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Staff Nonfiction Favorites

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

Mozart's Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Haupt deftly interweaves biography, science, music theory, and memoir in this fascinating look at a footnote in music history: Mozart’s pet starling. Previous knowledge of Mozart or love for starlings is not required. Though starlings are often considered the villains of the bird world, Haupt’s compassionate portrait reveals them as the extraordinary creatures that they are. - Katherine

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Mozart's Starling Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316370905
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Spark - May 15th, 2018

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

Through the years, Neil Gaiman has written on so many subjects, from books to politics to music. This book is worth the price of admission if only for his perspective on genre writing. Collecting these writings together provides a masterclass in how to write non-fiction: widely and often. - Ivy

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The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062262271
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - May 16th, 2017

A More Beautiful and Terrible History by Jeanne Theoharis

Theoharis established herself as the writer of the long civil rights era (extending our views of the historical forces and outcomes of the civil rights movement beyond the small window of the 1960s). In this book she explores how the legacy of civil rights has been reshaped, used, and invoked to paint a fuller picture of national identity and where the struggle for equality is headed. - Clara

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A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780807063484
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - February 12th, 2019

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls ed. by Hope Nicholson

Having backed the original Kickstarter for this book, I was thrilled to hear it was being released by Dark Horse. It's full of stories of joy and heartbreak and fandom and the intersection of the 3. Growing up as a geek girl is hard, it's good to hear stories from people who experienced life and love as a geek AND a girl. - J

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The Secret Loves of Geek Girls: Expanded Edition Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781506700991
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dark Horse Books - October 18th, 2016

The Ravenmaster by Christopher Skaife

Skaife, a yeoman warder, describes himself as being ornithivorous in relation to his job, inhaling all that there is about ravens, no matter the area of study (science, mythology, art, etc.). And while he covers some of those topics in this book, it’s his personal stories that kept me reading late into the night. Skaife’s voice feels like you’re just swapping stories over a pint with a friend. - Rachel

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The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374113346
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 2nd, 2018

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Chast paints a portrait of her aging parents' final days through four-color cartoons, short narratives, family photos, and original documents like her mother's handwritten poetry. Chast's colorful, often hilarious drawings are the perfect contrast to the darkness of oncoming loss and looming grief. This book will make you laugh and cry—sometimes simultaneously. - Kristi

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Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9781632861016
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - September 13th, 2016

The New Well-Tempered Sentence by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

Quite certainly the spiciest use of commas in an educational text. An example of commas between independent clauses: I won’t rise to the occasion, but I’ll slide over to it. Even more ambiguously suggestive: He told her he belonged to another, yet his pajamas clung to her tights. Also the probably immoral, yet proper, usage of semicolons, hyphens, apostrophes, and the dreaded ellipses. - Dave

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The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed Cover Image
$10.95
ISBN: 9780618382019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 19th, 2003

The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale

In 1857, a child was convicted of murdering his mother after her body was found decomposing in their home. This lurid point of entry belies a fascinating and surprisingly compassionate examination of a crime that gripped Victorian London. Like the best crime narratives, its focus is not on the crime itself, but on the extraordinary ways it shaped the lives left in its wake. - Katherine

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The Wicked Boy: An Infamous Murder in Victorian London Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143110460
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - July 4th, 2017

Europe: A Natural History by Tim Flannery

So sharp! I feel like I laughed out loud every paragraph. Flannery looks at the Europe’s unique roles as a bridge between continents, analyzing paleontology, geology, botany, anthropology and more. Europe couldn't be as funny as it is without a backbone of research. Centuries of scholarship are translated with an irreverent wit that brings the past alive. Absolutely delightful reading. - Clara

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Europe: A Natural History Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802129161
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - February 12th, 2019

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Fisher was an actress, geek icon, and a professional screw-up who held nothing back from her audience. She called herself the product of “Hollywood incest” and never failed to find the humor in life. My nerdy little heart reveled in every moment. The secrets are as juicy as expected. More importantly, it’s full of the wit and self-deprecation we expected from our foul-mouthed princess. - Ivy

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The Princess Diarist Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399185793
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Blue Rider Press - October 24th, 2017

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