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  • Jeff Somers 6:30 pm on 2018/05/21 Permalink
    Tags: , hidden figures,   

    10 Books that Revealed Secret Histories 

    To paraphrase former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, when it comes to history, there are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknowns unknowns. It’s that last category that’s the most fascinating; it’s very easy to assume you know more or less everything you need to about history, but occasionally, one of those unknown unknowns—those events that never made headlines, and have long since been forgotten or obscured—come to light, and change everything. The 10 books below offer perspectives on history that remained hidden for a long time. Reading them now will give you a better grasp on the world around you.

    Directorate S, by Steve Coll
    As President Trump’s recent remarks reminded us, the relationship between the United States and Pakistan is crucial to American interests in the region. Pakistan’s Directorate S is a secret group within Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) charged with prosecuting illegal operations. In Afghanistan, Directorate S and the CIA often find themselves working against each other while trying to maintain a fiction of cooperation between some of the most uncomfortable allies in history. Taking an admirably objective and non-partisan view of the politics and cultures of three nations and several non-nation groups (such as the Taliban), Coll paints a complex picture of realpolitik that offers hints of what the future of the region and U.S. policy might bring while revealing a whole aspect of recent events that has been hidden from public view for decades.

    Rise and Kill First, by Ronen Bergman
    Israel’s Mossad is widely considered to be one of—if not the—most effective intelligence organizations in the world, and the Israel Defense Force, one of the most effective armed forces. But what has set Israel apart from other nations is its unrepentant embrace of targeted, state-sponsored assassination in the service of national survival. Bergman leverages access to some of the most important players in Israel’s government, intelligence services, and military to craft a definitive history of a nation that much of the world wishes to destroy, and the extraordinary means undertaken in its defense. His inclusion of extremely detailed descriptions of operations gives this book a bit of a thriller edge, while never losing sight of the ethical quandary these policies inevitably spark.

    Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly
    Not everyone knows that the word “computer” once referred to a human being who literally computed sums by hand. And not everyone knows the names Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine—or at least they didn’t until Shetterly’s book arrived, followed by the film adaptation starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Kevin Costner. These patriotic, courageous women were instrumental in making America’s early space program a success, despite the institutional racism and prejudice of the pre–Civil Rights Jim Crow era. Their story isn’t just one of incredible achievement, it’s also a lesson in how easily people can be erased from history when the system itself is bigoted.

    Blitzed, by Norman Ohler
    The Nazis, who were known to dabble in weird science and the occult, were pretty bonkers in general, not to mention flat-out evil. But in this book, Ohler makes the case that they were also pretty much stoned the entire time too—especially Hitler himself. Ohler goes beyond the stimulants issued to the soldiers (think what was essentially crystal meth—a pretty common practice, and one shared by the U.S. army to this day) to detail the truly awe-inspiring amount of stimulants and euphorics consumed by the top Nazis. He even speculates that, rather than suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Hitler’s erratic behavior and frail appearance toward the end of the war were due to withdrawal symptoms after the Allies bombed the factory manufacturing his pills. To say that World War II would have been very different if the Nazis had been sober may be the understatement of the 20th century.

    Radium Girls, by Kate Moore
    Any time someone questions the need for laws protecting workers from the deprivations of profit-seeking companies, you might think of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. But this story is just as tragic, and also serves as a lesson. In the early 20th century, more than a dozen women were employed to paint watches with luminous paint made from the radioactive material radium. These women were fine artists, able to manipulate their brushes expertly, often using their mouths to twist them to a fine point in order to do the detail work. Soon after, many began suffering terrible medical problems, including lost teeth and disease jawbones, sparking a decades-long legal and medical battle that redefined worker’s rights and workplace safety.

    Medical Apartheid, by Harriet A. Washington
    Most people are familiar with the horrific Tuskegee Syphilis Study, in which the U.S. government allowed 600 black men sick with syphilis to go untreated so the disease could be studied, but Washington points out that this is merely the most famous instance of incredible racism inside the medical and scientific world. We tend to think of doctors and scientists as fair-minded and objective, but after reading this book you’ll know better. From slaves sold off for medical experiments to hospitals waiving fees for deceased black patients solely so they could claim the bodies for anatomy lessons and prison populations used for involuntary studies, there’s a whole secret and shameful history of abuse here that goes far beyond what most people think of when they think about racism.

