New Nonfiction Books – October 2017

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Ali by Jonathan EigAli by Jonathan Eig

The definitive biography of an American icon, from a New York Times best-selling author with unique access to Ali’s inner circle

He was the wittiest, the prettiest, the strongest, the bravest, and, of course, the greatest (as he told us over and over again). Muhammad Ali was one of the twentieth century’s greatest radicals and most compelling figures. At his funeral in 2016, eulogists said Ali had transcended race and united the country, but they got it wrong. Race was the theme of Ali’s life. He insisted that America come to grips with a black man who wasn’t afraid to speak out or break the rules. He didn’t overcomeracism. He called it out. “I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me—black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”
Ali went from being one of the most despised men in the country to one of the most beloved. But until now, he has never been the subject of a complete, unauthorized biography. Jonathan Eig, hailed by Ken Burns as one of America’s master storytellers, breaks new ground and radically reshapes our understanding of the slippery figure who was Muhammad Ali. Eig had access to all the key people in Ali’s life, including his three surviving wives and his managers. He also had access to thousands of pages of new FBI and Justice Department files, as well dozens of hours of newly discovered audiotaped interviews from the 1960s.

Jonathan Eig’s Ali breaks bold new ground, revealing Ali in the complexity he deserves, shedding important new light on his politics and his neurological condition. Ali is a story about race, about a brutal sport, and about a fascinating man who shook up the world.

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An American Family by Khizr Khan.jpgAn American Family by Khizr Khan

This inspiring memoir by the Gold Star parent and captivating DNC speaker is the story of one family’s pursuit of the American dream and why–especially in these tumultuous times–we must not be afraid to step forward for what we believe in when it matters most.

An American Family is an intensely personal story about the nature of true patriotism and what it’s like to risk everything you know for the promise of a 226-year-old piece of parchment. As Khizr Khan traces his remarkable journey–from humble beginnings on a poultry farm in Pakistan to obtaining a degree from Harvard Law School and raising a family in America–he shows what it means to leave the limitations of one’s country behind for the best values and promises of another. He also tells the story of the Khans’ middle child, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed while protecting his base camp in Iraq, and the ways in which their undying pride in him and his sacrifice have helped them endure the deepest despair a parent can know.

The book is a stark depiction of what an American looks like, what being a nation of immigrants really means, and what it is to live–rather than simply to pay lip service to–our ideals.

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American Radical by Tamer Elnoury.jpgAmerican Radical by Tamer Elnoury

The explosive memoir of a Muslim American FBI agent fighting terror from the inside

It’s no secret that federal agencies are waging a broad, global war against terror. But for the first time in this memoir, an active Muslim American federal agent reveals his experience infiltrating and bringing down a terror cell in North America.

A longtime undercover agent, Tamer Elnoury joined an elite counterterrorism unit after September 11. Its express purpose is to gain the trust of terrorists whose goals are to take out as many Americans in as public and as devastating a way possible. It’s a furious race against the clock for Tamer and his unit to stop them before they can implement their plans. Yet as new as this war still is, the techniques are as old as time: listen, record, and prove terrorist intent.

Due to his ongoing work for the FBI, Elnoury writes under a pseudonym. An Arabic-speaking Muslim American, a patriot, a hero: To many Americans, it will be a revelation that he and his team even exist, let alone the vital and dangerous work they do keeping all Americans safe.

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Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans by Brian Kilmeade.jpgAndrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans by Brian Kilmeade

Another pop history pageturner from the New York Timesbestselling authors of George Washington’s Secret Six and Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates.

When the British fought the young United States during the War of 1812, they knew that taking the mouth of the Mississippi River was the key to crippling their former colony. Capturing the city of New Orleans and stopping trade up the river sounded like a simple task–New Orleans was far away from Washington, out of sight and out of mind for the politicians.

What the British didn’t count on was the power of General Andrew Jackson. A formidable military leader with a grudge against the British and a heart for the common man, he rallied the divided inhabitants of New Orleans, bringing together Frenchmen, Native Americans, freed slaves, pirates, and Kentucky woodsmen.

