New Nonfiction Books – March 2017

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Nonfiction



Casey Stengel by Martin Appel.jpgCasey Stengel by Martin Appel

There was nobody like Casey before him, and no one like him since. For more than fifty years, Casey Stengel lived baseball, first as a player (he was the only person in history to play for all the New York teams–the Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, and Mets), and then as a manager (for the Yankees and Mets, among others). He made his biggest mark on the game, revolutionizing the role of manager while winning an astounding ten pennants and seven World Series Championships (including FIVE STRAIGHT!) with the Yankees. Playing with and against a Who’s Who of Cooperstown–Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb–and forming indelible, and sometimes complicated, relationships with Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Billy Martin, Casey Stengel was, for an astonishing five decades, the undisputed, hilarious, and beloved face of baseball.
For a man who spent so much of his life in the limelight, he still remains an enigma. New York Times bestselling author Marty Appel paints an intimate portrait of a private man who was larger than life and remains the embodiment of the national pastime.

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Change of Seasons by John Oates.jpgChange of Seasons by John Oates

John Oates was born at the perfect time, paralleling the birth of rock ‘n roll. Raised in a small Pennsylvania town, he was exposed to folk, blues, soul, and R&B. Meeting and teaming up with Daryl Hall in the late 1960s, they developed a style of music that was uniquely their own but never abandoned their roots. John uncovers the grit and struggle it took to secure a recording contract with the legendary Atlantic Records and chronicles the artistic twists and turns that resulted in a DJ discovering an obscure album track that would become their first hit record. This is not your typical rock and roll story. John was focused creating great music. Along the way he achieved incredible success, battling the ever-changing pop music landscape and coming to terms with complex managerial, business, and personal challenges.

Daryl Hall and John Oates have over 20 albums together, more than 60 million records sold, and 29 Top 40 hits. They are the most successful pop duo in the world and members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And yet John’s story has never been told. Relying on his many hand-written journals, he brings to light many fascinating stories spanning his entire life with a journalist’s eye and a poet’s heart.

In Change of Seasons, John shares his highs, lows, triumphs, and failures. He takes the reader on a wild ride through all the eras, personalities and music that has shaped him into what he is.

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Cheech Is Not My Real name by Cheech Marin.jpgCheech Is Not My Real name by Cheech Marin

Cheech Marin came of age at an interesting time in America and became a self-made counterculture legend with his other half, Tommy Chong. This insightful memoir delves into how Cheech dodged the draft, formed one of the most successful comedy duos of all time, became the face of the recreational drug movement with the film Up in Smoke, forged a successful solo career with roles in The Lion King and, more recently, Jane the Virgin, and became the owner of the most renowned collection of Chicano art in the world.
Written in Cheech’s uniquely hilarious voice, this memoir will take you to new highs.

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A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes.jpgA Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes

America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a post-racial world, but nearly every empirical measure—wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation—reveals that racial inequality hasn’t improved since 1968. With the clarity and originality that distinguished his prescient bestseller Twilight of the Elites (“a stunning polemic,” said Ta-Nehisi Coates), award-winning journalist Chris Hayes offers a powerful new framework in which to understand our current crisis.

Hayes contends our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, we venerate the law. In the Colony, we obsess over order; fear trumps civil rights; and aggressive policing resembles occupation. How and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution?

Blending wide-ranging historical research with political, social, and economic analysis, A Colony in a Nation explains how a Nation founded on justice constructed the Colony—and how it threatens our democracy.

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The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan.jpgThe Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan

The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world’s freshwater, and they provide food, work, and weekend fun for tens of millions of Americans. Yet they are under threat as never before.

In a work of narrative reporting in the vein of Rachel Carson and Elizabeth Kolbert, prize-winning reporter Dan Egan delivers an eye-opening portrait of our nation’s greatest natural resource as it faces ecological calamity. He tells the story of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Chicago ship canal—good ideas in their time that have had horrendous consequences. He explains how invasive species such as Asian carp, sea lamprey, and zebra mussels have decimated native species and endanger the entire United States. And he examines new risks, such as unsafe drinking water, the threat of water diversions, and “dead zones” that cover hundreds of square miles of water—while showing how the Great Lakes can be restored and preserved for generations to come.