    High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic, by Glenn Frankel
    We all know about the McCarthy Era and the blacklisting of Hollywood figures who had ties to the Communist Party—even ancient, dubious ties. Few of us know how this shameful aspect of America’s past directly affected the films made during this period. Frankel studies one of the most famous movies of all time, the 1952 Western High Noon, which tells the story of a marshal who is abandoned by his friends and neighbors when a gang of criminal specifically targets him, and shows how the story purposefully parallels what was happening in America at the time. The film’s screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was hauled in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee—and when he refused to name other possible communists, he was blacklisted and it took him more than a decade to make his way back. His incredible script for High Noon will never be seen in the same light after reading this book.

    The Dawn of Detroit, by Tiya Miles
    When people think of slavery in the modern day they usually think exclusively about the deep south, the states that eventually formed the Confederacy, and assume that slavery was nonexistent or at least very minimal in the North. Miles’ eye-opening book debunks this assumption, however, telling the forgotten history of slavery in Detroit, beginning under French rule (when the slave population was primarily Native American—and female) and continuing long after the American Revolution placed Detroit under American control. Even the most well-explored historical subjects, like slavery, is riddled with hidden, secret aspects that slowly get buried. Miles’ exploration of this little-known facet of history will force you to reconsider all of your assumptions about the story of race in this country.

    Never Caught, by Erica Armstrong
    There are few American icons on the level of George Washington. Even those who admit Washington’s limitations as a general and a politician generally hold him in high regard as the Father of our country, beyond reproach. Armstrong recounts a lost aspect of Washington’s story, concerning the household slave named Ona Judge Staines owned by the Washingtons who managed to escape after coming into contact with free blacks in New York and the strongly abolitionist Philadelphia. Washington didn’t wish her well—he put immense effort and expense into hunting her down, hiring professional slave catchers and running numerous advertisements. This little-known aspect of Washington’s life will forever color your opinion of the great man.

    Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero, by Christian Di Spigna
    We all think we know the major players of the American Revolution, but this forthcoming book focuses on Joseph Warren, a key player in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War who is nearly forgotten today. Warren died in 1775 at the battle of Bunker Hill, and was slowly—but comprehensively—forgotten as other men stepped forward to play key roles in the story. But an argument can be made that without Warren—without the man who sent Paul Revere on his epic journey, without the man who wrote the essays that inspired the Declaration of Independence in part—the Revolution might have gone very different, or never even happened at all. Di Spigna offers a surprising story that will have you wondering why you weren’t taught about Warren right alongside Franklin, Jefferson, and Washington in school.

    The post 10 Books that Revealed Secret Histories appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Tara Sonin 5:00 pm on 2018/03/09 Permalink
    Tags: , anita hill, , , , , children of blood and bone, , diary of anne frank, dread nation, erika l. sanchez, , , hidden figures, , i am not your perfect mexican daughter, inspiring stories, , jessica spotswood, justina ireland, kate moore, , , , love hate and other filters, march forward girl, margot lee shetterly, meet cute, melba patillo beals, my beloved world, my own words, , nicola yoon, , option b, piecing me together, , , renee watson, , , ruth bader ginsburg, samira ahmed, she persisted, sheryl sandberg, , sonia sotomayor, speaking truth to power, , , the radical element, the scarlett letter, tomi adeyemi,   

    25 Must-Reads for Women’s History Month 

    It’s Women’s History Month, so to celebrate the women who have shaped our history, written characters we loved, lived lives we admired and learned from…here are twenty five books you should read this month!

    Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
    An essential collection of essays perfect for women’s history month reading about feminism in the modern world, all from the perspective of writer and activist Roxane Gay. The intersections of race, gender, body politics, and much more collide in a poignant, funny, and striking collection.

    Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
    Told through poetry, the story of an African American girl’s journey through adolescence stings with the remains of Jim Crow and follows her through the Civil Rights Movement. But it’s also the story of a writer coming into her own, learning the power of words, and overcoming a childhood struggle with reading.

    March Forward, Girl, by Melba Patillo Beals
    Another memoir about a courageous, young black girl living in a racist, segregated society, this one will inspire you to action in your own life. You may know of Melba Patillo Beals as one of the legendary Little Rock Nine, but her story begins before that…and leads her to a lifetime of resilience.