In their now trademark fashion, Kilmeade and Yaeger will trace the development of Jackson’s character and bring the reader to the scenes of one of the most pivotal–and surprising–battles in American history.

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The Art of Stopping Time by Pedram Shojai.jpgThe Art of Stopping Time by Pedram Shojai

We’re all struggling to find time in our lives, but somehow there’s never enough to go around. We’re too tired to think, too wired to focus, less efficient than we want to be, and guilty about not getting enough time with our loved ones.

We all know that we feel starved for time, but what are we actually doing about it? Precious little. In The Art of Stopping Time, New York Times bestselling author Pedram Shojai guides us towards success with what he calls Time Prosperity–having the time to accomplish what you want in life without feeling compressed, stressed, overburdened, or hurried.

So how do we achieve this Time Prosperity? We learn to Stop Time. To do that, Shojai walks us though a 100-day Gong, which is based on the Chinese practice of designating an amount of time each day to perform a specific task. The ritual helps you become mindful, train your mind, instill new habits, and fundamentally transform your relationship with time. We can find moments of mental awareness while in the shower, eating a snack, listening to podcasts, and even while binge-watching our favorite TV shows.

He shares how to use Gongs to reprogram your habits, reduce stress, increase energy, exercise the ancient practice of mindfulness, and become a master of your time. Whether you do one per day, a bunch at a time, or read the whole book in one sitting, practicing the Gongs is a dedicated act of self-love that snaps us out of our daily trance and brings the light of awareness to our consciousness. The more we practice, the more we wake up, and the better off we are.

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Be Fierce by Gretchen Carlson.jpgBe Fierce by Gretchen Carlson

When Gretchen Carlson made the decision to “walk off the set” and speak up about sexual harassment in the workplace, she jumped off a cliff by herself, but it led to a new calling: empowering women to reclaim their power against any injustice.

After the former Miss America, mother of two, and star news anchor stood up, and spoke out, women all over the world joined the movement and began to take back their lives, careers, and dignity. Gretchen became the voice for the voiceless. BE FIERCE shares Gretchen’s experience and powerful stories from the thousands of women who have reached out to her who refuse to submit to intimidation of any kind. Gretchen will also share the wisdom and research of lawyers, psychologists, and other experts helping to confront this problem and advance what has become an international conversation about women refusing to shut up and sit down.

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Beyond the Messy Truth by Van Jones.jpgBeyond the Messy Truth by Van Jones

A passionate manifesto that exposes hypocrisy on both sides of the political divide and points a way out of the tribalism that is tearing America apart–by the CNN political contributor and host hailed as “a star of the 2016 campaign” (The New York Times) who tries to “fight the right way” (The New Yorker)

Van Jones burst into the American consciousness during the 2016 presidential campaign with an unscripted, truth-telling style and an already established history of bridge-building across party lines. His election night commentary became a viral sensation. A longtime progressive activist with deep roots in the conservative South, Jones has made it his mission to challenge voters and viewers to stand in one another’s shoes and disagree constructively.

Now, in Beyond the Messy Truth, Jones offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. Tough on Donald Trump but showing respect and empathy for his supporters, Jones takes aim at the failures of both parties before and after Trump’s victory. He urges both sides to abandon the politics of accusation and focus on real solutions. Calling us to a deeper patriotism, he shows us how to get down to the vital business of solving, together, some of our toughest problems.

“The entire national conversation today can be reduced to a simple statement–‘I’m right, and you’re wrong, ‘” Jones has said. But the truth is messier; both sides have flaws. Both parties have strayed from their highest principles and let down their core constituencies. Rejecting today’s political tribalism, Jones issues a stirring call for a new “bipartisanship from below.” Recognizing that tough challenges require the best wisdom from both liberals and conservatives, he points us toward practical answers to problems that affect us all regardless of region or ideology: rural and inner-city poverty, unemployment, addiction, unfair incarceration, and the devastating effects of the pollution-based economy on both coal country and our urban centers.

