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  • 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, , , 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, spark joy, 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.

  • Ross Johnson 8:38 pm on 2016/04/04 Permalink
    Tags: celebrate her, , , my name is lucy barton, spark joy, , the nightengale   

    Mother’s Day: Books Your Mom Will Love 

    My mom is nothing like your mom. How could she be? There are as many different kinds of moms as there are moms, each with her own unique style and tastes. But, fortunately for Mother’s Day gift givers, some books are so good they’ll appeal to just about any reader. Whoever the person is who has inspired you with her motherly ways, the time to start looking for the perfect gift is right about now. She’s worth it.

    The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
    Paula Hawkins bestselling, critically acclaimed psychological thriller was one of the most talked about books of lastyear, and there’s every indication that it’ll be one of 2016’s biggest movies when the adaptation is released in October. The book begins with the story of Rachel Watson, a young woman recovering from alcoholism and a messy divorce. Each day on the train, she passes her old house, where her husband lives with his new family. She also finds herself intrigued by the appealing couple that lives a few doors down. Then, in Hitchcock fashion, she by chance witnesses something shocking, and quickly finds herself caught up in events well beyond her control. If mom likes tense thrillers, she’ll go for this one.

    The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
    A perfect historical drama for Mother’s Day, Hannah’s The Nightingale takes us to the darkest days of France during World War II, and tells the story of life during occupation from the often ignored perspective of women in wartime. When a German officer requisitions her home, Vianne is forced into a series of difficult choices in order to preserve her family. At the same time, her rebellious younger sister Isabelle channels a betrayal by a lover into a new sense of purpose, joining the French Resistance and fighting with reckless abandon. It’s a sweeping historical epic executed with classic style.

    Property of a Noblewoman, by Danielle Steel
    Danielle Steel is an American institution, and it isn’t hard to see why. The bestselling author living, her novels of romance are full of glamour, tragedy, and and all of the other stuff that makes up delicious drama. Her latest blends history with globetrotting adventure as Jane Willoughby and Phillip Lawton investigate a mysterious safe-deposit box full of fabulous jewels, as well as faded photos and old letters. Who left behind these treasures? And who stands to inherit them? Your mom will be dying to know.

    Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
    Maybe mom’s a master of organization and needs no help whatsoever. Mine’s not quite there yet (sorry, mom!), and I’m not doing any better, so the latest decluttering guide from master neatsmith Marie Kondo will probably serve both of us. This one is illustrated with step-by-step instructions for folding and organizing using the KonMari method, as well as further inspiring tips for getting rid of all of that stuff that isn’t doing you any good.

    Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body, by Kate Hudson
    Actress Kate Hudson offers simple, easy-to-follow advice for women looking to maintain a healthy mind and body at any age. Eschewing notions of perfect fitness, Hudson emphasizes acceptance and appreciation for all body types. Instead, the focus is on achieving a balance of health and happiness, and on feeling good about what’s on the inside and outside.

    A Girl’s Guide to Moving On, by Debbie Macomber
    A mother and daughter-in-law face parallel struggles at very different times of life in the latest from bestselling author Debbie Macomber. Nichole finds a new romance in the wake of the revelation of her perfect husband’s infidelity, even as the past won’t let go. Nicole’s strength inspires Leanne to confront her husband about his own decades of cheating. The two women bond over love and tragedy as each tries to make a new way forward.

    My Name Is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout
    Elizabeth Strout’s spare prose won her the Pulitzer Prize for her 2008 story collection Olive Kitteridge, and her new novel is very much welcome. Lucy Barton receives a visit from her estranged mother as she recovers in the hospital from a difficult operation. Small talk and gossip bring the two women together, while the challenges of their past relationship and present lives simmer close to the surface. Strout’s understated style always manages to illuminate the stories of her female characters, and this one is no different.

    Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, by Ina Garten
    Mom might be a fabulous cook…or her virtues may lie elsewhere. Either way, there are tricks, tips, and recipes for every chef in the Barefoot Contessa’s latest manual for cooking magic. The focus is on using time wisely, rather than scrambling at the last minute to prepare elaborate meals. Garten’s recipes describe exactly what can be made ahead of time (and when) so mom can make impressive meals without having to do everything just before the guests arrive. This will also come in handy if you’re throwing mom a party and you want to get the food prepped so you can focus on the important bit: blowing up balloons.