    I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L. Sanchez
    Olga was perfect. She did everything her parents wanted. But then she died, and Julia has no chance of being the perfect Mexican daughter her sister was. That is, until she learns her sister may not have been so perfect after all. A story of family, Mexican culture, the American Dream, and much more.

    Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton
    Not the memoir you expected, but an important one: one of history’s most influential women and former Secretary of State details her life experience in politics and during her time in the Obama administration.

    She Persisted, by Chelsea Clinton
    Like mother, like daughter! Chelsea’s picture book about women throughout history who have persisted during difficult times is inspiring and informative. Learn the stories of women such as Ruby Bridges, who triumphed during the Civil Rights Movement; Helen Keller, who owned her identity as a disabled woman and refused to let others define her abilities; Oprah Winfrey, media mogul and the first black female billionaire, and more!

    Love Hate and Other Filters, by Samira Ahmed
    Another story about young women loving their families and yet, defying the cultures they come from. Maya wants to go to film school, live in New York, and be with a boy who isn’t Muslim. But her parents want the opposite. Can she reconcile the life they want for her with the life she wants for herself?

    My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor
    Yes, you need to read the book by the first Latina Supreme Court Justice! Sonia grew up in the projects in the Bronx and wound up on the most senior court in the land. How did she get there? By overcoming adversity, relying on family, and learning to love herself.

    My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    If there is a more incredible woman to learn from…well, we can’t finish that sentence, because there isn’t. RBG has seen it all, and in this collection of essays on everything from her early career, being a woman, the law, and much more, she shares her wisdom with us.

    Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly
    The book that became a box office smash is a must-read. The story of the NASA mathematicians—and African-American women—who changed the face of the race to space was lost to time and whitewashed history. But now you can read about the brilliance and ambition of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.

    Radium Girls by, Kate Moore
    A new product hit the market that people all across the country used for beauty and medicinal purposes. We now know this dangerous product for what it really is: radium, and while people were using it to make themselves more beautiful and healthier, the truth was glistening beneath the surface. When the girls working in the radium factories got sick, it exposed an industry’s dark underbelly of corruption, abuse, and more.

    The Radical Element, by Jessica Spotswood (and others)
    The subtitle of this anthology tells you everything you need to know: daredevils, debutants, and other dauntless girls throughout history finally have their stories told. From some of the best YA authors come twelve short stories about everything from girls secretly learning Hebrew in the US South, to living as a second-generation immigrant, and much more.

    Meet Cute, by Nicola Yoon, Nina Lacour, and other authors.
    Another anthology written by women! Why this for Women’s History Month, you ask? Because the stories touch all intersections of love: interracial relationships, trans love, bisexual love, and so much more.

    Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank
    The haunting story of a girl’s innocence touched by the violence and hatred of the Third Reich has a message that still persists to this day: love one another, before it is too late.

    Shrill, by Lindy West
    For centuries, society has demanded women be small, warm, sexually open (but not too open), good mothers, good wives, smart but not too smart….the list goes on and on, but the one thing women are not supposed to be, is shrill. This memoir is about all the things women are, and more importantly, what we could be if we were set free.

    The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
    Starr is a girl living two lives: the one with her black family, in a neighborhood struggling with systemic racism, poverty, gang violence and police brutality…and as a student at a private school with white friends and a white boyfriend who are often insensitive when it comes to matters of race. But when her childhood best friend is maliciously gunned down by police, Starr bridges her two worlds with a message that all need to hear: black lives matter.

    We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Based on an essay by the same name, this book tackles the issue of feminism head on. Exploring everything from race and gender to sex and power dynamics, this incredible book is perfect for those just starting to break down the definition of feminism and how it applies to their lives.

    Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg
    When her husband died, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was faced with a choice: lose herself to her grief, or turn to option B and try to find a way forward. She chose the second option, but she did not do so alone. This book examines grief, and the multitude of ways human beings process it, and how to find happiness again “when option A is not available.”

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
    Don’t miss the unforgettable story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cells were taken from her during cancer treatment…and without her knowledge, consent, or compensation, provided essential information to cancer research. Those cells are still alive today, and in them, her legacy lives on.