In explaining how he arrived at his views, Jones shares behind-the-scenes memories from his decades spent marching and protesting on behalf of working people, inspiring stories of ordinary citizens who became champions of their communities, and little-known examples of cooperation that have risen from the fog of partisan conflict. In his quest for positive solutions, Van Jones encourages us to set fire to our old ways of thinking about politics and come together where the pain is greatest.

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The Blue Zones of Happiness by Dan BuettnerThe Blue Zones of Happiness by Dan Buettner

New York Times best-selling author Dan Buettner reveals the surprising secrets of the world’s happiest places—and shows how we can all apply the lessons of true happiness to our lives.

In this inspiring book, Buettner offers game-changing tools for setting up your life to be the happiest it can be. In these illuminating pages, you’ll:
• Meet the world’s Happiness All-Stars—inspiring individuals born in places around the world that nurture happiness as well as Americans boosting well-being in their own communities.
• Discover how the three strands of happiness—joy, purpose, and satisfaction—weave together in different ways to make Denmark, Costa Rica, and Singapore some of the world’s happiest places.
• Use the Blue Zones Happiness Test to pinpoint areas in your life where change could bring more happiness—and then find practical steps to make those changes.
• Learn the Top 10 ways to create happiness, as revealed by a panel of the world’s leading experts convened specifically for this project.
• Boost your own happiness by applying the lessons of Blue Zones Project communities—America’s largest preventive health care project, which has already improved the health and happiness of millions of people across the United States.

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The Chicago Cubs by Rich Cohen.jpgThe Chicago Cubs by Rich Cohen

A captivating blend of reportage and memoir exploring the history of the Chicago Cubs

When Rich Cohen was eight years old, his father took him to see a Cubs game. On the way out of the park, his father asked him to make a promise. “Promise me you will never be a Cubs fan. The Cubs do not win,” he explained, “and because of that, a Cubs fan will have a diminished life determined by low expectations. That team will screw up your life.” As a result, Cohen became not just a Cubs fan but one of the biggest Cubs fans in the world. In this book, he captures the story of the team, its players and crazy days. Billy Sunday and Ernie Banks, Three Finger Brown and Ryne Sandberg, Bill Buckner, the Bartman Ball, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo – the early dominance followed by a 107 year trek across the wilderness. It’s all here – not just what happened, but what it felt like and what it meant. He searches for the cause of the famous curse. Was it the billy goat, kicked out of Wrigley Field in Game 5 of the 1945 World Series, or does it go back further, to the very origins of the franchise? Driven mad with futility, he went on the road with the team in search of answers, interviewed great players present and past, researched in libraries but also in the bleachers, double-fisted, a frosty malt in each hand, demanding answers. He came to see the curse as a burden but also as a blessing. Cubs fans are unique, emissaries from a higher realm, warning of hubris and vanity. The blue cap with the red C said, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” He interviewed the architects of the 2016 Cubs, the team that broke the curse. Here’s what he asked: How the hell did you do it? He was at (almost) every game of the 2016 playoff run – a run that culminated in (maybe) the single greatest baseball game ever played. He was excited but also terrified. Losing is easy. What would it mean to win? Wearing a Yankees hat meant corporate excellence. Wearing a Mets hat meant miracles. But wearing a Cubs hat meant loving the game on its most humdrum afternoon – September 13, 1979, say, 14 games out of first place, Larry Bittner driving in Ivan DeJesus. Would we lose that? Would being a Cubs become ordinary? A mix of memoir, reporting, history and baseball theology, this book, forty years in the making, has never been written because it never could be — only with the 2016 World Series can the true arc of the story finally be understood.

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Code Girls by Liza MundyCode Girls by Liza Mundy

In the tradition of Hidden Figures and The Girls of Atomic CityCode Girls is the astonishing, untold story of the young American women who cracked key Axis codes, helping to secure Allied victory and revolutionizing the field of cryptanalysis.

Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.

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Dare Not Linger by Nelson Mandela.jpgDare Not Linger by Nelson Mandela

The long-awaited second volume of Nelson Mandela’s memoirs, left unfinished at his death and never before available, are here completed and expanded with notes and speeches written by Mandela during his historic presidency, making for a moving sequel to his worldwide bestseller Long Walk to Freedom.

“I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first president of democratic South Africa. Five years later, he stood down. In that time, he and his government wrought the most extraordinary transformation, turning a nation riven by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy in which all South Africa’s citizens, black and white, were equal before the law. Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidency, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to finish his term as president, but was unable to finish. Now the acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa has completed the task using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding, and a wealth of previously unseen archival material. The result is a vivid and inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency: years during which he overcame the challenges of transition and made a reality of his cherished vision for a liberated South Africa.

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Endurance by Scott Kelly.jpgEndurance by Scott Kelly

A stunning memoir from the astronaut who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station–a candid account of his remarkable voyage, of the journeys off the planet that preceded it, and of his colorful formative years.

The veteran of four space flights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly inimical to human life. He describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both existential and banal: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the pressures of constant close cohabitation; the catastrophic risks of depressurization or colliding with space junk, and the still more haunting threat of being unable to help should tragedy strike at home–an agonizing situation Kelly faced when, on another mission, his twin brother’s wife, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot while he still had two months in space. Kelly’s humanity, compassion, humor, and passion resonate throughout, as he recalls his rough-and-tumble New Jersey childhood and the youthful inspiration that sparked his astounding career, and as he makes clear his belief that Mars will be the next, ultimately challenging step in American spaceflight. A natural storyteller and modern-day hero, Kelly has a message of hope for the future that will inspire for generations to come. Here, in his personal story, we see the triumph of the human imagination, the strength of the human will, and the boundless wonder of the galaxy.

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Fifty Years of 60 Minutes by Jeff Fager.jpgFifty Years of 60 Minutes by Jeff Fager

The ultimate inside story of 60 Minutes, the program that has tracked and shaped the biggest moments in post-war American history.

From its almost accidental birth in 1968, 60 Minutes has set the standard for broadcast journalism, joining us in our living rooms each Sunday night to surprise us about the world. The show has profiled every major leader, artist, and movement of the past five decades, perfecting the news-making interview and inventing the groundbreaking TV expose. From legendary sit-downs with Richard Nixon in 1968 (in which he promised “to restore respect to the presidency”) and Bill Clinton in 1992 (after the first revelations of infidelity) to landmark investigations into the tobacco industry, Lance Armstrong’s doping, and the torture of prisoners in Abu-Ghraib, the broadcast has not just reported on our world but changed it too.

Now, Executive Producer Jeff Fager pulls back the curtain on how this remarkable journalism is done, taking the reader into the editing room with the show’s brilliant producers and beloved correspondents, including hard-charging Mike Wallace, writer’s-writer Morley Safer, soft-but-tough Ed Bradley, relentless Lesley Stahl, ace interviewer Charlie Rose, tireless Anderson Cooper, intrepid Scott Pelley, and illuminating storyteller Steve Kroft. He details the decades of human drama that have made the show’s success possible: the ferocious (and encouraged) competition between correspondents, the door slamming, the risk-taking, and the pranks. Fager takes on the program’s mistakes and describes what it learned from them. Above all, he reveals the essential tenets that have never changed: why founder Don Hewitt believed “hearing” a story is more important than seeing it, why the “small picture” is the best way to illuminate a larger one, and why the most memorable stories are almost always those with a human being at the center.

At once a sweeping portrait of fifty years of American cultural history and an intimate look at how the news gets made, Fifty Years of 60 Minutes shares the secret of what’s made the nation’s favorite TV program exceptional for all these years.

