Non-Fiction Reviews

Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting

A perfect gift for the knitter in your life, this book contains poignant, powerful essays about the influence knitting has had on the lives of 27 writers, including Andrew Dubus, III, Barbara Kingsolver, and Elizabeth Berg. Recommended by Kelly.

Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting Cover Image
By Ann Hood (Editor)
ISBN: 9780393239492
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 11th, 2013

"The impressive collection of writers here have contributed essays that celebrate knitting and knitters. They share their knitting triumphs and disasters as well as their life triumphs and disasters. . . . These essays will break your heart. They will have you laughing out loud."--Ann Hood, from the introduction

Why does knitting occupy a place in the hearts of so many writers?

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition

Perfect for the Peanutsophile in your life! This delightful book is full of photos--original storyboards, marked scores, recording sessions, headshots of the creators--in addition to the extensive biographies and the entire play with illustrations. This one is a keeper. Recommended by Kelly.

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062272140
Availability: Backordered
Published: It Books - October 22nd, 2013

Charles M. Schulz's A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition is a lushly illustrated tribute to the beloved television classic that takes readers behind-the-scenes of the Peanuts holiday special that has aired each year since December 1965.

Any Way You Slice It

Senior scientist at Salina Kansas's The Land Institute, Cox broaches a topic few others are willing to: rationing. Not only does he provide an excellent account of rationing in America's past, he offers scenarios for the types of rationing of ever-decreasing essentials like water, food, and fuel that we may face in an uncertain future. An excellent and brave book. Recommended by Kelly.

Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781595588098
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Published: New Press - May 7th, 2013

Rationing: it's a word and an idea that people often loathe and fear. Health care expert Henry Aaron has compared mentioning the possibility of rationing to 'shouting an obscenity in church.' Yet societies in fact ration food, water, medical care and fuel all the time, with those who can pay the most getting the most.

Finders Keepers

This book focuses on the almost universal fascination with ancient human artifacts. In it, Childs explores the "rights" and "wrongs" of pot hunting, whether it be that of a professional archaeologist or an amateur pot hunter. In the end, he arrives in a sea of gray area and many pages of self-examination as well. Fascinating! Recommended by Kelly.

Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316066464
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Published: Back Bay Books - June 25th, 2013

Renowned naturalist Craig Childs explores the paradoxical nature of anthropological excavation amongst the Native American ruins his work is based upon.

Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

Still as pertinent and revolutionary as it was when originally published in 1976, Adrienne Rich's OF WOMAN BORN is an essential part of any feminist library. Rich reminds, one need not have been a biological mother to have experienced the resonance of motherhood.

Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393312843
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 17th, 1995

The experience is her own--as a woman, a poet, a feminist, and a mother--but it is an experience determined by the institution, imposed on all women everywhere. She draws on personal materials, history, research, and literature to create a document of universal importance.

QUIET by Susan Cain

This is a user manual for the introvert in your life or for you, if you fall in that category. Where introverts have been made to feel somehow dys-functional or dis-eased, Cain reveals that, in reality, they are completely normal and often highly intuitive and creative additions to a healthy society. Buy it for a "shy" friend today. Recommended by Kelly.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307352156
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Published: Broadway Books - January 29th, 2013

The book that started the Quiet Revolution

MYCOPHILIA by Eugenia Bone

This wonderful book is a funny, accessible, and at the same time highly intelligent exploration of all things fungi. Not quite plants and not quite animals, they’re inside of us, they’re around us, they can kill us, and they can heal us. Bone learns all of this in her own voracious quest for edible mushrooms. What she discovers, in short, is that when you learn about fungi, you learn about everything and how interconnected it all is. An added bonus is that it’s a delightful romp through the subcultures of mycophiliacs. Recommended by Raven customer Lisa Grossman.
Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609619879
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Published: Rodale Books - February 26th, 2013

An incredibly versatile cooking ingredient containing an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and possibly cancer-fighting properties, mushrooms are among the most expensive and sought-after foods on the planet. Yet when it comes to fungi, culinary uses are only the tip of the iceberg.

MY MOTHER WAS NUTS by Penny Marshall

Not only is Marshall a great director and physical comic, she’s written a hilarious memoir about a strange childhood in Brooklyn and happy but occasionally strained backstage relationships on the cast of LAVERNE & SHIRLEY. I laughed on every page. Recommended by Kelly.
My Mother Was Nuts Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780547892627
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: New Harvest - September 18th, 2012

Most people know Penny Marshall as the director of Big and A League of Their Own. What they don't know is her trailblazing career was a happy accident. In this funny and intimate memoir, Penny takes us from the stage of The Jackie Gleason Show in 1955 to Hollywood's star-studded sets, offering up some hilarious detours along the way.


This National Book Award-winner is one of the best depictions of grief I’ve ever read. Didion recounts the simultaneous death of her husband and critical illness of her daughter with razor-sharp beauty and honesty. Recommended by Kelly.
The Year of Magical Thinking (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400078431
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Published: Vintage - February 13th, 2007

From one of America's iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage--and a life, in good times and bad--that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.