summer fun for adults

Summer Fun for Adults Week 7: Celebrating Our Diversity with Cookbooks


There are so many different ways to explore and celebrate the diversity of our community and our world. Cooking and eating just happens to be a very delicious way to do it! Here is a list of cookbooks from Oakland Public Library’s print and online collections for inspiration. Have you tried cooking something new lately?

Descriptions in italics are provided by the publisher.

Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry
In Afro-Vegan, renowned chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry reworks and remixes the favorite staples, ingredients, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora to present more than 100 wholly new, creative culinary combinations that will amaze vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive

Basque Country: A Culinary Journey Through a Food Lover’s Paradise by Marti Buckley
Marti Buckley, an American chef, journalist, and passionate Basque transplant, unlocks the mysteries of this culinary world by bringing together its intensely ingredient-driven recipes with stories of Basque customs and the Basque kitchen, and vivid photographs of both food and place.
OPL copies in print / Always available on Hoopla 

Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, & Every Day by J.J. Johnson and Alexander Smalls with Veronica Chambers
In two of the most renowned and historic venues in Harlem, Alexander Smalls and JJ Johnson created a unique take on the Afro-Asian-American flavor profile. Their foundation was a collective three decades of traveling the African diaspora, meeting and eating with chefs of color, and researching the wide reach of a truly global cuisine; their inspiration was how African, Asian, and African-American influences criss-crossed cuisines all around the world. They present here for the first time over 100 recipes that go beyond just one place, taking you, as noted by The New Yorker, "somewhere between Harlem and heaven."
OPL copies in print

Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore by Darra Goldstein
Presenting 100 traditional yet surprisingly modern recipes from the far northern corners of Russia, a home-style cookbook is filled with photos and essays on the little-known culinary history of the fascinating and wild part of the world. 
New! OPL copies in print and on Overdrive 

Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes Through Darkness and Light by Caroline Eden 
With a nose for a good recipe and an ear for an extraordinary story, Caroline Eden travels from Odessa to Bessarabia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey's Black Sea region, exploring interconnecting culinary cultures. From the Jewish table of Odessa, to meeting the last fisherwoman of Bulgaria and charting the legacies of the White Russian  émigrés in Istanbul, Caroline gives readers a unique insight into a part of the world that is both shaded by darkness and illuminated by light.
OPL copies in print

Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli
If you think a healthy vegan diet means giving up pasta in creamy sauce, cheesy pizza, and luscious tiramisu, think again! Following her hit cookbooks Chloe’s Kitchen and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, Chef Chloe goes to her family’s homeland to veganize its time-honored delicacies, and add some distinctively delicious twists.
OPL copies in print 

A Common Table: 80 recipes and Stories from My Shared Cultures by Cynthia Chen McTernan
In A Common Table, Two Red Bowls blogger Cynthia Chen McTernan shares more than 80 Asian-inspired, modern recipes that marry food from her Chinese roots, Southern upbringing, and Korean mother-in-law's table. The book chronicles Cynthia's story alongside the recipes she and her family eat every day-beginning when she met her husband at law school and ate out of two battered red bowls, through the first years of her legal career in New York, to when she moved to Los Angeles to start a family.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive 

Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes & Kitchen Secrets by Najmieh Batmanglij
After five years of overcoming obstacles, meticulous planning, and ten thousand miles of traveling the length and breadth of Iran cooking with local cooks, visiting workshops, and developing recipes Najmieh's dream has been realized with the creation of Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes and Kitchen Secrets. This book is a distillation of those past five years. It is an authoritative exploration of a cuisine whose cultural roots are among the deepest of any in the world.
OPL copies in print 

Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel
A return to indigenous Mexican-American cooking based on the belief that food is both physically and spiritually healing.
OPL copies in print / Always available on Hoopla

Ethiopia: Recipes and Traditions from the Horn of Africa by Yohanis Gebreyesus with Jeff Koehler
Along with photography of the stunning landscapes and vibrant artisans of Ethiopia combined with insightful cultural and historical details this book demonstrates why Ethiopian food should be considered one of the world s most singular and enchanting cuisines.
OPL copies in print 