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Grant by Ron Chernow.jpgGrant by Ron Chernow

Pulitzer Prize-winner and biographer of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and John D. Rockefeller, Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most complicated generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.

Ulysses S. Grant’s life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and inept businessman, fond of drinking to excess; or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War; or as a credulous and hapless president whose tenure came to symbolize the worst excesses of the Gilded Age. These stereotypes don’t come close to capturing adequately his spirit and the sheer magnitude of his monumental accomplishments. A biographer at the height of his powers, Chernow has produced a portrait of Grant that is a masterpiece, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.

Before the Civil War, Grant was flailing. His business ventures had been dismal, and despite distinguished service in the Mexican War, he ended up resigning from the army in disgrace amid recurring accusations of drunkenness. But in the Civil War, Grant began to realize his remarkable potential, soaring through the ranks of the Union army, prevailing at the Battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign and ultimately defeating the legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee after a series of unbelievably bloody battles in Virginia. Along the way Grant endeared himself to President Lincoln and became his most trusted general and the strategic genius of the war effort. His military fame translated into a two-term presidency, but one plagued by corruption scandals involving his closest staff. All the while Grant himself remained more or less above reproach. But, more importantly, he never failed to seek freedom and justice for black Americans, working to crush the Ku Klux Klan and earning the admiration of Frederick Douglass, who called him ‘the vigilant, firm, impartial, and wise protector of my race.” After his presidency, he was again brought low by a trusted colleague, this time a dashing young swindler on Wall Street, but he resuscitated his image by working with Mark Twain to publish his memoirs, which are recognized as a masterpiece of the genre.

With his famous lucidity, breadth, and meticulousness, Chernow finds the threads that bind these disparate stories together, shedding new light on the man whom Walt Whitman described as “nothing heroic… and yet the greatest hero.” His probing portrait of Grant’s lifelong struggle with alcoholism transforms our understanding of the man at the deepest level. This is America’s greatest biographer, bringing movingly to life one of our finest but most underappreciated presidents. The definitive biography, Grant is a grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant’s life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.

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Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson.jpgLeonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

“Majestic…Isaacson takes on another complex, giant figure and transforms him into someone we can recognize…Totally enthralling, masterful, and passionate.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

He was history’s most creative genius. What secrets can he teach us? 
The author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve JobsEinstein, and Benjamin Franklin brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography.

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

He produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. His ability to stand at the crossroads of the humanities and the sciences, made iconic by his drawing of Vitruvian Man, made him history’s most creative genius.

His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from having wide-ranging passions. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history’s most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. Isaacson also describes how Leonardo’s lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings and inventions.

Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. So, too, does his ease at being a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical. His life should remind us of the importance of instilling, both in ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it—to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.

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Raising Trump by Ivana Trump.jpgRaising Trump by Ivana Trump

In Raising Trump, Ivana Trump reflects on her extraordinary life and the raising of her three children—Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka—and recounts the lessons she taught her children as they were growing up.

As her former husband takes his place as the 45th President of the United States, his children have also been thrust into the media spotlight—but it is Ivana who raised them and proudly instilled in them what she believes to be the most important life lessons: loyalty, honesty, integrity, and drive. Raising Trump is a non-partisan, non-political book about motherhood, strength, and resilience. Though Ivana writes about her childhood in communist Czechoslovakia, her escape from the regime and relocation to New York, her whirlwind romance, and her great success as a businesswoman, the focus of the book is devoted to Ivana’s raising of her children. Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump will all contribute their own memories to the book.

“Every day, people ask me how I raised such great kids. They are truly amazed when I tell them that there was no magic to their upbringing. I was a tough and loving mother who taught them the value of a dollar, not to lie, cheat, or steal, respect for others, and other life lessons that I’ll share now in Raising Trump, along with unfiltered personal stories about Don, Eric, and Ivanka from their early childhood to becoming the ‘first sons and daughter.’” —Ivana Trump

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The River of Consciousness by Oliver W. Sacks.jpgThe River of Consciousness by Oliver W. Sacks

From the best-selling author of Gratitude, On the Move, andMusicophilia, a collection of essays that displays Oliver Sacks’s passionate engagement with the most compelling and seminal ideas of human endeavor: evolution, creativity, memory, time, consciousness, and experience.

