Staff Nonfiction Favorites

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

At nearly 20 years of age, this book’s use as a travel guide may be a bit outdated, but it still makes for a great read. Gopnik and his young family relocate from New York to Paris so that he can write about French culture. Covering everything from maternity leave to how French people behave at the gym, Gopnik’s observations and interactions are ridiculous, relatable, and full of faux pas. - Jade

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Paris to the Moon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375758232
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - September 11th, 2001

This cookbook contains the essentials, no more and no less. David Bez expands on the recent “grain bowl” trend to provide a myriad of easy dinner ideas. His recipes require some very basic cooking knowledge, but they are not daunting. If you’re bit intimidated by cookbooks, and you’re always asking “what do I make for dinner?”, this cookbook is your new best friend. - Natalie

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Supper Love: Comfort Bowls for Quick and Nourishing Suppers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781787130494
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quadrille Publishing - September 5th, 2017

Nottage is one of our contemporary master dramatists, a writer whose work will be (and should be) performed and studied for decades to come. Heartbreaking and true, Sweat frames a truly modern American tragedy that examines generation, race, class, family, and friendship within a real working class town. - Jocelyn

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Sweat (Tcg Edition) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781559365321
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Theatre Communications Group - June 13th, 2017

A lawyer and social justice advocate, Stevenson paints a devastating picture of the American criminal justice system and the racial biases that permeate it. Drawing on his experiences as a black man in America and those of his many clients, Stevenson beseeches his readers to try and better understand our fellow humans, and to just show some mercy. - Jade

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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812984965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - August 18th, 2015

How do we create harmonious, livable, equitable, and resilient cities? Learn about the history of urban life, as well as innovations in cities worldwide to build bike paths, equalize access to health care and mass transit, recycle water and waste in new ways, and more. This book inspired me to make my very own Santa Cruz a more livable, sustainable, and compassionate community. - Natalie

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The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us about the Future of Urban Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062234735
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Wave - September 12th, 2017

Shared with me by a local writer last winter, this collection offers powerful gifts—from Firoozeh Dumas of Funny in Farsi to Marjan Kamali, whose voice “clicked” in my head like that of a sister. Given trump’s threats on Iran and immigration, I want to see this 2006 anthology in our hands once more as a promise between women: our grace to build and rebuild a life wherever we land should define global history. - a.c.

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Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora Cover Image
By Persis Karim (Editor)
ISBN: 9781557288202
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Arkansas Press - May 1st, 2006

This is not normal. Forget the Whitehouse—politics now is not normal. Daley pulls together the story of how following Obama’s 2008 election, key Republicans developed a meticulous, well-funded, often illegal plan to take over the U.S., by gerrymandering congressional district lines to create the nigh-unbreakable majority (and extreme politics) we’re dealing with today. - Jocelyn

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Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn't Count Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631493218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - July 4th, 2017

This author’s quest for happiness takes him across the globe. Everywhere he goes, Weiner poses the same questions to the natives: “are you happy?” Despite being a self-declared grump, Weiner’s narrative is witty and fun and he delves into some fascinating cultural analyses. A great read for anyone in need of a good laugh. - Jade

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The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780446698894
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Twelve - January 5th, 2009

This is a must read for anyone living or working with adolescent girls. Orenstein bridges the generation gap to analyze how modern girls experience their bodies, sexuality, and sex. It’s a painful truth that the realm of sexuality remains potentially dangerous and damaging despite progress in women’s rights, but Orenstein’s writing is a great contribution to the conversation. - Clara

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Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062209740
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - March 7th, 2017

Terry shares recipes, both traditional and “remixed,” that creatively highlight Southern and African diaspora foods and culture. Some, are simple and hearty, others are vegan comfort food, while others still are new takes on tasty greens. I loved everything I tried. Bonus: fantastic music suggestions for each recipe! - Natalie

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Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed Cover Image
ISBN: 9781607745310
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - April 8th, 2014



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