Feast: Food of the Islamic World by Anissa Helou
Suffused with history, brought to life with stunning photographs, and inflected by Helou's humor, charm, and sophistication, Feast is an indispensable addition to the culinary canon featuring some of the world's most inventive cultures and peoples.
OPL copies in print 

I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook by Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad
Two trailblazing restaurateurs present a modern cookbook filled with a vast array of Filipino recipes that capture the unexpected and addictive flavors of this vibrant and diverse cuisine. 
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive / Always available on Hoopla 

Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics From a Modern American Family by Priya Krishna with Ritu Krishna 
Indian food is everyday food! This colorful, lively book is food writer Priya Krishna’s loving tribute to her mom’s “Indian-ish” cooking—a trove of one-of-a-kind Indian-American hybrids that are easy to make, clever, practical, and packed with flavor. Think Roti Pizza, Tomato Rice with Crispy Cheddar, Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Pea Chutney, and Malaysian Ramen.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive / Always available on Hoopla 

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin
Throughout her career, James Beard Award-winning author Toni Tipton-Martin has shed new light on the history, breadth, and deth of African American cuisine. She's introduced us to black cooks, some long forgotten, who established much of what's considered to be our national cusine. After all, if Thomas Jefferson introduced French haute cusine to this country, who do you think actually cooked it? In Jubilee, Tipton-Martin brings these masters into our kitchens. Through recipes and stories, we cook along with these pioneering figures, from enslave chefs to middle- and upper-class writers and entrepreneurs. With more than 100 recipes, Jubilee presents techniques, ingredients, and dishes that show the roots of African American cooking--deeply beautiful, culturally diverse, fit for celebration.
OPL copies in print

My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes by Hooni Kim with Aki Kamozawa, photography by Kristin Teig
Complete with thoughtful notes on techniques and sourcing and gorgeous photography from across Korea, this cookbook will be an essential resource for home cooks, a celebration of the deliciousness of Korean food by a master chef.
New! OPL copies in print and on Overdrive 

My Mexico City Kitchen: Recipes and Convictions by Gabriela Cámara with Malena Watrous
With celebrated restaurants in Mexico City and San Francisco, Cámara is the most internationally recognized figure in Mexican cuisine, and her innovative, simple Mexican food is exactly what home cooks want to cook.
OPL copies in print

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
A vegetarian cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi, the author of Jerusalem, A Cookbook and other Ottolenghi cookbooks, Plenty is a visually stunning collection featuring exciting flavors and fresh combinations that will become mainstays for readers and eaters looking for a brilliant take on vegetables.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive Always available on Hoopla 

Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan by Naomi Duguid
Overflowing with exotic flavors, fascinating stories and ancient history, a collection of recipes from the heart of the Persian Empire introduces readers to the food traditions from this culinary paradise where diverse religions, cultures, languages and politics are linked by a love for the fresh and the tart. 
OPL copies in print Always available on Hoopla 

Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors by Andrea Quynhgiao Nguyen
Drawing on decades of experience, as well as the cooking hacks her mom adopted after fleeing from Vietnam to America, award-winning author Andrea Nguyen shows you how to use easy-to-find ingredients to create true Vietnamese flavors at home—fast.
OPL copies in print 

Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook
Zahav showcases the melting-pot cooking of Israel, especially the influences of the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. 
OPL copies in print / Always available on Hoopla



Did you know that five of our Oakland Public Library branches have been offering sidewalk pickup service? And that we're adding three more locations this week? If you've been missing print books, you can pick up holds for books, DVDs, CDs, and WiFi hotspots at our doors. More information can be found here


Summer Fun for Adults Week 5: Reach Out

In these times it is easy to feel isolated and disconnected. This week’s theme encourages us to reach out and reconnect with others. For inspiration, here is a list of books featuring collections of real life correspondences and fictional stories that revolve around letters and emails. Perhaps there is a letter brewing inside you that you’ve been meaning to write?

Descriptions in italics provided by the publishers.

