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Non-Fiction Reviews


The subtitle pretty much says it all. If, like many, you’re intrigued by recent information about the intelligence of crows and other members of the corvid family, this book will delight. I particularly enjoyed the passage about how crows have been known to leave "gifts" for those that feed them. The science here is easily digested by a lay audience. Recommended by Kelly.
Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439198742
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Published: Atria Books - February 5th, 2013

Stan Coren's groundbreaking The Intelligence of Dogs meets Bernd Heinrich's classic Mind of the Raven in this astonishing, beautifully illustrated look at the uncanny intelligence and emotions of crows.


ONE SQUARE INCH OF SILENCE: ONE MAN’S QUEST TO PRESERVE QUIET cites "acoustic ecologist" and author Gordon Hempton’s trek across the country to find the quietest spots, to prove to himself and to others that silence is an endangered species of sorts and one that is essential to the health of every living thing. Readers learn not only how rare silence actually is but also the science of acoustics as well. It reads beautifully well as both travelogue and soft science. (Paperback, $17.00) Recommended by Kelly.
One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416559108
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Published: Atria Books - March 2nd, 2010

In the visionary tradition of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, One Square Inch of Silence alerts us to beauty that we take for granted and sounds an urgent environmental alarm.


This is a lucid, refreshing, and surprisingly savory retelling of the stories from the Judeo-Christian scriptures from one of America’s strongest voices for reclaiming the Bible from those who have used it to imprison, enslave, and abuse. Though he condemns a simplistic, literal reading, Spong helps readers recover the Bible’s depth, beauty, and guidance as a sacred book. Recommended by Kelly.
Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062011282
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Published: HarperOne - November 8th, 2011

In Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, bishop and social activist John Shelby Spong argues that 200 years of biblical scholarship has been withheld from lay Christians.

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED by Anne Lamott with Sam Lamott

Celebrated author of OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS, Anne Lamott is a grandmother. Her nineteen-year-old son Sam, who it seems only yesterday she was tempted to put on the front porch until his colic passed, is now a father. This book is structured into several sections: classic hilarious rants from Anne and her "interviews" of and e-mails from Sam, a beleaguered full-time art student, trying to make a relationship work with his son Jax’s mother and being the best dad he can though he still feels like a child himself. Recommended by Kelly.
Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594486678
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Published: Riverhead Books - April 2nd, 2013

From the New York Times bestselling author of Bird by Bird, Hallelujah Anyway, and Almost Everything

"If there is a doyenne of the parenting memoir, it would be Anne Lamott."--Time

WHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS by Terry Tempest Williams

Now well-known for her break-out memoir about the death of her mother, REFUGE, Tempest Williams returns to the subject of her mother, Mormonism, women, and voice. In this new memoir she writes, "In Mormon culture, women are expected to do two things: keep a journal and bear children." When her mother died, she left Tempest Williams her journals to read. They were indeed where her mother said they would be, but every single one of them was blank. In the more than twenty years since her mother’s death, Tempest Williams has been contemplating her last message to her. This haunting memoir is the result. It’s a beautiful book. Recommended by Kelly.
When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250024114
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Published: Picador USA - February 26th, 2013

A Kansas City Star Best Book of the Year

"Brilliant, meditative, and full of surprises, wisdom, and wonder."--Ann Lamott, author of Imperfect Birds


I “listened” to this book while traveling and had to stop the car every so often because I was laughing that hard. Fey tells her story in a humorous way and adds additional bits to it that had me rolling. The book itself is a fine read, but there is an additional joy in hearing Tina read it to you. This is one book I recommend “on tape”, but if you insist, the written book will still have you laughing. Recommended by Julie.
Bossypants Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316056878
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Published: Reagan Arthur Books - January 3rd, 2012

Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.


The author is the daughter of the writer of this magical series that is now in its second season on Public Television. It looks like just a glossy photo album, but the text is very well-written and thoroughly researched. Fellowes explores the historical background of late Edwardian England and World War I (great bibliography) as well as the architectural history of country houses and details of the actual work that was done by the people in these huge houses. The chapters on the filming of the first two seasons describe the two locations, historical coaching, and the designing and sewing of the glorious costumes both for the aristocrats and the servants. I highly recommend this book for fans of the series, but even if you haven’t seen it, you will learn a lot about life behind the glittering facade of great wealth in the early 20th century. Recommended by Pat.
The World of Downton Abbey Cover Image
By Jessica Fellowes, Julian Fellowes (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781250006349
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Published: St. Martin's Press - December 6th, 2011

A lavish look at the real world--both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama--of the spellbinding Emmy Award-winning Masterpiece TV series Downton Abbey


The Story of Charlotte's Web: E. B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780802778161
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Walker & Company - May 22nd, 2012

While composing what would become his most enduring and popular book, E. B. White obeyed that oft-repeated maxim: "Write what you know." Helpless pigs, silly geese, clever spiders, greedy rats-White knew all of these characters in the barns and stables where he spent his favorite hours as a child and adult.

MARRIAGE RULES by Harriet Lerner (Publication date January 2012)

Whether you’re married or in a committed partnership, MARRIAGE RULES by nationally renowned psychologist and Lawrence resident Harriet Lerner is an invaluable guide to helping you over the rough patches. We all know that negotiating the intricacies of a relationship takes humor and wisdom, both of which readers will find plenty of in this easy-to-read book. It’s a gem! Recommended by Kelly.
Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up Cover Image
ISBN: 9781592407453
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Published: Gotham Books - December 31st, 2012

Coupling up is complicated--Dr. Harriet Lerner's marriage rules are not.

This marriage book provides couple's therapy in a unique format perfect for today's world. The renowned author of The Dance of Anger gives readers more than one hundred rules that cover all the hot spots in long-term relationships.

JOURNEY OF THE UNIVERSE by Brian Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker

This book answers the need of those for whom traditional Christianity alone is no longer adequate to encompass their sense of the cosmos and the meaning of the human within in. In lucid prose, the authors help readers locate themselves within the larger family of things throughout "deep" geologic time. They tell a big, sacred story for those who find themselves without one. Recommended by Kelly
Journey of the Universe Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300171907
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Published: Yale University Press - June 28th, 2011

Today we know what no previous generation knew: the history of the universe and of the unfolding of life on Earth. Through the astonishing combined achievements of natural scientists worldwide, we now have a detailed account of how galaxies and stars, planets and living organisms, human beings and human consciousness came to be. And yet . . .


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