Non-Fiction Reviews

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.


The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret

Near the beginning of Israeli writer Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret’s son is born in the same hospital that’s treating the victims of a terrorist attack. A reporter approaches Keret for a quote, thinking a writer would be a good source. The reporter is disappointed to hear that Keret was “merely” there for the birth of his son, not injuries sustained in a terrorist attack. It’s a funny story, and it is simultaneously political and delicately personal.

The Seven Good Years: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781594633263
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Published: Riverhead Books - June 16th, 2015

A brilliant, life-affirming, and hilarious memoir from a “genius” (The New York Times) and master storyteller. With illustrations by Jason Polan.


Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast

Give yourself a few hours when you start this one; I couldn’t tear myself away until I had read it all in one sitting. Chast’s comic memoir (and I mean “comic” as in “funny” and as in “composed of words and pictures”) tells the story of her parents’ deaths. Certainly it gets harrowing at points—Chast’s mother’s decline in particular is not smooth.

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781608198061
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Published: Bloomsbury USA - May 6th, 2014

#1 New York Times Bestseller

2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST


Under This Beautiful Dome by Terry Mutchler

In a heartbreaking new memoir, UNDER THIS BEAUTIFUL DOME, former AP journalist, Terry Mutchler, recounts the story of her closeted marriage to Illinois Democratic Senator Penny Severns, mentor to then young Senator, Barack Obama. After Severns' death from breast cancer, her family locked Mutchler out of their home and appropriated their mutual possessions.

Under This Beautiful Dome: A Senator, A Journalist, and the Politics of Gay Love in America Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781580055086
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Published: Seal Press - September 23rd, 2014

The Gentle Barn

THE GENTLE BARN, Ellie Laks' memoir, is in part a story of overcoming a difficult childhood through her positive relationship to animals. As an adult, she felt called to rescue animals she found in abusive situations. Her earliest intervention was persuading an uncaring "petting zoo" owner to let Ellie buy a malnourished goat, Mary, after a week of daily visits.

My Gentle Barn: Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780385347662
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Published: Harmony - March 25th, 2014

My Gentle Barn is a wonderful book. You'll love Ellie Laks and the animals she rescued--and who rescued her back.” –Sy Montgomery, The Good Good Pig


Does Santa Exist: A Philosophical Investigation

Here's a terrific gift for the philosopher in your life. Executive producer and writer for THE BIG BANG THEORY and THE LATE SHOW, Eric Kaplan explores the ultimate questions of how we mere mortals struggle with the big questions that keep us awake at night, and he does it, as you might imagine, with a lot of humor. Says Hubert Dreyfus, professor of philosophy at U.C.

Does Santa Exist?: A Philosophical Investigation Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525954392
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Published: Dutton Books - October 16th, 2014

A humorous philosophical investigation into the existence of Santa from a co-executive producer ofThe Big Bang Theory


What There Is to Say We Have Said

STAFF REVIEW: I loved WHAT THERE IS TO SAY WE HAVE SAID, a collection of letters between Southern novelist Eudora Welty and her editor William Maxwell. The two had honed the art of letter writing to a fine art and show readers what we will miss in an age of electronic ephemeral communication. Their intimacy and humor add a delicious layer to all we already know of their lives.

What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780547750323
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Published: Mariner Books - May 22nd, 2012

Eavesdrop on one of the most celebrated literary friendships in American letters

"An epistolary feast for literary fans [and] a confidence booster for aspiring writers everywhere.


Cat Sense by John Bradshaw

STAFF REVIEW: Hey all you cat lovers out there. Feline scientist John Bradshaw's book CAT SENSE offers not only intriguing new insights into little understood behavior but also excellent natural history about our little charges. You'll never look at them the same way again. Recommended by Kelly.

Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780465031016
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Basic Books (AZ) - September 10th, 2013

Cats have been popular household pets for thousands of years, and their numbers only continue to rise. Today there are three cats for every dog on the planet, and yet cats remain more mysterious, even to their most adoring owners.


The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius by Nancy Andreasen

A fascinating look at the role imagination, creativity, and play have in everyday life, even if you're not a genius. Part nature, part nurture, creativity has the opportunity to transform personal and social spheres. Recommended by Chip.

The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780452287815
Availability: Backordered
Published: Plume - October 31st, 2006

Shakespeare’s tragic plays, Mozart’s sublime symphonies, Einstein’s revolutionary theories—how did these geniuses create such magnificent and highly original works? Were their brains different from those of ordinary people?


Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day by Joan Bolker

A must for any graduate student or researcher. Bolker's advice is practical, honest, and inspirational no matter where you are in the writing process. Recommended by Chip.

Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780805048919
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Published: Holt Paperbacks - August 15th, 1998

Expert writing advice from the editor of the Boston Globe best-seller, The Writer's Home Companion


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