Correspondences and Collections of Letters

Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989 edited by Julie R. Enszer with an introduction by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan  
Poets Audre Lorde and Pat Parker first met in 1969; they began exchanging letters regularly five years later. Over the next fifteen years, Lorde and Parker shared ideas, advice, and confidences through the mail. They sent each other handwritten and typewritten letters and postcards often with inserted items including articles, money, and video tapes. SISTER LOVE: THE LETTERS OF AUDRE LORDE AND PAT PARKER 1974-1989 gathers this correspondence for readers to eavesdrop on Lorde and Parker. They discuss their work as writers as well as intimate details of their lives, including periods when each lived with cancer. SISTER LOVE is a rare opportunity to glimpse inside the minds and friendship of two great twentieth century poets.
A 2019 Over the Rainbow Booklist Selection for Nonfiction.
Print copy from OPL 

Letters of the Dragon: An Anthology of Bruce Lee's Correspondence with Family, Friends, and Fans, 1958-1973 by Bruce Lee, edited by John Little
So much has been written about Bruce Lee—the martial arts superstar [and Oakland resident] whose combination of strength, agility and charisma are legendary—but seldom are we able to see beneath the veneer of Lee's public image to view his inner self. Bruce Lee Letters of the Dragon does just that—offering a highly personal view of the man through the letters he wrote to his close friends and family from his teenage years right up until his untimely death in 1973 at the tender age of 32.
Print copy from OPL / eBook always available on Hoopla 

As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, Food, Friendship, and the Making of a Masterpiece selected and edited by Joan Reardon
This dishy and delightful, never-before-published correspondence between America's queen of food, Julia Child, and her confidante and mentor Avis DeVoto, shows not only the blossoming of a lifelong friendship, but also an America on the verge of political, social, and gastronomic transformation.
Print copy from OPL eBook always available on Hoopla 

Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford edited by Peter Y. Sussman
A collection of irreverent and insightful letters by the larger-than-life wit, memoirist, investigative journalist, and activist [and Oakland resident] chronicles Mitford's experiences in the worlds of politics, journalism, the arts, publishing, and society, in correspondence with Katharine Graham, Betty Friedan, Miss Manners, Julie Andrews, Maya Angelou, Harry Truman, and her family.
Print copy from OPL 

Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times edited by Carolina de Robertis
Radical Hope is a collection of letters-to ancestors, to children five generations from now, to strangers in grocery lines, to any and all who feel weary and discouraged-written by award-winning novelists, poets, political thinkers, and activists. Provocative and inspiring, Radical Hope offers readers a kaleidoscopic view of the love and courage needed to navigate this time of upheaval, uncertainty, and fear, in view of the [2016] US presidential election. Includes a number of local contributors including Carolina de Robertis, Alicia Garza, Jewelle Gomez, Achy Obejas, Kate Schatz, Aya de León, Jeff Chang, and Cristina García.
Print copy from OPL 

Letters from an Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has attracted one of the world’s largest online followings with his fascinating, widely accessible insights into science and our universe. Now, Tyson invites us to go behind the scenes of his public fame by revealing his correspondence with people across the globe who have sought him out in search of answers. In this hand-picked collection of 101 letters, Tyson draws upon cosmic perspectives to address a vast array of questions about science, faith, philosophy, life, and of course, Pluto. His succinct, opinionated, passionate, and often funny responses reflect his popularity and standing as a leading educator.
Print copy from OPL / eBook from Overdrive 

Migrant Longing by Miroslava Chávez-García
Drawing upon a personal collection of more than 300 letters exchanged between her parents and other family members across the U.S.-Mexico border, Miroslava Chavez-Garcia recreates and gives meaning to the hope, fear, and longing migrants experienced in their everyday lives both "here" and "there" (aqui y alla). As private sources of communication hidden from public consumption and historical research, the letters provide a rare glimpse into the deeply emotional, personal, and social lives of ordinary Mexican men and women as recorded in their immediate, firsthand accounts. Chavez-Garcia demonstrates not only how migrants struggled to maintain their sense of humanity in el norte but also how those remaining at home made sense of their changing identities in response to the loss of loved ones who sometimes left for weeks, months, or years at a time, or simply never returned.
eBook always available on Hoopla 

