Kelly’s Reviews

JELL-O Girls

Great-granddaughter of the founders of the Jell-O franchise, Allie Rowbottom, has written a tour-de-force memoir, Jell-O Girls, which marries the themes of the rise of Jell-O and similar convenience foods with the diminishment of women's power and the silencing of their voices. Like a forensic detective, she traces her own illness and those of the women in her family back to the "curse" of the product and the larger societal ills it has brought about. Recommended by Kelly.
 

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Jell-O Girls: A Family History Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316510615
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Published: Little Brown and Company - July 24th, 2018

A "gorgeous" (New York Times) memoir that braids the evolution of one of America's most iconic branding campaigns with the stirring tales of the women who lived behind its facade - told by the inheritor of their stories.

A New York Times Editors' Choice
One of People Magazine's Best Books of Summer
An Amazon Best Book of the Month


The Red Caddy

Originally written in 1994, Charles Bowden’s, The Red Caddy, is the first biography of Edward Abbey to appear for some time. Like the stark beauty of the desert Abbey defended, Bowden’s lucid prose tells the truth about the man, whose racist, misogynistic image so many biographers and followers alike have tried to expunge. Instead of trying to make Abbey palatable, Bowden trusts that the power of his friend’s life, warts intact, merits an honest depiction. Caddy is freshly relevant given the recent #metoo movement.

The Red Caddy: Into the Unknown with Edward Abbey Cover Image
$21.00
ISBN: 9781477315798
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Published: University of Texas Press - April 25th, 2018

A passionate advocate for preserving wilderness and fighting the bureaucratic and business forces that would destroy it, Edward Abbey (1927-1989) wrote fierce, polemical books such as Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang that continue to inspire environmental activists.


Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

Though many books have been written about climate change, in Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, Elizabeth Rush offers not a scientist’s view but that of an artist translating statistics into elegy for the estuaries, the salt marshes, the shoreline wetlands of the world, and more particularly, of her childhood home. By speaking the names of the beings, both human and otherwise, that are vanishing before our eyes as shorelines become inundated, she faces her own grief and helps her readers to do so as well. Recommended by Kelly

Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781571313676
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Published: Milkweed Editions - June 12th, 2018

Harvey. Maria. Irma. Sandy. Katrina. We live in a time of unprecedented hurricanes and catastrophic weather events, a time when it is increasingly clear that climate change is neither imagined nor distant--and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways.


Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Our Illusion of Control

Barbara Ehrenrich’s latest offering, Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Our Illusion of Control, adds to her benignly cranky repertoire of cultural critique.

Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781455535910
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Published: Twelve - April 10th, 2018

A New York Times bestseller
From the celebrated author of Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich explores how we are killing ourselves to live longer, not better.


Against Memoir

STAFF REVIEW: Michelle Tea's new book of essays, Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions & Crticisms, blew me away. Some essays scrape like sandpaper. Others comfort like an arm draped over a shoulder. Tea is alternatively a modern-day prophet and a street-wise friend everyone needs to help them stay up with every new societal quirk and meme and to remind them to check their ego and privilege in a time of profound change. Recommended by Kelly

Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions & Criticisms Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781936932184
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Published: Amethyst Editions - May 8th, 2018

The razor-sharp but damaged Valerie Solanas, a doomed lesbian biker gang, recovering alcoholics, and teenagers barely surviving at an ice creamery: these are some of the larger-than-life, yet all-too-human figures populating America's fringes. Rife with never-ending fights and failures, theirs are the stories we too often try to forget.


American Heart

My spirits are still aloft three hours after finishing Laura Moriarty's book American Heart. You may have heard about all the flak she has taken for the book and about the censored review—a review written by a Muslim woman of color—pulled after pressure from people who feared the book represented another white savior narrative because its admittedly flawed white teenage protagonist commits to seeing a woman to safety in an America—not very unlike our own—that has put all Muslims like this woman in an internment camp in Nevada.

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American Heart Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062694102
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Published: HarperTeen - January 30th, 2018

A powerful and thought-provoking YA debut from New York Times bestselling author Laura Moriarty.

Imagine a United States in which registries and detainment camps for Muslim-Americans are a reality.


Leonardo da Vinci

STAFF REVIEW: Deep winter is the time to stretch your reading muscles. (It worked for me several years ago with Nicholas Nickleby, trust me, a marathon that made all other books feel like strolls.) Have I got the perfect tome for you: Leonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson. It's true; I do love a long biography. Having read Isaacson's previous biography of Steve Jobs, I knew I could trust his exhaustive research, a sign of any good biography.

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Leonardo da Vinci Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781501139154
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Published: Simon & Schuster - October 17th, 2017

The #1 New York Times bestseller

“A powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life...a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it.” —The New Yorker

“Vigorous, insightful.” —The Washington Post

“A masterpiece.” —San Francisco Chronicle

&


Emily Alone

Each in the pair of novels Wish You Were Here and Emily Alone by Stuart O'Nan is perfect on its own, and together they are magic. In Wish, Emily Maxwell spends a strained week with her adult children, grandchildren, sister-in-law, and her arthritic dog, Rufus, in a summer lake cabin while it pours rain. The foundations of the intricate relationships established in this first novel are built upon in Emily Alone, a perfect novel to read this time of year with its autumnal beginning.

Emily, Alone: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143120490
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Published: Penguin Books - December 27th, 2011

A bittersweet tale of love and longing from the bestselling author of Last Night at the Lobster.

O'Nan's newest novel, City of Secrets, is now available from Viking. 


In Good Faith: Secular Parenting in a Religious World

In Good Faith: Secular Parenting in a Religious World isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for every parent: That's its beauty. By following the same freethinking instincts that have landed them safely ashore of a religious-free life, readers can use author Maria Polonchek's brave and revelatory descriptions of her own experience and her cogent suggestions to raise thoughtful, compassionate, and engaged children without religion.

In Good Faith: Secular Parenting in a Religious World Cover Image
$40.80
ISBN: 9781442270664
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Published: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers - August 8th, 2017

Part memoir, part cultural exploration, this book covers the author's journey as she grows up in an evangelical Christian home, leaves religion behind as a young adult, and goes on to raise children in a family outside of religious belief.


This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm

Farming is a gamble. The new book, This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm, makes this abundantly clear. Author Ted Genoways alternates between discussions of the common challenges facing small family farms with chapters focusing on two Nebraska families struggling to make ends meet while sorting out the vagaries of climate, consumer demand, and government subsidies and regulations. A moving, painful, and important read about a topic that should be a far larger part of the national dialogue. Recommended by Kelly

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This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780393292572
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 19th, 2017

The family farm lies at the heart of our national identity, yet its future is in peril. Rick Hammond grew up on a small ranch, and for forty years he has raised cattle and crops on his wife's fifth-generation homestead in York County, Nebraska, in hopes of passing it on to their four children. But as the handoff nears, their small family farm--and their entire way of life--are under siege.


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