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The First Love Story by Bruce S. Feiler.jpgThe First Love Story by Bruce S. Feiler

Since antiquity, one story has stood at the center of every conversation about men and women. One couple has been the battleground for human relationships and sexual identity. That couple is Adam and Eve. Yet instead of celebrating them, history has blamed them for bringing sin, deceit, and death into the world.

In this fresh retelling of their story, New York Times columnist and PBS host Bruce Feiler travels from the Garden of Eden in Iraq to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, from John Milton’s London to Mae West’s Hollywood, discovering how Adam and Eve should be hailed as exemplars of a long-term, healthy, resilient relationship. At a time of discord and fear over the strength of our social fabric, Feiler shows how history’s first couple can again be role models for unity, forgiveness, and love.

Containing all the humor, insight, and wisdom that have endeared Bruce Feiler to readers around the world, The First Love Story is an unforgettable journey that restores Adam and Eve to their rightful place as central figures in our culture’s imagination and reminds us that even our most familiar stories still have the ability to surprise, inspire, and guide us today.

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Girl Code by Andrea Gonzales.jpgGirl Code by Andrea Gonzales

Perfect for aspiring coders everywhere, Girl Code is the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, teamed up to create a viral video game, and ended up becoming world famous. The book also includes bonus content to help you get started coding!

Fans of funny and inspiring books like Maya Van Wagenen’s Popular and Caroline Paul’s Gutsy Girl will love hearing about Andrea “Andy” Gonzales and Sophie Houser’s journey from average teens to powerhouses. Through the success of their video game, Andy and Sophie got unprecedented access to some of the biggest start-ups and tech companies, and now they’re sharing what they’ve seen. Their video game and their commitment to inspiring young women have been covered by the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, CNN, Teen Vogue, Jezebel, the Today show, and many more.

Get ready for an inside look at the tech industry, the true power of coding, and some of the amazing women who are shaping the world. Andy and Sophie reveal not only what they’ve learned about opportunities in science and technology but also the true value of discovering your own voice and creativity.

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Gizelles's Bucket List by Lauren Fern Watt.jpgGizelles’s Bucket List by Lauren Fern Watt

The playful, epic adventure of a 160-pound English Mastiff and the twentysomething girl who grew up alongside her—Marley & Me for a whole new generation.

Lauren Watt took her 160-pound English Mastiff to college—so of course after graduation, Gizelle followed Lauren to her first, tiny apartment in New York. Because Gizelle wasn’t just a dog; she was a roommate, sister, confidante, dining companion, and everything in between.

Together, Gizelle and Lauren went through boyfriends, first jobs, a mother’s struggle with addiction, and the ups and downs of becoming an adult in the big city. But when Gizelle got sick and Lauren realized her best friend might not be such a constant after all, she designed an epic bucket list to make the absolute most of the time they had left.

Bursting with charm, this unique, coming-of-age story of a girl making her way through life is a testament to the special way pets inspire us to live better, love better, and appreciate the simple pleasures. Gizelle’s Bucket List is the humorous, poignant lesson our pets teach us: to embrace adventure, love unconditionally, and grow into the people we want to be.

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Grace Notes by Katey Sagal.jpgGrace Notes by Katey Sagal

Gripping, singular, and gorgeously reflective, Grace Notes is a memoir told in essays by beloved actress, Hollywood veteran, and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal—perfect for fans of Mary Louise Parker’s Dear Mr. You and Patti Smith’s M Train.

Popular and award-winning star Katey Sagal chronicles the rollercoaster ride of her life in this series of evocative and beautifully written vignettes, resulting in a life story recounted unlike any other Hollywood memoir you’ve read before.

Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children.

Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age fifty-two with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. Intimate, candid, and offering an inside look at a remarkable life forged within the entertainment industry, Grace Notes offers unprecedented access to the previously unknown life of a woman whom audiences have loved for over thirty years.

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The Greatest Story Ever Told -- So Far by Lawrence Maxwell Krauss.jpgThe Greatest Story Ever Told — So Far by Lawrence Maxwell Krauss

New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Rich examines the trail of fictions manufactured by the Bush administration from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina, exposing the most brilliant spin campaign ever waged

When America was attacked on 9/11, its citizens almost unanimously rallied behind its new, untested president as he went to war. What they didn’t know at the time was that the Bush administration’s highest priority was not to vanquish Al Qaeda but to consolidate its own power at any cost. It was a mission that could be accomplished only by a propaganda presidency in which reality was steadily replaced by a scenario of the White House’s own invention—and such was that scenario’s devious brilliance that it fashioned a second war against an enemy that did not attack America on 9/11, intimidated the Democrats into incoherence and impotence, and turned a presidential election into an irrelevant referendum on macho imagery and same-sex marriage.