A Love No Less: More Than Two Centuries of African American Love Letters edited by Pamela Newkirk
A paean to African American love, this treasury of fifty letters written by well-known figures and ordinary folk alike resonates with the joy and tenderness of romance, and offers glimpses into the social, literary, and political lives of black Americans for more than two centuries.
Print copy from OPL 

Inside a Thug's Heart: With Original Poems and Letters by Tupac Shakur with Angela Ardis
Rikers Island is the centerpiece of the New York City Department of Corrections, a sprawling prison city of concrete and steel with housing for more than 16,000 inmates. Early in 1995, it was also the temporary home of legendary rapper and actor Tupac Shakur, incarcerated for a crime he swore he did not commit. And it was there that Angela Ardis, acting on a late-night wager among her friends and coworkers, sent a letter, along with a photo and her phone number. To her utter delight and amazement, Angela's phone rang a short while later. Tupac Shakur was on the line. Over the next several months, Angela and Tupac shared a near-daily exchange of letters, poems and phone calls, and their the relationship quickly grew into something neither of them could quite define, a kinship of souls that touched each in unexpected ways. Those original poems and letters, many of them written after Tupac's transfer from Rikers to Dannemora State Prison, are presented here, along with the increasingly passionate and personal phone calls that touched on every subject imaginable.
Print book from OPL / eBook available through Enki 

Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience compiled by Shaun Usher
This collection of 125 letters offers a never-before-seen glimpse of the events and people of history--the brightest and the best, the most notorious, and the endearingly everyday. Lots more to see on the the Letters of Note website, an online museum of correspondence:
eBook always available on Hoopla 

Epistolary Novels 

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Celie has grown up in rural Georgia, navigating a childhood of ceaseless abuse. Not only is she poor and despised by the society around her, she's badly treated by her family. As a teenager she begins writing letters directly to God in an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear. Her letters span twenty years and record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment through the guiding light of a few strong women and her own implacable will to find harmony with herself and her home. The Color Purple's deeply inspirational narrative, coupled with Walker's prodigious talent as a stylist and storyteller, have made the novel a contemporary classic of American letters.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction.
Print book from OPL / eBook from Overdrive / eBook always available from Hoopla 

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur. On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society.
Winner of the Booker Prize.
Print book from OPL / eBook from Overdrive / eAudiobook always available from Hoopla 

The Mixquiahuala Letters by Ana Castillo
A series of letters focuses on the relationship between two strong and independent Latina women and traces the changes in their lives from their travels together in Mexico during their youth to their lives in the United States as they reach middle age. 
Winner of the American Book Award.
Print book from OPL 

The Correspondence Artist by Barbara Browning
For three years, a rather unremarkable woman named Vivian has been carrying on with an internationally recognized artist, largely via e-mail. Fame contaminates things. There are people who stand to profit from the most trivial information about this affair, and others who stand to lose. So she creates a subterfuge: a series of fictional versions of her lover.
Winner of a Lambda Literary Award.
Print book from OPL 

The Invention of Exile by Vanessa Manko
Wrongly accused of attending anarchist gatherings and deported to a war-torn early-20th-century Mexico, Russian immigrant Austin Voronkov maintains a daily correspondence with his wife in the United States while struggling against challenging political forces to reunite with his family.
Print book from OPL 

Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence written and illustrated by Nick Bantock
A novel in colorful postcards and letters depicts the enigmatic relationship between British artist Griffin Moss and Sabine Strohem, a mysterious woman living on a Pacific island who can see Griffin as he works in London.
Print book from OPL 

