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Staff Nonfiction Favorites

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

The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan

For four hundred years to be Irish in Ireland was a crime. Its people, stubborn to a fault, did not take to fetters gently. Thomas Francis Meagher ached for a free Ireland though he spent most of his life in exile. Just in time for the Easter Rising centennial, Egan writes about Meagher with a fervor to match the man’s need for freedom. Meagher’s almost unbelievable life lit a fire in me. - Ivy

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The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780544944831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - March 7th, 2017

The Diary of Edward the Hamster by Miriam and Ezra Elia

"Why write? Life is a cage of empty words" – Edward the Hamster

Thankfully for us, Edward keeps writing, giving us insight to the tormented mind of a uniquely unconventional household pet. Through his suffering, we become enlightened. And could you ask for anything more?

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Diary of Edward the Hamster 1990-1990 Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780399165979
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Blue Rider Press - September 26th, 2013

Dead Girls by Alice Bolin

Bolin examines iterations of the "dead girl" trope - from the works of Joan Didion and Raymond Chandler to Twin Peaks and Serial. She explores our fascination with the seemingly endless story of violence done to women's bodies. I recommend for readers willing to interrogate their reasons for tuning in to true crime and to reflect on the ethics of how these stories are told and consumed. - Kristi

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Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062657145
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 26th, 2018

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman

Written as imagined life narratives, this is the most interesting history book I've read all year. Hartman revisits old sources about urban, black Philadelphia to interpret them through the overlooked eyes of young black women navigating social change at the turn of the 20th century. Her methodology dials in on women’s lived experiences and reads like short stories. Love! - Clara

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Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780393285673
Availability: Out of Print
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 19th, 2019

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff

In this captivating account of one of history's most brilliant rulers, Pulitzer Prize-winning Stacy Schiff introduces us to a Cleopatra we have not met before and, in this case anyway, truth is far more interesting than fiction. I've been talking about it for years and can't see myself not bringing up this amazing woman in conversation any time soon. Can't recommend it enough! - Emma

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Cleopatra: A Life Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316001946
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - September 6th, 2011

The League of Regrettable Sidekicks by Jan Morris

This book is a hoot and a half. Not all superheroes make it to the big screen and win the day; some of them fade into obscurity for a reason, taking their goofy, clumsy, badly named sidekicks with them. Collected here is a selection of comic book history's worst (best?) goofs. Meet Stampy, Fatman, Kid Tyrant, Peep, and Frobisher. - J

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The League of Regrettable Sidekicks: Heroic Helpers from Comic Book History! Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781683690764
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - October 23rd, 2018

This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite

This eye-opening book explores the impact of ageism on individuals and society. It's a clarion call for action that changed many of my attitudes and assumptions about aging. Applewhite details how unchallenged ageism negatively impacts health, sex, money, the workplace, and all areas of society. Guaranteed to lead to lively discussions, this is a great book club selection. - Trey

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This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250311481
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Celadon Books - March 5th, 2019

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

With poetic irony, Ackerman tells the little-known true story of two zookeepers in 1930s Warsaw, Poland. Their world-view and extraordinary compassion led them to save hundreds of Jews imperiled by the Nazi invasion. This heroic narrative highlights contradictions of vulnerability and strength, good in the face of loss, and the rich compatibility of beauty and sadness. - Kären

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The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393333060
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 17th, 2008

What You Have Heard is True by Carolyn Forché

My current favorite work of nonfiction, written by one of our best poets. It chronicles in stunning fashion her work in support of the revolutionary movement in El Salvador. Includes some of the stories she told us when she first visited Bookshop in the early 80's. Beautifully written and compelling. - Patrick

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What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525560371
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Press - March 19th, 2019

Rome: A History in Seven Sackings by Matthew Kneale

Here is recounted a selection of the more notable sackings that Rome has endured: Gauls, Goths, More Goths, Normans, Spanish and Lutherans, French, Nazis. Kneale tells the story of the attack and the sack, but he mostly uses this as a framework to tell the history of Rome and describe its changing landscape and people. Also the origin story of deep fried artichokes. Love it. - Dave

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Rome: A History in Seven Sackings Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501191091
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 15th, 2018

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