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These recommendations were submitted by our awesome customers!

American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735223608
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Published: Penguin Books - June 11th, 2019

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.

The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399589829
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - April 30th, 2019

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.

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416591061
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Published: Scribner - May 10th, 2011

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

Raised by Humans: Poems Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781882688500
Published: Tia Chucha - April 15th, 2015

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.

The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship Cover Image
ISBN: 9781619029101
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Published: Counterpoint - March 14th, 2017

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.

Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing As We Age Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781632869609
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - January 15th, 2019

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

The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781400078561
Published: Anchor - February 23rd, 2010

"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

A Life Replaced: Poems with Translations from Anna Akhmatova and Vladimir Gandelsman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780999073735
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Published: Poets and Traitors Inc. - June 25th, 2019

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

Nos (Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780996002578
Published: Futurepoem - October 1st, 2018

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.

Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women Can Cultivate Desire Cover Image
By Lori A. Brotto, Emily Nagoski (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781771642354
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Published: Greystone Books - April 24th, 2018

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.

A People's History of the United States (Harper Perennial Deluxe Editions) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061965593
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Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - June 28th, 2016

Make america educated again! Now more than ever, fight "fake history," learn who we are and how we got here...   -Jon L.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524731656
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Published: Knopf - May 21st, 2018

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.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399588198
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Published: One World - February 12th, 2019

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.

Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef's Journey to Discover America's New Melting-Pot Cuisine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781579659004
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Published: Artisan - March 5th, 2019

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.

Becoming Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524763138
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Published: Crown - November 13th, 2018

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.

Educated: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399590504
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Published: Random House - February 20th, 2018

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.

All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of the World's Most Beloved Animal Doctor Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250057839
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Published: St. Martin's Griffin - May 6th, 2014

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.

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143122029
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Published: Penguin Books - September 25th, 2012

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. 

Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781250198280
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - July 9th, 2019

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.

Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476726168
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Published: Simon & Schuster - September 18th, 2018

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!

Blue Highways: A Journey into America Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316353298
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Published: Back Bay Books - October 19th, 1999

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. 

Christopher Marlowe: Poet & Spy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780199232697
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Published: Oxford University Press, USA - September 17th, 2007

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.

Ishi in Two Worlds, 50th Anniversary Edition: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America Cover Image
By Theodora Kroeber, Karl Kroeber (Foreword by), Lewis Gannett (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780520271470
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Published: University of California Press - October 18th, 2011

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.

A People's History of the United States Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062397348
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Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - November 17th, 2015

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!

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780812980479
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 2nd, 2016

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.

Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735211285
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Published: Riverhead Books - November 6th, 2018

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.

The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250053121
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Published: St. Martin's Griffin - October 7th, 2014

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.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375725609
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Published: Vintage - February 10th, 2004

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.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures (FSG Classics) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374533403
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 24th, 2012

These Truths: A History of the United States Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393635249
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 18th, 2018

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.

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage: A Reese's Book Club Pick Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062236685
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Published: Harper Perennial - October 7th, 2014

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).

Henry David Thoreau: A Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780226599373
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Published: University of Chicago Press - September 28th, 2018

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.

Three Women Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451642292
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Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - July 9th, 2019

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.

We The Animals Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547844190
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Published: Mariner Books - September 11th, 2012

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. 

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399590573
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Published: One World - October 30th, 2018

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.

John Adams Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743223133
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Published: Simon & Schuster - September 3rd, 2002

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.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743270755
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Published: Simon & Schuster - September 26th, 2006

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.