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History & Politics

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

On the day I turned 2, Chernobyl was struck by disaster. Three days later, hidden among the news and chaos, the Los Angeles Public Library was in flames. Two thousand degrees, more than a million books destroyed or damaged, and the source of the fire unknown. Susan Orlean centers her book on the fire and then moves outward to include librarians past and present, the role of a library in a community, and our own relationships with books. Like Orlean’s other books, there is some crime, some travelling, fascinating people, and an amazing tangle of details. - Rachel

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The Library Book Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476740188
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 16th, 2018

Can We All Be Feminists? edited by June Eric-Udorie

Intersectional feminism. If this is a term you are unfamiliar with, or even if you think you know everything about it, pick up this book. What I loved about Can We All Be Feminists? is that it met me where I am on my journey and it actively engages with those who want to learn more about current feminist thought. I have a lot of work to do, but thankfully there are essays by such intelligent and thoughtful minds that can help me expand my view. - Jax

The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum

Let us harken back to the turn of the twentieth century, when coffee was a mix of scorched sawdust and peas, meat was preserved by formaldahyde-fueled additives, and “brown sugar” consisted of ground-up bugs. Let us then meet Dr. Harvey Wiley, who faced a nation that believed people should eat what they want and took the renegade position of “Hey, maybe poisoning ourselves is a bad thing?” While there are shiver-inducing descriptions of the food people were consuming, the more terrifying fact exposed here is that businesses were willing to bribe, lie, and threaten the government in order to save costs and continue manufacturing poisoned food. (Terrifying but not surprising, and an activity that continues to lurk in our politics.) The writing is deft, and I highly recommend this book. - Rachel

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The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781594205149
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Press - September 25th, 2018

Blueprint for Revolution by Srja Popovic

If you feel as I feel about human rights, you’re struggling because we currently live in an age of fear. Please read this? Srja Popovic is a member of the Serbian student group which helped to overthrow Slobodan Milošević with, essentially, some really good pranks. This book is funny, smart, and a bright spark set against the blight of totalitarianism. - a.c.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

I think this is the most important book to be published in the entire time that I worked as a bookseller. Bryan Stevenson’s work in the criminal justice system made me see the abuses of our prison system so much more clearly, as a part of a dehumanizing whole… and yet his voice in sharing these topics was calm, clear, crystalline and reassuring as well as emotionally affecting. If you’re going to read about the U.S. prison system, this is the book with which to start. - a.c.

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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812984965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - August 18th, 2015

Fly Girls by Keith O'Brien

We’re all familiar with Amelia Earhart, but what about Ruth Elder, who was chided by Eleanor Roosevelt for wanting to fly across the Atlantic? There are mothers and divorcees in this book, from all walks of life, brought together in the desire to push boundaries, fly planes, and to not take no as an answer. The only reason I’m not completely fed up with the trend of describing women as “girls” in book titles, is that so many badass women are being introduced to the public eye and having their successes recognized. Shelve this one right alongside Code Girls and Radium Girls and bathe in the illumination these women have brought to the world. - Rachel

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Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781328876645
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - August 7th, 2018

The World in a Grain by Vince Beiser

Although we may be but grains in an ever-running hourglass, our current livelihood was built up across the millennia by all the grains of those that came before us. Beiser ultimately positing from his learnings on roads to glass to sand itself as a finite and diminishing resource, if our civilization is one that will be put to the test of time, will it sand. Simply fascinating. - Ian

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The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780399576423
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - August 7th, 2018

Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg

As soon as I started reading this book, I wanted to send it to every community leader I know. Eric Klinenberg advocates for “social” infrastructure—physical spaces such as parks, libraries, pedestrian walkways, even bookstores and coffee shops—to create positive, practical change. Klinenberg presents tested evidence that these spaces not only create “community,” but also measurably reduce crime, fight poverty, improve education, combat climate change, help families, and increase life expectancy. Want to make a functional difference? Start here. - Jocelyn

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Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the  Decline of Civic Life Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781524761165
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Crown - September 11th, 2018

How Do We Look by Mary Beard

When Mary Beard writes Art History she writes a history of experiencing art. In this investigation of civilization Beard focuses on the images humans have created of themselves and the divine and how they relate to who those people were. I loved the way this book pushed me to think as creatively about ancient art and sculpture as we are taught to think about modern art. A total joy! - Clara

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How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781631494406
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Liveright - September 4th, 2018

Call Them by Their True Names by Rebecca Solnit

In an age of gaslighting and fake news, it’s important to have someone who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, and Rebecca Solnit has a talent for it. Whether you agree with everything she writes or not, there’s a lot to be gained from reading her analysis of the many issues facing our country. Despite her brutal honesty, Solnit still manages to foster a sense of hope in her latest collection of essays. - Jade

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Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781608469468
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Haymarket Books - September 4th, 2018

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