New Nonfiction Books: July 2016

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Bobby Kennedy by Larry Tye.jpgBobby Kennedy by Larry Tye

New York Times bestselling author of Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend Larry Tye was given unprecedented access by the Kennedy family to write this in-depth, vibrant and editorially independent biography.

History remembers Robert F. Kennedy as a racial healer, a tribune for the poor, and the last progressive knight. But Kennedy—nurtured on the rightist orthodoxies of his dynasty-building father—started his public life as counsel to the left-baiting, table-thumping Senator Joseph McCarthy.

A bare-knuckled political operative who masterminded his brother’s whatever-it-takes bids for senator and president, Kennedy okayed FBI wiretaps of Martin Luther King Jr. and cloak-and-dagger operations against communist Cuba that included blowing up railroad bridges, sabotaging crops, and plotting the elimination of President Fidel Castro.

Remembered now as a rare optimist in an age of political cynicism, RFK’s profoundly moving journey from cold warrior to hot-blooded liberal also offers a lens into two of the most chaotic and confounding decades of twentieth century America.

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A Book About Love by Jonah LehrerA Book About Love by Jonah Lehrer

Science writer Jonah Lehrer explores the mysterious subject of love.

Weaving together scientific studies from clinical psychologists, longitudinal studies of health and happiness, historical accounts and literary depictions, child-rearing manuals, and the language of online dating sites, Jonah Lehrer’s A Book About Love plumbs the most mysterious, most formative, most important impulse governing our lives.

Love confuses and compels us—and it can destroy and define us. It has inspired our greatest poetry, defined our societies and our beliefs, and governs our biology. From the way infants attach to their parents, to the way we fall in love with another person, to the way some find a love for God or their pets, to the way we remember and mourn love after it ends, this book focuses on research that attempts, even in glancing ways, to deal with the long-term and the everyday. The most dangerous myth of love is that it’s easy, that we fall into the feeling and then the feeling takes care of itself. While we can easily measure the dopamine that causes the initial feelings of “falling” in love, the partnerships and devotions that last decades or longer remain a mystery. This book is about that mystery. Love, Lehrer argues, is not built solely on overwhelming passion, but, fascinatingly, on a set of skills to be cultivated over a lifetime.

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Bush by Jean Edward Smith.jpgBush by Jean Edward Smith

Distinguished presidential biographer Jean Edward Smith offers a critical yet fair biography of George W. Bush, showing how he ignored his advisors to make key decisions himself—most disastrously in invading Iraq—and how these decisions were often driven by the President’s deep religious faith.

George W. Bush, the forty-third president of the United States, almost singlehandedly decided to invade Iraq. It was possibly the worst foreign-policy decision ever made by a president. The consequences dominated the Bush Administration and still haunt us today.

In Bush, “America’s greatest living biographer” (George Will), Jean Edward Smith, demonstrates that it was not Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, or Condoleezza Rice, but President Bush himself who took personal control of foreign policy. Bush drew on his deep religious conviction that important foreign-policy decisions were simply a matter of good versus evil. Domestically, he overreacted to 9/11 and endangered Americans’ civil liberties.

Smith explains that it wasn’t until the financial crisis of 2008 that Bush finally accepted expert advice, something that the “Decider,” as Bush called himself, had previously been unwilling to do. As a result, he authorized decisions that saved the economy from possible collapse, even though some of those decisions violated Bush’s own political philosophy.

Bush is a comprehensive evaluation of the Bush presidency—including Guantanamo, Katrina, No Child Left Behind, and other important topics—that will surely surprise many readers. Controversial, incisive, and compelling, it is thoroughly researched and sure to add to the debate over Bush’s presidential legacy.

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Cake Magic by Caroline WrightCake Magic by Caroline Wright.jpgCake Magic by Caroline Wright

Choose a batter, flavor with syrup, add a frosting—it’s magic!

Want something decadent and fudgy? Darkest Chocolate Cake + Caramel Syrup + Malted Milk Chocolate Frosting + crushed candy bars = Candy Bar Cake. Or how about a nutty cake like the Elvis: Peanut Butter Cake + Bacon Syrup + Nutella Frosting, topped with candied bacon. Fit for the king, indeed!

This innovative and remarkably easy way to bake luscious, flavorful cakes is a formula for cake bliss. Cake Magic! is a full-color visual cookbook—photos in the front, recipes in the back—and the first step in every baker’s cake adventure. It includes valuable baking tips, vegan and gluten-free variations, plus how to tweak the recipes to make sheet cakes, Bundt cakes, and cupcakes, too.

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Freedom by Jaycee Lee Dugard.jpgFreedom by Jaycee Lee Dugard

In the follow-up to her #1 bestselling memoir, A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard tells the story of her first experiences after years in captivity: the joys that accompanied her newfound freedom and the challenges of adjusting to life on her own.

