's yard and hang around the fence like wedding veils."
Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World: Essays by Barry LopezWhat it is: a collection of more than 20 essays, some never before published, broken into sections called Conversations, Thresholds, Sky, and River, and written during the award-winning author's final decades.
What's inside: details of travels, including to Antarctica and Australia; stories about his Oregon home; musings on the natural world; memories from his California childhood, including surviving sexual abuse.
Reviewers say: " A sterling valediction" (Kirkus Reviews); Lopez was "a crucial and profound writer of spirit, commitment, benevolence, and reverence" (Booklist).
Cabin Fever: The Harrowing Journey of a Cruise Ship at the Dawn of a Pandemic by Michael Smith and Jonathan FranklinSetting sail: The Zaandam, a Holland America cruise ship carrying 1,200 passengers and 600 crew, left Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 8, 2020, as the COVID-19 virus spread across the world. Soon, the ship had sick and dying people, but no port would allow them to dock.
What it is: an engrossing account by award-winning reporters that depicts what life was like on the ship and includes first-hand accounts of passengers, crew members, family members back home, and more.
Read this next: Chaney Kwak's The Passenger, which details his 2019 North Atlantic voyage on a cruise ship that was hit by a bomb cyclone.
The Last Winter: The Scientists, Adventurers, Journeymen, and Mavericks Trying to Save... by Porter FoxWhat it is: an immersive, meticulously researched, and adventure-filled blend of travelogue, history, and climate science.
Featuring: a sprawling cast of "scientists, ranchers, adventurers, vagabonds, time travelers, hunters, and guides" who live and work in the coldest and most inhospitable places on Earth.
Further reading: the author's first book, Northland; Dahr Jamail's The End of Ice.
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert MacfarlaneWhat it is: a lyrical and wide-ranging exploration of the world beneath our feet, including tunnels, caves, catacombs, bunkers, and more.
Why you might like it: Nature and science writer Robert Macfarlane goes on journeys both literal (England, France, Finland, and other locales) and metaphorical, connecting real-world observations to representations of the underworld in mythology, art, and literature.
Want a taste? "Into the underland we have long placed that which we fear and wish to lose, and that which we love and wish to save."
Ms. Adventure: My Wild Explorations in Science, Lava, and Life by Jess PhoenixStarring: Jess Phoenix, a geologist, volcanologist, Explorers Club Fellow, and co-founder of a nonprofit that produces research and works with students in hopes of bringing more diversity to scientific fields.
What it's about: Phoenix discusses her winding path to a science career, the barriers she's faced in a male-dominated field, her eye-opening time shooting a TV segment, and her adventures in California, Hawaii, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, and New York City.
For fans of: Meg Lowman's The Arbornaut; Jill Heinerth's Into the Planet.
Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl by Jonathan C. SlaghtWhat it's about: a conservationist's five-year study of the endangered Blakiston's fish owl in its natural habitat, the Primorye region of Russia.
Read it for: an authentically detailed account of scientific fieldwork, vivid descriptions of the terrain and its inhabitants (both animal and human), and, of course, the quest for an elusive bird.
For fans of: avian-themed travelogues, such as Andrew Darby's Flight Lines, Jon Dunn's The Glitter in the Green, or Vernon R.L. Head's The Rarest Bird in the World.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Newmarket Public Library
438 Park Ave.
Newmarket, Ontario L3Y1W1