Devastation, Survival and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the 20th Century by Mark Levine - 2007, 307 p. Deadly storms of unprecedented ferocity wreak devastation and an emotional toll on a small Alabama community. Levine zeroes in on the rural hamlets hit by at least 148 tornadoes over 16 states in April, 1974, six of which attained the rare “F5” category. Snake Charmer: A Life and Death in Pursuit of Knowledge by Jamie James - 2008, 260 p. An absorbing account of the life and career of a celebrated young herpetologist whose reckless fascination with venomous snakes ended with his slow death. The Lady and the Panda: The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China's Most Exotic Animal by Vicki Constantine Croke - 2005, 372p. One woman's adventurous trek through Tibet to capture a panda—alive. Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston - 2004, 354p. Ralston recounts the harrowing story of his near death and self-amputation alone on a canyon wall in Utah. The Lost Pet Chronicles: Adventures of a K–9 Cop Turned Pet Detective by Kat Albrecht - 2004, 243p. A fascinating peek into the life of a cop turned pet detective and the lives she helped save. Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo by Lawrence Anthony - 2007, 248 p.Terrific tale about how Iraqis, a South African conservationist and American soldiers saved the animals of the Baghdad Zoo in April 2003 after the Baghdad Zoo was bombed during the opening days of the Iraq war. Nim Chimpksy: The Chimp Who Would Be Human by Elizabeth Hess - 2008, 369 p. Hess tells the story of Nim Chimpsky, who in the 1970s was the subject of an experiment to find out whether a chimp could learn American Sign Language – and thus refute Noam Chomsky’s influential thesis that language is inherent only in humans. Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery - 2006, 228p. A 750-pound friend can make the whole neighborhood feel good. What the Dog Did: Tales from a Formerly Reluctant Dog Owner by Emily Yoffe - 2005, 258 p. Yielding to pressure from her husband and young daughter, Yoffe finds herself the main caretaker of a high-maintenance, rescued beagle, Sasha. Flim-Flam Man: A True Family History by Jennifer Vogel - 2004, 213 p. An absorbing memoir of the author’s beloved father who also happened to be a liar and criminal. The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick - 2005, 270 p. When Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream was stolen in 1994, it took the ingenuity of one man to retrieve it. True Notebooks: A Writer’s Year at Juvenile Hall by Mark Salzman - 2003, 330 p. These thoughts of teens behind bars are full of insight and emotion. Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA by Tim Junkin - 2004, 294 p. Kirk Bloodsworth was wrongly convicted of murder and spent 9 years battling death row until advances in DNA testing set him free. Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe - 2003, 128 p. A bold and honest look at how young Emmett Till’s murder ignited the spark of America’s civil rights movement. No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin - 2008, 212 p. Inmates sentenced to death as teenagers give firsthand accounts of life on Death Row and relatives of both victims and prisoners share their experiences in this collection of interviews. Einstein's Refrigerator: And Other Stories from the Flip Side of History by Steve Silverman - 2001, 183p. Off-beat stories from the annals of science history. Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 2004, 302p. Abdul-Jabbar chronicles the bravery of Patton's all-black tank battalion and its 183 days on the front lines at the Battle of the Bulge. Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson - 2004, 397p. Two deep-sea divers risk their lives to discover the identity of a sunken German submarine. War by Sebastian Junger - 2010, 287p. In this riveting combat narrative Junger spends 14 months in 2007–2008 intermittently embedded with a platoon of the 173rd Airborne brigade in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, one of the bloodiest corners of the conflict. Wave of Destruction: The Stories of Four Families and History's Deadliest Tsunami by Erich Krauss - 2006, 244p. Families from a Thai village devastated by the tsunami of December 26, 2004 tell their compelling stories. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Phillip Gourevitch - 1999, 355p. In Rwanda, after 800,000 ethnic Hutus are murdered in 100 days the survivors try to rebuild their lives while awaiting the slow-moving justice system. Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa by Mark Mathabane - 1986, 354p. Mathabane's hopeless life in Johannesburg is full of violence and poverty, but he is determined to get out. Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind by Loung Ung - 2005, 268p. Alternating chapters tell the stories of two sisters, one a refugee in America, the other left in war-torn Cambodia. The sequel to First They Killed My Father. No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War by Anita Lobel - 2000, 193p. A piercing account of surviving the Holocaust by a famous children's author and illustrator. Fax from Sarajevo: A Story of Survival by Joe Kubert - 1996, 207 p. This dramatic account tells how the Rustemagic family survives the deadly siege of their homeland. Stiches by David Small - 2009, 329 p. With excruciating and exhilarating precision, small uses spare words and haunting imagery to tell the story of his troubled upbringing in this artistically cathartic memoir. A People’s History of American Empire by Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki, and Paul Buhle - 2008, 273 p. A study of empire-building by established politicians and big businesses from the 1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee through the current Iraq war. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel - 2006, 232 p. This autobiography by the author of the long-running strip deals with her childhood with a closeted gay father. Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times, and Music of Green Day by Marc Spitz - 2006, 224 p. A chronicle of the band after their initial success with the “Dookie” album, then the critical disdain that branded them with the label of “punk poseurs,” until their return to superstardom with the massive hit album “American Idiot.” Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet - 2007, 226 p. Recounting his long struggle to emotionally connect with others, Tammet vividly describes his childhood and adolescence as an autistic savant. Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood by Jennifer Traig - 2004, 246p. In this humorous memoir, the author recalls her experiences as a child with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Working Fire: The Making of an Accidental Fireman by Zac Unger - 2004, 262p. This action-packed story of life as a firefighter tells it from the inside. Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell's Fatal Obsession with Alaskan Bears by Nick Jans - 2005, 274p. A fascinating glimpse into the life of a man who chose to live in the middle of grizzly territory, and then paid the price. The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream by Sampson Davis - 2002, 248p. Three black high school students who vow to finish college together must rely on each other to keep from returning to the streets. The Full Burn: On the Set, at the Bar, Behind the Wheel, and Over the Edge with Hollywood Stuntmen by Kevin Conley - 2008, 218 p. Conley visited the sets of action films to talk with Hollywood stuntmen and women. War Is… Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk about War by Marc Aronson - 2008, 200 p. A balanced collection of contemporary and historical writings including interviews, stories, memoirs, and a miliblog addresses the experience of enlisting, serving, and surviving war from a variety of perspectives. Clara’s War: One Girl’s Story of Survival by Clara Kramer - 2009, 339 p. Chronicling the 18 months she spent as a teen hiding with other polish Jews under Nazi occupation. Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran by Ruya Hakakian - 2004, 245 p. A haunting story of being a Jewish teenager in Tehran as civil rights are stripped away. Shane Comes Home by Rinker Buck - 2005, 272p. The moving story of the first American killed in the Iraq War. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah - 2007, 229 p. A former child soldier in Sierra Leone recalls the heart-wrenching experiences that transformed him from an innocent 12-year-old into a cold-blooded killer. Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton - 2004, 213p. Could you return to the water after losing an arm in a shark attack? Hamilton did. The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls - 2005, 288p. This unusual memoir of making it on your own while living with your parents is full of the "adventures" of being homeless. Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood by Julie Gregory - 2003, 244p. This astounding story describes a life crippled by an insidious form of child abuse, and the struggle to move beyond it. Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher - 1999, 298p. A graphic look at how believing in the "ideal female body" almost cost Hornbacher her life. Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos - 2002, 199p. Gantos tells a true and gripping tale about his teenage years in jail for trafficking drugs.