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Hillary’s America by Dinesh D’Souza.jpgHillary’s America by Dinesh D’Souza

Dinesh D’Souza, author of the #1 New York Times bestsellerAmerica: Imagine a World Without Her, has a warning: We are on the brink of losing our country forever. After eight years of Obama, four years—or possibly eight years—of Hillary Clinton as president of the United States would so utterly transform America as to make it unrecognizable.

No more will America be a land of opportunity. Instead, it will be a land of rapacious crony capitalism, run solely for the benefit of friends of the Obamas and the Clintons and the Democratic Party. It will, in fact, be the fulfillment of a dream the Democratic Party has had from the beginning…a dream of stealing America for the politically favored few.

In Hillary’s America, D’Souza reveals the sordid truth about Hillary and the secret history of the Democratic Party, including: how Democrats transitioned from pro-slavery to pro-enslavement; the long-standing Democratic political war against women; how Hillary Clinton’s political mentor was, literally, a cold-blooded gangster; how the Clintons and other Democrats see foreign policy not in terms of national interest, but in terms of personal profit; how Democratically controlled cities have turned into hotbeds of crime and corruption; and much, much more.

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I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Place by Lisa Scottoline.jpgI’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Place by Lisa Scottoline

Lisa and Francesca are back with another collection of warm and witty stories that will strike a chord with every woman. This six book series is among the best reviewed humor books published today and has been compared to the late greats, Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron. Delia Ephron said of the fifth book in the series, Have a Nice Guilt Trip, “Lisa and Francesca, mother and daughter, bring you the laughter of their lives once again and better than ever. You will identify with these tales of guilt and fall in love with them and fierce (grand) Mother Mary.” This seventh volume will not disappoint as it hits the humorous and poignant note that fans have come to expect from the beloved mother-daughter duo.

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Kick by Paula Byrne.jpgKick by Paula Byrne

Filled with a wealth of revealing new material and insight, the biography of the vivacious, unconventional—and nearly forgotten—young Kennedy sister who charmed American society and the English aristocracy, and would break with her family for love.

Encouraged to be “winners” from a young age, Rose and Joe Kennedy’s children were the embodiment of ambitious, wholesome Americanism. Yet even within this ebullient group of overachievers, the fourth Kennedy child, the irrepressible Kathleen, stood out. Lively, charismatic, extremely clever, and blessed with graceful athleticism and a sunny disposition, the alluring socialite fondly known as Kick was a firecracker who effortlessly made friends and stole hearts.

Moving across the Atlantic when her father was appointed as the ambassador to Great Britain in 1938, Kick—the “nicest Kennedy”—quickly became the family’s star. Despite making little effort to fit into British high society, she charmed everyone from the beau monde to Fleet Street with her unconventional attitude and easygoing humor. Growing increasingly independent, Kick would also shock and alienate her devout family by falling in love and marrying the scion of a virulently anti-Catholic family— William Cavendish, the heir apparent of the Duke of Devonshire and Chatsworth. But the marriage would last only a few months; Billy was killed in combat in 1944, just four years before Kick’s own unexpected death in an airplane crash at twenty-eight.

Paula Byrne recounts this remarkable young woman’s life in detail as never before, from her work at the Washington Times-Herald and volunteerism for the Red Cross in wartime England; to her love of politics and astute, opinionated observations; to her decision to renounce her faith for the man she loved. Sympathetic and compelling, Kick shines a spotlight on this feisty and unique Kennedy long relegated to the shadows of her legendary family’s history.

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A Killing in Amish Country by Gregg Olsen.jpgA Killing in Amish Country by Gregg Olsen

At just 30 years old, with dark-blonde hair and freckles, Barbara Weaver was as pretty as the women depicted on the covers of her favorite “bonnet” stories – romance novels set in Amish America. Barbara had everything she’d ever wanted: five beautiful children, a home, her faith, and a husband named Eli. But while Barbara was happy to live as the Amish have for centuries – without modern conveniences, Eli was tempted by technology: cell phones, the Internet, and sexting. Online he called himself “Amish Stud” and found no shortage of “English” women looking for love and sex. Twice he left Barbara and their children, was shunned, begged for forgiveness, and had been welcomed back to the church.

Barb Raber was raised Amish, but is now a Conservative Mennonite. She drove Eli to appointments in her car, and she gave him what he wanted when he wanted: a cell phone, a laptop, rides to his favorite fishing and hunting places, and, most importantly, sex. When Eli starts asking people to kill his wife for him, Barb offers to help. One night, just after Eli had hitched a ride with a group of men to go fishing in the hours before dawn, Barb Raber entered the Weaver house and shot Barbara Weaver in the chest at close range.

