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2015 Staff Nonfiction Favorites

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett

I LOVED this book! It was completely fascinating, and made me think about rain in a completely different way. It touches on everything from the role rain played in the creation of our planet and continues to play in its survival, to the invention of the Macintosh raincoat to a tiny town in India that bottles the scent of rain. It talks about our future in this changing climate, and about how we have altered areas of the planet to create the problems happening today (I'm talking about you, Southern Florida!). Engaging and thorough, this is a fantastic book.

Reviewed by: 
Flannery
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ISBN: 9780804137096
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - April 21st, 2015

Voices in the Ocean by Susan Casey

I loved Susan Casey's first two books (The Wave, The Devil’s Teeth), but neither had the impact on me this did. After a personal encounter with wild dolphins, Casey began traveling the globe researching all things dolphin. Exploring their complex lives, intelligence, and most of all, their complicated relationship with us, this thought-provoking book is marked by Casey's brightly descriptive prose. By turns awe-inspiring, heartbreaking, and infuriating, this book stays with you. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by: 
Flannery
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Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385537308
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Doubleday - August 4th, 2015

A House of My Own by Sandra Cisneros

Cisneros writes beautifully in any form, and she showcases her talent here in a colorful mosaic of essays, introductions, and speeches from her three decades of writing. Through her thoughts on place, art, and other writers, her remarkable life is revealed in ways more intimate than a typical memoir, taking us to Greece and Mexico, Chicago and San Antonio, and unveiling the smart, passionate mind of a poet and writer.

Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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A House of My Own: Stories from My Life Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385351331
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - October 6th, 2015

Negroland by Margo Jefferson

Pulitzer Prize winning critic Margo Jefferson turns her searing eye on her own life growing up and living in what she calls Negroland, “a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty.” As a member of the black elite, Jefferson provides an important perspective on race, class, and gender from the 40s through the Civil Rights Movement and on to today’s “post-racial” world.

Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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Negroland: A Memoir Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780307378453
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Pantheon - September 8th, 2015

Saving Capitalism by Robert B. Reich

Reich demystifies capitalism’s most dearly held tenets and reminds us that it has only the rules that we make through our governing bodies. Which, although frustrating in this time of great income inequality, Reich argues, is also promising, as it means that capitalism can change to benefit the greater good, but such change requires social activism and demands for political transformation. Clear-eyed and easily understood, Reich is both incisive and optimistic about how we can and must move forward.

Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385350570
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - September 29th, 2015

The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

You’ve probably never heard of Alexander von Humboldt, but you’ve seen his name. A naturalist and explorer in the 1800s, Humboldt essentially invented the concept of nature as we know it and was extremely influential, yet today he’s all but forgotten. With this thorough biography, Andrea Wulf makes his place in history known. Filled with history, science, and adventure, this will make you proud to know the story of Alexander von Humboldt.

Reviewed by: 
Flannery
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The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780385350662
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Knopf - September 15th, 2015

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

I've been in awe of how she just took something she loved (computer games) and just went with it. And now there's this great book that tells that story. Day talks about what it takes for a shy but driven person to develop successful creative ventures, and is open about the cost of success in terms of mental health and even personal safety. Reading the book is like listening to stories told across a table at that little diner down the street.

Reviewed by: 
Cat
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You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir Cover Image
By Felicia Day, Joss Whedon (Foreword by)
$25.99
ISBN: 9781476785653
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Gallery Books - August 11th, 2015

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

Well known for predicting sports games and tasting yummy, octopuses (never octopi!) have firmly situated themselves in our culture. Sy Montgomery’s book explores another side of these remarkable creatures—their consciousness, memory, and emotions. While scientists have already begun establishing the intelligence of octopuses, the author pushes further, developing friendships with these creatures. Wonderful for any animal lover, it confirms what many of us already know, that all animals—including octopuses—express and feel love.

Reviewed by: 
Rachel
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The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781451697711
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Atria Books - May 12th, 2015

Barbarian Days by William Finnegan

Longtime New Yorker staff writer William Finnegan lends his reporting to his own life store—his childhood in Hawaii, where surfing captivated him; his wanderings from Australia to Thailand to South Africa in search for the perfect wave; and his inclination into journalism after observing the prevalence of social injustice. Barbarian Days is a panoramic, enchanting look at passion, adventure, and growing up.

Reviewed by: 
Julia
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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594203473
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Press - July 21st, 2015

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Usually when our buyer brings me a book on contemporary queer theory I have to prep myself by brushing up on my vocabulary and pronunciation skills (it's pronounced Foo-ko, Louise, not Full-calt). Nelson doesn't condescend by oversimplifying her critiques and theories; her approach is practical and lucid, and her arguments about identify politics are fresh to death.

Reviewed by: 
Louise
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The Argonauts Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9781555977078
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Graywolf Press - May 5th, 2015

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