Staff Nonfiction Favorites

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

An engaging read about not just volcanoes, but also the American logging industry, environmentalism, and people’s staggering ability to ignore what’s right in front of them. Olson offers up the deeply personal experiences of the people near the volcano when it burst, those who survived, and those who didn’t. - Jade

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Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393353587
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 7th, 2017

When a warrior reaches a ripe old age and retires, you can bet your sword arm that they were good at their job. And when, after examining their life, they write down the reasons they survived as long as they did, you’d better read it. You may not be a killer, but the philosophy of a successful one can be applied to any discipline. - Aric

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The Book of Five Rings: A Classic Text on the Japanese Way of the Sword Cover Image
By Miyamoto Musashi, Thomas Cleary (Translator)
ISBN: 9781590302484
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Shambhala - January 11th, 2005

This is a spirograph of a story, with genres, storylines, and people weaving in and out with no obvious path in mind. True crime, philosophy, history, poetry: this cannot be contained in a single genre. And then the book ends, loose ends connecting, and you are left with something gorgeous and confusing that needs pondering and admiration in the softest of ways. - Rachel

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At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250111401
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thomas Dunne Books - January 17th, 2017

It's rare to find a memoir that fundamentally changes you. This is undoubtedly one of my favorites. Hope Jahren's enthusiasm about plants and science is infectious. Her expert storytelling—of growing up in Michigan, of motherhood, and especially of her best friend and lab partner, Bill—drew me in the most. You will leave this book fulfilled and inspired. - Natalie

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Lab Girl Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101873724
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 28th, 2017

I'm such a huge fan of Eddie Izzard's that when I found out he had an autobiography coming out, I'm pretty sure everyone in the store heard me squee. It lives up to the hype! Eddie tells his story in typical Eddie fashion, with humor, but also intelligence and heart. His footnotes are amazing. - Karena

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Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399175831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Blue Rider Press - June 13th, 2017

Many of the world’s signs, sigils, and symbols, both known and obscure, are included with descriptions of their history and meaning along with pages of greater length explaining pantheons and greater concepts. This book has been a great resource for uncovering broad swaths or looking for something more minute. - Ian

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Signs & Symbols Cover Image
By Miranda Bruce-Mitford (Contribution by), DK
ISBN: 9780756633936
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) - June 1st, 2008

This might be one of the strangest--and best written--memoirs I've ever read. It tells the story of Michael's aunt Harriet, who, along with her husband Irving, are very successful screenwriters. (They wrote Norma Rae, among other big movies). Because Aunt Harriet has no children of her own, and because she senses "great potential" in Michael, she steals him (emotionally speaking) from his own family. Much awkwardness ensues. - Rico

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The Mighty Franks: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374210120
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 16th, 2017

Guy Delisle is a master of the graphic novel form and this is no exception. When a man working for Doctors Without Borders is kidnapped in Chechnya, what follows is a harrowing tale of solitary confinement. Beautifully rendered, this story breaks down what it means to be human. In my opinion, this volume will be listed among the classics in no time. - Ivy

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Hostage Cover Image
ISBN: 9781770462793
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Drawn & Quarterly - April 25th, 2017

I’ve been assigned this book for three classes, and each time I’ve read it cover to cover. Moody is an eloquent, thoughtful writer. Recounting her childhood growing up in Mississippi under Jim Crow and her college years in the Civil Rights Movement, she offers an engrossing personal look at the fight to end segregation. You’ll see how far we’ve come, how we’ve regressed, and how far we still have to go. - Flannery

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Coming of Age in Mississippi: The Classic Autobiography of a Young Black Girl in the Rural South Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385337816
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delta - February 3rd, 2004

I discovered Negin in her documentary The Muslims are Coming then saw her speak at an event and immediately bought this book. It's a hilarious, but real commentary on race and religion in our culture and society. A must-read in our specific political climate. - Karena

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How to Make White People Laugh Cover Image
ISBN: 9781455558223
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - May 24th, 2016



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