Oliver Sacks, a scientist and a storyteller, is beloved by readers for the extraordinary neurological case histories (Awakenings, An Anthropologist on Mars) in which he introduced and explored many now familiar disorders–autism, Tourette’s syndrome, face blindness, savant syndrome. He was also a memoirist who wrote with honesty and humor about the remarkable and strange encounters and experiences that shaped him (Uncle Tungsten, On the Move, Gratitude). Sacks, an Oxford-educated polymath, had a deep familiarity not only with literature and medicine but with botany, animal anatomy, chemistry, the history of science, philosophy, and psychology. The River of Consciousness is one of two books Sacks was working on up to his death, and it reveals his ability to make unexpected connections, his sheer joy in knowledge, and his unceasing, timeless project to understand what makes us human.

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Scalia Speaks by Antonin Scalia.jpgScalia Speaks by Antonin Scalia

This definitive collection of beloved Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s finest speeches covers topics as varied as the law, faith, virtue, pastimes, and his heroes and friends. Featuring a foreword by longtime friend Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and an intimate introduction by his youngest son, this volume includes dozens of speeches, some deeply personal, that have never before been published. Christopher J. Scalia and the Justice’s former law clerk Edward Whelan selected the speeches.

Americans have long been inspired by Justice Scalia’s ideas, delighted by his wit, and instructed by his intelligence. He was a sought-after speaker at commencements, convocations, and events across the country. Scalia Speaks will give readers the opportunity to encounter the legendary man more fully, helping them better understand the jurisprudence that made him one of the most important justices in the Court’s history and introducing them to his broader insights on faith and life.

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Sisters First by Jenna BushSisters First by Jenna Bush

Funny and poignant personal stories and reflections from former first daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush.
Born into a political dynasty, Jenna and Barbara Bush grew up in the public eye. As small children, they watched their grandfather become president; just twelve years later they stood by their father’s side when he took the same oath. They spent their college years being trailed by the Secret Service and chased by the paparazzi, with every teenage mistake making national headlines. But the tabloids didn’t tell the whole story of these two young women forging their own identities under extraordinary circumstances. In this book they take readers on a revealing, thoughtful, and deeply personal tour behind the scenes of their lives, with never-before-told stories about their family, their adventures, their loves and losses, and the special sisterly bond that fulfills them.

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Unqualified by Anna Faris.jpgUnqualified by Anna Faris

Anna Faris has advice for you. And it’s great advice, because she’s been through it all, and she wants to tell you what she’s learned. Her comic memoir and first book, Unqualified, will share Anna’s candid, sympathetic, and entertaining stories of love lost and won. Part memoir, part humorous, unflinching advice from her hit podcast Anna Faris Is Unqualified, the book will reveal Anna’s unique take on how to navigate the bizarre, chaotic, and worthwhile adventure of finding love.

Hilarious, authentic, and actually useful, Unqualified is the book Anna’s fans have been waiting for.

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Vacationland by John Hodgman.jpgVacationland by John Hodgman

Although his career as a bestselling author and on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart was founded on fake news and invented facts, in 2016 that routine didn’t seem as funny to John Hodgman anymore. Everyone is doing it now. 

Disarmed of falsehood, he was left only with the awful truth: John Hodgman is an older white male monster with bad facial hair, wandering like a privileged Sasquatch through three wildernesses: the hills of Western Massachusetts where he spent much of his youth; the painful beaches of Maine that want to kill him (and some day will); and the metaphoric haunted forest of middle age that connects them.

Vacationland collects these real life wanderings, and through them you learn of the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, and which animals to keep as pets and which to kill with traps and poison. There is also some advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god.

