Non-Fiction Reviews

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal. The short answer is--we're getting there. The gist of this fascinating book is that we've long been using the wrong measures for things like "consciousness," "self-awareness," and "intention," all once considered qualities possessed only by humans. But as the many experiments that primatologist de Waal recounts show, if you use the proper controls and keep an open mind, you'll find animals are far more "like" us than we give them credit--which changes everything. Recommended by Kelly

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Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393246186
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 25th, 2016

What separates your mind from an animal's? Maybe you think it's your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future--all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet's preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition.


We Should All Be Feminists

Well, shouldn’t we be? This is a small collection of essays delving into the versatility of equality and its quintessential necessity for a society to progress. This book demands your attention and leaves you with more questions than answers. It provides a starting point to further pursue equality. How will you be the change? Recommended by Jenna

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We Should All Be Feminists Cover Image
$7.95
ISBN: 9781101911761
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Published: Anchor Books - February 3rd, 2015

The highly acclaimed, provocative New York Times bestseller from the award-winning author of Americanah, "one of the world's great contemporary writers" (Barack Obama).


The Bridge Ladies

Embedded in the title of Betsy Lerner's The Bridge Ladies is the book's extended metaphor: by taking bridge lessons so she can participate in her mother's long-running bridge club, Lerner is able to renew what has always been a fraught relationship with her mother. At turns poignant and hilarious, this memoir potrays an all-too-common drama between mothers and daughters, crossing a chasm of misunderstanding to reach a patch of common ground of insecurities and affection they didn't know they shared. Recommended by Kelly

The Bridge Ladies: A Memoir Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062354464
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Published: Harper Wave - May 3rd, 2016

A fifty-year-old Bridge game provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between a daughter and her mother. Betsy Lerner takes us on a powerfully personal literary journey, where we learn a little about Bridge and a lot about life.


Religion for Atheists

Alain de Botton's Religion for Atheists makes the argument that those who do not claim a faith of their own shouldn't "throw out the baby with the bathwater." Without religion, we would be bereft of some of the greatest music, books, architecture, and art. Also, he maintains that the church has had some pretty excellent ideas about organizing our lives and communities that we would do well to follow. Recommended by Kelly

Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion (Vintage International) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307476821
Availability: Backordered
Published: Vintage - January 8th, 2013

What if religions are neither all true nor all nonsense? Alain de Botton's bold and provocative book argues that we can benefit from the wisdom and power of religion--without having to believe in any of it.


The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks

Lovers of Terry Tempest Williams' writing (and those who never read her before--these are usually the only two categories) rejoice. In time for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, her new book The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks chronicles one of America's best-known and beloved nature writer's visits to twelve national parks and monuments.

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$27.00
ISBN: 9780374280093
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Published: Sarah Crichton Books - May 31st, 2016

America's national parks are breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why more than 300 million people visit the parks each year.


And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East

NBC war correspondent, Richard Engel, recalls 20 years of experience and history of the Middle East and North Africa. From the Arab Spring to the rise of major terrorist cells, he retells his life story as a writer, getting kidnapped, and coming home. He addresses questions such as how ISIS formed, why its numbers continue to grow, and whether or not the United States is at fault.

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ISBN: 9781451635119
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Published: Simon & Schuster - February 9th, 2016

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Gripping reading...an astute, fast-paced overview... Engel] gives us sharp, unnerving snapshots." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times


Girl in a Band

STAFF REVIEW: Disclaimer: I don’t listen to much Sonic Youth, but I loved Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band. If you’re looking for tabloid fodder about Gordon’s breakup with Thurston Moore, you won’t be disappointed, but the real draw here is Gordon’s clear, frank portrayal of her long career in art and music. Like any good artist memoir, it’s full of celebrity cameos and funny anecdotes.

Girl in a Band: A Memoir Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062295903
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Published: Dey Street Books - December 1st, 2015

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story—a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll, written with the lyricism and haunting beauty of Patti Smith's Just Kids.


Quiet Power by Susan Cain

STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Remember Susan Cain's book Quiet, that beautifully affirmed and absolved the world's introverts. Well, she has written a new book Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, A Guide for Kids and Teens, which will help not only them but also their parents, friends, teachers, and other caregivers understand and inspire them.

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$17.99
ISBN: 9780803740600
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Published: Dial Books - May 3rd, 2016

The monumental bestseller Quiet has been recast in a new edition that empowers introverted kids and teens

Susan Cain sparked a worldwide conversation when she published Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. With her inspiring book, she permanently changed the way we see introverts and the way introverts see themselves.


Coyote America: A Natural & Supernatural History

Dan Flores in Coyote America: A Natural & Supernatural History has given us an “illuminating biography of an extraordinary animal.” The coyote has been depicted both in cartoons and as a deity in Native American mythology. Until we began ranching and herding on the plains, they lived alongside humans. After complaints by ranchers, the US. government started eradicating wolves, and when coyotes replaced them, they became the next target.

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ISBN: 9780465052998
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Basic Books - June 7th, 2016

Finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
"A masterly synthesis of scientific research and personal observation." -Wall Street Journal


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


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