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Alternating history with personal account of his time as a guard at a corporate prison, Bauer shows that profiting from incarceration is a long standing American tradition. His own background of having been held in an Iranian prison influences the narrative in surprising ways. -Zeke Z.
Well written history of troubled times in different time periods in American's history. Times that changed our Democracy but each time our Democracy survived. So too will our Democracy survive this troubled time with an inadequate person as our president. -Connie F.
Mesmerizing story of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian Tribe in American history and, Quanah Parker, a captive who grew up with the Camanches. As an adult, Quanah refused to leave when she had a chance to escape. Hard to put this book down. -Connie F
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Deborah Miranda is an enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay Area. Her most recent book of poems, Raised by Humans, transcends colonial structures of thought to sing Indigenous truths about history, education, and faith. In "Decolonizing the Alphabet," for example, she begins at a beginning: "Literacy starts with the flesh/ ripped from the backs of my ancestors..." -Janet S.
Interesting to get to know this talented man who I'd heard about but knew little about. Fun to visit familiar Portsmouth places with Mr Dunn through the author's words. -Connie F.
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Pipher is right on target with examples of problems/situations and solutions that women are faced with as we age. A book that I'm sure I will refer back to many times in the upcoming years. -Connie F
"Behind Every Great Man there's a Great Woman" fully pertains to Frances Perkins and FDR. This book brings to light the little known first female Secretary of Labor & first female Cabinet member. Interesting to learn of Perkins strategies to accomplish important issues while working along side of powerful men in the 1930's. -Connie F
Olga Livshin's hybrid first book of poetry and translations, A Life Replaced, comes highly recommended by Ilya Kaminsky, Maggie Smith, and Rosanna Warren. Livshin's own poems about the experience of emigration from Russia with her parents, along with her translations of Anna Ahkmatova and Victor Gandelsman, are passionate, wildly imaginative, and nothing like contemporary poetry's same-old, same-old. -Janet S
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NOS (Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified), a book of poems by Aby Kaupang and Matthew Cooperman, is an achingly beautiful chronicle of what it's like to raise a child with severe autism. What happens when two award-winning poets are presented with the challenge of literally advocating for their child's life? What happens is that we meet Maya, "who didn't eat, didn't sleep, didn't laugh, didn't shit, didn't walk anymore..." We also get to know her mother and father as they struggle to unlearn and remake their world. -Janet S.
For anyone who is sexually active, this book provides tools for better, more pleasurable sex regardless of ability or medical conditions. The book takes lessons learned from mindfulness and clinical psychology research to immediate improve one's relationship with sex. It is a must read for anyone who has experienced sexual pain. -Bridget S.
Make america educated again! Now more than ever, fight "fake history," learn who we are and how we got here... -Jon L.
Carryrou was the Wall Street Journal reporter who revealed the hoax that was Theranos, a bio-tech Silicon Valley wonder that was based on a very persuasive young woman CEO, Elizabeth Holmes. Despite the fact that the technology she was selling never worked, she assembled a high profile board of non-medical people and raised over 1 billion in venture capital. Very fast and fascinating read! And the story continues, as Holmes will stand trial at some point in 2020. -Jackie E.
Well-told stories about Noah's upbringing in South Africa, son of a German father (white) and African woman - thus the "crime" of the title, as intermarriage was forbidden in So. Africa at that time. Noah's mother who knew many languages, made sure her son used English as his first language, as she correctly saw that that would be his way out of the poverty and limited opportunities of apartheid. A fun, engaging read. -Jackie E.
This book is a beautiful love story to the diverse American food culture and its many intersections. In a world that is increasingly divided and segmented, this book is refreshing and inspiration. Plus there are plenty of delicious recipes! -Bridget S.
This autobiography describes Michelle's hardscrabble but loving childhood on the South Side of Chicago. We feel her parents' deep love for both her and her brother and their desire for them to gain the best education possible. Obama's writing captures her speaking voice--intelligent yet humorous and honest, especially as she chronicles her initial contacts with the man who becomes her husband, Barak Obama. Most intriguing are the insights revealed by her life in The White House and as the First Lady where the reader gains an understanding of the incredible sacrifices in privacy necessary to keep Michele and her family safe. Kathryn B.
Horrified yet riveted by this true story of a radical, Mormon family living in the mountains of Utah, I found myself guessing the exact moment Tara would recognize the absurdity of her family life as dictated by her father. Yet, time and again, despite leaving the family's mountain life to earn a bachelors, masters, and eventually a PhD, Tara returns to the radically warped mountain life and her role in it. The joy in reading this engrossing autobiography occurs when Tara discovers how to break free! -- Kathryn B.
One of the great pleasures of summer 2019 was reading the entire, five-volume collection of James Harriot’s books. The experiences of a rural veterinarian in Yorkshire, England, are fascinating, as the series traces the author’s professional life after graduate school, partnership, marriage, and eventual assumption of his partner’s business, all against the backdrop of World War II and an era of tremendous strides in veterinary science. Engaging from the first to the last page, with much room for reflection. Don’t let five volumes intimidate you. You can’t ask for a better story, better told.
A fascinating look back at how our country formed, and the origins of the cultural barriers that divide us. Author Colin Woodard of Portland, Maine applies his scholarly erudition and strong narrative gifts to persuasively argue that our "united states" have never been truly united, that we emerged as a baker's dozen of separate nations that still coexist, at best, uneasily. The book sheds light on the many reasons why we have yet to learn how to see eye-to-eye with our fellow citizens.