As only he can, acclaimed New York Times columnist Frank Rich delivers a step-by-step chronicle of how skillfully the White House built its house of cards and how the institutions that should have exposed these fictions, the mainstream news media, were too often left powerless by the administration’s relentless attack machine, their own post-9/11 timidity, and an unending parade of self-inflicted scandals (typified by those at The New York Times). Demonstrating the candor and conviction that have made him one of our most trusted and incisive public voices, Rich brilliantly and meticulously illuminates the White House’s disturbing love affair with “truthiness,” and the ways in which a bungled war, a seemingly obscure Washington leak, and a devastating hurricane at long last revealed the man-behind-the-curtain and the story that had so effectively been sold to the nation, as god-given patriotic fact.

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Havana by Mark Kurlansky.jpgHavana by Mark Kurlansky

Award-winning author Mark Kurlansky presents an insider’s view of Havana: the elegant, tattered city he has come to know over more than thirty years. Part cultural history, part travelogue, with recipes, historic engravings, photographs, and Kurlansky’s own pen-and-ink drawings throughout, Havana celebrates the city’s singular music, literature, baseball, and food; its five centuries of outstanding, neglected architecture; and its extraordinary blend of cultures.

Like all great cities, Havana has a rich history that informs the vibrant place it is today–from the native Taino to Columbus’s landing, from Cuba’s status as a U.S. protectorate to Batista’s dictatorship and Castro’s revolution, from Soviet presence to the welcoming of capitalist tourism. Havana is a place of extremes: a beautifully restored colonial city whose cobblestone streets pass through areas that have not been painted or repaired since the revolution.

Kurlansky shows Havana through the eyes of Cuban writers, such as Alejo Carpentier and José Martí, and foreigners, including Graham Greene and Hemingway. He introduces us to Cuban baseball and its highly opinionated fans; the city’s music scene, alive with the rhythm of Son; its culinary legacy. Once the only country Americans couldn’t visit, Cuba is now opening to us, as is Havana, not only by plane or boat but also through Mark Kurlansky’s multilayered and electrifying portrait of the long-elusive city.

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Ice Ghosts by Paul Watson.jpgIce Ghosts by Paul Watson

The spellbinding true story of the greatest mystery of Arctic exploration—and the rare mix of marine science and Inuit knowledge that led to the shipwrecks’ recent discovery.

Ice Ghosts weaves together the epic story of the Lost Franklin Expedition of 1845—whose two ships and crew of 129 were lost to the Arctic ice—with the modern tale of the scientists, divers, and local Inuit behind the incredible discovery of the flagship’s wreck in 2014. Paul Watson, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was on the icebreaker that led the discovery expedition, tells a fast-paced historical adventure story: Sir John Franklin and the crew of the HMS Erebus and Terror setting off in search of the fabled Northwest Passage, the hazards they encountered and the reasons they were forced to abandon ship hundreds of miles from the nearest outpost of Western civilization, and the decades of searching that turned up only rumors of cannibalism and a few scattered papers and bones—until a combination of faith in Inuit lore and the latest science yielded a discovery for the ages.

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Learn Better by Ulrich Boser.jpgLearn Better by Ulrich Boser

For centuries, experts have argued that learning was about memorizing information: You’re supposed to study facts, dates, and details, burn them into your memory, and then apply that knowledge at opportune times. But this approach to learning isn’t nearly enough for the world that we live in today, and in Learn Better journalist and education researcher Ulrich Boser demonstrates that how we learn can matter just as much as what we learn.

In this brilliantly researched book, Boser maps out the new science of learning, showing how simple techniques like comprehension check-ins and making material personally relatable can help people gain expertise in dramatically better ways. He covers six key steps to help readers “learn how to learn,” all illuminated with fascinating stories like how Jackson Pollock developed his unique painting style and why an ancient Japanese counting device allows kids to do math at superhuman speeds. Boser’s witty, engaging writing makes this book feel like a guilty pleasure, not homework.

Learn Better will revolutionize the way students and society alike approach learning and makes the case that being smart is not an innate ability ― learning is a skill everyone can master. With Boser as their guide, readers will be able to fully capitalize on their brain’s remarkable ability to gain new skills and open up a whole new world of possibilities.