Bass Cathedral by Nathaniel Mackey, with a preface by Wilson Harris
Los Angeles, October 1982: Molimo m'Atet, formerly known as the The Mystic Horn Society, is preparing to release its new album Orphic Bend. The members of the jazz ensemble—Aunt Nancy, Djamilaa, Drennette, Lambert, N., and Penguin—are witness to a strange occurrence: while listening to their test pressing, the moment Aunt Nancy's bass solo begins a balloon emerges from the vinyl, bearing a mysterious message: I dreamt you were gone.... Through letters N. writes to a figure called Angel of Dust, the ever-mutating story unfolds, leaving no musician or listener untouched.
Print book from OPL 

The Parting Gift by Evan Fallenberg
An unnamed narrator writes a letter to an old college friend, Adam, with whom he has been staying since his abrupt return to the States from Israel. Now that the narrator is moving on to a new location, he finally reveals the events that led him to Adam’s door, set in motion by a chance encounter with Uzi, a spice merchant whose wares had developed a cult following. From his first meeting with Uzi, the narrator is overwhelmed by an animal attraction that will lead him to derail his life, withdraw from friends and extend his stay in a small town north of Tel Aviv. As he becomes increasingly entangled in Uzi’s life—and by extension the lives of Uzi’s ex-wife and children—his passion turns sinister, ultimately threatening all around him.
Print book from OPL / eBook from Overdrive 

Be My Knife by David Grossman, translated by Vered Almog and Maya Gurantz
When Yair, an awkward, neurotic seller of rare books, encounters a gorgeous stranger named Miriam at a class reunion, he begins writing her letters, which ignites a powerful love affair of words between these two people who are dissatisfied with their lives and desperate to find that special connection that has eluded them. 
Print book at OPL 

Four Letter Word: Invented Correspondence from the Edge of Modern Romance edited by Joshua Knelman & Rosalind Porter
An original compilation of short fiction created in the form of a series of love letters--notes, e-mails, postcards, personal letters, and more--by forty of today's most celebrated writers includes contributions from Jonathan Lethem, Francine Prose, A. L. Kennedy, Jan Morris, Douglas Coupland, Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin, and others.
Print book from OPL 

I love Dick by Chris Kraus
In 1994 a married, failed independent filmmaker, turning forty, falls in love with a well-known theorist and endeavors to seduce him with the help of her husband. But when the theorist refuses to answer her letters, the husband and wife continue the correspondence for each other instead, imagining the fling the wife wishes to have with Dick.
Print book from OPL / eBook from Overdrive

Did you know that five Oakland Public Library locations are now offering sidewalk pickup service? If you've been missing print books, you can now pick up holds for books, DVDs, CDs, and WiFi hotspots at our doors. More information can be found here

Summer Fun for Adults Week 3: Health, Fitness & Wellness

The Summer Fun for Adults program continues with this week’s theme: Health, Fitness, & Wellness. You can earn raffle tickets for reading and reviewing books and movies, and by participating in other fun activities.  Possible prizes include a Chromebook, a free Annual BayWheels membership, boating on Lake Merritt and gift cards for groceries, gardening supplies, sporting goods, books, coffee and more.

To find out more visit this page, and to sign up go here.

The world can be a challenging place for many of us at the best of times. The last few months and weeks, with COVID-19, recent racial injustices, and civil unrest, have likely heightened those challenges and presented new ones for many people. Especially in times of collective turmoil, it’s important we take care of each other, and that oftentimes starts with taking care of ourselves. 

During a time of sheltering in place and decreased accessibility to the services and people that many of us turn to in times of hardship, it can be hard to know where to look for help. If you are in need of resources related to mental and emotional health, OPL has many to offer. 

There are so many factors that affect us in so many ways, but one certain thing is that we are never alone. Others have struggled with the same things we struggle with and have shared their stories, experiences, and expertise in books, handbooks, films, podcasts, and more, so that the rest of us may learn, benefit, and heal. Below is a selection of books and films that can be requested through our online catalog (check our website for more information about sidewalk pickup), or accessed online through OverDrive, Hoopla, Kanopy, etc. 

Are u ok? walks readers through the most common questions about mental health and the process of getting help—from finding the best therapist to navigating harmful and toxic relationships and everything in between.

