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Staff Nonfiction Favorites

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

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

Wow, I enjoyed the poop out of this book! The Ghost Map is FUN, informative and not for the faint of stomach. An examination of Cholora's horrific decent on London in the mid-1800s reveals fascinating patterns not only in the disease but also in human society, infrastructure, bacteria, the city itself, and, yes, poop (or night soil, excrement, nuisance... this book is a 19th century thesaurus for human waste). - Tori

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The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781594482694
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - October 2nd, 2007

To Be a Machine by Mark O'Connell

A witty and highly fascinating - sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, occasionally disturbing - gonzo-journalistic tour into the world of death-renouncing transhumanists, many of whom are bankrolled by the mysterious Silicon Valley billionaires and by the military-industrial complex. Loved it! - Ksenia

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To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101911594
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - January 16th, 2018

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

True to its name, this cookbook has taught me how to cook every kind of meatless delight, from homemade veggie burgers that taste better than any restaurant’s, to pizza dough, and stuffed zucchinis. I flip through this book whenever I need a little inspiration -- either for a quick dinner, or an entire dinner party menu. Great for beginner chefs ready to stretch their wings! - Jess

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How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781118455647
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - November 7th, 2017

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

Octopuses are so cool, right? They can lie in wait for prey, camouflaged against the grains of the ocean floor or the craggy rock amid the coral! I was already on board the octopus train when I opened this book one rainy afternoon and found my interest forever expanded. The Soul of an Octopus's wonderful achievement will be making you understand and care for octopuses on an individual level. I didn't expect this book to feel so personal, to me, the author, and the octopus. - Tori

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The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781451697728
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - April 5th, 2016

A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

Do you know the name of Virginia Hall? The WWII American spy with one leg in Churchill's Special Operation Executive? Progenitor of Allied spy networks in Occupied France? Hall spent her life looked over by those in power for her gender, nationality, and disability, but let none of that stop her from combating evil. Sonia Purnell has written a long-overdue biography for those familiar with WWII France, a chance to know this unsung hero and her epic work. - Jocelyn

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A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780735225299
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - April 9th, 2019

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

This book blew me away. Carreyrou is ruthless in his investigation of Theranos—the infamous Silicon Valley startup. I was enthralled and appalled by Holmes, who dropped out of Stanford to start Theranos and over the years accumulated millions of dollars to fund a technology that doesn’t exist. An utter page-turner, the facts uncovered here are so crazy they’re almost unbelievable. - Jade

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Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781524731656
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - May 21st, 2018

Rough Beauty by Karen Auvinen

This is a beautiful story of a woman trying to find her own with powerful prose and captivating descriptions of nature. Auvienen’s metaphorical writing is surprisingly accessible while painting a vivid picture of her process of self-discovery through a Thoreau-esque four years in the woods with just her dog. As a dog mom, I relate to their heartfelt relationship. - R.H.

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Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501152290
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - June 4th, 2019

We Fed an Island by Jose Andres

In 2017, Hurricane Maria tore through the United States territory of Puerto Rico, destroying homes, power and water, ultimately causing 2,975 deaths. Chef Jose Andres vividly brings the disaster to life, depicting weeks of building a network of private chefs and restaurants that ultimately fed thousands a day, as the US government failed. Part memoir, part manifesto, reading this re-ignites outrage, but also provides guidance for a better way to help the survivors of future disasters. - Jocelyn

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We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062864499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anthony Bourdain/Ecco - September 3rd, 2019

Imagining the Future of Climate Change by Shelley Streeby

A truly unique book that delves into the power of science fiction to educate and inspire change, as exemplified by the works of Octavia Butler and other sci-fi writers and activists of color on the front line of the fight for the future of our planet. - Ksenia

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Imagining the Future of Climate Change: World-Making through Science Fiction and Activism (American Studies Now: Critical Histories of the Present #5) Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780520294455
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of California Press - January 31st, 2018

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Jia Tolentino's debut essay collection navigates our absurd modern world. Each one is fatalistically filled with quick wit covering everything from identity, celebrity culture, feminism, and religion. Tolentino binds these disparate topics with cynical humor. Each essay is filled with a refreshing voice and provides empathy and relief when redemption in this country feels impossible. - Natalie

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Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525510543
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - August 6th, 2019

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