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Staff Nonfiction Favorites

A rotating selection of some of our staff's favorite titles. New reviews added quarterly.

As Serious as Your Life by Val Wilmer

Wilmer captures the explosive new energies that defined jazz in the 60s and 70s! Examining the lives and careers of both unknown artists and household names, she paints a vivid picture of what life was like for these members of the jazz vanguard, while also exploring the connections between art, politics, and being black in America. This book is raw and candid! - Travis

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As Serious as Your Life: Black Music and the Free Jazz Revolution, 1957a 1977 Cover Image
By Val Wilmer, Richard Williams (Foreword by)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781788160711
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Serpent's Tail - June 12th, 2018

Tomorrow Will Be Different by Sarah McBride

McBride’s story of self-discovery, determination, and love made me check my privilege, cheer, and cry. She earnestly and intelligently reflects on her life, from coming out as a trans woman, to walking to corridors of power, to falling in love and losing her husband. This compelling read highlights how far we still have to go towards actual liberty and justice for all. - Jocelyn

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Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality Cover Image
By Sarah McBride, Joe Biden (Foreword by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9781524761486
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Three Rivers Press - March 5th, 2019

No God But God by Reza Aslan

Aslan is one of the smartest religious scholars out there. This book reads as both a study of Islam and a commentary forces impacting religion in the modern world (he is especially adroit about extremism and orthodoxy). His perspective will make you fall in love with the beauty of the world’s second-largest religion and think deeply about how we navigate faith in the 21st century. - Clara

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No god but God (Updated Edition): The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812982442
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - August 30th, 2011

The Other Side by Lacy M. Johnson

At 21, Johnson was kidnapped and held captive by her abusive ex-boyfriend in the soundproof room where he intended to kill her, but her incredible memoir isn’t about that. It’s about the before and after, a reminder to believe survivors when they do the hard work of telling their stories. Johnson tells hers through lyrical prose that turns even the ugliest tragedy into something beautiful. - Kristi

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The Other Side Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781935639831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - July 15th, 2014

A Dash of Style by Noah Lukeman

In every writer’s prose, you find their favorite punctuation marks: commas, ellipses, em-dashes, etc. Lukeman’s guide to the tools of the trade teaches what your underuse, or overuse, of each mark says about your writing. You’ll also learn how to hone and master your usage (because let’s be honest, your writing could use some work). An essential reference for all writers. - Aric

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A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393329803
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 2007

Grunt by Mary Roach

Rather than focusing on big guns and bravado, Roach sheds light on the less discussed aspects of the military. What makes the gadgets work and how are they tested? What do fashion designers look for when creating a military uniform? What advances have we made in genital reconstructive surgery? Her signature wit had me fascinated by topics I would never have otherwise explored. - Jade

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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393354379
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 6th, 2017

Barbarian Days by William Finnegan

This is a perfect summer nonfiction read for anytime you want an escape. Finnegan paints with vivid strokes the places and times that shaped his identity as a surfer, from Hawaii to Santa Cruz, to parts few of us will ever hear about, much less see. The passion of a surfer will keep you turning pages that exude salt air and the feel of the ocean beneath a board under your feet. - Jocelyn

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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143109396
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - April 26th, 2016

Green Buddhism by Stephanie Kaza

How can we improve our eco-karma? From the ashram to your personal life, this beautiful book will be your guide. One chapter shows how to use Gary Snyder’s poems to increase one’s environmental consciousness. Others contemplates Buddhist consumer activism, and ways to get your community directly involved. It’s time to bring your practice into the world. - Jason

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Green Buddhism: Practice and Compassionate Action in Uncertain Times Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781611806748
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Shambhala - March 12th, 2019

Talk to Me by James Vlahos

Voice computing represents the biggest shift in how we interact with computers since the advent of the smart phone. The changes brought on by Siri and Alexa are affecting every aspect of our lives. This well researched book provides a fascinating account of how voice computing developed the current state of the technology, and the possibilities and pitfalls of its future. - Trey

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Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781328799302
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - March 26th, 2019

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

If you have any interest in history, social justice, or true crime, and you haven’t already picked up this book, you need to right now. Grann lays a meticulous thriller, but it’s all true. Introducing vivid characters, painting a living landscape, pacing the twists and turns of the mystery, and highlighting the injustices whose effects echo today, this will keep you up reading, and stay with you. - Jocelyn

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Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307742483
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 3rd, 2018

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