Though wildly, Hodgmaniacally funny as usual, it is also a poignant and sincere account of one human facing his forties, those years when men in particular must stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weird dads that they are.

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The Way It Was by Eliot Weisman.jpgThe Way It Was by Eliot Weisman

In the bestselling tradition of Henry Bushkin’s Johnny Carsoncomes THE WAY IT WAS: My Life with Frank Sinatra, a candid and eye-opening inside look at the final decades of Sinatra’s life, told by his long-time manager and friend, Eliot Weisman.

Eliot Weisman worked with Frank Sinatra from 1975 up until Sinatra’s death in 1998, and became one of the singer’s most trusted confidantes and advisers. In this book, Weisman tells the story of the final years of the iconic entertainer from within his exclusive inner circle–featuring original photos and filled with scintillating revelations that fans of all Sinatra stages–from the crooner to the Duets–will love.

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We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union.jpgWe’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.

One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: “It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real.”

In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.

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Where the Past Begins by Amy Tan

In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Cluband The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan is at her most intimate in revealing the truths and inspirations that underlie her extraordinary fiction. By delving into vivid memories of her traumatic childhood, confessions of self-doubt in her journals, and heartbreaking letters to and from her mother, she gives evidence to all that made it both unlikely and inevitable that she would become a writer. Through spontaneous storytelling, she shows how a fluid fictional state of mind unleashed near-forgotten memories that became the emotional nucleus of her novels.

Tan explores shocking truths uncovered by family memorabilia—the real reason behind an IQ test she took at age six, why her parents lied about their education, mysteries surrounding her maternal grandmother—and, for the first time publicly, writes about her complex relationship with her father, who died when she was fifteen. Supplied with candor and characteristic humor, Where the Past Begins takes readers into the idiosyncratic workings of her writer’s mind, a journey that explores memory, imagination, and truth, with fiction serving as both her divining rod and link to meaning.

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William Wegman by William A. Ewing.jpgWilliam Wegman by William A. Ewing

William Wegman’s whimsical photographs of his Weimaraner dogs have been celebrated in the art world and enjoyed by pet lovers for nearly four decades. In this entirely new volume, renowned photography curator William A. Ewing presents more than 300 images from the artist’s personal archive, unearthing previously unseen gems alongside the iconic images that have made Wegman—along with dressed-up dogs Man Ray, Fay Ray, and others—beloved worldwide. Presented in sixteen thematic chapters, William Wegman: Being Human foregrounds the photographer’s penchant for play and his evergreen ability to create images that are at once funny, striking, and surreal. Audiences of all ages will fall in love—for the first time, or all over again—with Wegman and his friends.

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The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey.jpgThe Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey says Super Soul Sunday is the television show she was born to do. “I see it as an offering,” she explains. “If you want to be more fully present and live your life with a wide-open heart, this is the place to come to.”

Now, for the first time, the aha moments of inspiration and soul-expanding insight that have enlightened millions on the three-time Emmy Award-winning Super Soul Sunday are collected in The Wisdom of Sundays, a beautiful, cherishable, deeply-affecting book.

Organized into ten chapters–each one representing a powerful step in Oprah’s own spiritual journey and introduced with an intimate, personal essay by Oprah herself–the Wisdom of Sundays features selections from the most meaningful conversations between Oprah and some of today’s most-admired thought-leaders. Visionaries like Tony Robbins, Arianna Huffington, and Shonda Rhimes share their lessons in finding purpose through mindfulness and intention. World renowned authors and teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hahn, Marianne Williamson and Wayne Dyer, explain our complex relationship with the ego and the healing powers of love and connection; and award-winning and bestselling writers like Cheryl Strayed, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Elizabeth Lesser explore the beauty of forgiveness and spirituality.

Paired with beautiful photographs, including many from Oprah’s private property in California where each episode of Super Soul Sunday is filmed, The Wisdom of Sundays promises to be a timeless keepsake that will help readers awaken to life’s wondrous possibilities and discover a deeper connection to the natural world around them.

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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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