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Spring Reading 2020 Nonfiction Recommendations

See the full list of great reading recommendations for Spring 2020 here.

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780385348713
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - February 25th, 2020

Larson is a master at taking history and bringing it to life. Many people know about the London Blitz, but through the use of diaries, letters, and official documents, a lost and very human narrative begins to emerge. Clerks and secretaries helped form history as much as the giants we all know. I found myself leaning into the story, worried about what would happen next, even though I knew the outcome. Brilliant and engaging, this isn’t one to miss.  —Ivy


Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

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Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307279286
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - February 25th, 2020

One of my favorite books from 2019 is now in paperback! Say Nothing is an immersive and thoughtful account of the harrowing history of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The first half is on the ground action: gunfire, murder, rebellion, hope and betrayal. Yet even more heart pounding is the second half, which focuses on how these explosive years are remembered (and misremembered), recorded, and manipulated. This is an incredible book, I can’t recommend it enough! —Tori


Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathaon Through North America’s Stolen Land by Noé Álvarez

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Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781948226462
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - March 3rd, 2020

A child of immigrants, Noe Alvarex grew up working-class in Washington state. Determined to get out of his small hometown and avoid the factory jobs of his contemporaries, Alvarez made it his mission to go to college. However, upon arriving at university he found himself isolated and unmoored, lacking motivation and seeking a greater sense of purpose. Alvarez found that purpose when he discovered the Peace and Dignity Journeys, who organized marathons for native people. Without hesitation, Alvarez dropped out of college and embarked on a 4-month odyssey from Canada to Guatemala, running over thousands of miles of unforgiving terrain and pushing himself physically and mentally in ways he never imagined possible. —Jade


The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara

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The Lady from the Black Lagoon Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781335010131
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hanover Square Press - March 3rd, 2020

Before this book, I had no idea that I needed to know more about the costume designer behind Creature from the Black Lagoon. Milicent Patrick led a fascinating life, the details of which were kept mostly in the dark until now. Part biography, part memoir, and 100% a deep dive into the sexism that is still rampant in the entertainment industry, this is a must read for monster-lovin’ ladies like myself! —MJ


Untamed by Glennon Doyle

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Untamed Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781984801258
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: The Dial Press - March 10th, 2020

Glennon Doyle had just published her latest memoir about rehabilitating her marriage with her unfaithful husband when she fell in love with Abby Wambach and everything shifted. What followed was a full shedding of the constructs that had been holding her back from trusting herself: her understanding of marriage, religion, parenting, love, and being good, being enough. Untamed is Glennon’s new memoir, her love story, her journey to her true self, and her gift to us – her writing is so light, so intimate, honest, and available that it becomes all of our journeys, and we are all the better for it. —Melinda


Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA by Neil Shubin

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Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781101871331
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - March 17th, 2020

“Nothing begins where you think it does.” This includes our very existence. Humans didn’t just spring forth fully formed like Athena, but rather through chance and many years of intense evolution. Shubin manages to take the smallest part of us, DNA, and show just why it looms so large in everything we do. My mind was blown more than once and I raced to find the next revelation.  —Ivy


Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch

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Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399589157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - February 25th, 2020

It’s tempting to say that Yellow Bird is kin to Killers of the Flower Moon, but that diminishes the experiences of everyone involved in said events and books. There is water and oil in Yellow Bird, massive flooding and fracking that loosens the literal roots of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. There is Lissa Yellow Bird — felon drug addict mother daughter frantic — who hunts for the missing while forgetting about her own family. Yellow Bird is a knot of politics and history, culture and crime, and the years of intergenerational trauma threading it all together. I read it in a day, unable to tear myself away from the stories and memories shared within. —Rachel


The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff

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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9781541758001
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: PublicAffairs - March 3rd, 2020

This book is an achievement—in prose that is engaging and accessible, Zuboff explains the logic and operating principles of major tech companies while clearly tracing the connection between massive profits and the mass collection of user data. Zuboff unpacks major stories you've seen in the news, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal that forced Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress, and provides a thorough analysis of the contemporary moment in order to plan and strategize for the future. Central to this book's analysis is the idea that it is impossible to compare an unprecedented event to something that has happened before, and Zuboff makes the case that the rapid expansion of tech companies collecting behavioral data on its users is an unprecedented event with dangerous implications. This book should be required reading for any user of the internet or participant in a democracy. —Billy


The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren

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The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780525563389
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2020

Climate change is overwhelming in its scope, severity, and immediacy. While there are plenty of books out there tackling this pressing topic, Jahren’s work is absolutely worth a read. In just a few short chapters, she’s managed to condense many of the complex aspects of climate change into layman's terms. Jahren describes some of the changes she’s seen in her own lifetime (she was born in 1969) and then applies her expertise as a scientist to offer solutions that actually seem doable. Written in the witty, conversational style that endeared her to readers in Lab Girl, Jahren’s follow-up is an impactful and important read.  —Jade


Surrender: The Call of the American West by Joanna Pocock

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Surrender: The Call of the American West Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781487007249
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: House of Anansi Press - April 7th, 2020

Growing restless in middle age, Pocock, a Canadian writer and journalist, packs up her husband and daughter, and heads to Montana, looking for…she’s not sure. Trying to find meaning in an increasingly complicated world, she sets out to investigate the modern West, and ends up spending time with people across the spectrum: ranchers, militia members, anti-government wolf trappers, Native-American “rewilders,” spiritual leaders, red-state liberals, sexologists, and even other moms just trying to raise their kids the best they know how. As a sort-of foreigner (I mean, how foreign is Canada, really?), she’s able to both understand the West and offer fresh insight on the country and region we call home. —Rico


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