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March 1917 by Will Englund.jpgMarch 1917 by Will Englund

“We are provincials no longer,” declared Woodrow Wilson on March 5, 1917, at his second inauguration. He spoke on the eve of America’s entrance into World War I, just as Russia teetered between autocracy and democracy. In the face of chaos and turmoil in Europe, Wilson was determined to move America away from the isolationism that had defined the nation’s foreign policy since its inception and to embrace an active role in shaping world affairs.

Just ten days later, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the Russian throne, ending a three-centuries-long dynasty and plunging his country into a new era of uncertainty, ultimately paving the way for the creation of a Soviet empire.

Within a few short weeks, at Wilson’s urging, Congress voted to declare war on Germany, asserting the United States’ new role as a global power and its commitment to spreading American ideals abroad. Yet at home it remained a Jim Crow nation, and African Americans had their own struggle to pursue. American women were agitating for the vote and a greater role in society, and labor strife was rampant. As a consequence of the war that followed, the United States and Russia were to endure a century of wariness and hostility that flickers and flares to this day.

March 1917 reexamines these tumultuous events and their consequences in a compelling new analysis. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary Russian and American diaries, memoirs, oral histories, and newspaper accounts, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Will Englund creates a highly detailed and textured account of the month that transformed the world’s greatest nations. March 1917 considers the dreams of that year’s warriors, pacifists, activists, revolutionaries, and reactionaries, and demonstrates how their successes and failures constitute the origin story of our complex modern world.

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Mercies in Disguise by Gina Bari Kolata.jpgMercies in Disguise by Gina Bari Kolata

The phone rings. The doctor from California is on the line. “Are you ready Amanda?” The two people Amanda Baxley loves the most had begged her not to be tested—at least, not now. But she had to find out.

If your family carried a mutated gene that foretold a brutal illness and you were offered the chance to find out if you’d inherited it, would you do it? Would you walk toward the problem, bravely accepting whatever answer came your way? Or would you avoid the potential bad news as long as possible?

In Mercies in Disguise, acclaimed New York Times science reporter and bestselling author Gina Kolata tells the story of the Baxleys, an almost archetypal family in a small town in South Carolina. A proud and determined clan, many of them doctors, they are struck one by one with an inscrutable illness. They finally discover the cause of the disease after a remarkable sequence of events that many saw as providential. Meanwhile, science, progressing for a half a century along a parallel track, had handed the Baxleys a resolution—not a cure, but a blood test that would reveal who had the gene for the disease and who did not. And science would offer another dilemma—fertility specialists had created a way to spare the children through an expensive process.

A work of narrative nonfiction in the tradition of the The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Mercies in Disguise is the story of a family that took matters into its own hands when the medical world abandoned them. It’s a story of a family that had to deal with unspeakable tragedy and yet did not allow it to tear them apart. And it is the story of a young woman—Amanda Baxley—who faced the future head on, determined to find a way to disrupt her family’s destiny.

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Old School by Bill O'Reilly.jpgOld School by Bill O’Reilly

You have probably heard the term Old School, but what you might not know is that there is a concentrated effort to tear that school down.

It’s a values thing. The anti–Old School forces believe the traditional way of looking at life is oppressive. Not inclusive. The Old School way may harbor microaggressions. Therefore, Old School philosophy must be diminished.

Those crusading against Old School now have a name: Snowflakes. You may have seen them on cable TV whining about social injustice and income inequality. You may have heard them cheering Bernie Sanders as he suggested the government pay for almost everything. The Snowflake movement is proud and loud, and they don’t like Old School grads.

So where are you in all this?

Did you get up this morning knowing there are mountains to climb—and deciding how you are going to climb them? Do you show up on time? Do you still bend over to pick up a penny? If so, you’re Old School.

Or did you wake up whining about safe spaces and trigger warnings? Do you feel marginalized by your college’s mascot? Do you look for something to get outraged about, every single day, so you can fire off a tweet defending your exquisitely precious sensibilities? Then you’re a Snowflake.

So again, are you drifting frozen precipitation? Or do you matriculate at the Old School fountain of wisdom?

This book will explain the looming confrontation so even the ladies on The View can understand it.

Time to take a stand. Old School or Snowflake. Which will it be?