How to form and maintain genuine friendships in an age of social disconnect. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

A collection of essays by the American Buddhist nun in which she offers advice on how to find happiness by moving toward painful situations and learning to remain peaceful in the midst of chaos. 

Against a global backdrop of war, social upheaval, and personal despair, there is a growing sense of urgency to challenge the systems of oppression that dehumanize bodies and strip us of our shared humanity. Rather than feel helpless in the face of oppression, world-renowned activist, performance poet, and author Sonya Renee Taylor teaches us how to turn to the power of radical self-love in her new book, The Body Is Not an Apology. Radical self-love is the guiding framework that transforms the learned self-hatred of our bodies and the prejudices we have about other people's bodies into a vision of compassion, equity, and justice. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

We can’t deny it any longer: there is a Black mental health crisis in our world today. Black people die at disproportionately high rates due to chronic illness, suffer from poverty, under-education, and the effects of racism. This book is an exploration of Black mental health in today’s world, the forces that have undermined mental health progress for African Americans, and what needs to happen for African Americans to heal psychological distress, find community, and undo years of stigma and marginalization in order to access effective mental health care. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

In this breakthrough guide to understanding, treating, and healing Attention Deficit Disorder, Dr. Gabor Maté, an adult with ADD and the father of three ADD children, shared the latest information on the external factors that trigger ADD, how to create an environment that promotes health and healing, Ritalin and other drugs, ADD adults, and much more. (publisher)


A classic about trauma, its impact, and ways to treat it. Available as a book, eBook, or eAudiobook. 

Finding peace in times of worldwide trauma is difficult, and finding peace in times of personal trauma such as a family death or tragedy can be overwhelming. Therapist Christy Monson professionally and compassionately describes how tragedy physically changes the brain and the body, and she provides powerful techniques to help heal those invisible wounds and cope with the turmoil of our day. Available with no wait Hoopla

A guide for survivors of PTSD and their loved ones, written by a therapist and trauma survivor, outlines strategic steps for recovery based on five phases that acknowledge the progressive and cyclical nature of the journey.

People of color have endured traumatic histories and almost daily assaults on their dignity. Professional counselor Sheila Wise Rowe exposes the symptoms of racial trauma to lead readers to a place of freedom from the past and new life for the future. With Rowe as a reliable guide who has both been on the journey and shown others the way forward, you will find a safe pathway to resilience. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

A powerful and practical guide to help you navigate racism, challenge privilege, manage stress and trauma, and begin to heal. Available with no wait on Hoopla


Classic handbooks for those struggling with addiction. Read AA: The Big Book with no wait on Hoopla

Refuge Recovery is a systematic method based on Buddhist principles, which integrates scientific, non-theistic, and psychological insight. Viewing addiction as cravings in the mind and body, Levine shows how a path of meditative awareness can alleviate those desires and ease suffering. Refuge Recovery includes daily meditation practices, written investigations that explore the causes and conditions of our addictions, and advice and inspiration for finding or creating a community to help you heal and awaken. (publisher)

The authors show how the 12-Step program can be interpreted and worked by those who simply do not believe in an interventionist deity. At the same time the authors conscientiously maintain the intention and integrity of the program - its values, scope and depth.

Real-life solutions to help you now. Watching a loved one immersed in an intense battle with alcohol and drug abuse may be the most difficult, complex and harrowing experience you'll ever have. This book offers a message of hope to families and friends, giving practical solutions so they can help anyone struggling with addiction to begin the road to recovery. (publisher)

Other people’s stories:

Matt Haig's accessible and life-affirming memoir of his struggle with depression, and how his triumph over the illness taught him to live. (publisher) eAudiobook available with no wait on Hoopla

A personal story of depression, as well as a journalistic account of its role and ramifications in society today. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

A deeply personal memoir by the legendary rap star and co-founder of Run D.M.C. shares the story of his battle with depression, revealing how overwhelming fame culminated in dangerous suicidal thoughts. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

In "Monkey Mind," Daniel Smith brilliantly articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, evocatively expressing both its painful internal coherence and its absurdities. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

