Non-Fiction Reviews

WILD by Cheryl Strayed

WILD is like the components of a good meal—we relish each part and look forward to the next bite. Following her difficult, challenging, and fulfilling journey on the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT), we look inward and ask "could I do that?" Your answer might surprise you. Recommended by Raven customer Martha.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307476074
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - March 26th, 2013

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER


MARIE CURIE AND HER DAUGHTERS by Shelley Emling

This is a satisfying look at the remarkable Curie family, holders of four Nobel Prizes. It is an intimate portrait of a woman scientist whose work overcame the many obstacles put in her path by the scientific establishment but whose joy in life was pure science to improve the lives of humankind. She inspired America which embraced her before her European counterparts did. The many historical references are fascinating, as well. Recommended by Raven customer Martha.
Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780230115712
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Palgrave MacMillan - August 21st, 2012

A new portrait of the two-time Nobel winner and her two daughters

Focusing on the first family in science, this biography of Marie Curie plumbs the recesses of her relationships with her two daughters, extraordinary in their own right, and presents the legendary scientist to us in a fresh way.


LOSING OUR COOL: UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS ABOUT OUR AIR-CONDITIONED WORLD (AND FINDING WAYS TO GET THROUGH THE SUMMER) by Stan Cox

This history of air-conditioning is the perfect apocalyptic summer read. Written by a researcher with Salina, Kansas’s Land Institute, the book reflects on need vs. want and how, in such a short time, humans--a tropical species afterall--reversed the two. When the book was reviewed in The Washington Post, Cox received death threats. Don’t mess with people’s A/C. Recommended by Kelly.
Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths about Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer) Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781595587756
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Published: New Press - June 5th, 2012

One of the Mother Nature Network's ten "must-read environmental books" of the year, Losing Our Cool is the first book to examine how indoor climate control is helping send our outdoor climate reeling out of control.


GIFTS OF THE CROW: HOW PERCEPTION, EMOTION, AND THOUGHT ALLOW SMART BIRDS TO BEHAVE LIKE HUMANS by John Marzluff and Tony Angell

The subtitle pretty much says it all. If, like many, you’re intrigued by recent information about the intelligence of crows and other members of the corvid family, this book will delight. I particularly enjoyed the passage about how crows have been known to leave "gifts" for those that feed them. The science here is easily digested by a lay audience. Recommended by Kelly.
Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781439198742
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Published: Atria Books - February 5th, 2013

Stan Coren's groundbreaking The Intelligence of Dogs meets Bernd Heinrich's classic Mind of the Raven in this astonishing, beautifully illustrated look at the uncanny intelligence and emotions of crows.


ONE SQUARE INCH OF SILENCE by Gordon Hempton

ONE SQUARE INCH OF SILENCE: ONE MAN’S QUEST TO PRESERVE QUIET cites "acoustic ecologist" and author Gordon Hempton’s trek across the country to find the quietest spots, to prove to himself and to others that silence is an endangered species of sorts and one that is essential to the health of every living thing. Readers learn not only how rare silence actually is but also the science of acoustics as well. It reads beautifully well as both travelogue and soft science. (Paperback, $17.00) Recommended by Kelly.
One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781416559108
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Published: Atria Books - March 2nd, 2010

In the visionary tradition of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, One Square Inch of Silence alerts us to beauty that we take for granted and sounds an urgent environmental alarm.


RE-CLAIMING THE BIBLE FOR A NON-RELIGIOUS WORLD by John Shelby Spong

This is a lucid, refreshing, and surprisingly savory retelling of the stories from the Judeo-Christian scriptures from one of America’s strongest voices for reclaiming the Bible from those who have used it to imprison, enslave, and abuse. Though he condemns a simplistic, literal reading, Spong helps readers recover the Bible’s depth, beauty, and guidance as a sacred book. Recommended by Kelly.
Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062011282
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Published: HarperOne - November 8th, 2011

In Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, bishop and social activist John Shelby Spong argues that 200 years of biblical scholarship has been withheld from lay Christians.


SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED by Anne Lamott with Sam Lamott

Celebrated author of OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS, Anne Lamott is a grandmother. Her nineteen-year-old son Sam, who it seems only yesterday she was tempted to put on the front porch until his colic passed, is now a father. This book is structured into several sections: classic hilarious rants from Anne and her "interviews" of and e-mails from Sam, a beleaguered full-time art student, trying to make a relationship work with his son Jax’s mother and being the best dad he can though he still feels like a child himself. Recommended by Kelly.
Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594486678
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Published: Riverhead Books - April 2nd, 2013

From the New York Times bestselling author of Bird by Bird, Hallelujah Anyway, and Almost Everything

"If there is a doyenne of the parenting memoir, it would be Anne Lamott."--Time


WHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS by Terry Tempest Williams

Now well-known for her break-out memoir about the death of her mother, REFUGE, Tempest Williams returns to the subject of her mother, Mormonism, women, and voice. In this new memoir she writes, "In Mormon culture, women are expected to do two things: keep a journal and bear children." When her mother died, she left Tempest Williams her journals to read. They were indeed where her mother said they would be, but every single one of them was blank. In the more than twenty years since her mother’s death, Tempest Williams has been contemplating her last message to her. This haunting memoir is the result. It’s a beautiful book. Recommended by Kelly.
When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250024114
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Published: Picador USA - February 26th, 2013


NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A Kansas City Star Best Book of the Year

"Brilliant, meditative, and full of surprises, wisdom, and wonder."--Ann Lamott, author of Imperfect Birds


BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey

I “listened” to this book while traveling and had to stop the car every so often because I was laughing that hard. Fey tells her story in a humorous way and adds additional bits to it that had me rolling. The book itself is a fine read, but there is an additional joy in hearing Tina read it to you. This is one book I recommend “on tape”, but if you insist, the written book will still have you laughing. Recommended by Julie.
Bossypants Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780316056878
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Reagan Arthur Books - January 3rd, 2012

Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.


THE WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY by Jessica Fellowes

The author is the daughter of the writer of this magical series that is now in its second season on Public Television. It looks like just a glossy photo album, but the text is very well-written and thoroughly researched. Fellowes explores the historical background of late Edwardian England and World War I (great bibliography) as well as the architectural history of country houses and details of the actual work that was done by the people in these huge houses. The chapters on the filming of the first two seasons describe the two locations, historical coaching, and the designing and sewing of the glorious costumes both for the aristocrats and the servants. I highly recommend this book for fans of the series, but even if you haven’t seen it, you will learn a lot about life behind the glittering facade of great wealth in the early 20th century. Recommended by Pat.
The World of Downton Abbey Cover Image
By Jessica Fellowes, Julian Fellowes (Foreword by)
$34.99
ISBN: 9781250006349
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Published: St. Martin's Press - December 6th, 2011

A lavish look at the real world--both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama--of the spellbinding Emmy Award-winning Masterpiece TV series Downton Abbey


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