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Preventing Credit Card Fraud by Jen Grondahl Lee.jpgPreventing Credit Card Fraud by Jen Grondahl Lee

Everyone is affected by credit card fraud, if they are aware of it or not. Every day there are a variety of ways that scams and fraudsters can get your card and personal information. Today so much business occurs over the Internet or via the phone where no card is present. What can start as a seemingly legitimate purchase can easily turn into fraudulent charges or worse, sometimes a physical confrontation, when a criminal steals a credit card from a consumer who meets to pick up a product or receive a service.

In Preventing Credit Card Fraud, Jen Grondahl Lee and Gini Graham Scott provide a helpful guide to protecting yourself against the threat of credit card fraud. While it may not be possible to protect yourself against all fraudsters, who have turned scamming Internet businesses into an art, these tips and techniques will help you avoid many frauds.

As a growing concern in today s world, there is a need to be better informed of what you can do to keep your personal information secure and avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud. Preventing Credit Card Fraud is an important resource for both merchants and consumers engaged in online purchases and sales to defend themselves against fraud.”

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The Queen of the North Disaster by Colin Henthorne.jpgThe Queen of the North Disaster by Colin Henthorne

Few recent events in British Columbia have seized the public mind like the 2006 sinking of the BC Ferries passenger vessel Queen of the North. Across Canada, it was one of the top news stories of the year. In BC it has attained the status of nautical legend. Ten years later, questions are still being asked. How did a ship that sailed the same course thousands of times fall victim to such an inexplicable error? Was the bridge crew fooling around? Why doesn’t anybody in the know come forward and tell the truth?

Nobody knew the ship, the crew and the circumstances that fateful March night better than the Queen of the North‘s long-serving captain, Colin Henthorne, and in this book he finally tells his story.

The basic facts are beyond dispute. Just after midnight on March 22, 2006, the Queen of the North–carrying 101 passengers–struck an underwater ledge off Gil Island, 135 kilometres south of Prince Rupert. The impact tore open the ship’s bottom and ripped out the propellers. In less than an hour, it sank to the bottom of Wright Sound, 427 metres below the surface. Despite the crew’s skilled evacuation, two passengers went missing and have never been found.

Helmswoman Karen Briker was fired. Fourth Mate Karl Lilgert was charged with criminal negligence causing death and sentenced to four years in prison. Captain Henthorne, who was not on watch at the time of the grounding, fought to keep his job and lost. It took him over six years to recover his career.

On the tenth anniversary of the tragedy, Captain Henthorne recalls with accuracy and detail that ill-fated voyage and all its terrible repercussions. The Queen of the North Disaster: The Captain’s Story dispels rumours about what really happened that night, revealing a fascinating inside look at a modern marine disaster.

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Richard Nixon by John A. Farrell.jpgRichard Nixon by John A. Farrell

Richard Nixon opens with young Navy lieutenant “Nick” Nixon returning from the Pacific and setting his cap at Congress, an idealistic dreamer seeking to build a better world. Yet amid the turns of that now legendary 1946 campaign, Nixon’s finer attributes quickly gave way to unapologetic ruthlessness. It is a stunning overture to John A. Farrell’s magisterial portrait of a man who embodied postwar American cynicism.

Within four years of that first win, Nixon would be a U.S. senator; in six the vice president of the United States of America. “Few came so far, so fast, and so alone,” Farrell writes. Finally president, Nixon’s staff was full of bright young men who devised forward-thinking reforms addressing health care, poverty, civil rights, and protection of the environment. It was a fine legacy, but Nixon cared little for it. He aspired to make his mark on the world stage instead, and his 1972 opening to China was the first great crack in the Cold War.

Nixon had another legacy, too: an America divided and polarized. It was Nixon who launched the McCarthy era, who set South against North, and who spurred the Silent Majority to despise and distrust the country’s elites. He persuaded Americans to gnaw, as he did, on grievances—and to look at one another as enemies. Finally, in August 1974, after two years of the mesmerizing intrigue and scandal known as Watergate, Nixon became the only president to resign in disgrace.

Richard Nixon is an enthralling tour de force biography of our darkest president, one that reviewers will hail as a defining portrait, and the full life of Nixon readers have awaited

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The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy.jpgThe Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

A gorgeous, darkly humorous memoir about a woman overcoming dramatic loss and finding reinvention–for readers of Cheryl Strayed and Joan Didion

When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.

Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules–about work, about love, and about womanhood.

“I wanted what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can’t have it all.”

In this profound and beautiful memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed–and of what is eternal.

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Shoot Like a Girl by Mary Jennings Hegar.jpgShoot Like a Girl by Mary Jennings Hegar

After being commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, MJ Hegar was selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard, finished at the top of her class, then served three tours in Afghanistan flying combat search and rescue missions, culminating in a harrowing rescue attempt that would earn MJ the Purple Heart as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device.

But it was on American soil that Hegar would embark on her greatest challenge—to eliminate the military’s Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, which kept female armed service members from officially serving in combat roles despite their long-standing record of doing so with honor.

In Shoot like A Girl, MJ takes the reader on a dramatic journey through her military career: an inspiring, humorous, and thrilling true story of a brave, high-spirited, and unforgettable woman who has spent much of her life ready to sacrifice everything for her country, her fellow man, and her sense of justice.

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South and West by Joan Didion.jpgSouth and West by Joan Didion

From the best-selling author of the National Book Award-winning The Year of Magical Thinking two extended excerpts from her never-before-seen notebooks–writings that offer an illuminating glimpse into the mind and process of a legendary writer.

Joan Didion has always kept notebooks: of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles–and here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She interviews prominent local figures, describes motels, diners, a deserted reptile farm, a visit with Walker Percy, a ladies’ brunch at the Mississippi Broadcasters’ Convention. She writes about the stifling heat, the almost viscous pace of life, the sulfurous light, and the preoccupation with race, class, and heritage she finds in the small towns they pass through.

And from a different notebook: the “California Notes” that began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Here, too, is the beginning of her thinking about the West, its landscape, the western women who were heroic for her, and her own lineage, all of which would appear later in her acclaimed 2003 book, Where I Was From.

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We by Gillian Anderson.jpgWe by Gillian Anderson

Imagine a sisterhood—across all creeds and cultures. An unspoken agreement that we, as women, will support and encourage one another. That we will remember we don’t know what struggles each of us may be facing elsewhere in our lives and so we will assume that each of us is doing our best…

So begins WE: A Manifesto for Women—an inspiring, empowering, and provocative manifesto for change. Change that we can all effect, one woman at a time. Change that provides a crucial and timely antidote to the “have-it-all” superwoman culture and instead focuses on what will make each and every one of us happier and more free. Change that provides an answer to the nagging sense of “is that it?” that almost all of us can succumb to when we wake in the dead of night.

Written by actress Gillian Anderson and journalist Jennifer Nadel—two friends who for the last decade have stumbled along together, learning, failing, crying, laughing, and trying again—WE: A Manifesto for Women is not a theoretical treatise but instead a rallying cry to create a life that has greater meaning and purpose. Combining tools that are practical, psychological, and spiritual, WE: A Manifesto for Women is both a process and a vision for a more fulfilling way of living. And a truly inspiring vision of a happier, more emotionally rewarding future we can all create together.

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Word by Word by Kory Stamper.jpgWord by Word by Kory Stamper

Do you have strong feelings about the word “irregardless”? Have you ever tried to define the word “is”? Brimming with intelligence and personality, this vastly entertaining account of how dictionaries are made is a must-read for word mavens.
Many of us take dictionaries for granted, and few may realize that the process of writing dictionaries is, in fact, as lively and dynamic as language itself. With sharp wit and irreverence, Kory Stamper cracks open the complex, obsessive world of lexicography, from the agonizing decisions about what to define and how to do it, to the knotty questions of usage in an ever-changing language. She explains why small words are the most difficult to define, how it can take nine months to define a single word, and how our biases about language and pronunciation can have tremendous social influence. And along the way, she reveals little-known surprises–for example, the fact that “OMG” was first used in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917.
Word by Word brings to life the hallowed halls (and highly idiosyncratic cubicles) of Merriam-Webster, a startlingly rich world inhabited by quirky and erudite individuals who quietly shape the way we communicate. Certain to be a delight for all lovers of words, Stamper’s debut will make you laugh as much as it makes you appreciate the wonderful complexities and eccentricities of the English language.