    Speaking Truth to Power, by Anita Hill
    The #MeToo movement has had many starts and stops, and one of them was no doubt spurred by the testimony of Anita Hill, who alleged that her former boss—and Supreme Court Justice nominee—Clarence Thomas, had sexually harassed her. The message in this book rings loud and clear: to be a woman in a man’s world, you must get comfortable standing up for yourself and what you believe to be true.

    Piecing Me Together, by Renee Watson
    To live the life she wants, Jade has to get out of her bad neighborhood…and its not enough that she already goes to a private school far away from home. But she’s not sure the way out is through the opportunities given to black girls from “at-risk” backgrounds, either. A moving portrait of living in systemic racism, about loving who you are, and wanting everything out of life.

    Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
    A fantasy inspired by the lore and culture of West Africa, this YA novel is one of the buzziest books of the year. Zéli’s mother was murdered, as were so many other maji, by a king who feared the magic they possessed. But now she has a chance to restore her kingdom to glory…if she can align herself with a princess, and outsmart a prince.

    Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
    This story of a family of women bonded while the patriarch of the family is off at war has lasted generations for its timeless message of love, sisterhood, and fighting for what you want in life.

    The Scarlett Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    The book that explored the stigma of the fallen women has inspired many stories since. Hester has been branded with a Scarlet A to wear on her clothing a symbol of her sin: having a child out of wedlock, and refusing to name the father.

    Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland
    Jane McKeene was born during the Civil War…but when zombies start rising from the dead, the war becomes something else entirely. Indigenous and black kids are forced to learn how to eradicate the monsters. This one publishes in April, but you should pre-order it for Women’s History Month today.

    What books are you reading in honor of Women’s History Month?

    The post 25 Must-Reads for Women’s History Month appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Tara Sonin 6:00 pm on 2018/01/18 Permalink
    Tags: , a season with the witch, , , being nixon, , , bullies, , cooked, devil’s bargain, escape from camp 14, , hidden figures, how google works, how we got to now, in the garden of beasts, , it’s okay to laugh, , , mistress of the vatican, muslim girl, Night, , orientalism, , , , , silent spring, , stamped from the beginning, the autobiography of malcolm x, the blood of emmett till, the crown, , the new jim crow, the origins of totalitarianism, the six wives of henry viii, , , , victoria the queen, , we were eight years in power, welcome to the universe, what happened, , world without mind, year of yes,   

    50 Nonfiction Books that Will Make You Smarter in 2018 

    It’s 2018, and we’ve all heard the phrase “New Year, New You”…but here’s the thing: being you is actually the best, because you’re the only you there could ever be! So instead of trying to reinvent yourself, why not read some nonfiction books to help yourself be the smartest, most interesting, well-informed person you could be? (Also, you’ll know so much it will be impossible not to impress people at parties.)

    1776, by David McCullough
    Hamilton fans, if you can’t get enough of Revolutionary history, this book is your next read. It follows both the North American and British sides of the conflict, and focuses on two leaders in particular: George Washington, and Red Coat commander William Howe. Factual but fun to read, American history that won’t put you to sleep.

    Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
    Another mandatory pick for Hamilton fans; the book the musical is based on! Follow Hamilton’s haunting upbringing as a poor, but brilliant kid in the Caribbean who travels to America with the hope of changing the world…and the downfall he could not recover from.

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksby Rebecca Skloot
    This true story confronts the collision of science and systemic racism with the story of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were taken without her consent for study…and are still living today.

    In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, by Nathaniel Philbrick
    If you want to impress with facts from forgotten tales, this riveting thriller details the shipwreck of the Essex, the boat that inspired Moby Dick!

    The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt
    History can certainly inform the present….that is, if we the people aren’t informed. This book starts in the 1800’s and continues through World War I. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, history is history, and it never hurts to remember it.

    The Six Wives of Henry VIII, by Alison Weir
    On to a more scandalous historical figure…or six of them, actually! The wives of Henry VIII had interesting lives before they met him, and his impact on their lives—and in some cases, their deaths—altered history. Full of juicy details, this reads like a novel.

    Cleopatra, A Life, by Stacy Schiff
    Who WAS Cleopatra, a woman built into life by myth and legend? Historian Stacy Schiff gives you access to her palace and a world that you MUST read to believe: incest, murder, poison, infidelity, and more…why isn’t there a TV show about her again?