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Dr. Parcak is an award-winning TED Talk presenter, so you know she can make science and archaeology accessible to a general public audience. In this book, she doesn't travel to space herself, but rather describes how satellite imagery can help archaeologists locate cultural resources around the world that have been long hidden. Plus you'll find out what happened when she had lunch with Harrison Ford, and produced an Indiana Jones-style fedora for a photo.
Two moving and also hilarious memoirs of what love and community in action look like. In what became the world's largest gang intervention program, Fr. "G" demonstrates the power and the practical benefits of offering unconditional love to the previously unloved. Lest this sounds "heavy," I want to emphasize how funny so many of his stories are!
Quick, before the last North American 'blue highways' disappear, and you have no chance to traverse their magic lanes, take a virtual tour through the enchanted eyes of William Least Heat Moon. As a young man with a prodigious writing talent and a recently ended love affair, he took an extended road trip, avoiding all superhighways, when back roads and local color were still abundant. Barren strips of megacorporate chains, best seen in the rearview mirror, are almost all we've got left today. Relish the forgotten charms of America that are alive amd well in this rewarding book.
You’d think that the most famous contemporary of Shakespeare would be nearly as well documented in literature. You’d be wrong. Since Seven Stages Shakespeare Company presented both parts of Marlowe’s Tamburlaine at the Press Room in Portsmouth in October, I thought I’d read up on the author. In spite of the sensationalist title, this is definitely the book to read. Finely detailed, it presents the facts of Marlowe’s life, deals with the rumors (“a gay spy who was stabbed in the eye”) and, generally speaking, turns a two-dimensional, Elizabethan “also ran” into a fascinating three dimensional character. This one is staying on my bookshelf.
I bought this 40 years ago and finally started to read the mesmerizing story of the last man of his indigenous group who wandered, starving, onto a California ranch in 1911. Kroeber parallels Ishi's story with the Gold Rush and the mass slaughter by '49ers of any Native American who got in the way of their search for gold. I was stunned that I'd never learned any of this in school and recommend it for anyone who wants to delve into another narrative of hidden American History.
Want to understand this wild + crazy place we call home? To balance out the white male, top-down approach to our history, this indispensable read is a page turner, and eye-opener, solid research, clear, easy-to- read style…. Bottom-up!
Thoroughly absorbing dual biography of a mother and daughter, both named Mary, in 18th-19th century England, when childbirth was often deadly and women had few legal rights. Both Marys broke rules, blazed feminist trails and published ground-breaking books. Rich in historical detail and adventure, paced suspensefully, this book illustrates the dramatic distance women in western societies have come since these two Marys stuck their necks out for equality.
Part memoir, part travelogue, part journalistic investigation, part science writing, the story of jellyfish. Turns out they are an interesting part of the even more interesting--much more--interesting story of the oceans. We ignore this at our peril.
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A gripping tale of behind-the-scenes war-mongering in the U.S. government during the Cold War. The wealthy, powerful Dulles brothers, as secretary of state and director of the C.I.A., plotted and took secretive, bloody action to shape U.S. foreign policy to fit their personal dreams. Their grim legacy leaves its mark on global stability today. Deeply researched by veteran N.Y. Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer and written in smoothly accessible prose, this is essential reading.
Jaw-dropping nonfiction that reads like topnotch fiction, by former journalist Eric Larson. He paints historic developments in full living color as if they happened yesterday. When the entertainment and page-turning are over, you'll be amazed at the wealth of knowledge you've acquired about U.S. history, international relations, the human condition and the close coexistence of innocence and evil.
Lepore brings American history to life in this book in a way few writers can. She emphases the role race has played in our history, even in the colonial era. I read this as a way to determine if our current issues are as unusual as they seem; to me it is comforting to know our nation has come through other challenging, divisive times, and been able to overcome many challenges.
I don't know why everyone hasn't read this book. Sure, some of these essays were published in magazines, but bestselling novelist Ann Patchett knows how to write short. These pieces let you into her real life, as she reflects on the events and relationships that have held her through her years, from childhood and bad marriages to writing success and opening a bookstore she didn't have to open (which you should visit--it's lovely).
Supplants Richardson as the "definitive" biography, in my opinion. Good at showing HDT's "warm" side as well as his prickley one. Though best known for his night in jail as Civil Disobedience, his real courage was in directly hiding and escorting escaped slaves on the underground railroad. Also, very good about his prescience at the start of the industrial-communications revolution.
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Cannot. Put. This. Down. Nonfictional, exhaustively researched anthropological account of the sex/love lives of three women from first seduction through humiliation and beyond. Beautifully written. It's on the bestseller's list, and I predict it stays there. It should.
If you like to read memoirs, you will love this book. Although categorized as fiction-Torres has poured his personal experiences into this book. Moving. Haunting. Profound.
The foremost thinker on race makes reparations sound necessary and almost doable. It's one of many persuasive essays on America's biggest problem in this powerful collection.
Don't miss this tremendous read! The fascinating character who was our nation's second president rises off the page and comes fully alive in this, perhaps David McCullough's best book. Adams' odyssey from Braintree, MA to the White House has enough adventure and excitement to keep you up reading into the wee hours. Adams and his wife Abigail's eloquent letters are a priceless part of this exceptional look back at the days when our country was founded.
Are you exhausted with the scene in our nation's capitol? Treat yourself to a fascinating contemplative break with this illuminating portrait of Honest Abe and the political rivals he chose to run the country with him in the perilous Civil War years. If the country survived that dire era, perhaps we'll survive this one...if history is a cyclical affair.