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Non-Fiction Reviews


Part travel book, part cultural critique, and part ode to the bicycle, David Byrne’s BICYCLE DIARIES is simply a pleasure to read. Singer, writer, filmmaker and renaissance man Byrne recounts equally joyous and harrowing experiences astraddle his bicycle, his vehicle of choice. David Byrne is how occasionally irreverent Christian writer Anne Lamott imagines God.
Bicycle Diaries Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143117964
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Published: Penguin Books - September 28th, 2010

A round-the-world bicycle tour with one of the most original artists of our day.

MY LIFE IN FRANCE by Julia Child

Though most of you have probably already seen the movie, Julia Child’s memoir MY LIFE IN FRANCE is well worth the read. It yields insights into the legend that can’t be captured on film.
My Life in France Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307277695
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Published: Anchor Books - October 9th, 2007

The bestselling story of Julia's years in France--and the basis for Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams--in her own words.


It is so nice to read a book that highlights what one person can do to make life better for so many.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition Cover Image
ISBN: 9780803735118
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Published: Dial Books - January 19th, 2012

When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village.


Retired episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong has hit another one out of the progressive theological ballpark with ETERNAL LIFE: A NEW VISION. This new book, quite possibly his last, confronts human beings’ most pervasive fear, death and oblivion, in a way that doesn’t require them to believe in religious fairy tales. (Hardcover, $24.99). Recommended by Kelly.
Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060778422
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Published: HarperOne - October 5th, 2010

Drawing on a lifetime of wisdom, New York Times bestselling author and controversial religious leader John Shelby Spong continues to challenge traditional Christian theology in Eternal Life: A New Vision. In this remarkable spiritual autobiography about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, he reveals how he ultimately came to believe in eternal life.


For those of you struggling to reconcile your own religious faith with all we now know (or if you have relatives on either side of the fence who you have a hard time talking to), THANK GOD FOR EVOLUTION by Michael Dowd might just be the ticket. He joins an ever-broadening circle of writers who believe when religion and science divorced many centuries ago, both have suffered mightily for it.
Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780452295346
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Published: Plume Books - April 28th, 2009

Few issues have revealed deeper divisions in our society than the debate between creationism and evolution, between religion and science. Yet from the fray, Reverend Michael Dowd has emerged as a reconciler, finding faith strengthened by the power of reason.

The Woman Behind the New Deal by Kirsten Downey

Need a heroine? Trying to understand what the feminist movement was all about? I highly recommend WOMAN BEHIND THE NEW DEAL: THE LIFE OF FRANCIS PERKINS, FDR’S SECRETARY OF LABOR AND HIS MORAL CONSCIENCE by Kirsten Downey. Ms. Perkins was the first woman member of the cabinet.
The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins--Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and the Minimum Wage Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400078561
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Published: Anchor Books - February 23rd, 2010

"Kirstin Downey's lively, substantive and--dare I say--inspiring new biography of Perkins . . . not only illuminates Perkins' career but also deepens the known contradictions of Roosevelt's character." --Maureen Corrigan, NPR Fresh Air


Though originally published in 1982, a couple of years after Harvey Milk’s death, THE MAYOR OF CASTRO STREET by the late Randy Shilts well deserves the recent re-release in the wake of the movie "Milk". The book not only captures the life and murder of the first openly gay person elected to any public office, it also provides a history of the gay revolution.
The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life & Times of Harvey Milk Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312560850
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Published: Griffin - October 14th, 2008

The Mayor of Castro Street is Shilts's acclaimed story of Harvey Milk, the man whose personal life, public career, and tragic assassination mirrored the dramatic and unprecedented emergence of the gay community in America during the 1970s.


The infamous 1967 McKinley climb of 1967 that took the lives of seven promising young mountaineers brought scandal and finger-pointing for years after. A climber himself and former Outside writer, Tabor tries to sift through the details and competing accounts (two of which were made into books of their own) to get to the still-beating heart of the matter.
Forever on the Mountain: The Truth Behind One of Mountaineering's Most Controversial and Mysterious Disasters Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393331967
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 1st, 2008

In 1967, seven young men, members of a twelve-man expedition led by twenty-four-year-old Joe Wilcox, were stranded on Alaska's Mount McKinley in a vicious arctic storm. All seven perished on what remains the most tragic expedition in American climbing history. Revisiting the event in the tradition of Norman Maclean's Young Men and Fire, James M.


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