It was only the third murder in hundreds of years of Amish life in America, and it fell to Edna Boyle, a young assistant prosecutor to seek justice for Barbara Weaver.

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Muhammad Ali by Thomas Hauser.jpgMuhammad Ali by Thomas Hauser

Few global personalities have commanded an all-encompassing sporting and cultural audience like Muhammad Ali. Many have tried to interpret his impact and legacy into words. Now,Muhammad Ali: A Tribute to the Greatest allows us to more fully appreciate the truth—and understand both the man and the ways in which he helped recalibrate how the world perceives its transcendent figures.
In this celebratory volume, New York Times bestselling author Thomas Hauser provides a compelling retrospective of Ali’s life. relying on personal insights, interviews with close associates and other contemporaries, and memories gathered over the course of decades on the cutting edge of boxing journalism, Hauser explores Ali in colorful detail inside and outside the ring.

Muhammad Ali has attained mythical status. But in recent years, he has been subjected to an image makeover by corporate America as it seeks to homogenize the electrifying nature of his persona. Hauser argues that there has been a deliberate distortion of what Ali believed, said, and stood for, and that making Ali more presentable for advertising purposes by sanitizing his legacy is a disservice to history as well as to Ali himself.

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Taste of Home Ultimate Skillet CookbookTaste of Home Ultimate Skillet Cookbook

Cast-iron skillets, frying pans, sauté pans…no matter what you call them, this brand new cookbook offers 325 no-fuss skillet sensations. Whether your whipping up a weeknight dinner or a weekend celebration, let the can-do recipes in Ultimate Skillet Cookbookmake your meal a success!

Cast-iron cooking is all the rage, and Taste of Home is on top of the trend with a fantastic new cookbook—Ultimate Skillet Cookbok!Meals don’t get much simpler than whipping up dish on the stovetop, and this brand new cookbook offers ideal skillet dishes for all occasions any time of year.

Family cooks from coast to coast are sure to turn to this colorful new collection for weeknight dinner solutions as well weekend party favorites—all easily made in on the stovetop. Cast-iron fans will enjoy a bonus chapter of campfire classics perfect for outdoor dining, and busy moms will rely on a special section featuring 30 classic skillet dishes, each table-ready in just half an hour.

In addition, two At-a-Glance Icons make the most of kitchen time and truly capture buyers’ interest, and more than 200 color photos helpUltimate Skillet Cookbook standout on the shelves.

From cast-iron classics to weeknight lifesavers, the 325 recipes inTaste of Home Ultimate Skillet Cookbook promise to make life easier and tastier!

CHAPTERS:  Skillet Basics, Pros and cons of different skillets, Buying and caring for iron skillets, Oven-proof skillets, 30 in 30, Skillet Appetizers and Snacks, Sizzling Side Dishes, Beef and Ground Beef, Chicken and Turkey, Pork, Ham and Sausage, Fish, Seafood and Meatless, Skillet Sweets

BONUS: Campfire Favorites

Recipes Included: Stuffed French Toast,  Spicy Taco Bites, Sweet Potato Pancakes, Bacon-Wrapped Tenderloin, Skillet Lasagna, 10-Minute Stir-Fry, Lamb with Spring Vegetables, Herbed Pork Medallions, Pumpkin Sloppy Joes, Campfire Perch, Blueberry Buckle, Caramel Banana Dessert, and S’mores Cake

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Trying to Float by Nicolaia Rips.jpgTrying to Float by Nicolaia Rips

“Hysterically droll, touching, elegant, and wise—a coming-of-age story from someone who possibly came of age before her parents” (Patricia Marx, New Yorker writer and bestselling author), Trying to Float is a seventeen-year-old’s darkly funny, big-hearted memoir about growing up in New York City’s legendary Chelsea Hotel.

New York’s Chelsea Hotel may no longer be home to its most famous denizens—Andy Warhol, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, to name a few—but the eccentric spirit of the Chelsea is alive and well. Meet the family Rips: father Michael, a lawyer turned writer with a penchant for fine tailoring; mother Sheila, a former model and renowned artist who matches her welding outfits with couture; and daughter Nicolaia, a precocious high school junior at work on a record of her peculiar seventeen years.

Nicolaia is a perpetual outsider who has struggled to find her place in public schools populated by cliquish girls and loudmouthed boys. But at the Chelsea, Nicolaia need not look far to find her tribe. There’s her neighbor Stormé, a tall woman who keeps a pink handgun strapped to her ankle; her babysitter, Paris, who may or may not have a second career as an escort; her friend Artie, former proprietor of New York’s most famous nightclubs. The kids at school might never understand her, but as Nicolaia endeavors to fit in she begins to understand that the Chelsea’s motley crew could hold the key to surviving the perils of a Manhattan childhood.

