Off the Shelves – May 24


The following items are available at the Hancock County Public Library, 900 W. McKenzie Road. For more information on the library’s collection or to reserve a title, visit

Adult Fiction

“Census,” by Jesse Ball

When a widower receives notice from his doctor that he doesn’t have long to live, he is faced with the question of who will care for his adult son —a boy with Down syndrome. With no recourse in mind, and with a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son. Traveling through towns named only by ascending letters of the alphabet, the man and his son encounter a wide range of human experience. While some welcome them into their homes, others who bear the physical brand of past censuses on their ribs are wary of their presence. When they press toward the edges of civilization, the landscape grows wilder, the towns grow farther apart and more blighted by industrial decay. As they approach “Z,” the man must confront a series of questions: What is the purpose of the census? Is he complicit in its mission? And how will he say good-bye to his son?

Adult Nonfiction

“Ask a North Korean,” by Daniel Tudor

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The weekly column “Ask A North Korean,” published by NK News invites readers from around the world to pose questions to North Korean defectors. By way of these interviews, North Koreans provide authentic firsthand testimonies about what is happening inside the “Hermit Kingdom.” Contributors include: “Seong,” who came to South Korea after dropping out during his final year of his university and is now training to be an elementary school teacher; “Kang” who left North Korea in 2005 and now lives in London, England; “Cheol” who was from South Hamgyeong in North Korea and is now a second-year university student in Seoul; “Park” who worked and studied in Pyongyang before defecting to the U.S. in 2011 and is now studying at a U.S. college. “Ask A North Korean” sheds light on all aspects of North Korean politics and society and shows that even in the world’s most authoritarian regime, life goes on in ways that are very different from what you may think.