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The World Remade by G.J. Meyer.jpgThe World Remade by G.J. Meyer

After years of bitter debate, the United States declared war on Imperial Germany on April 6, 1917, plunging the country into the savage European conflict that would redraw the map of the continent—and the globe. The World Remade is an engrossing chronicle of America’s pivotal, still controversial intervention into World War I, encompassing the tumultuous politics and towering historical figures that defined the era and forged the future. When it declared war, the United States was the youngest of the major powers and militarily the weakest by far. On November 11, 1918, when the fighting stopped, it was not only the richest country on earth but the mightiest.

With the mercurial, autocratic President Woodrow Wilson as a primary focus, G. J. Meyer takes readers from the heated deliberations over U.S. involvement, through the provocations and manipulations that drew us into the fight, to the battlefield itself and the shattering aftermath of the struggle. America’s entry into the Great War helped make possible the defeat of Germany that had eluded Britain, France, Russia, and Italy in three and a half years of horrendous carnage. Victory, in turn, led to a peace treaty so ill-conceived, so vindictive, that the world was put on the road to an even bloodier confrontation a mere twenty years later.

On the home front, Meyer recounts the break-up of traditional class structures, the rise of the progressive and labor movements, the wave of anti-German hysteria, and the explosive expansion of both the economy and federal power, including shocking suspensions of constitutional protections that planted the seeds of today’s national security state. Here also are revealing portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, Robert La Follette, Eugene Debs, and John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, among others, as well as European leaders such as “Welsh Wizard” David Lloyd George of Britain, “Tiger” Georges Clemenceau of France, and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

Meyer interweaves the many strands of his story into a gripping narrative that casts new light on one of the darkest, most forgotten corners of U.S. history. In the grand tradition of his earlier work A World Undone—which centered on the European perspective—The World Remade adds a new, uniquely American dimension to our understanding of the seminal conflict of the twentieth century.

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Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy by Nicholas E. Reynolds.jpgWriter, Sailor, Soldier, Spy by Nicholas E. Reynolds

An international cloak-and-dagger epic ranging from the Spanish Civil War to the liberation of Western Europe, wartime China, the Red Scare of Cold War America, and the Cuban Revolution, here is the stunning untold story of a literary icon’s dangerous secret life — including his role as a Soviet agent code-named “Argo” — that fueled his art and his undoing.

In 2010, while he was the historian at the esteemed CIA Museum, Nicholas Reynolds, a longtime American intelligence officer, former U.S. Marine colonel, and Oxford-trained historian, began to uncover clues suggesting Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway’s involvement in mid-twentieth-century spycraft was far more complex, sustained, and fraught with risks than has been previously understood. Now Reynolds’s deeply researched and captivating narrative, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy, reveals his discoveries for the first time, bringing to light the whole story of this hidden side of Hemingway’s life: his troubling recruitment by Soviet spies to work with the NKVD, the forerunner to the KGB, followed in short order by a complex set of secret relationships with American agencies, including the FBI, the Department of State, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor to the CIA.

Starting with Hemingway’s sympathy to antifascist forces during the 1930s, Reynolds illuminates Hemingway’s immersion in the life-and-death world of the revolutionary left, from his passionate commitment to the Spanish Republic; his successful pursuit by Soviet NKVD agents, who valued Hemingway’s influence, access, and mobility; his wartime meeting in East Asia with communist leader Chou En-Lai, the future premier of the People’s Republic of China; and finally to his undercover involvement with Cuban rebels in the late 1950s and his sympathy for Fidel Castro. Reynolds equally explores Hemingway’s participation in various roles as an agent for the United States government, including hunting Nazi submarines with ONI-supplied munitions in the Caribbean on his boat, Pilar; his command of an informant ring in Cuba called the “Crook Factory” that reported to the American embassy in Havana; and his on-the-ground role in Europe, where he helped OSS gain key tactical intelligence for the liberation of Paris and fought alongside the U.S. infantry in the bloody endgame of World War II.

As he examines the links between Hemingway’s work as an operative and as an author, Reynolds reveals how Hemingway’s secret adventures influenced his literary output and contributed to the writer’s block and mental decline (including paranoia) that plagued him during the postwar years — a period marked by the Red Scare and McCarthy hearings, which destroyed the life of anyone with Soviet connections. Reynolds also illuminates how those same experiences played a role in some of Hemingway’s greatest works, including For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, while also adding to the burden that he carried at the end of his life and perhaps contributing to his suicide.

A literary biography with the soul of an espionage thriller, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy is an essential contribution to our understanding of the life, work, and fate of one of America’s most legendary authors.

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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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