Not since Holden Caulfield has there been such a fabulously compelling teen guide to New York City: Nicolaia Rips’s debut is a disarming, humble, heartfelt, and wise tale of coming-of-age amid the contradictions, complexities, and shifting identities of life in New York City. A bohemian Eloise for our times, Trying to Float is a triumphant parable for the power of embracing difference in all its forms.

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Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman.jpgWelcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman

Blair Braverman fell in love with the North at an early age: by the time she was 19, she had left her home in California, moved to Norway to learn how to drive sled dogs, and worked as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska. Determined to make a life for herself in the North, she slowly developed the strength and resilience the landscape demanded of her.

By turns funny and sobering, bold and tender, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube charts Blair’s endeavor to become a “tough girl”—someone who courts danger in an attempt to become fearless. As she ventures into a ruthless arctic landscape, Blair faces down physical exhaustion—being buried alive in an ice cave, and driving a dogsled across the tundra through a white-out blizzard in order to avoid corrupt police—and grapples with both love and violence as she negotiates the complex demands of being a young woman in a man’s land.

Brilliantly original and bracingly honest, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube captures the triumphs and the perils of the journey to self-discovery and independence in a landscape that is as beautiful as it is unforgiving.

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The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale.jpgThe Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale

In the summer of 1895, Robert Coombes (age 13) and his brother Nattie (age 12) were seen spending lavishly around the docklands of East London — for ten days in July, they ate out at coffee houses and took trips to the seaside and the theater. The boys told neighbors they had been left home alone while their mother visited family in Liverpool, but their aunt was suspicious. When she eventually she forced the brothers to open the house to her, she found the badly decomposed body of their mother in a bedroom upstairs. Robert and Nattie were arrested for matricide and sent for trial at the Old Bailey.

Robert confessed to having stabbed his mother, but his lawyers argued that he was insane. Nattie struck a plea and gave evidence against his brother. The court heard testimony about Robert’s severe headaches, his fascination with violent criminals and his passion for ‘penny dreadfuls’, the pulp fiction of the day. He seemed to feel no remorse for what he had done, and neither the prosecution nor the defense could find a motive for the murder. The judge sentenced the thirteen-year-old to detention in Broadmoor, the most infamous criminal lunatic asylum in the land. Yet Broadmoor turned out to be the beginning of a new life for Robert–one that would have profoundly shocked anyone who thought they understood the Wicked Boy.

At a time of great tumult and uncertainty, Robert Coombes’s case crystallized contemporary anxieties about the education of the working classes, the dangers of pulp fiction, and evolving theories of criminality, childhood, and insanity. With riveting detail and rich atmosphere, Kate Summerscale recreates this terrible crime and its aftermath, uncovering an extraordinary story of man’s capacity to overcome the past.

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You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein.jpgYou’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein

As both a tomboy and a late bloomer, comedian Jessi Klein grew up feeling more like an outsider than a participant in the rites of modern femininity.
In YOU’LL GROW OUT OF IT, Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. These include her “transformation from Pippi Longstocking-esque tomboy to are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man,” attempting to find watchable porn, and identifying the difference between being called “ma’am” and “miss” (“Miss sounds like you weigh ninety-nine pounds”).
Raw, relatable, and consistently hilarious, YOU’LL GROW OUT OF IT is a one-of-a-kind book by a singular and irresistible comic voice.

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Zika by Donald G McNeil.jpgZika by Donald G McNeil

Until recently, Zika—once considered a mild disease—was hardly a cause for global panic. But as early as August 2015, doctors in northeast Brazil began to notice a trend: many mothers who had recently experienced symptoms of the Zika virus were giving birth to babies with microcephaly, a serious disorder characterized by unusually small heads and brain damage.

By early 2016, Zika was making headlines as evidence mounted—and eventually confirmed—that microcephaly is caused by the virus, which can be contracted through mosquito bites or sexually transmitted.

The first death on American soil, in February 2016, was confirmed in Puerto Rico in April. The first case of microcephaly in Puerto Rico was confirmed on May 13, 2016. The virus has been known to be transmitted by the Aedes aegypti or Yellow Fever mosquito, but now Aedes albopictus, the Asian Tiger mosquito, has been found to carry it as well, which means it might affect regions as far north as New England and the Great Lakes. Right now, at least 298 million people in the Americas live in areas “conducive to Zika transmission,” according to a recent study. Over the next year, more than 5 million babies will be born.

In Zika: The Emerging Epidemic, Donald G. McNeil Jr. sets the facts straight in a fascinating exploration of Zika’s origins, how it’s spreading, the race for a cure, and what we can do to protect ourselves now.

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About Avalon Free Public Library

Avalon is a bustling little shore town in southern NJ. Our small population of 1800 expands to about 30,000 at the height of summer. We like to think that we serve them all and then some! Our goal is to make our library available to our patrons wherever they may roam.

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