Non-Fiction Reviews

Negroland

STAFF REVIEW: Negroland, the memoir by journalist Margo Jefferson, adds another stunning voice to the dialogue about race.

Negroland: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307378453
Availability: Special Order
Published: Pantheon Books - September 8th, 2015

Winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography


Shrinking the Earth

STAFF REVIEW: Widely recognized as the nation's first environmental historian, KU professor emeritus of history, Don Worster, has just released his latest book: Shrinking the Earth: The Rise and Decline of American Abundance (Oxford University Press). Each chapter charts the history of North Americans' slow realization of the limits of their continent's natural resources.

Shrinking the Earth: The Rise and Decline of Natural Abundance Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780199844951
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Published: Oxford University Press, USA - February 5th, 2016

The discovery of the Americas around 1500 AD was an extraordinary watershed in human experience. It gave rise to the modern period of human ecology, a phenomenon global in scope that set in motion profound changes in almost every society on earth.


Trouble Boys

Bob Mehr’s Trouble Boys is one of the best rock n’ roll books I’ve ever read. Certainly a book about a band as volatile, destructive, and self-destructive as The Replacements makes for vicarious fun reading. But rock critic Mehr refuses to make Trouble Boys a simple catalog of smashed guitars and shattered hotel rooms. Mehr exposes the darkness and insecurities underlying the tragic story of The Replacements, a band that could’ve made it but never did.

Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements Cover Image
$27.50
ISBN: 9780306818790
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Published: Da Capo Press - March 1st, 2016

Based on all-new interviews and including 72 rare photos, Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements is the definitive boigraphy of one of the last great rock 'n' roll bands of the twentieth century.


Nature's God: the Heretical Origins of the American Republic

Nature's God: the Heretical Origins of the American Republic offers a lucid description of the decidedly irreligious philosophies of the founders, Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams, among others. In this campaign season, I found it refreshing to read something that so thoroughly incinerates the fundamentalist cudgel that the country was founded on Christian (read: bigoted) principles. Recommended by Kelly

Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780393351293
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - July 6th, 2015

America's founders intended to liberate us not just from one king but from the ghostly tyranny of supernatural religion. Drawing deeply on the study of European philosophy, Matthew Stewart brilliantly tracks the ancient, pagan, and continental ideas from which America's revolutionaries drew their inspiration.


Nature's God: the Heretical Origins of the American Republic

STAFF REVIEW: Nature's God: the Heretical Origins of the American Republic offers a lucid description of the decidedly irreligious philosophies of the founders, Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams, among others. In this campaign season, I found it refreshing to read something that so thoroughly incinerates the fundamentalist cudgel that the country was founded on Christian (read: bigoted) principles. Recommended by Kelly

Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780393351293
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - July 6th, 2015

America's founders intended to liberate us not just from one king but from the ghostly tyranny of supernatural religion. Drawing deeply on the study of European philosophy, Matthew Stewart brilliantly tracks the ancient, pagan, and continental ideas from which America's revolutionaries drew their inspiration.


Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

Carrie Brownstein’s terrific memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is necessary reading for anyone who constructs their identity around the music they listen to. Regardless of your experience with Brownstein’s mighty band Sleater-Kinney, there’s much to delight in here, from immersive portraits of the early-90s Olympia rock scene, to poignant reveries about the pains of touring and the challenges of friendship and collaboration. Uniting all of the memorable scenes and anecdotes is Brownstein’s level-headed voice, plainly and beautifully capturing what animates her as an artist.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594486630
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Published: Riverhead Books - October 27th, 2015

From the guitarist of the pioneering band Sleater-Kinney, the book Kim Gordon says "everyone has been waiting for" and a New York Times Notable Book of 2015-- a candid, funny, and deeply personal look at making a life--and finding yourself--in music.


The Typewriter Revolution

STAFF REVIEW: Call off the dogs, luddites, the hunt is over. Richard Polt's THE TYPEWRITER REVOLUTION is the perfect book for those of us who have, for whatever reason, held on to our beloved typewriters and are actually still using them. It's also a perfect book for those who might want to dust off and repair a family heirloom. Not only does it have valuable information about how to keep your sweet old Royal, Underwood, etc in top form, but it also has loving testimonials from writers about their beloved machines. Okay, luddites stop reading, it also includes techie typewriter mimics.

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The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist's Companion for the 21st Century Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781581573114
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Published: Countryman Press - November 12th, 2015

What do thousands of kids, makers, poets, artists, steampunks, hipsters, activists, and musicians have in common? They love typewriters the magical, mechanical contraptions that are enjoying a surprising second life in the 21st century, striking a blow for self-reliance, privacy, and coherence against dependency, surveillance, and disintegration.


Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Preoccupied with death since childhood, twenty-something Caitlin Doughty's one career goal was to work in a crematory. This memoir Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is not only a hilarious and poignant account of her realized hope, but also another of several recent books that take a long overdue look at expensive and often tragic results of America's paradoxical obsession with and fear of death. Recommended by Kelly

 

 

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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393351903
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 28th, 2015

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty--a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre--took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life's work.


Gut

STAFF REVIEW: For soft science writing about the digestive system, I thought no one could equal Mary Roach's GULP, but Giulia Enders has done just that with GUT. Though not as roll-on-the-floor funny as Roach, Enders' science is much more detailed and, surprisingly, easier to understand than Roach's. With plenty of her own childhood digestive issues prompting her, Enders went into medical school and specialized in microbiology.

Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ Cover Image
By Giulia Enders, Jill Enders (Illustrator), David Shaw (Translator)
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ISBN: 9781771641494
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Greystone Books - May 24th, 2015

A New York Times Bestseller

A cheeky up-close and personal guide to the secrets and science of our digestive system


Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home

Pope Francis's encyclical letter ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME: LAUDATO SI brought people to tears as a Mary Evelyn Tucker read from it at the annual Prairie Festival gathering last weekend at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. Because he has a substantial science background coupled with compassion and bravery, his call for humans to address the climate crisis and other ravages of our planet articulates what many other religious and political leaders have neglected to say.

On Care for Our Common Home: Laudato Si' Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781593252830
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Published: Word Among Us Press - July 20th, 2015

Addressed not only to Catholics but to "every person living on this planet," Pope Francis' second encyclical is a challenging call for a "bold cultural revolution" in how we think about technological progress and economic growth.


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