The Recovering presents an exploration of addiction that blends memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and journalistic reportage to analyze the role of stories in conveying the addiction experience, sharing insights based on the lives of artists whose achievements were shaped by addiction. (publisher)

Lit follows Mary Karr's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness—and her astonishing resurrection. (publisher) Available as an audiobook with no wait on Hoopla

A searching, richly researched narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons' battles with schizophrenia. A blend of history, biography, memoir, and current affairs ending with a consideration of where we might go from here, this is a thought-provoking look at a dreaded illness that has long been misunderstood. (publisher)

For young adults: 

An anthology of essays and illustrations that illuminate mental health topics in a straightforward way. (publisher) Available with no wait on Hoopla

A judgment-free guide for living well with your mind. Your Brain Needs a Hug is filled with friendly advice, coping strategies and laugh-out-loud moments to get you through the difficult days. Witty, honest, and enlightening, this is the perfect read for feeling happier and healthier and learning to navigate life without feeling overwhelmed or isolated. (publisher)

Films available on Kanopy:

Mad Dance is a collection of provocative and beautiful short films that re-envision the way we think, speak and feel about mental distress and wellness in today's chaotic world. These transformative films offer new maps for navigating madness with insight, healing and hope. (Kanopy)

The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America's narrow definition of masculinity. Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become "real" men.

Crazy...or wise? Indigenous cultures address "mental illnesses" quite differently from western societies. Are symptoms a 'calling' to grow or just a 'broken brain'? The documentary explores what can be learned from people around the world who have turned their psychological crisis into a positive transformative experience.

Feeling stressed? You're not alone. Stress is a fact of life. And the key to changing how stress affects you is a thorough knowledge of how it works--which you'll find in the 24 fascinating lessons of Stress and Your Body, taught by one of the world's foremost researchers on stress and neurobiology. 

A feature documentary film about the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction. Deeply entrenched social stigma and mass participation in widely successful anonymous 12-step groups have kept recovery voices silent and faces hidden for decades. The Anonymous People will be told through the faces and voices of the leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, and celebrities who are laying it all on the line to save the lives of others just like them. This passionate new public recovery movement is fueling a changing conversation that aims to transform public opinion, and finally shift problematic policy toward lasting recovery solutions.

Need Help?

You can find out more about Oakland Public Library's online books, movies and more here.

If you need help using eBooks or other online resources, you can make an appointment to speak with a librarian. Fill out the online form here, or call 510-238-3134 to make an appointment.

If you need help with your library account or have other questions, please email or leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.

If you don’t have a library account, we're still issuing new library cards while our buildings are closed to the public. Just complete an online application and email to set one up.

Looking for more reading recommendations? Try our service for readers, Book Me! Fill out an online form and a librarian will send you a personalized list of reading suggestions.

Kickoff to Summer Fun for Adults: 10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in June

The Summer Fun for Adults program starts this week. You can earn raffle tickets for reading and reviewing books, and by participating in other fun activities.  Prizes include a Chromebook, a free Annual BayWheels membership, boating on Lake Merritt and gift cards for groceries, gardening supplies, sporting goods, books, coffee and more.

To find out more visit this page, and to sign up go here.

Now for a little reading inspiration, here are the top 10 fiction books I’m looking forward to coming out this month.

The Vanishing Half
by Brit Bennett 
When identical twins Desiree and Stella leave their rural Southern hometown at age 16 their lives veer in separate directions, with one twin deciding to pass as white. Years later their reunion forces them to face the choices they’ve made and the secrets they’ve kept. “With an irresistible narrative voice, Bennett (The Mothers, 2016) writes an intergenerational epic of race and reinvention, love and inheritance, divisions made and crossed, binding trauma, and the ever-present past.” (Booklist)

Pizza Girl 
by Jean Kyoung Frazier 
In suburban Los Angeles, a pregnant, dysfunctional 18-year-old pizza delivery girl forms an intense friendship with a middle-aged mom who orders a pepperoni-and-pickle pizza. “Playful and unflinching… Frazier’s characters are raw and her dialogue startlingly observant… This infectious evocation of a young woman’s slackerdom will appeal to fans of Halle Butler and Ottessa Moshfegh, and will make it difficult not to root for the troubled and spirited pizza girl.” (Publishers Weekly)