    The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss, by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt
    Your mom might not be Gloria Vanderbilt (unless you happen to be reading this, Anderson Cooper) but there are universal truths about all relationships between parents and children. And some things that are less universal: particularly if you’re a celebrity television journalist and you’re mother is an unconventional style icon. This book is the correspondence between two close, but very different, people who have both lead extraordinary lives.

    Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting, by Lesley Stahl
    Turning her journalistic skills to the topic of her own grandmotherhood, 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl discusses the topic with doctors, scientists, and celebrity friends. She digs into the emotional and physical effects of entering this new stage of life, as well as the scientific and anthropological story of grandparents. It’s a highly personal book that the grandma or grandma-to-be in your life will appreciate.

    At the Edge of the Orchard, by Tracy Chevalier
    Girl with a Pearl Earring author Chevalier is back with a new work of historical fiction set on the American frontier, following the Goodenough family as they work to tame the patch of Ohio swamplands and establish an apple orchard. The novel follows tough and hard-drinking Sadie and her contentious relationship with her husband, James, as they struggle to build a future for their son, who dreams of making his way to the Gold Rush in California.

    The Swans of Fifth Avenue, by Melanie Benjamin
    A glittering novel of 1950s New York high society, Benjamin’s book tells the story of real-life Vogue-magazine fashion editor Babe Paley, one of the stars of the social scene of the era. Along came her “True Heart,” trusted confidante Truman Capote, whose catty charm and giant personality make him an instant get for any fashionable party. Unfortunately, his storytelling prowess also makes him a dangerous friend, and he winds up leaving a legendary path of destruction in this juicy period insider drama.

    What’s the mom in your life getting for Mother’s Day?

  • Kathryn Williams 7:28 pm on 2015/12/28 Permalink
    Tags: a joyful 2016, , , life-changing magic: a journal: spark joy every day, , , spark joy,   

    Ring in a Tidy New Year with Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy 

    There’s a saying I heard once: “Messy bed, messy head.” I’m not a particularly neat person, but this bit of mother-knows-best wisdom stuck with me. When I make my bed in the morning, I feel that much more equipped to conquer the day. The decks are cleared and possibilities are open. In 2016, I’m thinking of upping the ante. What if I could get that made-bed feeling throughout my whole house, and do it with Marie Kondo?

    In 2014’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo (aka KonMari) introduced readers to the “Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.” But the KonMari Method isn’t just about neatening; it’s about changing your relationship to your world, starting with all the stuff that populates it. Discarding what we don’t need and surrounding ourselves only with those things that bring us joy is transformative, Kondo believes.

    Still, KonMari acolytes clamored for more. “But, KonMari, how do I fold a dolman-sleeved top?” they cried. “And what about that stuffed bear from my ex?” Kondo’s millions of fans will be delighted to hear that the tidying lessons will continue with Spark Joy, the “master class” in the KonMari Method. Here’s how her new book goes even further than her first, bestselling smash:

    • More detailed instruction. Kondo goes through every category of thing you might have in your home, even those that are hard to classify, telling you how to sort it, how to tell whether it truly brings joy (yes, even a screwdriver can make you happy), and how to store it. Cosplay outfits? Check. Greeting cards? Check. Sewing kits and calligraphy pens? She’s got you covered.
    •  Illustrations. Step-by-step drawings show how to fold specific types of clothing. Super helpful when it comes to that puffy, hooded parka.
    • Decorating tips. If you love to decorate, tidying can still work for you! Kondo is not against trinkets and decoration, as long as they bring you joy. Drape keychains, for example, over clothes hangers for a little mood-lifting sparkle in your own private space. Wrap electrical cords in pretty fabric, she also suggests, and use flowers to bring color to a room.
    • How to deal with others’ stuff. Kondo also tackles the all-important question of how to get kids and spouses involved, or how to “be like the sun” and accept them—and their messes—if your motivation is not, in fact, contagious. The process might even better your relationships.
    • A companion journal. In addition to this followup edition, Kondo has also brought us Life-Changing Magic: A Journal: Spark Joy Every Day. a daily journal sprinkled with Kondo quotes and inspiration for those looking to dig deeper into their organizing processes. When you’re seeking out the delight in everyday moments, the question, “does it spark joy?” will start to resonate not only about things and spaces but also about relationships, people, and activities.
    • Reminders of why this process is so important. When the going gets tough, even the tough need pep talks. For those readers losing steam against a mountain of stuff, this little book will be a helpful reminder of the reasons why you want a tidy home. That simple answer is: joy.

    Here’s to good tidyings of comfort and joy in 2016!

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