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Nonfiction Recommendations from our 2020 Winter Newsletter

These titles were featured in our 2020 Winter Newsletter.

Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine

I cannot wait to return to this incredible book over and over again—there is so much to consider and enjoy. Curious and unerring, Just Us is a work of art that delves into a thoughtful, personal, and profound exploration of whiteness. Elevated to high form in essay, poetry, and visual playfulness, yet easily relatable, it truly is an American Conversation, one that Rankine breaks wide open, asking us to think, and then to think again, to make the conversation matter, and then to keep it going. What an exquisite and important gift. — Melinda

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Just Us: An American Conversation Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450215
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 8th, 2020

The Book Collectors by Delphine Minoui

A staggering portrait of resistance and hope in the face of despair, Minoui’s The Book Collectors takes us to the Syrian rebel stronghold of Daraya, which endured nearly 4 years of all-out siege by the Assad regime. Daily bombings and brutal lockdown measures created a near-total separation from the outside world, but among the rubble, two young men began amassing an underground library that would become the focal point for community and culture in Daraya. Expertly researched and beautifully written, The Book Collectors offers a heartbreaking and poignant look at the power of books in shaping and maintaining community, even in the direst of circumstances.  — Travis

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The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War Cover Image
By Delphine Minoui, Lara Vergnaud (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374115166
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 3rd, 2020

Garner’s Quotations: A Modern Miscellany by Dwight Garner

If you enjoy the wit, pleasure, and bite you find in Dwight Garner’s New York Times book reviews, you’ll delight in his commonplace book, but be forewarned, it’s anything but common, thank goodness! Like a conversation, a friendly repartee, a poem, this collection of quotes, culled from almost 40 years of word-capture, is both an (often profane) celebration of the turn of phrase and a newfound book list. Read it straight through or dip in for a spell, and let yourself be entertained. — Melinda

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Garner's Quotations: A Modern Miscellany Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374279196
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 10th, 2020

Magic: A History: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the Present by Chris Gosden

Gosden’s fascination with identity and how it has informed humans throughout time shines through in this new book on the history of magic in human society. Drawing on many examples of its cultural significance, Gosden shows just how big a role magic has played in the development of societies all over the world. Whether he is talking about horoscopes or tattoos, his voice makes a fun read for anyone, from history buffs to the casual reader.  — MJ

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Magic: A History: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the Present Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374200121
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 10th, 2020

Finding Latinx by Paola Ramos

This book is a remarkable and historic achievement for us all. Paola Ramos, host of VICE’s Latin-X, has journeyed across the United States to examine the full range of those included in the controversial term “Latinx.” With a collection of intimate interviews and portraits, Ramos demonstrates Latinx as not only belonging to scenes of immigration and assimilitude, but also as being indigenous, black, trans, queer, and so much more. For those committed to human rights and social change, this book is an essential text in understanding both the diverse experiences of the Latinx population and the challenges we face collectively as a nation. — Juj

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Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984899095
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 20th, 2020

Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss

In this richly illustrated work of visual nonfiction, Redniss bears witness to the years’-long fight of San Carlos Apache tribal members to protect Oak Flat, their sacred land, from Resolution Copper, a multinational mining conglomerate. Within this narrative lie many others, the oral history of three generations of an Apache family, the history of the land itself, the effects of copper mining, its promise to a mining family nearby— this reporting, illuminating, and understanding are Redniss’s true genius, unfolding a powerful, complex story, one that is still in play. — Melinda

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Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399589720
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - November 17th, 2020

Nose Dive by Harold McGee

McGee, author of the culinary science classic On Food and Cooking, explores the world of smell in his new book, Nose Dive. In this sensory-filled adventure, he combines hard science, biology, chemistry, and personal observation, to take readers on an accessible ride through the world of scent—from the everyday (cut grass) to the delightful (vanilla) to the unpleasant (rotten eggs). A great read for fans of Michael Pollan and Bill Bryson or anyone curious about why things smell the way they do. — S.B.

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Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World's Smells Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594203954
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - October 20th, 2020

Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch

Bea Koch, coproprietor of LA’s The Ripped Bodice, uses the lens of romance to focus on the entertaining microhistory of the under-known royalty, artists, mistresses, and scientists, who, white and black, straight and queer—and more—shaped the culture and history of the British Regency. Koch gives delicious tastes of these women’s complex lives and historical context, and includes lists of further (factual and fictional) reading and viewing. A great read for any armchair historian, especially those also denizens of Romancelandia. — Jocelyn

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Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538701010
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 1st, 2020

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