A Burning 
by Megha Majumdar
A poor Muslim girl in India named Jivan is is accused of terrorism after making a consequential Facebook comment. Her future could be in the hands of two acquaintances, a former teacher and a neighbor who dreams of being a film star, but both may pursue their own fortunes at Jivan’s expense. “Majumdar expertly weaves the book’s various points of view and plotlines in ways that are both unexpected and inevitable. This is a memorable, impactful work.” (Publishers Weekly)

Exciting Times 
by Naoise Dolan
Ava is a young Irish expat in Hong Kong working as an English teacher. She’s having an affair, sort-of, with London-born Julian when she falls in love with Edith, a Hong Kong local. “This delightfully sardonic, insightful debut picks apart life at the whims of the economy, love, and self-sabotage… believable and piercingly written.” (Library Journal)

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre
by Max Brooks
Following the eruption of Mt. Ranier, the residents of a high-tech community in Washington State are cut off from civilization and must face down menacing Sasquatches in this terrifying and suspenseful tale told in the same style as the author’s zombie novel World War Z. “Piecing together the journal with interviews, transcripts, newspaper clippings, and historical documents, Brooks crafts a terrifying tale that reads like a "true" crime novel. Set in the very near future, with stellar worldbuilding, a claustrophobic atmosphere, an inclusive and fascinating cast of characters, and plenty of bloody action, this inventive story will keep readers' heart rates high.” (Library Journal

Death in Her Hands
by Ottessa Moshfegh
The note reads: “Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.” When 72-year-old widow Vesta Gul finds this note, she decides she needs to solve the mystery despite the lack of a crime scene. “Whatever the opposite of Occam's razor is, Vesta's detective work is it… You simultaneously worry about Vesta and root for her, and Moshfegh's handling of her story is at once troubling and moving. An eerie and affecting satire of the detective novel.” (Kirkus Reviews) Moshfegh has intrigued and disturbed readers with books including Booker Prize finalist Eileen (2015) and My Year of Rest and Relaxation (2018).

You Exist Too Much
by Zaina Arafat
A young queer Palestinian woman struggles with her mother’s disapproval and her own self-destructive impulses, a story that unfolds through vignettes set in North America and the Middle East. “Arafat writes movingly of being caught between identities, homelands, and obligation and desire. This difficult but heartfelt wonder delivers an emotional wallop.” (Publishers Weekly)

Thin Girls 
by Diana Clarke
Lily and Rose share the intense bond that twins often do. As they move through adolescence, both girls struggle with eating disorders, and their bond becomes more important than ever. “As gripping as a thriller, but it's Clarke's language that truly makes this novel special. She writes with a lyricism that not only encompasses the grotesque and the transcendent, but also sometimes commingles the two… Incisive social commentary rendered in artful, original, and powerfully affecting prose.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Mexican Gothic
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
In 1950s Mexico City, debutante Noemí Taboada receives a disturbing letter from her cousin Catalina, compelling her to visit Catalina at the crumbling and terrifying villa of her new spouse. “Moreno-Garcia’s energetic romp through the gothic genre (after Gods of Jade and Shadow) is delightfully bonkers… In a novel that owes a considerable debt to the nightmarish horror and ornate language of H.P. Lovecraft, the situations in which Noemí attempts to prevail get wilder and stranger with every chapter.” (Publishers Weekly)

Party of Two
by Jasmine Guillory
If you’re seeking something fun and sexy, look no further. This latest chapter in the rom-com series that started with The Wedding Date features Olivia Monroe, an attorney who’s just moved to LA to start her own law firm. She has no interest dating politicians but just spent the evening flirting with a cute guy she didn’t know is an up-and-coming senator. 

Place your holds on these paper books coming soon. Overdrive eBook versions of these books will be available later this summer.

What books have been a comfort to you recently? Are you looking forward to any books coming this summer? We'd love to hear in the comments.