Non-Fiction Reviews

Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature by Linda Lear

This fine biography of Rachel Carson should be on every environmentalist's book shelf. Biographer Lear's careful research and respectful prose elucidates Carson's professional and private life with a care I'm sure Carson would have appreciated. Recommended by Kelly. 

Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547238234
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Published: Mariner Books - April 1st, 2009

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, published in 1962, did more than any other single publication to alert the world to the hazards of environmental poisoning and to inspire a powerful social movement that would alter the course of American history.

Art and Fear

Art and Fear is the next best thing to having an art coach. I read it every couple of years. Recommended by Lawrence, Kansas-based landscape painter and printmaker, Lisa Grossman.

Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking Cover Image
ISBN: 9780961454739
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Published: Image Continuum Press - April 1st, 2001

"This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people; essentially--statistically speaking--there aren't any people like that.

Dirt Work

This is a terrific memoir about a small, hesitant woman who, once she learns her "tools," becomes one of the toughest workers on the trail building crew in Glacier National Park, Montana. With the soul of a poet, Byl writes with an ease and beauty you'll quickly warm to. Recommended by Kelly.

Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807033272
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Published: Beacon Press - March 11th, 2014

A lively and lyrical account of one woman's unlikely apprenticeship on a national-park trail crew and what she discovers about nature, gender, and the value of hard work

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women

In the last 40 years, we have witnessed what could be called a seismic shift in the roles of men and women. The cultural tremors continue to affect every area of society: domestic life, education, business, and child-rearing. But some things haven't changed: the adaptability of women now serves them very well. However, men will need to meet the challenge of reinventing themselves.

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594631832
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Published: Riverhead Books - September 3rd, 2013

Essential reading for our times, as women are pulling together to demand their rights-- A landmark portrait of women, men, and power in a transformed world.

"Anchored by data and aromatized by anecdotes, Rosin] concludes that women are gaining the upper hand." -The Washington Post

The Wisdom of the Myths by Luc Ferry

A wonderful introduction to the tropes and concerns of Greek mythology. Written for a lay audience, Ferry's guide suggests that the lessons of Tantalus, Sisyphus, and Orpheus have much to teach us about the role of harmony - peace of mind, cosmic justice, and a sense of fairness - in our world today. Engaging, informative, and compelling! Recommended by Chip.

The Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life (Learning to Live) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062215451
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Published: Harper Perennial - January 7th, 2014

More than 100,000 copies sold in France

A fascinating new journey through Greek mythology that explains the myths' timeless lessons and meaning

The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero

Hilarious memoir about the production of what one critic has called "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" - The Room (2003). What drew me in was not the description of the filming itself, but rather the surprisingly profound meditation on fame and artistic creation.

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781451661194
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 1st, 2013

From the actor who lived through it all and an award-winning narrative nonfiction writer: the inspiring and laugh-out-loud funny story of a mysteriously wealthy social misfit who got past every road block in the Hollywood system to achieve success on his own terms--the making of The Room, "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" (Entertainment Weekly).

Boys in the Boat by James Daniel Brown

Written about the team that ultimately became the U.S. crew team in the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin, Germany, this wonderful telling focuses on the background of one particular student from the University of Washington, who overcomes personal adversity to become a member of the team.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670025817
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Published: Viking - June 4th, 2013

The #1 New York Times-bestselling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany, the inspiration for the PBS documentary The Boys of '36, broadcast to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 80th anniversary of the boys' gold medal race.

Tender by Nigel Slater

The only guide to vegetable-based cooking you'll ever need. Part memoir, part cookbook, Tender is an ode to marvelous, "do-able" cuisine. Its luscious photographs deserve to be framed above the mantle place. Recommended by Chip. 

Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781607740377
Availability: Backordered
Published: Ten Speed Press - April 26th, 2011

A comprehensive, deeply personal, and visually stunning guide to growing and cooking vegetables from Britain's foremost food writer, with more than 400 recipes and extensive gardening notes.

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
ISBN: 9780062272140
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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.