    MAUS I, by Art Spiegelman
    I first read this book when I was young, but the story has stayed with me forever. The author shares the story of his father’s experience during the holocaust in graphic novel form, using animals instead of humans to detail the horrifying experience.

    We Were Eight Years In Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    This collection of essays that follow President Obama’s two terms is a fascinating deep-dive into how race impacted Obama’s presidency and the ensuing 2016 election.

    The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
    Here’s an uncomfortable truth: The ripple effects of slavery and Jim Crow are still here due to a systemic mass incarceration problem, essentially enslaving millions of black men and women behind bars. Learn about this system of oppression in this difficult, but important book.

    Night, by Elie Wiesel
    This classic autobiography of one man’s journey to survive the Holocaust is a gripping portrait of both the depths of evil—and the precipice of hope—that human beings are capable of.

    How Google Works, by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
    With terms like “net neutrality” leading in the news, it’s important to become informed on the intersection of tech and government…and where best to start than with Google? Learn about their founding history, philosophy, and what it takes to succeed there.

    Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
    If tech isn’t your thing, but art, writing, dance or performance are, definitely check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s treatise and lifestyle guide for living creatively.

    How We Got to Now, by Steven Johnson
    The modern world wasn’t built in a day, but it did innovate to evolve. This book is great for history buffs and factoid-finders (and maybe a reluctant reader or two, because there are illustrations!).

    The Crown, by Robert Lacey
    Season Two of the hit Netflix TV show has aired, you’ve marathoned it already, and you want more! Check out the book the show is based on and relive all the shocking and emotional moments, this time on the page.

    Mistress of the Vatican, by Eleanor Herman
    This salacious non-fiction history delves into the sordid and secretive history of the Vatican, and the forgotten woman who helped a man become Pope.

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson
    Look, 2017 was a rough year. So maybe the secret to success is not caring so much? Read this book and pass along the gospel of not giving a f*ck to your friends.

    Love Warrior, by Glennon Doyle
    Glennon Doyle shares the heartbreaking story of learning her husband was unfaithful, and how she took her broken marriage and used the opportunity to piece herself back together again.

    It’s Okay to Laugh, by Nora McIerney
    This memoir about a woman’s journey through becoming a young, widowed mother (and losing her father shortly after her husband’s death) is surprisingly hilarious. That’s what Nora does: she uses dark humor to guide herself through grief, and if you could use a little bit of that, this book is for you.

    The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X
    A definitive figure of the Civil Rights Movement, Malcom X’s biography is essential reading when it comes to understanding current race relations in the United States. Learn about his upbringing, his conversion to Islam, and his activism.

    Devil’s Bargain, by Joshua Green
    Moving from the past political situation to the present, this book is essential reading for newfound politicos who want to enter 2018 informed and engaged. It details Steve Bannon’s relationship with President Trump, and what it took to get him elected.

    Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo
    We all need a little more joy in our lives, so consult organizational specialist Marie Kondo for the ways you can get rid of clutter and make room in your heart for objects and people that make you happy.

    Bullies, by Alex Abramovich
    A fascinating story of a man who befriends his childhood bully later in life, this story can teach you about reaching beyond your bubble, finding common ground in common pain, and the importance of forgiveness.

    Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly
    Math is not my thing, but reading the story of the brilliant black women who got us to the moon totally is. These women worked as “human computers” and calculated what we would need to win the space race, but their stories have been lost to history until now.

    Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi
    Be an informed citizen and read this detailed account of racism in America. Using the stories of prominent American intellectuals to frame the debates of assimilationists, segregationists, racists, and allies.

    Being Nixon, by Evan Thomas
    Learn about the man behind the Watergate scandal: his background with a troubled older brother, his service in the Navy, and his political ascent. We tend to define historical figures by one event, and this biography shares the whole picture.

    In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
    Imagine being an American in the government….working with Adolf Hitler. This fascinating true story follows the Ambassador to Hitler’s Third Reich, William E. Dodd, and his family, as they enter the garden, are charmed by the snake, and witness the atrocities firsthand.

    Escape from Camp 14, by Blaine Harden
    We know most things about Hitler’s Germany, but North Korea’s totalitarian regime is still, in many ways, a mystery. This is the haunting story of a person born inside a North Korean prison camp who escaped—after witnessing the executions of his family, being taught to distrust his fellow prisoners, and even fighting his mother for food.

    Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson
    The definitive text on the urgency of man-made harm to planet Earth, this book follows the banning of DDT and the sweeping reform that followed.

    Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Favilli
    This book rides the border between fiction and non-fiction, but I’ll allow it, because it’s so cool. Reinvented stories about amazing women throughout history using fairytales as a framing device? Read this book yourself, then get it for everyone you know.

    What Happened, by Hillary Clinton
    Have you been living under a rock, or are just too busy/depressed/overwhelmed to deal with politics? Start 2018 on an informed note by reading the first female candidate for President’s account of the 2016 election.

    World Without Mind, by Franklin Foer
    Technology is the defining innovation of our time…but is it also the greatest threat? This book tracks the history of technological innovation, especially on the internet, and how it presents unseen dangers we need to prepare ourselves for.

    The Blood of Emmett Till, by Timothy B. Tyson
    We see stories of police brutality daily, but this story of civilian brutality had inexorable consequences on the Civil Rights Movement. Who was Emmett Till? And why has his murder shaped American history?

    Shrill, by Lindy West
    This memoir-slash-lifestyle guide for how to be a loud feminist who takes up space in a world that often wants women to be quiet, sweet, and invisible, is full of true stories about the importance of speaking out, showing up, and not caring if people call you “shrill.”

    Sex Object, by Jessica Valenti
    This book, on a similar theme, explores the impacts of sexism on the day-to-day lives of women.

    Muslim Girl, by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh
    This painful and beautiful memoir details the reality of growing up Muslim in the wake of 9/11, and how Amani struggling with the impact of Islamophobia before launching her groundbreaking website.

    Orientalism, by Edward Said
    The origins of the problematic view of “orientalism” still persists, but this classic book breaks down the cultural and political perspectives of the Middle and Near East, aiming to combat prejudiced western philosophy.

    Welcome to the Universe, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott
    Something for the science nerd! (Or, aspiring science nerd.) Take a tour of the universe (literally) with renowned scientists explaining planets, aliens, and so much more.

    Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky
    Have you ever thought of the history of things we use every day, and totally take for granted? I never thought of salt as having a history, but it does, and this interesting book details where it comes from, and why it matters so much.

    Cooked, by Michael Pollan
    This memoir is one of the most unique on the list, structurally and content-wise! It follows a food writer’s journey through exploring the different ways we cook things—with fire, water, air, and earth—and mastering the techniques we use to perfect our food.

    Yes Please, by Amy Poheler
    A funny memoir by one of the best comediennes ever, read about Amy’s (rough) beginnings in Hollywood, her persistent optimism, and why she loves being funny.

    Bossypants, by Tina Fey
    If you read Amy’s memoir, you have to read her BFF’s! Tina Fey is wry, witty, and has lots to say on what it takes to succeed as a woman in a man’s world in this hilarious book.

    Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
    When your life collapses and there’s nothing left, where do you go? For Cheryl Strayed, to the Pacific Crest Trail, to figure out what she wants and who she wants to be by putting her body to the ultimate physical test.

    Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
    The story of a pilot brought down during World War II begins with a boy who would become an Olympian, despite a difficult childhood with a tendency towards defiance. It’s that defiance which saved his life years later in the Pacific Ocean, with only a life raft to guide him home.

    Victoria the Queen, by Julia Baird
    She was fifth in line for the throne, and only a teenager, but she became Queen. The second longest-reigning Queen in history, Victoria led a fascinating, passionate life: all of which is detailed in this book!

    A Season With the Witch, by J.W. Ocker
    Salem is an infamous place, ground zero to the 1692 Witch Trials. So when this writer decided to move his family to Salem in 2015 to experience Halloween in the most infamous stomping ground for witches.

    Radium Girls, by Kate Moore
    Radium is everywhere; in everything, and considered an essential ingredient to the beauty industry during World War I. But there is a dark underbelly to this element, experienced by girls working in factories to produce it who suddenly become ill.

    Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes
    Part how-to guide, part memoir, this uplifting (and short, perfect for commutes!) read by showrunner and TV writer extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes is the guide to positivity you need going into 2018.

    We Should All be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Based on her incredible TED Talk, this book explores the intersections of women’s issues, politics, and race using the author’s own experience against the backdrop of history.

    Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
    Roxane Gay’s essays on what it means to be a woman of color in the modern age are funny and profound, and touch upon everything from pop-culture, how Hollywood approaches rape, privilege, and much more. You’ll certainly impress at a cocktail party with some insights from this one.

    The post 50 Nonfiction Books that Will Make You Smarter in 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2017/09/27 Permalink
    Tags: american sniper, hidden figures, , stories upon stories   

    Take a Deeper Dive into 5 Historical Stories 

    History is the greatest story ever told. It has everything—fierce action, memorable characters, and twists of fate no one saw coming. Tracing one historical thread in an infinite tapestry of them is a feat of storytelling, managed only by the greatest of writers and researchers. If you’re a nonfiction buff who has enjoyed one of these recent books (all adapted into films), we know just the novels and nonfiction works you should read next.

    If You Loved Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly, then check out African American Women Chemists, by Jeanette Brown
    Hidden Figures was a runaway success both at the bookstore and in the movie theater, offering a dramatic, entertaining story highlighting a forgotten corner of the civil rights movement. If you found that story illuminating and intriguing, African American Women Chemists offers a deeper dive: women were struggling to assert themselves in laboratories, classrooms, and offices long before the space program or the Civil Rights Act, and unlike the women in Hidden Figures, most of these pioneers in the field of chemistry worked alone, which meant they were usually the first and only African Americans in their workplace. The book will broaden your understanding of the struggle minority women—past and present—engage in to break into scientific fields and jobs.

    If You Loved The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman, then check out Nazi Germany and the Jews, by Saul Friedlander
    World War II and the Holocaust encompassed moments among the most horrible in mankind’s history, but also provided many stories of heroism, decency, and bravery in the face of pure evil. The Zookeeper’s Wife is one of the most powerful of these stories, and it’s a book well worth reading. If you want to get a better idea of the enormity of the Holocaust (a topic sadly resonant in a modern world where racism and fascism are reemerging from the shadows), Friedlander’s exhaustive book offers insight into exactly how a modern, educated society somehow allowed genocide to take place. Along the way, you’ll gain an even better appreciation for the heroic actions of people like Antonina Żabińska as the scale of the horror is made clear—alongside the scale of the inhumanity that infected people at all walks of life.

    If You Loved American Sniper, by Chris Kyle, then check out Navy Seals: A Complete History, by Kevin Dockery
    The Navy Seals are an organization only superficially understood by most Americans. If you were moved and inspired by Kyle’s incredible story of service to his country and the emotional toll it took on him and his family, you can dig a little deeper by understanding the organization that trained him—how they were formed and what their training is like. These are details few know, this is both by design, and simply because their service is outside most people’s experience. Dockery’s book was published more than a decade ago, but remains a compelling rundown of the organization from its earliest origins to the modern-day.

    If You Loved The Lost City of Z, by David Grann, then check out Exploration Fawcett: Journey to the Lost City of Z, by Percy Fawcett
    With the recent film adaptation of The Lost City of Z, the best-selling book by David Grann received a well-deserved second act. Although Grann is quite detailed in laying out the history of explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared in 1925 while searching for the lost city he had dubbed “Z,” much of the book is taken up with Grann’s own story as he retraces Fawcett’s steps. First published in 1953, Exploration Fawcett was compiled by Fawcett’s son using original sources that belonged to his father, such as log books and diaries left behind. It’s as close to a firsthand account as we’re going to get of Fawcett’s adventures and experiences, many of which would make perfectly exciting books in their own right. If you’re inspired to learn more about the man who continues to capture the public imagination years after his disappearance, this is the deepest dive you’re going to find.

    If You Loved Killing the Rising Sun, by Bill O’Reilly, then check out American Prometheus, by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin
    Bill O’Reilly’s Killing books are bestsellers that offer a unique perspective on history. In Killing the Rising Sun he tackles the end of World War II and the first use of the atomic bomb. If you want to learn more about the people and the program that ushered us—for good or ill—into the age of mutually assured destruction, you can’t go wrong with Bird and Sherwin’s classic American Prometheus, a detailed biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the brilliant physicist often described as the father of the atomic bomb. While learning about one of the most important people of the modern age, you’ll also get a detailed look at the program that produced the bomb and the science that made it possible.

    The post Take a Deeper Dive into 5 Historical Stories appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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